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Extensive Slides from Jay Wilson’s Diablo 3 GDC Postmortem

Posted 3 Apr 2013 by

dia_24We’re still waiting for videos of the GDC presentations by Jay Wilson and Wyatt Cheng, but today we’ve got a huge selection of photos of the Powerpoint slides Jay used to illustrate his Diablo 3 Postmortem, thanks to Secondii who points us to Japanese site Game Watch. They present the slides with a lengthy article, but it’s in Japanese and the Google translation is not very good. Here’s a quote from the article, to give you a sense of the quality of translation you’ll be wading through.

?Title to say but in that sense and still ongoing, two sessions were conducted in relation to “Diablo III” at GDC 2013. In: “The Making of Diablo III Shout at The Devil”, dissected the game design of “Diablo III”,: the iteration process has been published mainly in the “Through The Grinder Refining Diablo III’s Game System”.

Was a session from a different perspective, both what has been said is remarkably similar Coincidentally, it was intended to break away from the glory of the past it is that “Diablo II” how, of whether Umidaseru a game that was in the era. It was a session that was felt kind of pressure to make a sequel to a proven work. I want to introduce immediately.

And so on. Happily, most of the slides are informative in of themselves, with captions and talking points. Plus there are quite a few showing off early iterations of the skill trees that haven’t been seen before and made me tingle with “what might have been” vibrations.

There are over 50 slides in total; click through to see them all sorted by subject. These include Potions and Combat, Skill System Interface Evolution, Combat and Potions, and more. It’s good stuff.

The Seven Design Pillars of Diablo 3

As we anticipated, Jay’s talk focused on his Seven Design Pillars. We resurrected these in a news post last month, when word of this conference first broke, and most of you guys thought at least 5 or 6 of the pillars were poorly executed in the game. Those pillars, as revealed by Jay in a Gamasutra interview from May 2012 (pre-release), are:

Jay Wilson: Those seven things were: approachable, powerful heroes, highly customizable, great item game, endlessly replayable, strong setting, and cooperative multiplayer.

We basically said these are the pillars we have to live by. Each one has a description of what they mean. And any time that we have a question about what the game should be, we just look back at those pillars. And that was our goal. That was how we set the project up.

We had some others, too, that were more [about] what we’re adding to the project. And they were more feature-based, so for example, the PvP mode was one. The bigger focus on RPG elements was one, because we wanted it to be a more story-based game, without getting in the way of the action. So there were a few more like that.

We can’t say how directly Jay defended or explained those pillars in his talk, but they were clearly a focus, as you can see from the following slides:


Potions and Combat

Of the many changes Diablo 3 made from Diablo 2, I think combat and potions are among the best. For most characters, Diablo 3’s life and resources systems are more interesting and dynamic than Diablo 2’s health and mana system, which was entirely focused on potions (low level) and leech (high level). The devs never seem to mention leech, but they’re definitely correct about potions, and the way that a potion-based system focused Diablo 2’s combat on very “spikey” damage types, since if something didn’t kill you in an instant it didn’t kill you at all.

(Of course you could argue that high level characters in Diablo 3 are in basically the same position, as all classes have skills and resource restoration techniques that either work and keep you at virtually 100% health, or break down in intense combat and cause you to die in a blink.)

At any rate, here are the slides about how the devs worked to change potions and combat in Diablo 3.


Combat and Controls

Another series of slides cover the changes made to make combat and the game’s controls feel smooth and responsive. Yes, click click click, but players need to feel that their clicks are doing what they should do, which is tough with non-stop clicking and some click results (skill animations) taking half a second or longer to execute.


Skill System Interface

We’ve seen slides and images of some of the earlier iterations of the skills system before, and players who got to try the Blizzcon demos in 2008-2011 saw skill trees with dependencies, passive skills (back when they were called Traits), and more. These slides show some of those earlier systems, before all the complexity, depth, and intricate nature of the skill system and interface was thrown out in order to simplify it into a six-button system for the idiot thumb-mashering mouth-breathers eagerly awaiting the Diablo 3 DiabloWikiConsole project… right?


Full Slideshow Presentation

Here’s the full gallery. You can click any thumb to view it full size and then proceed forwards or backwards click click click style. And I know you know how to click click click style. We don’t know if this is every slide in the presentation. I’d suspect not, but it’s all that the Japanese site had, so it’ll do until we have the full video available.

In the meantime, you can watch a panel from GDC 2012 in which Christian Lichtner covers the Art of Diablo 3.