Problems with the Faces

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#1 Posted by joker8765 (35 posts) -

There's been alot of talk recently about the characters faces in Andromeda, with it seems like everybody thinking they look very strange. Am I the only one who can't see the issue with them? I've tried looking for issues but they look just fine to me. If it's something I'm missing I'd appreciate if someone could point out exactly what the problem is otherwise I guess I'll just have to chalk it up to a difference of opinion.

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#2 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (5947 posts) -

@joker8765 said:

There's been alot of talk recently about the characters faces in Andromeda, with it seems like everybody thinking they look very strange. Am I the only one who can't see the issue with them? I've tried looking for issues but they look just fine to me. If it's something I'm missing I'd appreciate if someone could point out exactly what the problem is otherwise I guess I'll just have to chalk it up to a difference of opinion.

It's something that BioWare admits has been an issue for a while now, and they're continuing to work on facial animations up until release. I think the main problem is that they were so bad before, that people are making it a focus now, so they're noticing whatever issues are left a lot more.

I noticed several times while playing Horizon: Zero Dawn that characters would sometimes talk while their mouth wasn't moving, but it didn't ruin the game for me or anything.

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#3 Posted by spitz1000 (205 posts) -

Well, have you watched the video at the top of the page? I think it's more about the facial animation that looks strange rather than the faces themselves.

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#4 Edited by dgtlty (589 posts) -

I envy you. I really do. I can't see myself getting past this when I play it.

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#5 Edited by dudeglove (12575 posts) -

Boy this looks depressing.

(N.B. I don't like the schadenfreude/sneering implied in this tweet, instead I think it's a major bummer that this has happened, and I just want to know what on earth went on that it ended up like this.)

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#6 Posted by LoktarOgar (511 posts) -

Look at this http://i.4cdn.org/v/1489165750690.webm and tell me you don't see what's wrong with Andromeda.

And that's from a game that came out 2 years ago.

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#7 Edited by Castiel (3276 posts) -

I guess the face animations, or general lack of emotions, are fine if you don't know how humans are supposed to look.

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#8 Posted by ripelivejam (10898 posts) -

no better nor worse really than any of the other mass effect games, for me.

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#9 Posted by Glots (2864 posts) -

Sounds like when people say that they can't notice a difference in a game that runs on a steady 30 fps, which at worst dips down to 10-20 numbers.

I can understand not caring about it. Hell, I played the garbage GTA IV port on pc and had the fps between 15-25 the whole damn time for +20 hours or however long that game took me, but I just enjoyed it too much to stop playing because of that. But I do think people either have magical eyesight or are denying the truth, when they say that they can't notice a difference in that.

'course, this wasn't about the fps. But I can still definitely see the blank stare on their faces and their expressions not changing according to their tones 90% of the time.

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#10 Posted by Sinusoidal (3327 posts) -

It's a combination of things. The writing is poor, the voice acting is sub-par and most of the animations - not just facial - are laughably bad. Yet, the scenery looks gorgeous and the game play decent. Other games might get away with that disparity in quality, but if this Mass Effect is anything like the past games (and it appears to be) you're going to be a spending half of the game watching characters talk to each other. It's too bad team Bondi was snuffed. L.A. Noire has had the best facial animation of any video game for 6 years now and counting. No other game has even come close.

The sexual content seems incredibly tacky as well. An achievement for bedding three characters in one play through? Is this Leisure Suit Larry or something?

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#11 Posted by mems1224 (1616 posts) -

no better nor worse really than any of the other mass effect games, for me.

same. sometimes they look fine, sometimes they look bad but it hasn't ruined the experience for me.

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#12 Edited by Atwa (1555 posts) -

@ripelivejam said:

no better nor worse really than any of the other mass effect games, for me.

I see a lot of people say this, but I think that is just crazy to say. The facial animations were never great in Mass Effect, but for the time, in relation to what else existed at the time, they weren't awful. This is just so bad and so far behind what others have achieved.

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#13 Posted by ToTheNines (1373 posts) -

@dudeglove: okay that looks horrible. I was about to join OP in that I haven't seen anything that looks bad. I guess just hadn't seen enough.

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#14 Posted by LoktarOgar (511 posts) -
@mems1224 said:
@ripelivejam said:

no better nor worse really than any of the other mass effect games, for me.

same. sometimes they look fine, sometimes they look bad but it hasn't ruined the experience for me.

Those games came out 10, 7 and 5 years ago. You don't think "no better or worse" isn't a problem?

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#15 Posted by dudeglove (12575 posts) -

@dudeglove: okay that looks horrible. I was about to join OP in that I haven't seen anything that looks bad. I guess just hadn't seen enough.

It looks really unfortunate from a whole bunch of angles. Granted, Mass Effect's animations in the last generation weren't exactly swish, but Legion in ME2 looked amazing to me (like that was some straight up WALL-E shit they pulled), while Mordin Solus' singing and voice work was top notch (even though 3 was a little flat), and Shepherd's dancing became an in-joke referenced throughout the series. But the above? Ergh... I'll wait for the reviews.

At the same time, it could just be the original Mass Effect all over again, which (in the words of someone else I was speaking to about this) was insanely overscoped and lead to a Tonka truck bouncing around dead planets.

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#16 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3165 posts) -

And then they ruined* it all by taking away my Tonka truck and dead planets!!

*I actually really liked all the ME games and I'm still going to pick this up - janky animations or not. I don't come to ME for the animations - I come to it for the action and the story/lore and the universe.

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#17 Posted by joker8765 (35 posts) -

@dudeglove: That is pretty bad, easily the worst I've seen from this game so far.

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#18 Posted by mems1224 (1616 posts) -

Those games came out 10, 7 and 5 years ago. You don't think "no better or worse" isn't a problem?

i just played horizon which had atrocious facial animations that didnt ruin the game for me. the bad facial animations in fallout 4 didn't ruin it for me. i guess that stuff doesn't bother me so much. im enjoying the hell out of the game. faces are hard, very few games get them right and those that do generally don't have as much dialogue as a typical rpg.

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#19 Posted by joker8765 (35 posts) -
@glots said:

Sounds like when people say that they can't notice a difference in a game that runs on a steady 30 fps, which at worst dips down to 10-20 numbers.

I can understand not caring about it. Hell, I played the garbage GTA IV port on pc and had the fps between 15-25 the whole damn time for +20 hours or however long that game took me, but I just enjoyed it too much to stop playing because of that. But I do think people either have magical eyesight or are denying the truth, when they say that they can't notice a difference in that.

'course, this wasn't about the fps. But I can still definitely see the blank stare on their faces and their expressions not changing according to their tones 90% of the time.

I can pretty easily notice a steady frame rate vs a stuttering mess. I'd clarify I don't think the faces, animation etc. are anywhere near best in-class or anything I just don't think they're anywhere near as bad as the outrage seems to be making out.

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#20 Posted by LoktarOgar (511 posts) -

@mems1224 said:

@loktarogar said:

Those games came out 10, 7 and 5 years ago. You don't think "no better or worse" isn't a problem?

i just played horizon which had atrocious facial animations that didnt ruin the game for me. the bad facial animations in fallout 4 didn't ruin it for me. i guess that stuff doesn't bother me so much. im enjoying the hell out of the game. faces are hard, very few games get them right and those that do generally don't have as much dialogue as a typical rpg.

Again: http://i.4cdn.org/v/1489165750690.webm , made with computers that run on potatoes and dreams.

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#21 Posted by mems1224 (1616 posts) -

@mems1224 said:

@loktarogar said:

Those games came out 10, 7 and 5 years ago. You don't think "no better or worse" isn't a problem?

i just played horizon which had atrocious facial animations that didnt ruin the game for me. the bad facial animations in fallout 4 didn't ruin it for me. i guess that stuff doesn't bother me so much. im enjoying the hell out of the game. faces are hard, very few games get them right and those that do generally don't have as much dialogue as a typical rpg.

Again: http://i.4cdn.org/v/1489165750690.webm , made with computers that run on potatoes and dreams.

cool bro, not every game is the witcher 3.

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#22 Posted by lobster_johnson (43 posts) -

I have only seen screenshots of this game and the faces look super fucking weird to me.

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#23 Posted by Teddie (1491 posts) -

I think it's more obvious because people have been pointing it out for a long time, and the writing isn't good enough this time around to gloss over it.

As to what I think of the faces themselves, the aliens look fine, but the humans and humanoid faces have weird proportions (and not in a stylized way-- at least not a consistent one), dead eyes, and the animations are at least worse than Inquisitions (which were also pretty stilted at times). It kinda seems like they've got inexperienced people working on the higher-end stuff they shouldn't be allowed to touch yet. Zero regard for animation principles, powerful silhouettes, or easily readable faces (again, outside of the aliens which look fine, but those are all designs from earlier games).

I've seen a couple of videos that fill in the awkward pauses of Bioware games with canned laughter, and they honestly work better played like a cheesy sitcom. I hope someone makes a "Live Audience" mod for this game someday.

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#24 Posted by AdequatelyPrepared (2479 posts) -

The standing around and talking is mostly fine. Eyes are a little dead but whatever, it's passable.

Literally every time they try doing anything more than that things get awkward. Looks of what I assume are meant to be bemusement, annoyance or introspection are just these awkward silences where characters just kind of stare at each other. That whole cutscene with Peebee when she jumps on Ryder is something else. I assume that they are meant to be giving each other playful looks but that is barely brought across, and it's just more weird silences, along with unexplained toothy grins at each other. The games characters just cannot convey emotion more involved than mild interest in whatever conversation they are having.

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#25 Edited by Atwa (1555 posts) -

@jesus_phish said:

And then they ruined* it all by taking away my Tonka truck and dead planets!!

*I actually really liked all the ME games and I'm still going to pick this up - janky animations or not. I don't come to ME for the animations - I come to it for the action and the story/lore and the universe.

But the writing seems really, really bad too? Like that has been said a lot by many previews too, even Brad said he has no attachment/interest to any of the characters he has met. That alone is the most damning thing you can say about a Mass Effect game, or any RPG for that matter.

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#26 Edited by ArtisanBreads (8074 posts) -

@ripelivejam said:

no better nor worse really than any of the other mass effect games, for me.

Which is why discussions about this game right now I have to just be quiet in haha. I don't get what people are coming from. It's like they haven't played ME before.

And some stuff I saw from Horizon Zero Dawn for example I thought was similar and goofy. I haven't played it yet but even when I brought it up from post release video (because I do want to play that game) people just said well the rest is great because I enjoy the world so much or something (which is what I always loved about ME). This is what I was fine with in ME and well really most every RPG until recently. I wish it was better but in the end you need to look at other games to judge.

The tone of that tweet linked above is also real annoying how everything has to be around this game too. I'm just going to play it myself and try not to post about it.

Also, if Witcher 3 is your benchmark for every game you are going to be dissapointed a lot. That is a classic and high water mark for many things with storytelling. Just hope others learn from it. I love the game but you have to know that.

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#27 Edited by rethla (3438 posts) -

Its bad but i dont mind it. What i cant figure out is that people give games like Witcher and Horizon a pass on this but its the worst thing ever in a Mass effect game.

I even see people talking about how good Horizon looks and shaming Mass effect for its lipsyncing im almost the same sentence.

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#28 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3165 posts) -

@atwa: As far as I can tell they've played very little of it, so I'm willing to not judge an RPG that will probably have 50+ hours worth of written content in it on a preview event.

When I played ME 1 all the way back on the Xbox - the first character I cared about was Garrus and then Wrex. With the way I played it, I didn't meet those guys for a few hours. I didn't care about Tali at the start, I never liked Ashley or Kaiden - even as the series went on.

I probably played 200+ hours of Mass Effect 1-3 over the course of them being out, with replays etc. Out of over 20 squad members in that game I can tell you now that I probably care for about half of them, and even then it took a while to get invested in some of their stories.

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#29 Posted by gunflame88 (240 posts) -

It looks like a sci-fi B-movie with fidgeting unexpressive actors, who awkwardly stare forward and deliver their lines like they had no proper direction. Some of them don't even know how to walk, it seems.

See, at some point the mainstream audience and the industry have decided that, ew, isometric PoV and reading are lame and for old people. OK, but then you have to deliver with your acted out fully voiced cutscenes in order for me to be immersed. Early example of doing it right is VtM:B which was fully voiced and had believable for its time character expressions in dialogue. Recent good example is TW3 made by a company with far less resources than a publishing giant like EA. Some of the lines in that game are quite corny and there are some awkward animations in cutscenes, but in general they did a great job considering the scale they were working with. This game looks downright amateurish at many points, I've seen Garry's Mod videos with more believable animations and lipsync. All of that may have been forgivable, but the problem is seriously compounded by the kooky-quirky writing which lacks cleverness or subtlety.

If you're looking at this and saying "well, the combat looks awesome and I love the multiplayer" then clearly you are not looking for a role-playing experience here as I am.

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#30 Posted by AlisterCat (7364 posts) -

I feel the same way. The chat was freaking out during the live show but I just wasn't seeing it. Sure, the eyes are dead but other than that it looked OK to me.

Online
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#31 Edited by malrock (54 posts) -

After yesterday's stream I'm super down on the game, more so than I ever thought I would be for a new Mass Effect. I'll still play it at launch cause hey, Mass Effect, but man... Everything about this game from the stilted robotic animation, to the terrible faces (especially the terrible faces), to the voice acting, to the mission structure, to the story just seems bad. Maybe I'm remembering the previous three games too fondly but this seems like a huge step back.

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#32 Posted by takayamasama (1398 posts) -

I've already purchased and installed the game, and im excited for the combat and exploring planets, but my god anyone who says they don't see any issues with the models of the humanoids and the voice/emotional work is crazy, in my eyes. It looks worse then Mass Effect 2 or 3 did, and those games are over 5 years old. I reserved a lot of judgement on early screens until the real game was here, but now that they've released the first proper 6 or so hours, I have to say it looks scary. Hopefully I can enable helmets in cut-scenes like in Mass Effect 2

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#33 Posted by ToTheNines (1373 posts) -

Funny thing is, I don't remember Dragon Age: Inquisition being this bad. Maybe the game is rushed.

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#34 Posted by Arjailer (92 posts) -

Doesn't bother me at all.

Almost all games have rubbish faces - no need to fixate on this one for it.

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#35 Posted by malrock (54 posts) -

Funny thing is, I don't remember Dragon Age: Inquisition being this bad. Maybe the game is rushed.

Yeah, everything about the game screams unfinished but they've been working on this damn game for 4 - 5 years which seems crazy!

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#36 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3165 posts) -

@takayamasama: I think what's happened here is the same thing that I think happened with Arkham Knight. I didn't like the faces in that game - they had more polygons in them sure, but the animations and design of them looked off compared to the previous games. The same has happened here. The faces have more polygons in them, but because of that they look super emotionless because nothing but the eyes, eyebrows and mouth moves. And because you've a higher fidelity face, it looks more jarring.

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#37 Posted by takayamasama (1398 posts) -

@jesus_phish: It also doesn't help that the last big RPG I played was the Witcher 3, which did character models and facial expressions nearly perfect. I know it's kinda unfair to compare anything to Witcher 3, since it was just done so damn well, but it's gonna be hard not to. Oh well I'll be able to get by the models well enough, it's the VA that I'm not sure how I'll handle. Hopefully Fem-Ryder's VA is good!

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#38 Posted by Carryboy (1069 posts) -

Why does female Ryder look so bad when male Ryder looks fine (in relation to how everone else looks in this game)

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#39 Posted by militantfreudian (526 posts) -

I was ready to move on from the whole bad facial animation debacle, but yesterday's stream made it seem like the issue is worse than I initially thought. Oh well. Having said that, I think I'll reserve my final judgement on how this affects my experience with the game until I actually get to play it.

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#40 Posted by Luchalma (126 posts) -

I think The Witcher 3 has ruined me for other games of this type.

But even in a vacuum, Andromeda would be a drab looking puppet show. Maybe I'll try it some day in the future, but I'm shocked how little I'm excited to play this when Mass Effect 2 was my favorite game ever at one point.

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#41 Posted by soulcake (981 posts) -

@rethla: The Witchers facial animations are way way better then this !

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#42 Posted by LawGamer (1301 posts) -

@mems1224 said:
@loktarogar said:

Those games came out 10, 7 and 5 years ago. You don't think "no better or worse" isn't a problem?

i just played horizon which had atrocious facial animations that didnt ruin the game for me. the bad facial animations in fallout 4 didn't ruin it for me. i guess that stuff doesn't bother me so much. im enjoying the hell out of the game. faces are hard, very few games get them right and those that do generally don't have as much dialogue as a typical rpg.

I think you are correct in that the conversations in Horizon made up maybe 10-15% of the game. Most of it was out and about in the open world, which was really damn gorgeous. And if the devs wanted to trade their time making faces to make the world look that good, then I'm all for it.

By comparison, Mass Effect has always been conversation heavy. I easily remember spending at least 50% of my time just talking with people. Since that's the case, you really do need to get the faces absolutely perfect because you're looking at them so much. I'd also say that based on the video from yesterday, I agree with the Jeff/Brad/Rorie (Je'Brory?) that although the art design of the game looks nifty, the way it gets rendered leaves it looking kind of flat in spaces. Which means that unlike Horizon, you tend to not have stunning vistas to offset the face stuff.

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#43 Posted by The_Last_Starfighter (439 posts) -

When the facial animations are so bad that they distract the viewer from actually digesting the dialogue there's a problem.

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#44 Edited by ToTheNines (1373 posts) -
Loading Video...

3 year old Dragon Age: Inquisition to compare with. Does not look great or anything, but at least Solas squints his eyes and have moving eye brows. Maybe they should have done the panning out conversation in this game as well, with the none important conversation only, to save time and effort.

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#45 Posted by hermes (2254 posts) -

For me, its the eyes. When in close up, all characters seem to have problems with eye contact. They all look slightly off, or keep shifting focus to look at different places, even when talking 1 on 1 and there is no one else in the room. Salarians fare a little better, only because they have no iris.

It has issues with facial expressions too, but they are not so noticeable.

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#46 Posted by Arabes (745 posts) -

@glots: I'm one of those people that don't notice FPS unless it drops below 20? Maybe 15? I just don't see it. I can see it if you put a game at 60 beside a game at 20 and I compare the two in motion but if I'm just playing a game then I am largely oblivious to the frame rate.

We do exist :)

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#47 Posted by rangers517 (361 posts) -

https://webmshare.com/Dm0Nz

That just looks terrible. No idea how people are comparing this stuff to Horizon. Every human that I've seen so far in this combined doesn't have the emotion or breadth of facial expressions of even one side character in Horizon. And obviously that game just looks a lotttt better visually.

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#48 Edited by Redhotchilimist (1539 posts) -

I think if you can't see how the Bioware faces has been and still are uncanny, then contrast and compare them with other faces in games. They might not be that bad compared to Skyrim's hideous mugs, but they're not nearly nice enough to stick in your face for every conversation. Nobody complaints that most mouths in Dark Souls don't even move when people talk to you, or how Dragon's Dogma faces look kinda stiff and locked to one expression, because they are never in your face. I don't think any faces in Metal Gear Solid 4(2008) are worse than Bioware's faces besides like, Sunny. Bioware are poor at animation, with characters doing the same "arms crossed" move or "scratching back of head" move over and over again while standing ridgedly in place and staring at you, and it applies the facial expressions too. But in addition, Andromeda faces look like Inquisition faces. Those things were just as bad as what came before, but they had layered on what looks like lots of shiny sweat, while the hair still is flatly colored(Or if you were on a 360/low pc setting, incredibly wet and shiny mustaches). So as a result you get people who make odd mouth movements, look terribly sweaty, pose oddly, pause oddly and don't have convincing human emotions portrayed through their expression. They try for realism and come up woefully short. It undercuts any emotional connection they're trying to make you have with the characters or the drama.

Some are better than others. Occasionally they manage to use a face model in a way that's not insulting to the model, and all their aliens benefit from not looking like humans. But overall, it's just not a great package, and they have made zero improvements since 2007. Half their focus in their games is on character interaction and dialogue trees. They should be better than anyone. Or ideally, should know how to use their strengths to hide their weaknesses. I hope the secret Bioware project that the original studio is working on features rather few humans and more animal/monstrous/alien characters, because those they manage to make those look just fine. Or just stylize it a bit more, realism is the best at making stuff look uncanny, and it ages poorly. Folds and wrinkles and fat are fine enough on a real human being, but you're gonna have to be great to integrate all the details of a human face in your 3d model and make it not look shitty. Add bugs and texture pop-in to that and you've got some real ugly stuff going on. Jade Empire isn't all that realistic, possibly because of the tech, and I think it looks way less uncanny than most of their later games. They could even go the Persona 4 way of never zooming in close on the characters but use portraits during conversation. Would give all their amazing concept artists something other to do than painting images for the Dragon Age Inquisition codex.

This also goes for the regular movement that Peter Brown brought up and that the crew commented on during the stream, where you try to move a character and they do a few steps forward and a light jog to be able to just turn around. Bioware have so much old, clunky stuff in their games that have only gotten more noticable as time goes on and they don't change it.

My experience with their animations.
My experience with their animations.

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#49 Edited by rangers517 (361 posts) -
No Caption Provided

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#50 Edited by OurSin_360 (4450 posts) -

Its less the animation and more the proportions. The animation is on par or better than previous games, i would say they are better then say fallout 4 or deus ex mankind divided. All the proportions though are off, either they wanted to go cartoony but didn't commit or the modellers used the wrong fov when creating them.

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