One of the earliest phases of the project was planning the city in which the game takes place. After a couple of tries, we decided to focus on a few goals:
• Build a realistic city with different areas and many different buildings and streets
• The city must have one emergency medical center and at least one hospital
• All the missions must be located within five minutes of the EMT station (to make it more realistic)
• There are should be missions in different areas: city center, residential areas and perhaps an industrial district
• Avoid work on parts of the city that players won’t see (there just isn’t enough time)
We also wanted to have a river in our city – we think it’ll make the game more interesting.
An early draft of our city in EAS 2013
Please note, this isn’t the final map of our city – it’s just a draft that we made with Nevigo’s articy:draft (a handy game design tool for game developers and story writers). Some of the annotations aren’t in the right locations. But it’s enough to give you a taste of how the city will be laid out.
The next step was generating our city’s network of streets and roads with CityEngine. Here’s an example of a road system generated with CityEngine:
Part of a road system generated by CityEngine
Once we had some roads, we could start constructing buildings. It takes longer than you might think to generate buildings for the whole city. The goal is to generate enough buildings to make our city feel realistic. We want it to feel lively and authentic when you drive through it. A realistic city requires a lot of variety, so it takes a lot of time to generate all the assets. Here are some screenshots that show some buildings from CityEngine:
Here’s a composition combining buildings, roads, characters and vehicles rendered with Cinema4D. It’s also posted on the EAS Facebook page.
Rendering of the EAS-2013 city. Render and edit with Cinema4D and Photoshop
Of course, creating roads and buildings aren’t our only city-building tasks. We also need a lot of different props and vegetation to ensure a realistic look. I’ll write more about that aspect later.
The team Z-Software wishes you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Some time ago, we started work on our new project, “Emergency Ambulance Simulator
2014″ (or “Rettungswagen Simulator 2014″ in German). It’s the sequel to “Emergency Ambulance Simulator 2014″ (or “Rettungswagen Simulator 2012″ in German), which we developed in 2010 – 2011. Astragon Software GmbH published the game in August 2011. EAS 2012 had a few spots we thought we could improve on – it required a lot of hardware resources and the treatment aspect of the sim was more causal than we’d have liked. We decided to make an even better game this year and our partner, astragon, is once again on board. We’re coding up a really cool emergency rescue simulation game.
Astragon also created a facebook fanpage for EAS some days ago.
We don’t have a AAA budget, so we decided to focus on a core set of improvements to our work on EAS 2012. Here are some of the changes:
- Improved engine: The game engine we used in EAS 2012 was a good engine with some useful tools, but we had no access to the source code – that meant we couldn’t fix bugs on own if (and when!) the need arose. There were also some licensing fees that we had to pay for every game that used the engine. With that in mind, we decided to use OGRE3D, an open source engine, as our render engine, and then use it to build a game framework and tools like we did for “Handball Simulator 2010″ a few years ago. OGRE is also a good fit with the rest of the technology that we’re using this time around. For instance, if we’d reused the commercial engine, we’d have had to reintegrate PhysX-3 since there’s no support for it.
- New toolchain: We retired our procedural street generator and instead licensed CityEngine. CityEngine procedurally generates buildings and streets. It was fun tweaking our own homebrew generator, but the switch means that we can invest more time in making other aspects of the sim shine. For instance, there was a lot of work to be done building a special editor to edit the streets, fixing bugs in the mesh generator, improving the generator so it could build other streets and bridges and so on.
- New and better models for characters and vehicles: Trust us, you’ll notice the difference when you fire up EAS 2014.
- Improved treatment sequences: One of the biggest challenges in making EAS 2014 better than its predecessor is improving the treatment part of the game. We plan to make the treatment more realistic and more complex. Players will get a more in-depth experience of being a paramedic tasked with treating the ill and wounded.
That’s just the beginning – there are some other improvements that we and our publisher, astragon Software GmbH, will reveal in the coming months.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to post here on the blog or on the EAS facebook page.
Some time ago we decided to start a blog on our website. The blog schould contain news and articles about our games development studio and our projects. We also updated some sections on our website.
We are proud to introduce this blog with an announcement.
First announcement contain news about our project “Rush on Rome”. We submitted the game yesterday to the Apple and today we provided our partner Rokapublish with the new version windows of the game. We also started Rush on Rome Facebook fan page for the project.
We’ve just set up our new page (it doesn’t look so different) powered by WordPress – this means, we now can take the time to actually update our interwebs presence without having to ssh into our webserver and modify web pages with vim or emacs or mcedit *cough*. So please click the small RSS symbol in your address bar and subscribe to our blog! So you won’t miss any interesting stuff. As an alternative, just set the alarm clock on your phone to ring every 24 hours and check our page. Both methods are safe, although we prefer to do the former.
So stay tuned!
The z-software team.