BlizzCon's Saturday Diablo III Art Panel Coverage

Saturday's Diablo III Art Panel, an hour-long event at the BlizzCon from 1:00 PM PST to 2:00 PM PST, was covered by Mockery and Silversurfnstud (who informed me was quoting nearly all of this word-for-word via text messaging- good to have devoted staff here :D) of our own staff here at DiabloFans in the Live Chat on the Home Page. The Panel ranged in information from art direction, textures, models, monsters, and more to questions asked at the end by attendees in a bit of a "Q&A" session specifically for the Art Panel.

First we will start off with a little bit more information on the Fallen of Diablo III. You might recall a while ago when our website did coverage on the Fallen when they were announced with an official Diablo III bestiary update (here) and been surprised with how far the little guys have come since their short-statured and goblin-like appearance in Diablo II, when they all nearly looked the same except for the differentiation between Fallen Shaman and Fallen and some color variation that, admittedly, did not often look appealing or add replay value to the game. So, it might be good that Mockery has reported this:

Quote from "Mockery" »
They want demons to be easy to decipher. Easy to tell if you are fighting shaman or fallen.

We already saw a bit of their diversity with how many types of Fallen there were. It is good to see that Blizzard is striving, however, to make each of these distinct branches of the Fallen family as different, visually and mechanically, to players as a banana is from a bowling ball.

Often in Diablo II, gear on your character that was good to use did not always make your character look more powerful or intimidating, and most of it showed very little of what it's item icon was in your inventory. All of that, it appears, is going to change:

Quote from "Blizzard" »
As you get better loot, your character looks better and more powerful in Diablo 3.

And when asked about the appearance of the actual character model in the world of Sanctuary when interesting-looking unique items are equipped:

Quote from Questioner/Blizzard »
Q: Does every unique item actually change your in game appearance?
A: Majority of the items will. Can't promise all.

Blizzard stated that tons of artwork and artistic concepts never make it in to the final game, but did not say whether or not any of this would ever be availbile to fans. In Diablo II, in the disc files, you can find, for yourself, unused GIF and artwork files. It would be interesting to see if something similar happens with Diablo III. Or maybe even a collector's edition with it all in. Who knows?

On the detail of hero animation versus NPC animation, Blizzard stated that heroes will have an average of three times the animation depth that NPC's do. Whether we can be happy that heroes will have more animations, or sad that NPC's will have less, is left up-in-arms and for your interpretation.

On the detail of dungeons, Blizzard representatives were able to tell us a little more.

Quote from "Blizzard" »
Expect dungeons to be very detailed. Dust flies off old books 'n chests, etc ... items fly off tables if they get in the way of combat ...

It's good to see the developers are puting that Havoc physics engine to good use, I'd say :cute: Furthermore, on shadows in-game, Mockery had this much to say from his viewing of gameplay videos:

Quote from "Mockery" »
Shadows on the floor of all players in dungeons look really nice too ... Shadows move with items that are casting the shadow ... ie: something gets knocked over, you'll see the shadow move along with it realistically

On the development of the new desert area, the Borderlands, Mockery scooped up the following on the menacing feeling previously employed in Diablo II's areas and, even more so, in Diablo I:

Quote from "Mockery »
They want all the Diablo zones to be VERY hostile looking [.'] Lots of native dwellings out in the middle of the desert. There are some mutilated bodies in the desert area from the demo, saw some when I played yesterday

When asked just how gory and desecrated these corpses looked, though, Mockery had this to say:

Quote from "Mockery" »
I thought somebody spilled strawberry jam on all over certain areas on the screen.

In regards to how zones (like the forest area we saw last year, the Tristram area, and the Borderlands) are pieced together, since (I believe- correct me if I am wrong) it was confirmed that the acts will contain more than one area type:

Quote from "Blizzard" »
They use zone specific landscaping building blocks to piece together the various zones.

The Q&A section went on to say that Blizzard builds their own textures from scratch and that a large focus of the development process this time is on replayibility with the new game in the series.


  • #1 Rik-Universe
    Nice. I'm very excited about how your character looks more awesome as your items get more amazing.
  • #2 Musica
    I'm glad to hear that they're taking the concept of equipment affecting appearance that Blizzard North pioneered to such acclaim with Diablo (although it certainly isn't as impressive nowadays) and making it even more detailed. Really great.

    I don't really have an opinion on the NPC and hero animations but I'm sure NPCs will have a lot to do to make them more distinctive. More than Diablo 2 I'm sure.

    I can't really understand some of the Diablo community's pre-occupation with gore. It's like the slasher vs. psychological horror type of debate seen so often among film fans. Personally, lots of blood does nothing for me when it comes to inspiring fear unless it is placed in an approriately frightening context and used somewhat sparingly in the game (ex. the Burcher's room). If it's just strewn anywhere and everywhere then it simply becomes part of the scenery and not really anything to get excited about. I hope we won't be seeing horribly bloody corpses in more than half of the game. A lot of corpses are fine, but they don't always have to be covered in blood.

    I hope that the heavy use of the physics engine and wild effects won't ruin the atmosphere of horror that I love to see in this series. Too much banging around and objects flying everywhere can make things seem considerably less sinister and mysterious than they would otherwise. Sometimes silence and darkness are all you need to scare someone.

    Not that I want the Diablo series to be a full fledged horror game since of course it's much more than that but I'd like for some scary undercurrents to remain. They help to give the game some soul.
  • #3 Magistrate
    Yeah, I can understand that. The same thought actually occurred to me- I am almost a bit timid that they might just paste the screen with red, so to speak. First off, some other macabre things are possible without throwing a red bucket over everything- ghosts, skeletons, heavy-claustrophobia (this mainly did it for me in Diablo I), and such- and if I were to give more of my own personal opinion in that article I would have said that. I think similar, I believe, to what you were saying- Diablo has horror elements, but it is not a horror game- other things should take precedence, like gameplay, story, and such, but it should still be there afterwards. Perhaps more heavily than most other ARPG's, but not as much as an actual horror game, or a least not over done so that the effect is lost.

    But I guess for me that means I have to wait to get my own hands on a copy to see how I feel about it all :hammy:
  • #4 SilVerSurFnStud
    Thanks Guys For Sending Me!! Nice work on getting the info posted on the forums guys.
    Glad to have been able to report most those quotes straight to mockery while he sent them live to you.

    In short D3 is going to be such a great game. I know they are taking their time but judging by the q and a and panels they are doing the game right from the ground up
  • #5 Valtonis
    i agree with Musica. the reason why i prefer Diablo 1 to Diablo 2 is because of the atmosphere that something bad is gonna happen and not the gore.
    D1 did it alot better than D2, the first time i encountered the Butcher i got scared out of my boots and it was not because of the gore in the room, since i didn't even have a good look at it before running (well, walking) the hell out of there

    and it is great that they are putting alot of work into the details, which is really the difference between a good game and a great one
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