Hearthstone esports

case study

We had a lot of fun working with Blizzard to create a brand new Hearthstone package for their live esports competitions. We drew inspiration from the player game layout, cards and other core elements from the Hearthstone universe to create designs that displayed content in a unique way while staying true to the personality of the Hearthstone brand. We added some magic elements and playful animation to make the broadcast more engaging, while also providing a solution for a cleaner, instantly identifiable way to display info throughout the season.

In-Game

We started with some sketches of possible ways to reorganize information in the player windows, trying to incorporate more of an in-game feel while still maintaining a really clean display that was easily readable even when scaled down.

We ended up modifying most of the elements in the player window that appeared in our earlier sketches and ultimately ended up with something much more minimal, favoring readability over ornate details and unnecessary layers of information. (We’ve greyed out the game itself for the purposes of highlighting our interface elements for this case study.)

This layout allowed for the country, player score and current class information to be displayed while discreetly blocking the in-game message system. It also includes built-in spaces for sponsors and other additional content, as well as a drawer that can slide out from behind each webcam to reveal stats and player information.

A drawer on the right side of the screen can also highlight more key information, like game rules, or even full cards that may be rare and require additional explanation.

We created an animation that used the spinning compass rose to reveal the logo, which we set up with the ability to easily switch between all the various regional and seasonal Hearthstone Championship logos.

We updated the Mulligan element for the start of the matches to include a playful animation. A new feature for this package added a transitional moment between the mulligan and the actual start of the match to provide additional information about the matchup.

Fullscreen

Taking inspiration (and a few beautiful models and textures) from Blizzard’s cinematic game trailers, the fullscreen world was developed. We wanted to capture the feel of a tavern where the game is being played. We imported and rebuilt / animated components from Blizzard’s cinematic team into our production pipeline and expanded on the setup to be functional within the context of a graphics package.

Here are some of our initial sketches:

We explored some different ways of bringing on the content within the 3d book, in order to work around some potential technical limitations of the live broadcast software. Our book transitions started with a more magical burn approach:

We ultimately went with a slightly less cinematic and more in-game glow approach, using a magic glow technique that is commonly found during gameplay.

We built it in a way that allowed the book transitions to be reused for other elements in the package. For example, the ability to display information on a one-page layout, in which the camera animates around to a new composition, and the page flips to reveal the new content:

Transitions

Lower Thirds

We used the iconic Hearthstone compass rose as an anchor for the lower third and created a flexible length to easily fit longer or shorter names when necessary.

We also created a unique “versus” matchup layout to display the current status of a match, and built-in win, loss, and ban icons.

We developed three different icon styles, experimenting with the ring shape to help communicate the state. It was also determined that ring color alone wasn’t enough of a differentiator, especially factoring in color blindness, etc, so we ended up adding a secondary game-inspired component to the resting state of the win and banned icons.

Big thanks to our friends at Blizzard for the inspiring collaboration. : )