MMO-Champion - World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies

World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2014-04-08 10:25 PM

Warlords of Draenor Zone Screenshots Removed
Blizzard asked us to remove all the zone screenshots from the Warlords of Draenor Alpha on the site.


WoWDB Updated
The team has been hard at work on WoWDB over the past few days, fixing and updating things to work with the new expansion.


  • New Character Models - Some of the new character models have been added to the WoWDB Modelviewer. You need to change the Race in the dropdown menu to one of the following: Orc female, Dwarf female, Tauren male, or Gnome male.
    The other 3 HD models (Orc male, Dwarf male, and Gnome female) are heavily bugged on our end right now, but still enabled for laughs/testing.
  • New Items - Item tooltips now show the new stats and correctly scale percentages for Level 100. Most items also have working 3D Models!
  • New Achievements - The new Warlords of Draenor achievements have been added to the database.
  • New Spells - The new Warlords of Draenor spells have been added, with most tooltip errors corrected now.


Artcraft - Daughter of Argus
A early preview of the Female Draenei character model is ready!


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hello again! I’m Senior Art Director Chris Robinson, and today we wanted to give you a super quick look at our current progress with the new female Draenei.

After the April Fools’ joke we wanted to ensure you weren’t waiting too long to see where we’re at with her actual character model update. Keep in mind that she’s still in-progress, and doesn’t have any animation to pose her body or face.

Animation is a big factor for the female Draenei specifically, so it’s important to keep it in mind when comparing the two. The original female Draenei has some fairly extreme posing that happens when she’s animated. If you were to see the static model of the original without any posing you’d see that it looks very similar to the new one. With her pose applied her shoulders stretch backward, her pelvis rotates forward, and her chin lowers—causing her head to angle downwards. The curvature in her lower back, and why the head shape looks slightly different, are also due to the new model not having the same posing applied yet. She also looks a lot taller! Ultimately all of those things will be addressed when we animate the new model, they just don’t take place until she’s rigged and sent on to the animation team.

We hope you enjoyed this super quick look at where we’re at right now, and we’ll continuing sharing more in-progress art as we go forward. The next article in the Artcraft series we’re planning is a look at the creation of the Spires of Arak, a new zone coming in Warlords of Draenor. Thanks for stopping by!

Senior Character Artist Joe Keller did the majority of the work on this revamp, with direction from our Lead Character Artist Tyson Murphy (@tysmurph), and myself (@artofcgrobinson).
by Published on 2014-04-07 05:10 PM

Artcraft — Running of the Bulls
The new male Tauren character model is here!



Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hey there everyone, I’m Steve Aguilar, lead animator for the World of Warcraft animation team. Today we’re showing off the male Tauren, and with some help from the rest of the animation team, we’re going to give you a look at the animation processes we use to bring this big guy to life.

Before we even started animating him, we already knew the Tauren was going to be a blast to work on based on all of the detail the character art team added.

As we begin applying animations, we’re extra careful not to stray too far from the original. It’s important to us to retain the essence of the original animations, because how a characters walk, move, and carry themselves help to define their personality. We use all of the original animations as a starting point, and then go through the process of cleaning them up and adding additional articulation. Let’s delve into what that process looks like.

The Re-Animator (Steve Aguilar)
The normal “stand” animation is one of the most important animations because this is what you, the player, see the majority of the time. When you stop moving or walk up to an NPC, the stand is the key pose that is being used. A huge chunk of animations also rely on this pose so they can easily transition into and out of it.

When we import the original stand animation onto the new model, we then look to see if there are any weight shifts, odd rotations, or hitches that we need to fix. After we’ve cleaned up the pose, it goes through another sanity check to see if other animations will still be able to transition into and out of this new stand pose. If we happen to change the pose too much, it can cause a domino effect and possibly harm all the existing animations.

After touching up the pose, we move on to re-animating the standard idle motion. Slight changes on how muscles move, limbs are carried, or feet hit the ground can get across a better sense of weight for whatever creature it is we’re animating. Tweaking the male Tauren was a lot of fun because we were able to add a lot more weight than the previous model had and make the Tauren feel bigger and beefier. Another thing that stood out was the lack of motion on the nose ring, braids, and especially the face. With the addition of a facial rig, we were able to get his brows, nostrils, ears, and cheeks to react with his breathing motion. Getting these subtle motions to work added so much to the simple standing pose, I imagined the Tauren looking up at me and saying "thank you."

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the old and new models.


Next up is Kevin to talk about the face rig and what that process entails.


Face Off (Kevin “Snap ‘n’ Point” Rucker)
Since the facial animation system worked so well with the Pandaren in Mists of Pandaria, with the updated models we wanted to add the same life and emotion they deserved. In the past the character models only had a jaw bone that could be animated, but now we’re able to add movement to the brows, eyes, cheeks and mouth. We’re able to properly make them smile, look angry, and talk.

We start with a base mesh and add joints to specific spots that will allow us to mold the face. We then add influence, or “skin” the mesh to those joints and shape them into poses: jaw open, eyebrows down or furrowed, for example. We hook up those poses to main controls to make the process of animating the face faster and more cohesive between several animators. For instance, instead of having to move 9 individual joints to shape the eyebrows, we just need to touch 2 controls which include a sub-set of attributes for more detailed shaping. After that if we still need to tweak the poses, we can always go back to the original sub controls for additive fine tuning.


We also create a “face file” with several preset expressions the animators can use while working. It’s a lot faster than creating a new pose from scratch. If they need a sad or angry face, they can start from the preset ones, and then adjust from there to make it more unique.

We also create several mouth shapes, or phonemes, for use in talking animations. Again, posing the face is time consuming, so having a jump start is extremely helpful. It also makes the character feel like it was animated by one person, when there’s actually a big group of us working on them at one time.



Body Movin’ (Jeremy “Goonies never say die” Collins)
On a certain level, how you move in the game is one of the most important things you experience as a player. It’s your main interaction with the world around you. For Warlords of Draenor, we wanted to improve the locomotion of WoW’s player characters with brand new rigs. These new rigs are capable of doing so much more in terms of fidelity of motion for our characters, and we wanted to showcase that as much as possible.

Everyone who plays WoW is familiar with their character’s idle and run animations—those are the two you see the most. We wanted to really take a look at what made the old player model animations successful, and what made them so iconic. Our job was to then retain the spirit of the old animations, but clean them up so they would look epic on the new rigs. That proved to be a really fun task. Part of the joy of cleaning up an animation like the Dwarf male’s run is going back and seeing what the original animators were thinking about when they first worked on these characters. Some of these runs and walks were animated over 10 years ago!

The first thing we did when we cleaned up an animation was ask ourselves a series of questions. What are some of the areas that could use touching up? Does the center of gravity on the character feel skewed? Is the character leaning appropriately when moving in a direction? How can we shift the timing to give this animation a greater sense of weight?

All of our rigs are manipulated with the use of controllers. Controllers are curves that drive the joints the tech artists have placed that ultimately deform deform the model you see. When we open an older animation, we’re manipulating what is called "baked data." Baked animations have keys on every attribute on every frame. In some cases, it’s necessary for us to delete some keys to make the animation curves easier to manipulate. Here’s what we see inside of Maya. Every one of those colored curves represents rotation or translation of that foot controller.

Once we had identified what needed polishing we went straight into Maya and got to work. A popular method of cleaning up locomotion animations would be saving the contact poses, major breakdowns, deleting the in-betweens, and smoothing out the motion from there.


Emotes were also super fun to work on. We would often times shoot video footage of ourselves acting out emote animations for reference—and no you don’t get to see them. We’d then use that reference as a jumping off point for setting key frames in Maya.



Glass Case of Emotion: Part I (Carman“Boba Muscles” Cheung)
For the majority of the character cleanup phase, the team focuses on three main things: cloth, hair and the face. Cloth includes a front and back tabard and a cape. Hair can be anything from a back ponytail, a front ponytail, pig tails, beards of varying sizes and shapes, or a combination of all of these. We also add facial animation, which adds a lot of character and life to the model. Occasionally, we will also fix minor posing issues or any errors, like jittering.


All of our character animations are hand keyed, and not dynamically simulated within the game engine or created through motion capture. This allows us to have complete control in shaping the movement and style for each character, and it adds a unique life to the characters you can’t really get any other way.




Glass Case of Emotion: Part II (David “Coffee Corn” Edwards)
My favorite part of the entire process is adding the facial expressions, or fixing up the timing or posing of a character. It is astounding how adding a simple facial expression can instantly bring a character to life. It’s always incredibly rewarding to take an old animation and see what even small changes can do to vastly improve it.

As a contrast, the most difficult part of the process, at least for me, is having to hold myself back from wanting to fix or adjust every little thing for every single animation. Due to the sheer volume of animations that exist for player characters, our goal of having updated models in time for Warlords of Draenor, and the need to animate all the new creatures and objects going into the expansion, we have to prioritize our time. We’ve broken the cleanup passes on character revamp animations up into phases. Phase 1 has all of the locomotion animations (walk, run, etc.) as well as all the emotes and spell casts. Phase 2 deals with the combat animations (attacks, stuns, etc.), and phase 3 is a catch-all for the remaining animations (swimming, fishing, etc.). Regardless of the phase, every animation is touched in some form or fashion, but phase 1 gets the most love since those are the animations are seen the most.

At the start of each animation we always focus on cleaning up the body first, since this motion drives all of the secondary animation. Below is a video showing the finished product after it has gone through the cleanup process.



That’s All For Now (Steve Aguilar)
Thanks for reading and letting the animation team share this part of their process with you. I hope we’re doing justice to one of your beloved characters, and that you can see the amount of love we’re applying to not only the male Tauren, but the animations for all of the characters in the game. Have a great day, and you stay classy WoW players!
by Published on 2014-04-07 05:19 AM

Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls First Patch - 2.0.4 Datamined Class Changes

Deck Spotlight: Miracle Rogue 2.0, Last Week in Review, Funny & Lucky Moments #36

Skin Spotlight: Grimskull Nazeebo (Witch Doctor)

Warlords of Draenor Alpha Creature Models
Here are a few more creature models that we missed yesterday!





Warlords of Draenor Alpha Weapon Models
We're still progressing through the pile of files available in the Warlords of Draenor Alpha and have some more of the new models ready to look at.

Axes




Swords




Bows / Guns




Maces




Daggers / Fist Weapons




Off-Hands




Polearms




Staves




Shields




Shoulders

by Published on 2014-04-06 07:36 AM

Warlords of Draenor Alpha Models
We're progressing through the pile of files available in the Warlords of Draenor Alpha and digged up a couple of new models for your pleasure! Really scary hippos and really cute puppies will be in this expansion.

Talbuk





Draenor Ancients




Elekk




Wolves (Mount Variations)





Pale Orcs




Giant Boar (Mount Variations)





Goren




Hippos





Clefthoof (Mount and Pack Variations)







Sporebat




Orc Clans Totems




Misc / Cutest Puppies Ever





Leaders / NPCs



by Published on 2014-04-05 11:51 PM

Update (9:45 PM EST): Added Blackhand's model

Warlords of Draenor Beta - Second Round of Information
Things are going to take a little longer than normal with all of the changes, but our team is hard at work and we're making amazing progress. Don't miss our Day 1 progress!

This is just a couple of the things we've found so far, check back often for more updates!





New Zone Maps






Draenor World Map
We have a preview of what Draenor will look like, constructed from the game's minimap files!



New Icons


Page 3 of 323 FirstFirst
1
2
3
4
5
13
53
103
... LastLast

Site Navigation