One of my major responsibilities is developing the terrain in the Fish Camp level. Since authentic terrain is such an important design element of this game, I pulled on some real world experiences to develop realistic yet fun terrain.
The major influence I can point to when developing terrain are the many hours I’ve spent driving across Kansas and Missouri. The two states are nearly opposite as far as terrain goes, but both have great examples of terrain layouts. Missouri, for the most part, is covered in large rolling hills covered in trees. It also has some interesting rock formations along the Missouri River, especially around the Columbia area. These bluffs are a hundred feet tall and go all the way down to the river. It’s taken thousands of years to carve those out. I pulled from this image to shape the bluffs of the Fish Camp level. I wanted to make the bluffs in the game look like the actual bluffs I have seen along the Missouri river. It’s still a work in progress but I think its coming off well.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is Kansas, especially the western half of the state. Kansas is known for being flat, and it is to an extent. Kansas has miles and miles of beautiful gently rolling hills covered in grass. Most of this land is fairly untouched and looks like it did a couple of hundred years ago at the time of Lewis and Clark. This feel of wide open space and gently rolling hills is important to our Fish Camp level. We have a nice open area, covered in grass and other discoverable plants, animals, and items, for the player to explore. I’ve tried to simulate the gently rolling feeling of those Kansas prairies. I really wanted to give the player the realistic feel of being in that open environment.
So far, I’ve been very pleased with how the terrain has turned out. There are gentle, rolling hills, realistic shore lines along the rivers, and tall bluffs that really add flair to the level. The Fish Camp level has come a long way in a short amount of time!
Eric B. – Level Designer