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Today, we'll talk about the different backgrounds in Dead in Vinland, and how they'll make the game more beautiful and diverse.

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Today we’ll talk about a feature that doesn’t have impact in terms of gameplay, but has a big one on the visuals of the game: the different layers of our backgrounds system.

In Dead in Bermuda, we had few variants of each background of the island. Each one was rather costly in terms of time, so with only 1 artist we couldn’t make much, since it didn’t have a real impact on gameplay we prefered to focus on (many) other things.

In Dead In Vinland, we doubled our artistic team power (and budget), so we had time for making extra polish to the game visuals.

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We have 5 backgrounds types: forest, beach, lake, meadow and volcanic.

For each one of these areas, we have 2 to 3 main variants, which are hand painted.

2 main variants for the “forest” type


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For each main variants we have sub varients which consist of small details that have been added/hidden/moved on the base scenery.

With a clever use of assembling small props together, we made it so that every single map area in the game is unique. A huge step forward from DiB, where we only had 4-5 backgrounds in total.

The system randomly generates one of these backgrounds on each tile, giving more diversity to the look of the island scenery.

4 sub variants of the same main variant for the “beach” type


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To this system, we added dynamic lighting for each period of the day: morning, afternoon and evening. This lighting and other modifications on the sky alter the backgrounds for each time of the day, making the visuals even more unique.

Morning, afternoon and evening lighting for a “meadow” type


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Lastly, if you add to the formula the variants and FX applied for the weather that we talked about in the last blog post, you really have 3 layers of modification in any background of the game.

Drought, rainy and storm FX for each time of day


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These kind of visual systems are made possible only by a good cooperation between the artists and the programmers. It implied a lot of talks and trial/error between them, to find a good mix between painted art assets and effects made by code. You even see more and more of these kind of hybrid profiles of “Tech Artists” in the industry. It’s rather important, because often cool dynamic effects can only be obtained by code, but you need an artist eye to really know what you want and get a tasteful final result.A big up to the team who managed to find clever ways to make the game beautiful and diverse, but without impacting the production costs that much.That’s it for today!

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