BlizzCon 2018 Warcraft III: Reforged Panel Transcript
Grubb: That makes a lot of sense. It’s cool to see that you’re tying in with these long time community members, and bringing them into the fold. Now, you brought up the map editor. I think that’s a great thing to talk about. Here we are at the Culling of Stratholme, and we’ve got this new UI playable. It’s more minimalistic, and we’ve got the map editor, what kind of tools can people expect to be using when it comes to the world editor, and it comes maybe to customization?
Jay: Matt happens to use the World Editor more than anybody else. So…
Matt: Maybe not for everybody else, but… So, as an example right here, you’re looking on the screen. This is what you remember from when we shipped the game, right? You have the very classic UI, and then we went with an experiment, and this is something we love to hear feedback. This is kind of the first time we’re showing it to anybody, and to kind of get people’s opinions and thoughts. So, if you played the demo, if you have a chance, you want to vocalize your opinion towards us, we’d love to hear it.
But where are you going with the editor? Like, what are some of the things that they could pull away? So this UI is actually now decoupled, right? So, this will allow the mapmakers to actually start customizing their UI in a way that they were not able to do before. Because if you stripped away all those stuff before, the game was not even rendering underneath, right? So now that it actually is, and it gives the Mapmaker at that point, as an example, one of the things that they can do.
Grubb: So before under the UI, the game didn’t exist, right? Like it wasn’t being.
Rob: Correct, yeah! That’s one of those easter eggs that Jay doesn’t want to admit to.
Jay: Well, it’s not an Easter egg, it needed performance.
Rob: It turns out it was because of performance. So, it was just a big old black screen that needed a new UI.
Jay: And that’s the reason the top bar goes all the way across in the original game because we could save, you know, a few lines, fill rate.
Grubb: Why render it when nearly one third of the screen is UI, right?
Grubb: Makes a lot of sense. So that’s exciting news to hear for the mapmaking community. And one thing they must also be wondering about is, there is such a wealth of maps that have, as you said in your keynote spawned new genres of games like, that’s how good the mechanics of Warcraft III are to feel, that when you create a new map, a new objective, a new style of game, that it feels good immediately.
And some of these maps they still exist, they’re still being played now, they’ve got very fervent and enthusiastic communities around them. Can these mapmakers just import their map into the Reforged map editor? Will there be any complications? Do you know that yet?
Jay: We tested a fair number of them. We unfortunately can’t test them all, but we are testing a fair number of them. And where we realize that we’ve done something wrong in terms of fixing bugs that the map counted on, we will try to come up with ways to keep those maps working. In other cases, if the map is really taking advantage of a bug that’s a security risk or something that we cannot maintain, we are trying to reach out to those mapmakers to encourage them to fix it.
Just… and find out, hey! What are your needs? And we’re adding new JASS commands, so that if things are clunky and they’re doing it in a way that’s bad and insecure, here’s the blessed way to do it. So yeah! We really do want to get as many of the existing maps to work day one.
Rob: And it’s fair to say that if the assets that were used in the custom map were the stock assets (so to speak), they just kind of come along for the ride.
Jay: They do.
Rob: But if people have gone under the hood and maybe subbed out, you know, certain assets for their own, that’s a different story.
Jay: Yeah! For example, if you swapped the texture on a unit and then you get the new model file, well, the new textures are PBR rendering, so Physically Based Rendering, and they have normal laps and metal and all that sort that wasn’t there in the original. So…
Grubb: It’s not automatically going to have an equivalent.
Jay: Right, we can’t take your old asset that you custom made and turn it into a new one.
Rob: But we’re going to push Jay on that one and see if he can come up with a match.
Grubb: Just like new assets for everything anyone ever brought in.
Brian: We’ll also release the tools that we use, and will put out some guides, so that artists out there that want to put in their own artwork. We’ll show how we’ve done it, where we’re going to be using the metalness, and the roughness maps for the PBR to work. So you have those resources for you guys too, because you guys have done the most amount of work on the game.
Rob: But even the original assets, like “SD,” like they actually do get sort of a free up sampling when running. Yes?
Jay: Sort of, I mean of course, the resolution is way higher on the screen. We’ll get, anti-aliasing will just be turned on whether you like it or not for your SD assets. So your edges will be better.
Again, remember the game originally supported things like 8-bit Palletized textures. Okay, so now everything is being tunneled, a floating point intermediate precision and let’s see, the final results will be much better. Anyway, Yes. SD will also look like a lot better.
Grubby: Now, Warcraft III has some functionalities, because first of all Warcraft III is coming to the main launcher as I understand it, right? So the new Battle.net has certain functionalities that Warcraft III might not have. But in reverse, Warcraft III also has some functionalities that are not yet covered in any other Blizzard games as far as I know.
So, for example, the clan function or having like profile information in your account, automated tournaments, these things, some of these things that we’ve had so much fun with, they’re now going to like, at least partially migrating into new alliances. An alliance with a new launcher, an alliance with some of the older StarCraft assets which is bringing in new things like, maybe the ELO (#Helo? Halo? #sp?) system, but will these things be preserved?
And if yes, is it as easy of a question as just preserving them, just taking them and putting them into Reforge’s box?
Pete: Yes, that easy.
Jay: The answer is yes. Our goal is to have parity with things that you are already used to. But no, it’s not that easy. Because of course, you have to take the existing code, understand it, and then bring it over to modern code with modern Battle.net and not break anything. And there will be some requests that we’ll make of the Battle.net team for additional functionality. We’ll, of course, be writing it ourselves. It’s good. It’s not an easy challenge, but it looks ideally for our players, it just works, that’s the goal.
Grubb: So, your endeavor to preserve, but it’s not as simple of a case of just transfering it over. It’s like a complete rebuilding under the hood. Something people may not see.
Pete: Yeah! And in general, like it is harder to take features away, we try not to, we try to do everything we can to preserve things. I know one of the questions from your own feed was, what’s going to happen with our existing accounts? Like we’re going to create functionality for you to merge your wins, your history that you have with this game over, and we’re sensitive to that. Like, we don’t want to lose those things ourselves. We as gamers are gatherers and achievers, and we don’t want to lose our stuff.
So, we’re doing everything we can from an engineering perspective, from a design perspective to not lose those things. Not lose those artifacts, or your achievements over time. And it’s incredibly important to us to first get it right for the existing community and then we want to do things to appeal to more people, let’s bring in some new blood, let’s have more bodies on the ladder, let’s get new custom game designers.
Like there’s so much potential here, and we want to charge up as much of that potential energy as possible; but in so doing, we first need to make sure you guys, who I imagine in this room are that core audience who’s never left this game and who love it to death, and don’t want to see us change it so drastically that you don’t recognize it anymore. I mean that’s our first mission. It is to make sure you guys give us a thumbs up when it ships.
Grubby: Sounds great. So on that topic, the new graphics I’m sure are going to appeal a lot to players that might have been on the fence of trying out Warcraft III for a long time, or that are going to be coming back to Warcraft III after a long hiatus. But will existing players that maybe just can’t get used to it still be able to have Reforged? And have that current Battle.net functionality, and so on, and so on, and so on. But scale back to the old graphics, or old audio, or whatever?
Rob: Yes, yes, yes. Yes.
Jay: There’s a command.
Pete: Cool. That’s awesome. That’s another thing about that sensitivity of like, hey! It already is the perfect game. I know you’re one of them, who really loves the way it looks. You even said to me when we first looked at this the other day, I think the original game looks fine. And I was like, I respect your opinion.
Grubby: I used a bigger adjective than fine, but…
Pete: Perfect, I think was the word.
Rob: But that was also something we learned with StarCraft: Remastered, right? Like, at one point with SCR, we kind of internally called it The Ultimate Option Edition. Because we basically needed to make sure that like, everything just existed from before and then anything we added in, it just added to the grab bag of great, right.
And so we brought that same mentality over with Warcraft III, where we just want to make sure that like, this is your game, right? We may have made it, but it’s your game. It’s not our job to tell you guys, everybody in the audience, everybody watching, how to play your game. It’s our job to make sure that you can play the game, and that you can enjoy the game, and that you have the ability to play it the way that you want to play it.
|WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WHAT'S NEXT PANEL TRANSCRIPT|
|1. Intro||2. Enhancements||3. Design & Balance||4. Map Editor||5. Q&A|