Our team has been talking a lot about what the environments in NS2 are going to look like. Should they be grungy, dark, bright? Exactly like NS? How much dynamic infestation should we have? If we have too much, will it be hard to recognize where you are? How will "props" like pipes, wires and generators work? How many will we need and what style should they be?
To get closer to answers on some of these questions sooner instead of later, we asked the talented Nate Wolcott to help out. Cory is busy working on Lair for the PS3 and is limited in the amount of time he can contribute to NS2 and we’ve liked Nate’s work for quite some time.
First we asked Nate to create a whole bunch of sci-fi environments. We then chose one to create in 3D. Here is the sketch (click for larger version):
…then he colored it in in low-detail to get an idea of the overall mood, lighting and palette:
…then he created some light infestation:
…then he created an alternate version with heavier infestation:
After seeing these images, it’s pretty clear to us that we don’t want our levels to be TOO infested. That’s probably the biggest thing we’ve learned. Too much infestation is probably going to sicken and disorient players – or if nothing else, detract too much from the work that we spending making the environments beautiful to begin with!
We’re also starting to learn about how many textures we need to comprise a "set", how many props we’re going to need. We’ve also adjusted our workflow so the artists can tweak the maps and the mappers can make placeholder art and adjust the art to fit properly.
The next blog entry will show how the props work and how we’re building the level in 3D. Until then, enjoy your first look at NS2!