About faces/busts/ character portraits

Do you think character portraits should be there in a game?

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 42.1%
  • No

    Votes: 1 5.3%
  • I can't decide!

    Votes: 1 5.3%
  • Yes and no

    Votes: 9 47.4%

  • Total voters
    19

Hyouryuu-Na

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We all like a game with good graphics, don't we? Character portraits/busts/faces whatever you call them are a part of that. We can get an idea about what a character looks like, understand what emotions they're feeling without the developer needing to depend on written dialogue fully to convey that. It also makes your game look more fancy. But what if a game doesn't have character busts or portraits? I'm not talking about rpgs where the gameplay is more dominant than the story. I'm talking about a game where you need to understand the story, the personalities of the character and the emotions these characters feel. Most games of the developer Uri (If you don't know them, go check out Mermaid swamp and the Strange Man series. They're all awesome!) don't have character portraits but I've never found myself failing to be immersed in the story.
I don't know why focusing on something is so hard for me. Currently I've given my long term project a break to work on the No Travel Game Jam and to be honest, I don't think I will be able to draw busts for the characters in such a short time. I'm new to digital art and I take a looong time drawing the most basuc stuff. My profile picture took an hour XD I'm suffering from fatigue and it's hard to motivate myself to do anything right now. Just making maps is a chore for me -_- I don't mind not having busts but I'm thinking about what others want more than what I want. If people don't play my game, there's no point in me trying so hard.
So what do you think? Is it a must to have busts or faces (any form of visual representation of the characters) for your game? Do you feel more inclined to try out a game that has them or do you care more about the overall plot and how the story is presented to you rather than visual effects?
 
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chrisxiao

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Even with busts you need good writing skills to have a decent story and make the player understand the characters.

Visuals help in most cases, but they shouldn't be a must.

It really depends on what style you're going with.
If they help, more than just being there just because it makes the game look good, then yeah, sure, go ahead add busts, faces etc. If not, you can still add them, some people might appreciate something to look at.
 
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Raizen

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Well books don't even have pictures on them sometimes :ywink:

I don't think even faces are necessary, you can make a great game out of text, I mean there are full text games right? So while nothing of that is necessary, I think everything you add is a plus, so having busts or even full bodies are a great plus to the visuals of the game.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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Although a lot of the character faces and busts can look nice and provide more going on in a scene, I don't think they are necessary for good story telling. I've played plenty of RPGs that did not use them, and I still enjoyed the story and felt like I knew what the characters were feeling. There are lots of ways to create a scene that exhibits emotion. I think more attention should be payed to what sprites are doing on the screen during these dialogue scenes, than just relying on busts with different facial expressions.

However, I can see the benefit of having both, just maybe not at the same time. I think bust/portrait dialogue works well with simpler character interactions. But if there is an important scene happening with lots of characters involved, I would rather watch the sprites acting out the scene, rather than just watching a bunch of busts make faces.
 

pasunna

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well... I don't like to read too much text
maybe because I'm a manga artist myself

but it on two side of coin
picture are attractive but then again it time-consuming
only text alone can make an engaging
but if you are not already famous hardly player care about your work
because game is something beyond movie
it is a movie with interaction
so player expect story + visual +sound + gameplay

but if you already had a fan base who know your story writing good that in the other hand
I myself already quit manga job
because my back ache until I can't handle...
and now do a online novel writer as a job
it funny that I famous more than when I'm a manga artist
because as everything is text
I can pump a load of work out and finish 4 stories a year...
and the quick update make more audience engaging
(but yes your story need to be suit their test
and as I say I don't like to read...
so I write novel like manga and don't read other author work...
Somehow it workout haha...)

all in all there are no one perfect way for everyone
If I would say
do what you good at
so people notice your good skill

and in the other way
if you are not good with picture
and force yourself to add it
Maybe it will make thing worst instead...
 

TheoAllen

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As a non-native, every visual helps. Yes, you can have books with only text, but it probably won't reach people like me. Visual plus an audio but without text (subtitles) ain't helping it either. Both have to be present so that I could cross-check on what is actually going on.

Now, to actually answer your question. I'd probably pick yes and no. And both have the same reason. It depends on how you want to present it. A visual rich story will help the reader to have the same image as you have. A less visual gives the reader the freedom to make their own imagination.

This is basically similar to if you prefer your main characters to talk a lot or a silent protagonist (not technically silent as unable to speak). Then replace that with visual.
 

KoalaFrenzy

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Should they be there in a polished game? Yeah, I think so by today's standards. But if it's non-commercial I think it's optional. Books get along just fine telling a story and displaying emotions with just cover art. If it's the difference between releasing the game or not, leave em out. It can be the difference between people wanting to play the game or not though. Drawn character art attracts people way more than pixel sprites.
 

Aesica

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I like portraits and/or busts because these extra visuals are one extra thing to make the characters feel more real and interesting to me. Unless the graphics style is specifically trying to reproduce some vintage/classic game feel (NES Dragon Quest, game boy SaGa, etc) the game should probably have them.

Just about every modern game I've seen with a character that are actual characters (and not just some vehicle for moving through the game world) has character portraits.
 

aztodio

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Busts are great if they were drawn great, otherwise I prefer no bust at all. Like Fate series, I can't stand their horrible art so it turned me off every time I tried to play. While games with no bust at all like Octopath are really awesome, I think storytelling is way more important.
 
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Something to keep in mind about choosing to use busts, is that now every new character you add will now require their own bust which may limit you with either a smaller cast or a lot of things you need to draw. Or you can be inconsistent and only some characters have busts. But that just feels weird.
 

cardcafe

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Like some of the others said, they're really nice to have, but not a must. Just depends on how much time, effort, and possibly money you want to put into it. I personally really like it when projects do it, small or big, specifically with several expressions. Granted, I also understand that not everyone has what it takes to keep up with a certain quality or quantity of them. Not to mention there are other ways to express emotions, such as sprite animations, bubbles, or just plain words if the creator wants.

But hey, at the end of the day, if someone wants those luxuries, they'll have to work for it in one way or another. Though, it would certainly give the more niche scripts/plugins and eventing methods out there more attention if someone did go out of their way to make those graphics.
 

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