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When working on Awakening, did you revisit any of the models that were carried over from the original game?

Shane Hawco – Lead Character Artist
Yes. Not just on Awakening but on other DLC as well such as Warden’s Keep where we repurposed an existing armor to make the Warden Commander. We brought the original mesh back into ZBrush and added some additional details such as the Grey Warden’s crest on the chest plate. It was a simple way to add some more content into the Dragon Age experience.


What was your approach when designing the Brood Mother? While she has some similarities to the one from the original game, the one in Awakening is still quite unique.

Shane Hawco – Lead Character Artist
With the new Brood Mother we wanted to make sure that a couple of the elements were clear in the new design. First that she was evolved from a human unlike the other Brood Mother in Dragon Age: Origins, so the upper body has a more slender build with a lot less grotesque features -- that is until it was revealed that there was a link to the Childer with her split face and the extra limbs coming out of her back. The creation process was very similar to the Warden Commander’s Armor. We repurposed the old base mesh to help create a new and improved Brood Mother, plus we had to add her into the conversation system so that she could talk with the player. One of the character artists on Dragon Age (Ben Carriere) did an amazing job on her! She is truly terrific!


The Architect has to be one of my favorite creature models ever. Could you talk about his inspiration and creation?

Shane Hawco – Lead Character Artist
The Architect was a full collaboration between the design team on Awakening and the character artists. We aimed at not just creating a visual threat but also touching on his sadistic personality which physically masks his grotesqueness. Jae Kuem was the artist responsible for not only modeling him in such great detail but also coming up with the concept art. The whole team was inspired to carry forward his art style into the other minions of the Architect: the Disciples and the Armored Ogre.







How long did it take to create the Architect? How many polygons did he hit? Did he pose any unique challenges, and if so how did you overcome them?

Jae Keum – Character Artist
He took almost a month to create from the concept art to the final 3D mesh and textures. The in-game mesh of the Architect is approximately 11,000 polygons. The most challenging thing was to show his personality and character through his appearance. He is highly intelligent, decisive, cold, manipulative and he has little understanding of humanity. When I made the concept art of the Architect I tried to find some inspirations from traditional art masters such as Francis Bacon. It helped me a lot when figuring out shape and details.


What was the most challenging asset to create in the Dragon Age universe, and why? Did you use any special techniques to overcome that challenge?

Shane Hawco – Lead Character Artist
Easily the most challenging thing to make for Dragon Age was not just the creation of a single asset but all the hard work that went into delivering the head morph system that almost every character you meet in Dragon Age Origins is made from. It was comprised of a system of morph targets along with a complex shader that allowed the designers to make a custom appearance for the large variety of characters. Over 1,500 heads were made using this system just for Dragon Age Origins. We then expanded this system for the character generation at the beginning of the game and also made it available in the toolset for the PC so that the BioWare modding community could create their very own characters for their modules.

 
 
 
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