After managing to sneak a lot of improvements into the town map, I managed to sneak up on Reto.Ratamahat and ask him to talk about the upcoming improvements and tweaks to the Town map. – Reto.Robotron3000
In the upcoming Keating build, we have given the Town map a graphical makeover and made some improvements to the level design. In this post I highlight some of the most important differences, and compare the old with the new. If you’ve been playing the map for a while, this might be a speedy way to find new hiding spots, and develop attack lines and defensive positions!
Continue reading to see what else has been polished and improved.
Recently I have been busy lifting our Town map over to our new pipeline. The improved pipeline has allowed us to do fresh iterations on the graphics and revise the design of the map.
The terrain heightmap has gone for a spin in XSI and World Machine 2. Overall, the terrain is more varied, a little lower and less steep. If you’ve recorded the previous map to memory, you might find that your bullets might not land where you expect them to, but the feel and gameplay of the original level has been preserved.
We have updated the the terrain shader, so that terrain textures blend better and fade when you zoom out. The color of the water has changed and the adjacent ground texture blends better along the river to represent changes in the water level.
In addition to new, flowing elevations in the terrain itself, you’ll see more natural effects like sediment carrying channels added as an effect of applying more erosion to the terrain heightmap and texture masks. Some areas are re-designed to make it look either more natural, like the shape of the river and river bed areas, or more man-made, like the layout of fields. Changes in the layout of fields and forests means that a lot of rocks, trees, and other vegetation have new positions as well.
Changing the look and position of things affect level design. New fields or forest edges provide more and different cover at certain points, and new terrain features affects lines of sight and points of advantage. Therefore, deciding to polish the level also provided us with an opportunity for us to think up some new solutions and address some of the feedback from our players in for instance threads like these. Implementing these are also much more convenient using the setup in our new pipeline. It is easier to preview the changes we make and we have more tools at our disposal now, as well as a faster turn-around.
In continuation of Reto.Fleck’s anti-grief fixes, I’ve made some more local variations to the terrain so there are less “clear view” open areas. I’ve added some ditches and shrubbery alongside some roads for infantry to take cover, and I’ve changed the river’s exit points to flow more naturally and provide better vistas when looking down them. The river areas are flattened out a bit which leads to a lower elevation point for attackers to some degree. The forest edge is drawn closer to the water in many areas, providing more cover. Let’s take a closer look at some of the bigger changes you might stumble upon.
Stay tuned for more details tomorrow!
Update: Part 2 is here.