After an exhausting journey through the mountains, the player arrives in the land of Corilth. A lustrous land, filled with adventure and mysteries as well as deep seeded conflicts between rivaling factions and the Nobility presiding over the bustling Free City.
The gif below shows work done during the second week.
Although the first brushstrokes were rough and crude, I kept all landmarks I wanted to be observable from each location in mind.
I ran into some delays during terraforming as I wanted to try and experiment with new tools and features added to Unreal Engine. It was however, more difficult than I had originally anticipated to incorporate said tools into my already deformed terrain. So in lack of more hours dedicated to this piece, I decided to stick to the regular tools for the remainder of the project.
When I had decided on a layout I liked, I started working on a world-map and a more definite plan for each of the different locations and areas.
My original idea was to design my own, vibrant large city. But due to time constraints, I decided to take an already existing city and make a quick blockout of it for the level / world.
Consisting only of basic shapes, it serves more as a concept of a large city rather than a finished area.
The city that I decided would fit the world best was Novigrad from The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.
The Free City is entirely based on Novigrad from the Witcher III: Wild Hunt with some minor adjustments.
The city was a work in progress during the whole project. As I kept iterating on the landscape, I also had to mind the impact it would have on the city since I didn't want to obscure the vistas and views I had planned.
This resulted in me having to revisit the city for minor tweaks (elevations, building locations etc.) during the whole process.
A large, booming city requires a lot of sustenance. A whole lot comes from trade such as fishing or game with nearby settlements, but also from the grain farmed outside the city.
I spent some time iterating on the areas outside the city. It was difficult to get the right feel of the area and not let it become a chore to traverse. My first plan was to only add some farmsteads to the area, but it felt empty and lifeless. With the addition of more buildings, windmills and an abandoned church the area came more to life and offered some improvements to the views and scenery.
I'm really glad that I chose to go with a large, open world map, rather than a smaller one even though I never got to implement any gameplay.
I enjoyed the process of making one of my maps come to life as I had planned it.
Some areas feel a bit void and barren, but with more time I reckon that I could have improved the visual quality to easier convey the picture I was after.
Before making this level playable some more iterations will be needed. Performance is heavily impacted due to the use of one massive terrain instead of smaller, individual pieces stitched together.
Even though frustum-culling was taken into consideration in multiple areas, the map needs more work in order to optimise and improve performance.
I would like to take this project a bit further in the near future.
Initially I wanted to create a dungeon below the Ruins of Icleod as the area is rather empty right now, but within my timeframe, there simply wasn't enough time.
I would also like to implement a fast-travel system, and some kind of mount (horse) to speed up travel across the map. I did prepare areas with a simple sign-post that could serve as a fast-travel point, but without functionality.
Since I started working on a quest-system for an earlier assignment it would be fun to implement it in the future.
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