Warcraft III: Remastered Hype Intensifies

WoWHead reports an increment of known foreign Warcraft III player sightings filling for visas to the United States. They even link to their Twitter where some of them confirm they have been invited to a Blizzard event at the end of February.

This has, of course, created a hype that a Warcraft III: Remastered announcement is imminent.

Blizzard Entertainment hasn’t made any comment about this, but I will point you to our recent BlizzCon 2017 interview with Brian Sousa (Classic Games team, Art Outsource Supervisor) where he said:

Of course we have talked about what’s next for the Classic Games team. Those kinds of things: bringing back Warcraft 1, Warcraft II, Warcraft III, Diablo 1, Diablo II… you know, everything that we have is technically open to doing so.

What we are focusing now is actually the games that we know are still being played by a lot of people: Warcraft III and Diablo II. Getting those up onto the modern Battle.net platform. Making sure that their experience with those games that are still being played work well with all of our other titles, and still have the same amount of love that we get to all of our new titles.

 

 

GDC 2018 Blizzard Entertainment Panels

The Game Developers Conference (GDC 2018) will take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco through March 21-23. Several Blizzard Entertainment developers are scheduled to speak at various panels.

The Blizzard Entertainment booth will be located at the North Hall by the Business Center at BMR5232. Check out the Moscone Center Map for the North Hall and South Hall. Use the + and – symbols to zoom in/out. The Blizzard Booth is set as Yellow in the map. Easy to find.

Read the schedule below.

Animation Bootcamp: Animation Leadership: Teaching Your Team to Fish
Speaker: Nick Chilano (Lead Animator)

With 12 years in development at Blizzard and 6 years as an Animation Lead, Nick Chilano felt that capturing what makes animating for Blizzard, specifically the ‘Diablo’ franchise, unique and challenging. Keeping a team small when creating hundreds of monster animations, multiple hero animations, and being able to lead a team responsibly means creating pillars and philosophies a team can rally behind and believe in. Nick will share with how he captured Blizzard’s process, how it is applied, and the results they create.
Animation Bootcamp: Animation Microtalks
Lana Bachynski (Animator)
David Gibson (Senior Animator)

Finish off the day with these fast-paced, high-energy talks. 1 hour, 10 professionals, all dedicated to educate, entertain and inspire with rants, raves, observations and wild musings on animation and the industry as a whole.
Dynamic Dialogue: The Game Designer's Guide to Voice Recording
Speakers: Andrea Toyias (Senior Casting & Voice Director)
Steve Danuser (Lead Narrative Designer)
Justin Dye (Lead Writer)

As a game dev, joining an actor and director in the recording studio to record VO for your game can easily be a daunting and somewhat overwhelming process. How should you prep? What is expected of you? How can you best communicate what you want? How do you give feedback? How do you approach the process? These questions and more are often asked by game devs recruited to handle the VO pipeline for their team. Blizzard’s Senior Casting and Voice Director, Andrea Toyias, together with the Lead Narrative Designers from 'World of WarCraft' and 'StarCraft', will answer these perplexing questions. By sharing their approaches, philosophies, workflows and personal stories from the frontlines of VO recording, the VO pipeline will become an experience of fun, collaboration and discovery….no longer scary nor overwhelming. You will learn how to lend your voice and insights into to the formula that is successful VO recording.
Game Art Remasterd: From Crash, to Kerrigan, to Corley Motors
Speaker: Brian Sousa (Lead Artist, Blizzard Entertainment)

Striking the balance in the production of a video game remaster is tricky business. You can easily please as many fans as you disappoint. With modern tools and technology, gamers' expectations range between revisionism and purism. There is also a general assumption that it is an easy process. In this panel three speakers will share their insights, experiences, and eventual success of remastering 'Crash Bandicoot', 'Starcraft', and 'Full Throttle', three classic games everyone knows and loves. Hear the stories and learn about the unexpected revelations that went into remastering these classic games for the next generation.
Juggle ALL THE THINGS! Community Managing Tons of Games
Speaker: Stephanie Bayer (Manager, Community Development)

Community management is now an established and essential function in any good game company, but how do you manage an entire game platform or a large portfolio of games? Gone are the days of a single community manager being assigned to each game. Juggling resources on a tight budget, keeping details straight from patch notes for a bunch of games (or dozens!) to keeping in-sync with all internal business and marketing teams, can be insane. This session will share best practices from community management experts. Come learn the best tips and tricks from the pros for managing a community of a large portfolio of games or even an entire game platform.
Making Good Tools for Making Great Audio
Tomas Neumann (Senior Software Engineer)

Guy and Tomas have collected deep technical knowledge of contributing audio for award-winning games. In this talk, they will share ways to proactively identify audio needs and how to evaluate them. They will discuss proven strategies to address those needs, guided by examples from shipped games. A union of efficiency, correctness, and productivity come together in the end to unlock sound designers' creativity, which leads to better game audio, and ultimately, better games.
Technical Artist Bootcamp: Rigging with Triangles
Richard Katz (Senior Technical Artist)

Technical artists may be aware of vectors and matrices but aren’t quite sure how to apply them to their daily work. The uninitiated may fear the wall of numbers that make up a vector or a matrix. This session will emphasize visualizing vectors as artist-friendly arrows or planes, instead of arrays of numbers. Richard will discuss how to build matrices from joint locations when constructing an animation rig and how to make them bend to your will.
Tools Tutorial Day: Playtesting Overwatch
Speaker: Rowan Hamilton (Lead Software Engineer, Tools)

While regular playtesting is an important part of development for any title, it is critical when working on a multiplayer game. When iteration for designers requires getting 12 developers into a game together, the process of creating and joining a playtest needs to be as fast and painless as possible. Achieving this requires a holistic approach that ties many pieces of your production pipeline together. This talk will cover how a "playtesting first" approach helped guide the 'Overwatch' team's design for their data pipeline, build system, server stack and many other aspects of their day to day workflow.

Moscone Center
747 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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Activision Blizzard Q4 2017 Conference Call Transcript

This is a partial transcript of topics relevant to Blizzard fans.

Kotick: This was a record quarter and record year for Activision Blizzard. We delivered record quarterly net bookings of $2.6 billion and record annual net bookings of $7.2 billion. We delivered record segment operating income of $2.4 billion and record non-GAAP EPS of $2.21 per share, above our initial February outlook of $1.70. And we also delivered record annual operating cash flow of $2.2 billion.

Each part of our business reached new milestones and demonstrated the durable and enduring nature of our franchises. Activision celebrated strong Call of Duty momentum and their best operating income year ever.

Blizzard delivered their highest operating income ever for year with no major game releases. And King returned to growth with the Candy Crush franchise stronger than ever.

DIY Developer: What I’d love Allied Races to be

The Allied Races feature is cool and innovative in World of Warcraft as a concept. The Alliance finally has High Elves. We now have moose horns, freaking Nightborne, and cool-looking Draenei. Better yet, each one has 5 racials that offer some commodity or advantages to professions, or make us do more damage, or be more resilient.

The World of Warcraft team has said to us and other websites via interviews the Allied Race system was made from the ground up to be expandable. Meaning more Allied Races will come out in the future. That opens the possibility for Ogres, Centaurs, Naga, Quillboars, Gilgoblin, Wildhammer, Tuskarr, Taunka, Furbolgs, Vrykul, Ethereals, and many other races and ethnic groups to be a playable Allied Race.

Stranger in a Strange Land (Lightforged)

Ambassador Moorgard: Welcome to Stormwind, Lightforged draenei. King Anduin Wrynn invites you to explore our fair city. Say, you look like the devout sort. We have a lovely cathedral that will no doubt be of interest! Ah, but that can wait. An emissary of the Lightforged is standing by to tell you of adventures that await beyond the city walls. Have a pleasant stay, (Name). Oh, and please excuse the occasional mess. I fear many of our citizens lack the discipline that you Army of the Light soldiers are so famous for!

QUEST OBJECTIVES

Find the Hero’s Call board in Stormwind City.

Stranger in a Strange Land

 

For the Alliance (Lightforged Draenei)

Captain Fareeya: We are soldiers. Through millennia of struggle, the Light has shown us the true path. And in turn, we have been reborn as instruments of its power. You are Lightforged. You must stand as a beacon of hope against the darkness. But for those who would threaten this world… or attack our allies… you will embody the Light’s wrath.

 

Captain Fareeya: The Army of the Light was founded with one purpose: to defeat the Legion. Though we have achieved that goal, a new duty lies before us. Azeroth is a world beset by enemies. Use your training to battle the darkness and uphold the ideals of the Alliance. Go to Stormwind. Seek the king’s ambassador at the embassy, then set out to spread the Light’s justice across the land. Pheta thones gamera, (Name).

QUEST OBJECTIVES

Meet Ambassador Moorgard at the Stormwind Embassy.

For the Alliance

 

Forge of Aeons

Captain Fareeya: The Lightforged have long stood as a beacon of hope against the Legion. But few truly know what it takes to become the embodiment of Light’s wrath. These few champions among the Army of the Light are ready to undergo their final trial. Will you do us the honor of bearing witness?

QUEST OBJECTIVES

Bear witness to the ritual of the Lightforged.

Forge of Aeons

 

The Lightforged

High Exarch Turalyon: (Name), you have seen what my people are capable of firsthand. We have been forged over millennia as specialists against the Legion. Now, I believe it is time to take up arms alongside our brothers and sisters of the Alliance. Join us at the Vindicaar. I believe we have much to discuss with Captain Fareeya.

QUEST OBJECTIVES

Travel to the Vindicaar with Turalyon.

The Lightforged

 

A Second Ally for the Cause (Alliance)

King Anduin Wrynn: You have taken an important first step in strengthening the Alliance, (Name). Well done. But I fear a single new ally will not deter the Horde. The warchief will not rest until Orgrimmar’s forces vastly outnumber the defenders of Stormwind. I must ask that you work to secure our next ally. We cannot afford any delay.

QUEST OBJECTIVES

Choose a second ally to pursue.

A Second Ally for the Cause