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SC2: Billboard Localization

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Starcraft 2: Billboard Localization
Modeled & Textures by Phill Gonzales & Billy Barnes

Localization was a huge aspect of Starcraft 2 due to the international demographics we targeted for release. Starcraft 2 shipped in more than a dozen languages, translating the various elements of text in the game was an additional responsiblity shared across the whole team.

This billboard is a simple example of that process. Billy Barnes headed up the localization efforts on the Starcraft 2 team, his initial job was locating all the game assets which would need to be translated. This included cutscene dialogue, art with text elements, symbols, audio, etc. Regions like Korea insisted on full localization, which means EVERYTHING is translated to Korean.

Billy would coordinate with the foriegn offices and accumulate the necessary translations for various demographics. Some of the text could be literally translated while other countries needed to take liberties (countries that don't have an indigenous word for "Roadrunner" for example). The next step was generating a spreadsheet with all the translated text prepared so alterations could be made to the textures.

When accounted for, the process was actually very efficient. Artists had to account for their work with more global thinking in mind. Text elements in artwork can create enhanced immersion with an understanding that extra commitment is required to translate all the text.

© 2010 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.
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LordDarkstarr's avatar
Yes, it was extra work for you artists, but when we players notice the little details like that, we appreciate it, believe me! These little details really add to the illusion that what we're seeing on the screen is actually real somewhere, not just pixels on a computer screen (or so I feel when I'm playing, anyway). ;) (Wink)

Great work all around, and thanks to all of you at Blizzard (and other companies) for going the extra mile like that!