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Getting a game-map from idea to a finished playable state is process that involves a lot of steps. Here I will explain how one of the early steps is done here at Reto-Moto.

Posted by Reto.KenSolo on Jan 23rd, 2012

By Reto.FleCK, Level Designer

Getting a game-map from idea to a finished playable state is process that involves a lot of steps. Here I will explain how one of the early steps is done here at Reto-Moto.

When I first start on a new map I’m sketching out the overall Level Design – on the back of a napkin, a beer coaster or in Adobe Illustrator :-). The layout depends on the mission type - and some maps will be more symmetrical than others.

When the layout is in place, I generate a terrain that will suit the layout. We are using a terrain generator called World Machine 2. It’s a graph-based tool that can output all the terrain masks and height-maps used to build our terrain in Autodesk XSI (a post is on it’s way about the way we use XSI to create terrains).

We are using a World Machine file for each type of terrain (flat, sloped, hilly) - but the file contains multiple (endless) maps and in this way a river can cross through multiple maps. This way we can also create maps that are adjacent to each other (or even overlapping) on the terrain.

The graph-based layout (above) gives us, as designers, control of each device that generates the terrain – e.g. you can mask out areas where the erosion should be less or you can heighten specific areas that will suit the level design better.
World Machine 2 also features a fully-privileged plugin architecture - and we did our own plugin (reto.road) for leveling roads.

The terrain above is a preview from World Machine of the height map used for the “Factory Map” in Heroes & Generals

After exporting height and normal maps, masks and splines we generate the in-game terrain is Autodesk XSI, and I can start to position all the background graphics.

Sign up for an Alpha-key here!

(Original Heroes & Generals blog link)

Post comment Comments
Starkiller2356 Jan 23 2012, 7:51pm says:

This is a really interesting article for me as I am starting game development and love to map

+1 vote     reply to comment
hagamablabla Jan 23 2012, 10:03pm says:

I think I'm going to have to wait for a stable beta to play. I can't seem to connect :(

+1 vote     reply to comment
Reto.KenSolo Author
Reto.KenSolo Jan 24 2012, 1:50am replied:

Login is disabled outside the play session timeslots. Next play session is today (Tuesday) at 19.00 UTC

+1 vote   reply to comment
BlueSunsleader Jan 23 2012, 10:46pm says:

cool, its always nice to see whats going on in the development of gmames

+1 vote     reply to comment
Krej Jan 24 2012, 11:33am says:

nice lookin forest

+1 vote     reply to comment
Mkilbride Jan 24 2012, 2:59pm says:

It doesn't look good in game. Maxed out, playing the beta...and I dunno. In 2003, it might have been acceptable for a game of this size to have graphics like this.

But in 2012, we have games that look like a PS2 Shooter? Graphics aren't everything, but the immersion is totally killed, and here I thought I found a replacement for Red Orchestra 2.

0 votes     reply to comment
PierreOfTheFrench Jan 24 2012, 5:18pm replied:

I think some of the maps look better than others and the lighting conditions I find change things a ton. Played on one of them maps during dusk and it looked absolutely amazing. I think they did a fantastic job considering the scale of the maps. Hardly would compare them to ps2 graphics, textures/explosions/models look beautiful imo.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Krej Jan 24 2012, 5:50pm replied:

mkilbride, true for the current state of the game. which is alpha not beta btw. And it's much too early to turn down based on what you experience now if you like the concept and vision.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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