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#714845 24/10/20 07:44 AM
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Niara Offline OP
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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))

Last edited by Niara; 24/10/20 08:03 AM. Reason: trying to work out why the images aren't embedding properly....
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((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))

Last edited by Niara; 24/10/20 08:04 AM.
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((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.


Last edited by Niara; 24/10/20 08:08 AM.
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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.

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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 =)

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+1 Quality feedback

Definitely agree with you on the build types sliders. More character customization is always welcome.

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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.

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Models are fine animations need work. If you want some kid look alike or skinny whatever wait for mods.

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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.

Last edited by Tuco; 24/10/20 09:56 AM.

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nice screenshot, wasn't expecting that at all.

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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.

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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!


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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.

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+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.

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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.

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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).


Last edited by Sadurian; 24/10/20 02:28 PM.
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This is a really well put together feedback response. I really hope Larian listens to this advice.

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+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.

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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.

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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.


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