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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Creating a Portrait System Based on DNA for 'Crusader Kings III'

Igor Aleksandrowicz  (Senior Programmer, Paradox Development Studio)

Fredrik Toll  (Art Director, Paradox Development Studio)

Date: Wednesday, July 21

Time: 8:30am - 9:30am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Programming, Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

From this presentation, you will get insight into the portrait system Paradox created for Crusader Kings III. It needed a framework capable of depicting tens of thousands of distinctive characters, the ability for children to inherit the appearance of the parents, and immediately react to gameplay changes.
Paradox chose to create a system based on DNA, which resulted in a novel approach to procedural character creation. All of which was done by a very small team, proving that is possible to create high-level art with limited resources.
The talk will go in-depth on how the system works. It will cover some portrait system basics, useful considerations for anyone building a character system, the mistakes we made, and lessons learned along the way.


Attendees will leave this presentation with a foundational understanding of the things to consider when creating a portrait system, and novel ideas for how to set up procedurally created characters, using DNA-like structure.

Intended Audience

Programmers, 3D artists, technical artists of all levels interested in procedurally created characters