The team finished an overhaul to the main cities/suburbs of Athens and Sparta in October. When these brand new designs went live, we got a lot of positive feedback from our players. You may wonder what pushed us to make the effort in the first place, and how we planned to get it done.
At the very beginning we simply wanted to improve the lighting of the game scenes, so the players wouldn't have such dark surroundings dampening their moods. Luckily, as the adjustments were being planned out, our artists came up with a better idea: how about an overall change? Everyone felt this was a really cool idea, but it would surely require a lot more work. The whole team gathered together for some brainstorming and agreed that it could be pretty time-consuming tinkering with the lighting, while an overhaul would bring us a stronger sense of achievement and provide our players many more benefits. In the end, a minor lighting adjustment led to a major project that would involve pretty much everything relating to scenery graphics.
After the goal was set, we got down to the renovations right away. During the first phase, we focused on the main cities and the suburbs. We added cuter and brighter elements to all of the buildings. We wanted to make sure players would find some ancient Greece in the wide array of classic architectures, such as lighthouses, temples, statues, horse race tracks, etc. Particle playground, a special rendering effect, worked nearly perfect to bring about the effects we desired. In terms of the suburbs, we wanted them to project a laid-back attitude. That's why we ended up putting in beautiful scenes of farms, fishermen, isles, woods and white clouds. When you're not in the middle of combat, these can be quite relaxing places to hang out.
While the scenery may give players a sense of simple elegance, it's never an easy job to achieve just the right effects. First of all, we needed a solid knowledge of the historical facts. Our dedicated artists went through loads of docs and pictures for reference, and then adapted the historical elements and style in their sketches. Up next our artists refined their crude sketches with color and rendering. We wanted the fine details and coloring to bring out a true feel for ancient Greece. We compared our work with the pictures in historical archives, and then subjected any inconsistencies to further revision. The team worked overtime to make the game scenes look as good and as realistic as possible. Once we had the original picture ready, modeling artists started to set game scenes using 3D modeling. The models needed to wireframe reasonably, which gives them a more natural and lifelike appearance. The guys in the R&D department put a lot of hard work into the best possible wireframing, combining a solid understanding of the modeling construction with their analysis of how different scenes would look under various conditions. After the artists completed the modeling, they began elaborate mapping work to create sharp contrast based on the different shades of coloring and the skillful employment of lighting effects. Then the models and the images were linked into one organic whole, presenting a complete and high-quality picture. Finally, they rendered the scene to wrap it up. The development engine for GodsWar is built with a strong rendering capability, regardless of the high complicacy and intricacy of the game scenes.
The tech guys went through strict procedures to pull all this off. The completed awe-inspiring scenes of the main cities and suburbs then were finally unveiled for our players. If you haven't seen these new graphics yet, we sincerely hope that you will log in to take a look at GodsWar's revamped scenery and tell us what you think.