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An Exterior Level Designer Interviewed

Julian Morris is an Exterior Level Designer for World of Warcraft. IGN Australia have interviewed him and got the inside scoop on working at Blizzard. They also have new information about sunwell and screenshots.

US, March 4, 2008 - Blizzard Entertainment has a rep like few others in the games industry. Much-loved for its quality releases and its 'when it's done' ethic, the company is riding higher than ever at the moment, thanks to the incredible success of World of Warcraft (ten million subscribers and counting). And with Starcraft 2 on the way there's little doubt that Blizzard is one of the game development studios of the moment. But what's it like working at Blizzard? What's it like inside those walls? And what is the team cooking up for the new Sunwell Isle patch? We caught up with Julian Morris, an Aussie ex-pat working as an exterior level designer on World of Warcraft to find out. Brand new screens included!

IGN AU: You're an exterior level designer – what exactly does that entail? Can you give us any examples of work you've done in WoW that you're particularly proud of?

Julian Morris: The exterior level design team is responsible for designing and building all the outdoor areas in World of Warcraft, including all the zones and Battlegrounds. From Azeroth to Outland we shape the mountains, forests, seas, lakes, rivers, roads, and every land feature in between. We also texture the terrain to support the environment concepts. We basically create a base for the layout and placement of every city, town, building, rock, tree, ancient ruin and all the thousands of other objects that make up the cultures and details of the world.

I had a blast working on Netherstorm for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, and was pleased with how the ethereal eco-domes came out. The Stormspire in particular is such an impactful place of contrast in Netherstorm, and I was really proud of how that turned out. Every aspect of working on World of Warcraft is a truly collaborative effort, and the ethereal eco-dome idea is no exception. Its conception came from a meeting in which the entire exterior team was brainstorming all sorts of crazy ideas, and the "shielded forest" idea was born. From there it transitioned to the other World of Warcraft teams, such as level design, programming, and art. We all worked together to bring it to life.

Read the entire interview here (well worth it!)

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