The developers from Blizzard have shared a new quarterly report for the upcoming isometric aRPG Diablo IV, dedicated to character art and encompassing player characters, monsters, and allies.
The artistic style is a big part of the Diablo DNA: ominous lighting, visual effects, easily recognizable characters with unique personalities, and more. Diablo IV offers players more customization options than ever in a Diablo game, which makes achieving that result more challenging, but the devs consider the outcome well worth it.
The art team made massive improvements to the level of detail, the surfacing of complex materials like skin, cloth simulation, hair, fur, metal, even down to the details of the highlights of the eyes and rivulets of perspiration. The developers built a robust character customization system that is entirely new to Diablo.
“Diablo IV has more in-depth customization for your characters than we’ve had in any previous Diablo games. You will be able to change the face of your character, the hairstyle, the facial hair (beards and eyebrows), and add jewelry (nose piercing or earrings), makeup, and body markings such as tattoos or body paint. You will also be able to change the color values of your character’s skin, eyes, hair/facial hair, and body markings. Some elements will be class-specific, to support the classes’ unique backgrounds, but many will be shared between classes allowing more possibilities to mix and match.”
One of the benefits of the investments done in the character art development pipeline is that the story cutscenes will now be rendered in the engine using the game models – just check out the Rogue announcement trailer!
Another expanded system that will be available to players in Diablo IV is the dye system that allows changing of the color palette of your armor pieces, such as changing silver to gold or replacing a white cloth for a black cloth, etc. Each part of the armor can be dyed, including the helmet, chest, gloves, legs, and boots. You can dye each piece with a different color palette if you choose, or apply the same palette to all of them.
“This system was challenging to implement because materials such as metal do not allow themselves to be dyed with inappropriate colors when they follow PBR rules. To address this, we added data to our armor that identifies specific material types and tells the dye system what color goes on what material, such as leather, fabric, metal, and other specific surfaces. The result is armor that is dyable in a range of colors that still feeling grounded and realistic in the world we’re building for Diablo IV.”
“With monsters, success requires that many different things come together, but it starts with the player feeling satisfied in killing it. That means the monster needs to visually match its gameplay and have a gory/demonic twist to it. They should look like something you have not seen before as well as taking something visually familiar and brushing it with a Diablo paint brush. That Diablo brush applies a level of detail, an understanding of gameplay needs, a level of artistry, and the demonic Diablo theme to all our monsters.”
Check out the full blog post to find out more.