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BlizzCon 2019 Liveblog Designers at Work: World of Warcraft World Creation
02/11/2019 em 15:29
The Designers at Work: World of Warcraft World Creation panel is going live at BlizzCon 2019 and we're liveblogging the event! A team of World of Warcraft world builders and level designers give a live demonstration of how a zone is created, from concept to completion.
Panel includes Jim Chadwick and Gary Platner, Principal Level Designer, both at Blizzard for 20 years - oversee all the design of levels.
Theme for the panel is collaboration - we all work together and with other departments.
Level designers: Kyle Aronson, Senior Level Designer - At Blizzard since 2010, worked on Spires of Arak, Stormheim, Drustvar, and Nyalotha
Victor Cortis, Level Designer - In game industry for 10 years, last 5 at Blizzard, Worked on Stormheim, Freehold, Suramar.
Kristy Moret, Level Designer - Worked on Bee stuff for Stormsong!
What happens in the very beginning when building a zone?
What happens after that in iteration?
How does polishing a zone happen?
How do you get started on a zone? Kristy Moret
Using WoWEdit - in house software.
Chat with visual development and 3d environment team - they produce assets and textures which you can play around with.
Start with a 2D map for a zone that evolves really quickly into mapping from the 3D model.
This second map includes POIs, roads, etc. Done with quest designers who work together to communicate quest pathing with level design.
Simple 3D map created - you can play around with both real items, textures, and assets as well as simple notes and arrows, etc.
You can get down to player level for better information on how a zone works.
At this time it's easy to move things around and work on stuff without too much other stuff being affected.
How do you get started on a zone? Victor Cortis
Gets to work with key art - gets the mood of a zone.
We want to keep players interested so we add break up into the zones.
Needed to make subzones - doing big picture macro work. Using items and assets from old zones to just get ideas for placement of items in a new zone.
Have to keep in mind that players can get burned out just looking at the same thing over and over again. Looking for break up and variety.
But at the start, just using, for example, old Gilneas items in a new gothic zone until they get new assets.
Also does Terrain work - raise and lower terrain, etc.
They start by noticing where players will actually be moving and change the terrain accordingly before settling on final art assets for the zone.
How do you get started on a raid zone? Kyle Aronson
Making a raid is different than a zone, much more linear and more control over what player sees.
Theme and feel of Nyalotha was done with image from Chronicles book.
Uses untextured blockout pieces to build areas between assets, etc. Making sure the spaces are okay for pace of play in a raid zone.
What's the next step? Kristy Moret
Filling up the smaller spaces with details like Spider Webs - iteration with the quest design team.
Quests ended up being influenced by the level designer.
Using assets and items to move players into the spaces.
Using level design to indicate if a path is safe or not.
Using buildings, etc as center pieces of quests.
This mid level detail step is where they spend the most time.
What's the next step? Victor Cortis
Looking for context where we can place assets.
Making sure a zone isn't too busy but that context fits.
Down to moving around details like trees and bushes. Players are good at noticing when something feels off.
Every detail like this is done by hand.
Textures are limited to 4 per smaller area, to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to textures.
What's the next step? Kyle Aronson
Nyalotha - running through it with encounter team and feedback from all departments
He got feedback that it felt weird being on the platforms all the time
Pulled terrain from a mountain and added it to the paths and areas to break up the platform walking - using the Ramp Tool
Have to make sure places where players can go is actually runable i.e. not too steep.
How do you polish a zone? Kristy Moret
Polish is very fun - at the players level and finding all the neat things you show them.
Game view mode adds lighting, weather, shadows, etc.
Starts with road polish first - wants to make sure guidance is set.
Depth is added with color painted over terrain textures.
Work with quest design to make sure the function of a quest is actually supported by the zone development i.e. holes in the ground where a player would be walking for a quest.
A zone developer might see one way to walk to a building but the quest designer might play it another way.
How do you polish a zone? Victor Cortis
Making sure all the nooks and crannies look right
Light and shadow are very important.
Example of inserting a point of light, makes it feel alive
How do you polish a zone? Kyle Aronson
All ramps, etc are textured.
So much to do once you have a zone set in terms of polish - you put the pieces together and then make it look more detailed and alive.
Nyalotha used rocks from AB and gross items from Underrot, painted it purple.
Polish is things like making a lava fall way more detailed and alive looking.
Q: How do you avoid overwriting other level editors work?
A: Mark it clearly or lock it out. Although accidents do happen.
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