Electric Cartilage And The Games That Don't Exist

Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est

(NSFW) TittyTech™ in Diablo: a brief slice of gaming history

diablosuccubi
succubus model

Replaying the original Diablo recently reminding me of a little (or should I say, big) aspect that was never duplicated with as much success in the sequels.

I’m talking of course about the boobs.

Players who managed to reach the deepest levels of Diablo were given a break from the sight of skeletons and goatmen, and were rewarded with the welcoming view of the Succubi and their massive, swinging breasts.

In order to achieve this level of breast fidelity Blizzard North had to use the third party proprietary software known as TittyTech™.

In 1994, Blizzard and several other game developers were invited to a closed-door, live demonstration of TittyTech™. Before that demonstration, Blizzard’s vision of sensuous, sexually enticing demon boobs was considered just a pipe dream.

“Back then we hadn’t seen breasts that vivid. We didn’t think it was possible in a video game.” said a Blizzard art lead. “At the time, we were in a creative slump and it looked like development on Diablo might come to an end. But, when we saw what TittyTech™ could do we suddenly felt like we had a purpose again.”

succubus close 2

The moment has largely been forgotten over time, having been overshadowed by many other, larger breasts, but back then the sighting of nude Succubus boobs created quite a stir among boob enthusiasts.

Sergio Gascoigne, PCGamer’s resident breast critic, said in the magazine’s January issue, “I’m talking about multiple pairs of breasts being rendered on screen all at once. I can only dream of what lies in store for breasts in the future of the Diablo series.”

succubus four corner

Sadly, Sergio’s dreams would never quite be fulfilled.

The video game industry simply couldn’t keep up with the advances of TittyTech™. Breast rendering lagged behind other innovations in game design as processors simply couldn’t handle the curvature.

When Diablo 2 was released it became abundantly clear that its breast rendering wasn’t up to par with the original game’s depiction of demonic pleasure pillows. Spear Cats and Corrupted Rogues (two types of female enemies) had visible breasts but the lack of TittyTech™ simply left them boring and unengaging. The processing requirements for TittyTech™ were so high that Blizzard was only able to use it for Andariel, a one-off boss battle.

Andariel_(Diablo_II)

Blizzard postponed the inclusion of Succubi in Diablo 2 until the expansion, hoping that the extra time would give them a chance to implement TittyTech™ and bring back the glorious globes of the original game. Fans were not holding their breaths. And rightly so.

Blizzard’s Succubus design in Diablo 2 was a colossal failure.

“We just couldn’t handle it,” said a Blizzard production manager. “We had to start cutting corners. It was too much for us.”

Not only did Diablo 2’s Succubi have their breasts covered, it was also clear that the demonesses were suddenly flat chested.

Succubus_(Diablo_II)

The usually loyal breast loving community revolted against Blizzard’s decision. Some demanded to know the story explanation for the smaller breasts while others demanded that Blizzard provide patches to fix the problem. There were threats to never buy a Blizzard game again.

Unfortunately, Blizzard did nothing to fix the situation nor to mend the rift that had formed between them and their most devoted fanbase.

[The disappointment is still so deep that I couldn’t find a single decent in-game picture of D2’s Succubus through google image search.]

Years later, Blizzard announced the development of Diablo 3, and with it, the announcement that “titty tech” would be making a full scale comeback. Fans who had abandoned Blizzard after Diablo 2’s breast debacle suddenly came back with fervent enthusiasm. Technology had changed a lot, computers were more powerful than ever before, and everyone hoped for the best.

succubusd3

The demon boobs in Diablo 3 weren’t a failure. But they weren’t the rousing success that everyone was hoping for. Perhaps it was because Blizzard was no longer using actual TittyTech™, and instead used internally developed Breast RenDer technology, which was originally created for rendering asses, not breasts.

Whatever the case, even though the Succubi in Diablo 3 clearly had exposed, perky titties, they just weren’t able to capture the magic of the bulging, ponderous bosoms of the original game that started it all.

The Butcher in Diablo 1: a moment of perfect game design

butcher room outside

I think that the height of game design lies in the designers ability to give the player the freedom to choose how he approaches the game, and nevertheless the player still gets a specific and intended experience.

There’s a moment of perfect game design in Diablo (by Blizzard North), and it is has to do with the Butcher.

When you first start playing Diablo, you’re almost guaranteed to get the Butcher Quest. It’s your first quest and it’s your first boss battle.

The Butcher’s room is unique. And when the players first encounter it they can immediately tell that there’s something special and foreboding about this room. The room is on the second floor (very early in the game) and its isolation, design, and bloody, gory props are completely different than anything the players encountered so far.

They’re almost guaranteed to make the connection between this room and the Butcher Quest. They know what they will encounter behind the door to this gut strewn place.

Already this is pretty good game design. But this is where the design of this boss battle becomes ingenious:

At this point, there is no possible way that players can beat the Butcher.
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Diablo 1 items: the beauty in “broken” game design

diablo six guardians

I recently was thinking about the original Diablo, which is still my favorite of the Diablos next to Diablo Cody and El Diablo, the Mexican Satan. But in terms of the video game series begun by Blizzard North (and later watered down by Blizzard Blizzard), D1 was a weirder, more interesting, and grittier game. It was definitely more Rogue-like than its successors, and while it had some rough edges, those rough edges gave it more character.

One thing in particular sums up what I like about the original Diablo and how Blizzard’s design principles changed over time.

Unique items were absolutely bonkers.
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Not Doom, E3 2015

doom shotgun hallway

I was looking at Bethesda’s 2015 E3 presentation of the new Doom and I had some thoughts. Mainly they were about how what we were seeing WASN’T a Doom game and how modern developers either don’t understand what made Doom fun or don’t care. I mean, they don’t have to care because the brand name sells itself, but still.

One of the things that Doom was praised for was the speed of its gameplay and quantity of monsters to kill. Doom 3 was later derided for its lack of speed and lack of monsters. And now New Doom/Doom4 also looks pretty slow and pretty absent of hordes of monsters.

What developers like Bethesda and New id may not realize is that the speed of the the original Doom wasn’t just about the physical speed of the player.

There’s certain prerequisites that you need to meet before you can have a fast paced game with tons of monsters to kill: the visual communication of the playspace must be clear to the player; the types of monsters must be visually distinct from each other and from the environment; the playspace must be large and conducive to a range of movement; and the monsters have to actually be slower than the player.

A lot of that has to do with communicating to the player quickly and clearly. The more clear your visual design and enemy design happens to be, the faster the player can interpret the playspace, and the faster he can make decisions, leading to a faster gameplay.

But let’s take a look.

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The Cabal: finding the hidden lore in Destiny

battle against cabal

There is very little backstory for the Cabal, and what’s there is vague. I’ve looked at pretty much every piece of concept art online and in the book “The Art Of Destiny”. I’ve read every grimoire card. I’ve read almost all the flavor texts for items and weapons and armor.

I’ve found very little, or a lot, depending on how you look at it.

Anyway…
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Variks’ PoE dialogue is so stupid

"Nuh-uh."

“Nuh-uh.”

This post is a critique and criticism of the Variks dialogue we saw in Bungie’s Twitch reveal of the Prison of Elders.

Note, this is a rage post. I throw down some opinions here. In some parts am I overreacting? Probably! And I’m okay with that! It’s healthy to rage every now and then.

Also, I intend to make a second post in the future where I put my money where my mouth is and rewrite Variks’ dialogue myself.

So, I recently saw the Prison of Elders reveal on Bungie’s twitch. You can find recordings of it all over youtube if you haven’t seen it already.

As I watched, a realization slowly began to dawn on me: Variks’ dialogue is the most moronic, imbecilic, talentless, pointless, worthless, vacuous, idiotic crap that I’ve ever heard, seen, or read.
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The Vex: Uncovering the hidden lore in Destiny

vex hobgoblin

A while ago I delved into the Lore behind the Hive, fueled by revelations found in old concept art. I decided to give a similar treatment to the Vex, although I use mostly grimoire cards and item flavor text to figure out what’s really going on with the Vex.
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