Quarantine of Monkeytown
Hello again. In this dev journal I’d like to talk about one of the cool things that we did a few months back: the destruction of a town. Monkeytown, to be exact. This merciless slaughter resulted in the development of some great tech that will make its way into the rest of Fallen Earth.
Our reason for destroying Monkeytown was simple: the apocalypse is a dangerous time, and no one is safe. This is a theme that will become more and more integral to Fallen Earth in the future. Also, from a practical standpoint, Monkeytown was a good choice due to its size. Our small team was able to completely remake it in a short amount of time.
Part of the story was that Monkeytown’s residents had been infected with a disease, so we decided that it would be appropriate to burn the whole thing to the ground. After the town was destroyed, we wanted the burned ruins to look toxic and hazardous. To that end, we used a bit of tech that the engineers had been developing at my request: Lightstates. This is a system that allows us to change the environment settings in a given area while creating a smooth transition from the previous area. This allowed us to alter the atmosphere for the entire twenty-four-hour cycle by toning down the lighting intensity, pulling the fog in closer, giving it a green/orange color, and adjusting the clouds to reflect the color change. The result is an atmosphere that looks scorched and toxic.
Fallen Earth has a pretty powerful particle system, and this was a good opportunity to take full advantage of it. Particles often have a planar look to them, so our engineers added a feature called “soft particles.” This allowed the particle sprites to clip into objects without a hard, visible line.
Using these particle systems, the size and number of fires in the area were ramped up. Smoke and ash clouds were strategically placed along the road into town so players would run or drive right through them on their way in. We did this to make the air and smoke feel so toxic that players confronting it for the first time would feel the urge to cover their mouths.
This town came together very quickly. Because of these atmospheric effects we were able to use minimal assets while still achieving a nice level of immersion. It was an incredibly satisfying area to build because we really pushed the engine in ways it hadn’t gone in before. The extra controls provided by the Lightstates and our use of particles created a great look.
As we work our way through Fallen Eart— raining destruction down upon its defenseless denizens as we go—we will continue to use these and other tools to make the world a more interesting place.