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Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:56 am
by loboLoco
From the start, one of the strengths and limitations of WolfQuest has been the Yellowstone environments. They’re strengths because they give the game a distinctive look and, I think, a unique appeal. They also limit us because, unlike nearly every other game, we can’t design the maps to serve the gameplay. That’s one reason why Lost River was fun to make, but we’re fully focused on Yellowstone environments now.

We work hard to make the maps both accurate and beautiful (but I repeat myself). Twice in the past two years, we’ve upgraded the graphics of the original game maps, but they’re still only 2km by 2km in size. Fun fact: Back in 2007, we worried greatly about the tiny size of these maps compared to actual wolf territory. Then we were pleasantly surprised when players in the summative evaluation talked about how big wolf territory was, because it still felt big when running from one end of the map to the other. I doubt we’d get the same response today, given the size of maps in current games. What’s more, the popularity of multiplayer games has far outstripped anything we ever imagined originally, and that kind of repeat play definitely deserves bigger maps.

So it’s time to remake the maps, bigger and better than before. Messing around with terrains is one of my favorite parts of game-making, though with the original game, I left that job to our senior producer Steve Allison-Bunnell. He’s back at it now, working on the Tower Fall map, but I’m also getting my hands dirty, making a new map for Amethyst Mountain. Here’s a video showing the first part of the process: creating the map from digital elevation data and satellite imagery. Enjoy!

[youtube]Ht2GLhxSwps[/youtube]

Video link:

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:14 pm
by PearlyReborn
Oh, this is exciting! I'm loving the idea of a brand new Amethyst Mountain map- the map was always fun to play, but is being out-shined by the others. Can't wait to re-explore it!

EDIT: Are you going to redo Slough Creek as well?

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:22 pm
by Chipara
Wow, the difference between 2007 to now still baffles me. Especially the regrowth of 'The Burn'! It will be so fascinating to see trees replacing the barren land of 2.7!
Thanks for the weekly updates! c:

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:35 pm
by SolitaryHowl
Woah, that's a huge map size upgrade there! :mrgreen:

Really cool.

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:36 pm
by Loach
Ooooo this is so cool! I don't recognize the map tool you're using, though. Is it something built into Google Maps or is it a Unity Asset of some sort?

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:36 pm
by loboLoco
Fiske wrote:Ooooo this is so cool! I don't recognize the map tool you're using, though. Is it something built into Google Maps or is it a Unity Asset of some sort?
It's a Unity plug-in called World Composer.

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:43 pm
by Loach
loboLoco wrote:It's a Unity plug-in called World Composer.
Nice! I didn't know terrain plug-ins for the engine had this feature. That's super neat to know.

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:57 pm
by Phasoli
Wow... I don't even recognize Amethyst Mountain anymore! That's going to be such a huuuge map! While lost in gameplay, sometimes I forget that these maps are based upon real locations. Exploring the new Amethyst Mountain is going to be a treat after all this time!

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:09 pm
by Koa
Enlarging the map is a creative way to include Lamar Valley (without making a new episode around it). Good work, Dave!

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:12 pm
by Loach
Hope this is alright but I took a quick gyazo and selected/cut out so we could see the grid map for better size comparison
https://i.gyazo.com/2f3121e7353b39545ff ... d3bd0b.jpg
I am blown away.
Very big.

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:18 pm
by Windstrider
Fiske wrote:Hope this is alright but I took a quick gyazo and selected/cut out so we could see the grid map for better size comparison
https://i.gyazo.com/2f3121e7353b39545ff ... d3bd0b.jpg
I am blown away.
Very big.
Same; blown away. That'll be really cool to explore that some day!

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:21 pm
by Wolfwind

Oooh dang this is awesome! Maybe one of my favorite updates yet. I can't wait to summit Amethyst Mountain and explore Lamar Valley! Going to be cool to see how this affects gameplay in the AM portion of the game. I bet it changes the experience quite a bit.

What a neat tool too. I work in GIS and I've often wondered if you guys did draw from actual DEMs for the topography. Are you using 30 meter data? Not sure about Yellowstone but I know Kentucky at least has 5ft DEMs derived from LIDAR. Something like that might prove useful for game maps :D (I know I wish I could turn it into game maps whenever I look at it lol.) Have y'all looked at NAIP imagery? It's aerial photography so it's higher resolution than typical satellite imagery (I think 0.5 meter for Wyoming). It would be more to draw from for texture making.

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:23 pm
by PearlyReborn
Is the new map gonna be introduced in the upcoming update, or Episode 3?

EDIT: Additionally, will this be added to the free trial?

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:25 pm
by Sunset-Light
WHOA. That's some serious map upgrading there.

Thanks for another behind-the-scenes video!

Re: Mapmaking

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:30 pm
by Windstrider
PearlyReborn wrote:Is the new map gonna be introduced in the upcoming update, or Episode 3?
Good point, seconded. ^