Conceptualization of the Crusader

David: Hi, everyone. When we first set out to create the Crusader, we established some early pillars to help define what the Crusader is. Just as Kevin had mentioned earlier, these pillars are a knight in battle-scarred armor, righteous wrath, mid-range melee and a war machine made human. But what do these pillars mean? How do they help define the Crusader? And how do we visualize these ideas?


Well, to help us answer those questions we brainstorm. Brainstorming allows us to gather a bunch of different ideas to help us imagine what these pillars are. The next slideshow will show you guys a few examples of what came from that brainstorm session.


We have a concept that focuses on shape language. Shape language is the overall simplification of the major elements down to basic geometric shapes. In this particular example, the rectangular shapes help reinforce the idea of a heavily armored knight.

Here we have a pair of concepts that really focus on the shield. Up top, the shield takes center stage, suggesting the shield is a very important extension on the character. Down below, we have a skill concept that depicts the shield being used as a melee weapon. You can see the Crusader leap up in the air and come crashing down on his enemies.


And here, we have a plethora of armor designs. In this image, the artists explore the many different ways an armored knight can look like. Here’s also some play with some of the clothes, as you can see. And the clothes is there to represent the idea that the Crusader isn’t purely melee, but he’s also able to do some magical abilities.


At the end of the brainstorm, we gather all the ideas, all the elements, and we pick and choose the ones that really help support the pillars that we have established early on. These are the big body armor, the cloth element, the shield and the flail.

We take all those into concepting. Concepting is where we can take those elements and really refine them so that we can really figure out what this character should look like.


Here we have a concept that incorporates the heavy armor and cloth elements. The cloth here have transformed into a tabard. The tabard suggests that he is a knight from an order, and that he’s also a magical user.


Here we have a concept that really incorporates all the elements that we had established. He has the shield, the tabard, the big bulky armor, and the flail.


We really liked where this was going, so we went down this road to really explore, where we could come up with. This is a take on that.


But this wasn’t quite hitting it for us. It’s really at this point where we know the elements that we want, but we really just need to figure out what they should look like.

After many weeks of work and countless drawings, everything finally culminated down to this one image.


This for us really represents what a crusader is in Diablo III. Here we have a fierce battle-scarred knight with his flail and shield in hand, ready to leap head first into his enemies.

From here we go into modeling. Now with all the work that went with into brainstorming and concepting, modeling was pretty straight-forward with this character.


One of the first things we do when we modelis we block out the character. Blocking out the character allow us to get a feel for what the character looks and feels like in 3D; and also allows us to assess the proportions to make sure that they are where they need to be.


Once we are pretty happy with where everything is, we go into just straight up production. Here we can see the final gray model on the left hand side, and on the right hand side you can see the many stages of the texture completion. Once we are at this point we polish, we make the weapon and we make the shield, and we have the final asset in-game.


Now before I hand it off to our lead animator, Nicholas Chilano, to talk about animations — here is a sneak peek at some of the armor sets you guys will be able to find for the Crusader in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.