BlizzCon 2017 StarCraft II: What’s Next Panel Transcript
Day9: Of course, Shadow Wars was part of the initial war chest, and continuing to talk about some of that content that is going to live in upcoming war chests is Travis. Talk to us about skins.
Travis: Alright. So yeah. Let’s talk about what our thought process is when we’re coming up with a new army for the war chest skins. So the lore of StarCraft is so deep, and we have so much content to draw from, and we really want to inject some of that flavor into the games that the ladder players are playing; and they don’t get to see a lot of that if they don’t play the campaign.
So really we can inject that fantasy, and let players customize their own armys with different themes skins. One of the important things also though is we want to stay true to the recognizability of the units as well, and make sure that they still read well, because players have gotten used to instantly being able to recognize those shapes and colors and whatnot.
Day9: Yeah, I mean I know that there’s so much, but it seems like it would artistically locked in. There’s the idea of player colors as the idea of seeing armies with big different types of compositions. You will have to be able to parse that quickly. How do you begin at the initial concept in stage with that in mind?
Travis: Yeah. So the beginning of the concepting phase is really we try not to limit ourselves. We brainstorm out a bunch of ideas, we try to keep it really loose at the beginning, and just fill a page with ideas and no wrong answers here; and then we start trying to narrow it down. We think how to do these things fit into the Starcraft universe, and do they fit within the race lore itself, does it fit within the race? And then finally, we look at our narrowed down list of the most potential things we could go with, and we work with the design guys to figure out what our new commander is, and we pull from that list, and that’s what will be our army that will be in that war chest.
Day9: I mean in this sort of concepting phase where anything goes, do people just begin with like here’s a unit that I think might look cool this way, or do the specific units that you go for are more archtypical for the race?
Travis: There are no hard fast rules. We can adjust whatever inspires us at that time. We will just pick a unit, and just start playing with it. There is no hard fast way of doing it, but here is a little look into how we do it. How we inject that flavour.
So shout out to one of our artists: Sungjae Cho, who made this guy here. This is an aquatic Brood Lord. So we’ve thought about what if the zerg evolved underwater, and how could we translate that to a new theme set. So you can see here: we take the original, and then we do a paint over, and we go kind of crazy with it. We really just explore with no rules. You can see we’ve got really crazy with the colors here. We tried to get that crustacean feel on this guy, even a little broodling has a little hermit crab vibe to him.
Once we have the paint over, then we have to actually make the unit; and when we start making the unit, we start making all kinds of discoveries. A big one that we have to do a lot of times is: because our game is so focused on team color, we’ll have to neutralize the colors back a little bit, and let the team color really drive the color.
So you can see a lot of that extra color got pulled out, because it was clashing with other team colors. Another thing we have to think about too is when we’re adding components on these guys, to respect the old hitboxes, because we don’t want that to change. So you can see that with this guy, we had the claws before and we had to move those to the outside just so it fit within the old hitbox.
Day9: And I know that that process then extends to applying a single look sort of across the whole race, and you have some full sets to show us. Here is the protoss.
Travis: Alright. Yeah, let’s get into it, and we can preview some of this War Chest 2 stuff coming out. The Purifiers were really fun set to work on. This was obviously Phoenix’s army. It wasn’t hard to think of. The theme to do for them. These guys come from their home space station of Cybros.
So it really took a lot of devious aesthetic designs from that. These guys are a lot more sleek and sophisticated looking with the white armor. An interesting fact about the purifiers are that these guys are not biological. These guys are actually Robotic. The way that the Protoss normally communicate is through the Khala. That’s how they’re all connected, but these guys are actually connected through this AI. The purifier AI that you can see with the orange colored and stuff.
Day9: I kind of like how all of these look like the Overwatch logo as a protoss. Very sleek shaped.
Travis: Yeah. It’s so sweet shapes. A lot of fun to make these guys.
Day9: What about zerg?
Travis: So the zerg– this is a lot of fun working on these guys. So this came from one of our theme lists where we wanted to make a dinosaur-like zerg. So with these guys– with the skin we wanted to get more of that kind of reptilian feel. You’ll see a lot of stegosaurus plates, and dinosaur skin type feel on these guys. So it seemed like a pretty natural fit for a Dehaka trying to sell that Godzilla fantasy. So we came up with this one.
Day9: And what about the Terran?
Travis: And the Terran. This is probably one of my favorites to work on. We had been wanting to do a full junker set. I kinda get that Mad Max vibe with these guys; and so with these guys, the idea behind them is that they’re like desert mercenaries. So they’re the surface scene and weathering on these units. These things are sun beaten, and they’re not really trying to keep these things polished, and well painted. So we really wanted them to feel brutal. So we added things like spikes and blades. We put giant exhaust on everything. Our sound guys did an awesome job. One of the guys actually recorded some of his neighbor’s muscle cars, and just amped it up; and so when these things are revving through maps, they sound amazing.
Day9: So yeah. I mean a lot of these are just static images that we’re looking at. You brought up this sort of exhaust feel. Are there other things with these skins… like different particle effects, or also slightly different audio for the zerg and the protoss?
Travis: Absolutely. So we did new audio on these guys. They have– we do new particle effects on them, and for every one of the skins that we do we also do a new portrait. It’s a small detail, but we think it adds a lot of flavor.
Day9: Of course, this is all in the upcoming War Chest 2, and at this point this is where we’re looking forward to you to take some questions from the crowd. We still have a few minutes left before the end of the session. Now I know that there’s a microphone somewhere out there, but there’s a blinding lights in front of me. So I have no idea where they are visually.
But I’m sure that one of your voices will eventually come through the microphone. We’d be happy to hear. There it is. Yes! The microphone. Go to that microphone right there, and feel free to ask questions away. Look at that. Like I said, this is literally the easiest hosting job I never have.
|BlizzCon 2017 StarCraft II: What's Next Panel Transcript|
|1. Free-to-Play||2. Co-op||3. Design Patch|
|4. Shadow Wars Comics||5. War Chests||6. Community Q&A|