Blizzard at GDC 2012

A six person strong team from Blizzard will attend GDC in San Francisco on March 5-9 for various panels and discussions. Two of the panels will be related to the Diablo III development.

First off is “Giant Toads and Zombie Bears: Technical Art Re-envisioned for Diablo 3” with DiabloWikiJulian Love. The second panel will be “The Art of Diablo 3” and hosted by DiabloWikiChristian Lichtner.

Naturally we cannot expect any major reveals during these panels but maybe some insight into the development of Diablo III. If you are interested and or in the field of game development they might also be of interest. The rest of the team are William Barnes “StarCraft II – Carte Blanche Localization”, Erin Catto “Physics for Game Programmers”, Brian Schwab “Less A More I: Using Psychology in Game AI” and finally Keith Self-Ballard “Art Director and Lead Artist Roundtable”.

Giant Toads and Zombie Bears: Technical Art Re-envisioned for Diablo 3
Julian Love (Blizzard Entertainment)

From start to finish, Diablo 3’s technical art team challenged the notions of the traditional technical art role. The result is a team with broad capabilities with an emphasis on hands-on game development and intense design collaboration over the usual stuff for which technical art is known. This talk focuses on the motivations, philosophies and values that drive the Diablo 3 technical art team. Examples of how this approach impacted Diablo 3 will be covered, including key contributions to combat responsiveness, the game’s over the top visceral feel, the D3 class skill design process and how the team anticipated the project’s scripting and special effect needs, then transformed itself to meet them.

Attendees will learn how technical art can impact projects beyond tools, rigging or support roles. They will gain insights into retooling their own technical art departments, the benefits of team core values and how to gain stronger team buy-in through broad team involvement in the ideation phase.

Part postmortem, part team building philosophy, part process reveal and part special effects insanity, this talk has something for almost everyone. However, this talk will be especially valid for Technical Artists looking to increase their impact and team leads who want to improve their team’s overall performance or engagement level.

The Art of Diablo 3
Christian Lichtner (Blizzard Entertainment)

Making a sequel to the award winning classic Diablo2 poses many artistic challenges. While many games in today’s market try to top each other with the latest and greatest technology that inherently tends to drive the art direction – we decided to take a different approach. Our aim for Diablo3 was to create a painterly stylized world that takes full advantage of its fixed camera, while finding ways to enhance and support our core gameplay goals. Ultimately, making sure that players in Diablo3 suspend their sense of disbelief and become fully engulfed in the experience of saving the world of sanctuary.

Attendees will gain a behind the scenes look of what prime motivators influenced the art direction in Diablo3. What choices were made, and how it’s stylized painterly look, environments, and characters all support and enhance the game play goals set forth for the game on a fundamental level.

This talk is aimed at game developers that are interested understanding how art direction and game play drive artistic choices. No prerequisite knowledge is required. Bring your mojo!

For more information head over to GDC12

Related to this article
  • Good Morning Sanctuary – GDC & Diablo 3 Podcasts
  • Diablo III GDC Video
  • Designing a Demon with Lichtner With Images

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    18 thoughts on “Blizzard at GDC 2012

    1. The first talk description states “part postmortem” so they could be looking at locking everything (art at least) down by then.

      • Well, they’re finalizing the game, so “part post-mortem” makes sense.

        Even if we’ve seen some major changes with D3’s systems. Renaming skill attributes and altering the itemization process (affixes, droprates), fixing a few skills here and there, taking out cube and cauldron, renaming stone of recall, tweaking the UI, that’s much more about polishing rather than anything else.

        Chances are they locked the yet-undisclosed the runes/skills system already, and crush-testing it in advance of the push into beta. Content wise, the game should likely be done.

    2. i doubt its gonna be streamed somewhere. too bad, i wouldve actually enjoyed it. im a fool for panels and whatnot.

      • Annnnd here come the RMT shops, sorry but your schemes will not work this time ahahahahasxaxax  *cough cough*

      • I actually wasn’t planning on attending cause any conventions involving gaming/anime/furries are always the worst smelling places in the world, I’ve smelled sewers that smell better than the ugly nerds who have never even see a shower head, but I maybe I will just so I can do this.

        • A guy that frequents a fan site putting down “nerds.” You are just chock full of all sorts of the most delightful hypocrisy aren’t you? 10 bucks says that pair of tighty-whities you are currently wearing have been hugging your nether regions for at least 3 days straight…

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