• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
HappyCoder

Characters Facial Expressions

8 posts in this topic

So I am brainstorming ideas for a game I am working on. My game is going to be a 2D side scroller. I want to story to be a core part of the game. To better tell the story, I want my characters to be able to show more expression to better show a characters personality and to compliment the text to, hopefully, give it more emotion.

My idea is to have an animated portait that pops up with the text dialog. This way it can be clear when the characters are angry, sad, scared, happy, ect... The faces will be built with seperate movable parts. For example, to raise an eyebrow the game will simply move the eyebrow image up that is seperate from the rest of the face.

My questions for any of you are.

Are there any good examples of games that do something similar to this?
Have you working on a project that uses said system?
Would you reccomend that I do this? Would you make any changes?

Anyway, that is all. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you. Edited by HappyCoder
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with "separate movable" facial features is that human expressions are filled with a bunch of nuances. If you try creating expressions in this mechanical way, then you'll end up with mechanical expressions that would look quite off. A quizzical expression is more than a single raised eye-brow. It can include a contortion of the lips, a squinting of the eyes, a tilt of the head. Perhaps the best use of "movable" parts would be to make the eyes blink so the portrait does not appear completely static - but that's probably it. It would be much better to have an artist draw each expression individually. This will also allow the artist to inject personality into the expressions for different characters (everyone doesn't use the same canned expressions - there are differences in the way people express the same emotion).

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah the separate movable facial features thing would cause you problems, but Azure Dreams is one example game where a character portrait is shown by a dialogue box, and the game had a set of portraits for each character to show different emotions, as well as sometimes gaining or losing a prop or changing clothing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's an overkill (if you have just one or few characters), just make a whole separate images/animations for each facial expression.

 

Generally, I would avoid such things (unless there is a very specific situation like thousands procedurally generated characters), because it's something that require both programmer and artist working closely together (just leaving it to an artist is much simplier from my experience).

 

 

And what you mean by animated? You mean animated like, well, animated? I have seen many games with portraits made of parts but these were all static (like half of older jRPGs) but with a fully animated one, I can't recall even one. In short, if you decide you just want static, this topic would go much more smoothly :D

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not just properly animate the character's face? Breaking up the face isn't a bad idea if you're using vector art animation (flash), but you still need to do some classical animating to make it look good (like most Saturday morning cartoons). By taking the time to hand animate the emotional aspects of your game, you'll deliver a bigger emotional impact by paying attention to the timing and poses that best fit the narrative and the average reading speed of your players. Good luck!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

but with a fully animated one, I can't recall even one

 

Wing Commander, Star Fox, Star Craft, etc

These are not made of parts but rendered as a full animation of the whole face.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2D side scroller

 

 

So your face could be quite cartoony and use exaggerated gestures  not just face but upper torso/head movements and postures)

 

Cartoony has its advantages as the human brain will pickup any distortion in anything attempting to be realistc (and scream 'that is wrong looking' - defective -- Shun Shun !!!)

 

 

2D sub facial objects placed in a pose (upon the head) or cyclic pattern while the mouth goes on talking...

 

Again simplistic and cartoony may be enough to match the rest of the games level of detail.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope. Making facial expressions to a complexity of every part in the face moveable in a 2D game sounds like an idea that will waste too much time in development and won't even be that much good.

 

Since you're having portraits come up next to dialog (a good move) then it's good to have facial expressions but to keep them un-animated (like a still picture). Different characters might express facial emotion through different ways. It's good to have a basic face portrait and expressions portraits such as anger, happiness, anxoiusness and sadness. Each character could facially express their emotion in a different way, one character might grit his teeth in anger, while another may just furrow their brow or narrow their eyes.

 

I also think it'd be a good idea to have a "bloodied" portrait for whenever a character is injured in game but has something to say.

 

The facial expressions could be used when characters are angry for the sentence that they speak in text boxes.

 

Ex. *Character A normal portrait* - "So we're leaving for the castle tonight?"

 

      *Character B normal portrait* - "I'm afraid not. We're not leaving until [Character C] recovers from his injuries."

 

      *Character A normal portrait* - "Look. We've had enough distractions, enough detours, enough time wasted."

      *Character A angry portrait* -   "Enough bullshit, enough everything. We have the oppurtunity to finish this now."

     

Character A moves towards the door but is blocked by Character B.

 

      *Character A angry portrait * -  "Get out of my way."

     

      *Character B anxious portrait* - "..."

      *Character B angry portrait* - "You'll have to kill me first."

     

And then bam, A fight. Or whatever you have in mind.

 

Of course, if you're thinking of getting voice-actors then forgot animated portraits. There is just so much emotion and expression in voice, coupled with subtitles if that's what you want, that there's no need for something complex like animated portraits or portraits of any kind. The Cat Lady is an amazing game that makes excellent use of voice to convey emotion as well ass body.

 

Don't forget that there's also emotion in the way a character is presented. Do they puff their chest out confidently in one scene? Is there that spring in their step that signifies a full day? Do they look straight ahead, or do they look down at their feet and have their back hunched like a depressed bastard? Do they step lightly from toe to heel? Do they just stomp around? Do they rub their chin when thinking? Do they bite their nails? Do they always look behind themselves? (Paranoia) Don't forgot about what emotion conveyed tbrough body.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0