Warlander Devblog #9: The Bosses of Warlander - Forest Guardian
We introduce you to our favorite worm with 16 nasty teeth!
Our latest Warlander devblog is focused on enemies we all love to hate - Bosses! Today we introduce you to our favorite insect - the Forest Guardian. For this blog, our 3D Animator Marko Milović is joining us to offer the designers’ perspective on creating this unique enemy. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the backstory of the beast (with kudos to Mladen, our writer for delivering us all the necessary information).
Guardians of the Forest are aspects of the Horned Serpent, one of the minor deities of the Druid Cult. In ancient times, when Forest ruled supreme over the lands, their numbers were great. They prowled the Forest, scouring it of carcasses, bringing them as feed to newly sprouted trees, under which the Guardians hatchlings sought shelter, slithering among the young roots.
We asked Marko to tell us how the Forest Guardian was imagined and sketched:
“In its basic form this boss was imagined as a huge - 16 foot tall - six-legged creature; a combination of an insectoid body and a big gaping jaw filled with long, sharp, claw-like teeth. This type of multi-limbed character is very complex and unique and it presented quite the challenge from the standpoint of the rig construction and later animation. Typically, work on creatures like this involves combining references of real living creatures and a touch of imagination in order to be achieved.”
Even with all the power they had, many guardians were lost during the long war of Technos against the Forest. During the early days, each incursion of Techno forces had to contend with tooth and claw of the Guardians among the other defenders of the Forest. But, Guardian numbers were slowly but systematically cut down by Technos and because of the Forests' weakened state, fewer and fewer hatchlings reached the mature state.
Again, Marko offers us some insights into the process of creating this fascinating creature.
Now, with the Technos incessantly working on weakening the Forest, there is but a few Guardians left. They skulk in secluded reaches of the Forest, licking their wounds and doing what they can to strengthen their land and god. But still, just because they are few in number does not mean we didn’t focus enough attention on making them as realistic and dangerous as possible!
Marko offered us his take on animating the guardian:
“Animating this type of complex character firstly involved some time for the preparation and reference gathering of visually interesting insectoid behavioral patterns and merging it with the character’s personality and weight. Walks, burrows and some attacks were directly inspired by the insect motions. The complexity also came from the number of different attacks and specific movements that needed to be performed in the different stages of combat. So, we have reactions to different levels of disembodiment, hits, attacks, burrowing out - just to name a few. Creatures leg position organization during more involved movements, such as attacks, deaths needed to be carefully planned before stepping in the animation phase. The animation was realized with keyframe animation using the posing technique. The weight is also one of the most important parts in conveying the scale of the creature so that problem was tackled with care. Teeth work in some cases required the help of simple scripting for automating the animation task of synchronized teeth movement with a little bit of random offset.
In the end, Marko points out that:
“The number of animations for this boss was among the biggest in term of quantity of all characters within the game. Creatures of this type and form are almost always a challenge for the animator but also among the most interesting to animate and the experience gained from these challenges are invaluable.”
May the Forest guide you until the next Thursday!