Life, The Universe and Everything

Echo here.

Boone and I promised ourselves that we’d be posting a lot more after we announced Rustclad, but it turns out that working feverishly on a video game and maintaining a blog at the same time is hard.  Excuses aside, we are going make an effort to try and be more vocal from here on out.  And if we lapse into silence for awhile and you’re interested in what we’re up to, feel free to shoot us an email and remind us to stop being so introverted.

Boone has been dividing her time between concepting out the beginning of Rustclad and building the main character.  I’ve retreated into the engine to prepare it for the onslaught of game design that we’re about to throw at it.  I’ve also been spending a lot of time on landscape.  We want our world to feel really big, which means that we need a landscape system that’s been written to handle rendering large distances.  What you saw in the art preview video is pretty conservative in scale compared to the scenes that we’re planning out for Rustclad.

The process of ‘seeding’ the first region that you’ll get to explore in Rustclad has been kind of fun.  Boone and I have a pretty good back-and-forth dynamic for content creation.  I often start an idea by babbling incoherently or sketching up a singularly terrible piece of art that barely makes sense to me much less anyone else.  If I succeed in getting her to understand where I was trying to go, she builds off of my foundation and creates a nice ‘artified’ version that captures the visual flavor of the idea.  I then work my technical magic on it and make it come alive.  Building the first island in Rustclad has been a lot like this.  I started off with a sketch of the island which, well, I think speaks for itself:

0_Orig_Map

We talked a lot about how we wanted the island to look and what you would find there, and Boone sketched up this version of it:

1_Level1_Map_Orig_Cropped

We both liked it a lot, so we decided to use it as a starting point to build off of.  To bring it into the engine, I started by taking a scan of her map and painting over all of the topographic levels with increasingly darker colors, the goal being to build a ‘height map’ of sorts.  It ended up looking like this.  Note that we also removed the labels and reoriented it so north was facing up.

2_Level1_Map_Filled

After that, I inverted the colors and ran a gaussian blur filter over it to soften the boundaries of the gradient:

3_Level1_TopoMap_Cropped

And lastly, I imported it into Bryce and applied some erosion effects to make the terrain look more realistic:

4_Eroded

After that, it was ready for import.  Our landscape system, like many others, is capable of importing heightmap images.  Here’s the map immediately after it’s been imported into Rustclad:

5_InGame

It’s of course far from done, but it’s a great starting point!  We’ll be going over the entire island in our landscape editor to fine-tune its shape, but we now have something to work off of.  It was pretty cool to go from a drawn map to a 3D rendered landscape in under an hour, and I’m excited to start working on it.

Echo out.

P.S. The title of this post was chosen to fit the subject, but it was on my mind because it was  the birthday of the late great Douglas Adams last week.  His works were a major influence in my life, and you can rest assured that there will be a healthy dose of Adamsian absurdity in Rustclad.  Share and enjoy!

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About skulltheatre

Video Game Professional
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