BlizzCon Starcraft 2 Stage designed and operated by Xite (VSL) for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 annual BlizzCon event. Our team in collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment produced an incredible 130ft wide x 40ft tall 3d projection mapped stage for the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. Twenty-four 26K projectors helped make this the second largest projection mapped stage in the eSports field with the number one highest pixel count. 2015 and 2016 featured even more effects and tighter programming integration for the BlizzCon Starcraft 2 Stage. We developed the ability to show player names, race and live imagery from player booth in real time on the set. We also expanded the linking between the game play and 3D mapping set transitions.
The stage was designed to enhance and amplify Starcraft 2 game play and architectural styles. It incorporated programmatic elements for the broadcast show in a creative and efficient manner while also displaying a dynamic visual framework. The display screens were created at a height and viewing scale that gave the arena audience a cinematic experience and the player booths were positioned at a height that visually exemplified their epic reputations. The set fit seamlessly onto staging that supported the booths at the desired height, provided heroic circulation stairs for the players to and from their booth, and accounted for an effective entrance/exit on either side of the LED. Hidden behind the set was a rear-access entrance to each booth as well as an elaborate truss structure holding up the 20,000 lbs of wood, steel and LED. The set was built and installed by Stage House in Las Vegas whose team truly helped make this design a reality.
Projection geometry was designed to frame and highlight the stage elements as well as to reflect and incorporate the Starcraft 2 game aesthetic. Wrapping two booth windows, two front stairs and three screens, it is completely continuous to allow for fluid animation transitions. To enhance the live experience, specific locations were provided in the geometry for real-time information to be displayed during gameplay. Every surface was rigorously kept at 45 degree angles for build convenience, projection purposes, and to mirror the isometric viewing style of the game itself. Set topology was inspired from Starcraft 2 user interface elements, in-game architecture, and the various animations that were projected onto the set.
Animations included seven game map looks and three race looks for Player 1 & Player 2. Each of the race looks had a unique victory sequence that overtook the losing player’s side of the set. The race looks were designed to integrate on top of any map look with clever spatial allocation within the set. Each scene incorporated in-game assets combined with original 3D models created by our team. With these animations we were able to immerse the audience in new worlds inspired by existing lore from the maps and races. The illusions created by re-projecting these virtual scenes onto the dynamic set were so convincing that, at moments, audience members were unable to distinguish the virtual from the physical reality.
Deliverables: Creative Direction, Production Design, CAD support, 3D Animation, Content Creation, System Programming, Live Visual Services