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The Second batch from Three have now been issued, again Helios introduces them into the OFP2 Forums.
Their are Five New questions and answers, the last batch will be issued tomorrow (thursday 09 April).
You can indulge yourself here
The Second post from Helios is quoted:
Next batch of answers as promised!
6 – Jujuman – You’ve mentioned previously not using any random seeding for the environment (Trees and such), but how was this really possible with a 225km2 island? Did you actually have a team of 50 people placing trees for a year or what? What was your method?
We have a really strong art team working on the game based both out of the UK and in Malaysia. Within this group are several technical artists that have helped to create proprietary tools that we can use to quickly create areas of content, and then zoom in to a very fine level of control (down to individual trees and bushes).
Rather than a random seed approach, it’s much more controlled. We can rapidly place an entire forest, tweaking the overall feel of that, by say adding more rocks, and bushes, whilst controlling how they are all placed relative to one another.
We then use tools provided by our Rendering code team that are hooked into the Ego engine. These tools analyse the object density to make sure we haven’t exceeded any of our memory limits in game. Finally, if an area needs it, artists can then go in and tweak everything to their heart’s contentment to hit our high visual quality requirements.
7 -DevilSpike – What (if any) real world data was used to ‘create’ Skira? (such as satellite images, existing topographic surveys, maps, etc.)
We used satellite digital elevation data, which is generated by bouncing a laser off the ground from space. This gives us a terrain foundation to work with which is extremely important to create a believable environment.
The resolution of the original satellite data wasn’t high enough for our needs, so we increased the detail and ran a whole series of advanced processes on it to simulate water and thermal erosion, creating valleys, flood planes, beaches etc. We then took that data into Max and baked it together with other artist-created data into what became the final terrain data (including spots for buildings, etc.).
All that effort comes into it’s own as you play the game, and you find yourself analyzing and using the terrain tactically, but also just enjoying the environment itself because it’s cool to look at.
8 – SandmanCDO – What was the biggest problem the team had in making the island for the game? (which part of it’s development made most money for the swear box)
Our biggest technical hurdle was just the sheer scale of the game environment when combined with the level of visual quality required. It’s easy to make a huge environment if the data is simple enough. The real trick is combining quality with quantity and still delivering a beautiful result! Fortunately, the Ego engine gave us the power we needed to hit all of our visual targets and then some.
9 -Incidious Cell – From a game perceptive does the island feel like a living breathing place?
We’ve invested an incredible amount of time and effort into systems that help generate the perception that the island is populated with wildlife, changing weather, time of day, etc. All of these add up to build the perception that the island is a living, breathing entity in its own right.
In addition, if the player strays far outside of the area of their mission itself, they will find themselves stumbling across enemy patrols and other content that ensure that the island feels full and alive. (And that they’re never really safe… )
10 – _Jarhead_ – will there be towns/ villages?
Yes, without a doubt. Initially we delivered the number and types of villages that would occur normally on an island like Skira. After initial internal reviews, we concluded that while it was realistic, it just wasn’t dense enough enough. (It is an old, half forgotten, sparsely populated location after all.)
With that in mind, our design and art teams evaluated strategic locations across the island combined with overall campaign flow and dramatically increased the number, density and variety of villages to better populate the island more evenly.
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