Bigger Items: New Diablo III Details, Screenshots

By John Walker on March 31st, 2009 at 10:17 am.

Large icons. Let the internet clap as one.

Asking around the RPS Castle chambers if anyone had anything to add to the news that there were some new Diablo III screenshots (click on the pics), Jim Rossignol immediately ran to the projection whiteboard and thoughtwrote, “there are two Diablo games, but now there is three of it.” This is the reason you visit RPS, and not other sites that apparently persist with existing. But look again, gentles, the inventory system has had a bit of an overhaul.

The latest Blizzcast contains a bundle of new details regarding the third dungeon crawling epic, including more on how the new Rune system will allow you to create far more unique character, with far more unique loot, as well as letting us know about the thinking behind the redesign of the inventory. Bashiok, Blizzard’s community manager, is joined by lead technical artist, Julian Love, and senior artist on UI design, Mike Nicholson.

Last year the inventory had been simplified down to a WoW-type system where all items were one block big. Arms went up, of course, because let’s face it, if they changed the length of the tail on the ‘A’ in the title, there’d be a dedicated forum and furious protests outside Blizzard’s HQ. But I liked the old Tetris inventory, and sure, maybe that makes me some kind of bridge-dwelling freakface who’s feared by the locals, but it was an added element of game. Juggling what I was carrying, weighing up whether I should port back to a shop to ditch a load, or carry on and leave stuff behind. Any how, never mind all that as the new version is a compromise between the two. The inventory is now tabbed, with larger items having their own section of your bulging sacks, another for smaller items, and a third for quest items.

This doesn’t mean bags are going anywhere. Mike Nicholson explains,

“Current design right now is to have bags. You’ll get bags and they will expand, you know kind of like in WoW, except you’re not going to open up separate windows. You’ll start off your inventory with say… you know, eight slots, right, and then you’ll get a new bag and that has ten, so two more slots will open up within that tab, but you’ll never have multiple tabs. Like you won’t have two or three ‘large’ tabs.”

There’s a ton more details about the UI to be found, or read, during the podcast. And don’t forget to click on the pics for full size versions. Spotted via Eurogamer.

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123 Comments »

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  1. MrFake says:

    Poor choice of character silhouette in the equipment window. Is that slot for pants, or customisable penis attachments? Can I drop the club in there and swing my hips around to use it as a weapon?

  2. wrshamilton says:

    I can’t decide whether these comments make me want to quit gaming or the internet. I thought this blog was supposed to be like sophisticated.

  3. Meat Circus says:

    I wish I were a witch doctor.

  4. Malagate says:

    Meat, I’m pretty sure there’s a correspondance course through the Open U that can help you with that, just be sure to get your Witch Bsc first. You could also get it as a minor as part of a Law degree.

  5. Meat Circus says:

    Can I get an official ‘smiting with locusts’ license before Summer?

  6. Malagate says:

    Maybe, if you can get on the fast track course, and pay the fee of two sacrificial virgin goats up front.

  7. Hmm-hmm. says:

    Let’s just say that while I still think that, at that point (considering the (lack of) information available), I really liked the darker areas in Diablo 2. And as such wouldn’t mind seeing such in Diablo 3, as I found those darker places more.. foreboding. Also, plenty of folks here (me included probably) show a tendency to judge larger groups / games without any thought for.. uh.. reason beyond the obviously stereotypical. Or there’s really such a thing as the RPS-hivemind..

    That or I suck at the internet. :P

    Now that’s over with, I had somewhat of a love/hate relationship with Diablo’s inventory system. And really, bashing it because it’s different and inspired by WoW seems pointless to me. I mean, it’s an inventory system. For me, at any rate, inventory systems are not what make or break a game purchase. The functionality of the entirety of the UI is another thing.

    ..as long as I can stash at least as much stuff in it as I could in D2.

  8. Jeremy says:

    The pants are where the pants should be. Blizzard has always allowed people with mid range computers to play their games. I’m one of those mid-rangers and have never had a problem with them.

    @axed, you seem to find it cataclysmic that D2 carried elements over to WoW and in turn, WoW will carry elements over to D3. However, I will say this, Blizzard is a game company that has not missed yet with a computer title, it has years and years of experience with creating games and creating an awesome UI to allow the user to play it well. So, a company is going to use the assets it has at it’s disposal and one of those assets is the ability to create a slick and usable interface. Someone has said it before, but you’re confusing an intelligent user interface for “dumbing down” and “copycat design”. The reality is that there is no point in changing a user interface just for the sake of changing it. If certain mechanics work across multiple platforms and genres, then why would the company change it for no reason? How many companies have used the very same mechanics in their games, borrowed from Blizzard? Nobody complains about that, because the controls, UI and mechanics all make sense. Should we place the health bubble in the upper center, key commands along the left wall and a mini map in the lower right? These similarities are not damning to this game, it just means that Blizzard is going to use its expertise to make the game that much better, and we’re already going to know how to play it right out of the box.

  9. axed says:

    My argument is based on the sake of tradition. Tradition is a difficult thing to break and D3 is looking like it will feel too much unlike its predecessor. Its why we still see wooden ladders at hardware supply stores… theres no reason to buy one as aluminum ladder is superior in every way but wooden ladders still exist. D1 to D2 was a great transformation… this one? not so much it seems (with regard to tradition and maintaining that Diablo charm).

  10. psyk says:

    axed basically when it comes down to it D1 and D2 looked like crap and nowadays they look even worse than they once did if you don’t like what there doing don’t buy it go and play D2 with mods.

  11. Gorgeras says:

    Azradesh,

    Because no game could possibly have a *few* of the abilities from an earlier game without possibly not being based on it in some way?

    Considering how many abilities there are in Warcraft 3 that match up with those from Diablo 2, is there any reason to not make the same claim regarding them? It would seem ridiculous to do so.

    *No one* is saying Diablo 2 doesn’t have bright bits, but you will be hard pressed to get a majority of people to agree that the game was not dark overall.

  12. Jeremy says:

    Tradition-breaking is always a gamble for any development team, but I think what we have seen so far is great. Taking away potions at first seems crazy, but then I remember how much I hated the concept of potions, basically having one hand on a potion button at all times. I spent more time watching my health orb than anything else during battles. Auto-picking up gold is a great thing, it was so annoying to have to individually pick up each pile. The destructible environments are also pretty amazing, it provides a huge level of immersion in the game and makes it seem like you’re actually impacting things. It seems like the major concern is just the color scheme, but I think until we actually can see it on our own screens, it’ll be hard to judge it.

  13. underdweller says:

    This will be an awesome game.

  14. Azradesh says:

    Gorgeras,

    Sigh

  15. Erlam says:

    Yeah, Diablo 2 looked so realistic, check those graphics.

  16. axed says:

    lets prove a point by highlighting a piece of the game that was meant as an easter egg/ridiculous fun. i would take 2d photorealististic textures over these bland 3d screenshots any day. same reason why mortal kombat 1-3 are superior to anything made with their chunky 3d models.

  17. Zyrusticae says:

    @Erlam
    That screenshot is overbright (does anyone actually play the game with the brightness set that high?) and obviously focuses on the joke level, so I fail to see your point. (And even regarding all that, the game *still* looks better than Diablo 3…)

  18. perilisk says:

    “Yeah, Diablo 2 looked so realistic, check those graphics.”

    Stylistically, as compared to the cartoonish graphics of WC3 or (to a lesser extent) WOW, yes, your picture still supports it. Both of the earlier Diablos, while portraying fantastic material (realistic isn’t referring to the actual plausibility of fighting hordes of bipedal cow-demons), used a style that leaned toward faux-photorealistic versus obviously stylized. Now Blizzard apparently wants to have a signature style — which is their prerogative, but may disappoint fans, who are more likely to expect stylistic cohesion from a series rather from a company.

    It’s not necessarily that a less realistic style can’t convey the unease and ‘wrongness’ that psychologically evokes horror (or Tim Burton would be a sad, sad man). It’s just that we haven’t seen Blizzard do it, that their efforts thus far aren’t especially convincing, and that the evolution from Diablo 1 through LOD (not even considering D3) has been from gothic horror to heroic fantasy.

    Obviously, none of this has any bearing on gameplay, and I for one won’t miss inventory tetris and think they found a workable compromise. Honestly, if it was up to me I would just drop selling items to shops altogether, let monsters drop gold, and use gold for minor services (scrolls, potions, repairs, basic level weapons and armor, etc). If you need an item or want to trade with other players, pick it up. Otherwise, ignore it and get back to killing monsters. Inventory management is compulsive, but not fun, not unlike any number of basic biological needs.

  19. antonymous says:

    This is shaping up into the most boring game ever. Just looking at the screenshots I can smell a whiff of cheese. But I know it’s just the socks gathering progress under my table.

  20. Erlam says:

    I meant it as a joke (hense, you know the joke level) but when Diablo 2 came out, it was ugly as HELL! Come on, guys, don’t try to pretend it was anything less than that – and I liked the game, I did – but it took an expansion before the game got 640 x 480 resolution.

    is this somehow more realistic, and ‘better looking’ than this? Come on.

    This is like reading a forum where people complain that a PS3 game looks ‘worse’ than a PS2 game. Are we even looking at the same stuff, here?

  21. Zyrusticae says:

    First of all:
    Get your facts straight. The game launched with 640×480 resolution, and the expansion added 800×600 resolution.

    Secondly: That screenshot was obviously taken with the lowest visual settings (seriously, no shadows for the skeletons? Really?). I can easily find a better example, and I’ve done exactly that for you: http://www.cheats.ru/uploaded/d/diablo2-02325.jpg

    Lastly: Diablo 3 is barely more technically advanced than Diablo 2. In fact, in some ways it’s inferior. The only major advances Diablo 3 brings are 3D models and better animations. That, and higher resolutions. The shading is actually inferior to the pre-rendered 2d sprites Diablo 2 uses – for that matter, there’s not much in the way of shading in the game at all. No normal mapping? Really? In a game set to be released in 2010/2011? For that matter, texture resolutions that would have been appropriate well over five years ago? Really? I just can’t understand why anyone would defend that. At the very least, have options for those of us whose computers were actually updated within the last 18 months! It’s very easy to argue that the polygon counts of the pre-rendered models in Diablo 2 are much, much higher than that of Diablo 3’s models. And that’s bad. At least Starcraft 2 makes an effort, at that!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Diablo 3 is definitely a game i am going to look at, but i think axed has a pretty good point in saying that this game looks like it is going to break valuable tradition.

    Along with the title of a game comes tradition, so if the developers are going to set forth on some project to develop DIABLO 3, then they should follow tradition. If this game ends up being completely different, then they should have just announced some other new series, not a new Diablo.

  23. Marthinho says:

    I don’t want to whine before Diablo 3 will actually become public, but I’m a little bit scared that too many people will stick to Diablo 2 because they don’t like the new game. It’s so much different regarding graphic, camera view and gameplay that there is a good chance of that.
    There’s not really many similarities with the old editions of Diablo, they even renamed the runes!

    I still like that game alot and will most certainly play it, but will probably still continue to play Diablo 2