The last few years have been both exhilarating and frustrating; I was blessed with working with some of the most gifted people of my career on a project that I loved and had such great hopes for only to have it canceled. Below are some of the Visual Targets that we developed.

This was our first VT. At the time it was a city building game and I wanted to quickly illustrate the value and what a truly AAA integrated terrain/road/lot toolset would allow us to achieve. At the time I was also exploring the potential of creating visuals that relied less on texture and more on run-time AO using a system of vert colors modified by adjacent structures.

Here were some rough grey-block studies that were used to help us define our scales.

We created quite a few gray-block scenes simply to help visualize some of the aspects of the game that were under discussion.

At one point in pre-pro we were lucky enough to have a very talented and powerful tech artist/animator join our team (Kelly Riley), and were able to put together this video¬†illustrating the ‘living world’ aspect of our game.

As the overall game design evolved, so to did the art to better support the evolving design goals.

The most interesting and rewarding aspect of this next Visual Target was figuring out how to deal with the atmosphere and horizon. Working with an incredibly talented Technical Art Director (TJ Holleran), we came up with nested skydomes, the inner one consisting of a gradient that gave us our horizon (important when the camera was at ground level), which faded as the camera pulled back away from the landmass. Super cool.

 

Another twist came when we decided that we would have our ‘sims’ carrying oversized resources (literally stacked cartoon style) from place to place, and buildings would have resource piles that needed be visible to the player.

A dependency that could have been catastrophic for the game visuals. This building is an example of how we solved the issue.

Another aspect of the game we needed to convey to the player was the state of any given building; sleeping sims and empty resources pile would convey some of this.

Lastly, a few shots of our final Visual Target.