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Skip Navigation LinksPlayHard > In English > StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Interview with Samwise Didier, Blizzard Entertainment

Название: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Разработчик: Blizzard Entertainment
Зарубежный издатель: Blizzard Entertainment
Издатель в России: 1С-СофтКлаб
Официальный сайт игры: перейти
Официальный русский сайт игры: перейти
Системные требования:
P4-2.6, 1 GB RAM, 128 MB 3D Card
Dual Core 2.4, 2 GB RAM, 512 MB 3D Card
MultiPlayer: Internet (12)
Жанр: Strategy, RTS
Игра вышла: 27.07.2010
Рейтинг: 9.2

Last Monday (17.05.2010) I visited the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. You might think I got interested in space travel and spacecrafts. Yes and No. It wasn't just a day to visit a nice Russian museum, since it was the day, when I could put my hands on the magnificent single-player StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign for the first time. At first I was looking at the rather long StarCraft II gameplay trailer circling in a loop mode. It was a nice feature, since, of course, only after seeing particular moments for several times it was possible to note the smallest, but amazing details about the game. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a very rich entertainment project in all areas and only by investing enough free time into it, you will able to know many more intriguing facts about this famous game universe and learn everything that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will offer this summer.

The following event started with a great Press-conference launched by "1C-SoftClub" and two Blizzard's employees: Samwise Didier, the Art Director at Blizzard Entertainment, and Bob Colayco, the PR-manager at the company's Irvine office. Sitting in one the first rows it was an amazing feeling of excitement, while listening to the wonderful presentation and watching at the big screen featuring live gameplay of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. It was also very interesting to get a detailed summary featuring the historical background about Blizzard, its projects and the StarCraft series, which was firstly introduced to gamers in 1998. Surely, it was easy to become hypnotized by the vivid colors of the game, just when the room lights were turned off to enjoy the videos.

"Hyperion" was looking as the big ship, where all the preliminary actions will take place letting you buy new upgrades at the Armory, visit the Lab to unlock new technologies or come to a local Cantina to become assured that the developers have great sense of humor, and they have prepared some cool surprises for you as well. After the presentation, many questions were asked and answered about the game and the special aspects of its Russian release. Though the main event for me had to happen some time afterwards, when I interviewed Samwise Didier.

Sam is responsible for much of the artwork seen in the Diablo (1996-2000), StarCraft (1998-2010), Warcraft (1994-2003) and World of Warcraft (2004-2010) game series, for the Pandaren race, for being the frontman of the band Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain as well as for the many covers for the albums recorded by the band named HammerFall. Surely, there was a rather long queue of Russian journalists willing to ask him questions about everything, but Sam and Bob did a great job spending some hours to satisfy the Russian media curiosity. Beforehand I had decided to focus my Interview on the creative side of the Sam's works and their making process. There was such little time for such an amazing Interview's opportunity, but afterwards just a few seconds were enough for Sam to draw a beautiful picture related to The Horde for me. Thank you very much for it, Sam! Now moving on to the Interview itself.

- Please, introduce yourself. Whats your role in the project?

- Hello! I'm Sam Didier, the Art Director of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

- How do you find Russia? What impressions have you this not your first time in our country?

- Well, we got here last night at around 10 p.m., and are departing soon. Luckily, I had more time to spend in Russia, when we were working on a Blizzard’s game – Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. So I had a chance to visit Saint Petersburg twice. However, it is my first time in Moscow, and it is always really cool here. I love the architecture, and the people are very nice.

- Have you enjoyed your tour around the Moscow Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics?

- Oh, yeah! I've had a 25 minute Tour. I did really enjoy being inside this place, and I didn't realize before, how far ahead Russia had advanced in its Space Program in the early 1960's. It was impressive to find out.

- What was the first video game you played?

- The first video game I played was Adventure (1981) designed for the Atari 2600. I fell in love with it. It was a Fantasy game, and my character was a Square. I had a Sword that looked like an Arrow and I fought Dragons that looked like Ducks. It was awesome. I played it in my friend's house, and the next day I asked mom if I could take out some money out of my bank account and buy myself the Atari 2600 console, then I did it. I would like to note: the game itself cost 60$!

- Give us some background about your career in the game industry.

- My career in the game industry started with Blizzard in 1991. It was actually the second game that we did, but in the beginning I was working on an early incarnation of Rock N' Roll Racing (1993), which could become RPM Racing 2 (original RMP Racing was released in 1992 – ed. note). That was before we had decided to forget the normal race tracks, to put the setting into space, add some cool stuff, and make something more, than the usual Racing game could offer at that time. So we changed the existing expectations. Before that I had been working on the project named The Lost Vikings, which came out in 1992. It was a very different game, when I started with it. It basically looked like Lemmings (developed by DMA Design and released in 1991 – ed. note) then, when you had to deal with hundreds of Vikings, but in the end we left just three main characters.

- I've seen a few minutes ago an arcade machine in the Сantina's room aboard the "Hyperion" in the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player demo campaign. The screen was telling something about The Lost Vikings then. So is it a surprise I'm thinking about now?

- Yes, it is a Surprise!

- Cool! I'm already feeling nostalgic! Since The Lost Vikings were the guys I helped out to travel around in one of the first video games I ever played. I was really enjoying the experience at that time. And what do you like the most in your current job?

- It has always been the same, since I’ve got to make Art every day. Normally, if I was just doing Art anywhere as a usual artist, some people might never see it. Here I have many possibilities to reach a very wide audience. Also I can collaborate with the other artists, working at Blizzard. I can't even tell how many times I could learn something new here like the Art techniques, advanced Shading, creating new costumes for characters. There were actually some influential artists for me that I had a chance to work with.

- How does your usual work day go at Blizzard?

- I start about 9-9.30 a.m. with checking all the E-mails that could arrive a night before. Then new meetings with my colleagues can take up almost half a day, and the other half I work on my own as well as together with my Artists' team. It just depends on the situation. When working 8 hours a day, sometimes I don't have that very many meetings, but during some specific work days discussions can last for a long time. I always have my sketch book with me, so I can draw even during such meetings!

- In what ways did you coordinate your artists while working on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty?

- It depends on a person. Some of them are very creative. They can come up with ideas themselves. It is my job to ensure that their ideas will retain their original authorship, but will be able to fit into the StarCraft universe. There are also some artists, who won't provide very many new ideas, but they are strong part is concluded in their high skills, and they can do anything you will ask them to. We are giving the concepts to them for further development. Also we try to involve everyone in the creative process, we encourage everyone's participation, even coming from people who aren't normally 2D-artists.

- What was the main challenge for your Art Direction for the game?

- Just making sure that we don't go too crazy with the designs, where it can be harder to distinguish, when you will be looking at them in the game. When we were starting, we had just come out after finishing Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (2003). We kind of had to re-learn how to draw for Science Fiction. We had been so grounded to the world of Fantasy for a long time before.

- Did you reject any ideas for the in-game Art in the creative process?

- Some good MultiPlayer units artistically were looking too similar to each other, so we decided to move them to the Single-Player. For some new ideas we came to an agreement that we still lacked some required technology and postponed them till one of our future games. Actually, nothing was totally rejected. We used everything we came up with in one way or another.

- How did you interact with the other members of the development team?

- The Artists' team work really close with the Designers' team. Everyone has tried to contribute some creativity to our project in a lot of different ways. For example, programmers came to us asking to do this idea, while we were offering them to introduce that idea. Our artists showed some sketches to the Designers and discussed them together, learning new suggestions, while adding some new details for the in-game levels. It has been a pretty collaborative effort.

- If a game has a MultiPlayer mode, are any additional Art Direction moments required?

- Yeah! For the MultiPlayer maps we really tried to limit the scale of a lot of the background Art, because we don't want to cover up the screen, when people micromanage their troops or anything like that. In Single-Player, since it is just you against the Computer, we decided to go a little bit more extreme including bigger monsters, bigger background elements, darker night-time and so on.

- What would you advise to people, who dream about working as video games artists?

- One thing would be to know the company you wish to apply for, to play their games a lot. Since after you are hired, you won’t be just playing video games in general, it will become your job, and you will have to become a master in your field. Also if you have or get any access to attend any kind of 3D-classes learning to use 3D Studio Max (known as Autodesk 3ds Max now – ed. note), spend some time on it. Games are in 3D now, a lot of the big ones are. There are still some 2D-games coming out there, but it is better to be well-rounded, to know something about everything in your profession. Even I work with 3D on creating units and stuff. When there is no time to do concept Art, I can still help out with the game.

- Is Blizzard hiring new talented artists now?

- Yes!

- Then we wish them to get ready their CVs and send them out to you, pronto! What are the rules an Art Director has to follow to be successful in his work?

- I would say to know what your upcoming game is about. Not to try to do something too fancy, when you aren't making a fancy game. Sticking to what the core Art style is, you know. StarCraft wouldn't be appropriate having Terrans with really shiny ships and nice clean uniforms. It won't be Terrans anymore, it would become a completely different game.

- What personal achievement are you proud of?

- I've actually got it right now! I'm paid for the chance to draw every day! That's great! [Smiles].

- How has your music career been going? Many including me would like to listen to new songs recorded by your Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain band!

- Well, unfortunately, the band has taken a big hit, since the rhythm guitar player (Chris Sigaty – ed. note), the lead guitar player (Dave Berggren – ed. note), the lead singer (Samwise Didier – ed. note), the drummer (Alan Dabiri – ed. note) are all trying to finish StarCraft II! The bassist, Mike Morhaime, who is also the President at the company, isn't that busy, so he still has some time to practice with his bass guitar!

- I'm sure you have heard about the band HammerFall…

- Oh, God, Dear!

- Oh, yes! So is it different to work on the music albums' artwork and art in video games?

- You know, not really. When I make Art for video games, I try to make something looking good, and it is the same working with the HammerFall guys on their albums' covers, but with one difference. They have kind of an Art Director on that saying: "Well, here is what we want to see, that is what we expect". Then I do some sketches, the band's leader accepts or asks to do something else.

- Do you have a favorite song by HammerFall?

- I love their newest one. It is named "One of a Kind". It is included in their latest album ("No Sacrifice, No Victory" released in 2009 – ed. note). I enjoy listening to it a lot. I'm a fan of all their stuff.

- What video games released in any year have great art, in your opinion?

- I like any Grand Theft Auto (1997-2009) games, the Left 4 Dead (2008-2009) game series. I'm really looking forward to see the Red Dead Redemption's release (18.05.2010 – ed. note). It is a Western-style game presented in a GTA-end scope. That's why, it is pretty obvious, why I'm expecting this title!

- What do you like to do in your free time?

- I Draw! [Laughs].

- What picture do you have on your Desktop?

- I just put up a picture of Frank Frazetta, who has recently passed away. He is one of my main inspirational artists. Though our Art styles are completely different, but he was one of the first artists, who introduced me to The Conan comic books. His picture is on my desktop now.

- Name 3 things you associate with Russia.

- Ok, I don't know the name of the style, but I'd pick the awesome buildings and awesome statues. I guess, I will also name Red Square. I saw it so many times in various movies and video games. I visited it last night, and it was just great to arrive there for the first time personally.

- What would you wish to all the StarCraft fans in Russia?

- To have a good time and to enjoy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty! Also by using our official Forums to let us know, what we did right, what we did wrong, what we can improve for the next games in the line-up.

- Thanks a lot for this great Interview and the drawing, Sam! Now, you have made me a new wall poster!

- Thank you!

P.S. I'm also grateful to Sam Didier and Bob Colayco of Blizzard Entertainment for making the really cool presentation of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty in Moscow!

19.05.2010 19:57, Unicorn


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Анонсы: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Обзоры: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Интервью: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Интервью с Тони Су, Blizzard Entertainment
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. Интервью с Крисом Сигати, Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Интервью с Сэмвайзом Дидье, Blizzard Entertainment
Читы: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Тренеры: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [+11, v1.1.1.16605]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [+3, v1.0.3.16291]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [+9, v1.0.2.16223]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [+9, v1.0.1.16195]
Ролики: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty ["Призраки прошлого", 2:36, avi, HD 1080p]
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty [Commercial trailer, 00:30, mp4, HD 720p]
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty [video, 1:48, avi, HD 720p]
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty [SP gameplay, 7:17, avi, HD 720p]
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty [gameplay, 01:24:25, mp4, 640x352]
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty ["Mothership", gameplay, 00:41, avi, 704x432]
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty [trailer, 4:42, avi, HD 720p]
Патчи: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty v1.2.1
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.1.1, Ru]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.1.1, UK, Mac]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.1.1, UK]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.1.1, US, Mac]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.1.1, US]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.1.0, Ru]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.1.0, UK]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.1.0, US]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.03, US, Mac]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.03, Ru]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.03, UK]
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty [v1.03, US]
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