The Making of Candlewood
Dear friends! Many thanks for your support!
Hi! I’m Olivier de Cafmeyer (“Botumys”), Environment Artist, and today I’m going to explain the process of making the mountains for Death in Candlewood. Of course, as the city and surrounding area of Candlewood is big this is just a small part of the world. Here's a little time lapse video showing the placement of objects, painting textures and vegetation and geometric ground sculpting. Hope you like it!
Once the concept artist has the reference map ready, I build the height map and splat map in World Machine. World Machine is a fantastic tool for generating terrain, and allows me to create shapes or insert roads easily.
Afterwards, in Unity, I import the height map generated with values specific to that area (e.g. width 2.048, length 2.048, and height 450). I then create an alpha channel in Photoshop and import the splat map using a tool in the EasyRoads3D Unity Package to save and restore terrain information. Then all I have to do is to replace the map generated by EasyRoads3D with mine and restore the splat map.
That’s the base done, so I can begin to paint, sculpt and plant everything in Unity. In total, around 2% of my environment work is done in World Machine and 98% in Unity. I start by placing trees in the background and some rocks on the slope, changing the rock colours to blend smoothly between rocks and terrain.
Texture choice is also important and the brightness, contrast and saturation must match. I’ll continue to add plants, rocks and details to the landscape, from time to time swapping between different trees to avoid repetition. I place all rocks manually (!) – first I find a location near the player’s space where an elevation exists, then place rocks manually in the area of the player's field of view.
Too many rocks will kill the game’s frame rate, so I keep the main terrain but sculpt and adapt the shape of the terrain based on placed rocks. Afterwards, I paint textures to blend the terrain and the rocks together. In this case, it is useful to use textures with the same color values as one another.
I paint dirt with low opacity and target strength on the rocks to add a brown color. Finally, I add bushes and grass – blending rocks with the ground is mainly a question of textures.
If the joint between rock and ground is too visible, I mix 2 – 3 textures together, usually gravel with larger gravel on top followed by bushes and grass. When the vegetation is done, I paint it all again but include grass and plants to mix the vegetation and the terrain as we’ve just done to the rocks and terrain.
I then create borders to prevent the player walking around, adding volumetric moving fog with the particles system. For performance reasons I usually use big particles with low opacity and a cloud texture.
Finally, I run several lighting tests, and later the artists and game designers work on adding the necessary assets such as barns, signs, a gas station, etc.
I tried to summarize this process in few words, but the work really took me months to complete! I hope you’ve found it interesting – it’s been an honor to talk about my work with you. If anyone’s interested in seeing more, you can visit my website at www.botumys.net