BlizzCast 17: Diablo III Quest, Item & Sound Design

Uploaded by diablo on 20.04.2012

Welcome to BlizzCast 17
Iím Rob Simpson. This episode of BlizzCast
is going to be focusing on Diablo III.
Weíre going to be talking about
item, quest and sound design
so letís get to it.
Now weíre here with Jason Bender
a Senior Designer on Diablo III.
Jason, how about you tell us a little bit
about what you do.
I work on a variety of game systems
including treasure, itemization, monsters,
affixes, a little bit of class work.
I get to touch a little bit of everything.
Letís talk a little bit about randomization
Thatís something that really kept DII interesting
for everybody for years and years.
So what are some things that are going
to be randomized in Diablo III.
Thereís randomization all over the place
obviously we have equipment thatís randomized,
you never know what affixes youíre going to get
on an axe, so you might get
plus cold and magic find
or you might get
gold find and resistance to magic
so the items are hugely varied
in their randomization.
Also you never know where
you are going to get it.
You can get a legendary item
out of a treasure chest, by killing a
tiny little demon, by killing a zombie,
by killing a boss, so treasure can come from anywhere.
The other kinds of randomization
that people tend to think of
is dungeon randomization.
So weíve built a number of ways
that dungeons can combine and
every time you go in it will be different.
But weíve also managed that
such that if you find a dungeon or a cave,
for example, in the wilderness
that cave may or may not be there, first of all.
But if you happen to find it
you can go in and explore.
If you go all the way to the bottom
there will be some sort of reward
waiting for you at the bottom.
But every time you find a cavern
itís going to be different.
Thatís awesome. So it pretty much
gives you an unlimited amount of
Yea, and on top of that, we also
put in little events. So we wanted to make sure
that we play through the story
rather than just telling it to you
so you donít have to sit through
too much dialogue. That means you can
come across little events out in the wilderness
or at the bottom of these caves
like for example the guy hiding under
a pile of corpses because there are zombies
around him, he wants to pretend heís dead
and you might come across this guy
and heíll give you a little mini quest.
But he wonít always be there
and he wonít always be in the same place.
So weíve done a lot of work
on creating a variety of interesting
events to come across
So if I play through D3 one time itís
not entirely guaranteed that I will encounter
all of these through one play-through, correct?
Oh, absolutely. In fact, you almost
assuredly will not.
Weíve built a lot more than we have space
so every time you play
it kind of rolls the dice and
picks a different set.
So when you combine all of the
itemization, all of the dungeons,
and all of the events, a lot of things can happen.
Alright, so once we make it through
Diablo III for the first time,
what else is there?
So at that point you can move on to
Nightmare difficulty.
We have difficulties like we did for Diablo II,
Nightmare, Hell and so on.
That allows us to not just make the game harder,
we introduce new affixes for champions
and rare monsters so youíll run into
monsters that are doing things
you havenít even seen before.
We also have new items as you advance.
More powerful affixes, but we actually
crafted art for the armor sets all
the way through all of the difficulties
so youíll start finding armor that
youíve never even seen before.
It will have better stats, a new name
and it will look cool for everybody
because weíve done custom armor
for male, female, every class.
So thereís a ton of content to explore
after your first play through.
So you said thereís a lot of
variety with the items available
and you lightly touched on creatures as well.
Yea, so as you advance through not only
are you finding new armor
that you havenít seen before
and youíll also find new legendary weapons
and things like that; sets,
But youíll find that the champions and rares,
The special powers they get,
we found that a couple of them were
A little too punishing for normal difficulty,
so weíre keeping those for a little bit later.
So if you want a better challenge,
Nightmare and Hell,
youíll have some stuff going on
with those monsters that is pretty tricky
to deal with.
Wow, thatís really awesome.
Well Jason, thank you so much
for coming down a talking to us
a little bit more about Diablo III.
Thank you.
Now weíre here with Kris Giampa,
a senior sound designer on the Diablo III team.
Kris can you go briefly into what you do here
and what your role is on the Diablo III team?
Yes, Iím currently and primarily focused on
the sound design and implementation
of the hero classes
of the Demon Hunter and Wizard
along with countless monsters and bosses
within the game.
So in the creation of all of these sounds,
you see a lot of concepts, monster ideas
and creature development.
How do you decide what kinds of sounds
get applied to these different kinds of creatures?
I usually start off by looking at the design docs
for the creatures and read about their backstory.
I will then look at the pre-vis art
that the artists have made up.
That will help me get into the right area
of where I need to go with the creature.
Iíll then go and start designing all my sounds
in my sound tool.
Then I will quickly get it over into the game
as soon as possible, because that will also
dictate my sound design.
To where if things are too short or too long,
then I can quickly go back and change them again.
Put them back in the game and
I bounce back and forth a lot that way.
Tweaking things, going back,
designing a little more,
throwing more in and back and forth.
Now in the sound design for these creatures,
how do you get the core voice for them?
The type of creature also dictates
which area Iíll go into.
Will it be more humanistic or be more animalistic?
Sometimes if itís more humanistic,
basically what weíll do is bring in
top voice over talent and weíll record them
with a condenser mic and a high frequency mic.
The high frequency mic has an extended response
in there, so when we pitch that way down
You really retain a lot of presence from these actors.
A lot of the times,
weíll also design straight animalistic-type voices
from sound libraries or stuff
weíll go out and record as well.
Now that we know a little bit more about
the actual voices that the creatures make,
how do you go about deciding
how theyíre going to actually sound
when theyíre moving around or
when they explode, when bones break?
Ah yeah, the skeletons!
We spent a lot of time in
the foley booth recording
different wooden objects.
I went out and bought some
wooden rollers, and chopsticks,
and toothpicks and even a bamboo placemat.
I spent a couple hours in the Foley studio
just knocking them around and throwing them.
Making sure they had different impacts or rolls.
We have a lot of swords and knives
sitting around in our Foley booth
because we are Blizzard.
So I took one of those and
started stabbing the bamboo placemat.
Thatís what youíll be hearing when
the initial snap break of a skeleton
when they burst into pieces.
So it sounds extremely gratifying
when you walk in there with a Barbarian
and just start pounding on them
and they burst into pieces.
If you listen closely,
you can actually hear a skull roll away
and youíll notice the skullís tuka-tuka-tuka.
So we make very specific sounds
for specific things on that.
After hearing all this,
Iím sure the players canít wait
to get their hands on it.
And Kris, thank you so much for coming down.
Players already knew how good
the game would look,
but now they know just exactly
how epic itís going to sound!
No problem!
We canít wait for you guys to hear it.
Now weíre here with Kevin Martens,
lead content designer for Diablo 3.
So Kevin, how about you tell us
a little bit about what you do.
Well, the lead content designerís job is
Iím in charge of all the writing,
the levels, the monster distribution,
the treasure, etcetera.
So I make fun and awesome areas for
people to explore
Okay and now speaking of areas,
thereís a plethora of locations and
environments for the players to work through.
What can players expect
coming into Diablo 3
Thereís a lot of stuff we havenít shown yet.
Just to touch on a couple of them,
we have the festering woods which
is an area thatís haunted by itís past.
A long time ago the Nephilim,
the proto-humans of the world of sanctuary,
lived and fought there and
at a certain point,
some of them were corrupted and
became mongrels and
the ghosts of these two groups
fight over and over again.
The player has to venture in here in
the midst of this ancient battle
being replayed over and
find Nephilim artifacts to take back and
gain access to a temple.
So weíre going to get to see a
whole lot of these environments and
the story about the environments is
going to be told to us through the quests in the game.
So questing has come a long ways
since the days of Diablo II.
First, thereís a lot more quest information
than there ever was before.
Itís all told in a much simpler way,
in a more direct way,
in a more ambient story-telling way.
You have characters like your followers and
the player who chat back and forth as
they go through the world and
they explore some of the information there.
In many cases the quests NPC's will
come along with your player so they can
discuss some of the elements you need to
know to accomplish the quest while youíre
walking and fighting and traveling as opposed to
waiting through a quest conversation.
In addition to that, we have lore books
which are these ambient story telling mechanisms.
You can pick up a book and
learn a lot of ambient optional lore about
the areas youíre in,
the monsters your fighting.
Weíve taking a lot of steps in the
direction of greater questing and
made it all simpler and shorter to take in.
Now if Iím going to go back and
play with my friends,
say Iíve already advanced a little
further than them,
how is that addressed in Diablo 3?
So everything syncs up automatically.
Our goal with co-op is to
make it super dynamic and
very easy to play with your friends
no matter where they are in the game.
So if you join your friendís game
youíll have the exact same quest state that he has.
If an item has been picked up
itíll already be picked for you.
If it hasnít yet youíll have it there.
Itís easier to find your friends,
itís easier to jump to them,
it doesnít matter what your level is,
you can still join friends at higher levels
so thereís really no limits to playing in coop.
Itís very dynamic.
Youíll instantly join,
and you can instantly drop and
it will not affect their game or your own.
Thatís really great to hear.
The less barriers we have to play with
our friends the better, obviously.
So in maintaining that really
immersive quest experience,
itís very important for players to have
fully voiced characters and thatís going to be
no different in Diablo III?
Yeah we have ten player characters.
Thereís five classes both male and
female genders.
A lot of different NPCís and
incidental characters as well,
all of them are fully voiced over.
Thereís over fifeteen-thousand lines of dialogue
in the game and itís also going to be
fully voiced over in all the other languages that
weíre releasing the game in as well.
Thatís great.
The fully voiced characters Iím sure
will add a ton to the experience.
It helps replay as well.
You know you play with another character and
every player characterís class has a different
sort of perception of the events and
has different commentary on it.
Every class has a different
reason for being there.
Theyíre all on the same quest but they
all have their own motivations and that
comes out a lot in what they talk about.
Very cool.
And so last but certainly not least,
how are we going to get to
the secret cow level?
Well, it turns out that there is a
real tragedy in that tale.
During the events of Diablo II,
there was a brave and noble cow king and
he was slain by just
evil heroes.
I donít know why they would have done such a horrible thing.
He was such a nice guy.
But perhaps he lies restless in his grave.
Who knows?
Or maybe, you know thereís just
no interest in having anything like a
cow level in the game and
maybe weíll cut it due to lack of interest.
Well Kevin, thank you so much for coming down.
Weíll have to find that cow level for ourselves.
All right, happy to be here.
Thanks for joining us for BlizzCast 17 and
a special thank you to all of our guests.
Weíll see you in sanctuary.