World of Warcraft’s capital cities are all iconic, but the best one (for the Horde) has always been Thunder Bluff. Built on a series of towering mountains jutting out over the pastoral plains of Mulgore and connected by rope bridges, Thunder Bluff is simply breathtaking. Or, rather, it was when I first started playing the game over a decade ago. Nowadays, Thunder Bluff—while still majestic—is showing its age along with most of World of Warcraft’s oldest zones. So it’s cool to see 3D artist Aleksandr Timoshenko give Thunder Bluff a realistic makeover in Unreal Engine.
You can see Timoshenko’s work in full HD on their portfolio, but I’ve included several of the screenshots below. The whole thing was made using Unreal Engine with Quixel’s Megascans plugin. It’s a pretty cool tool that gives artists access to a ton of ultra HD photos that can be used as textures in materials for 3D environments. It’s often used by big-budget studios, but it’s neat to see how solo artists can leverage it too. The scene, Timmoshenko explains, even has dynamic lighting—though the screenshots he shared are all set at nearly the same time of day. Would love to see a nice Thunder Bluff sunset, though.
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It’s some pretty amazing modeling work, especially when looking at the side-by-side comparisons of Timoshenko’s work with what Thunder Bluff actually looks like in-game. While everything is mostly in the right place, the lack of color and harsher contrast gives Timoshenko’s version of Thunder Bluff a decidedly bleak vibe. That’s definitely a big difference from how colorful and vibrant the city is in World of Warcraft. I’m honestly not quite sure how I feel about it, but it’s always cool to see someone reinterpret a setting I’ve spent hundreds of hours in over the years.
If you want to check out more of Timoshenko’s stuff, you can see their portfolio here.