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  1. #1

    Post How long did the new models REALLY take?

    Ok, so there has been a lot of discussion about the character models and I've decided to do a quick breakdown of how long I think they would take to do.

    So just to clarify my experience/expertise in this area. I have been working in the CG and VFX industry for approximately 5 years and have been creating my own 3D characters 3 years prior to this as a hobby and whilst studying computer animation at university (I live in the UK).

    Concept -> Already done. The concept art for the character models done on release, were probably far greater quality than they could actually create due to the game engine restrictions at that time. Obviously, when recreating content, it is important to go back over the concepts to see where things can be improved, whilst still maintaining the original feel of the characters.

    I'm not a concept artist, but I know people who could turn around several versions of this a week. Having a few concept artists working on this. You could have a solid design for all the new characters within 4-6 weeks. I think that is being generous as they are so close to the original concepts.

    Modelling -> They already know their poly limits based on the new panda models. Sure the topology for the new characters are massively different. But I could probably create one of them in a couple of days and I'm actually not that fast at modelling. I know people who could get through 1 a day quite comfortably. After all they are still quite low poly characters and the topology design would be similar to the panda.

    16 characters as originally planned. 2-3 days each (again being generous) 40-50 man days. Presuming they have 4 modellers. You could get these done in a couple of weeks.

    UV/Texturing -> Completely new UV layout and asymmetric textures. 1 day for a UV layout at most. 1-2 weeks for the texture, depending on how many revisions need doing. 4 Texture artists = 4-8 weeks for textures.

    Rigging/Skinning -> They should have a modular rigging system in place. Using the panda rig with a few alterations based on size and accessories. 1-2 days per rig. With an additional day or 2 for animator requests. 1-2 days for skinning as well. With 2 riggers they could get 1 character done a week each = 8 weeks for all characters.

    Animation -> Knowing the quality of animation Blizzard puts out, this process probably took a long time. I can't think of how many stock cycles they need for each model off the top of my head. But probably close to the 50+ mark. Presuming that half of these only needed a few alterations and additions, like finger motion, facial motion and accessories. Whilst the other half needed a complete overhaul. Probably averaging at around 150-250 seconds of quality animation per character with an animator averaging 8 seconds of quality animation a week. I would say 25 weeks for 1 animator per character. So with for example, 16 animators they could have all the characters animated in 25 weeks.

    FX -> I have seen some new fx, but not many and lets consider that as part of the new spell rather than part of the new models.

    TLDR;

    Breakdown for all new character models:

    Concept: 4-6 weeks (3-4 artists)
    Models: 2 weeks (4 artists)
    UV/Textures: 4-8 weeks (4 artists)
    Rigging/Skinning: 8 weeks (2 artists)
    Animation: 25 weeks (16 artists)


    Modelling can start during the concept phase. As can Rigging.
    Texturing can start as soon as the model is done.
    Animation can start as soon as the rig is done.

    So with a decent iterative pipeline and with approximately 30 artists. The new models could be done in around 25-35 weeks.

    For a new race/class, they would need all of the above for the male and female version of the character - With a lot longer time spent on concept design. A new starting zone designed, story that fits in with current lore, skill designed and balanced and much more.

    I'm actually really looking forward to the new expansion! I just wanted to clarify a few things while people were throwing out numbers like 3 years and saying that's why we didn't get a new class/race. It didn't take them THAT long and if it did, they should invest in some more staff with the amount of money they make a month from subscriptions.

  2. #2
    under the assumption they worked day in and day out on this alone, people forget they also need to design bosses for future content etc..

  3. #3
    The Lightbringer MasterHamster's Avatar
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    I think it's fairly certain to say that new models taking longer than people expected is far better than them being pushed out quickly.
    I'm sure there has been plenty of reiterations, just to preserve the original feel in a new shell.

    And then there's all the prioritizing.
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  4. #4
    Design is an iterative process. To make a model doesn't take too long. The problem is to make a model and not have it approved, then go back to the start.

    The thing is, I don't believe most concept art that was readily available was used to make these models. The Orcs for instance doesn't look much like the Orc in some of the more recent concepts.


    My understanding is they had to come up with a new concept (in other words, design) that was more akin to the in-game models than the original concept art and then make those the new concept art. So that can push the project back a while.

  5. #5
    It just wasn't at the TOP of their priority list when other expansions were released. Sure, the pipeline for new models doesn't take YEARS, but it was either spend a lot of assets/time/resources for that, something that wasn't URGENT, or work on something more imperative to the expansion.

    Either way, I think now is a great time for the models to be done now that we're getting closer to a decade of WoW.

  6. #6
    Brewmaster Naztrak's Avatar
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    Concept: 4-6 weeks (3-4 artists)
    they are making game characters, not tanks or airplanes. this is far too long
    PvE is a minigame // Rerolled from affly to spriest after 8 years, thx pandaland changes

  7. #7
    making textures really takes this long? it looks the easiest.

  8. #8
    2 Months according to blizz's last post

  9. #9
    Doesn't really matter how long they take to do. They are a feature of the next expansion and wouldn't be released sooner even if they are finished. (Or longer, yes it doesn't take years to do this)
    Last edited by Very Tired; 2013-11-12 at 08:20 PM.

  10. #10
    I am Murloc! Tommo's Avatar
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    With the quality Blizz is giving, I'd say a couple of months at a push. You could so easily outsource the new models that its not even funny, give it to a few animation companies or even just 1, and you'll have your models by the time you've finished planning.

  11. #11
    The Patient
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    Updating models of one MMO are really risky NO OTHER MMO was successful updating player models. Blizzard is really careful with updating the models to make sure they have the same feel the old ones had! It will take a lot of extra time!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommo View Post
    With the quality Blizz is giving, I'd say a couple of months at a push. You could so easily outsource the new models that its not even funny, give it to a few animation companies or even just 1, and you'll have your models by the time you've finished planning.
    Sony did outsource the new models for Everquest II look how it turned out, really people have no idea how bad of an impact this can have on the game if it's not done right!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Fool View Post
    making textures really takes this long? it looks the easiest.
    There are a lot of resource concerns when unwrapping the UVW's such as symmetry, tiling, etc. You may even need to do it multiple times per model depending on the engine/maps that you are applying. Each model can have a bundle of textures, each using UVW space/channels differently.

    Each channel needs a texture map, and has to blend well with the others, and when the higherups deny it, you go back, and do it again.
    I'm no texture artist, but I've tinkered, each map feels like a portrait.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by whitefox View Post
    There are a lot of resource concerns when unwrapping the UVW's such as symmetry, tiling, etc. You may even need to do it multiple times per model depending on the engine/maps that you are applying. Each model can have a bundle of textures, each using UVW space/channels differently.

    Each channel needs a texture map, and has to blend well with the others, and when the higherups deny it, you go back, and do it again.
    I'm no texture artist, but I've tinkered, each map feels like a portrait.
    Would make sense that they mark up a template first, then wrap and see what lines up with what, repeat until correct, then fill it in properly.

  14. #14
    This was all part of Blizzard's dastardly scheme to wait to redo archaic models until after they've already lost a few million subscribers.

    Because reasons.

  15. #15
    I am Murloc! Thelxi's Avatar
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    It took them years of hard work, and they have almost completed 30% of them. DONT ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS just pay them money and be excited for the future where you will still be able to pay them money while slowly seeing them come out with every WoD patch.

  16. #16
    I feel like they took what was there and played with the numbers, then added a few more interchangable assets ( the beards work for half the large races + Goat tenticles for instance) and used their micro shading stuff to change the color/art, and idk how long that took, but I feel like what I see, was not worth the hype for years that it was stupidly hard.
    not saying it's bad, just way over hyped difficulty.
    "If you want to control people, if you want to feed them a pack of lies and dominate them, keep them ignorant. For me, literacy means freedom." - LaVar Burton.

  17. #17
    So we probably gonna have WoD in 4-5 Months, regarding they have already done a lot of work on the new models and that those are the part that should take the longest to finish.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Angwaar View Post
    Breakdown for all new character models:

    Concept: 4-6 weeks (3-4 artists)
    Models: 2 weeks (4 artists)
    UV/Textures: 4-8 weeks (4 artists)
    Rigging/Skinning: 8 weeks (2 artists)
    Animation: 25 weeks (16 artists)
    Textures, Models and animations are likely undershot.

    Each race has several faces. Several Hair styles (and beard options). Many hair options will need additional animator support. (Moving braids, ponytails and topknots.)

    Skin colors are fairly easy (They still need to capture the right color so you're not coming out looking lighter or darker than your former self.)

    Then there'll be some programming work, QA, and so on to make sure that helmets (For example) still fit on the new face. and adjustements where needed.

    Concept is actually a bit trickier this time around. They need to be sure that they capture the original intent of the face, make it look very similar, but keep everything consistent quality-wise. (IE: Tauren male shouldn't have a different style on his fur than a Female Tauren; They need to look like they belong to the same race.)

    I would say, add up to 5-10 more weeks of tweaks, dealing with the "Looks good, but we need to fix this this and that." and running the risk of "Looks horrible, lets start over and try it again."

  19. #19
    I am Murloc! Tommo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by |Dexter| View Post
    Sony did outsource the new models for Everquest II look how it turned out, really people have no idea how bad of an impact this can have on the game if it's not done right!
    Blizzard models really arent that hard man. They are pretty basic. Outsourcing to a reliable company wouldnt even take a second for Blizzard, who no doubt have connections to everyone.

  20. #20
    They probably have a small team of people working on this, and that same team is undoubtedly working on other projects as well, such as creating new models. They've also got 20 models to remake, 10 races x 2 genders each, so that's a lot of time. I'm sure there are a couple people they have that do really, really nice work with animations and such so they are going to have those people do it, not Fred the janitor to get things moving faster. I have no doubt they could do it faster but as long as the end product is good quality, it'll be fine. Besides, once they get the first batch out they'll probably be more under pressure from QQ and such to get the rest of them out in a somewhat timely manner.

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