In our last blog post, I announced that we have begun work on our first mountain, Sialia. Because a mountain to this scale and level of detail has never been developed before, I figured some of you might be interested in our process. Basically, how are we building the final mountain that you will spend all your time in exploring?
To build a dense mountain that encourages exploration, we have to create dozens of different routes down the mountain. This is achieved by strategically placing large rock formations to create non-ridable areas. Before placing these formations, we must shape the terrain and decide on an optimal structure. This is my role. Once the basic shape of the mountain has been created, I use a layer painter to apply a simple rock texture where I believe the rock formations should be placed.
After I do my pass of the mountain, Markus takes over and begins filling in the painted areas with actual rock meshes. This is also when Markus creates cliffs for jumps and obstacles to ride around. In addition to the rock formations on the mountain, Markus creates and places the surrounding mountains to give you an awe-inspiring vista to look at while riding. He also tweaks the colour of the sky and adds some fog to create depth.
The next (but not final) step for Markus is to place vegetation (trees, bushes) and smaller stones and boulders. These create additional obstacles, fill out the space between all the larger rock formations, and most importantly make Sialia look real!
So that's what we're up to right now. Markus is working his way around the mountain adding rocks, trees and various other assets so that we can begin play-testing it. As he progresses, we will make sure to share some more screenshots with you.