Monday, April 22, 2013

Stepping Into the Rainforest

Hello everyone,

I'm James Steininger. This is my first appearance on the dev blog! I'd like the begin by extending thanks to the Kickstarter community and our friends and family for making XING possible. We've really come quite a ways since November. 

Rainforest Environment Design

Immediately following the campaign, we spent considerable effort toward finalizing a development strategy as well as a game design doc. We decided to test out the new pipeline on the Rainforest Kickstarter stretch goal environment. John immediately got started working on foliage meshes and I started working on the architecture. I had hoped that I would be able to post these shots sooner, but I couldn't help myself from going back in for more layers of moss and ivy. Here one of my concept scenes of what we are aiming to achieve with the rainforest:

Environment Concept Design

This is another concept shot, where I showcase the stellar waterfall particle effect John made. We also thank John for all of these beautiful foliage meshes. You can also see my liberal application of moss to the scene. 

Interactive Map Concept

There is a method to the madness. I first started with a paper concept for the entire Rainforest level. Then I went on the computer to do a digital rendering of my paper concept. The digital layout is done in Adobe Flash so that I can make pieces of it interactive when I'm showing the concept to my team members. This screenshot is just a piece of the rainforest layout, with spoilers removed and locations translated to Xingish. 

Modular Set Design

After I feel confident about the concepts, I move to asset creation. I employ a modular building set methodology. The models are made so that they play nicely in a grid. That way I can be intensely mathematical while designing the layouts. But thanks to our wide multitude and diversity of meshes, the final product certainly won't look grid-like. These models are also using an upgraded version of our master material. Everything in the game (seriously, everything!) can be painted with 2 parametric overlays, like moss or rust, and then have rain, snow and now ice effects applied to it. 

That's it! We're always excited to answer any questions or respond to feedback. Thanks for checking in!

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