How did you approach level design in Witchfire?Chmielarz: It’s the standard fare of going from top-level shapes to detailed, textured places. What I think might be unique to our approach, though, is that we make sure that every area in the game is easily identifiable. It’s not about the so-called hero pieces, the beautiful high-quality elements of the world. It’s more about simply being unique. Like, the way we explain it to anyone new in the studio, “Imagine it’s a PVP map and you’re wounded and need to tell your friend to come to heal you. What do you tell them, so they understand quickly where you are?”

This may sound simple, but it is surprisingly not. “Beautiful” and “easily identifiable” are not the same thing. You can have a great-looking, next-gen forest, and so what? How do you let your friend know where you are? “Hey, I’m near some trees?” That won’t work. But if you add a hunting hut to the forest or a meadow with a few deer skeletons, suddenly, it’s easy to locate you.

The reason we do it this way is to help players navigate the 3D space. If you ask people for directions, some of them will explain that you need to go 100 meters this way, then turn left and go 200 more meters. Others will say go straight ahead, turn left at the gas station, and stop right after the post office. Having easily identifiable elements of the world helps the latter type of players understand the 3D layout of our levels.

Could you tell us about your photogrammetry workflow?

Chmielarz: It’s the same process as with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter–make dozens of photos of an object, all from different angles, then put them all into special software, let it process for a while, and wait until it spits out high-quality, fully-textured 3D models.

Well, that’s the idea. But in reality, there’s something that needs to be helped every step of the way. The software gets better, the cameras get better–but you still need an experienced graphic artist to work on the 3D scans, from correcting the photos to fixing the final model and making a low-poly version of it.

But you know what the biggest issue is? Graffiti. It’s very hard to find an abandoned old building, a ruined castle, or a forgotten factory that is not full of graffiti. So half of our work on improving the textures of the scans is removing the graffiti.

Source: Unreal Engine Blog

0 0 votes
Article Rating