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17th April 2009 - Concept Fairy area improvement


Carl

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17th April 2009 - Concept

 

 

 

Hi guys, Im Mod Joe, RuneScapes Art Director, and Id like to give a rough overview of one of our graphical improvement projects. This will hopefully give you insight into how we choose projects for improvements and also take you through the different art departments that will then produce the final game assets. In this first part, Ill talk about the concept stage. In the second part, well go through modelling of game assets, such as creatures and scenery, then, in the third part, we will give you an overview of what it takes to bring things to life through the animation process.

 

 

 

The art team works very closely with the rest of the content developers, and when I heard that Mod Ingrid had been given the final part of the Fairy Tale trilogy to start briefing, my initial reaction was that weve gotta improve that area first. Zanaris itself had already undergone one graphical improvement a few years ago, but I think its important not to understate how much both the engine and our tools have changed since then. Many years ago, when I first started at Jagex, the art team size was only three artists (!) and we did everything (modelling, animation, mapping, etc) ourselves. Now, in 2009, we have a team of sixteen very talented artists who all specialise in one of three areas: 2D concept artwork, 3D modelling or animation. In the first part of this diary, Id like to take you through the first stage: the concept stage...

 

 

 

Originally, Zanaris was just a standard brown dungeon. I recall we overhauled it to look a little bluer a few years ago, but it never really looked as magical as it could.

 

fairy_comparison.jpg

 

Screenshots of Zanaris as it was in 2004, and how it looked after the 'bluer' rework in 2006

 

 

 

There is also the issue that the fairy race itself could be improved, both in terms of modelling and animation. Back three years ago we had limited time, artists and tools, but now that we have our specialist artists and a much-improved game engine, we have a greater degree of flexibility in how we create the different areas of the game.

 

 

 

Given that a new quest was to take place in Zanaris, we decided to give the area a total rework, both in terms of the fairy race themselves and their environment. Once we knew this, I spoke to one of our concept artists, Mod GG, to get some ideas on what we could do.

 

 

 

One of our goals in the concept stage is getting the balance right between ideas that are unique, but which are also immediately recognisable for players who are new to the game. When we looked at the original fairies, one of the first issues we had was that they were way too small - you cant see them very well and they don't have enough definition. The first thing that Mod GG did was to sketch a new fairy character that had a much better silhouette and which would be much more readable as a fairy.

 

fairy_queen.jpg

 

Variations on the new look for fairies, using the Fairy Queen as a basis

 

 

 

In terms of the fairies' houses we knew that we wanted them to stay pretty tree-based and close to nature. We experimented with a few different ideas and, at one point in the concept stage, we investigated making the fairies more insect-like, with more emphasis on quick-beating wings and fly-like eye clusters instead of the traditional human eyes. This is something that was echoed in the brown, wax-like tree in the image below; as you can see, its more of a nest than an actual home. Given the types of furniture that would also have to be designed (and given the back-history of the fairy culture), we decided not to go down this route, which is why, in the end, we wanted to go with something relatively traditional.

 

fairy_houses.jpg

 

Concept art of fairy tree-houses

 

 

 

Ill leave you with our final mood image for Zanaris. As you can see, it's nice, bright and colourful, which we feel is definitely right for the area of game the fairies live in. Tune in next time to see how we approach modelling.

 

fairy_zanaris.jpg

 

'Mood' artwork for the redesigned Zanaris

 

 

 

Should you have any questions about anything mentioned in this diary, or other aspects of the game that you feel would benefit from a graphical improvement, then by all means post them on the forums. Ill do my best to answer them.

 

 

 

Mod Joe

 

Art Director, RuneScape Graphics

 

 

 

Note: All images taken from the RuneScape website. You can read this diary here: http://www.runescape.com/l=0/kbase/view ... ry_fairy01

RIP Michaelangelopolous

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when I heard that Mod Ingrid had been given the final part of the Fairy Tale trilogy to start briefing

 

 

 

Do want

2376/2376 total achieved - May 2009

 

Retired Dec 2009

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This is exactly how I want the new diaries to be like.

 

 

 

Sounds very interesting, and the last picture looks neat. ::'

 

 

 

Cant wait for the next one.

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when I heard that Mod Ingrid had been given the final part of the Fairy Tale trilogy to start briefing

 

 

 

Do want

 

^ What he said. I very much prefer content over graphics and will be looking forward to the new quest more than the graphics (although, I will admit that, from the looks of the diary, the graphics are going to be quite amazing).

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Looks like this area is gonna definitely get an improvement, and at first I thought ... does it really need an update? Then I see the new one and I'm like o... yeah...

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The final Fairy Tale part, and a graphics update for the area? Gotta have it :thumbsup: Excellent diary :D

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fairy_zanaris.jpg

 

 

 

Looks terrific :thumbup:

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The 'mood' artwork somehow reminds me of Zangarmarsh, probably because of the color and lighting of the environment.

 

 

 

And those glowing mushrooms/fungi in the foreground..... déjà vu

 

 

 

Looking forward to the update though :thumbup:

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the last image reminds me of zelda!

 

 

 

Same, Minish Cap?

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the last image reminds me of zelda!

 

 

 

Same, Minish Cap?

 

That is what I see. ::'

 

 

 

Anyway, as many have said before me, awesome job on this DD Jagex!

 

This is the best type of Dev-diary: One with information, and pictures to feast our eyes on. <3:

 

 

 

Looks like this area is gonna definitely get an improvement, and at first I thought ... does it really need an update? Then I see the new one and I'm like o... yeah...

 

Quite my thoughts exactly. Awesome there, Jagex, taking something we haven't even considered and making it look, and most likely function, so much better.

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Nice. Those graphics look great. Hopefully the quests will bring something to do in Zanaris. It's rather dead at the moment. It only has a black dragon cave and a slayer master, pretty much.

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Maybe that's what the "curious village" was referring to?

 

 

 

Looks extremely nice, Fairies were one of the things that needed graphical overhaul badly.

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Nice. Those graphics look great. Hopefully the quests will bring something to do in Zanaris. It's rather dead at the moment. It only has a black dragon cave and a slayer master, pretty much.

 

1) evil chickens lair (black dragons)

 

2) puro-puro (implings)

 

3) fungies (slayer monster)

 

4) cosmic runes (rc)

 

5) slayer master

 

6) fairy ring concept

 

 

 

^^ actually i think zanaris is one of the places that already have enought. what about...*cought*durgeshuun*cought*....

 

 

 

OP: actually great one, enjoyed it very much, hopefully jagex will make more of those :thumbsup:

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