You may have noticed that the topic of buildings, and cities, has come up a bit more often recently. No Kernel, tents or campfires in sight - so what’s going on?
For the vast majority of SEED’s lifetime, people will join the game to find a vibrant, living society.
Only the very first players will experience the open, totally empty world of Avesta. Everyone that comes after them, will find at first villages and later cities. And once cities exist, they’re gonna stick around.
We need to make sure that playing SEED this way works, before our players go in and start building. Which means we have to start with pre-fabricated cities that simulate months - or years - of player collaboration, to be able to test our hypotheses about how the game is going to work. Oh, and we have to do it way less time, with way fewer people...
Luckily, we have a pretty amazing team! So how do they do it? Game Engineer Adrian took some time out of his day to explain the process.
First, our artists and designers got together and came up with a practical way to make a house (or rather, many houses), and to answer some important questions: what layouts make the most sense, which rules should be our guiding principles? And of course, how can we make it beautiful?
Then our rendering and tech team worked on laying the groundwork in Houdini, which we’re also using to create our landscapes. They set up rules, so we can easily generate rooms that follow the artistic vision, and that work from a technical point of view.
A room needs to be a distinct place, so a Seedling can not only “understand” if they are inside or outside, but also what room they are in, or what floor the room is on! They also need to be able to navigate inside of rooms and between them. It’s a lot.
First tests of Seedlings walking inside a multi-story house with distinct rooms
Art and Tech teams were in constant communication, handing the project back and forth to each other, giving each other challenge after challenge - and will continue to do so as the game grows.
But eventually, we could move around in the city, place Seedlings and see how it all came together - and continue to make adjustments as needed.
And today is the day we’re finally putting all of this work into the working version of the game for the first time.
The first real city prototype is coming to Avesta - to be torn apart by QA we expect, but still, it’s an amazing milestone that we’re very proud of and excited about.
To make a city feel alive, there are lots of things to consider and set up, and lots of opportunities for things to break. But also lots of opportunities for new and exciting things to come forth and surpass the sum of their parts. We can’t wait to see what will happen!