December 29, 2010

High-quality Becomes a Keyword in the Character Design

NCsoft's official art director Hyung-Tae Kim (hereafter referred to as "AD") made a speech titled "Explanation of Blade & Soul's Character Design" at SIGGRAPH Asia 2010 on Dec. 18, and explained the game's character design in detail.

Generally speaking, "martial arts" easily reminds people of "old". That's indeed the case! "Martial arts" really has no contact with the modern life and people. In this way, this concept should first be inspired by the real life and then keep pace with the times, striving to present fashionable, decent, modern and artistic content.

Ornament detailing of characters' clothes

According to the AD, characters' clothes in Blade & Soul make use of various ornaments and strive for perfect details. Each ornament will make the character look more charming and trendier, and simple ornaments also won't make the clothes look complicated.

Free Design Mode

The characters featured in traditional MMORPGs are usually dressed in the way familiar to us, i.e. from head to the body's upper & lower parts and to feet. There seems no much difference actually!

With a different design concept adopted, the clothes featured in Blade & Soul are endowed with more details like patterns and ornaments.

Comic Feel

In traditional MMOs, all clothes and items are created by means of plane design, with the modeling work following. However, it's extremely hard to imagine the 3D modeling effects. Though safe, this method can make the finished characters seem not as good as those generated through plane design. On the other hand, in case of failure, no other design schemes can come out to give assistance within a short time.

Blade & Soul adopts a brand-new design concept bravely, that is, directly applying the basic clothing materials to 3D models for the sake of tailoring and cutting, and guaranteeing the clothes' beauty and quality.

As Hyung-Tae Kim said, this design mode offers much freedom and working fun.

With respect to characters' facial features, plane design is the most basic job, and how to make the 3D characters perfectly embody the beautiful 2D design is also a problem.

Thus, all the 3D work related to characters' features is done with the real models taken as reference.

Perfect Characters

According to Mr. Kim, all that reporters and visitors saw on the spot was created in this manner. NCsoft's development team that focuses on high quality will insist on this principle in terms of character design in the future.

One thing that needs noticing is that Blade & Soul is actually not restricted to a particular character design mode, but freely adopts diversified modes.

Blade & Soul able to be seen now is a result of requirements for a high-standard and high-quality game.

NCsoft was even not satisfied with the characters created based on the above high requirements. The development team of Blade & Soul said that they aimed to perfect characters in an all-round manner.

Thus, more hand-drawing elements and multi-angle details are integrated in Blade & Soul.

With the use of a certain composition formula and the perfect application of natural light technology, it seems as if the character's bathing in sunshine.

According to understanding, these dream-like and perfect characters were finally determined after the development team had made100 models for each of them.

The Right Actions

As a martial arts action MMO, Blade & Soul has to provide certain visual impacts during fights. By use of materials, the development team tries to grasp each action's details, which also reflects the development feature of high-quality games.

As players of other games often complain it's hard to get adjusted to the gigantic in-game bosses, Blade & Soul is optimized in this respect. In the game, the ratio of gigantic bosses to characters in size is generally 7 to 3, which makes players more comfortable visually.

Additionally, movements of the characters in Blade & Soul also well embody "martial arts", that is, moving weightlessly (like flying) as often described in martial arts novels.

Blade & Soul is at least 2 times better than NCsoft's another blockbuster Aion in the field of certain action details.

Finally, the AD Hyung-Tae Kim emphasized the design idea and high-quality development process of Blade & Soul again. He disclosed that the animation and background music involved in the game would be made based on strict requirements, too.

Credits: MMOsite

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