Posts Tagged ‘The Great Outdoors’

The Great Outdoors: Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney And Scans Of Scot-Zealand

In the furnished upper floor of the Epic booth at this year’s GDC I sat down with company founder, Tim Sweeney. We were there – indoors and down a flight of stairs – to discuss the great outdoors. I wanted to know more about the challenges of producing outdoor environments using a game engine, how Epic themselves approach the challenge, and what the big areas of research will be next. But to look at something concrete we started with the Unreal Engine demo whose cinematic follows a boy as he chases his kite through an area modelled on Scottish terrain but populated with flora scanned from New Zealand…

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The Great Outdoors: The Flame In The Flood

The Flame in the Flood’s [official site] lead designer, Forrest Dowling seemed like an ideal candidate for my ongoing investigation of outdoor worlds in videogames both because of his name and because of his survival game. The Flame And The Flood sees you play as Scout, a woman trying to stay alive as she navigates her way along a fiercely flowing river. It manages to be a strangely cosy version of the outdoors with a wonderful, evocative colour palette and soundtrack. Here’s how it works:

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The Great Outdoors: The Witness

While attending GDC I was thinking a lot about how “outdoors” works in videogames and speaking to artists and designers about how they had approached those environments. I was relatively early on in my experience of The Witness [official site] but I was intrigued by how many biomes were crammed onto a small island space without it ever feeling overcrowded. With that in mind I sat down with artist Luis Antonio to talk geography, architectural decay and why a simple handrail needs an entire backstory…

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The Great Outdoors: Firewatch

While preparing for this year’s Game Developers Conference I decided I wanted to learn more about how “outside” works in videogames. By that I mean I wanted to find out how different studios create a sense of space or place that’s natural or expansive. Firewatch is not an open world game, but is has these beautiful, expansive vistas, gorgeous trees and a very definite sense of being outdoors. Senior environment artist, Jane Ng, told me more about how the world actually works and how she hides the technical side from players:

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