One of the first levels we'll have available for Blitz is "Fort". I recently asked Epic Games Concept Artist, Adam Wood, about his concepts for the map. When I asked him about the concept process for Fort, he answered, "A lot of concepts were made to explore how the level art could enhance the new game mode Blitz." Adam explained, "There are some key differences between meshing normal Deathmatch and Blitz levels. Putting emphasis on call-out locations and directing players through the map in a more linear progression required a lot of iterating.Deathmatch is often a very circular flow, so this was very different. "
There were a few issues along the way because of these differences. Adam spent time solving a problem the team kept running into; realistic looking environments tend to blend everything together. Adam said, "It looks great, but it can cause bad depth and readability issues. I explored ways to separate silhouettes from the background. The best broad solution we found was to apply a gradient to the material in certain areas., At different heights the shapes will pop, but it doesn’t work in all cases."
Adam did a quick test to see if this idea could work:
"It is our hope that you can pick out the silhouettes of the structures easier and understand the depth of the scene a bit better. I think being able to understand your environment is crucial when playing a fast game like UT."
Then the gradients were introduced. Adam noted, "The introduction of the gradients raised a few questions for us since we have a realistic style with PBR (Physically-based rendering) and can’t just throw crazy colors on the walls without it looking out of place. The answers kept leading towards an alien look, so it seemed like a good opportunity to add some Unreal flavor with ancient alien tech/architecture and to possibly reference existing races from the UT universe."
The map is currently in production and and you can see the work in progress in the current Unreal Tournament build. It is far from complete, but the direction is clear thanks to the concepts from Adam. "We ended up going with this monolithic theme, which seems to fit well in our style of game. Big simple blocky shapes with interesting surface detail that can be used in multiple biomes like jungle, snow, desert, etc. We are still in the process of meshing the map, so I’m excited to see how it turns out!"
The team is very excited for everyone to play the completed level in Blitz! Be sure to watch next week for more on Blitz and "Fort" from Sr. Designer Stuart Fitzsimmons.
If you want to give Blitz a try, it is available as a Quickmatch option, on hubs, or offline against bots. If you have any questions about Fort or Blitz, head over to the forum discussion found HERE.
Adam Wood joined Epic Games in 2015 as a concept artist for Unreal Tournament. Adam attracted the UT team's attention by creating amazing concepts and assets for UT as a community developer before joining Epic Games.