In this article, I’ll show you some of the things you need to keep in mind when creating a AAA-sized third-person view game environments . (I’ll add more images as needed.) (I may split the article up and write about each one more clearly later.
Third-person view refers to third-person games, which are played from a bird’s eye view of the character, as shown in the image above.
Characters are always in the foreground.
As the basis for creating a picture, we keep in mind the compositional elements of foreground, middle ground, and distant view.
Third-person view games (hereafter referred to as TPVG) always put the character in the foreground, so it requires a slightly different mindset than normal picture creation.
In normal picture making, objects in the foreground are usually used to compare size and scale.
In TPVG, the human body, which is the easiest object for scale comparison, is always placed in the center of the screen.
There is not much need to place assets that serve as foreground. In other words, you can’t put assets in the player’s path.
(I don’t think it has any effect on the environment production, but the game UI has the effect of making the screen richer by increasing the amount of information in a single picture. (There is an effect as a foreground landscape, but I’m not going to talk about it because it’s not related to the environment , and I’m getting philosophical.
What I care about most is the ground.
The most visible part of a third-person view game is the ground, so you need to be aware of how to create it carefully.
In a third-person view game, the ground is the most visible part of the game, so you need to focus on this area.
Footprints, car tire tracks, collapsed debris, vegetation, undulations, etc. What you see on the ground tells the player more about the location than what you see on the ground, so try to describe what makes the location unique.
In video production, it depends on the cut, but we’re not as aware of the ground as we are in third-person games.
I hope you will pay more attention to the ground when creating TPVG environment.
Harmonize level design and environment beauty
In game environment , you need to be aware of creating environment as an experience.
If a environment artist has at least some knowledge of level design, he or she will be able to communicate better with the director and level designer during the production process.
Each studio has its own production flow, so it’s hard to make a generalization, but it’s not always possible for a level designer to design a level that is also aesthetically pleasing.
And It is not always possible for a environment artist to create a background that is both interesting and conducive to the player.
In order to create environment that are attractive as an experience, it is important to calculate the interaction for each location and to have some insight into the game itself.
In addition to simply making beautiful environment , game environment need to be exciting and interesting.
Harmony with other sections
The basic concept of creating a game environment is the same as for a single picture or video production.
However, in the case of games, we also have to work in harmony with various other sections such as the battle team, cutscene team, motion team, level team, and sound team.
For example, if a character has a move that calls out a giant monster, or if a character jumps to a very high place when performing a move, the ceiling height must be lower than the character.
There will be rules/regulations that are battle-conscious, such as the need to maintain a ceiling of that height across all locations.
You need to create assets that conform to a set of repetitive motions, such as the thickness of a ladder or the position of a doorknob.
In addition, many recent games have added cut-scenes, just like in movies, and we must continue to take care of the picture creation that is required for image creation.
For example, the position of the ground and the placement of the basic assets need to be decided first, and then the data needs to be handed over to the scenematic team to determine the camera and character movements. This means that the composition of the picture is decided before it is created.
This basically means that you can’t change the layout of the environment , so you have to start working out the critical points of the picture as soon as possible, so that you can imagine the finished image.
For example, the location of treasure chests and the design of how to get to them, setting the stage for battles against bosses, changing the placement of items during battles, and so on. The creation of the environment itself is closely related to the level design.
However, that doesn’t mean that you need to overthink every aspect of the backdrop. Once you have created a good stage, the cutscene team and other teams will use it to create a direction that suits the location, so there is no need to overthink the design. You don’t need to overthink the design, because the cutscene team and other teams will take advantage of it to create a production that fits the location. All you need to do is keep in mind what each team is working on, and take care not to break the bank.
Although the specifications change completely depending on which platform you are building for, environment artists must always be aware of the processing load when creating assets.
For example, let’s say you want to run a game with AAA graphics and volume comfortably.
Since the data must be made light while maintaining its visual beauty, game-specific technology is required to reduce the processing load.
To give you a concrete example, if you were using four textures with DIFFUSE ROUGHNESS NORMAL AO
If you reduce the size of only the ROUGHNESS and AO textures, you can reduce the data size without much change in appearance.
The number of vertices in the model itself will be reduced as much as possible, and fine bumps will be represented by normal maps to reduce the data size as much as possible to find the optimal data size for the game and location.
Since the tolerances for these vary completely from studio to studio and platform to platform, the lead artist of the project will consult with the engineers to determine the appropriate size.
With the evolution of hardware specifications and optimization logic in software, the area where we need to consider the processing load is becoming smaller and smaller, allowing us to concentrate on art without stress.
It seems that the specs of the PS5 are quite promising, so I’m looking forward to a more comfortable environment for background creation in the future.
Time spent on quality
Games take a tremendous amount of time to debug, so you have to keep that in mind when creating your schedule.
Games take far more time to make than, say, CG for a TV series, and the turnaround time itself is often longer than for a movie, but
The amount of time it takes to debug and optimize is enormous, so you should consider that the time you have to focus on artistic quality is much less than you think.
I think you need to be aware that if you have 10, you need to estimate 2 for design, 4 for production, and 4 for debug optimization.
If the flow is established and you can see where it’s going, you can make a few more adjustments.
If you are going to do something challenging, be prepared to take a lot of time for debugging.
When TPS and FPS are mixed together
If your game is a mixture of TPS and FPS, or if you have the freedom to switch perspectives, you should consider which one you want to focus on more on a case-by-case basis.
The main thing to keep in mind is that as long as the ratio of the background to the character is correct, it is unlikely to break the game background, and when debugging, carefully compare the difference in appearance between TPS and FPS to make sure there are no problems.
In some cases, it is necessary to check the environment as many times as possible and fix it one by one.
In a small room, a camera position designed for a large map will not work comfortably, so you will need to adjust the camera position, camera speed, angle of view, etc. for that area.
However, a small change in camera position will not make a big difference in the appearance of the game, so if you switch from TPS to FPS and adjust the camera’s angle of view, you will often be fine.
- Create assets with processing load in mind.
- Consideration must be given to other sections and the game as a whole.
- Consider the background as an experience (level design)
- Characters occupy the foreground
- Do not neglect the ground, which is the most visible part of the scene.
- Debugging and optimization takes a lot of time
That’s what this article was all about.
This is a general overview of what you should be aware of when creating game backgrounds, but I will continue to add to it and improve the quality of the information if I notice anything.