checkPoint

 

When the task of making C14 was assigned to me I started with checking the strategic map to see what kind of sector it should be: is there a coastline, are there mountains, what’s in the neighboring sectors, is there a road on so on. Then I made a quick crude top-down map of the sector and started building the terrain. I knew that the sector east of here contains a military prison on a rocky peninsula and I wanted that to be reflected in this sector.

 

earlyTopDown

This is a very early block-up of the map. I placed tank traps and a road block in the eastern part because of the neighboring military prison.

earlyHutAndCheckPoint

Early block-up of the checkpoint and fisherman’s hut. It is built to get a sense of scale and combat. The wall pieces are from another type of building was used until more fitting assets was available.

 

I continued with making some cool spots on the map. I put up an army checkpoint at the road and some ruins of an old fisherman’s hut. Personally, I like to have a story in the environment makes it more interesting. For example, the huts inhabitants were forced out many years ago due to the prison being so close by and the checkpoint was put up much later after a famous convict escaped the prison.

I went on and placed grass, trees, rocks and other props on the level. While doing this, it is important to have combat in mind, how tight do you want between covers, where should line of sight be restricted and so on. At the time I could not test actual combat in the level but you can get pretty far with reading the design documents and looking on how the prequels, Jagged Alliance 2,  sectors was built.

When we got a new terrain shader and I went over the level again to fix the ugly yellow spots and add more detail. The result was awesome and I was very happy with how much we could vary the ground without making new textures for every different purpose. At this point I put down this level for now, as it was getting to where I wanted it to be, and started on a new sector, repeating the process but in another sector.

After a couple of weeks we had received new props and the concept artist had found time to give me visual feedback on the sector so I returned to C14 once again. This time, I did an update on the fishermans hut and replaced the placeholder ruins with more fitting assets.

 

firstTerrainPass

First terrain pass with the new terrain shader that uses the textures alpha channel as a height map, allowing us to paint out tiny rocks and other details.

Wooden walls fitted the setting better and I replaced the dirt floor with concrete. Stormy weather made the roof fly into the sea at some point, leaving a trail of sheet metal. The house was built with four different parts of a wooden fence and 3 different planks. None of the parts was intended to become a building.

The shadows are very dark and the colors are a bit off in the pictures above. I found out that I had not adjusted the render settings for the scene. After adding a little fog, some ambient light and tweaking numbers for a while it looked a lot better!

After fixing the lightin I removed the grass around the pillars because it didn’t really fit in. I put more blown off debris between the hut and the sea to make it look more natural.

The checkpoint is starting to look nice and I’m able to see what elements to keep (sand bags, paths, barrels) and what to remove (flowers by the road block and the path around them).

 

Sometimes you need to work with what you got. We don’t have a water boiler prop right now but I wanted to see how it could look like so I made my own using a barrel, a trash can, a grate and two keys. It will obviously be replaced with a prop that a real artist made, this water boiler might break the game when we get additional code and physics. Its purpose is to fill out a space that will be filled by something better later on.

 

 

Perfect water boiler, ready for action. Guaranteed to be replaced before release!

Slightly different from the first block up.

checkPoint

 

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Read more about designing combat in sector.