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Diablo III Designer Defends New Look and Feel

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the all-things-in-perspective dept.

Graphics 371

In response to a fair amount of angry outcry at the new look and feel for Diablo III, designer Jay Wilson has critiqued some fan-altered screenshots and defended the new style. "The key thing to remember here is that this has been Photoshopped. This isn't created by the engine. Though it looks really cool, it's almost impossible to do in a 3D engine because you can't have lighting that smart and run on systems that are reasonable. If we could do that, we probably would in a few of the dungeons."

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Translation: (0, Flamebait)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471061)

"We are too lazy to make a scalable engine because we know you'll buy whatever we pump out anyway."

Sad fact: they are right. I will buy it. :/

Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (1)

thezig2 (1102967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471063)

Most of the photoshops I've seen did nothing more than apply filters to darken the scene and raise contrast. Do they really mean to tell us that they're incapable of having their engine uniformly alter the light levels like that?

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (5, Insightful)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471331)

mostly what he refers to as impossible are some of the more elaborate shadows (e.g. dynamic ones from the enemies off of the spells being cast) and things like that.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (-1, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471409)

The new raytracting kits should be able to do all those transforms and lighting tricks.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24471565)

Thats a pretty mean sig you've got there.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24471581)

In the article he makes clear that "impossible" is in reference to "reasonable hardware". Blizzard has always done a spectacular job making sure their fan base doesn't need to upgrade their machines to fully experience the game.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (4, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471435)

I think it's more likely that they realize that these fan generated graphics are ugly, would probably look even worse in motion than they do in photoshopped screenshots, and wouldn't play very well because they're so muddled. But they're dealing with some obviously hardcore fans, and they're probably thrilled that there are people out there who care enough to go through all this trouble, so they don't really want to come out and call those fans untalented hack artists.

So rather than call their fanbase stupid, they call themselves stupid. At the end of the day, they'll release the game they want to make, and judging from Blizzard's track record it will be a well made game that will sell very well. These people who are spending hours photoshopping screenshots will switch to spending hours playing the game, and everyone will be happy.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (5, Interesting)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471985)

Oh, come on, now. The point is that, two days after launch, those same fans who mostly just altered contrast in the pictures, will release a mod that alters your monitor's contrast whenever you launch Diablo 3. It's not rocket science here people.

For the record, I'm not so much concerned about the contrast changes (see previous sentence), it's the cartoonish, WoW-like graphics that may kill this game's lasting appeal for me (see the Barbarian's armor in the 30min gameplay preview. It looks just like Warcraft 3.

I may be in minority here, but one of the best parts of Diablo 2 was the ridiculous, over-the-top violence and the cold, realistic graphics.

Disclaimer: I put 3000+ hours into Diablo 2, and I consider it the greatest game of all time. Diablo 3 will not live up to my expectations no matter what the Dev team does.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472325)

I tend to agree. I'm not opposed to COLOR, and scoff at fanboys who demand twenty shades of brown and forty of rusty red, but I'm thoroughly sick of seeing Blizzard use the same cartoony, improportionate models for all their games since Warcraft III.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472393)

maybe... a 3d ray traced gorgeous chick raped by a barbarian ork orde? (that's how almost every half orc was born... never thought fantasy was a good settings for the children)

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24471521)

The issue is twofold:

First, usually when you program in some 3-D API you are building a world around some point in layers. This is typically done by your video card and then sent directly to output. There is only one saved world file that doesn't differentiate on which areas are supposed to be lighted near the character or not. In fact, it is really tricky to do fancy lighting. Probably the best theory on how to do it might be something like the 3-D textures that Carmack noted (where the lighting is a dynamically created layer).

Second, as I said, most of the work is done by hardware and then sent to output. In order to do these fancy shadings, you either need to take the computed frame, modify it, and then send it back to output or you need to have your video card support an API that will allow you to code for it after the fact. But even if you do, there is no well defined way to get the correct shadings (unlike with an 3/4 down view). What do you do? Draw a circle around the characters and then drop the contrast everywhere else? The only realistic way is to load the map segment you will use. Determine the character positions. Calculate with vectors which areas will have light. Adjust the contrast of your map with this. And then load your map. To say that this would be computationally expensive is a vast understatement.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (1)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472021)

It is, however, simple enough to make it so that blue light doesn't come up from the bottom of the bridge for some reason.

Re:Impossible? That's laying it on a bit thick. (0)

Lobster Quadrille (965591) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472331)

The photoshop referenced in TFA looks like shit. All they did was run it through 'sharpen' a bunch of times and change the color balance.

I don't see it (5, Interesting)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471067)

At first glance I prefer Blizzard's version.

Re:I don't see it (5, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471111)

I can't understand the attraction to underlit gaming environments. Maybe it's supposed to be scarier? I just get annoyed when I can't see s***.

Re:I don't see it (5, Informative)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471237)

Yeah, that kind of stuff just pisses me off. I hated that I needed to install the "duct tape" mod for Doom 3 just so I could see what was going on.

Re:I don't see it (4, Insightful)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471859)

Doom 3 is perfect if you played in a completly dark room where your eyes can adjust. In that kind of environment "different shades of black" actually works. Playing it in a light room however is painful unless you turn up gamma, which you can't do in the basic settings, instead requiring you to use the console. And if you do turn up gamma the visual quality of course goes down.

This is the problem when doing any visually dark game. You have to consider how the game plays in a not so dark room.

Re:I don't see it (5, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472219)

Doom 3 is perfect if you played in a completly dark room where your eyes can adjust

And presumably if you have a CRT screen. Increasingly people these days have LCD screens, which can't do black at all. Playing in a dark room with an LCD -- even a good gaming LCD -- means having an immersion-wrecking glowing rectangle hovering in the air in front of you. It just doesn't work.

Kudos to Blizzard for actually trying to design a game that will look good on real people's PCs, instead of pandering to the crazy obsessions of a tiny minority.

Re:I don't see it (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471293)

If the proposed shots were to be included instead of the existing shots, my screen would still look more like the existing shots because I'd have to crank up the gamma. One of the first things I do in a game is adjust the gamma so that I can see everything. I never played Doom III (more into RPG than FPS), but I would have hated that game because you can't see (I've played I and II). In an RPG, darkness and fog of war and what not are much less important to the game since they are about the story and player advancement. In Doom III, where character level isn't much of an issue, the darkness adds to the gameplay.

Layne

Re:I don't see it (4, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471505)

In Doom III, where character level isn't much of an issue, the darkness adds to the gameplay.

It adds to the gameplay for about five minutes. Then it gets annoying.

Re:I don't see it (2, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471655)

It lasted about two hours for me, but then it just gets painful. I'm confident that if I were sufficiently motivated I could hold a flashlight and a BFG9000 at the same time without duct tape.

Re:I don't see it (4, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471719)

Too creepy, right after I hit 'submit' the power at the college went out for a minute and the whole room went dark.

Re:I don't see it (5, Funny)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471793)

stay away from the ventilation ducts.

Re:I don't see it (4, Funny)

Hossicle (945360) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472343)

Doom 3 - The only game you can play with monitor on or off and it still looks the same!

Re:I don't see it (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471605)

To me, darkness and the "fog of war" effect point to laziness more than anything else. Sure, it's probably supposed to produce "atmosphere", but to me it just looks like they were too lazy to draw out the entire scene in detail. I enjoy FPS games, but the really dark areas drive me crazy. I want to see an immersive detailed world, not something I have to get right up next to and point a flashlight at before I can see how detailed it is.

Like a previous poster, I tend to crank up the brightness and contrast when encountered with games that artificially darken things. Those that use heavy fog to produce the same effect just piss me off. Some of the earlier games did this probably because the engine just wasn't capable of rendering that much stuff at once, but these days it's just lazy.

Re:I don't see it (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472241)

Even these days it can be because the machine can't handle it - polygon count in games keeps creeping up. In addition, some newer effects can be GPU intensive (realistic smoke and fire, for instance). OTOH, details are starting to be offloaded to the shaders (like steep parallax mapping) allowing simpler scenes and more visual depth, so it could be laziness (or time).

Re:I don't see it (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471355)

Shame I spent my mod points, or I'd give you a +1 insightful there. I'll just have to say 'I agree'. At least some games give you a nice gamma setting, but even in those cases, it tends to wash things out.

Re:I don't see it (2, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471357)

I think the basic idea is that if you can't see it, you can't see how bad it looks.

Re:I don't see it (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471369)

I'm still trying to find my way out of the communications tower, you insensitive clod!

Re:I don't see it (1)

TJamieson (218336) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472107)

It seems these shots are more knee-jerk reaction from die-hard Diablo II fans than anything else. In each shot they've basically done whatever is necessary to make it look like "Diablo II+". I agree with the designers -- they *could* make it look like that, but they choose not to.

I think the biggest thing to remember is Diablo II was 2-D, and Diablo III is 3-D. You're never going to have 1:1 art translation like that.

Re:I don't see it (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471523)

Agreed. If I were playing a game that looked like the photoshopped screenshots there, I'd bump up the gamma until I could see.

Re:I don't see it (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472019)

I don't know why you got modded flamebait, but I agree. The altered version just looks like a Photoshop sharpness filter overly applied, and color adjusted to make everything darker (but in a way that will make everything far too dark on CRTs).

Re:I don't see it (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472101)

I can see how both would be cool.

I don't understand what this "us versus them" mentality is all about.

I have made it with a woman. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24471073)

Inform the men.

Shadows Set the Mood (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471077)

Diablo III Designer Defends New Look and Feel

I haven't really RTFA'd, just looked at the pictures. I'm a bit torn on this story because I don't even think this designer needs to answer to people putting up screenshots that are entitled "wow gayness" when compared to their preferred screenshots. But as to whether or not he felt they had a valid point or he Blizzard just really cares for their fans, I cannot say.

While the lighting in a few of these looks like definitely done by hand, the only other major difference I see is color and tint. In example #1 the lighting is much better in the fan screenshot but I can definitely see what the designer was talking about with it being 'smart.' My question would be (and I'm a complete idiot with vector graphics) why do they have no problem putting directional shadows behind characters but not the scenery? It seems to me that the candle light in that particular screenshot is being blocked by walls and ridges. Is this difficult with scenery? I'm guessing the levels are dynamically generated like in the first and second (a great aspect of the game, might I add), is this what causes difficulty with shadow play? I think by and large with the fan shots they use borderline too much shadow. I am guessing shadow is crucial in setting the mood but dynamically generated shadow would be difficult ... when would you have too much? For example in #1, the big white blob thing attacking blocks 1/4 the screen ... four of those and you'd be blind. There could be an army behind him and you wouldn't know it. Something to think about.

Now, the rest of this stuff just seems to be color pallette and tint which seems to be artistic preference. I can't say which I like better but I've a feeling I'll appreciate color (and a change of that between levels) if I'm going to be staring at it for hours.

I'll be honest, when I first saw the game play I was very nonplussed, it was exactly Diablo II. But then I realized the great thing about II was that it was Diablo I with more features, levels, classes, monsters, etc. Ironically, I think that all that would make me happy in III is just more multiplayer options, more items, monsters, classes, etc. I can't want to play this one!

Re:Shadows Set the Mood (3, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471123)

All they have to do, take all that green, all that distanced lighting shit, and make it black. Pitch as fuck black.

This was the thing in the first game, you couldn't just see infinitely further ahead, shit was dark in many places. That was half the fun of the 2nd and 3rd dungeons. I like a change, but honestly, this is to be some form of a dark game, this is not hello kitty meets diablo.

Re:Shadows Set the Mood (4, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471213)

Ew. No. That was by far the worst part of Diablo before. Not being able to see a damn thing around me is not fun at all. At the very least, they need to make the "blackness" optional.

Re:Shadows Set the Mood (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471215)

All they have to do, take all that green, all that distanced lighting shit, and make it black. Pitch as fuck black.

You're one of those monochromatic artists [wikipedia.org] , aren't you?

Re:Shadows Set the Mood (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471995)

Okay, I admit. I laughed. I hope you get an extra +mod :D

Re:Shadows Set the Mood (5, Funny)

kat_skan (5219) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471441)

...this is not hello kitty meets diablo.

I would buy this in a second, if only I could decide whether I'd rather play as Diablo tormenting Hello Kitty, or as Hello Kitty tormenting Diablo.

Hey emo kids, try this!! (5, Funny)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471787)

Here's what you can do:

  1. get some transparency paper [google.com]
  2. print out a radial gradient fill that's clear in the middle and black on the edges
  3. paste it on your screen

Problem solved. Diablo zealots are happy, blizzard is happy. Emo kids can use this approach for a host of other games too. As for me, I won't do any of that sillyness. My monitor is rectangular for a reason.

Re:Hey emo kids, try this!! (1)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471873)

Err, my complaint was more that you can see behind objects that you shouldn't be able too. Like those trees...

Re:Shadows Set the Mood (4, Funny)

the Atomic Rabbit (200041) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472319)

It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.

Re:Shadows Set the Mood (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471171)

I can't want to play it either!

Re:Shadows Set the Mood (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472003)

My question would be (and I'm a complete idiot with vector graphics) why do they have no problem putting directional shadows behind characters but not the scenery? It seems to me that the candle light in that particular screenshot is being blocked by walls and ridges. Is this difficult with scenery? I'm guessing the levels are dynamically generated like in the first and second (a great aspect of the game, might I add), is this what causes difficulty with shadow play?

The reason is because creating dynamic shadows via shadow mapping or shadow volumes (which is what their technique looks like) is extremely expensive to calculate and then to draw (both techniques are often fill-rate limited, meaning the more that's in shadow, the longer it takes). Typically, designers have to define a subset of shadow-casting objects which are included in the calculation, and everything else is left out. Areas that are determined to be in shadow are then drawn dimmer than their surroundings. Scenery such as walls, mountains or hills doesn't usually cast these kinds of shadows because the effect can be reasonably approximated by simpler techniques (attenuation, directional lights, etc). Indeed, you'll often find that only certain lights cast shadows on certain objects, further simplifying the work.

I don't work at Blizzard, but I suspect the lack of universal shadowing has little to do with the random nature of the dungeons, and everything to do with high cost and limiting returns of truly "realistic" shadows.

Thus, the determination of what will cast shadows is typically done by the designers who have to determine what gets the most bang for the processor time.

Solution to Blizzard's design decisions (4, Funny)

douthat (568842) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471129)

Step 1) Turn down your monitor's brightness
Step 2) Stop whining
Step 3) There is no step 3!

Honestly, IMHO, the Blizzard shots are nicer. I have to squint to make out what's going on in the fan-created screenshots.

Re:Solution to Blizzard's design decisions (0)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471221)

Where do I profit then?

Re:Solution to Blizzard's design decisions (2, Informative)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471335)

It's an iMac ad from 10 years ago reference, you insensitive clod!

Re:Solution to Blizzard's design decisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472297)

Step 1) Turn up your monitor's brightness
Step 2) Realize that the game looks better this way.
Step 3) There is no step 3!

No problem here (5, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471157)

I have always failed to understand what people's problem with Diablo III's graphics. The important thing is the gothic feel here. You don't need a color palette made up of shades of brown, grey, and black to achieve that... there's nothing wrong with having a colorful world, since it doesn't necessarily change the look & feel of the world at all. Hell, I by far prefer the screen shots Blizzard has produced to the "improved" stuff the fans have put out. The people doing that work may be happy with a world full of dreary colors which is hard to see any detail in, but I for one am not.

Re:No problem here (5, Insightful)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471285)

As with any game with a fiercly loyal fan base, nothing blizzard can do other than repackaging Diablo 2 (and probably not even then), will make these people happy.

Re:No problem here (1)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471295)

All the fans did was remove...well...all the SHARPNESS from the graphics. If I want to play a diablo game that looks like shit, I still have a trio 64 laying around somewhere that I will use. To play Diablo (original version).

Re:No problem here (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471663)

You don't need a color palette made up of shades of brown, grey, and black to achieve that... there's nothing wrong with having a colorful world, since it doesn't necessarily change the look & feel of the world at all.

Exactly. Game developers over the last ten years have been tied to the idea that something can only be spooky if it's dark brown and gray, and is also a sewer. I was getting sick of it eight years ago, and games that have broken that mold have been very refreshing.

Now, come to find out, the reason there was so much gray-on-dark-gray motifs in games was because there were a large number of gamers who actually agreed that this was the only way to go! That actually get pissed when a developer tries to break this old and tired mold, and try to "improve" the art by forcing it back into the mold. Hey guys, 1996 called, and they want Quake's color palette back!

Though even it seems Quake has too many colors for these people. The best example is the last pair of shots. Apparently the "Necromancer's Choice" is the same grey-on-black style I've seen a million times (not that necromancers are known for their interior decorating), and "wow gayness" is exemplified by... the color green? Yeah, how gay. You gotta wonder when not even Quake is mono-chrome enough.

So far, my biggest problem with the D3 art I've seen is that it's too bland and boring, not that it goes too far in using actual colors. But apparently I feel oppositely of some people.

Re:No problem here (5, Insightful)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472087)

Quake was brown because id had to create a realistically lightmapped 3D environment with a VGA color palette. I greatly enjoyed the first Quake and still believe that technical limitations can result in good, interesting design choices, but the fact that a game designed to run on Pentium CPUs and 1 MB graphics cards has continued to profoundly influence game graphics and people's expectations thereof is... well... sad. As for Diablo III, if people want to kick their feet and scream that it's too colorful, then Blizzard just needs to add a post-processing shader option to thump certain color ranges down a bit. See ATI's SmartShader or Far Cry's "graphics filters" for an example.

Re:No problem here (1)

yammosk (861527) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472097)

Game developers over the last ten years have been tied to the idea that something can only be spooky if it's dark brown and gray, and is also a sewer.

Actually in Quake and Quake II's case, the brown color palette was used to hid the limitations of the game engine better. A good way to see this is to look at the original Half-Life which uses more colors. You can certainly see that the seems in the models are much more apparent.

Re:No problem here (2, Funny)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472199)

You sounded almost like Bob Ross,

"You can do whatever you want with your world. It's your world. You can put a happy little bush here. Or some happy little clouds. Let's do that. *relaxing paintbrush tapping sounds* You see that? That'll be our little secret."

To dark (0, Redundant)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471183)

I think a lot of the user created images are just to dark. Seriously it shouldn't be pitch black 5 feet away from your character. Some of those images were just over done. However I do think the rainbow in that one image in the article is a bit cheesy....

Re:To dark (2, Funny)

pxc (938367) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471889)

Why is it cheesy? When it rains, there are rainbows. Also, the imagined homophobic reaction of some gamers is delightful to me.

to be honest.... (0)

Premo_Maggot (864012) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471203)

I can't really tell any big differences in any of the screenshots by just looking at them.

bgy (5, Informative)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471279)

What I don't like is the excessive amount of blue, green, and yellow on what should be plain stone tiles.

Re:bgy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472115)

Because water is #000FF, grass is #00FF00 and rock is #808080... amirite?

Re:bgy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472395)

Why "should" it be plain stone tiles? Maybe the stones used to build these locations were one of the thousands of variants of marble or granite that are varying shades of pink, blue, green, yellow, brown etc. But lets not get caught up with facts Blizzard is stupid! Rocks aren't any color but grey!

Its Blizzard (2, Insightful)

dunezone (899268) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471345)

This has to do with Blizzard. Ever since Warcraft 3 they have shifted their graphic design to a more cartoonish or anime style.

Re:Its Blizzard (3, Insightful)

techiemikey (1126169) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471471)

I was unaware that "being able to see" meant cartoony.

Re:Its Blizzard (1)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471519)

You can see in the fan made shots, you just need to not be viewing thumbnails...

Re:Its Blizzard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24471741)

YHBT

Re:Its Blizzard (5, Insightful)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471709)

This has to do with Blizzard. Ever since Warcraft 3 they have shifted their graphic design to a more cartoonish or anime style.

I think the cartoonish style is more about a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. Blizzard prides itself on producing games that will run well on average hardware, and that means reduced scene complexity, especially in cases where you've got arbitrary amounts of geometry on the screen. Because of this, they're limited to broader artistic strokes to convey meaning.

I look at this a lot like stage theater - actors make exaggerated gestures and wear dramatic makeup on stage because they need to transcend the limitations of the medium. Blizzard uses simple polygons and textures because that's the best way to get a whole bunch of em on the screen at any given time. As long as it doesn't break immersion (and I understand for some people it does, but not for me), then I'm fine with it.

Personally, watching the gameplay video I wasn't thinking "these colors look off" or "this seems too cartoon-like". I was thinking more along the lines of "whoa, wall of zombies" and "that thing just bit that guy in half!"

Re:Its Blizzard (0, Redundant)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471795)

Except they could easily make the game look more like what people wanted it to look like by reducing the lighting and desaturating the textures a bit, it wouldn't require more polygons or processing power. The whole thing about shadows is the only thing that they couldn't really do without much higher system requirements.

Re:Its Blizzard (2, Insightful)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472099)

True enough, but couldn't those same users adjust their own monitor/video settings to achieve the level of brightness they desire? I'd rather have the colors start out more vivid with the ability for the user to dial it back, than for things to start out too dark and end up looking washed out when brightness settings are raised.

Re:Its Blizzard (2, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471841)

Awww, is Mr. Winkie feeling a little small?

Seriously; what's wrong with graphics that don't get in the way? Bloom-ridden gray-and-brown gets in the way of gameplay, and comparison shots like these show it better than just about anything else: it becomes too difficult to tell things apart. A little color makes games more fun.

Re:Its Blizzard (0, Troll)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472379)

Seriously; what's wrong with having some atmosphere? Ridiculous colors get in the way of the gloomy atmosphere, and comparison shots like these show it better than just about anything else: it makes everything look cartoony. WoW-style coloration makes games look stupid.

Re:Its Blizzard (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471853)

I'm impressed with Blizzard's attention to detail. Some game designers (and designers in other fields) don't pay enough attention to things like visibility, subtly, utility, and balance in visuals. You might not like the style they chose, but you have to respect that they can justify the decision rather than just say "we like it that way".

Re:Its Blizzard (4, Insightful)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472137)

Ever since Warcraft 3 [...]

I guess you never played the first two Warcrafts? Warcraft games have always been cartoony.

Re:Its Blizzard (3, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472151)

Wha? Last I checked Starcraft and Warcraft 2 were both plenty cartoony. Even the original Diablo games had *glowing red monsters*... Blizzard has *never* been known for gritty, realistic rendering...

Re:Its Blizzard (2, Insightful)

gsn (989808) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472153)

It isn't cartoonish or anime - the idea is to create a fantasy world. Diablo didn't have a world - it had a town with a plain boring dungeon that was pretty much exactly the same all the way down. D2 made the first effort where you had some more variety in the character classes and that there were distinct areas each with a different feel but within each you still had dungeons that were essentially the same. From what I can tell with the screenshots for this world they are actually trying to create more of a world this time around, and hopefully give it more of an RPG feel than a pure hack/slash.

Re:Its Blizzard (1)

tim_darklighter (822987) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472193)

There is not enough evidence to make your claim. The two Blizzard games released since D2:LoD were Warcraft games (WC3 and WoW), and WC games have always been cartoony (look at WC1 and WC2). Diablo (I and II) and Starcraft (I and II) have been gothic and anime-ish respectively since their inception. (Note that SC: Ghost may never be released, so I won't count it). Remember that Blizzard North = Diablo and Blizzard = SC and WC. I would say a lot of the art direction stems from that division, although I don't have more evidence than that. I would be personally disappointed if D3 were drawn like WoW, but the initial gameplay trailer dismissed that for me.

Re:Its Blizzard (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472237)

It's really a matter of perspective. The difference between what the designers have made and what these fans want are slight. While Diablo III might not be as dark as they want it, it isn't as cartoonish as Super Mario Bros or Sonic the Hedgehog when it comes to color palette. Most people won't really care.

Re:Its Blizzard (2, Insightful)

garylian (870843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472341)

It has more to do with Blizzard realizing that having a game that has lower GPU requirements means a greater possibility of getting a sale.

Not everyone out there wants to get a new machine to play a particular game. Heck, when WoW came out, I was running a P4 1.8GHz machine with about 1GB RAM and a pretty darn old graphics card, and the game ran great everywhere but IF. And that was a huge thing, considering that same system could barely run EQ2.

A decent number of folks will leave WoW to try the newest MMO thrown out there, and those are the hardcore players that will buy/build a new system to play a particular game. And then they will find out the new game is mostly crap (Hello, AoC is calling! Is that you, Warhammer?) and come back to WoW. But the majority of folks are liking the fact that WoW runs great on their older system with no extra cash spent on upgrades. That fact, as much as gameplay, is why WoW has 10 million plus subscribers.

So, why would they ruin that model by making some really crazy effort to have uber-graphics to satisfy the less than 5% of gamers that are going to spank their monkey over the newest GPU to come out?

Make the game attractive and fun to play, and people will play it. Lord knows, most games I end up cranking up the gamma right off the bat, since I don't live in a cave.

Re:Its Blizzard (1)

rilister (316428) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472401)

I have to assume you never played Warcraft I/II

"I love blowing things up!"

-I always resented the move aware from goofiness to serious fantasy "dungeons and dragons"-style.

"For the KING!"

For heaven's sake: even Diablo II had a secret cow level!

Big Props to the Designer (4, Insightful)

KnowledgeEngine (1225122) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471395)

I'm going to have to go ahead and say regardless of anyones personal preference we have to give a lot of credit to the designer for taking the time to comment on their choices. Personally the only user created design change I like better is the last one...wow gayness.

Re:Big Props to the Designer (2, Insightful)

Dmala (752610) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471715)

Yeah, he has far more patience than I'd have. It takes a lot of nerve to take screenshots of an unfinished, unreleased game, hack them up in Photoshop, and then go "See, *this* is what you should have done." Let Blizzard design the game, and more importantly, let them finish and release it. If you play the finished product and it sucks, then you have a legitimate gripe. It's not like Blizzard doesn't have a track record of making great stuff.

I can't think of a better way to create a complete trainwreck of a game than to let a committee of fanboys design it.

Monitors (3, Insightful)

Freeside1 (1140901) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471463)

Seems to me that the critics/photoshopppers just want a game that looks like it's constantly nighttime.

If they want a dark, difficult to see game, they can just adjust their monitor (brightness, saturation, etc). Let the rest of us see what we're doing.

Re:Monitors (3, Funny)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472105)

Diablo 3 now with novelty sunglasses!

There's a marketing opportunity here.

Some of you need to play D2 again (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24471473)

People are always complaining about how colorful the current d3 images are. Did any of you ever play Diablo 2? Go join a hell difficulty game. Whenever you see champion/unique/superunique monsters, you almost always see an array of colors. Purples and Reds. Green auras. Even if you're running through the depths of a countess' tower, the screen is contrasted by dark colors and bright colors.

These bright colors make the game easier to play (oh that mob has one red enemy in it, that's the one I want to pop to get the better loot and more exp).

If some of the armchair game critics would go and reinstall d2, they would see that the new style is not all that different from the old! ... And now I'm back to key runs. Need to get a hellfire torch! Later!

Re:Some of you need to play D2 again (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472337)

OK, I just fired up Diablo 2...it's been almost three days since I played it last, and it hasn't changed much.

The big difference I see between D2 and the D3 gameplay video is cartoon models and realistic shadows. Make the shadows darker and soften the edges of them in Diablo 3, and you'll have solved one problem. (I know real world shadows are sharp, but I prefer the look of soft shadows, especially on low-polygon game models). The cartoon models could prove to be a bit more of a challenge. Most of the models in game look straight out of WoW (Look at the "Thousand Pounder" 10 minutes into the gameplay preview). The bosses are the big problem here, but really the whole game needs a re-work. Even with the graphics problems, I'm sure it will be fantastic, just not as good as Diablo 2.

MTV Trolls (1)

LameAssTheMity (998266) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471563)

I don't know about you all, but I hardly consider "MTV" a reputable source of insight.

If the popular culture trolls don't like the way a a sequel to one of best selling PC games looks, who the hell cares? As far as I can tell, people are still playing WoW, which isn't exactly Crysis....

shit brown != realism | atmosphere (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471575)

The fan altered images are mostly converted to shit brown.
Games these days or often either shit brown, or totally neon colored. There should be a proper color balance. It's must more interesting.

Diablo 3's color usage isn't that bad, it could do with a little less bloom. But then again, it's not as terrible as Halo 3's bloom.

Game content and theme (2, Insightful)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471717)

In Diablo I, the player was going down down down and it got darker as you went. This is part of the game, and as such it made sense to get darker.

In Diablo II, there are only a few zones that have a large number of levels, namely the zones leading to bosses. Much of the rest of the game is outdoors and pretty brightly lit. In the expansion, it's a snowscape which is about as bright as you can get. There's no sense of delving down so it didn't get darker. Even the hell portion of the game was itself a large flat landscape. I guess the three prime evils like to be able to see in front of themselves too.

Depending on what this game is about, it may not make sense for every indoor area to be pitch the fuck black. I agree that it's a more challenging game if you don't see infinitely in front of you, and maybe they'll address it. I hope there's some variety in the environments and how you have to navigate them, as it will make a better game. Fans requiring all the locations to be muted and gloomy are thinking short sighted.

"wow gayness" (1, Flamebait)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471723)

I think that title is VERY telling for Blizzard's future challenges.

WoW is cartoon-y. Its cute. Very soft fantasy.

Diablo is not, and never has been.

Nor has Starcraft, for that matter.

Since WoW is a behemoth now, everything Blizzard ever does will be compared to it. This, to me at least, means they should focus on making things have a very distinct feel. Otherwise, the comparisons will be the killer.

"Yeah, Diablo III was okay, but it just wasn't WoW..." probably isn't something they want to hear.

V. short version. (4, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471733)

A lot of the D3 fans don't want D3 to look like WOW.
Designer says "Interesting (not), but thanks for the publicity" ; )

I must say i agree with most of the designers points.
It still has to be easy on the eyes and gameplay, artistic perfection
is not the main point.
And, as others have pointed out, if it's too "happy" for you, adjust the gamma, not the game.
Comma coma, must rest...

I'll give it a try (2, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471871)

Honestly my only issue with the blizzard designs are the tf2 style "Hay look we're reusing stuff from 1998" low-res textures and that the armor seems to be less realistic (at least in its physical proportions).

Better Summary - Diablo III (5, Informative)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#24471877)

A Diablo III representative defended design choices against 'dark & desaturated' versus 'brighter & colored'. While admiting that a single screen shot could look cooler when 'dark & destaurated', they concluded, after much playtesting, that 'brighter & colored' 1) offered greater visual playability when many creatures and players are on the screen, and 2) made the game more intersting because different game areas actually looked different.

Re:Better Summary - Diablo III (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472239)

I think the losers should come outside from mommy and daddy's basement and see what sunlight looks like.

Re:Better Summary - Diablo III (1)

pdusen (1146399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472249)

I agree. This is a better summary.

You'll crank the gamma anyways. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24471907)

I don't see the point of arguing "it's too bright and cartoony". 80% of you (made up on the spot based on my pool of D2 playing friends) would just crank the gamma to see things anyways.

And Blizz has had a shoulder pad fetish since WC3 anyways. Even look back at D2 and SC, it was muted back then but you can still see it taking root.

I may be changing my mind (1)

incripshin (580256) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472117)

I never thought the rainbow was that bad. I just don't want to see it all the time. And the image of a rainbow shooting out of a Diablo's corpse is hilarious (Aqua Teen). It reminds me, though, of Lord of the Rings (The Two Towers, I think). In the movie, Frodo and Sam are walking through the gloomy Ithilien. They see some light come down on the head from a statue, and you notice that it has a crown of flowers. It wasn't long at all before the clouds blocked the sun and the mood turned dark again. It was a glimmer of hope in the midst of despair. The same thing will work for Diablo.

Now that I see the reasons for choosing the color schemes that they did, I'm willing to cut them some slack. But I don't want to see all the colors of the rainbow at once, like you do in the outdoor scene in the middle of autumn. That is definitely a Warcraft environment, and it needs to go.

Graphical look (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472207)

Why would you want it to look like Diablo 2 anyway?

Diablo 2 looked like shit!! Blurry shit!!

Diablo 1 had the good look. It also had better music; The music made the game...

It's not gamma (2, Informative)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472255)

The altered screenshots have a certain grungy, gloomy richness to them, while the originals have a pale, blown-out look to them.

Oh, and I really only want a D3 for the fucking amazing graphics. The originals look like a top down WoW clone, which looked like a first/third person clone of WC3 with higher resolution models.

Why Bother?... (3, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472345)

While I know the urge to show why these fans' visions simply do not work is strong, I have to ask, why bother? What's to be gained? They won't change their minds. Educating them to the reasons for decisions that are made won't change the fact that they want to bitch and moan about something - ANYTHING. Also, they want to show off. They want to play in Photoshop with the images and have their friends ooh and aah about how much better their versions look when the reality is that a vast, vast, vast majority of people feel that Blizzard makes simply stunning games. I won't even get into the fact that the fan-altered versions look like crap and are way too dark because that's beside the point - I just don't understand why he spent any time or effort responding to this sort of thing. Nothing will change for having done it other than giving the fans versions an extra 15 minutes of fame...

I got a solution for these hardcore gamers (1)

ndnspongebob (942859) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472365)

Go to Hell! It has everything your looking for.
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