Random Render: Stormwind Cathedral

The Stormwind Cathedral is one of those places that’s really annoying to get clean backdrops from; first of all, it has a pretty even spread of NPCs in both central and not locations, making it rather difficult to try to cut around them.. or raising the problem of trying to somehow match scale and camera angle so they don’t look like midgets or giants next to the rendered elements. Secondly.. many of those NPCs are quest givers, or class or profession trainers, which ensures a solid influx of player characters who often will dress up like clowns, bunnyhop through the frame and utter internet slang until you want to strangle them with it.. and finally, it is – on Earthen Ring, at any rate – a fairly active roleplaying hub, which means that if you somehow manage to avoid the former two.. you can guarantee there’ll be someone standing right in the frame you want talking about anything from recent events to their favorite clothes to the 354th demon possession and/or scourge invasion that happened on the Cathedral stairs that day.

Long story short, I really didn’t want to have to rely on backdrops for the Cathedral scenes.

So it left me with the other option then – somehow coax the entire structure out from its World of Warcraft datafiles and snugly into 3ds so I could hande it as I pleased. I’ve already mentioned some of what an annoyance that process was – since I seemingly have only been able to export the entirety of Stormwind into a single, over 300 megabyte obj file of just vertices and faces, even importing it peicemeal means the ObjImporter has to load and assign a lot of vertices until it’s processed the faces I want and can then trim the unused vertices. The end result is that the importer can very easily gobble up over two gigabytes of memory upon which it chokes and dies, so it was really something I had to do on a very careful step by step basis to first find and then slowly import the cathedral, only a few segments at a time.

This was further complicated by how either the importer or the exporter somehow managed to confuse which textures were supposed to be in which places for some particular textures, resulting in several places not looking at all like they were supposed to. While it’s possible there might still be some wrong ones that I’ve missed, it should be a fair bit more right now than it used to be.

With all that done, the next step was to light and populate the Cathedral, and neither of those are quite as trivial as they might sound. Okay, fair enough, the Lighting wasn’t that bad – I felt that since of all the candleabras lining the main hall, as well as the large windows, the setting really needed a very natural lighting. I did still include a skylight to give everything a base light, but I dimmed it down quite a bit and instead focused on placing lights around the candles and the windows – and finally with chandeliers in the central hall – to give a very atmospheric lighting.

The further question was what to insert in terms of characters and detail; I didn’t want it to feel all empty space, but at the same time it felt like it’d be far too much work to fill it to the brim with people, not to mention it seemed like it would distract from the purpose at hand. It actually went to the point where I bugged a friend of mine for suggestions on what elements were essential, what I could add to make it feel more complete and so forth.. and the suggestions I got back was the all-seeing Brother Sarno, Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker and church pews. I actually hadn’t thought of the pews on my own because they’re actually quite rare – I had forgotten there was even a model for them.

Of course, I still did want to include the main NPCs for the simple reason that they’re there, they exist, so I tried to assemble as many of them as possible so they could just stand around and potentially be glimpsed from various angles. The only one I skipped was actually Archbishop Benedictus, for the simple reason that I couldn’t find his new hat itemized anywhere, so he had to go on a break or.. something. Doing important archbishop stuff and the like. I don’t know. Anyway!

I should mention the two heavy gates too – they were actually things I made just as a convenience thing.. it was simply faster for me to quickly assemble two textures together into doorlike objects than it was to populate both the Paladin and Priest wings with bookcases, carpets, candles and characters. They actually turned out rather well though, I thought – especially considering the two textures they’re made up of aren’t supposed to fit together at all.

Anyhow, to the whole purpose of this whole post: for all the frustrations, I’m rather happy with how the Cathedral turned out, decorations, lighting and all.. and due to the format of Beyond the Tree, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever really get a series of full, widely establishing shots of the whole thing. So I thought perhaps it might be a good idea to do a random render post about a place, rather than about character models. So, here you have a selection of renders from the interior of the Stormwind Cathedral as depicted in Beyond the Tree. As usual, click for larger versions and so forth.


13 Responses to “Random Render: Stormwind Cathedral”

  1. 1 Gaeran
    March 7, 2011 at 15:43

    Darned awesome screenies again, Nhans. 🙂

    The Cathedral has never looked better!

  2. 2 Noriam
    March 7, 2011 at 16:09

    As I said, the pews are a touch which wouldn’t go amiss in game in my opinion. As for the lighting, I have to say that looks a lot more like it; it bugs me slightly when places seem more brightly lit than makes sense.

  3. 3 Synchronizor
    March 7, 2011 at 17:21

    So, was the “no weapons in the Cathedral” policy rescinded while our heroes were out of town?

    • 4 Nhani
      March 7, 2011 at 17:28

      I don’t think it was, it’s just that the context of their visit has changed quite significantly since last. First time around, they were armed strangers asking for an audience; the no weapons policy therefore applied as a sign of good intent.

      Paladins, on the other hand, are pretty much temple warriors, and I very much doubt they would be asked to disarm. By extension, as part of Areen’s company at the time, the group would most likely fall under the same classification of people who are permitted to bear arms in the Cathedral because they are trusted not to start anything.

      After all they’ve been through, I simply couldn’t see Areen requesting they disarm for the visit – she trusts them enough not to mean or cause harm.

      • 5 Cobs
        March 7, 2011 at 18:44

        The no weapons has been void for quite a long time, ending up for a time with being only applicable to the infirmary, and then again to be removed save for when the clergy are treating patients.

        No weapons only lured a tonne of people to venture there -with- weaponry, and then attempt to argue -why- it was in the interest of all races in all of Azeroth that they were to keep it. “Exempt me! I’m so important! Or I’ll kill every single person in here, despite them outnumbering me at least 10 to 1!!!”

        So. Yeah.


        Why can’t the IG Cathedral look like this? ;_;

        And dang you once again for making me farm for Mograine’s Might, Nhans!!

        (I actually got it this time after two runs… *cough*)

  4. 7 LolDrood
    March 8, 2011 at 01:46

    I find 03 and 06 to be particularly fetching. They have a good feel for what a passer-by would see.

  5. 8 Skyll K. Chagorantis
    March 8, 2011 at 21:21

    If your heart gave pulse to World of Warcraft,
    I’d still be playing.

    That. Is. All.

  6. 9 Sharindra
    March 9, 2011 at 16:09

    I be liking it, a lot! Gives me a whole new view of how the cathedral is, or used to be, rather!

    Good work I say!

  7. 10 saila AKS Wester
    March 9, 2011 at 17:08

    well there is the rule non arms but guards, templars, reconised trusted heroes, escort of any of the other kind but only if theres master or an travler companion can profe that they are on duty and will not course harm (what Nhani said)
    and it goes on in the end its joe average that is the only one not allowed to have arms in there.
    note joe average is 98% of the population if not more so well the number you see inside is still low.
    and they dont cont sticks, staff, cooking tools(dont ask), medical stuff or if an professional needs it for work inside there (hammer, chisel) there so mages, priest, warlock in disguise would well not be effected that mush.

  8. 11 Gordrake Thunderhoof
    March 9, 2011 at 17:12

    I said it in the BtT page, but I’ll say it again here: They NEED benches in the in-game Cathedral! I mean, seriously. Fudge the big open space and the free-wandering. GIEF BENCHES NAO! That would complete the Cathedral for me if they can pull that off. People want to run quickly to their trainers? TAKE THE SIDE ROAD!

    And I know it’s not him, but…Cathedral 09 looks like Father Iko, preparing to dish out a dose of thwack-stick to someone irritating him.

  9. March 28, 2011 at 07:31

    ah, dearest Sarno.
    When WOTLK came out, the very first thing I did was roll a DK and run him straight to the cathedral so he could be the first DK officially welcomed to the Cathedral of Light. *evil laugh*

    That aside, the cathedral is a very special place for us RPers, thanks for stirring memories.

    And I love the fingers. real fingers ❤

  10. March 29, 2011 at 13:17

    This is how it’s suppose to be in game. Yes! I’m stunned it’s not there still!!!

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