Concept vs Implementation

This information is a bit old, but I thought I’d do a comparative post anyway. A few weeks ago in the General Discussion forums on the Official LOTRO site, there was a post about Heavy Armour art in the game. People posted many pics of armour they thought the OP would like but what caught my eye was a photobucket album someone linked of concept art for the Dunlending quest reward sets. If you’ve read my past posts, you’ve seen tons of the items from these sets – I love them. They are so much more realistic than some of the armour we’ve gotten in game. The album is here, for your perusal.

I decided to take comparative shots of how the concept art holds up against how it was actually implemented in-game. I don’t have all of the items from each set as I’ve only taken Cithryth through there thus far. When I take Herefara through eventually I’m sure I’ll get them all rounded off. The sets I decided to compare were the “Warden”, “Captain” and “Burglar” sets. Now the sets in-game aren’t actually class-specific. However the armour values do match up for what each class would wear.

I think it’s pretty cool that you can tell some of the smaller details still managed to make their way through to the armor. The detailing of the small bags on belts, small designs on gauntlets, and on the burglar’s legs the cloth is still visibly patched up. A remarkable amount of detail went into the actual armour textures used in-game.

However there are some things that are visibly different from the concept drawings. First and foremost is that the artist clearly designed slight differences in the way women wear the armour and the way men wear the armour. The female captain’s coat stops just above her knee while the male’s goes down to nearly his ankles. The female burglar has some kind of torn and patched tights/fishnets instead of just regular leggings like the male. While I sure would like more armour to be tailored to the female avatars and not always default to the male’s wearing, a nice job was done overall of making the appearances fit.

The other very obvious thing is that items dye differently than the artistic drawings are colored. This is just par for the course of dyeing items in a game, though. For example the coat the warden wears – the large silver button on the shoulder ends up dyed slightly whenever you dye it. The gloves and boots of the warden also get their metallic bits dyed slightly which compared to the drawing. In the end, we don’t have the range of dye colors in-game as an artist does when drawing up concept art, and we can’t dye specific parts of armour.

Overall I think I really good job was done taking this wonderful concept art by the Massive Black art team and implementing it in-game.