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.
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:
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.
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.