Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag Artcraft

Artcraft Level Design Part 4 features Nagrand

Part four of the latest series of Artcraft was released this week, and this time, five different level designers are featured in the segment, all talking about the development of Draenor's version of Nagrand. Nagrand is pretty unique in that Outland's version of the zone is one of the most pristine parts of Outland -- it's been virtually untouched by corruption, although chunks of the zone have obviously broken off and floated away. Which makes for the interesting task of keeping those familiar landmarks of Outland's Nagrand, while seamlessly adding those missing areas that were lost in the Twisting Nether.

All of the designers talk about that particular hurdle, as well as delivering a lot of other really interesting facts about Nagrand and the Highmaul Raid included on the western edge of the zone. The development of Highmaul and the Highmaul ogres vs. the Warsong orcs is particularly cool. This is the final installment of this particular series of Artcraft -- honestly I think it's been one of my favorites to date, simply because it highlighted so much of the stuff behind those zones we spend all our time in, but hardly ever think about in terms of how they came to be. You can check out the final installment on Blizzard's website, as well as all other posts in the series.


Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft continues with a look at development tools

The excellent Artcraft series continues with a look at the tools used to develop zones, as well as how the Level Design team works with Environment Artists to craft a zone's many areas and make them all seem like natural parts of an area.

Artcraft - Level Design Part 3
The environment artists make the models and textures, and the level designer sculpts and paints the terrain, places the trees, rocks, and bushes-all the while considering gameplay and both the art and design direction. A typical day for our level designers will include decisions about the overall look and feel of a zone, as well as paying finite attention to detail, like how one plant looks when placed next to another plant in the scene.


So far this has been one of my favorite Artcrafts - while it was fun to get to see the various new models for playable races, getting to see the tools that craft the World of Warcraft we experience as players is nothing short of amazing and I'm very much looking forward to part four. Just getting to read about how they vary the shade of green to bring out different elements of the zone has me super excited. Nagrand is beautiful and diverse, and we're getting to see how elements of the game we've already known are referenced and incorporated in its creation.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft continues with Nagrand and level design

One of my favorite zones to just look at in The Burning Crusade was Nagrand, it was a beautiful zone with just enough strangeness to feel alien and different. Now in the latest installment of Artcraft by senior level designer Michael McInerney, we're getting a look at how Blizzard's level designers created a Nagrand that felt like the natural predecessor to the zone we already know.

Artcraft - Level Design Part 2
Nagrand also had some equity we wanted to explore; players have experienced a shattered version of the zone in Outland, and this was a unique opportunity to provide a contrasting look. Giving places a sense of history is high on the list of zone design philosophies. Some of the more obvious ways to tell a zone's history are with ruins, when they make sense. The Highmaul ogres were once a great power in Nagrand. Now they are on the edge of oblivion. All that's left of their once great civilization is scattered remnants, as evidenced by their crumbling towers and roads you find throughout the zone. It's not a coincidence that the area they occupy in the zone doesn't exist in Outland.


How'd they do? Well, having been there on the beta, I have to say the new Nagrand is magnificent and definitely feels like it could have been the place we know, before the destruction of Draenor. Mister McInernery's point about the various races in the zone telling a story by how they interact with the environment is also spot on - you can tell a lot about the various people you encounter in Nagrand by how they live.

Head on over to the official site for more, it's definitely worth a read.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Latest Artcraft covers exterior level design


One of the things I love about the Artcraft series is how it covers an aspect of World of Warcraft that's critically important and yet often overlooked, namely the look of the game. This week, Blizzard has a new Artcraft for us, covering level design out in the world. As presented by Julian Morris, lead level designer for World of Warcraft's exterior level design team, we get a glimpse into what goes in to giving us the lush visuals of zones like Shadowmoon Valley or Nagrand.
Artcraft - Level Design Part 1
Exterior level design is the process of designing and constructing the zones of World of Warcraft, from Azeroth to Draenor and everything in between. Our team has planned, plotted, and designed the rise and fall of ancient cultures, as well as shaped mountains, forests, seas, lakes, rivers, roads, ruins, and every land feature imaginable. In addition to the land itself, we also design and create cities, towns, and Battlegrounds (with the random exterior dungeon or two in there every now and then, too).


One of the things I remember thinking when I first arrived in Shadowmoon Valley on the beta was how amazing it was that they managed to create a zone that actually felt like a living place, yet you could believe it could become the ruined hellscape of Outland's SMV. Reading about how the level design team works with artists and designers from all over WoW to create these zones is something we've not really gotten much exposure to in the past, so I'm very excited to see how the series continues.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Arts and Crafts, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft shows off male and female trolls

The latest edition of Artcraft is upon us, this time bringing us updated male and female troll models. Though this Artcarft is somewhat scarcer on the model details -- though it does talk about how the troll's tusks are a particular challenge -- it makes up for it by packing in two new new character models.

Though Senior Art Director Chris Robinson comments that "showing both genders together gives you a more cohesive visual story," male and female trolls still have significantly different looks, with the males hunched forward while the females stand upright. Still, like with all the updated models, this refresh gives them a lot of extra detail and character. See below for more images or check the Artcraft post itself for full details.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New blood elf models delayed

sad belf priest
In a quick announcement over Twitter, Blizzard Senior Art Director Chris Robinson has confirmed that updated blood elf models will not be ready in time for the launch of Warlords of Draenor. Blood elves are indeed scheduled for an update just like all the player character models, but they will now be scheduled for addition into Warlords post-launch; perhaps along side another content patch. Robinson did quickly add that the new troll models are still scheduled to be in place at Warlord's launch, and we can expect to see an Artcraft preview of them as early as next week.
As unfortunate as it is that the blood elves are being delayed, I think it's understandable. As far as the older models go, the blood elves have held up rather well. There are other player character models in far more need of updating, so if something had to be pushed back, it's no surprise that it's the blood elves. Then again, blood elves are one of the most popular choices for player characters, so I'm sure there will be at least a bit of disappointment surrounding the decision. Never fear, though, we will get new versions of our favorite mana addicts soon enough, and until then, I'm on pins and needles to see the new trolls. Will my hunter finally be able to blink? I certainly hope so!

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft focuses on facial customization

One of the hot button topics when talking about the new character models is faces. Many players worry that when the customization comes in, their characters won't feel like their characters anymore. Blizzard has now released a new Artcraft discussing exactly how they're planning on dealing with that issue.

Our next big focus is doing justice to the facial options. With the original models and their simplistic geometry and low-resolution textures, a lot of facial expressions were simply painted on. Now that we've moved to higher-polygon models with lips, teeth, and fully articulated faces-not to mention higher-resolution textures-recreating those same facial options isn't as simple as painting them onto a flat surface. Previously, to get a sneer out of a model, you'd just paint a sneer on its face, and that was that. To do it correctly now-and make it look great-we have to fully pose a sneer, create a custom texture, and mesh that base pose with all of the existing emotes and animations.

So it's still a work in progress, but take heart in the knowledge that Blizzard abandoned their original plan, which was to release the new faces before customization was completed. "Our initial idea was to release the new models with their base face, and then add additional options in updates over the course of the expansion." That would have been a huge mistake, in my opinion. People would likely have been very unhappy with the uncertainty of knowing whether or not they'd get the face they identified with.

Head on over to the latest artcraft and check it out now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

New female tauren model

Female Tauren
The latest artcraft post has been released on the WoW official website, and it previews nothing less than the new female tauren model. This model update in particular has been highly anticipated, because the old female tauren models are...well, they're not all that expressive, are they? Fortunately, their blank bovine stares are all set to be a thing of the past. The new models take full advantage of newer texture-rendering capabilities, featuring gorgeous detail in the fur, a full range of facial expressions, and far more natural-looking hair. In addition, their hands have also been scaled-down, as Senior Art Director Chris Robinson notes that female tauren hands were particularly huge, even by WoW standards.

Head on over to the official site for the full preview, it's well worth your time.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor page updated with new gnome, tauren models

The official Warlords of Draenor web site has had two new additions -- both the female gnome and male tauren 3D models have been added to the page. The male tauren was showcased last month in an edition of Artcraft that primarily featured the animation of the model, including expressions, speech and movement. In all of the emotive cheering, laughing, dancing, and speech, there wasn't exactly a lot of menacing expression -- which is why I'm happy to see the new screenshots added to the site as well as the 3D model.

As for the female gnome, we saw her briefly at BlizzCon, but she was never actually featured in an Artcraft of her own. I have to say the female gnome update is one of my favorites so far -- the current gnome model, while adorable, doesn't quite capture the sheer range of expressiveness like the new model does. Although the additions are a definite bonus to the Warlords of Draenor website, I hope we see more of them soon -- we've had a lot of Artcraft content featuring models in progress, I'd like to see more of them in action. For both female gnome and male tauren, be sure to take a look at the official Warlords of Draenor web site -- and for more of the new character models, check out our compilation gallery below.




Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

WoW is getting class accessories



The World of Warcraft will be getting cosmetic accessories to spice up their characters. These items will allow people to customize the looks of their characters to greater reflect the classes and play-styles that they choose.

In the example that Blizzard gives, rogues could equip cosmetic daggers or vials of poisons -- they'd have no in-game effect other than to change the look of the character. And as we see from the picture above, librams and quivers (they're back from the dead) are also another example of cosmetic options. As with all new features, there's a lot of fine tuning, so don't read too much into everything yet.

This new feature was announced in an Artcraft blog post that briefly appeared on Blizzard's French site, but has since vanished. We suspect that we'll see another version of it appear soon.

Filed under: News items, Transmogrification

Extended canines confirmed for new night elf model

Night elf players concerned with the new model released earlier this week can breathe a sigh of relief -- your canines will be pointy as they should be. A tweet from Senior Art Director Chris G. Robinson confirmed that the models released for the latest round of Artcraft were an earlier iteration, and later versions of the model have the pronounced canines usually found on kaldorei.



Lest anyone get too panicky about the models being shown in each edition of Artcraft, Community Manager Bashiok hopped on the forums to further clarify what's going on with the new models being shown.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

New Night Elf female model revealed

The Artcraft posts over at the official World of Warcraft site have helped give us preview looks at the new character models as they've come to light. Now, we have our look at the updated night elf female model. So far I have to say that it's a vast improvement. She stands a lot better, she has a wider range of expressions and we can see at least two relatively different faces in this pictures. My wife plays night elf, so I'm partial to them, and I think they did a good job preserving their feel here while updating them.

I especially want to point out those hands, which are a lot better than the original model. This gives me hope that when night elf males show up, they'll actually have reasonable looking hands. Head on over to the Artcraft blog to read about the process they went through to design this model.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft presents The Spires of Arak

The Artcraft series returns, this time with a preview of an entire zone - the Spires of Arak. This time Gary Platner takes the lead, explaining all the various ways that Blizzard makes a zone in World of Warcraft, and how it came together for this zone. The Spires of Arak is the home zone for the Arakkoa, and its unusual design is based around the spires the bird-people make into their homes.
A lot of us contributed to the Spires of Arak, but ultimately Matt Sanders (exterior level designer) and Kelli Hoover (environment artist) were tasked with creating the zone. Kelli gathered resource material and started to do some paint-overs of our concepts in order to unify a distinctive new color palette. Meanwhile, Matt created the proof of concept in our editing tools in order to test ideas for creating large spiky rocks with the exterior terrain editor.
Head over to Blizzard's latest Artcraft post and see how they did for yourself.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Artcraft provides first look at new female draenei

Draenei artcraft
Just the other day Artcraft revealed the new male tauren models--complete with animations and videos--and today they're at it again with a sneak peek at the (real) new draenei female model. This is a quick look, as emphasized in the post itself, because the model has yet to be sent to the animation team. As a result you'll notice her posture in this preview is quite different from the draenei model we know and love. That will change once the animation team gets a chance to properly rig and pose the model, but for now we're getting a glimpse of a work very much in-progress.

At first glance, the new draenei model doesn't seem as different from the old one as the tauren or orc models, for example, but this is to be expected. The original draenei (and blood elf) models, implemented in Burning Crusade, were a significant step up from the models of classic WoW. That being said, there's marked improvement in these previews. The hair, the detail of the leg musculature, and in particular the hands all give our beloved draenei much more depth and finesse in the body. The curvature of her head-tentacles is also much smoother and more realistic-looking. This is a nice upgrade from the current draenei, and I look forward to seeing more.


Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Artcraft reveals new male tauren model

We had a bit of a sneak peek of the tauren model this weekend thanks to Adriacraft, and now we get the official preview with an Artcraft at the official site. Now, I play tauren quite a bit - they're my favorite Horde race, in fact - so I'm happy to see them get an update. The current model looks good enough in plate, but the years haven't been kind to it as new races with upgraded polygon counts and more points of articulation were introduced. Going from a pandaren warrior to a tauren was an exercise in time travel - the older model looked every bit its age.

As for this model, I think it's already an established improvement just by virtue of not having the mane look like straw heaped onto the back. Clearly, great effort has been made to keep the model true to itself while still looking updated, and although I'm a little iffy on the eyes, I'm hopeful that we'll see some variation in that regard. The video is particularly helpful for getting to see it in action. It's a far, far more effective model for conveying emotions via expression - it's hard to imagine seeing a tauren look this expressive, frankly. Seeing the open mouthed belly laugh alone convinces me that this is a far, far improved model in all regards.

In general, I find it much improved - now I just want to see how they do with the female model.

Head on over to the official site and see the process detailed.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events

Event Date
WoW's 10th Anniversary 11/21 - 1/5
Pilgrim's Bounty 11/24 - 12/1
Darkmoon Faire 12/7 - 12/14
Feast of Winter Veil 12/16 - 1/2

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories