VFX artist Stephanie An­der­son on the love and care which goes into To­tal War: Warham­mer II ’s blood­i­est ef­fects.

PC GAMER (US) - - MONITOR - By Philippa Warr

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The Blood­fortheBlood­GodII pack adds ex­trav­a­gant gore to Warham­mer “It can be quite ex­ces­sive at times,” ad­mits An­der­son. “You end up drenched in a sea of blood with de­cap­i­tated limbs all over the bat­tle­field.”

Balanc­ing act

The meati­ness of gory ex­plo­sions when a unit is cleaved at the waist took some tweak­ing. They needed to be gross but not too over-the-top. “When the chunks got too big they took too much of the fo­cus,” says An­der­son.

Tech up­grade

Tech de­vel­op­ments mean

Warham­merII can han­dle more blood and par­ti­cle ef­fects than games like RomeII and Shogun2. Thus you can now have “a full blood ex­plo­sion com­plete with fly­ing gibs when units are cleaved in half”.

Death de­tail

It’s not just about show­piece spurts; ef­fects need to pe­ter out over time. Af­ter the ‘gosh!’ mo­ment of a waist cleav­ing, the stump falls to the floor, blood puls­ing. Artists then tweak and re­bal­ance the ef­fects un­til they’re sat­is­fy­ingly gory.

Ref­er­ence ma­te­rial

Real­is­tic ref­er­ences are a start­ing point for new tex­tures. An­der­son spent a lot of time look­ing at pig car­cass im­ages to help with the gory chunks in the blood de­cals. It was sur­real at first but she says, “It nor­mal­izes af­ter a lit­tle while.”

Blood draw

“We use 12 dif­fer­ent par­ti­cle emit­ters to create the blood ex­plo­sion, and most are small sim­u­la­tions that wouldn’t look like much on their own,” says An­der­son. But they come to­gether via del­i­cate lay­er­ing to make be­liev­able, sat­is­fy­ing ef­fects.

LEFT: The blood ex­plo­sions form crim­son fire­works, which are vis­i­ble from a dis­tance, and help bridge the gap be­tween adding gory de­tail to the bat­tle­field, and keep­ing the ac­tion leg­i­ble for play­ers.

BELOW: This pro­to­type an­i­ma­tion shows the Ter­rorgheist treat­ing a unit like a blood­ied rag­doll. The gory trail helps em­pha­size the arc­ing mo­tions as it’s thrown into the air.

RIGHT: Pro­to­typ­ing the ef­fects of a pow­er­ful swipe from a Green­skin troll. There’s a shower of meaty chunks from the Em­pire sol­dier, each trail­ing blood plus blood patches on the ground, and blood spurts from the torso stump.

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