Community Manager Roulbox here, welcome to our very first Developer blog! As you know, we recently released a totally revamped battle map for the game. I had the chance to speak to the Art team who worked on the revamp of the battle map for Sky Warriors!
In this blog, we will be answering some burning questions in regards to the development and choices our team made for the battle map…So let’s get into it!
Why is it an Island? Is there any context or reference to the lore of Sky Warriors?
We wanted our first map to be something our players could recognize from movies and stories about real-life battles, but it also needed to be an aesthetically pleasing environment and one that could be easy to navigate on. So we decided to use Islands as a way of having clear landmarks, and we decided for a more tropical setting, with jungles and fishing villages, as we believed this would make the map look more approachable. We decided to use Southeast Asia and Pacific islands as a reference, and blended a few of them together to create islands that are totally unique to Sky Warriors!
Did you experience any challenges while working on this map?
One of the major challenges we encountered was allowing players to fly to great heights while at the same time needing to set limits on the amount of world we can render, one of many solutions working together to solve this and still have a visually appealing result was to spend a lot of time blending the sky colours with an environmental time of day fog in the distance to allow players as much freedom as possible. All of the tools to create these large environments were a result of working with the incredible Graphics Engineering team who created and provided technical solutions. Without those solutions, none of this would be possible!
Here is an example of our experimentation phase.
Another challenge was to make the game perform well in a wide variety of mobile devices, from high-end to low-end ones losing as low visual quality as possible. Islands are made of 3D meshes. More meshes make the assets more detailed which is good for aesthetics but consumes more processing of the device. So we implement a technique called LOD (level of detail). When the island is close, it has more mesh density making the island more detailed. While when it is faraway uses fewer meshes that optimize it and, once it is faraway, it’s ok to have fewer details.
Do you have any early concepts of the new map that you can share with us?
In the very early stages, the team knew that we wanted to have a nice inviting tropical setting for our players, as well as a scene that would be familiar and inviting. We gathered image references of tropical isles and searched for references on props and other items that would add colour and life to the scene.
Here are some examples of our image references phase.
This was one of the first iterations we made for the map – Testing out the topology and art pipeline process:
Do you have any plans of adding weather parameters or changing the time (day/night) when battles will happen?
Yes, we do have plans regarding that subject! For now, we’re adding three-light schemes for the new map:
But we are also experimenting with how weather, time of day and random events could create exciting moments in the game. We hope to have some news on that front very soon!
What are you currently working on? Any plans for new content? Can we get a quick sneak peek at something?
The team is working on many new environments for players to enjoy, here is a sneak peek at our early reference gathering phase for one of the upcoming maps, including time of day looks and visual effects inspiration.
How is the day-to-day of an Artist working for Sky Warriors?
We have many different disciplines of art, and each one has a different type of work! For example, to make this map we had an Art Director, Art Producer, Tech Artists, 3D Artists, Concept Artists and a VFX Artist. They worked together with the Game Director and Game Designers to create the map and then worked with graphic engineers and game engineers to make the map possible.
We are still working from home due to the pandemic, so to get all those people together we use Zoom to have meetings (and also to hang out and gossip a bit). We also have a lot of fun choosing background themes for each meeting, here are a few examples from the days we did “art”, “hello kitty” and “Australian cuisine” themes.
Pilots, I hope that you found this information valuable and interesting! Make sure to follow us on our social media channels and keep up to date with all the latest Sky Warriors Intel!
I wish you tailwinds and clear skies!