The odds are high that when you walk through an MMO’s landscape, you are not thinking about art assets beyond “this looks pretty” or “this looks awful.” But the latest information from The Repopulation team covers why you should care a little bit more about art assets for forests and how they’re set up. After all, the way the game is currently set up, every tree is a different asset, but upgraded systems will make the calls for forests as a single group… thus reducing load times and improving performance as the game draws a single asset instead of many.
The developers are also improving and rescaling existing models (resulting in better collision detection and reduced loading times) and categorizing items more efficiently in the game’s databases. In short, the result should be a title that plays better while looking better at the same time. Check out the full rundown for an idea about how all of this will come together.
There are a lot of things that the new owners of The Repopulation want to change about the game, and some of those are both visible to players and under the hood at the same time. Case in point, the UI. According to the latest update from the development team, the current UI relies on outside components for much of its functionality, which is somewhat incompatible of the development vision to keep things within the Hero Engine… especially when those outside components result in some system lag, to boot.
Of course, the changes aren’t solely about removing outside files. The rework is also meant to improve functionality and clean up the interface, fix longstanding issues like bugs when scrolling lists, and ensure that every part of the UI can be moved and resized instead of allowing some parts and not allowing others. There are also plans to allow for UI customizations to be saved by character or account as players prefer. Check out the full update to see if these are changes you’re excited over.
Bluehole has been rolling out plenty of Ascent: Infinite Realm teasers over the last couple of weeks. Today’s concept art reveal features armor for the Mystics (crowd-control DPSers), Elementalists (ice and fire mages) and Warlords (heavy-plate tanks – obviously, when you meet one of these ladies, aim for the inexplicably exposed leg artery, duh). Classes aren’t gender-locked, by the way.
“One reappearing question since the first A:IR announcement has been the query if all classes can be played as male and female characters. The answer has always been ‘Yes’ and today we are able to back this up with concept art for the Mystic and Warlord class.”
We first learned the game was coming westward – indeed, with a western focus – in November of last year, when Kakao announced it was acting as the western publisher for Bluehole and the studios took the veil off what was formerly codenamed Project M. Both companies seem to have high hopes for the RVR steampunk-fantasy open-world MMORPG; Bluehole has talked about meeting the desire for AAA MMORPGs in the west, while Kakao, which also publishes Black Desert in the west for Pearl Abyss, sees BDO and A:IR as the gateway to successful international development.
Every MMO wants to be popular. You get to sit at the nice lunch table and everyone talks about how cool you are, all great stuff. But Crowfall hit an odd tier of popularity with its latest patch. The good news was that the game had more testers in-game and playing than ever before, but the bad new was that the game had so many people playing that it hit several hard-coded faction limits that had been added in previously. Studio head J. Todd Coleman tweeted about the snafu and promised that changes were being made to support the influx.
Of course, if you’re not having trouble with that – perhaps you’re at work right now and couldn’t play anyhow, for example – you can still enjoy the time-lapse video below of art lead David Greco putting together concept art for a statue of the goddess Yaga. She’s scowly and angry, and you can watch each brushstroke come together to capture that! It’s a fun video.
It’s interesting to learn that the art and animations for Paragon cost Epic Games $12 million, all told. How do we know that? Well… the company is giving them away. Not to anyone, to everyone. All of the characters, skins, environmental art, and so forth are all offered completely free of charge to anyone who wants to use them in any sort of Unreal Engine 4 development project.
For those of you not following along, that means that fans could resurrect Paragon completely for free if they wished to. They could also make a totally new game based on the same characters, or just use some of the assets, or use those assets as a starting point for something completely different. It’s entirely up to each individual user. Because all of the assets are there, and again, they’ve been released to the public for use completely for free for UE4 development.
In short: This is really cool.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Crowfall just spat out a 3,000-word essay in full technicolor. The art team behind this upcoming PvP MMO pumped out a trio of paintings that attempt to capture the three primary pillars of the game.
“The pillar word behind the first piece is conquest,” said ArtCraft, “fulfilling the role of the Mercenary, Warlord, or Monarch. The pillar word behind the second piece is build, the drive to become a bastion of harvesting and crafting, a kingpin of merchants and trade. For the third and final piece, the pillar word is exploration, the feeling of anticipation and exhilaration that drives one to press on through dense forest and over steep mountains.”
If time-lapse art creation is oddly mesmerizing to you, then gaze upon what waits you after the break.
Ever since its launch back in 2004, World of Warcraft has never boasted the most cutting-edge graphics and polygon counts. This was intentional, of course, as to keep the MMO available to a large of a crowd as possible, and Blizzard compensated with a colorful and creative art style.
Yet the game hasn’t remained stuck in 2004. The art style and detail has improved over the years, and with the higher system requirements for the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion, World of Warcraft is taking the opportunity to upgrade some of its more lackluster models to a higher fidelity.
Nowhere is this as apparent as with the game’s critters and creatures. YouTuber Bellular put together a video showing the art evolution between old and new beasts, some of which are truly shocking in their difference. Check it out below!
The Atropal boss in Neverwinter
is not something you want to run into in a dark alley. Heck, it’s probably not something you want to run into anywhere, for any reason, at any point in time. It is a pretty disturbing-looking monstrosity, that’s the point here. And there’s a whole development blog available now about how the boss was designed
, so if you’re wondering how a boss gets from its concept art (which may have just been a used tissue) to a finished model, it’s well worth a read.
You’ll also learn something about how skeletons and rigs work in the game, as the Atropal is based off of a heavily modified human male skeleton. Yes, it’s very different, but all of the fundamental parts work, so it’s just a matter of tweaking limb size appropriately and giving it a truly disgusting appearance. If you like reading up on how bosses get put together, it’s well worth an examination.
The storyline for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
was not just about dragoons fighting dragons in snow. But it was
prominently about the great wyrm Nidhogg, the vengeance-driven Estinien, and the way that their conflict played out across snowy Coerthas. So it seems only appropriate that their rivalry has been given tribute in the form of an enormous snow sculpture
as part of the Sapporo Snow Festival
Yes, it’s an enormous wall-sized mural of Estinien and Nidhogg made out of snow, complete with projection lighting after dark to use the sculpture as part of a storytelling exercise. It’s a pretty cool and appropriate tribute to the previous expansion’s storyline, and you can get a taste of what it looks like from the photos below. (We are going to go ahead and assume that you cannot fly out to Japan just to see this. If you can, of course, let us know how it goes.)
What do you think about Sea of Thieves’ art style? The game has received all kinds of praise for its water effects and skyboxes, but the cartoony nature of the environment and characters has its appeal as well.
Rare trotted out its artists to talk about the visual design of Sea of Thieves, from concept art to implementation, in the most recent Tales from the Tavern podcast. There’s also a preview of The Art of Sea of Thieves book, which you may gift to us on our birthdays. We’re sure it will be gorgeous.
Meanwhile, players are still recovering from the good and the bad the closed beta, which shut down on Wednesday. Eurogamer has a really interesting article up about the joys of captaining your own sloop and simply exploring the world.
“Solo life on the ocean waves is idyllic,” the author writes. “Sails flap, rigging creaks and waves gently splosh, as the sea slowly hypnotises you. One moment it’s an azure paradise, the next a mountainous stormy rage. It’s terrifying and beautiful and stunningly believable, and it is Sea of Thieves’ undeniable star asset.”
It’s almost magical to watch a talented artist create a striking piece of concept art from start to end. ArtCraft isn’t keeping this magic to itself but is sharing it instead with fans. This week’s Crowfall subject is the terrifying Yaga, which towers above a mound of skulls and behind scales, suggesting an intimate knowledge of life and death and the value of souls.
“Lead Artist Dave Greco recorded a time-lapse video of his latest concept art, featuring the goddess Yaga,” ArtCraft posted. “Watch the Crone come to life as she collects a soul, but for what purpose?”
Check it out after the break!
Can’t decide between your love of two popular geek fantasy franchises? Come on over to Crowfall, and you can enjoy both!
The Crowfall art team is happy to announce that work has progressed on two additional gender/race combinations, the male Nethari and the male Half-Elf. The latter can give thanks to pop culture for his outfit: “The inspiration for their gear was a bit of the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones and a bit Ranger from Lord of the Rings. Shrouded in dark fabrics and leathers, they blend into the night and the shadows and walk among the creatures of the world without notice.”
These racial options should be in the game soon. Players who pick the male Nethari can roll up a Confessor, Templar, or Assassin, while the male Half-Elf is all about being a Ranger, Assassin, or Druid. Next on ArtCraft’s plate? The male and female versions of the High Elf. So many Elves, so little time.
Every pirate needs some good reading material for those long ocean voyages, assuming that they can read. And now, for the literate and illiterate alike, a Sea of Thieves comic book series is coming for the discriminating adventurers.
The comic series is being written by Jeremy Whitley and drawn by Rhoald Marcellius and will arrive in stores and online during the game’s launch month of March 2018. It shouldn’t be confused with the game’s official art book, which is being handled by Dark Horse Comics.
Titan Comics says that the comic will be appropriate for all ages: “In Titan Comics’ brand-new series, follow two competing crews of pirates, bound by a shared past and a single destiny, as they sail the Sea of Thieves in a race to track down an ancient treasure. Along the way they’ll deal with undead hordes, devious traps and their own bitter rivalries, but which crew will emerge victorious and ultimately claim the legendary loot?”