Larian Studios
Posted By: Niara Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 07:44 AM
Hi folks,

I checked the first few pages and then did a search but didn't immediately see anything in this vein, so here's a new thread with my personal break down and feedback on the current implementation of halflings in BG3. This thread is focused specifically on discussing the implementation of the Halfling models so far.

Now, this is something that always makes those interested in playing, or playing with, small-race characters worry, because it's so often done in poor or unsatisfying ways... So far, looking through the character creation process and examining the details, I can say that it certainly could have been worse... but it could, and should, also be better than it is currently.

Halflings as we see them in the game right now aren't hideously proportioned, but they DO look primarily like someone just took the human model and reduced the height variables, but didn't actually pay much attention to their relative proportions. along with several other details, the model comes together to suggest a person with dwarfism or neoteny, rather than a mature, healthy halfling (no slight or offense intended to those with those conditions, of course). Halflings are NOT humans with dwarfism, they are NOT humans with neoteny, and they are NOT juveniles; they're their own people, and are, when mature, the natural perfect size for themselves; they shouldn't look like they've been squashed or stretched from something else, or are deformations or aberrations thereof.

Here's an example of what I mean:

[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image][Linked Image]


As you can see, the halfling models look *mostly* like they just grabbed the vertical height variable, reduced it by half, and called it a day, save for a few other minor tweaks. This isn't good. In particular it makes it painfully obvious that the models have the same hip width as creatures twice their size, and substantially aberrant to their other body proportions.

The hip width of the halfling models absolutely needs to come in a notch or two, along with less pronounced tapering of the legs – a little is fine, but in the current state, it's jarring and unnatural to look at, compared to the rest of their body.

One other thing that is different, obviously, is the thing that is the most contentions and what some consider to be the most objectionable - the bobble-head effect. Before going further I'll repeat what I said above - It Could Be Worse, and I'm grateful that it's not. That said, it's still bad to look at. Their heads are more or less the same size as the human model heads; don't do this. It creates an uncanny eye experience and makes the model simply feel 'wrong' to look at. The necks could stand to be a bit shorter as well – as is, the neck length makes this off-ness of the head and shoulders all the more pronounced and obvious.

So... This is the point where some will speak up and say "Well that's just how halflings are in 5e!".

The truth is, that's simply not the case. No part of any official description describes disproportionately large heads and/or tiny feet - and they're so egregious that they ought to have been mentioned in any basic racial description if they were considered true representations. We have art styles and depictions in official works, yes, but let's look at that...

First of all, let's get it out of the way... you all know it, most folks hate it, PHB pg26:

[Linked Image]

This is the piece that people use to say that 'this is just how halflings are in 5e', and understandably so, because it's the one on the page for halflings in the PHB. However, this is also just plain bad artwork; the anatomical composition is terrible – if you were to strip back the model shape here, removing clothes and obstructions, the creature here would be a deformed monstrosity that couldn't really exist as a functional, healthy creature. Big-head and Tiny-feet aside, the figure just doesn't track its anatomy accurately.

This artwork is also from the very earliest days of 5e, when they were still finding their pace... so... I'd like to follow up with some other official artwork, much of it published by Wizards much later, by different artists, and which is no less canonical (arguably more-so, given that later publications overrule earlier ones in places of conflict).

[Linked Image]

This monk in Xan's Guide shows much more normalised, physically believable proportions: her legs do NOT taper to tiny nubs, and her head is only slightly larger than one might expect on a human of relative size. Her relative limb size and length are fairly close to normal and her torso and hip width suit her body shape to look like a functional, believable creature.

[Linked Image]

Similarly, this rogue from Xan's Guide shows the same comfortably normalised proportions and sensible build; were she standing beside a human, her head would be notably smaller – it's only slightly larger than you might expect for a human of a matching body frame.

[Linked Image]

Dungeon of the Mad Mage provides this halfling who looks very comfortably proportioned in his own body, with well balanced leg, waist and torso proportions for a creature that is naturally of that size; his head is not large, so there is no suggestion of him being juvenile or malformed.

[Linked Image]

The halfling on the official Ghosts of Saltmarsh splash image has a body frame that is slimmer and slighter, to match her short size, and her head is only slightly larger in terms of relative proportions, compared to her larger-sized companions.

((Post Continues))
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 08:02 AM
((Continued))

[Linked Image]

This adventurer from Tome of Foes could barely be described as having larger head at all.

[Linked Image]

While this halfling from SCAG, has an evenly proportioned body, with a head that is positively matched to her form – noticeably smaller than her human or elven companion – as well as a hip and torso ratio that is even and limbs that are only slight in line with her size, and which don't taper away.

[Linked Image]

Even back as far as Out of the Abyss, we have depictions of halflings that are positively normal in their design and proportions, with no odd tapering, no bobbling, and no unbalanced hip or torso measurements.


There are, in fact, more official images of well-proportioned, sensibly designed halflings, than there are of halfings that exhibit the strange body proportions, bobble-heading and nub-feet of the first artwork; if anything it is an outlier, from the early days of 5e before Wizards had fully settled on their design, and when they did settle, it was not on that.

We can even, as it turns out, go to the very same PHB to find two other halfling depictions that are far, far more balanced in their design and depiction, than the page 26 artwork:

[Linked Image]

This halfling's head matches his smaller body quite nicely – it's clearly in relation, much smaller than his human-sized allies, just like the rest of him. His legs are clearly visible as well – and they have relatively human-like proportions too, without tapering away.

[Linked Image]

Here, we get a good depiction of a lower body that is a sturdy match for her upper body, and if you forgive the awkward pose (to make the arm position on her right, she'd need to be pushing her shoulder down hard, which her visible shoulder guard doesn't match, though it would partially account for the very wide-pushing hip on the other side), a smaller-than human head which is only a little bit larger than you'd expect on a human of her size.


So, what is it, ultimately, that's wrong with the current halfling models in BG3? It comes down to four points, which combine to create a visual that feels unnatural and wrong to look at.

- The head: As it stands, the head size needs to come down a little bit. It doesn't need to be a lot, but some. Right now, the halfling head is more or less the same size as the human heads, and that's just not good to see. Along with this, the necks are a little bit too long and pronounced right now, and while it's minor on its own, it is adding to and exacerbating the nearby issues.

- The torso: overall, the torso is just a bit too 'big' for the character size and body; this is another aspect contributing to the accidental sense of dwarfism or neoteny or of being juvenile. It needn't be a large change, but the torso should be maybe 90% of its current overall size, compared to the rest of the body for both male and female halflings.

- The hips: Currently, the halfling models end up with the same waist and hip width as their human counterparts, and this feels extremely out of place. The wide hips, solid torso and tapering legs are all contributing to this same impression of dwarfism or neoteny. At best, it makes halflings feel more like dwarves (the race). This is probably the biggest issue, overall, visually speaking. My strong recommendation would be to just bring the hip width in a notch or two; again, it need not be a lot, but bring it in to better match their overall body frame.

- The legs: the design of the legs, or perhaps it is the build of the upper torso – either way, in the current design, halfling males end up looking and feeling unnaturally top heavy. Halfling females just look like they have a soccer field of distance between the tops of their thighs, which is off-putting. This is a minor issue, and fixing the hips should actually alleviate this issue as well.

At the end of the day, the descriptions and artwork we have give Larian a choice of what style for halflings they want to faovur; the current design is off-putting to look at. It doesn't need to be, and it shouldn't be; halflings aren't joke characters. I do want to say again, yes, it could have been worse... but it could be much better, and Larian have a chance still to make it so. Please look hard at your halfling models, and consider making some tweaks.

((Post Continues))
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 08:05 AM
((Continued))

That aside, let's talk animations and poses.

[Linked Image]

There's, ah, a lot that needs fixed for halfling animations and poses. That one is the holding animation for the help action; this isn't a lucky screenshot – that's the position they hold and hover in. I'm sure this is already on the fix list, but just in case...

There there are the jump and shoot animations:

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

For the jumping poses, halflings, male and female, look as though they feel compelled to place their feet in the same spots as their larger-sized counterparts, even though they haven't really got the leg reach to do so. The result is that they look distended and awkward, and most definitely NOT like they're about to leap anywhere. Please adjust their poses to look more natural for creatures of their stature – and make them look like they're actually about to jump somewhere, like the human models do.

For the shooting animation, these are clearly different poses, but that makes me have to ask why, again, the halflings look like they're deliberately over extended and over-stretching themselves, just to hit specific marks on the ground with their feet.

This is beside the fact that they aren't holding the bow even remotely in these poses, and the lack of an arrow makes it even more goofy.

I'll add one more thing to the issues for female halflings:

[Linked Image]

These aren't momentary clips, caught at a bad time – these are permanent, full time, object-wedged through body clipping with anything on the back. Male halflings are mostly fine in this respect, it's only the females that have any back objects permanently embedded in their bodies. (Dwarven females have a similar problem, to a marginally less extreme extent)

==

At a personal level: The combination of the hips and the thighs, the bum and the chest, makes our female halflings quite amazingly buxom for their size; I'm a small lady, and I like to play small ladies, and it would be very nice to have the option of playing a halfling who was not supremely curvy and chesty. I know Larian has been adamant about not having sliders in character customisation, but I would desperately like some options for actually customising my character's physicality, even if it was just a couple of different 'build' options.

Posted By: Dastan McKay Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 08:35 AM
I knew something feels off. Just for some reason it eluded me.
I have some theories why Larian could do halfling like this. But those aren't good excuses.
Halfling physique should look a lot like a human child. Head may be slightly bigger, but thet's probably it. And Larian already have children models. Only thing left is to add combat animations to them, and adult faces.
Posted By: HYPERBOLOCO Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 08:39 AM
Thanks for compiling such an extensive list of examples. I can't play a halfling trickster at the moment because I can't take them seriously =)
Posted By: Evandir Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 08:40 AM
+1 Quality feedback

Definitely agree with you on the build types sliders. More character customization is always welcome.
Posted By: Uncle Lester Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 09:01 AM
Thank you for the well-written, illustrated and comprehensive post. This is something that has bugged me since I saw BG3 halflings for the first time and I've been quite vocal about it. I agree with pretty much everything you wrote here, down to preferring to play a female halfling that isn't as terribly "curvy and chesty". I think the Saltmarsh or PHB p. 26 halflings would be the best as a base for a good halfling model. I hope they fix halflings, right now I can't see myself playing as one.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 09:37 AM
Models are fine animations need work. If you want some kid look alike or skinny whatever wait for mods.
Posted By: Tuco Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 09:43 AM
In terms of general vibe I actually love how halflings can look in the game: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2259419506

But yeah, there's definitely some polishing to do in terms of poses/animations.
Stealth can look especially goofy.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 09:44 AM
nice screenshot, wasn't expecting that at all.
Posted By: Sadurian Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 10:54 AM
I can't accept slim halflings. For me, they are always tubby.

I'm wondering if the models for the animation were actual people of short stature or if they simply manipulated regular models.

Artwork isn't a great way to make the point about the way things 'should' look, in my opinion. Unless it is a definitive drawing, that's just how someone else has imagined and depicted a member of an imaginary race. How your character looks is largely up to you. You can be influenced by other depictions, but they have also been influenced by other people's ideas so they are not some sort of definitive archetype.

The awkward poses and clipping issues, however, I agree with completely. I also think that the halfling models look rather like real-life people with dwarfism, but at least they don't look like children.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 11:53 AM
I agree whole-heartedly with your analysis, so much that I will spend my first post here just showing my support for it. This has been a worry since I first saw that tomb raider leader guy in the gameplay reveal and I'm really hoping Larian will improve on their proportions.


I don't really have anything else to add beyond my endorsement except:

Originally Posted by Niara
I'll add one more thing to the issues for female halflings:

[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

Glute power!
Posted By: zeel Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 12:58 PM
Great thread!
It's a sad reality that it's pretty much standard at this point for any of the short races in a fantasy RPG to get completely screwed over with awkward proportions and animation issues. I really hope Larian takes a stand and give halflings, dwarves and (eventually) gnomes some love and care in these areas.
Posted By: jinkaroo Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 01:27 PM
+1 for everything in this thread.
For those saying they shouldn't look like skinny children: they should look like you took an adult human and scaled it down equally in all directions, not a child. Like what happens with regular everyday humans... a 4'8" gymnast doesn't look you took a 6'8 basketball player and squished them down weirdly in one direction only.

NwN2 did a decent job of it.
Posted By: Sadurian Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 02:19 PM
Originally Posted by jinkaroo
For those saying they shouldn't look like skinny children...

They should be tubby. The way I view them in my mind.



And anyone who disagrees is a poo-poo head.
Posted By: Sadurian Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 02:24 PM
Slightly tangentially, it is interesting to compare and contrast the way that AD&D/D&D illustrators have depicted the different races over different editions.

Here, for example, is the AD&D 1e illustration, showing that you could play any race so long as they looked like they had suffered a terrible accident with acid.

[Linked Image]

Here are those same races, plus their new friends, by the time we saw 3e.

[Linked Image]
(I'm sure I once dated that female half-orc).

Posted By: Shanks Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 02:25 PM
This is a really well put together feedback response. I really hope Larian listens to this advice.
Posted By: 00zim00 Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 02:53 PM
+1 from me to. When I first saw it I was hoping it was just a placeholder until body models became selectable. If they are even doing that.
Posted By: jinkaroo Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by jinkaroo
For those saying they shouldn't look like skinny children...

They should be tubby. The way I view them in my mind.



And anyone who disagrees is a poo-poo head.


Oh they should definitely have a pot-belly option, just a proportionally appropriate pot belly.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 03:33 PM
Originally Posted by jinkaroo
+1 for everything in this thread.
For those saying they shouldn't look like skinny children: they should look like you took an adult human and scaled it down equally in all directions, not a child. Like what happens with regular everyday humans... a 4'8" gymnast doesn't look you took a 6'8 basketball player and squished them down weirdly in one direction only.

NwN2 did a decent job of it.


NwN2 is based on 3.5, in 3.5 halflings had a triangle head/football head. I don't remember if they actually did that for them or not, been to long. If I remember correctly both types of halfings (longfoot and strongheart) were proportioned different, first was thinner second was stocky. An ya, this guy is right on them being exactly human proportioned but shrunk down in size at least in 3.5. Presuming its the same in the other editions but I don't have the material in 5e and it would require some reading for 4e. I did play pathfinder kingmaker a while back and they had oval shaped wide faces with big furry feet.

Btw the original post with the first pick was from 3.0 or 3.5, its pretty old art, kind of shocked they are still rocking that in 5e.

Like I said previously resources are probably better spent else ware since right now halfling models are fine, animations do need work. If anything I would recommend rethinking on how gnomes look, if you haven't already check out the mod from nexus on gnomes. Doesn't look to good.

Posted By: Sadurian Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 03:37 PM
Pathfinder:Kingmaker halflings are horrible. I don't play them largely because I hate the avatars.

Mind you, the gnome hairstyles leave much to be desired as well.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/10/20 03:41 PM
I didn't mind it truthfully, would of rather seen the normal I'm used to but I took what I could get, I didn't make the game.
Posted By: FletchPhantasm Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 25/10/20 12:25 PM
Now thats how you use the suggestiongs/feedback forum!
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 25/10/20 01:18 PM
Thanks for the supporting words, folks, I appreciate it a lot! Here's to hoping someone at Larian is also looking on!

I did want to answer quickly to those discussing the value of using art as reference - it's true, it's not ideal, compared to having, say, and actual formal anatomy chart, like we have for older editions. The issue is that we don't have one of those ,officially, for 5e, and the physical descriptions of the halfling race, in official documents and books, doesn't actually give us these details with any clarity... so the official art that they've used in their books is all we have to go off, in terms of visual clues. That was why I took as much effort as I did to show that we actually have more official artwork, in published modules and lore books from Wizards, that supports healthy and balanced proportions, than we do things like the phb pg26 image that no-one can take seriously, eek!
Posted By: Falkenrath Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 25/10/20 02:24 PM
+1

I just wanted to add that several friends all feel the same way about the halflings in this game. They do not seem to ever breach the "Uncanny Valley." They just never feel real.

"They look like giant-headed baby monsters," is a direct quote about the BG3 models from one of my friends who regularly plays a halfling in tabletop games and I agree with this, too. Currently the squashed proportions of the halfling models make them look like human toddlers wielding swords and bows. They remind me way too much of the World of Warcraft gnomes, rather than a human of smaller proportions.

Another user referenced the halfling art of D&D 3E (referring to how they appear as small, well proportioned humans) and I would like to add that the same art design continued into D&D 4E as well. D&D 5E says that halfling men are "inclined to be stout" (with no reference to halfling women as such), but an inclination is not a definitive. The character of Regis, created by R.A. Salvatore and referenced on Page 26 of the 5E handbook, is described as fat due to his "love of a good meal, or several, as the opportunities presented themselves;" a lifestyle choice rather than as a racial default. Not all halflings are, or should be, fat and pot-bellied.

Posted By: Kou The Mad Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 25/10/20 11:48 PM
Good Feedback is Good.
Posted By: HiddenWomble Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 26/10/20 07:19 PM
My wife and I have similar views on the halflings. For me I see a bobble head, for my wife she sees a human with dwarfism.

It's fascinating how some subtle proportions can make such a difference. I hope the art team gets some time to tweak and tune this as overall the games art is just amazing.
Posted By: HakkaStyle Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 26/10/20 08:05 PM
Totally agree! Halflings are a super fun race (Ghostwise ftw!) and I would totally be rocking one for a main character except they look way way way off. You summed it up perfectly.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 12:43 AM
Just wanted to say thanks again to those who left their support and other comments on this topic!

If you looked at this thread and agreed with it, but haven't posted anything before now, I want to encourage anyone to speak up and add your voice - if we want Larian to make changes like this, now is the time that we have to give them that feedback, and as (calmly and sensibly) vocally as we can.
Posted By: Xeneize Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 01:13 AM
I wish halflings had slimmer bodies. Right now they look like gnomes.
Posted By: Contra Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 03:30 AM
+1 This is great feedback and I would love to see properly proportioned and animated halflings, though I also understand that Halflings have probably given the developers trouble, being the only small race. When Gnomes are introduced, hopefully some TLC will go into animations and such for small races and we can see Halflings fixed.


If I may add, I've voiced elsewhere that I think Halflings deserve to have one of their other racial abilities represented in game, because as it stands they don't keep up very well with elves or dwarves. I'd love to see Halfling Nimbleness (that is, the ability to move through medium and larger enemies' spaces) added in for real small-character gameplay.
Posted By: OneManArmy Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 05:08 AM
This is good feedback, but I highly doubt this race will be popular with players. Everyone plays as elves, human or drow, rarely tieflings and dwarf, but I have not seen anyone choose a halfling. It's too exotic.

I want Larian's race stats in the next community update! smile
Posted By: SGTSPIRE Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 05:28 AM
The Lucky attribute is a good reason to choose the halfling race. Rerolling a 1 on a d20 is pretty nice when you are letting the Game Engine roll for you. I actually played a halfling ranger, and never rolled a 1 as a final result, but I also don't recall seeing a re-roll either.
It was kind of nice. I do agree they get overlooked, but I am sure a few individuals may see the advantage there.

Also agree on the feedback on appearance here.
Posted By: Sadurian Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 01:22 PM
Originally Posted by OneManArmy
This is good feedback, but I highly doubt this race will be popular with players. Everyone plays as elves, human or drow, rarely tieflings and dwarf, but I have not seen anyone choose a halfling.

You have now.

I like playing halflings. Not as much as I like dwarves, but they are certainly one of my 'go-to' choices. Stats be damned, I just like them.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 02:29 PM
I nearly always play halflings in tabletop games. I almost never play them in computer games because the games are never made with them taken into account and most of the time they don't look good.

edit: Oh, and by the way? To do halflings justice we also need slings. Why aren't there slings? Slings are the coolest ranged weapon.
Posted By: Sadurian Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 03:00 PM
Definitely slings.

Also - fatter halflings. With sideburns.


I don't know what the score is with showing pipes, though; it might violate some 'promoting smoking' guideline. I don't think a halfling in camp is a true halfling unless he has his pipe and a pint of something.
Posted By: Frumpkis Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 04:46 PM
Originally Posted by HiddenWomble
My wife and I have similar views on the halflings. For me I see a bobble head, for my wife she sees a human with dwarfism.


Human with dwarfism was the first thing I thought of, when I saw the first animated cut scene with one. I think it was that vendor in the Druid cove. It didn't read as Halfling to me, although I don't actually have a lot of experience with how they're represented in D&D. It just seems off.

It could just be lazy design with a vertical tweak of the adult Human model, or it might be Larian wanting to avoid having them look too much like children. Several of the OP's images showing "correct" Halflings look like kids to me.

Anyway, I support the idea of reducing the size of the head to avoid the Bobble-Head look, and maybe a slight narrowing of the torso, arms and legs without going all the way to slender child-like proportions.
Posted By: Topgoon Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 05:00 PM
+1 - excellent research and feedback. Love seeing threads like these.
Posted By: Demoulius Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 05:14 PM
+1 for the OP. Excellent post and research 😁

I must say I havent notkced it until you posted it here but now I cant unsee the bobblehead 💀
Posted By: Sadurian Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/10/20 05:30 PM
I see Time Bandits. I really think that Larian may have used real people of short stature to model their halflings. It makes sense in many ways, but may not be the image that some people have of what a halfling should look like. The relatively big head might be due to animation restrictions, allowing the same algorithms to animate every potential PC's face. I am not a programmer so this is pure speculation.

I certainly prefer the current look to having them look like children. I think that was a major mistake for Pearl Abyss in BDO when they introduced the Shai. They jumped through hoops to say that the Shai were not meant to be child-like, but then portrayed them in-game as child-like (using child-like voices and having the NPCs dancing and playing like kids). The Korean anime-style art style didn't help, of course.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 02/11/20 06:16 AM
I can understand that hesitation, Sadurian, and Frumpkis, above, - but at the same time, that worry is mostly a reflex reaction usually based on a misconception. A properly proportioned halfling, with the body ratios of a mature adult, doesn't stand any chance of being taken for a human child, at all - at least not by anyone who actually looks - but this is something that a lot of people don't realise until they actually have a visual reference to compare and see - which, unfortunately, can be very hard to come by. I feel that many people feel an instinctual worry or discomfort at the idea that they might end up looking like nine- or ten-year-olds, or pre-teens (a legitimate thing to not want, of course), but the truth is very far from that, and that danger isn't really a risk, if it's done properly.

Here's some quick background statistics though, if it helps:

Your average adult halfling is about 3 feet tall.
Your average human child is about 3 feet tall when they are aged between 1 and 2 - it may genuinely surprise some to read that and think on it, but any older and they're already notably taller than a halfling ever gets.
In terms of body ratios, an average human child of that age and height presents large head-to-body proportions, and smaller limb-to-torso ratios as well, not unlike the halfling models we currently have in game.

A quick reference:

https://i.imgur.com/UBRqrA4.png

This is one of the more commonly used charts that illustrate, in rough abstract, human developmental proportions - they represent 1 year old, 2 years old, 6 years, 12 years, and adult, respectively.

Giving halflings the body proportions of a mature adult would actually make them less likely to register as a juvenile creature to our senses than the current models do; it is precisely the having of a larger head and smaller limb-to-torso ratios that makes them more likely to be interpreted as juvenile by us. This isn't so much allayed by anything in the current models, as it is the case that other elements of the current models override that instinct with a sense of something being 'off' or 'wrong' (The head to body ratio would make our senses trigger as juvenile, but for the way that the actual head structure and model are clearly adult in features, for example).
Posted By: Firesnakearies Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 16/11/20 10:53 PM
I agree, the halflings don't look right. All of the changes in the original post sound good to me.
Posted By: Tarlonniel Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 18/11/20 01:12 AM
Great post and I completely agree, though I couldn't put my finger on why the models bothered me so much until the OP laid it out. I hope we don't see the same problems with gnomes.
Posted By: Balls Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 18/11/20 02:50 AM
I think, as an artist, that most of the issue is an unpleasant head size and a lack of a waist. The changes need to be subtle, not drastic. Sometimes just a bit of a change makes a huge difference.
Posted By: omikaVII Halfling Models - WHY - 20/11/20 04:32 PM
So, granted, I haven't played D&D or a D&D game since Neverwinter Nights 2. But... when did Halflings start looking like trash? They were my favorite race for 10 years. I had to uninstall and refund because of the horrendous models. And then I did some research and found out that in 5e they actually look WORSE than they do in BG3. WHY.

Please Larian find it in your hearts to undo this madness.

This is how the races should look, I want this chiseled into a stone monument somewhere for all time:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Sadurian Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 20/11/20 04:37 PM
You might be interested in this thread:

https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=714845#Post714845

It discusses just the point you are making.
Posted By: omikaVII Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 20/11/20 05:40 PM
My main Faerun character for 10 years was a gothy, halfling femme fatale named Longshadow and I will be god damned if the models as they stand make it to the final cut. Bring back 3.5e halflings with normal, human proportions -- proper, agile, odd little people. Actual LITTLE PEOPLE not 'people with dwarfism' or 'people with creepy baby proportions'

I was so disappointed I couldn't bear to play the game
Posted By: omikaVII Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 20/11/20 06:39 PM
Thank you~!
Posted By: UnknownEvil Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 20/11/20 07:01 PM
I concur.
If the little fellas get an overhaul i would even consider playing one. Always liked Tasslehoff. He's Kender though :P
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 20/11/20 07:09 PM
Originally Posted by omikaVII
My main Faerun character for 10 years was a gothy, halfling femme fatale named Longshadow and I will be god damned if the models as they stand make it to the final cut. Bring back 3.5e halflings with normal, human proportions -- proper, agile, odd little people. Actual LITTLE PEOPLE not 'people with dwarfism' or 'people with creepy baby proportions'

I was so disappointed I couldn't bear to play the game


Actually halflings in 3.5 had elongated heads, that profile pic you have shows how stretched out the back of the head is with the top extremely flat for halflings.

3.5 book Races of the Wild:
Halflings are short and wiry, standing about 3 feet tall and weighing between 30 and 35 pounds. Females are slightly shorter than males, but no less strong. Their bodies are well proportioned, though their heads are somewhat elongated compared with those of humans. They are longer-lived than humans are, reaching maturity at 20 years of age and often living well past the age of 100. Most halflings have ruddy skin, dark eyes, and straight black hair, though lighter shades of hair are known in many societies. Males often wear sideburns, though they almost never grow beards or mustaches. All halflings prefer to wear their hair long, often braided or styled in some distinctive way. Their features are more delicate than those of humans, and their ears are elongated and slightly pointed.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Side note: was digging around guess 4e bumped halflings a extra foot with more weight and 5e went back to 3.5 size.
Posted By: omikaVII Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 20/11/20 10:34 PM
Yeah, I loved their weird, elongated heads, they were awesome and made them look a bit alien
Posted By: fredahl Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 12:05 AM
+1

It's the first thing i noticed. What the hell happened to the halflings. I only ever played 3.5e dnd, so i thought they changed how they looked in 5e or something. But damn, i don't like it.
Posted By: fredahl Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 12:10 AM
Yes!
Posted By: Firesnakearies Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 12:42 AM
I like the lithe, athletic halflings, not the wannabe hobbit ones.

Lidda was awesome.

I really liked how they did halflings in 4e, too, especially the lore for them.

5e they basically said, "Nope, they're hobbits again. Forget the cool halflings of the last two editions. We back on that Tolkien train, all aboard!"


Also, relevant reading (with pictures): https://roguish.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/halflings-through-the-ages-and-dd-editions/
Posted By: Baraz Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 01:13 AM
"I had to uninstall and refund because of the horrendous models"

Can I presume you were jesting ?

That said, I think the Halflings are super cute. Ideally, we would have options for body shape, so a Halfling does not have to look like a less brutal Dwarf, and be slimmer.

EDIT : oops, had not seen the cool and dynamic thread already on the subject, mentioned by Sadurian above.
Posted By: fredahl Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 01:31 AM
Originally Posted by Baraz
"I had to uninstall and refund because of the horrendous models"

Can I presume you were jesting ?

That said, I think the Halflings are super cute. Ideally, we would have options for body shape, so a Halfling does not have to look like a less brutal Dwarf, and be slimmer.


Having options for body shape does not change the fact that all the npc halflings look like they have dwarfism except you.
I would like to see a change to appearance of the race in general. The picture above has always been my reference as well.
I don't know if there is some poll option, i would like to see what people think about this.
Posted By: Soul-Scar Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 01:36 AM
+1 OP very well presented.

I think the DOS2 representation of elves is much closer to D&D than the current BG3 version is. The halflings, gnomes and Dwarves have really disproportionate head, hand and body models making them almost satirical.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 02:40 AM
Thanks for keeping this active, folks.

Part of the point I was trying to make was that, even in 5e, there are plenty of very much official art pieces that depict halflings with good proportions - more, in fact, than depict them with bad proportions. The ideal here would be to point to the published-in-official-5e-books artwork that we Do want Larian to draw from... not to try to say that the bad ones are the 'truth', because they aren't.

5e didn't "go back to bobble heads" - one or two of their artists did that, but several other artists did NOT do that... and no one image is more official than any other, when they're all published in official books.
The 5e descriptions make no mention of the bad proportions at all - something which would have been mentioned if it were indeed canonical.

Let's try and focus on the depictions that come officially from 5e which are good, rather than the awful ones.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 02:40 AM
Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
I like the lithe, athletic halflings, not the wannabe hobbit ones.

Lidda was awesome.

I really liked how they did halflings in 4e, too, especially the lore for them.

5e they basically said, "Nope, they're hobbits again. Forget the cool halflings of the last two editions. We back on that Tolkien train, all aboard!"


Also, relevant reading (with pictures): https://roguish.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/halflings-through-the-ages-and-dd-editions/



Yikes that guy/girl liked the pathfinder take on halflings, super wide faces like someone stretched them half a face extra.

So looks like 5e reverted to 3.5 height and slapped 10 additional pounds on the average halfling.

Oh crap I do remember seeing some of these pictures, took a hour of digging around to find them.

[Linked Image]

StrongHeart / StoutHeart

[Linked Image]

Lightfoot

Having a hard time finding Ghostwise, presuming they would be the ones with no shoes an furry feet.
Posted By: Niara Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 02:47 AM
The other thread gives a full break down, and the comments back towards it are almost unanimous after three pages, Fredahl... take a peek if you haven't yet. Unfortunately, it's not just the NPCs. Even PCs have these problems... the armour we wear somewhat disguises it, but it becomes painfully visible if you strip them down to their underwear... The features that suggest dwarfism and juvenile proportions are at their most obvious and jarring when the character models are naked... Which, it must be pointed out, if we are to be permitted to pursue romance and intimacy like the mature adults we are, is kind of when the models need to look their best, not their worst.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 02:52 AM
If this is true then halflings should have necks almost the same size as there bodies with heads almost as wide as there should length. With stronghearts/stout having beer bellies, ghostwise with hairy feet and maybe more hairy areas...along with all of them having chicken legs.

Edit* I think I found one that fits.
[Linked Image]
Posted By: OneManArmy Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 03:26 AM
[Linked Image]
Posted By: fredahl Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 04:29 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
The other thread gives a full break down, and the comments back towards it are almost unanimous after three pages, Fredahl... take a peek if you haven't yet. Unfortunately, it's not just the NPCs. Even PCs have these problems... the armour we wear somewhat disguises it, but it becomes painfully visible if you strip them down to their underwear... The features that suggest dwarfism and juvenile proportions are at their most obvious and jarring when the character models are naked... Which, it must be pointed out, if we are to be permitted to pursue romance and intimacy like the mature adults we are, is kind of when the models need to look their best, not their worst.


Alright, thanks. I will check out the thread. Yeah, i saw the pictures of the stances and the ones without clothes. It looked comical. Found out 5e dnd changed the halftling appearance back to the "hobbit" look.
So i guess the this is a widely discussed topic of dnd in general. I wonder if larian will change the race's appearance to the more athletic 3.5e version if they are following 5e.
Changes are needed either way to be sure.

Not sure how you can do intimacy scenes with small humanoids in general without it feeling strange.:P
Posted By: Niara Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 05:27 AM
Fortunately, in the realms, a decent percentage of most built up areas are comprised of a standing population of mature, consenting adults, employing staff, running businesses, debating politics, enforcing the law and engaging in mercenary work, who also happen to stand at three feet or under.... and has done for many, many generations... so that kind of stigma rarely exists, beyond individual personal preferences ^.^

((As a lady who is 138cm tall, I have a vested interest in denouncing the idea that smaller people can't be seen as mature consenting adults... but that's only tangentially related))
Posted By: fredahl Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 10:43 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
Fortunately, in the realms, a decent percentage of most built up areas are comprised of a standing population of mature, consenting adults, employing staff, running businesses, debating politics, enforcing the law and engaging in mercenary work, who also happen to stand at three feet or under.... and has done for many, many generations... so that kind of stigma rarely exists, beyond individual personal preferences ^.^

((As a lady who is 138cm tall, I have a vested interest in denouncing the idea that smaller people can't be seen as mature consenting adults... but that's only tangentially related))


"Not sure how you can do intimacy scenes with small humanoids in general without it feeling strange.:P"

Hahaha. That's great. I'm probably biased being a normal sized person and all. wink
Posted By: Sadurian Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 10:58 AM
Unless there are reasonable objections, I think that this thread could be merged with the other Halfling Models thread.
Posted By: Peranor Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 21/11/20 11:02 AM
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Unless there are reasonable objections, I think that this thread could be merged with the other Halfling Models thread.



I agree
Posted By: Llev Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 01:09 PM
Dislike the hafling models also... look more like an under developed dwarf... not a hafling imho

Everything about them says they should look more like shorter elves... who by the way could also look more elven...

Personally hoping we see an evolved avatar builder or something... while some races are worse than others... they all seem a little too similar... probably a pipe dream at this point...

I just see the illustration from the 3.5 ed book and that is what the races are supposed to look like imho...
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 04:23 PM
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Unless there are reasonable objections, I think that this thread could be merged with the other Halfling Models thread.

Sounds like a plan.

Originally Posted by Llev
Dislike the hafling models also... look more like an under developed dwarf... not a hafling imho

Everything about them says they should look more like shorter elves... who by the way could also look more elven...

Personally hoping we see an evolved avatar builder or something... while some races are worse than others... they all seem a little too similar... probably a pipe dream at this point...

I just see the illustration from the 3.5 ed book and that is what the races are supposed to look like imho...


That's what hobbits are right? D&D didn't want halflings anymore they wanted hobbit ripoffs like how they used to be.
Posted By: Uncle Lester Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/20 10:35 PM
Originally Posted by Llev
Dislike the hafling models also... look more like an under developed dwarf... not a hafling imho

Everything about them says they should look more like shorter elves... who by the way could also look more elven...

Personally hoping we see an evolved avatar builder or something... while some races are worse than others... they all seem a little too similar... probably a pipe dream at this point...

I just see the illustration from the 3.5 ed book and that is what the races are supposed to look like imho...


"Smaller elves" would be gnomes, being fey-like as well; halflings are supposed to be like smaller humans. (But not humans with dwarfism. I very much agree with this thread, as I've posted here earlier.)

And I agree that races in general should be more distinct from one another and less human-like. There's a similar thread for elves.
Posted By: RagnarokCzD Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 22/11/20 02:44 AM
This sounds like yet another problem solved, if Larian will implement at least few body types ... O_o
Maybe except that animations. :-/
Posted By: Svalr Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 22/11/20 02:48 AM
Where's my hairy feet mad?
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 22/11/20 09:14 AM
[Linked Image]
Posted By: Firesnakearies Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 22/11/20 01:24 PM
We Demand More Sexy Halflings
Posted By: Pridecat Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 04/12/20 03:42 AM
I completely agree with most of this, the halflings we have at the moment look less like halflings, and more like people with achondroplasia, which is a type of dwarfism that causes a curved spine, predominant abdomen, among other traits, some of which are present, and some aren't.

On one hand, there can be an argument for this to be a more positive, realistic portrayal of little people. On the other hand, portraying little people as separate from humans feels incredibly problematic. I personally think this is why halflings have very clearly lacked traits traditionally associated with dwarfism up to this point.

I could very easily see the current halfling model being used when a body type system is added to the character creator, at least for humans, and maybe half-elves.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 04/12/20 08:44 AM
I would definitely come down on the side that portraying people with dwarfism as not being human would be very unpleasant. People with dwarfism still exist as a condition of humanity, but they aren't "Dwarves" as in the race, or "Halfling", or "Gnomes". They'd still be Humans.
Posted By: Firesnakearies Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 04/12/20 09:02 AM
Halflings should look like Lidda. We're done here.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 04/12/20 09:31 AM
Lidda who?
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 04/12/20 01:34 PM
I believe they mean Lidda the halfling, from (correct me if I'm wrong...) 3rd edition; she was one of the "Iconic Characters", which they used as poster characters for their official artwork at the time.

If I may, though, a chunk of this thread has gotten a bit bloated up with people seemingly posting images of 'bad' halfling artwork, specifically because it's bad? I'm not sure I understand the reasoning...

Part of what I was attempting to point out was that even looking solely at 5e official artwork, there are more examples of healthy proportions and believable builds, than the cartoonishly bad or dramatically stylised ones - even though both styles of depiction do undeniably exist.

I feel as though the more people just shrug and say "5e made them that way and it's bad", without considering the other examples, the harder the battle will be to get models in this game that don't have the visual problems that the current ones do.

It may be a losing battle already, but the new patch shows us that they are actually trying to listen and make changes based on feedback, and that they were even willing to re-record new voice lines... so possibly getting the subtle but noticeable changes to the existing models to make them better isn't off the table. This seems especially hopeful when it's so very clear that they need to do small-race animations still, when having them use the animation anchors that medium creatures use is so completely terrible.

I wanted to talk more about animations, actually, but there wasn't a good place to start - the problem is absolute and pervasive, because they're using the animations and anchors that larger models use, and it invariably makes them look ridiculous for almost everything... Just watch a halfling climb a ladder, if you want a good example, or try to pet the dog - the model insists on trying to place its feet in the same anchor positions as the larger model, even though its limbs can't reach properly, and the result is very.... "my-first-3d-animating-tutorial" in calibre.

There's no feasible way the game can launch without them giving small races a completely independent animation set for everything... so hopefully by the time that comes around, we might have convinced them to look seriously at tweaking the actual models as well, while they're doing so.

To refresh (for people just catching up with the thread or seeing it for the first time), the changes to improve the models are simple and quite subtle - they don't need to be massive changes to have a pronounced positive effect and remove the impression of dwarfism/neoteny etc.,

- The head: Needs to not be the same size as the human heads - not necessarily a huge change, or a complete reduction to half the size in all dimension, but a more subtle reduction - maybe to about two thirds its current size, would be enough to prevent the neoteny impression. (this applies to both male and female models)

- The torso: Should be scaled to have a smaller relation to the arms and legs; this again would be subtle, but even a 10% reduction in scaling here would help reduce the impression of dwarfism or of being juvenile, depending on how the eye focuses and relates. (This applies predominately to male models, but female models would also benefit from it; female models are fantastically busty as a result of this scaling, to the extent of it being almost ridiculous)

- The hips: The biggest source of problems, visually - by having the model share the same hip width as a creature twice their size, this reinforces and hammers in the impression of a creature with dwarfism, rather than a naturally well-proportioned creature. the width and depth of the hips and the hip region in general (bum and thighs included), needs to be reduced to scale more fittingly with a creature of this size and frame - again, it only needs to be a subtle reduction to create a valuable positive effect on the visual.

- The legs: The tapering of the legs exacerbates the visual issues caused by the hip region; normalising their legs from the knee down with the rest of their body frame would be another subtle change, but would help.


Sorry for effectively bumping again, but this is one matter that I feel is important - even as much as my other in-depth mechanical threads, and to a certain extent perhaps more. I've played far too many games where smaller race characters are just treated as jokes, or denied the right to be seen as adults entirely... and many more still where they can't even sit in chairs properly because no-one bothered to check their animations compared to larger characters, or knew, and just didn't think it important enough to bother with... and I really, really, don't want this game to end up being just another example of that, when it doesn't need to be.
Posted By: Firesnakearies Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 04/12/20 02:10 PM
Yeah I hope they listen to you, Niara.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/12/20 01:06 AM
Once upon a time, puppers everywhere were sad, because their halfling friends were very confused.

Before:

[Linked Image]

Now, however, they can rejoice with great enthusiasm, as their smaller-statured buddies learned how to properly conduct a pet.

Now:

[Linked Image]

Hi folks! Jumping in again here to bring up some good news and some positivity! Though it didn't make it into their patch notes, it looks as though Larian are, indeed, refactoring and rectifying animations bit by bit. In particular I've noted that the poor animations I specifically made detailed reports about have been rectified now, though others that I've not filed in-dept bug reports on have not. Now; I'm certain that many other people besides me have been making many other reports on things like this, and the ones I made the most detailed reports on were some of the most obvious and easy to find poses... There is a chance that literally everything I report is already on their to do list, will get done, and that this is all functionally wasted effort. If that is the case, then I'll be really happy!

Just in case, though... I'm going to start pushing this thread forward doing screen capture comparisons and checks on existing animations and poses that we have access to - to pick apart where they are broken, improperly aligned, using the wrong pose data, or otherwise in need of fixing, comparing halfling sets to humans; Humans, elves, half-elves and tiefling all use the same animation and pose data, so that medium creature-to small creature comparison will be the most meaningful one to make. I'm aware that dwarves also suffer this in places, but they'll have to wait for their own thread, for now.

More images and analyses will be coming soon as I work through my image comparison library ^.^ (all taken as of the most recent patch)
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/12/20 02:01 AM
First up, the most obvious one that's not been fixed yet:


The poses and animations for Jump, for halflings, currently need a lot of work. The 'preparing' animation for Jump, for halflings, is a grossly stretched out affair that looks downright painful, bot for male and female halflings, and does not look at all like they are about to jump anywhere. The pose looks as though it is using the same foot placement data as the pose and animation for humans, which is what leads to this greatly warped look – they're reaching for foot points that don't make sense for their body (Aside from the fact that the back foot floats up in the air, and the forward foot sinks into the ground). Halflings need to have their own jump pose and/or animation, fitted to their body.

Compare (thanks shadowheart):

[Linked Image]

And:
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

A curious thing to note here is that when selecting jump, halflings briefly, for about half a second, pose up into a completely different pose, before sliding out to the stretched one. This other pose looks a LOT better from the front angle (though it is a little overbalanced on the centre of gravity, if you look at it from the side), and could much more easily be interpreted as a character about to jump or move quickly somewhere.

This pose is similar to, but not the same as the pose used for dash/throw; halflings, male and female, both use a slightly different pose for Dash/Throw, compared to humans – one that is a little bit off-balance, but looks acceptable if you imagine they are preparing to shot-put something.

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]

The pose they drop into for a brief second when you click jump looks, rather, like the pose data for Dash/Throw that humans use – but whether it is or not, that half-second pose we see first would be entirely acceptable for halflings 'Jump' pose, if it was actually the one they stayed in for the 'preparing' animation.

As an aside to this comparison: the human dash/throw pose and animation leaves some rather uncomfortable-looking neck stretching on the model, which could really be tweak in as well.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/12/20 02:19 AM
Second one for now: Shove!

Shove did, at one point, use the human animations and poses, and it looked quite bad as a result of the anchoring points - a recurring issue. It has, however, been fixed at some point and now halflings, male and female, have their own unique shove pose and animation! Yay! The follow through animations are also unique and fitted, and it's actually looking pretty good now!

[Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

I'll take a moment to thank the helpful models who agreed to prance about in their underwear for the sake of my testing, thanks to Dia, warlock of the White Darkness, thanks to Vivian, warlock of the Frozen Scintillation, and thanks to Shadowheart in a variety of differnt disguise-self forms wherever my other two lacked the spell or ability to pull up the required pose.

Anyway, this one is here because since that fix, male and female halflings preparing to shove someone become entirely static - the preparing pose is exactly that - a pose, which does not animate at all, making your character appear completely rigid. As an aside to this comment, the human standard uses the same holding pose for Shove as it does for Dash and Throw - I'm not sure if Larian intend to replace one or several of these at some point or not, but I'll flag that all three are the same, when, after being fixed, they are not all the same for small race characters.

That's all I'll do for today - I have to keep working on these save files to capture other poses and animations in cutscenes still ^.^
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/12/20 11:52 AM
Nice job on fixing dog petting anims Larian!

Also nice job on the comparisons Niara!
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 17/12/20 06:06 AM
Okay, what's next....

Lying, Sitting and Climbing.

Lying down has been refactored as of the current patch; halflings no longer sink into and clip through the ground when lying down ,and they do seem to have been given a differentiated lying pose and animation, slightly. There is a problem, however, in that in doing this, we seem to have lost the independent male/female poses for halflings. Female halflings lie down using the same pose and animations as male halflings, when they used to have a different set.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

These are identical pose and animation idles, where male and female are different on other models. Also, for this pose, the hand is intended to be resting on the body, but it is floating significantly.

Sitting used to be a big problem for our small-race friends. They would clip into everything terribly. this has been fixed now, and halflings can sit on chairs and logs in comfort now. Yay!
Unfortuantely, the same issue with lying down has struck sitting as well: female halflings are using the male halfling poses and idles, when they previously used to have their own.

Old problem:
[Linked Image]

New Pose:
[Linked Image]

Clearly fixed for clipping, but as you can see, the male and female poses are now using the same data, where they were not previously.

Lastly, Climbing.

Climbing... Climbing presented without need for comment:

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Okay, but commenting anyway - they're using the anchor and contact data for human-sized models, leaving them floating out form the ladder and stretching their limbs in ridiculous ways to hit marks that don't suit their bodies.

Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 17/12/20 06:44 AM
Let's also look at the Help action today:

I have to be honest. It's hard to comment on the animation and pose for the Help action (also used in one spell casting animation)... because it's kind of hard to tell what it's Supposed to be in the first place.

I'll do all four here first, starting with human male, since Human Male is the most complete animation set, and is clearly the character for whom all poses and animations are designed for first. Human males don't have any misalignment or statics, for example; everything animates and lines up more or less correctly for them.... so let's have a look...

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]
[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

So... On the human male, it looks like a partial crouch pose, while you're... I guess, holding onto one of your arms, like it's hurt... but also making an open handed, ready-style gesture with the hand of that arm, held low. What's going on here? I'm just not sure.

Human male has some slight foot clip on uneven ground, but otherwise seems to line up correctly. Human females have developed a slight misalignment, and are clipping slightly through their chest (clipping against the chest can be done well; depending on what you're wearing it can be made to look like you're just compressing things a bit - this doesn't manage that; the arm would need to come up a bit to clip in way that might look like you're just squishing yourself a bit).

Halfling female... that does not track at all well, and male halflings, yikes! Not sure where to begin with that, beyond the pictures themselves, though I'll point out an easy to miss problem, if you get distracted by the more obvious ones - the female's halfling's foot is several inches floating off the ground, in the air.

Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 17/12/20 08:06 AM
Doing Yondalla's work, friend.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 19/12/20 01:52 AM
Okay, weapon stances and animations...

So, things to note here are that we have 'ready' animations, which are the stance the character adopts when they are preparing a weapon skill or getting read to attack, 'active' animations, which are the execution animations of those attacks, and then recovery animations, which are the poses the characters slip into after executing an attack animation.

The first bit of good news, and what I want to say thanks to Larian for and point out as a point of light, is that I don't need to talk about active animations more or less at all. Every active animation that I checked is functional, fluid and works well, at least as far as weapon skills go. Yay!

Most recovery animations are good too, with only a few exceptions. Unfortunately, the ready animations are the ones with all the problems, and they're the ones we see the most.

Aside from misalignments and bad stretches, we also have places where female halflings are using male poses (in places where human-sized models use different poses for males and female); I don't know if that's intentional or not - it could be, given the size difference being the major factor. It might not be, though, so I'll bring it up. We also have a scattering of cases where the animations are not, in fact, animated - they're static poses that are completely rigid. I want to note on that matter that 'd be fine with static poses for readying things like attacks and spells - they're supposed to be you preparing to do something, the reality of which is a fluid action - however, I'd want them to be consistent throughout the game, either all animated, or all static, and they mostly seem to want the ready poses to be animated.

Ranged weapons first. I don't have hand crossbow yet - I won't be able to pick those up until I get my file to the underdark, sorry, but it'll come when I have a chance to check it. Here are the stances for bows and crossbows:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Comapre to human-sized models, and they look like unique poses:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

There are some impractical and unfitting elements, however... In particular, the bow stance sees the foreleg extends uncomfortably forward - it bears similarities to other cases where the feet are attempting to reach a 'mark' or and 'anchor' point that was intended for larger-sized creatures. The pose itself isn't BAD; if the foreleg wasn't quite so hyper-extended, it could still look good. It only needs to pull back just subtly, or else to bring the centre of gravity forward towards it with the rest of the body slightly - just so that it's not an extremely stretched yoga pose, but is still actively dynamic. It is a bit strange that they have an enforced downward angle - that makes far less sense to be the default for smaller race characters.

For the bows, too, there's a clear issue with the stance implying a drawn bowstring, while the bow itself doesn't reflect this. It they were actually hooked up with a 'drawn bow' model, and the string was in their fingers, with an arrow knocked, then that bit would be just fine, but with the static bow, it doesn't work. This is a case where they should add in a better bow model for the pose, rather than changing the pose.

On male halflings, the back food clips into the ground, even on flat terrain - though it doesn't with the female model, even though they're using the same pose data, or seem to be.

For the crossbow stances, again, unique models. The pose itself is good, and looks fine - the issue is again with it not aligning to the weapon model properly, creating very obvious clipping. In this case, the model size can't really change just for halflings, so the poses for the hands would need to be moved to accommodate. I would suggest that the back food for female halflings on the crossbow pose should probably be straightened, firmed up and brought in a touch, to strengthen the appearance of their stance.

Next, recovery poses:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The recovery poses let us see a couple of problems that should be fixed. Most obvious is that male and female halfligns are using the same recovery pose data - and on female hallfings, the male recovery pose data doesn't end up fitting them correctly at all. Male crossbow recovery looks good! Female crossbow recovery clips badly, but at minimum it could be fixed by adjusting the anchoring of the crossbow model.

Human-sized models use independent recovery poses for male and female models:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Once again, you can tell that these were designed for human males first and foremost - they're dynamic, smooth, well balanced and well aligned. Human-sized femlaes have their own adjustments and they look fine, though the hand on the crossbow could be aligned better.

This does leave the recovery pose for the bow on halflings looking... well... like a place holder, almost. It looks bad, and rather like a blank canvas pose waiting to get an *Actual* bow recovery pose put in. I hope that's the case. Either way, what looks bland and out of place on the male halfling just looks kind of bad on the female halfling. If they're going to use the same pose data, then one that looks good on both models is a must.

That's it for bow and crossbow. As I said, I don't have hand crossbow shots yet - I don't have a file up to the underdark to get the pair that are available. If anyone can point me to an earlier pair of hand crossbows, or ones that are fast or easy to acquire, however, I'd be much obliged.
Posted By: batazin Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 19/12/20 02:30 PM
Hello people!
Altough this topic seems a bit focused on visuals, which I absolutely agree, I wanted to give some feedback about playing as a halfling overall and decided to post it here.

- Although I enjoyed playing as a halfling i think this choice of race only adds a difficulty level to the overall experience with no major advantage, like for example, shorter jump lenghts. Even thought halfings can enter holes other characters can't, I miss the opportunity to jump/climb and reach narrow/small spaces other characters can't. I played as a halfling hunter and as high-ground makes a huge difference in a fight, I constantly found myself wishing I could reach some narrow spaces in a hill to have some advantage. So overall there should be there should be more room available to reach jumping or climbing, comparing to a full sized character.

- As a hunter the lack of height hinders you constantly and I think that's great hahahaha I often found myself in a tought spot because I cound't shoot an arrow in my turn because a small bulwark was in the way. But I sense that enemies ignored those obstacles, don't know if you had this issue.

- About the dialogues, I think there should be a richer interaction with npcs as a halfing, overall we just get some simpathetic Merry/Pippin choices of answers that don't really get you anywhere, most npcs just ignore this "naive" answers making the player choose other races to interact and get more useful/fun info most of the time. I think a good solution is to seek a more compeling npc reaction to those answers, in a way that the player could feel a bond or some empathetic connection with this gentle race (as presented until now)

- This compelling reactions could be shortcuts in a dialogue to reach a favorable answer/decision sometimes or a hard to get item/buff/info given by some npc at the end of a talk to help you in the journey. That said, there could be a complete despise by some characters as well! I felt some despise by Lae'zel but nothing that could really be a stone in your way.

- About the visuals, the previous posts cover about everything I noticed so i'll skip this section.

That's about it for now. smile
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/12/20 07:43 AM
Heya, thanks for adding your voice Batazin ^.^ It's appreciated.

Today I'll look at spellcasting poses and animations. With spellcasting, we have six unique spell casting 'ready' poses - seven, technically, but one of them is just the 'help' action pose, and doesn't need to be covered again - it has all the same issues as mentioned in its own section.

I'll go through them one at a time, but first off, I'll mention an important detail that the screenshots themselves will not capture: Currently, the poses that female halflings are using for their spellcasting ready poses are all entirely Static - that is, they are rigid and not animated. The delivery animations work fine, but the one we see the most of is static (halfling males are animated normally). Compared to this, many of the poses used by human females are rather more 'bouncy' than really feels appropriate. Some animation is nice, but a couple of them bounce around like they need the bathroom.

I will say to this; I don't mind static poses for the 'ready to act' poses - in away a static pose makes sens,e since it's all supposed to happen in a moment, and we don't 'actually' spin all around trying to find the right angle with our bow before loosing... But, I also appreciate a lightly animated ready pose as well, so it feels alive. Either is fine, as long as the implementation is universally consistent. I'm fairly certain they're all meant to be animated, regardless, but I thought it worth mentioning.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

First up, the hands-to-chest pose. This one is used for a lot of our traditionally 'divine' spells, most notably for healing, but also speak with dead. On the human-sized models (male and female use the same pose data), the pose line sup well, though it is very bouncy - too much, in my personal opinion. On halflings, however, we run into clipping issues around the hands and chest. Halfling males have their feet clipping into the ground in this pose - and in relation to this, it makes their stance look different, and narrower. It's hard to tell whether the intention was for them to have a narrower pose, or whether, when their feet are properly aligned with the ground, it will mirror the female poses. Meanwhile, halfling females suffer bad weapon clipping, especially with long weapons. The pose itself looks fine - it's been adjusted for smaller creatures already, and doesn't suffer any distension.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The 'front cross' pose is usually used for illusion-type spells and a few other miscellaneous ones - some other self-buffing and scattered others. This one comes out well! compared to human-sized models, the halfling foot pose is similar and it stands up acceptably well; I feel the foot stance is a little bit more dynamically broad than it perhaps should be for comfort, but it's not bad by any means. No clipping or distension here either. Once again, male halflings have an issue with their feet, which is altering the appearance of the pose, making it look weaker and less table; this will be the same issue as the first pose, and the solution, whichever it is, will be the same.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Alas, the good streak couldn't quite last. The 'self-cross' pose is used for other divine spells, and for most buffing spells. The front leg on female halflings is *incredibly* stretched out. It's like she's trying to do a difficult yoga pose. It's not broken, or infeasible, but it certainly wouldn't be comfortable. I'm torn because the dynamism of the pose looks neat, in its way; I can imagine a lot of people would be unhappy if this changed... but it only looks good while it's static. If the character was bobbing, as per the usual animation, the extremely extended stretch would end up looking off. I'm torn because I like it, but the practical woman in me says that the leading foot really should come in, just a little bit, so she doesn't look quite that hyper-extended on the front foot. Male halflings have their feet solidly on the ground again for this pose, and the leg positions don't actually look bad on them.

The real issues we have here is up top. On human-sized models, the character crosses their arms across their torso, like they're giving themselves a hug. It looks good. On halflings, male and female, this same pose data does not convey accurately, and we're left with them jamming their arms into and through their body or head, even to the extent of having their fingers poking out of their back. This part of the pose definitely needs to be fully refactored for smaller races.

(Image limit, post continues)
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/12/20 07:44 AM
(Continued)

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The summoning animation, predictably, is used primarily for summoning creatures and objects. The pose itself looks good as it is, but obviously for both male and female halflings (male halflings more obviously so), the anchor point for the spell effect needs to be fixed so that it is in the intended position and doesn't clip with your characters.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The attack pose is usually used for spells that we throw at other people - guiding bolt, eldritch blast and such. For female halflings, the pose looks quite good; once again, the front foot might be a little bit too stretched out, but not hugely so. The oddity that I'd like to point out here is that the pose itself, being the same one that medium-sized creatures use, makes less on halflings, since it's distinctly downward-angled. That aside, the attachment point for the spell effect is closer to the elbow for female halflings, and it should be fixed to sit above the hand, like for the other models. Once again, male halflings have a foot slip that leaves their back food sinking into the ground - this has a knock-on effect of making the rest of the pose look weaker and more unstable, but fixing the back leg to anchor tot he ground properly will probably fix that. It's worth noting that we have another weapon clipping problem with this pose, though this time it's with waist-mounted weapons, as opposed to back-mounted ones. Waist mounded weapons will end up clipping through the leg on both male and female halflings.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Finally, the 'warding' pose: this one is uncommon, but its used for some compulsion effects - charming, or turning. This one has the same issues as the previous poses: on halflings (male and female) the spell effect is anchored a little bit off from where it's meant to be, and should be brought down a touch so that it's just in front of, or on, the leading hand. Beyond that, the male halflings have their back foot clipping into the ground again, which leads to their stance looking unbalanced and weak. Other than that, however, this one looks good.

The major issues with the casting animations are functionally just a few, that repeat:

- Female halflings are all static and do not animate for any of their casting poses.
- Male halflings often have one or both feet improperly anchored, leaving it to drag down and clip through the ground, weakening the overall appearance of their stance.
- Spell effects need to be checked for anchoring to the correct location on the model, and potentially resized to prevent clipping with the models in the case of summoning.
- Halflings have bad weapon clipping on several of their poses, and both back-mounted weapons and hip-mounted weapons should be checked and adjusted for these poses.
- In some cases, the stretching of the pose risks being too extended, especially on female halflings, however, these are just pushing on the borderline of too stretched, and are just 'extremely dynamic' - as statics the poses look good. As long as they still look good when animated, this isn't a big problem, or a problem at all for some people, I imagine.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 22/12/20 11:38 AM
Next up... let's see....

Two-handed poses today. (If I'm a little scattered here, I'm quite frazzled today...)

We have three main two-handed poses in game at the moment - Spears, Staves and Greatswords (versatile swords use this). For human-sized models, these mostly line up and work well enough. The only criticisms I'd levy would be that the human female model gets some neck distension on the staff ready pose and the spear recovery pose, and also, the model's holding of long weapons in the two-handed sword recovery pose, naturally means most weapons will clip into the ground. Other than that, they all look fine and animate fine; no statics, no notable alignment issues. Males and females use different poses for these weapons - though some are clearly very similar. Here they are quickly; each image pair is the 'ready' pose, alongside the 'recovery pose' for each weapon.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The greatsword has a very different recovery pose between the two models, while the ready pose is only very slightly different - close enough that the difference may be anomalies in applying the same pose data to different models, maybe. For Staves, the poses are quite clearly different. the recovery poses are very similar to the ready poses, but are tangibly different all the same; notably, the recovery poses are more relaxed, and lacking the tension of the ready poses. the spear poses are similar enough that they might possibly be using the same pose data, with anomalies between the different models; they're close enough that I *think* they're using the same pose data, despite minor shifts and differences.

When we look to small-sized models, however:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Male and Female halflings are clearly using the exact same pose data, all the way through. This may be intentional, or it may not be - we can't actually be certain, sine it might have been decided that small size overruled the need for sex-distinct poses. However, what is clear is that the pose data does not line up properly for female hallfings - it was clearly designed for the males, and then translated over to them, but it doesn't fit. Now, that said - I DO want to take a moment to say that the staff and spear poses look absolutely smashing for male halflings! They're dynamic, solid, and look like they mean business - they're great! It would only take a small tweak to take the weapons line up properly on the female models, without needing to change the pose, if they intend for them to use the same poses.

Where the spear and staff poses are excellent, however, the greatsword pose.... leaves a lot to be desired. At best it looks ungainly and overbalanced... but more than that, the leading arm seems to forget what it's doing and just drifts up and away from the body, crating this visible stretch and tear away - that arm has completely unanchored itself from the torso. On females, it also leads to a misaligned grip and clipping through the head.

The recovery poses also use the same poses and animations for male and female, and as before, this leads to unattached weapons, misalignment and clipping:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Most notably, the hands are misplaced on the sword pose, and the weapon is prone to clipping through the head, while the weapons are completely skewed for both staff and spear. Beyond this, once again, the staff and spear poses look good, but the greatsword pose, while it looks good from *Some* angles, looks badly overbalanced fro others, and could do with a reassessment.

A last note to say again, good work on those satisfying poses for male halflings, for spear and staff... and much humour at the fact that it looks like they were 'checked' from that most satisfying angle on the female model (the upper right shot in each), and thus the misalignment missed...
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/12/20 04:50 AM
Next up are shield-bearing poses and recoveries.

So, The game uses two main poses for shield-bearing stances. One for lighter/faster weapons, primarily daggers and short sword, and one for heavier/longer weapons, meaning versatiles, but functionally, is "the rest" - maces, scimitars and hand axes all use this second pose.

Human-sized models use the same pose data for males and females, and the same is true for halflings. Halflings do use a different pair of poses, however, and for the most part they're pretty decent, but there remain a few errors and clipping issues all the same. Let's have a look at them:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

All of these poses are animated; no statics. When I take these shots, I usually try to take the shot in at least close to the same point in the animation, for comparison, but that led me to a discovery that I hadn't noticed before. Human males may use the same pose data for their dagger and short sword ready animations here, but their animation data is not the same for those poses; the dagger pose bounces back further, while the sword pose bounces forward further. The screen shot shows the dagger pose more or less as far forward as it comes, while the sword pose is about as far backward as it goes. This slight does not seem to be present in the female human-sized model (and there's no difference in animation between male and female halflings, in their stances), and I thought it was interesting.

I've made four shots for the halfling poses here because of the first major anomaly: The first two images for both male and female halflings are both with shield and dagger. The first pose is the one they move to initially, and it is solid and looks good, except for some clipping with the shield anchoring on the arm... However, they only hold that pose for a fraction of a second, before their body 'slides' into the second image pose, which is clearly not fit correctly - the old familiar issue with the feet not anchoring properly and sinking into the ground, distorting the rest of the pose.

This ONLY happens with the dagger and shield combination; the short sword pose for halflings is ever so slightly different from their dagger pose, and it doesn't suffer the bug.

Where it comes apart, unfortunately, is with the versatile/heavier weapon stance for halflings. This is another one of those cases where it looks okay, good even, from one specific angle, but otherwise it becomes very visible that the stance is weak and overbalanced. Taking a hit on the shield in that stance would leave these poor halflings to crumple in an instant as the knee buckled. The leading leg also twists and clips into the body a little bit in the current stance, and end up looking like a graphical tear, so hopefully a fix to this will create a proper balance and power stance with the leading foot, which would, in turn, make the whole pose work well.

Stances aside, we can check on the recovery poses as well. This brings up an odd incongruity which is not a problem per se, but the lack of consistency bugs me....
Shield-bearing stances all use just one single recovery pose, regardless of the main hand weapon. However, they also use different poses between male and female human-sized models, or they seem to, unlike the ready poses which are the same between sexes. I'd like to know for certain whether it is Larian's goal to ultimately have poses differentiated by sex for all poses and animations in the game, or not... so I could tell what's intended or not... the inconsistency of this makes reporting faithfully hard. Oh well.

Let's have a look:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Anyway... Human-sized models seem to use different recovery poses for shield-bearing stances. This is one of the few cases where the female pose actually looks better than the male one - mainly because it's less rigid-looking; The female has a more relaxed weapon hand, and a slightly less broad foot stance, while their centre of gravity is more forward set, giving the pose a more forward-pressing appearance. They're both fine, however. I say "seem" to here because the differences are small, and they could be caused just by the effect of mapping the same pose and animation to slightly different models; there is a good chance that this is the case, in fact.

Halflings use the same pose data for their recovery pose, but it fits the male models better, while the slight model differences cause the weapon for female halflings to clip up through the shield, which is also anchored a little differently. Female halfligns suffer the foot-slip issue here, with some slight clipping into the ground, which pulls their leading leg downward. This pose would look better if the leading foot didn't stretch out as far, and had a more vertical gravity to it - a strong stance puts your knee more or less directly over your heel, or slightly past it, and that would help a lot here. Outside of that, the stance is good, however.

If the recovery poses are meant to be different between males and females, then some tweaking to make sure they each look good on the model they're intended for would be good here. If they're intended to use the same pose and animation, and the differences we can see are just a result of that one pose being mapped to different models, then again, some double checking and individual tweaking so that each type of model looks like its pose fits it.

Overall though, I want to say that the poses and stances here are mostly good; they're certainly appropriate to the size of the model, or close to it, unlike some of the other ones I've reported on so far.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/12/20 05:36 AM
This is the feedback thread of the year. Each page is excellent and informative

I would just like to add that I also cannot stand the notion of bobble heads and tiny toes for the halfling models.

Halflings should be a scaled down 1:2 version of a normally proportioned human.

If we must have this look, please leave it for just the gnomes, who should be way shortier as well, so its not so offputting.

Just as an aside, I almost wish that they would make a D&D game where the PC could be a Fae archetype: Faeries, Pixies, Brownies, maybe even a Wisp as a playable race. Just so they'd learn how to animate everything at the tiniest possible scale, instead of working backwards from Human models. I guess that's an idea for 6e D&D video games, but when I alighted on it seemed like a cool idea for a new Player class that could potentially be badass in a 3d environment and would be sort of new for D&D. They've only been done as familiars before, never attempted as a full player race. Obviously they wouldn't be able to carry regular weapons and equipment, they'd probably be hard pressed to carry bags of magic dust or maybe a ring if they're buff. But they could have magic shields and be able to fly around making them harder to hit, and do all the other fun things, fit through the tightest of spots. I think it could actually work for a PC race concept if the wizards of the coast put in the time to work through how they might balance, and if the computergame designers put in the effort to make the environments fun to explore and interact with at a super micro scale. I think they'd be at least as popular as half-orcs hehe. Anyhow just a riff. I day dream about an RPG game just called "Faerun" to come out someday in the distant future, where all my best ideas have somehow been realized lol.

But the main idea connected here being that they should really lean into the opportunity to make cool animations for the shorties. It would set the game apart as a more serious work of art.

For scale they should look at Alan Lee's illustration of Frodo and Gandalf in LOTR. That's the size and proportion of the halfling I want to see. The hobbit's skull is half the size of the wizard's.

It's right there in the name, they should shrink everything to half scale, not just the vertical from the neck down.
Otherwise the Halflings look more like little kids or cartoons, and they are too easily confused with what we should be seeing for the Dwarves, who are much larger and who's traditionally stout phenotype + beard make them harder to mix up for kids.

Anyhow, carry on. Sorry to interrupt the steady progress there, but yeah, best thread! Something in it for everyone.
Even the swimsuit clipping competition. With party hair to boot!
Nice work!
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 26/12/20 03:11 AM
Thanks for the words of support ^.^ Hope everyone had a good unspecific celebratory festival day/Friday.

I'm almost to the end of the standard poses and animations now. Today it's dual wielding stances. Halflings have got unique stances for dual wielding, compared to human sized models, and they aren't too bad, however, there are some anomalies to look into.

On human-sized models, there are two dual-wielding ready stances - one for light weapons like daggers, and one for larger or heavier weapons, which is most other things. Halflings currently use the same stance for all dual wielding, regardless of weapons; No way currently to tell if this is intended or not, but here they are, plus the recovery poses for each.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

So, for heavier weapons, male and female human-sized models have slightly different pose data - only slightly, but there are tweaks. It appears to have been designed for human males first, and then altered to soften the pose for females. Halflings use the same pose regardless of sex, and it's okay - it doesn't look bad, per se, but it is a little off balance. As is often the case, bringing the leading foot in slightly would make the pose look more stable; only slightly though, and it's okay as is in a pinch. It's quite acceptable for a ready pose. On both models, the back leg clips up into the torso section a little bit, and this pose also goes an unfortunate way to showing off just how disproportionate the female halfling chest is with the current models.

On human-sized models, we have a different stance for light dual wielding - here, male and female seem to use the same base pose data, I would like to make special note of the fact that the human female pose for light weapon dual wielding is currently Static and does not animate.

Halflings don't have an alternate pose for lighter dual wielding - however on both male and female halflings, their feet do not anchor, and they slide into the ground, distorting the rest of the pose. As the pose animates, you can see the feet slide around, and the model swivels on a floating anchor point that is closer to the hip area.

The recovery poses are unique on male human-sized models, being different for heavier and lighter weapon dual wielding - thought he males have an odd clipping issue where the left leg meets the hip. Female humans have their own recovery pose, but they use the same pose data for both heavy and light dual wielding. Again, I cant tell if this is intended, but it is inconsistent. The recovery pose itself is fine.

On halflings, the recovery pose itself is pretty decent, but Male and female halfings both use the exact same pose, for both heavy and light dual wielding, with no variation anywhere. The result is that for larger or longer weapons, we end up with bad weapon clipping. Though it uses the same pose data, this recovery pose looks better on female halflings than it does on males; if they are going to change one, they should give the males something different. The visual causes males to look back-heavy on their centre of gravity, and they don't have enough forward weight to maintain it, while on the female models, their centre of gravity looks much better, and the whole pose results in looking more balanced overall. This is exacerbated by the way the male halfing's foot placement end sup ahead of their knee, while for females it remains more vertical, creating a more solid forward anchor.

Not too bad here, compared to other things. Just a couple more to do, and if I'm quick, I'll have picked up the weapon type I'm missing by that point.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 27/12/20 03:07 AM
Today while I was doing many bug reports throughout the goblin camp, I discovered something I had missed!

All thanks to miss Roah Moonglow for quickly whipping out a shield and javelin combo to try and stab me with while Astarion was being ham-fisted in her pockets.

As it turns out (news to me), we have got a spear-and-shield type pose, but it only shows up with javelins, since spears don't have the versatile property. Let's have a look!

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

So, from the left we have the ready pose for javelin and shield, the recovery pose for javelin and shield, then the ready and recovery poses for one-handed javelin alone. On human-sized models these mostly look okay, and they're our baseline. Male and female models use more or less the same pose and animation data here, with slight differences meaning that the males have more solid stances, while females have a softer ones. There is only one place where they actually use tangible different pose data, and that's in the one-handed recovery pose, where the male and female models have deliberately different free hand positions. Aside form that, though, I'd say this looks like they're using all the same data for the other three stances, with the differences coming about from differences in the models.

So, let's see how halflings fare (Apologies for the odd drop off in image quality on the halflings. I'm not sure what caused it, other than the visual effect that was happening to Dia):

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

These are just the shield poses, because the first issue that pops up is immediately apparent. When you adopt the ready pose for halflings using shield and javelin, they initially drop into the pose depicted in the first image - it's their dual-wielding pose ,and clearly not appropriate. This is obviously a bug, so I won't criticise it further than that. After hitting that pose for a brief moment, they then slide into the pose depicted in the second image, which is anew one, and is clearly designed for this weapon set up. the pose itself isn't bad, though it does suffer from that same hyper-dynamism of the foot positioning (that leading food needs to come in behind the shield, unless they want to get it chopped off). The main issues are the leg tearing around the groin area, on both models, and the fact that the shield and weapons clip with the pose, and with each other, on both models. With the recovery pose (third image), aside from the over-extended front foot again, the pose is actually fine here, although a straight or upward tile to the weapon would make more sense on small-sized characters.

Unfortunately, between those ready poses and the recovery poses... is the attack animation, and for the first time in these discussions I really have to make note of problems in the attack animation itself.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The limb extension is not a problem here - it's a fast action and it's meant to be a reach anyway. The issue, more pointedly, is the terrible clipping with the gear and the models that is very visible even in the fast attack animation.

Finally, the one-handed poses:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

As with the javelin and shield poses, we have a pose slip here. Upon entering the ready pose for one-handed javelin, both male and female halflings adopt the first pose shown; it looks pretty good as far as poses go, and is quite satisfactory, except for the way that the weapon itself clips with one hand on males and both hands on females. We only see this pose for a faction of a second, however, before they slide into the pose in the second image - recognisable as their "throw" ready pose. This is also clearly a bug.

Without the shield in the way, the attack animations work well enough, however, the models draw back and end their attack animation in the pose show by the third images; this would be fine, except that they flick to the fourth image, which is their recovery pose, as soon as they finish drawing back, and it causes a jitter in the arm and spear because the end of the animation and the recovery pose that it moves into do not mesh or align properly at all. There's nothing inherently wrong with not having the end of the attack animation align with the recovery pose, however, in this case it really needs to be smoothed properly so that the arm and spear don't jerk and flip around. I'm not going to be too harsh on the clipping through the hand of the javelin in the draw back because it's the end of an animation, transitioning to something else, but getting it anchored properly would be good. Unlike human-sized models, there is no tangible difference between the recovery poses of male and female halflings here, but that's not really an issue; I just don't know if it's the intention or not.

I wonder how many other animation sets I've missed? I know of a couple I'm missing for not having the weapons to hand yet (hand crossbows), but if I find others along the way I'll try to cover them too ^.^
Posted By: Madscientist Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 27/12/20 09:22 AM
Thank you

- Do you know anything about gnomes? It's the only other small race we will probably get as player. Do you think they will get the same animations as halflings? Do we have a gnome in the game other than the windmill guy?
- We fight a lot of goblins in the game, another small race. Do they have the same problems as halflings? I do not remember another small race in the game. I did not try to fight the tieflings children.

It would be very interesting to play as very unusual race in a game, such as the fairy suggestion. But not in BG3, the tadpole itself would be as big as your skull ;-)
Posted By: biomag Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 27/12/20 09:49 AM
Just a few things:

- Its hard to record motion capture for halflings, since most martial artists you will find these days seem to be human wink
- Once you have your motion capture data, it isn't finished, you need to clean it up, put some handy work into it so that it reads well in game because games (especially stylized and isometric ones) are different than real life (simple example - as a fighter you wouldn't be foreshadowing the moves as much as you see them in-games because it would be a deadly mistake in real life, but in games its a necessity to make user understand what they see and be entertained)
- after all that work you have 1 animation set done - for regular males only. you can apply it on other rigs for different bodies, but as we see it doesn't look good. Now before you start adjusting it, you better be sure you are happy with these animations in the first place or you will be repeating all changes for all body sizes in the game.


What I'm trying to say, at this point in the development there should be no reasonable focus at Larian to make half-ling animations polished before they are finished with other stuff. Its not that hafling's don't deserve it, its just the typical way you work to not have to re-iterate things more often than absolutely necessary because it eats up manhours like crazy. I seriously doubt any of these animation issues are unknown to Larian (some fixes actually might be blocked by code adjustments as well). And I honestly don't think they will be able to fix all issues simply because of priorities and production reality. You always end up with clipping in games, even more so on uncommon body-types.


I'd not worry too much about animations at this point smile On the other hand if you think that the body proportions are off - this is the right time to address it as it affects all art assets related to halflings and also their animations.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 27/12/20 10:13 PM
Hey Mad,

Where possible, I try to keep my terminology here to 'small-sized characters' and 'human-sized characters', because yes, the intent is that we'll have more than halflings to pick from soon enough. I don't know any more about that than anyone else, but certainly I'd say that the gnome in the myconid camp is written and pitched to be a possible future companion. I don't know what they'll do in terms of poses and animations for them. Initially I expect they'll probably be mostly the same, but if we're lucky we might see distinct variations filter through in time.

Similarly with goblins, a lot of their assets are already sorted out, but they lack hook ups for all of the poses and animations necessary to be playables for the time being. It's a possibility, but likely a more distant one. I don't know anything beyond what the community knows, unfortunately.

To Biomag...

Yes, non-human body types pretty much always get the shaft in video games, and always suffer bad clipping, bad placement, poor anchoring, misaligned positions, disjointed cutscenes, inappropriate camera work, and are usually immersion shattering at important points because of it. Should they be? Should we accept that as okay, because it is the norm? You can if you want; I don't. This game, more than any that has come before it, stands at a prime point to not do that, and to get it right, for once in the history of gaming... I intend to do everything in my relatively minor and inconsequential power to help ensure that they do. The top of this thread talks about body proportions in great detail (though I could go back and replace some of the in game shots with better images, probably...), but I've said as much as there is to say about that, and can't do any more without simply repeating myself on that score. I noticed, however, that Larian are actively fixing small-race poses and animations as they go, even if they aren't making a big deal about it in their patch notes, so I'm adding this to this thread in light of that. Do Larian know about all of this? No, actually they don't. They know about a lot of it, yes, but in my reporting I've received responses a number of times indicating a known animation issue, and a number of times indicating a new, previously unrecorded, one being sent through to the animation team. They will fix them on the timeline that they deem is appropriate, but they have to know about it and have it on record to fix it, and we don't know for certain what ones they are aware of and what ones they aren't. So I report them all.

The changes to the model only need to be subtle; in most ways, it is unlikely to affect their animations and posing, since it is to do with hip width and depth, chest depth, head size and the proportions of their lower legs. None of these features, if altered on the model, will affect relational poses, height and relative placement of limbs, or any of the other major factors in smoothing an animation.

Thanks for your input; let me leave you with an anecdote:

When we build a tower of bricks, we find the magnitude of the task hard to comprehend, and the size of the bricks impossibly small. We only have one pair of hands, and even if there are others helping us, laying one brick can seem insignificantly small compared to the magnitude of the tower. It can even look, if there are many people laying bricks, that a single person's individual placements is so insignificant that they are functionally wasting their time and effort doing it. However, every brick must still be laid, and each brick laid down by someone is a brick that the next pair of hands can be grateful for when they lay their own. Indeed, the only person who is actually wasting their time and energy is the person who stands to one side telling other people that they are wasting their time and energy.
Posted By: Madscientist Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 27/12/20 10:55 PM
Regarding goblins, I wanted to ask if they look good as NPC and enemies.
I did not want to imply that they are a playable race.

It's the most frequent small NPC race we meet.
Posted By: biomag Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 27/12/20 10:59 PM
@Niara:
Oh, don't get me wrong, I would love to see or work on a game without bugs, no clipping and all of these fine things laugh Just saying I wouldn't expect those animations fixes to be a high priority at this point - and as you write, you understand that and they will be dealt with in due time. To be honest I simply underestimated your willingness to properly report it while underestanding it takes time. In this case its just commandable and I have to apologize, I thought you mistook the current state of halfling animations as a sign of neglect rather than a reasonable workflow for the team. As harsh as it may sound any additional rig a team adds it usually has for all fixes a lower priority than the main ones, simply because you start with the most used ones.

The reason I mentioned the proportions was less to encourage you to write more about it, just to point out that if that isn't addressed rather soonish it might be a bad sign to it being changed at all. Sure I can be a lower priority for the team while it is still planned, but as proportions affect not soley animations but all customisation options, clothing assets, things like that it make sense to be corrected before you morph all assets to the body. So the later they go about it the more work it will be and the less inclined the team will be (as it also mean risk for additional bugs). Most of the times the tools to transfer armor/clothing from one body to another do speed up the process, but it does often require additional manual work, skinning corrections.. so yeah, it was just something I mentioned to keep expectations realistic.

By the way, as someone working in exactly this field (=3d characters) in a team of several hundred people I can really appreciate the analogy with the bricks wink But you start laying bricks at the fundament and not 2nd floor. Finishing the 2nd floor while the first is unstable can be a waste of time and we all know that game dev isn't know for huge buffers in planning wink This is true for the production though and it doesn't mean that keeping the vision alive isn't important, so as some who is really found of his QA collegues I really appreciate the work that you put in for the Larian team and I bet they as well.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 28/12/20 04:21 AM
You aren't wrong, but I'm trying to remain positive ^.^ Sorry if my response was harsh.

I've heard reports that they have the groundwork in already for different body types, and that leads into the hope that that ground work will come to fruition, and give us a few options as players - types that, with luck, will work well with the final animations with only minor tweaking post-hoc. The changes to halfling models need only be subtle, and none of the most necessary ones will (or should) affect the animation rigging.

To Mad, yes, what they've done with the goblins so far generally does look good, for the most part. They have all and only the animations that were designed for them, more or less, so they're pretty decent as far as I can see. They do (I think) suffer the same difficulty with ladders as other small races, but aside from that, the poses and animations we see them in generally work. It's harder to assess them because we only really have what we can see of them second hand, rather than being able to test directly. They don't, for example, *have* any of the poses and animations for weapons that no goblin in the game as been given... they've got only what they need to be enemies in the game, at the moment... but there is a strong possibility that they could become a playable later down the track, since much of the work has already been done.

Okay, this one will be the last one for combat poses and animations for now. Until I get to the underdark and pick up a couple of hand crossbows, I won't be able to test those ones. They were VERY problematic last patch, enough that dual-wielding hand crossbows tended to cause the game to crash... it was so bad that there's a very good possibility it's been fixed, but I won't know until I get there. Between then and now, I'll do some shots of some of the cutscenes and other issues, though most of those I already know are known issues - there's some important points that bear repeating even so, as well as illustrating with more evidence. First however, the last set of weapon poses.

One-handed animations:

Small-sized characters have their own animations and poses for one-handed weapons with an empty off-hand. The poses themselves are mostly good, with some oddities that are worth mentioning. We have two main poses; one for daggers and short swords, and one for 'the rest'. This is in addition to the unique javelin poses that I happened upon last time. First, here are the human-sized models for comparison; top line are the ready animations, while the bottom line are the subsequent recovery poses:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Male human-sized figures are all pretty sharp here, and the male human-sized model is unique in its dagger and short sword poses; I had to flip him around from my usual style, because he presents the weapon in the leading hand, rather than the back hand. the dagger and short sword poses are both placed here; they use the same base pose data, but are actually animated slightly differently. Female human-sized models have a different dagger and short sword pose. They have both listed here to show that they use the same pose data, however, the dagger ready pose, specifically, is completely Static for human-sized females. The short sword poses, and recovery, are identical, but they (as well as the dagger recovery pose) animate correctly. human-sized females use the same ready pose and animation as males for the heavier one-handed weapons, but they have a slightly different recovery pose. Even so, it looks polished and is pretty good.

For small sized characters, there are more issues:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Unlike human-sized models, the halflings are currently using the exact same pose and animation data for both males and females all the way through, at every step (though this causes a slight variation anomaly between females and males in the recovery poses). Similar to human-sized females, the dagger ready pose, specifically, is completely Static on both male and female halflings. Special note: without having checked dwarves (sorry dwarves), this seems as though human-sized males are the only race who have a functional one-handed dagger ready pose right now; everyone else has a Static instead.

Beyond that, there are only a few nit-picks I want to bring up here. The ready pose for heavier weapons has some bad clipping around where the leading leg meets the torso; this is especially visible on the male model. The male model also ends up looking like he has a weaker overall stance, because of this, plus his foot placement, while on the female model it generally looks more solid. In general (and this has been a trend across the poses for male and female halflings), the male model looks a little bit off balance in the recovery poses, while the female model end sup leaning forward slightly more, and this makes the visible centre of gravity more stable as a result. There is a slight weapon misalignment for the heavier pose for female halflings.

These poses were obviously designed for the smaller races, and it shows, becaue they're well appointed, without stretching or over-extension. The only other comment I would make is that the off-hand on recovery poses for female halflings seems to have gotten a bit lost; on the males, the off-hand stretches out and is in a ready position to respond to sudden threats as the character recovers from the attack. On females, however, the elbow has gotten stiffly bent and the hand floats in and down instead, looking out of place and without any real purpose. If it were corrected to match the males, the poses would look better, unless the intent from Larian is to give separate ready and recovery poses to males and females among the small-sized races as well.

Other than that, these poses are pretty solid.

Next up will be some shots of cutscenes and other unique events; many of these I have been informed are already known about, but a few bear cataloguing with visuals anyway.
Posted By: Avalonica Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 28/12/20 04:40 PM
Implementing well proportioned (homogeneous) Halflings and Gnomes would be a walk in the park for Larian Studios.

https://preview.redd.it/fqfvwx1v7yt51.jpg?auto=webp&s=16202c63579f95a4b9ac7abd72b7a037ea215c5f
Example of a in-game Goblin Child

https://preview.redd.it/26038lei7is51.jpg?auto=webp&s=d6281582ef0badf95606b62326b7e8efc26dbd32
Example of some in-game Tiefling Children

However, there can be some serious legal ramifications down the road by doing so. Larian Studios have already pushed (very bravely) the limits to the extreme with optional in-game child killing. Now imagine if the in-game Halflings and Gnomes where "well proportioned" (child-like) and how media (narrow-minded reviewers and players) would react with that in combination with the "explicit romances".

From a personal standpoint, I find the current Halflings (and Gnomes) to be "grotesque/hideous". I would rather play a Goblin, and hope Larian Studios officially down the road implement that. Until then:

https://www.nexusmods.com/baldursgate3/mods/14
Playable Goblins
Posted By: Drath Malorn Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 28/12/20 07:34 PM
Hm. I don't work for Larian, I have no insider information, I have no legal expertise. I am admittedly versed in the lore of the Forgotten Realms (and a couple of other fantasy settings). And I'm living in a 21st century that has left "D&D = satanism" behind and made global financial and cultural successes of fantasy universes through Jackson's LOTR films and the GoT TV series, which included a dwarf human making lo fucking a number of prostitutes. So allow me to react in a non-optimally-informed, biased and sort of layman fashion.

I tend to doubt this is the reason why Dwarves, Halflings and Gnomes don't look as good as they should, and well-proportioned (I'm going to leave aside the question of whether, truly, well proportioned short races look child-like). Should any ill-informed and narrow-minded person complain that "omg, children have sex in this game", they would most hopefully be looked down upon by the larger, more enlightened and open-minded crowd.

Most likely, it's simply because it's still the early days of EA, and not everything is up to speed yet (understatement here).
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/12/20 12:06 AM
Heya Avalonica, thanks for your input,

I do want to say though, please have a proper read through the early section of the thread. The entire purpose and point of what I'm illustrating, with evidence, is that a properly well-proportioned halfling, that looks like a mature adult of their species, looks neither like a human with dwarfism, nor do they look even remotely like a juvenile human. That's the entire contention; “well-proportioned halflings” and “child-like appearance” are exact opposites. A large part of what I've shown and demonstrated here is making that precise point.

Those tiefling kids are maybe nine or ten. They are already far taller than any halfling is ever going to be. Halflings share their height bracket with one to two year old humans, and they ought to look nothing at all like those.

The clamours of “oh but they'll look like children” come from the ignorant, the misinformed and the scare-mongering, and are not based in any kind of evidence or proof. Those kinds of voices are the sorts of people who like to say that someone like me – 138cm (4'6”) tall and very petitely built – shouldn't ever pursue a normal healthy intimate relationship because it's “problematic”. It's not. Those sorts of voices are the kind that should never, ever, be accommodated or pandered to.

A mature age halfling should look like mature individual for their species, and if they were properly proportioned they would. Right now, the various issues I've pointed out go into two things: it would make them appear juvenile, or presenting of neoteny, except that the other major issue overbears it, making them appear to our senses as a human with dwarfism instead. Both issues need to be fixed, and are relatively straightforward fixes to make, and would result in a figure that no-one is ever going to mistake for a human child.

I'm speaking forcefully, and I apologise for that – it's not directed at you, but at the kind of people who want to equate every 'small' thing with child-like; it's harmful, damaging behaviour, and is quite upsetting at times. Again, sorry for the hard words.

==

This next bit contains heavy spoiler information, because I'll be discussing certain dreams. Ye be warned. As a note: I'll be discussing a small-sized (female) player character dreaming with a human-sized (male) dream-suitor. There are far too many possibly player/suitor combinations for my one pair of hands and one set of free time to bring up save files and compare. I would like to do the inverse (a human-sized player with a small-sized suitor), and also two smalls, just to compare, but that's a time investment I don't have available right now.

(Dream 1: Dia is deeply perturbed)


[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The first dream visit we have is very obviously an absolute messy shambles for small-sized characters. I don't really need to report on it here because functionally not a single part of it displays even remotely correctly at all, and every scene is nigh-on indecipherable for what it's meant to be showing or what is going on. This is all known issue territory, and it's clearly not in a state to be commented on yet. I'll wait until they fix it.

I do want to make a piece of personal feedback here: I find it very distasteful the way the game takes away your player agency on how your character reacted to the dream and what happened in it. Not the dream itself – though if you tell your would be lover to back off and not touch you, and they keep on coming, I find it very dissatisfying that our character just flows into the next part of the dream leaning into them again. That's a big immersion break right there. If we take the dialogue options to rebuff them, our character should visibly do the same. – But rather, after the dream, you have a dialogue, and Shadowheart is the primary directing character if she's available. The game happily informs us that we were moaning in an almost embarrassingly erotic fashion in our sleep, and, thank you very much Larian, but that's something I'll decide for myself. Maybe I was into the advances, and maybe I wasn't. If I wasn't, then just overriding that and saying “Oh, but, no, really, your character was totally into it!” is one of the absolutely shittiest Dm moves that anyone can ever pull, and is good grounds for leaving a game table entirely. Do NOT do that. If I rejected the advances here, then any erotic activity that happened afterwards was certainly non-consenting; we aren't talking about a simple dream that we passively experience; if it were, this would be different – this was a dream where we had awareness and agency, however, and that makes a difference. If Shadowheart is talking out her arse here, then she absolutely should not have the right to get the last word on it; let us correct her more soundly – she's not the player character here, I am. Let us decide and define how we reacted to these things, or, if it is essential that we do react a certain way, then let us decide and define how we feel about being forced to do so against our will, if indeed it is.


==

(Dream Two: Hollywood Wants Their Tropes Back)


[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The second dream, runs more smoothly than the first, but contains a lot of issues that I would like to discuss because they stand a greater chance of being glossed over and not fixed... and no ,the funny way in which by staff moves to block my dream-boy's face throughout the first section of the dream is not one of them.

Rather, I want to talk about the Hollywood cinematography that they abuse in this second dream. The latter half of the dream is nothing but one long string of traditional Hollywood cinema shots, textbook boring. They aren't interesting or engaging or inspiring; they're tired, overused and cliched... but more than that, they are entirely and absolutely inappropriate for smaller characters. You cannot use these tired old tropes of cinematography when one of the characters is only three feet tall. They just don't work, and they break any sense of immersion in the scene.

Let's have a look:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Some of you may not notice the problem initially, but I suspect most will see it immediately.

Dia is three feet tall. Her daisy is a human male, and when they stand next to each other, her head just about reaches his waist.

No amount of camera angling can make ANY of these shots make ANY kind of believable sense.

In the first image, we have just 'slain our foes' (which has a very bad clipping issue all the way through, but that's a simple bug report). It was followed by our suitor walking up alongside us. If I were human-height, he could well be standing just a little bit behind us. I'm not; what is this image? Either I'm floating three feet off the ground suddenly, or else he is buried up to his waist in it. He could be sitting down ,perhaps... except for the fact that the preceding shot was of him walking up to us, and the following shot makes it clear that he is still standing.

The second image is that following shot; a classic Hollywood trope of cinematography; an upward pan of us standing side by side... Except, we're depicted with out hands at roughly the same height, in setup for the next even more over-used cinema trope to follow (if gives us a hand close up here, briefly). So, again, either I'm floating several feet off the ground, or he is sunk into it, just to force the alignment of our hands and put our torsos where the shot demands they be. This doesn't work for a smaller character; it just doesn't.

The third image is the next camera shot again, as we look out over the ruined city. Dia's head is above his shoulder, because Hollywood cinema dictates that's how 'dramatic standing together' looks... once again, shattering any kind of immersion for us as players. Here at least, they could keep their Hollywood shot, if they had our character show how and why they're at shoulder height here in the preceding shot; rather than just walking up to the edge of the view, they could, for example, clamber up onto some convenient rocks to get a better look; there's nothing too wrong with lamp-shading this as long as it's made to look like a smooth, natural part of the scene.

Oh and then we cut down to the crustiest of old Hollywood arch-tropes of cinema, and the dramatic close-up of hands brushing against each other! Only, Dia's hand should be a couple of feet away from his!

Then we cut back to “looking down on it all”, another classic that only works when your actors are roughly the same height (for added Hollywood style, when the scene contains a male and a female, the female is always shot to look slightly shorter than the male, regardless of their actual heights. Check!). It doesn't work here without giving up all concept of scene immersion or sense.

Of course, how could you not shoot “looking down on it all” without sliding into “eyes to each other” and “hands linked”? Because that's what we do next, naturally. Dia's little hand is not at all suitable for the pose as written, of course, and a different pose of hand-joining would be employed, but that's an easy fix and one that is more obvious as a bug, compared to the rest of this.

Then we go in for something that involves our faces (presumably this is when Dia chooses her moment to bite his tongue out, after repeatedly rejecting and rebuffing his advances and he won't back off).

Oh, no, apparently not. Once again, in the morning we're greeted with a conversation that has the game, via Shadowheart (if she is available), blithely informing us that the details of our dream are alrayd shared and everyone knows what we did (but somehow we don't know theirs?), and that we *bedded* our suitor.

No, Larian. Absolutely no. Once again, the “Oh, no, you totally love him, and you want it, and then you do a fade-to-black with him!” is the worst kind of abusive, petty Dm move that anyone can ever make. It's a violation of our character and of our right to define our character.

Let ME decide if I enjoyed my suitor's embrace or not – after spending literally every conversation option possible rebuffing him and telling him to go away and leave me alone and not to touch me, I highly doubt that I did; if I did, it wasn't with consent.

This is not just a figment dream within our own mind – this is an engagement with an obviously real and sentient entity that exists independently of us in some fashion. We might not know the details but it clearly has personhood. That means that if you are forcing there to have been an intimate encounter here, and we as a player have been rejecting the advances, then you're actively having this entity dream-rape our character (the word still applies even if it 'made us want it' through psionic or brain-hacking means); you can do that, certainly – we've already suffered a pretty bad bodily violation as the premise of the game – but IF that's what you're doing, then you absolutely need to let us, as characters express how we feel about that fact. Right now, we can't. We just have to deal with Shadow's sniffy condescension last-wording us and telling us what happened, without any options to correct her firmly or to really show how we feel about what happened, or didn't.

Perhaps Dia has been a warlock of the White Darkness since she was eight, and hasn't ever done the whole body-intimacy-act thing before, and so being forcibly compelled to do so by an entity that is invading her dreams is quite distressing to her – I can't express that.

Perhaps she has been eagerly accepting his advances and offers of power, and finding him attractive to her senses and bedding his dream avatar is a lovely bonus – I can't express that either.

Again; it matters that you let us decide whether we lay with our suitor in this dream or not, or, if we cannot decide that, then we must be able to decide in an overt way how we feel about what happened – supporting dialogue that we can choose to define our character's stance and emotional state on the matter.

==

(Dream Three: That's a lot of grass!)


Here is a montage of screenshots from the third dream. Presented without comment.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I can't really discuss the cinematography or presentation of this dream. I don't know what's going on.
Posted By: fylimar Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/12/20 02:27 PM
Niara: I totally agree with you about the dream sequence:
I want to decide, if my character gives in to the advances or not. This is a bit of a violation

I also agree, that the proportions of the halflings could be handled better.
Posted By: Madscientist Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/12/20 05:10 PM
Thank you

- Do you have a good example where normal and small people are shown together?
Like an image of Gandalf, Frodo and a dwarf together in one of the Lord of the Rings movies.
Assuming halflings there are the same as in DnD.
(How did they do the beginning of the first movie? It must be hard to find so many small actors for the halfling village and the birthday party.)
- I do not remember any romantic scene between a small and a normal person in a movie. There are a few small actors, but they are all humans with dwarfism.

Once again, I have no idea how they did it in the Lord of the Ring movies that halflings look "realistic".
PS: I hate to use the word realistic in a fantasy context, but I find nothing better.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/12/20 05:29 PM
They did it with a little thing called forced perspective.

For example, in this scene where it looks like Frodo is sitting next to Gandalf, Elijah Wood is actually sitting a fair bit behind Sir Ian.
[Linked Image from i.pinimg.com]

The actors who played the hobbits aren't very tall but none of them is quite that short. Filmmakers are very tricksy.
Posted By: spectralhunter Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/12/20 06:45 PM
Back in AD&D days, halflings just looked like smaller humans. You can see how they are depicted in that edition of monster manual. But at some point, the smaller races got stockier. Not as much as dwarves but definitely chunkier.

Gnomes got slightly fey like to separate themselves from halflings.

The reality is, currently halflings look like the animated version of LotR. I don’t know if that will change.
Posted By: Madscientist Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/12/20 11:32 PM
About gnomes:
Sorry, what does fey like mean?
I know some examples for fey but I lack something in which they all look similar.
Fey are defined as magic humanoid creatures connected to nature or a specific place.
In which way do a fairy (tiny with insect wings), a nymph (like a very beautiful elf), a redcap (small and ugly) and a gnome look similar?
Posted By: spectralhunter Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/12/20 11:45 PM
Originally Posted by Madscientist
About gnomes:
Sorry, what does fey like mean?
I know some examples for fey but I lack something in which they all look similar.
Fey are defined as magic humanoid creatures connected to nature or a specific place.
In which way do a fairy (tiny with insect wings), a nymph (like a very beautiful elf), a redcap (small and ugly) and a gnome look similar?

Physically they look a bit more different than just a small person. They have pointed ears and I think d&d kept the large noses. They aren’t classified as fey. But the designers had to differentiate them from halflings somehow.
Posted By: Bruh Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/12/20 11:57 PM
Haflings are chill and cool, gnomes are fat and the opposite of chill.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/12/20 12:56 AM
In this sense - a 'fey-like' appearance would be some visual traits and aesthetics that make them appear touched by magic; things that would not be completely naturally occurring on their own, or believable without a high-magic setting to support them. Whimsy or dream-like can come into play, but, for a classification - Gnomes might be depicted with body styles and proportions that do not *quite* look like any naturally evolving mammal might end up at, and who do not *quite* look fully believable, without there being magic involved, as opposed to halflings, who should. Gnomes in our art representations from 5th all seem to have been given slightly over-exaggerated facial features, even in their most 'realistic' depictions, for example.

I was trying to get some good looks at gnome examples yesterday while I was getting my save files moved forward, but I'll have to wait on commenting for them fully until they're actually released to use as playable, anything before then would be premature, since they're obviously still being worked on. And I promised myself I'd try to look at dwarves along the way as well, and havne't gotten to that yet... and I promised myself I'd get around to doing full class-by-class break downs and analyses too, and haven't gotten to that yet either. I've got a lot still to do...

Today I was going to put together some analyses for certain encounters at a certain party... only to discover that they're all apparently broken right now and not displaying (I know Shadow and Astarion are in now, so they were the ones I planned for on the save file, but they aren't working now...), so I can't do the assessments. Instead, I'll get the branch save up to check on Minthara, which I believe is working fine still...
Posted By: Madscientist Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/12/20 11:30 AM
Off topic:

I played Pathfinder Kingmaker. There it is explained that fey are creatures native to the first world, a chaotic plane. From the description I think powerful creatures can shape it almost at will, but it's more stable than Limbo where a wrong thought can undo the reality around you. Fey are "reborn" after some time when being killed in the first world, so they are often more careless than most mortals. Gnomes used to be fey a long time ago, but they lived in the material plane for so long that they lost this ability and became normal people.

Is this also true in DnD lore or is it different?
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/12/20 01:10 PM
It's not true word by word, but the general idea is the same. Elves and gnomes came from the Feywild/Faerie and were originally Fey, but lost most of their Feyness over time.

The nature of the Feywild and the Fey are left very hazy because they need to cover a lot of concepts, from literal nature spirits like dryads nymphs to pint-sized winged Tinklebells and other trickster spirits to regal Mabs and Gentlemen With Thistledown Hair and Tom Bombadills. Fey are generally very undefined creatures in folklore, you won't find any easily categorified definition there beyond "you better not mess with them or they will mess you back something fierce -- actually they may still do that anyway so it's better to just not be noticed by them at all".
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 01/01/21 04:26 AM
This vid was pretty funny and talked a bit about feywild

beware of language



On a more informal or serious vid, this one actually talks about Eldrin which from what I can recall are the original elves that are from feywild in forgotten realms.


Posted By: Madscientist Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 01/01/21 10:32 AM
Back to topic:
I looked at the PHB again, because it's the most official source about how races should look. At least I think so.

I agree that the official halflings looks terrible and I like the suggestions Niara made.

Gnomes are the other small race and they look like small elves. I like the official gnome and warlock image. They are thin and they don't just look like small dwarves (many fantasy settings show dwarves and gnomes together as small underground people).
While the official halflings looks bad, I hope our player character gnome will look similar to the PHB version.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 12/01/21 03:03 AM
Okay, one more to do after getting Minthara out of the way...

Hand Crossbows:

Previously, there were two hand crossbows available in the game - one on a dead adventurer just past the petrified drow in the underdark, and a second one on one of the dead duergar neat the skiff in the underdark. Unfortunately, a terminal bug existed that meant that if you dual-wielded the two hand crossbows, then, even though it did work, and you got the off-hand shot skill, stowing the weapons, bringing them out, changing equips or interacting with them at all in any way after that.... wold generally cause the game to crash. Getting them unequipped and un-breaking your save file was difficult. I had meant to include the dual-wielding poses in this analysis, because at the time the off-hand shot was using the 'throw item' animation... however, it seems that as of the most recent patch, the second hand crossbow has actually been removed from the game; at least, it was no longer there on any save file I brought tot he duergar ambush to retrieve it.

The crash was reported by many people who were excited to dual-wield crossbows, and so I'm sure it's being fixed, and this removal is the temporary fast solution to prevent the game crash while they sort it out. Unfortunately, this means I can't do the dual-wielding break down right now. With any luck, by the time it comes back, it'll be fixed up and refactored properly as well, fingers crossed.

So, just a single hand crossbow today. Of note, and others have pointed this out elsewhere too, but because of the way Larian have coded and designed the weapon-wielding interface right now, we can't actually use a hand crossbow and a shield - this is a viable and useful combination and absolutely something that we can do in the base rule,s and should be able to do here; it needs to be put in so we can, and hopefully if and when they do, we'll get nicely aligned and posed animations for doing so. Not yet, however.

Let's look at human-sized models first, as they're straight forward and easy In each image, the first pose is the ready animation, and the second is the recovery animation:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

All poses are animated with no statics, and the alignment of the weapon is pretty good across the board here. As usual, there are slight but distinct pose differences between the male and female stances; males are broader stances, and sharper, more dynamic, while female poses are softer and more fluid. It's pretty subtle, and only the fact that there are some actual arm position differences make it certain that that differences aren't just incidental to the models. The hand under the elbow doesn't sit right, and is floating, but other than that these poses are pretty good. Quite acceptable really.

For small-sized models, it's less neat and clean, sadly:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The weapon alignments are pretty off across the board - not wildly so, compared to other weapons ,but distinctly out of alignment all the same. the first images in this pair are the ready poses for male and female halflings... or they might be. They adopt that pose for a fraction of a second when you ready to shoot, but then 'snap' down to the second image - a pose we all recognise. This is clearly just a code bug causing them to drop to a place-holder pose; we've seen it elsewhere, and it's clearly not intended, especially when the pose they go to before that, for a moment, is actually a hand crossbow pose. That said, there is no difference at all between male and female here, not even subtly - this seems to be another place where female halflings are using the male set by accident. The hand misalignment on the elbow is worse than it is for human-sized models, but other than that, this pose and animation looks pretty good on them... if only they'd actually use it.

For male halflings, they move cleanly to their recovery pose (the third image) after shooting - complete with cute little sheathing animation - and from the front angle it doesn't look bad, though again, hand misalignment pushing their hand through their arm instead of supporting it. Female halflings move from the sheathing animation to the pose shown in the third image for them, which looks a lot like the human-sized female recovery pose, however, they only hold it for a fraction of a second, before 'snapping' again to adopt the same pose as the males... or almost the same pose?

Beacause here's the thing: as much as this looks like the female halfligns are adopting one pose made for them, and then snapping to the male pose by mistake... let's have a look at it:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Scratch! Scratch, I love you and you're a good boy, but please get out of my screenshots while I'm working!

Ahem...

Even though female halflings snap to this pose after a moment, and it doesn't seem like their intended pose, it actually works a LOT better on them than it does on the male halflings. Male halflings look okay in their recovery pose, from the front and slight side angles - which they were probably reviewed from - but if you look side on, we can see that they are grossly over-balanced. This is not a stable pose that they could actually hold, no matter what side you look from, it doesn't work. Their centre of balance is miles out. They either need to bring their centre of gravity forward, over their feet, or the foot stance needs to be moved back to give them better balance; having them lean forward slightly, while shifting the feet so that one if substantially further back then the other would more or less fix this, as one suggestion.

But if we look at the female halflings, it's not actually the same; Their pose is solid and firm, their centre of gravity is excellent: they look Good in this pose.

So, it's hard to guess at exactly what's going on here. Honestly, I can see that the female halflings briefly use a version of the human-sized female recovery pose... but the one they snap to afterwards actually looks better on them and I'd prefer it. On the males, it doesn't work and needs to be fixed, however.

That's it for hand crossbows, at least as much as I can test until we get a second hand crossbow back in the game. Overall, these sets are pretty good; they don't need a lot of work at all, certainly not compared to others.

That's probably all for the small-sized model animation and pose break downs for now; short of finding more anomalies in particular cut scenes, which I'm still scanning for, I think I've covered everything else, but that may be it until the next patch gives us another update on things.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 12/01/21 09:47 AM
You give that dog some attention right now!
Posted By: Madscientist Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 12/01/21 12:39 PM
- Last time I played was before the latest patch, there I could equip a hand crossbow in both hands. But the offhand crossbow was shown as action (not bonus action) so I never used them and had a normal crossbow instead.
- Is the relative size of halfling and dog correct? If yes I want them to ride on the dog.
Posted By: DragonMaster69 Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 12/01/21 12:58 PM
@FallenJ thanks for the sharing of the videos I found them quite interesting
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 12/01/21 11:46 PM
Originally Posted by Madscientist
- Last time I played was before the latest patch, there I could equip a hand crossbow in both hands. But the offhand crossbow was shown as action (not bonus action) so I never used them and had a normal crossbow instead.
- Is the relative size of halfling and dog correct? If yes I want them to ride on the dog.

Yeah, that was part of the bug, I think; when you had dual-wield clicked on, but it wanted to take an action for both, or something of that nature. Something in the process of using them or switching them on or off (melee to ranged) was causing the game to crash, at least. hopefully when they get it fixed I'll be able to check the dual animations again.

And yes, all dogs depicted are actual size. Halflings are small seized creatures, and formally by the rules, they can comfortably used medium sized creatures that are built for such, as mounts... so standard out of the book mastiffs are actually perfect for them. As are blink dogs, hell hounds, boars, hyenas and wolves, to name a few ^.^

In particualr, the ranger's wolf companion looks like he'd make a lovely mount, and I was so sad that I didn't have the option to climb on...
Posted By: Scribe Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 13/01/21 01:25 AM
Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
I agree, the halflings don't look right. All of the changes in the original post sound good to me.

Agreed with this. Not much more else to say.
Posted By: Some_Twerp753 Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 13/01/21 07:03 PM
They look more like gnomes to me at the moment. I agree the model should be tightened up alongside the animations when it gets a pass-over by the devs
Posted By: Madscientist Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 13/01/21 07:47 PM
Originally Posted by Some_Twerp753
They look more like gnomes to me at the moment. I agree the model should be tightened up alongside the animations when it gets a pass-over by the devs

No, gnomes look better than that. (Unlike Halflings I hope gnomes look like in the PHB.)
I agree with the halfling suggestions from Niara.
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