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.
Posted By: Niara Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 11/05/21 01:40 PM
I had meant to mention it here a little earlier, but took a break from the forums and it slipped my mind... but there is some small news to add, inasmuch as Halfling animation rigging is slated to get some serious attention (I'm hoping along with some slight model adjustments, though no word on that), in the planned future of the EA. Nothing concrete, of course, but that's the word received. It's something positive to think on at least ^.^
Posted By: 1varangian Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 11/05/21 03:25 PM
The male halflings do look like middle aged children.

Some younger heads and some more attention to proportions would help.

The giant hands of smaller humanoids also look distracting and well.. disturbing.
Posted By: Blackheifer Re: Halfling Models - WHY - 11/05/21 04:13 PM
I love Halflings but it bugs me that they are the least popular race out there for players. Nobody noticed forever that the "Lucky" attribute wasn't working. In the PHB it states that Humans, elves and Dwarves are a common site but that Dragonborn, Gnomes, Half-elves, Half-Orcs and Tieflings are considered rare and are met with at least curiosity if not suspicion, hostility (tieflings) or fear (half-orcs).

Although going by player choices it almost feels like the opposite is true. Once Dragonborn are released it will be nothing but wall-to-wall Dragonborn paladins as far as the eye can see.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 29/05/21 07:49 AM
So, it's been a quiet news week, and I was recently playing another game, and I wanted to share some things with those who are interested.

This game also has halflings in it, and it got me to thinking that perhaps I had been spoiled for good halfling design early on, by a game that cared very much about making them look like real creatures, real people, and a species that is healthy and normal all on its own, rather than a deformed derivative of something else...

So, take a look at these models:

Halfling Base Models

These characters here the 'average' middle range models for male and female halflings in this game, displaying as minstrel and hunter. They have wonderful body proportions – naturalised, balanced and functional. They don't have human-child-like proportions, or any deformations suggestive of dwarfism at all, and they also clearly aren't humans of any scale, either. In this character creator, you can modify your body type, along with the other options, so here's a quick follow up picture – male and female halflings at the two extreme ends of the body spectrum:

Male Halfling
Female Halfling

It's not a huge difference, of course – it's actually quite subtle, but it's enough to create a subtle feeling of difference between your character and the next one over, even before you get to hair, skin, eyes and cosmetic choices, etc.

Amusingly, for halflings in this game, it's less a choice of how much substance you want to have, and more... how 'comfortable' a life you've been living before taking to adventure. Male halflings choose to balance between upper body bulk and pot belly, while females choose to balance between upper body bulk and how prominent their hips and bum seem. It's kind of amusing, and you can still find a very nice middle ground if you prefer.

Female Halfling Variation

Hips – Middle – Shoulders. Subtle, but noticeable.

In terms of their size ratios, here are some comparison shots for halflings alongside human equivalents, both off the base models, and some existing established characters:

Halfling and Human Base Model Compare
Halfling and Human Character Compare

So, we can see from these shots that they aren't derived from the human models at all; they're their own unique things. They're slightly more compact and sturdier in their general proportions, but not enough to make it stand out or look out of place – just enough, rather to make them look fit and able-bodied, and not scrawny, while still being so much smaller. It's more or less perfect, in fact. Yes; the head to body ratio IS larger than it is on the humans, but only by a subtle amount, not a lot – and it looks GOOD. Their heads don't seem tiny, but they also aren't overlarge for their bodies or bobbled at all either.

Added bonus - here's a male stout-axe dwarf as well. He looked pretty good – stout and stocky, but not ridiculous, and you aren't left scratching your head and wondering how he can even exist:

Male Dwarf Base Model

Sure, this game doesn't have motion-captured face scans... which are excellent if you just so happen to want your character's face to look exactly like one of those very specific particular six faces that BG3 has in its arsenal (and you're out of luck if not)... but they make up for it with quite a large amount of face shapes and options, as well as details you can add or select.

So, what about a better look at the actual models themselves?

This is Harla. She's been defending middle-earth for the last fifteen years.

Female Halfling Dynamics Base

As you can see, she's small, but ready for anything, and despite her stature there's no likelihood of her ever being mistaken for one of the local human youths – who at age nine and ten-ish, are all actually taller than her. We quickly realised that the faulds she normally wears aren't really that good for a model study, so I asked her to change into the outfit that better shows off her hips and legs. Harla was a bit embarrassed about this, but relented. We went thought a few dynamic poses and actions just to show off the dimensions of her body a little better.

Female Halfling Dynamics

A few backflips and sparring poses later, and we can see that this is a body model that is solid and strong – capable and well-balanced, and perfectly suited to its own frame and shape. Nothing is over-balanced or exaggerated, and she looks completely believable as a healthy, natural living creature (Okay, a liiiiiitle bit of distension on the arms when she throws herself into the backflips, but it's very quick... I'm lucky the screenshot caught it at all).

We then went outside and took a few more shots, just for fun; here's some comparisons with some of her human friends, and a few of her halfling companions as well:

Human and Halfling Female Direct compare, plus Costumes

Some size and proportion comparisons in our formal wear; this outfit is ceremonially bequeathed upon each kin member who earns their place as one of our most qualified guardians, in commemoration of the first guard, who is no longer with us, but was the best of us, and who always wore this outfit (the hat is an important part of it – Harla only likes to wear hers on very important occasions). We also have sneaky burglars and some cosier gear for colder climates.

These next shots show that some halflings come with more, er, baggage to worry about than others. Remember; good support is always important in times of war. Harla thinks that Gerania's high-visibility tanking outfit is a bit over the top. Gerania wonders how Harla manages to be seen by her allies at all, when she blends into the grass under a mass of trolls and uruks...

Halfling Tanks (For Fun)

Danas, our erstwhile warden joined the gathering late, as usual. He thinks that as long as he stands up straight and tall, and keeps a strong posture, no one will ever know how knuckle-whiteningly terrified he gets in battle. Rosabella likes to encourage him to keep this up; it makes his coin pouch easier to reach. Danas never understands where Rosabella gets all the money for new outfits from... he never seems to have as much as he thought.

Halfling Male and Other Costumes

==

So... what's this all about?

Well, what it boils down to is that these are some really well designed halflings; they look good, they look believable, they're well proportioned and well balanced, and they fit their own bodies in a comfortably natural way. They don't look like human children. They don't look like lazily squashed or scaled down humans either. They don't look like humans with dwarfism, and they don't look unnatural or deformed...

And, in case you haven't spotted it yet... this game is Lord of the Rings Online, and it's Fifteen Years Old. This is an example of doing it right, and it's also a open question: if a fifteen year old game can have models that look this comfortable and well-designed, then why can't BG3 (Or, it must be said, other contemporary D&D CRPG titles)?
Posted By: UnknownEvil Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 10/08/21 09:42 AM
*Push*

This still needs to be adressed. smile
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 14/08/21 12:30 AM
Thanks for the boost, it's appreciated.

I'm intending to take a run through with the latest patch and check all of the animation sets, and see if anything else has been fixed or improved since my last assessment... it's just been very hard for me to find the time in the past week or two!
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 18/09/21 06:13 AM
Time for an update!

A couple of basic comparison shots that I picked up and put together while I was setting up for this post, first of all:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

While setting up I found myself looking at the base models again, and I felt compelled just to get fresh images here, as case studies. These are not the models of natural-looking, healthy creatures. All of the existing commentaries apply; hip width and depth ratios are too wide and deep, to a borderline deformed state. When viewed along with the design of the legs, the height scale, the size of the head and the chest depth, this creates a very strong impression of neoteny or dwarfism, not of a naturally healthy creature. Both models, but male halflings in particular, are extremely top-heavy, and bear the head and shoulders (and in the female case, distended bust) of a human-sized creature; larger, in fact, than out human-sized models, which brings me to the original point of today's post.

So... here's something that I haven't specifically drawn attention to except by proxy, but I feel it's worth mentioning as a point of order, regardless of any other changes that may or may not get made.

We've discussed the way that one of the issues with the models currently is that the heads are too large for the rest of the model, creating a number of problems. As I've mentioned earlier, the change that needs to be made is only a minor one, really – it doesn't need to be a huge alteration in order to (along with the other mentioned fairly small alterations in other places) remove the impression of neoteny/dwarfism/infantalism from the current models. Halfling heads can and likely should be Slightly larger in relation to their bodies than the equivalent ratios for human-sized models... just not as much as they are right now. Where they are right now is borderline ridiculous.

In point... Right now, Halfling heads are Physically Larger than the heads on human-sized models. I'm not talking about ratios compared to their bodies, here – I'm talking actual size. Their heads are tangibly bigger than beings twice their size. Here are some comparison shots:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

My previous shots didn't do this comparison quite so directly, but here it becomes really clear to see, and it's terrible.

Halflings, male and female in this case, have the same hip and shoulder width and depth as their medium-sized counterparts, but they have also been made thicker and stockier as well, which overall means that these halflings actually have Larger and Broader body dimensions than the medium-sized creatures.

Alongside this, it's clear to see that not only are their head proportions overblown for their own size... they are actually larger overall than the medium-sized comparisons, and that is ridiculous.

So, to refresh and recap for those jumping into the thread without going through the rest of the thread, though I'd strongly encourage it for anyone who has read through this post this far (For those who have already been following along, there's nothing new in these points, it's just a recap on existing stuff for new-comers to the thread):

(Model Issue Refresher)
The changes to improve the models need only be 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: Currently far too over-sized. It should be slightly (only slightly) smaller than the heads of medium-sized creatures, while currently it is actually larger than them. This would only be a subtle reduction – their head to body ratio would still be slightly larger than the equivalent medium-sized creature's ratio; making the heads two thirds of their 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 more strongly to male models, but both need it – the chest depth on female models makes them almost ridiculously busty, along with the more general issues that this scaling currently causes.)

- The hips: The biggest source of problems, visually - by having the model share the same hip width and depth 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.

Last of all for today, a little bonus shot that I snapped while I was nipping characters through for the camp comparisons:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

While female halflings sneaking around looks at least passably normalised for their models – or at least not too distended – Male halflings are another story entirely! They move with their hands out far, and wide, once again as though they are trying to hit pose marks designed for larger creatures. The result is a very odd-looking crab-claw, creepy-arm walk that just looks silly on them. In the process, there's something extremely upsetting going on with Feeron's hands here.... I suggested that he needed to see a cleric about those fingers, but he just ignored me and turned to sneak away again... and dear gods, sir, that made it even more unsettling.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 18/09/21 06:55 AM
I think they should use the same standards and ideals of physical beauty or general attractiveness they used on Human models on the Halfling models. Seeing them side by side you can tell that the Humans look like Olympians, with a chiseled Adonis or Venus like look, and features in perfect proportion to the standards of like magazines or films of the who's hot variety. The Halflings by contrast, look like they've been letting themselves go. I don't mean the heads, but the physical builds from the neck down. The pumpkin head thing on top of that, just makes it even more pronounced. That with the animation clips and weirdness like those spiderfinger and it makes the race pretty undesirable to play as a PC I'd think. I'd be curious to see how many people are even playing as a shorty? Between the Halfling's wonky models and the Dwarves not having a passing voice set.

I'd like different phenotypes for each of the humanoid builds, going pretty much from skeleton to massive hulk along one axis, and slender to heavy on another. But like for each humanoid PC selectable race. I'd like to see the same for the monsters actually.

But yeah, the heads on BG3 halflings are absolutely ridiculous.

I'd love to see just a half-scale Shadowheart Gale standing next to full-scale Shadowheart and Gale on that same rock, just to show what Halflings should actually look like in this game hehe.

ps. I have a hypothesis that if Larian were to change the Halfling models from what they are now to scaled down 1:2 Human models (retaining the same Human proportionality) that many more players would choose to play a Halfling as their PC.

They could test it, though somehow I doubt they will. Alas. I also think there is something about the vibe of taking a trip to Lilliput when you play as a Halfling that you totally lose if, for example, their cranium is markedly enlarged. It makes their scale relative to the environment feel not small enough. I know also that Halflings have a tradition of the giant hairy flipper feet and gangly arms, coming from older edition art direction or out of Tolkien, but I think that works against their appeal and I haven't minded seeing that go elsewhere. I think Dwarves and Gnomes are the humanoid races where the artist can play with proportionality in the Skull and Skeleton and still have it work pretty well. These Halflings all look like Dwarves to me. Halflings I think should just be half-sized Humans. I wish they'd go a different route with it than what they've been doing so far.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 19/09/21 02:11 AM
Related but unrelated, I think when Clyde Caldwell and others first illustrated the Halflings for Greenwood and such, they were still very much in the Hobbit mode of depiction, like the way Lee did them or Howe or Nasmith. With the village hobbits being more portly and comical, and the venture hobbits going more lithe and athletic or human-like, but still essentially the Shire. But then after the Tolkien estate sued TSR and they went more Halfling Hin with it, I think that is when the idea really opened up that they could be more like 1:2 scale Lilliputians (like from the old movies I mean, where they did it with actors in double projection to trick the eye) rather than the proportions of the Tolkien Hobbits.

To be fair BG1/2 had the models pretty archetypal hobbit lookin' for the paper doll, especially letting the dogs breathe with no boots hehe. Even in the 5 Shires though, you can see the illustration branching out to show quite a variety, and many of the halflings shown have much more proportional figures. Later you really see a kind of split in the depictions. I think the more human-esque proportioned the Halfling characters are, the more they become attractive as a PC choice.

I think Dwarves have a different sort of appeal where you really like to see a more stocky figure like the ones depicted above as Halflings. I wouldn't mind if all the current Halfling models all became Dwarven models, and they went back to Halflings with all new animations/phenotypes and a whole new smaller scale.

The Halflings should stand right about at the elbow height of Shadowheart/Gale/Astarion in the images shown above, and their skulls should be noticeably smaller than the medium-sized human model. I couldn't agree more with that point. Really just a 1:2, as if a human had "Reduce" cast on them to go down 1 size. They would look so much cooler that way!

Dwarves should stand a head taller than halflings so they are easy to distinguish. The Dwarves I imagine at about the height of Human's shoulders say, with the larger sized skulls relative to the human model. Basically what we see on display now.

The Halfling's head would only come up to about a Human's elbows at the tallest, and with a smaller Halfling sized skull. That way you could leave room for Gnomes to be even smaller, say at about a Human's waste height or lower? I think Gnomes could follow the Dwarven proportionality and relatively larger skull-size at 1:2, the same way Halflings would follow Humans/Half-Elf models at about 1:2.

To me that would look good and be easy to parse visually, even from a distance.

ps. sorry this shop is rough, but to give a visual of what a Halfling might look like at that scale standing next to a Human/Half-Elf.... This is actually 66% scale, which is more at the elbow height of a Human. I think it works well for the quick read.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

I think that approach would probably make Halflings very popular as a PC choice. I'd like to see Nettie or Aaron as halflings with those proportions, I think it would make them look like Halflings more than beardless Dwarves. I thought Nettie was for sure Dwarven, but it's just hard to tell, and the player goes off what's available to them at Char creation.

Perhaps an even better way to go, and which would probably be appropriate for the times, is to provide a with-dwarfism/gigantism phenotype in the regular Human models as an option at either extreme of the size spectrum.

Like Nettie and Aaron could just be Humans with Achondroplasia, which is what they already appear to be anyway. You know rather than trying to make them Halflings or Gnomes or Dwarves with a V. I mean just put a Willow option in there, and a Fezzik too while they're at it, as Human options though. With more phenotypes that would be a cool add. It's only slightly fucked up that D&D doesn't take a similar formal attitude towards that stuff as they do towards say racial diversity for Humans. They could easily shore that up to be a bit more inclusive, without really giving anything up in the process.

pps. how would you feel about all the current Halfling models just becoming Gnome models?

I mean as Gnomes they kinda work for me, and we've already got the Deep Gnome who gets windmill'd using this model-type/proportionality. That way they could keep all the current NPCs unchanged if they want, just switched the Race field for them. Return to the Halflings and do em up right! Basically looking more like Humans/Half-Elves at 1:2 or thereabouts. They really need to have smaller heads.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 20/09/21 02:35 AM
I thought halflings were 3 foot so they should be smaller...ill do some digging later
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 20/09/21 04:12 AM
Yes, as of 5e descriptions, they're actually smaller than Gnomes, just barely. Halflings average just under three feet tall, while gnomes average at or just barely over three feet. It's a matter of an inch or two in the averages, but they don't have a lot of inches to count, so every one of them matters ^.^
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/09/21 10:02 AM
Ok Gnomes being slightly larger than Halflings works just fine for me. I think the more important thing is that the different kinds of shorties be easy to tell apart at a glance.

Having the Halflings follow Human/Half-Elf proportions just at 1:2 scale is the easiest way to do it I think. Because the visual read there would very different than the stout Dwarven type build.

Halflings would look like runt Humans at 1:2, and Gnomes would look like runt Dwarves at say 1:1.5 or whatever, just shrinking those model types. So the Gnomes would have bigger bobble heads and look a bit more squat following the Dwarven vibe, but standing about the same height as the Halflings. Halflings would have the smaller heads though and be the tiniest at a glance. That would be ideal I think. Just make Halflings shrunk down half elves, with a phenoptype option to be heavier set if the player wants. Give em an option to have foot-beards just for flair lol. Then they could keep their existing model work while also including Gnomes in the process. A double win!

ps. Here another one for a quick read...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Just pretend the gal on the left shows like the female Dwarf/Gnome proportions relative to Shadowheart and a Halfling on the same rock. Gnomes and Halflings would end up about the same height, but the Halflings would be clearly tinier at a glance. Then just give em all some different cloaks. Coupled with the freedom to choose a characters build/phenotype independently and I think we'd have all 3 varieties of shorty still looking pretty recognizable and simple to distinguish from one another.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 23/09/21 09:44 PM
Pretty much, slap in FR sub races, that'll change up body sizes.
Posted By: Wormerine Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/09/21 09:15 AM
Hobbit is a hobbit. Short, chubby. Keep in mind how much damage couple pints will do on such a small body wink
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hobbit_drawing_from_lucie_schrimpf.jpg

Elf’s are supposed to be beauties, not halflings (aka. Hobbit knockoffs). Wouldn’t the original appeal of halflings be “I wanna play as Bilbo”? I definitely would be again using similar models as other races, as that defeats the point. Being top down game, exadurated features are welcome. Halflings might look odd every once in a while in a cinematic, but what doesn’t at this point.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 24/09/21 07:38 PM
That original appeal is largely spent by this point. You can see where it's moving when you compare visual depictions from the 70 and 80s to say the Jackson films or the more recent stuff getting pushed out the door under the D&D banner.

I think its fair to say that Tolkien (and the tales he based his material on) were giving a mythic etiology for the kinds of short-statured humans who have always existed in the real world, and particularly notable in the entertainment industry.

Initially the conception in D&D was probably to have Achon-dwarfism represented by the "Dwarves" (think Willow or Tyrion, old Hollywood little-people) whereas Proportional-dwarfism, primordial or Seckels is represented more by the "Halflings" (think General Tom Thumb as the most famous example historically.)

Whether or not it was fucked up to make those types fantastical e.g. different races than "Human" in the first place, is probably something that no one at Wizards really wants to address head on. They're probably relieved that the issue is bound to get way less attention than the more fraught Racial stuff with Drow or Half-Orcs, but it's kind of a similar situation. I honestly have no clue how many D&D players are little people, or if they even care about how these depictions are framed out. I mean I'd assume they do, but I don't know for sure. To me it seems like both races of shorties in BG3 seem to be riffs on the Achon type, but without fully going there. Having one D&D Race following that proportional model is probably sufficient, and Dwarves seem most appropriate for that to me, though if they need a second it should be Gnomes in my view. They should do something a little different for Halflings.

I think many players like having Dwarves and Halflings around, but I would be curious to see how their popularity measures as a main PC choice in this game. Having stuff exist mainly as a token, but not being used kinda defeats the purpose a bit. I think there may also be a subtle gender preference thing going on, where Dwarves are more appealing to men and Halflings to women (to play as a PC I mean) but that's totally speculative, based more on the beard thing, and I don't want to to introduce too many hotbutton things into one post here. Suffice it to say, that I think Halflings would be a considerably more popular choice if they followed the proportionality I suggested in the image from the post above just cause it would look rather different. That's just a hypothesis though. I could be wrong, but that's what my gut tells me. And while I'm there with my gut, having a heavy-set racial phenotype also strikes me as rather problematic and unnecessary. I should be able to play a portly Elf or rail thin Halfling if I want to, descriptions in Tolkien notwithstanding. They should separate those choices into a separate char creation field, even if the defaults might suggest one or the other. There should be a way to change the physical build on any race available as a PC choice, Halflings included.

To say it another way, I think if they want to do visual depictions that suggest Achonoroplasia, like say in a kind of nod to the Hollywood fantasy inheritance and legacy, that it could be an option among the human phenotypes, along with one at the other end of the spectrum for gigantism. The fantasy races Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings should I think have a more otherworldly appearance to distinguish them. Failing that, then I guess give the Dwarves a more Achon vibe, and the Halflings more like Thumb, because to me I think that's where it came from. But I don't know that D&D really wants to go there. (Interesting Off topic on topic read.)

Instead was thinking they could just make the Halflings key off the Humans at 1:2 and optionally the gnomes key off Dwarves. More for simplicity of execution. Like so they could just scale the animations and models of 2 sets to create 4, and still give a distinct visual read.

Or I don't care maybe invert it? So the Gnomes follow Human/Half elf proportions? I mean in Tolkien Gnomes are just Noldor Elves so it kinda works. But then maybe they catch another lawsuit going that way lol. I think the first way would be easier and more in line with 5e depictions I've just been looking up now. I always kinda pictured Gnomes as the tiniest in 2e. But its more about making them easier to tell apart at the glance. Since the scale is what gives them the quick read and right now its like huge for the Halflings relative to the Humans. In Tolkien the Hobbits get taller overtime until eventually they are just like humans in later ages, so to me it makes sense. Their skulls need to be smaller than the Human models though, or it doesn't read right to me at all.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]
Lee shows it well, which one is the Bilbo? That's what I'm saying. Right now the Halflings look hard to distinguish from the Dwarves.
Posted By: Piff Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 25/09/21 12:05 AM
We're all aware that Tolkien races and ideas were a big inspiration for early DnD, no one is denying that, and the lingering influences of that can be found even today when you look at something like the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, which still talks about Elves' ancestral home being "in the West" and how "going into the West" is an Elf euphemism for dying.

But I'm strongly of the opinion that DnD should have shed all those lingering effects by now. If the lawsuit from the Tolkien estate weren't enough to shake people off that path, then consider the amount of changes that the various Tolkien-inspired races have gone through, and the fact that they now barely resemble their inspirational ancestors. Given how much it has changed, it seems silly to keep such a tight grip on those ties back, which now don't make a lot of sense. To me, it doesn't matter how Hobbits are "supposed" to look, because DnD Halflings aren't Tolkien Hobbits.

In fact, it's in WoTC best interest to distance themselves from Tolkien, because I'm sure they don't want another lawsuit over Hobbits.

EDIT
Forgot to mention. I don't like the exaggerated features on Halflings. I think it should be a Gnome thing, but not as much as it's been done here, it's too exaggerated, almost bobble-head. That is supposed to be a living creature, not a funko-pop.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 25/09/21 01:42 AM
Yeah exactly! That's pretty much my thinking there too.
Well put.

Also another quick read, just showing what Halfling scale might look like if it keyed off the Human and Half-Elf proportions. Again with the figures on the left showing Dwarf/Gnome and the right Human/Halflings. All on the same imagined rock using the snaps Niara took. But like rescaling. I think they should all have access to the same faces. Right now they are gatekeeping heads for many of the races, which is unfortunate cause it limits the variety on offer. But anyhow, I think something more like this would carry a bit better at a glance, for me at least...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]
Posted By: Fisher Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 27/09/21 01:54 PM
Originally Posted by Avalonica
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".
I'm not sure where people are getting this idea that tiny adults would even remotely resemble children. Just take an adult body, with very clear adult features and proportions, and scale it down like it stepped into a shrink ray. If you think that's what children look like, you've never seen a child before.
Posted By: Dez Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 27/09/21 10:48 PM
I really like your ideas!

Personally, I am not a fan of the 3e halflings since it looks sooo weird when they are alongside any medium-sized creature. But that is my opinion, and it is not like I believe my preference is any more "correct" than those who do like 3e.

Anyways - as a huge LotR fan, I very much enjoy the design of hobbits in general (I find them cozy and amazing <3 ), but I like the artwork that Niara showed us in the beginning of the conversation even more for playable characters! They looked like they belong in an adventure group without necessarily being as "goofy" as a hobbit character would be (by design). I mean, I could easily imagine a very cool halfling rogue, wizard or ranger by the standards that Niara provided!

In any case, I'll definitely agree on that the models of both male and female halflings should be slimmed down a notch or two. If I wanted to play a more curvy/sturdy short character, I'd pick a dwarf. I agree regarding the headsize too.

Thanks for yet another amazing post, Niara <3 Sorry I was late in finding it, but I am here to help you guys bump it up now. :]
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 28/09/21 09:53 PM
Thanks for continuing the discussion, folks ^.^ Much appreciated.

So, this is just as an illustration of some of the things I've discussed but, because it's relevant now, I did also want to show folks something else.

I'm planning (hoping) in the near-ish future, to engage in some more in depth discussions and commentaries on composition, cinematography and choreography of small characters in game cut-scenes and sequences (Not unlike the break down for a certain Minthara scene that I conducted a while back), and the perils, pitfalls and considerations that need to be accounted for when designing such interpersonal scenes involving small characters. For the sake of those exercises, I'm going to be working with some models to give visual illustration to the points. I've been vaguely intending to wait until the related intimate scenes in the game returned, and could be worked through alongside the discussion, but I'd also rather not leave it too late, either... I'm sure you understand the dilemma.

However... relevant to this topic, here are the models I'm working with for now (I work in just the wire-frame, which I feel is clearer, but the other image uses a filled texture to give the models more body and presence, just for display). Now, I'm no artist, and my graphic design skills are limited, so please forgive the less than clean model builds here:

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

The important thing to note, that I wanted to draw attention to, was that these are not 'simply' scaled down humans; there are some subtle but important differences.

The human models in these images have proportions that are just about at human averages and norms:
The male is 185cm tall (~6'1”), and has a head-to-body ratio of 7.5.
The female is 178cm (~5'10”), and also has a head-to-body ratio of 7.5.

(For some quick background info: human head-to-body ratios range from ~7 to ~8, with 7.5 considered to be the golden standard/average.)

The halflings here are 91cm (f) and 92cm (m) respectively, which is just a hair under and just a hair over 3 feet exactly. Their head-to-body ratios are 6.5. This means that they have heads that are, comparative to their human counterparts, notably larger in relation to their bodies; they are large enough that they don't end up triggering any kind of 'tiny head' response visually when we look at them (which can be a problem with directly scaled down human models), but also not so large that they end up looking ungainly or bobble-headed either.

They also have subtle differences across the rest of the models: their torso and trunk region is just a little bit stockier than the human models, and their arms are thicker (1.15 ratio comparatively to the body), and also slightly shorter. This helps prevent their limbs seeming too impossibly scrawny to our eyes at the reduced scale (Another common problem with direct scaled models is limbs feeling too 'stick-like'), without overdoing it. Similarly, their legs have a subtle 1.10 ratio, up to 1.15 towards the ankles, giving them a more solid leg overall than the human counterparts. Their feet are slightly larger by ratio as well, to match this.

The end result is subtle unless you're looking for it, because they are the anatomical changes that would naturally exist in a creature of that size, compared to us humans – so you don't notice it too much, because the creatures simply look more 'normal' and 'realistic' with those tweaks.

Again, my model work is not the most skilful – it's rough and just meant to serve as an illustration of what I feel a natural, good-looking proportion should be (It works best if you let your eye brush over them and get an impression, rather than focusing too much on the poorly blended details <.< >.>). Future threads about choreography will likely have me using these models, or tweaked versions of them, to illustrate and accompany my discussion ^.^
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 29/09/21 03:06 AM
Heads are to big Niara, been a real long time but I'm pretty sure head size is equal to three wide of the shoulders.

A little graphic, as it shows muscle shape and body, put spoilers just encase.
[Linked Image from ae01.alicdn.com]
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 29/09/21 04:32 AM
I mostly focused on getting the head-to-body ratio correct, but you may have a point in that they seem a bit too wide at the moment... Let me see...

Taking a close look at the proportions, what you're actually seeing is that the human female model I'm using has far narrower shoulders that one would expect by averages.
The head could probably afford to be a little narrower, sure, but that that oughtn't be a deal-breaker and wouldn't actually fix the shoulder ratio difference (an idealised proportion says that the total shoulder width should be approximately 2 heads(horizontal, at the collar bones), and on the human female model right now, it's only about 1.4. Narrowing the head won't change that (but it would make the visual affect seem closer to correct even though it doesn't).

The male human actually doesn't have this problem - all his ratios are within good averages. I just seem to have lapsed with the female and given her disproportionately narrow shoulders. (Though I do want to add as a side note that humans, and females in particular, often don't display this golden ratio anyway.... but for this case, I should be aiming for the standard, yes)

A slight narrowing of the head and a slightly broadening of the shoulders (and hips, by extension) ought to fix what your eye is seeing there, but again, these were just something I thought I'd toss up for a glance at the what I'm working with for later threads about posing and choreography - which only need a relativistic comparison. (Also, the tool I'm using is a bit finicky when it comes to making alterations in some specific areas of the model, and I sort of worked around that, becaue my skill level with this is minimal...)
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 29/09/21 05:28 AM
@Niara Ya, I gotcha. It was just something bothering me about it
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/09/21 02:57 AM
Those wireframes look pretty good to me. Unfortunately, when it comes to cinematics or even just the standard party view with the eye in the sky, I think Larian's default camera (in Iso, or else pseudo-driving cam, but with a locked line of sight) means that they won't be able to do anything cool with depth of field or perspective distortion like they might if the game was more POV oriented.

You know, like trying to capture the feel of being extra tiny in an outsized world, where the chairs are all towering and the character has to actually look up sometimes lol.

I'm not a huge fan of exaggerated features or enlarged skulls, since I think it works against the whole 3e vibe at 1:2 scale, but I think it's also being done mainly as expedient here, because of the way they've designed their camera. The amount of detail in the faces/facial expressions that they're trying to convey is already keying off Human scale models for the default, where the human heads are about as small as one can make them before losing a lot of visual information in the process. Without changing the camera location or the camera lenses or the blocking or anything else really, then there is probably a downward limit on how small the skulls can be made, before we just start losing so much detail that the faces become generalized abstractions. Like I think that's why their heads are so ridiculously gigantic right now, so we can still register when they're smiling or smirking or whatever, but to me its not worth it. I'd take less detail on the faces, for a more interesting and tiny sense of scale, any day of the week.

Sometimes I think their modelling and animation designers are being way too deferential to the cinematography team and prioritizing the wrong things. Changing the shape of the model to suit the camera, when they should just be moving the camera, if that makes sense? I spend way more time looking at the back of my character's head than the front of it anyway. Clipping there is super annoying too. Not just on the Halflings but for all characters, that's where a lot of the clipping issues, distorted animations, haircut or equipment troubles seem to show up. I think the problems with their animations probably come from designing a wonky model with a wonky skeleton initially and then trying to animate it. Aiming to hit different animation marks like you showed in earlier pages, or how they are trying to make it so that the regular weapons models don't have to be rescaled by having huge hands or whatever. When what they should do is just 1:2 scale everything and go more from there. They could still do some mix and match reg equipment, or introduce a smaller scaled weapons type where appropriate among the bits and bobs. Especially with daggers and short swords and bows, include some that are scaled to look decent with Halflings or Gnomes. Seeing giant weapons clip through the body, or goofy cinematics in the opening where lines of sight don't match up, just contributes to me passing on the race for a PC. Especially if its already clipping in the Char creator, you just know its going to be worse in the actual game. I think its a confluence of many things contributing to make them not a top PC choice for me in BG3, but I think if they did it right Halflings would become at least as popular as Elves. Just need to make them feel more little-world, and then I think they'd see a lot more play.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/09/21 12:58 PM
Even that quick first attempt looks about a thousand times better to me than the current defaults in BG3!
I hope they end up going for something more like that.

Oh also regarding skull sizes, another important thing to consider is that we are all pretty used to seeing conventional depictions where the "normal" head to body ratio is not the average but already an extreme.

In traditional art and illustration the ideal ratio is 1:8, in fashion its typically 1:9, so that may contribute to what seems off if going the other direction. 1:7 is more realistic, but we get mainly 1:8 from commercial illustration and advertising, and even in photography there is a tendency to choose models who get closer to the 1:8 ideal when casting.

Shadowheart, Gale and Astarion all appear to have the 1:8 head to body ratio in this game (they're actually pushing unreal, closer to 1:9) which is probably what makes them look like tall centerfold types by the standards of like magazines or movie posters hehe. We can blame the Vitruvian Man for popularizing these conventions in modern times, especially since it was widely reproduced during the 18th/19th century when traditional illustration was peaking, along with many of the other ballpark relative proportions that have since become ideals in artistic depiction. DaVinci favored composing from the square following the classical advice, and in that image he put the "head" of the Vitruvian Man (chin to crown) at 1:8, and the "face" (chin to hair) at 1:10, relative to the height of the whole figure. Doré, who was probably the greatest illustrator of all time, used the same basic proportions in his figures. So did Gibson for his Gibson Girl and Gibson Guy, which taken together give a snapshot of how the rule was put into practice in popular forms during the second half of the 19th century.

Basically in art we've seen 1:8 pretty consistently for a couple centuries now, and if it diverges from that it tends to go even taller into 1:9 territory with the body elongated and more stylized. That's just what we're used to seeing - smaller heads in general. After photography was invented, the use of those proportions didn't stop, mainly because they still work so well in drafting and because the visual norms were already well established by that point in print. We seem to find it's appeal enduring, even if it's not exactly accurate and sets unrealistic expectations of beauty.

Here are the idealized proportions as shown by Andrew Loomis...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Note especially the labelling in that last image. Gives a real sense of the conventions at play hehe

Those images were first published in "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth" 1943. The same idea is shown again in "Successful Drawing" 1952, where the 8-head-mannequin also appears on the cover.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

These were standard instructional texts, along with Bridgman's, considered classics for American illustrators of the 20th century. Just about every D&D illustrator we associate with the high fantasy genre would have been familiar with them, or at least with the basic ideas there regarding proportions.

Vilppu still teaches the same method in animation. It also informs the standards established by Disney way back when, even when they were rotoscoping live actors, for how to distort those figures to further maximize aesthetic appeal. This is for figurative realism where the 'real' has already been idealized to a fair extent.

The reason the 1:8 thing is useful for drafting, is because it is very simple to divide a line of any length in half by eyeballing it. Then through halving, using relative lengths and splitting things in half, to arrive at the place where things need to go, a head for example. All pedantic to be sure, but that's why forums exist right? and this seemed as good an opportunity as any lol. Main point being that Shadowheart isn't really the average, she's definitely already the idealized version. 1:8-8.5 at least according to the Loomis scale.

We see the smaller heads and we think mimesis, gravitas, and like studied academic refinement following the classical forms hehe, whereas larger heads indicate more caricature and cartooning and like the bawdy sarcasm of satirical cartoons. Or in the old papers, it's the basic difference between the funny pages and the super hero pages. So that translates over, whether we want it to or not, I think. A bobblehead is just going to bring that baggage along for the ride, whereas if they give Halflings the same basic treatment as the Human models (e.g proportional skulls) they'd have something that can work a rather different appeal.

Hair is important for the overall visual read too. We're not super used to seeing heads sans hairlines the way a skull presents in maquette. A hairline compresses the sense of relative scale even further for a given head/face. So if you take any of the current models in the BG3 game and select the "no hair" option, the skulls will appear larger on that figure, even if they haven't actually changed in scale. You can make Shadowheart's head feel massive for example, just by removing her fringe/braid and opting for the Mr. Clean style waxy dome instead. That's why in the Halfling wireframes above even the normal Human models already sort of look like they have Gerber baby heads. Or why among the current Halflings, the dude on the far left of the rock seems to have an extra giant dome (the Halfling skull models are huge in BG3!) We are pretty conversant in these 1:8 ideals just from being bombarded by idealized images of humans constantly, and thus pick up on subtle scaling differences very quickly. Especially with skulls since its a big part of the visual language inheritance and we're trained to look for it as a hallmark of cartooning. Enlarged heads set a visual tone, and as noted many times, a little goes a long way hehe. I think their best bet is to go 1/2 scale off their idealized Human counterparts for the Halflings, so it carries through in the quick read. Pretty much exactly like the <Redacted> image above. At least as a starting point. If they want to go 1:7 for the Halfling skulls from there, the difference won't seem as marked, and at least the body animations would look alright.

Just to reiterate, I think if they gave Halflings the proportionality and aesthetic appeal of the Human/Half-Elf models at 1:2, then Halflings would instantly rival Humans as a top choice for a PC with many players. Right now I suspect Halflings are coming in like dead last behind Dwarves and Githyanki. All the current Halflings models could just become Dwarf/Gnome models so the work isn't lost. Halflings at 1:2 would feel so novel, it'd seem like they actually added a new race. I totally think that's what they should do, and just scale down the weapons types to include small size-versions. I mean since they're a distinct culture and mini civilization, the idea of them having to use human sized daggers for swords just feels goofy. It works in the Hobbit as a one off, but in Faerun they should have access to weapons that fit their stature. For the modellers just hit scale, so it's not too much crazy work. Or I don't know, but hopefully they read some of this stuff, fingers crossed, cause this is still the best thread.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/09/21 11:10 PM
Thanks for the chat Black Elk ^.^ I feel as though it sounds like you've studied this area in more serious depth than I have - I've only studied it in passing, as an interest and never as a dedicated endeavour, so I welcome someone more knowledgeable ^.^

It was a toss up for me - art standards treat 1:8 as the golden ratio, but "real world humans" average from about 7-8 (with other extreme outliers as well), with ~7.5 being the more realistic average. So I was debating whether to match to "art standard" or "real world standard", since, well, this IS a work of art after all.

I went with 1:7.5 with my human models in the end, but the actual head *Shape* could probably use a lot of work. I'm not THAT good at this, despite my efforts <.< >.>

Direct scaling the halflings causes some visual ticks that people often complain about - overly scrawny limbs and tiny-seeming heads being the main ones. I felt they looked better with minor adjustments in that area - slight thickening of the limbs in relation to the trunk, slightly sturdier legs, a slightly stockier torso ratio, but only slightly, and then also setting their heads to a 1:6.5 ratio - larger in relation to their bodies, but only by enough to avoid the 'tiny head' impression of the smaller model, or at least that was the goal (The halflings that I posted a while back, in LotRO have substantially non-human proportions, and they actually look *Fantastic* - they look like normal, healthy, believable creatures, but also clearly not human creatures as well). The attempt I've made comes across fine to my eyes as a result of those tweaks (though I continue to tweak it), but my eyes are the only ones I can test on, and I can't say how effective it is for others.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 01/10/21 12:34 AM
I'd be pretty ecstatic if they would just follow your diagram to update their designs. I think it works perfectly well and captures the essence of the modern imagined Halfling way better than Larian's modelling. The post above was aimed more at fallenj's reaction to heads being too big, but then I launched a big old rambler's digression like I tend to do and didn't really clarify hehe. I'm just an enthusiast as well, with a passing interest in the art stuff, but still thought it important to note that the current Human/Half-Elf models in BG3 definitely seem to show idealized proportions. So even putting 1:8 Shadowheart with legs for miles, standing next to 1:7.5 Shadowheart, people would likely note the difference and react with the same biases outlined in the Loomis diagram. You know, where reality looks "Rather Dumpy" by comparison lol, and everyone expects these Idealized Fashion/Heroes who are all extra tall and extra beautiful, because that's just what we got dished up on the regular for so long.

I think there is probably a breakpoint where subtle preferences turn into much stronger aversions, and if they want to avoid the latter, to bear in mind that many players will prefer to play a more beautiful PC. Even if the starting point is like Githyanki levels of ugly, players will still find a way to be choosy about it hehe. I think the trend towards 1:2 Halflings in the post 3e depictions moves in the right direction, not just to distance D&D Halflings from the Hobbit phenotype but to make them more objectively appealing. To put it even more crassly, Hobbits aren't attractive, and Hobbits could never be hot. At least not in the way that Humans/Half-Elves typically are, but Halflings at 1:2 very well could be, and I think players would immediately respond to that by rolling them more frequently as PCs. It's a test case in the making. They just need to choose to make Halflings more beautiful according to the Standard standards (whatever they're using for their Humans) instead of gangly cartoon characters. Leave that stuff for the Gnomes. Half-measure compromises will probably only produce middling results, with the race remaining pretty niche. Whereas if they start from a scale that is more appealing and go from there, I think they'd see a much stronger positive reception.

Just for further clarity, your wireframe diagrams are already showing what I wish they'd do in BG3. Even if the base Human head to body ratio there is more realistic compared to Larian's idealized Humans, at least the Halflings still look roughly like Humans at 1:2 scale in your image.

Sure there's some compression in the limbs and some style choices, but they definitely don't look like Dwarves at 3:4 which is how Larian's Halflings appear to me.

You can see from the image at the top of this page, I reduced Larian's Halfling model to 70% in order to make a Gnome and yet her skull still appears as large as Shadowheart's standing next to her on the rock even at that reduced scale! That's beyond ridiculous.

It's not even just a 3e thing though, I mean look at the portraits of Alora from BG1 and Mazzy from BG2...


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

There's a reason why they close cropped the portrait, because the subtle shift away from Hobbits towards 1:2 has already occurred by that point. At least in the portrait and promotional art. They still had the big feet in avatar, but the portrait images show proportional skulls that suggest a more 1:2 figure. Then the LOTR films came out and pushed the popular transformation further. Compare Frodo from the Fellowship of the Ring 2001 to the animated Hobbit from 1977 or Frodo in Return of the King 1980. Those were the extremes of back then. I think D&D should go even further towards 1:2 with the Halflings now, because depictions of Gnomes and Dwarves already have the other visual vibe well covered. If they want Halflings to capture new interest then the 1:2 approach I think holds more promise, rather than a rehash of depictions from the 80s.

Larian's Halflings just look lame. They aren't Hobbit enough to make traditionalist happy, and they definitely aren't catering to the 1:2 modern Halfling aesthetic that's been around for like 20 years now. Instead Larian's Halflings are getting the worst of all worlds, with nobody happy, and the work feels wasted. They aren't doing anything to make me want to play as a Halfling PC with those models, and I suspect the metrics would show way fewer Halfling PCs in BG3 compared to Humans or Elves or even Dwarves. If they followed your diagram instead, I think Halflings would become a top choice practically overnight. I hope they revisit the issue and bring some stronger design chops to the table next time.

Random aside, but I had a thought on how they could do like a Halfling druid village Ewok style, like they live in giant conifers with platforms and such. Maybe since Halflings are lighter and more dextrous they can take the bold jumps, or fall from great heights but still land on their feet like cats, or use cloaks like squirrels to glide. Stuff like that, getting away from the mole hole take and doing something way different with them. More like the Brownies in Willow basically for that one. I think something like that would be a fun twist on the usual snug in the ground take. Or do the same thing but really set underground, go way next level with it, like tiny tunnel shortcuts and repelling in gigantic caverns where the whole Halfling city is built into the side of a cave wall say. Just something to give them a kind of proto-wilderness spot in Faerun that isn't the Riverlands but more the forests and caves next door. The Riverlands Shire thing is kinda done to death, I want to see them branch out and do something a little cooler with it that is Halfling focused, and where they aren't just tacked on to the normal Human civ. I think the crossover between Halfling and Gnome culture could be fun too, as like a meta rivalry thing hehe. Like having them occupy similar zones, places where the tiny tropes can have more outsized adventures and where the Halfling PC can go alt routes or showcase their unique tiny feats. Say the Halflings can climb to reach higher points and such, so they can do more exclusive maneuvering in crazy places where the big old Humans and Dwarves would have trouble managing. Or crossing hazardous terrain more easily or maybe access to places Humans couldn't reach at all. More side zones with the tiny perks and solutions. That was the best part of the Hobbit, and the thing that should be retained. But I think it starts by first capturing the super tiny feel at 1:2. They should totally do low angle stuff with the camera when the PC is zoomed into a drive view too, that would be cool to see. Just the change in perspective drop cam for a start. I'm thinking more about the roaming experience than the cut scenes, but doing it in both really so the idea carries through. Tiny weapons too, I mean it only makes sense. Even if they reserve it more as a big get, I'd like to see halfling swords and bows that are keyed off the 1:2 proportions as well. No reason they can't look dashing and poised with some cool equipment that suits their scale and has some Halfling flair to it.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 05/10/21 06:21 PM
@<Redacted> That's about what I would expect a halfling to look like, nice edit.
Posted By: UnknownEvil Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 06/10/21 08:02 AM
I think Niaras approach is very good.
Halflings should not just be scales down humans or elves. Heads should look a tad bigger etc. Even if it's just a fantasy, Brains need space to work properly laugh. Going at it from an evolutionary standpoint, you would need to think a bit about which parts of the body need to be strenghtened or weakened to make them a healthy
Species.

Take the other direction: Giants. If you would just scale a human up to, lets say 10 meters, it would look like a human but could not stand, let alone move. Head would be too heavy etc.

Same goes for the small direction.

If i read my forgotten realms correctly, halflings are agile and dextrous. With the acutal ingame bodies, movement liek that would not really work out.
Without wanting to discrimininate or belittle anyone, if you look at our real life small folk (forgot the english term) and how they move, it is different from the standard human.

Nature designs bodies of beings generally for their purpose. So i am all for changing halflings to a more "realistic" (nice term for a fictive race) bodyform.

I think the Kender race from the Dragonlance setting has that. I think they are the substitute for Halflings there. Cannot remember if they have those too.

Apart from all that: We need more bodyforms for all races :P
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 06/10/21 08:16 PM
I think they should start from the human models as the basis at 1:2, not to trash morphological realism or buck any evolutionary rationale behind Halfling's needing larger brain cases or sturdier legs or whatever hehe... Instead I suggest Humans at 1:2 purely for practical workflow type reasons. I think the visuals are way more likely to get fucked up if they are inventing an entirely new skeleton on the fly for their maquette and then trying to fully animate it.

Reproportioning the figures in very nuanced ways might be ideal, but would also probably result in more potential goofs and oversights of the sort we've already seen. Whereas if they could just scale the existing work they've done for humans and create a similar overall effect at half size, I think that'd be passing fair and serviceable for a game like this. I mean clearly they have been having some issues properly animating and scaling the Dwarves and current Halfling models to look decent, doing all the things that the more standardly proportioned humanoids can do.

I'm guessing that whatever tools they are using to model and animate in BG3 have a built-in standard Human frame, but probably not a standard Dwarf frame, which is why the animations look all out of whack right now. They're having to push and pull or distort and invent stuff to close the emotive gaps, in an scheme designed principally for animating normally proportioned Human figures.

If they could just focus on getting an animated Human model to scale at 1:2 then I think they'd at least be halfway to a pretty damn good looking Halfling. Just enlarging the skulls from there to like 1:7 would be somewhat simpler than if they are changing the length of all the limbs and the proportions of the extremities. If they need to rekey all the animations for everything, they'll probably screw something up again, like swords clipping through the figure and spider fingers etc. What they're probably doing right now, if at all, is trying to fix the animations for all the current Halflings models we don't like lol. They should shift that work to the Dwarf model set I think, make sure they look good there, so they can do the same thing rescaling Dwarves to create the Gnomes. Just seems like it would be simpler that way, with fewer potential screw ups in the animation.

With a couple more general phenotypes added to make slim or broader boned and more full bodied figures across the board, then rolling with a more portly Halfling could be a choice rather than a requirement in Char creation. A choice to have a particularly large head or large gut or a hairy set of flapper feet would be a nice touch for the traditionalists, but it should be a different field. The way beards are handled say.

Again though I'd just caution against defaulting to skulls that are notably large relative to the rest of the figure. I think Niara's models look pretty great, but the bobble head effect can easily undermine the potential aesthetic appeal if it takes over. Larian has already demonstrated an aptitude for going way overboard in the wrong direction with it in the current models, so I'd ere on the side of restraint there. Testy's quick edit I think has a very clear read, and could easily be dressed up to my satisfaction.

I'm not at all convinced they'll do anything with this feedback, but I wish they'd revisit the Halfling models from the ground up. Let the Dwarves be dwarfs, but have the Halflings be something else. Right now the Halflings look way too much like Dwarves. Maybe because Divinity didn't have any Halflings? so that was just their go-to modelling as a stopgap? But it just looks off to me.
Posted By: Umbra Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 06/10/21 10:51 PM
This thread bugged me. I'm disabled myself, and people getting written out of realitity bugs me. Forgotten Realms alone is ahuge concept, and everyone should find themselves in it. It does seem that in order to avoid offense ( and not ness by the folks concerned) too much is being deneid. I'd love to be able to take a crippling disabilty and turn it around in my fantasy game. An enchanted set of Knee Bracers that add +2 to Dex. Can't have in real life, but could have an adventure, and bring home to other folks the effect of a disabilty ( literally, - to a ability score, it's what got me using Drow in the first place, back when they had that level reduction).

Real humans (H.Sapiens that is) have large skulls for a reason; to hold our large brains. I looked up H. floresiensis and it's fucking fasinating, and how it's different to micrcephaly and pygmyism. I'd recommend reading up on that first. But, to not diverge too much, the models shown would need a lot more in the the forehead region to carry the sentient, sapient processing capacity of a person. Small seems less important, so long the right centres of the brain have the room they need.

To be blunt, the proposed model would be OK for faries or other races where the magical is more important than the physical reality. Sorry Testy, that would be fine for a magical race from another plane, but not a flesh-and-blood person from the Prime. A differnt skull shape is needed, more forehead.

Super-little people could be a lot oF fun, we've had Auntie Ethel, an encounter with the Seelie or Unseelie could be fun, any being looking to Godhood will affect the Realms around them, why not have the Fey courts take notice of the Absolutes actions? ( I personally love how the Fey can upset everything just by being themselves...) ( Yes, I know, I'm an unashamed Warlock and would love more Fey in the game. More of most stuff honestly. I'm not a tabletopper myself, but I'd look for someone who could ride the craxy if I was! Player agency should be whatever imagination can bring!).

But leave the hurtful prejudgices at the door, there's not enough representation as is. Taking out is not a positive step.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 06/10/21 11:49 PM
What hurtful prejudice, exactly, if I may ask?

I'm also disabled, so don't wave that flag at me - let's just talk sensibly, and ideally in good spirits (If I come across as forceful with any of the following, I promise it's not my intent to be aggressive or to offend).
No-one is getting 'written out' here. People with disabilities aren't represented in this game, I'll agree with that - but that issue is not in any way the purview of this thread, and has nothing to do with it.

What erasure are you perceiving is being asked for here? It sounds like you're asking for an entire race of creatures to be designed and depicted in a way that makes them appear to have a major disorder in order to 'represent' people with similar disabilities - No, that's not helpful. It's destructive and harmful, because it reinforces othering and segregation. I'm all for people being able to elect for various disabilities to exist for their characters, and if the game could handle character design to that level and do it effectively it would be great. It would also create angry waves of people who weren't satisfied that it was done well enough for their liking, or who found it offensive for different reasons, but that's a different problem. Making an entire character race present a clinical disorder for the sake of representation is never going to be an acceptable course of action - or how would you like to be treated as though you were a completely different species of creature, because of your disability? Do you not find the entire concept of picking "the disabled representing race" to be, itself, an incredibly gross concept? People suffer that exact experience every day, and it's not a good thing (It's horrible, in fact. There are plenty of humans out there who will treat you like you're both infantile levels of stupid, and also act like you can't hear them, just because, for example, you talk with your hands rather than your mouth, as I do) - there is zero reason to entrench that in a video game.

Originally Posted by Umbra
Real humans (H.Sapiens that is) have large skulls for a reason; to hold our large brains. I looked up H. floresiensis and it's fucking fasinating, and how it's different to micrcephaly and pygmyism. I'd recommend reading up on that first. But, to not diverge too much, the models shown would need a lot more in the the forehead region to carry the sentient, sapient processing capacity of a person.

This is not quite accurate. If they were simply smaller humans, as in, actual humans, with human physiology, but small, then yes, they would definitely struggle. The point is, however, that they are Not humans. They are a independent creature race - an entirely different species of being. They aren't going to have the same cranial physiology as humans, if you want to go into it that far, precisely because they are much smaller mammals that present human-level intelligence. If you looked at halfling brain, for example, you'd find that it was exponentially more crenulated than a human brain (that is, they'd have a far, far greater density of gyri and sulci). They don't need to have bulbous or deformed heads because they are not human, and they are able to have an independent neurobiology that suites the creatures they are designed to be, with healthy-looking proportion (and yes, I will continue to use that phrasing; no offence is intended, but a disability is a disability, and a disorder is a disorder, and they are not healthy, by their very definition. This isn't a judgement on anyone who lives with such things, it's just a factual statement). (If you'd like some more interesting reading, you could look into ravens - who possess human-level intelligence and a capacity for abstract thought, planing and reasoning, emotive attachment and grudge-holding that surpasses all other primate species and even pre-adolescent humans; they don't have large lobes anywhere, they just have independent and different neurobiology that suites their form, not ours)

Right now, the halfling models don't look like halflings. They look far more like humans with a particular form of dwarfism. They shouldn't. They're halflings, not humans with a particular form of dwarfism. I'll never stand in the way of more player freedom with character design and choice, nor of the ability to feel represented, seen and acknowledge, in video games or in anything else, but that is not in any way an issue relevant to this thread. Trying to say that the entire halfling race should be "Used" to serve as the representation point for certain groups of people with disorders or conditions is not progressive; it's hurtful, harmful, disrespectful and offensive - to halflings and to people who bear those disabilities or conditions.

Representation is good - the ability of everyone, no matter their status, to feel like they can find something or someone in the game to identify with or to feel seen and acknowledge by the presence of, is a good thing... But stepping on other beings and erasing their uniqueness in order to champion that idea is committing the very crime you're speaking out against. It's not a relevant part of this thread, but I'd definitely encourage you to make your own seeking more and better representation in the game in general and regardless of your race of choice, if you wish to. I'd even support it, most likely.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 07/10/21 06:33 AM
I think this is fair. Honestly the physiology I'd prefer for Halflings is more faerie-like and otherworldly magical, because I think it holds a different sort of appeal, and so we'd depart there a bit in our aims. In my view they are backtracking on Halfling appearance to something I recognize more from like 30 years ago, rather than what we've seen from the more recent materials.

I was trying to anticipate this representation critique on the previous page, but perhaps didn't do the greatest job expressing my views. I think if the goal is to represent actual short statured humans in D&D, then they should be Human and the human phenotype should expand beyond the highly idealized and stylized centerfolds we see now to include the broader variety there. In the same way they treat race now. I think that would be appropriate for the times, and would probably be lauded by everyone who wants a more inclusive game.

Where it becomes more problematic is the idea that historically this is how "the other" has been treated in fantasy. So a person with Achondroplasia might feel like "hey, don't take Halflings away from us! cause Halflings are how we identify here!" And then if there's no replacement, the feeling of having something taken away is probably pretty accurate, sure.

But again, the Halflings and Dwarves as depicted by Larian don't really appear to be badass achons like Willow and Meegosh and Vohnkar, or the Time Bandits, or Tyrion Lannister etc. If that's how Halflings were depicted in BG3 or by D&D in general then I'd probably back way off the topic, like 'well that's their's now, and they can own it how they like.' But that's not really how they look is it? I mean there is a vague suggestion in that direction, but the maquette they're using is pretty fantastical. It doesn't track with how short statured humans actually look in the real world. Instead it's like this in-between compromise to get a Nettie or an Aaron. Also if the D&D Lore supported it more, like with explanations about how Halflings or Dwarves are really just a type of Human in Faerun and exactly analogous to what we see in the real world here, that'd be rather different. But that's not where D&D went with it at all. Instead they ran in the complete opposite direction going on two decades now. So what Larian is doing here, is kind of like re-opening a door that the Wizards probably already hoped to close a while back, to avoid exactly this kind of fantasy stereotyping.

I'm all for including disabilities in the game with more representation, I just think othering them into a separate fantasy category (e.g not "Human") is the wrong way to approach it. They could easily include gigantism and dwarfism among the human phenotypes. They could also do a deaf option where the speaking animations are done in sign. I think they could also provide models that included fantasy themed prosthetics or gnomish devices or enchanted bracers like you mentioned, to capture more the spirit of inclusion. Since it's not reality but fantasy, in D&D we should be able provide options there with no gameplay consequence beyond aesthetics. Something beyond just roleplaying the able bodied. They could be doing professor X style stuff, or have arms or legs of living wood crafted by the Druids or something. I mean there are a lot of ways they could go with it, if they wanted people to see it and say "wow, that's cool they actually thought about people who look like me for a change!" Will they actually go there though? I think judging from what we've seen so far, it feels pretty unlikely. Right now every human, elf, tiefling and githyanki model uses the same chiseled human phenotype with only the heads and few cosmetic features like ears or horns or whatever to distinguish them. All the Halflings are portly. It's not like we can create a unique physical build right now. Let alone doing something more inventive like rolling a one armed PC, but where that doesn't have to impact the actual gameplay, just the looks on offer.

Absent some kind of directive from the Wizards, I don't know that Larian is really serious enough to tackle the broader issue solo. They've proven themselves pretty irreverent with everything they do, all their climbing cows and salamis and whatnot. I think it would be hard for them to escape criticism, or to treat the representation thing with enough gravity to get a pass under close scrutiny. I think it would be more likely to come off as a bad joke or disingenuous given their track record. But still, it would be cool to see a D&D game that approached this stuff in a more thoughtful way.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 07/10/21 03:49 PM
That's how I read it and it seemed like a pretty good solution to me. Or as a possible approach to modding the game, in the event that Larian doesn't touch anything and just pushes it out the door this way.

I think they are using the same basic phenotype (just with different heads) for their Goblins too, even though we don't have access to those as a PC. It also feels like they are having everyone stand at like 1.5 meters tall, because their camera framing is currently so rigid, and that's just what it takes not to have the figure cropping out of view constantly in their standard dialog cutscenes. I'd rather they come up with a more dynamic camera scheme for that and have the camera key off the model's line of sight, rather than transforming the models to suit the static camera.

Striving for realism (like say with skull sizes) is a fun mental exercise, but we're not this discerning in other areas. I mean we have giant spiders, even though their exoskeletons are completely impossible by real world standards. The giant weta clocks in at what like 3 ounces at most? I mean its big, but it's not anywhere near "giant spider in D&D" levels of big. Same deal for dragons that could actually fly, or imps with tiny wings hovering about. The answer to these issues in D&D is always pretty much the same, e.g. fantasy magic, and everyone just nods.

I agree most of the stuff we've been discussing comes down to preference, whether one prefers a Lidda or a Bilbo, or how far the BG3 depictions stray from other depictions in the source material. I think having a different phenotype based whether they're Lightfoot or Stoutheart or whatnot is also a viable approach. The main concern though is that, if they are already struggling this hard to animate Dwarves, creating yet more unique wireframes with different proportions that then have to be animated independently might be problems. Hence the expedient of just shrinking down existing assets, for something that is workable. I'd guess the Human animated models use some form of motion capture as the basis, (whether Larian is actually building that, or just using something more off the shelf, I couldn't say) but it appears that the Human animations work reasonably well. I don't think they should ashcan the work they've already done animating Halfling models, but just shift it to the Dwarves.

I don't really like the 5e art that I've seen for Halflings. I think its annoying that they spent 2 and a half editions revamping the Halfling look in the art direction, only to completely reverse course and be all retro with massive domes in 5e. We can see from the mines what the Gnomes, Dwarves and Halflings will probably end up looking like in BG3, but I just think its a bummer they can't make a place for the other look, cause I definitely preferred it.

I would take a Ghostwise Halfling sub-race with a distinct phenotype more at 1:2 and call it even I guess, if they'd give us that at least.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 07/10/21 10:44 PM
Originally Posted by Black_Elk
I don't really like the 5e art that I've seen for Halflings. I think its annoying that they spent 2 and a half editions revamping the Halfling look in the art direction, only to completely reverse course and be all retro with massive domes in 5e.

Well, just remember that much of the artwork I posted in the initial pages of this thread is actually from official 5e books, and several are even from the PHB itself. In terms of style, the bobble-head image that takes pride of place in the halfling's section is actually in a minority in terms of depicted style - the very same book contains several instances of much more appropriate artwork. That was part of the thrust of the initial discussion, after all - that, contrary to common opinion, the whole bobble-head look is *not* the official 5e look, because there is more official art in official books that displays far more reasonable proportions, and the most commonly referenced art piece is far more stylised. A large part of the initial discussion was specifically to remove the "That's just how they are in 5e" fall-back argument from the table, because it's actually not.

https://i.imgur.com/ahnSyis.png (Xan)

https://i.imgur.com/3fhpuXE.png (Mad Mage)

https://i.imgur.com/7U8JKmx.png (Sword Coast)

https://i.imgur.com/WxvForT.png (Out of the Abyss)

https://i.imgur.com/KwZzk8U.png (PHB)

In particular what we see is that, in the official artwork, the less overly stylised the pieces become, the more sensible and realistic the halfling proportions become as well.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 03:28 AM
Originally Posted by Umbra
This thread bugged me. I'm disabled myself, and people getting written out of realitity bugs me. Forgotten Realms alone is ahuge concept, and everyone should find themselves in it. It does seem that in order to avoid offense ( and not ness by the folks concerned) too much is being deneid. I'd love to be able to take a crippling disabilty and turn it around in my fantasy game. An enchanted set of Knee Bracers that add +2 to Dex. Can't have in real life, but could have an adventure, and bring home to other folks the effect of a disabilty ( literally, - to a ability score, it's what got me using Drow in the first place, back when they had that level reduction).

Real humans (H.Sapiens that is) have large skulls for a reason; to hold our large brains. I looked up H. floresiensis and it's fucking fasinating, and how it's different to micrcephaly and pygmyism. I'd recommend reading up on that first. But, to not diverge too much, the models shown would need a lot more in the the forehead region to carry the sentient, sapient processing capacity of a person. Small seems less important, so long the right centres of the brain have the room they need.

To be blunt, the proposed model would be OK for faries or other races where the magical is more important than the physical reality. Sorry Testy, that would be fine for a magical race from another plane, but not a flesh-and-blood person from the Prime. A differnt skull shape is needed, more forehead.

Super-little people could be a lot oF fun, we've had Auntie Ethel, an encounter with the Seelie or Unseelie could be fun, any being looking to Godhood will affect the Realms around them, why not have the Fey courts take notice of the Absolutes actions? ( I personally love how the Fey can upset everything just by being themselves...) ( Yes, I know, I'm an unashamed Warlock and would love more Fey in the game. More of most stuff honestly. I'm not a tabletopper myself, but I'd look for someone who could ride the craxy if I was! Player agency should be whatever imagination can bring!).

But leave the hurtful prejudgices at the door, there's not enough representation as is. Taking out is not a positive step.

Do you even play d&d? Do you realize what a halfling even looked like in 3-4e?

BTW all elves are from the feywild, the only ones still located their is Eladrin. No, don't need "fey" races its seriously half the roster right now.

Maybe you should do some googling on FR or d&d period before coming on the forums pointing fingers.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 03:59 AM
@<Redacted> the height comparison is what I was referring to. Generally remember halflings being roughly below croch area or more than half a persons thigh when standing side by side.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 04:01 AM
Well however one feels about the art of late, one thing it continues to illustrate pretty clearly (and which you also stressed in opening pages) is that Larian's Halflings are way too tall.

Thumbing through the old tomes, I just wanted to show what was probably one of the smaller depictions from the AD&D era. From Easley's "Dungeon Horde" a slightly desaturated version of which was used as the cover for "The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide" in 1986. It was a clutch text at the time, especially for introducing several non-weapons proficiencies and skills to the game and for providing details on how to map cavernous dungeons in 3 dimensions, among other things. But I just wanted to show the cover...


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

There among all the mini-minions, who look like they'd be giving Stephen Dorff nightmares a year later in the hollywood film "The Gate" hehe, is that little guy brandishing the dagger and hanging on for dear life at knee height. I mean he's small!

Even with some allowances for foreshortening, he's not even waist high. That dude could definitely run between the legs of a medium sized Human standing at 2 meters. Sure he's got the squat proportions and the somewhat larger skull, but there's no confusion about who has the bigger head between him and the Human. He's also stacked! I mean he's practically sporting Halsin guns there. Look at that definition in the shoulders. Not that this is the Apex of Halfling images per se, but I think it gives a really cool sense of scale, and shows how a Halfling has a much smaller read than say a Dwarf. I mean the difference between 1 meter tall (or shorter) and 1.5 meters tall is pretty considerable.

Landing a cool Halfling image was always a challenge, and I still find most of the newer official artwork kind of disappointing to be honest, but I'm a little harsh. The first generation of digital painting which formed the basis for post 3e artwork always grated a bit when presented next to work done in traditional media at the time. A lot of things made it into the books and even onto covers which felt more like WIPs to me. They used to do the same sort of stuff in first and second edition AD&D, but generally for the smaller inserts they'd go with a pen and ink 2 tone style that was more graphic and bold. In the post 3e materials they started including drafts in color for the insets, like the equivalent of digital pencil sketches, or the same thing but with a color wash overlaid, or done in vignette. I think much of that artwork was pretty weak from like 2000-2010. Probably because the tools were still in their infancy, and it takes some time for the work to catch up. In the intervening decade digital painting has taken off, and now its often hard to tell whether someone is using oils or playing with pixels. We now have digital masters to choose from these days, but they're probably hoping to get paid by TOR or Magic the Gathering, rather than doing the D&D grunt work sadly. I think D&D has become the place where people cut their teeth now, but that's a digression. Main point being, they need to at least make the Halflings look like they are standing at 3 ft tall 1 meter, and right now that's not the case.

Even if they just ended up shrinking the current Halfling models by 1:2 I'd be happier with them. I don't think they'd look as cool as some of the Lidda depictions or 3e Halfling figurines, but it would be better than what we have in game currently. Just as an aside, I think some of the illustrators in the 3e period sexualized Lidda a bit overmuch. Like I recall that one illustration making the rounds, where she seemed to be taking her pants off in front of the ancient monument. That was done in rather poor taste I think, but she looked pretty badass in many of the other "action" shot illustrations. I think I'd be pretty satisfied with a compromise, where they allowed that phenotype to still exist as a Halfling subrace. Since it seems to be somewhat contentious, at least that would give a place for both renditions to coexist.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 04:02 AM
Is that pic upside down?

Nice picture BTW & ya pics from 90s had that theme to them. All guys had muscles on muscles with woman top decked and revealing.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 04:09 AM
Yeah sorry, my phone snapper was being weird there. I re-uploaded it with a proper orientation and spoilered just so it wouldn't make the page lag too much.

I just thought it was a good example of Halfling from the old school era, who has the more stout and stylized proportions, but was also buff, and most importantly tiny.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 04:13 AM
Wasn't sure if it was my phone or the pic. An ya I gotcha, I should look up more old art, never seen that before, but I would of been 3 back then.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 05:46 AM
Yeah I was like 5 myself, but some of the older kids in the neighborhood had some cool stuff. Also things tended to kick around for a bit longer on the bookshelves back then, or swoops at garage sales.

I remember "The Art of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Game" though, it was one of the first art books I ever picked up at Tower. Along with Giger's Necronomicon, a Dali folio, and probably some turtles and aliens comics maybe, back when the Xmas gift certificate was like a novel invention lol. I feel old sometimes, other times not so much, but I think they were all reissued in the 90s with a bunch of 2nd edition rebranding. In that one they give Elmore, Caldwell, Easley and Parkinson top billing so like late 80s flair. They all have some misses sure, but some masterpieces too in there. For more 90s looks I think of like the reissued "Masters of Dragonlance Art" that came out right around the turn of the century. It has a better cross-section survey, and Brom mainly for my sensibility lol. That guy was on the level for my teenage tastes. His painting "Lost Note" looks like something out the pre raphaelite era or like jugendstil endgame, so you know dude could paint a figure. Darkwerks, all that stuff is great. But predictably, there is a dearth of great Halfling art even going there.

I wish I could pull up a dozen images right now of Halflings that I think are spectacular, but I'd struggle to find any really. I think some of the Liddas had the vibe, but not the execution. I still like that proportionality for a figure though. It reminds of all the cool climbing rules and super dex slant that feels more action heroic to me. More Took I guess, to use the old speak.

I liked that direction, so it pains a bit to see the backtracker. I see Salamis and think, well ok cool, but what have they done for the Halflings and the Gnomes? I think what we're going to get is fat halflings with rounded ears, and skinny gnomes with pointed ears using essentially the same 4 and a half foot phenotype. With heads as large as Humans, because of the way their camera is set up. But I want Gnomes and Halflings to look small, like 1 meter or thereabouts. Not coming across in their current scaling at all for me.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 07:11 AM
To be fair, that shot of Lidda, the intention was that she wasn't stripping - just pulling down the band of her leggings far enough to compare one of her tattoos with a symbol that seemed identical on the statue... a strange curiosity. I know that's not necessarily an excuse, but as a lady of broad and varied appreciation, I forgive them for it <.< >.>
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 08/10/21 07:38 AM
Yeah I mean, I can forgive it as well, even without the context, obviously hehe. Because I think what they were trying to convey more generally was the idea that a Halfling PC could be more than just comic relief. So they selected art that went other directions, like cool action posing or some stuff with sex appeal. Like why not have a badass Halfling flash some hip flair while solving the puzzle I guess. We've seen it a thousand times for Humans and Elves, but like never usually with the shorties. But then those are the kinds of the things that can come into it when the proportions are a bit more subtle and rather less cartoonish in the extreme. Take that same Lidda image with a head twice or three times the size and it wouldn't carry the same way at all. Probably would feel twice or three times as crass, and more like a Mad Magazine cartoon or something lol.

Elmore has a similar image, but with a more 80s sensibility and the boots, so it's not like unique to the 3e Lidda stuff hehe. Not exactly his greatest painting ever, but still passing fair. I think he could have achieved a similar effect with more subtlety, but it's still pretty tame compared to the standard Human fair from the same period. I think 88

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

He tended to draw them fairly tall, also more proportional and elf-like. What we saw in Dragon Slayers for example.
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

I think they had the most sex appeal of the AD&D Halfling depictions, mainly because their proportionality was closer to Human/Half-Elf just shorter in stature (though not quite as short as I'd like to see in BG3.)
Posted By: DanteYoda Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/21 01:00 AM
Did they ever bother to do anything about this..

As it stands no one really wants to play these hideous things and modders totally avoid the class, so if you play Halflings in release expect no mods at all..

Please give us sliders and choices to fix these hideous hobbits. Or better still Larion please add proper D&D halflings.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/21 04:59 AM
No, no model updates yet, unfortunately.

They have fixed most of the animations such that they line up properly now, and there's very little clipping, and that's nice, but it's still only a small consolation for the way they currently look.
Posted By: UnknownEvil Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/21 08:48 AM
Which is a pity. It's not a small side topic either.

At times it feels like larian (and a lot of other developers) thinkd their own ideas and views the non-plus-ultra, no matter how many other opionins they get from their players, their customers. I admit that larian has done a lot since the beginning, but i criticise it nonetheless.

I have wanted to play a halfling but never did. I hate looking at my char and have this "urgh" feeling. I really hope that this is something they have on their agenda and only put back since it is "only" a graphical issue.
Posted By: swarm Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 21/11/21 05:48 PM
I don't think you can really fault Larian because the fact is that depictions of halflings in official D&D art is so incredibly inconsistent, and every artist has had their own interpretation of what they should look like. Take even this thread for example. Some people want the halflings from 2e, some want 3e (I'm personally in the 2e barefoot Olive Ruskette camp). I don't think people can realistically expect them to be changed at this point, though even I concede that I'd like at the very least for their head size to come down a small amount.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 01:06 AM
Adding my voice! For the Shire! We need proper looking halflings.
Posted By: mystakai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 02:29 AM
Lithe elf-like halflings please. How am I supposed to believe the current models belong to a class with +2 dexterity?
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 02:32 AM
I enjoy the Halfling designs from Demihuman Deities ->

[Linked Image from i.pinimg.com]
Posted By: fylimar Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 05:58 AM
I want better proportioned halflings too.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 01:19 PM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
I enjoy the Halfling designs from Demihuman Deities ->

[Linked Image from i.pinimg.com]

Love me those hairy feet
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 01:27 PM
Cause halflings just don't wear shoes. Ever.
Posted By: swarm Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 03:03 PM
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I really like this halfling portrait from Icewind Dale. It's rare to get 2e or 5e halfling art without a hint of whimsy.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 05:45 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Cause halflings just don't wear shoes. Ever.

[Linked Image from c.tenor.com]

AFAIK, they've never been prohibited - via mechanics in the core rules or fluff - from donning shoes; they've always able to benefit from magical footwear.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 30/11/21 11:49 PM
That's a nice piece, Swarm. I hadn't seen it before ^.^

Footwear hasn't been mentioned in relation to them for a couple of editions I think, nad most art has them wearing shoes inthe manner of most other species - it, along with the hairy feet, were changes made as they shifted halflings away from tolkien hobbits and sought to identify them more completely as their own creatures.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 01/12/21 01:31 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
That's a nice piece, Swarm. I hadn't seen it before ^.^

Footwear hasn't been mentioned in relation to them for a couple of editions I think, nad most art has them wearing shoes inthe manner of most other species - it, along with the hairy feet, were changes made as they shifted halflings away from tolkien hobbits and sought to identify them more completely as their own creatures.

Schrodinger's hairy feet.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 13/01/22 01:44 AM
Ling a half.
Posted By: GreatWarrioX Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 13/01/22 02:11 AM
I miss them, pisses me off Lord of the Ring Online/MMO was cancelled. At least we're getting TV-show.
Posted By: Piff Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 13/01/22 06:16 AM
Originally Posted by GreatWarrioX
I miss them, pisses me off Lord of the Ring Online/MMO was cancelled. At least we're getting TV-show.

The Lord of the Rings online still has active servers.
Posted By: GreatWarrioX Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 13/01/22 12:15 PM
Originally Posted by Piff
Originally Posted by GreatWarrioX
I miss them, pisses me off Lord of the Ring Online/MMO was cancelled. At least we're getting TV-show.

The Lord of the Rings online still has active servers.

Youre kidding right.

As far I know Middle Earth 3 is coming. Damn, it isnt confirmed. I thought it was. It would be damn fun to kill Orcs with Hobbit Hero.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 13/01/22 12:31 PM
I still play LotRO - those screenshots from earlier in the thread looking at their version of halfling models were taken recently. Their most recent expansion was Gundabad, a few months back.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 14/01/22 11:25 AM
Is it gundagud?
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 14/01/22 11:45 AM
As with any MMO expansion ,there's good and bad. I enjoyed the conclusion to the story that they were telling, but there were a lot of elements of the execution of it that I strongly disliked their design choices for; The actual zoning and landscapes are beautiful, but, as with many things built by dwarves, there's a lot of massive architectural over-compensation, especially for short little halfling legs.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 26/01/22 04:11 PM
Someone made a post on reddit related to halfling figure, thought I'd throw it here since it's close to the topic.

https://www.reddit.com/r/BaldursGat...ase_fix_spines_of_dwarves_and_halflings/
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 26/01/22 10:34 PM
It counts ^.^ Thanks for the boost again Fallen.
Posted By: Malrith Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 29/01/22 12:14 PM
Great thread!
I'm currently playing as a Halfling and I noticed most of the things you pointed out.
One of the most offputting scenes I experienced (in which the giant head was really noticeable and uncanny) was spending some time drinking with Shadowheart after defeating the goblins. My Halfling's head looked a lot larger than hers, not the same size -or smaller- by a long shot.

I get that these are races that not many players pick, but it's totally possible to make these models look and move as good as the others.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 31/01/22 10:38 PM
Thanks for the support Malrith ^.^

There are quite a few places where the gargantuan head problem rears its, well, ugly head. With heads that are literally physically larger (not just relative-size larger, but physically actually larger) than the heads of medium-sized characters, a number of scenes, especially close-shot scenes, just don't work. When it was playing properly, for example, Astarion's bite-night scene looked ridiculous on halflings, because in point of fact, he actually cannot physically bite a halfling's neck - their head is too big to allow an angle to get his teeth there. In the scene when it was playing, this led to ridiculous clipping issues that looked terrible.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 02/02/22 02:25 AM
With Niara's thread unlocked (congrats), did some digging around on Halfling lore and ran into this vid. It has a good amount of info on Ghostwise Halflings, anyway they had a lot of photo references figured I'd toss it on here.

Posted By: swarm Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 06/02/22 01:26 AM
For recent halfling art with good (imo) proportions I really liked the halfling rogues in the recent MTG Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set: Check for Traps and Split the Party.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/03/22 06:15 AM
Hi folks!

Time for an update on the state of halflings in patch 7! I'll make a statement up top just to be clear on things: I don't use any mods for the game, and everything I post is directly from in-game screenshots.

First things first, the new Barbarian armour highlights an issue that is now clear to see:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Regardless of what head you pick, male or female, Halfling models display an extremely distended neck. Some armours disguise this issue, but others, like the new barbarian armour, make it particularly visible. Can we please add this to the list of details that needs adjusted with the halfling models.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Halfling females are (still) using male halfling poses and animation idles for sitting, despite all other races having distinct poses and idles for male and female bodies. Small sized characters of all body types still cannot sit properly in many chairs; most of the common and simple ones have been corrected, but many have not.

Next up, I want to brush on the shooting of cinematics again – The issues raised in my other posts, related to the dream sequences, and to character choreography, are all still largely unaddressed:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I know, Jaija, I'm displeased too...

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

Many of the interpersonal cinematics in game (especially within the dream sequences) are still full of shots that make no relational sense for having a small character involved; this is true regardless of whether your character is small, your daisy is small, or even if you both are.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Though they've neatened up a lot of the hand shots in various ways – not all of them, but some of them, and in some cases they've done so, it seems, by letting the hands morph/stretch to a larger size to meet up with the intended pose points, which, once you're looking for it, is really messy and hard to not see.

Might be worth pointing out that we seem to have lost the burning city as well... Either that or we really razed that place good.

Now; for the most part, in the dream sequences, they've tided up and refined most of the camera angles and positions for small sized characters, so that you can at least see what they're trying to show you most of the time – this is an improvement over previous patches where halfling players were left looking at grass for most of some of the dreams; that's a step in the right direction, even if the actual choreography for small characters is still unsuitably using the same marks as medium-sized characters, without any considerations being made.

Another poster drew me to double check Minthara's scenes as well, and unfortunately they're still suffering the same issues as outlined in my other thread for them – though even without skipping any dialogue and letting the animations progress at their own pace, we still end up with this situation, with halfling characters:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Yikes.

Astarion's new scene is in as well, but I'd like to take a separate thread to talk about that, when I've got everything together; the comments will relate too everyone, not just small characters - though I do appreciate the addition of being able to kick him in the groin.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/03/22 06:18 AM
So, with that little update out of the way, I'd like to embark with everyone on a rousing game of “Guess The Halfling!” In this game, I'll post some pictures, screenshots from the game. In the pictures, one of the actors present will be a halfling, and one will be a medium-sized character. Let's guess which is which!

Here's a simple one, of a dream, on the grass. One of these characters is supposed to be a halfling, the other is a half-elf:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

How about this one – which one of these characters is supposed to be the 'halfling'; here's a hint – it's not the drow:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Sleeping gently, before...

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Giant hand on my shoulder..? Agh! Don't eat me scary lady!!

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Tiny elf man smells delicious! Totally a halfling, yes, honest.

One more – Guess which one is meant to be a halfling; it's not Astarion.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Even if they ultimately don't change *anything* else about the current halfling models (and I'll be deeply disappointed if they don't), they absolutely must address this issue with the egregious head size. It's just absurd.

Wish I had more to report on this front, folks, but there's not been any sign of any core changes to the models as of yet. At this point, I'm mostly hoping that it's been taken on board and will be considered if/when we get an update to give us body types.
Posted By: LukasPrism Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/03/22 07:29 AM
Oh it looks like you accidentally chose ‘Headling’ in character creation. Easy mistake.
Posted By: Dez Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/03/22 01:13 PM
Since there is no "like" or "upvote" function I'll just say it - thanks for your hard work, Niara!

I agree something has to be done about that neck o.o and the *HEAD*! I literally laughed out loud when I saw the pictures! X] Looks like a bobblehead figure!
Posted By: LukasPrism Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/03/22 08:29 PM
Agreed, appreciate you shining a light on this stuff. I wonder if Larian is regretting tackling this level of interactivity in the cinematics – with such variation in body sizes? Has any game done this before? Or is Larian breaking new ground? I know DA had dwarves, but did they have in-engine cutscenes where they were embracing other characters etc? It's been a long time since I played those...
Posted By: SammieGraceTV Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/03/22 08:44 PM
I have yet to play a halfling but yeah that's a bit of an off-putting model flaw. I hope they fix these soon!
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/03/22 11:40 PM
Originally Posted by LukasPrism
I wonder if Larian is regretting tackling this level of interactivity in the cinematics – with such variation in body sizes? Has any game done this before?

I hope not ^.^ I'm detailed and harsh about this because I desperately want them to do this well. Video games with customisable characters usually minimise the amount of direct model interaction in their story scenes, and the vast majority of them avoid having to work with smaller-sized characters as much as they can. Especially where things like romance sequences are concerned, most games refuse to do it at all, and it's very disheartening. If Larian do this really well, with satisfying small models that are well proportioned, and with animations that are tailored to them specifically, so they fit and work, they will be virtually the first company ever to do so... and I really want them to be.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 16/03/22 05:57 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by LukasPrism
I wonder if Larian is regretting tackling this level of interactivity in the cinematics – with such variation in body sizes? Has any game done this before?

I hope not ^.^ I'm detailed and harsh about this because I desperately want them to do this well. Video games with customisable characters usually minimise the amount of direct model interaction in their story scenes, and the vast majority of them avoid having to work with smaller-sized characters as much as they can. Especially where things like romance sequences are concerned, most games refuse to do it at all, and it's very disheartening. If Larian do this really well, with satisfying small models that are well proportioned, and with animations that are tailored to them specifically, so they fit and work, they will be virtually the first company ever to do so... and I really want them to be.
I'm curious: would you prefer that Larian implement these types of romance sequences poorly or not at all? Obviously the former is not great, and the latter you say "is disheartening" (DAO/DAI?).

I suppose I'm defining "poorly" as their current implementation.
Posted By: Niara Re: Focused Feedback: Halflings - 15/05/22 02:20 AM
Honestly, I don't want to answer that question - because I don't like either option and I don't want to make the concession ^.^
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