"Overwatch HQ" - Long-Term Environment Working Thread [UE4]

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Latest Update

To start with, here's "Overwatch HQ" as it currently sits today! I'm designing and building the Overwatch Headquarters which is located in the Swiss Alps. Check out the 2nd post for more explanation.

All images are still works-in-progress!


  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    6+ years into my career, and after going through yet another studio closure, I decided I would take my time and strategize a bit before I made my next move. I've been through the layoff routine before and a lot of people will make wild flails to grab whatever parachute job they can get, and this sometimes leads to jobs that are just as unstable. I have a couple kids and such, though, so I wanted my next move to lead away from the one-studio-closure-per-year cycle I've been in lately (at least as much as possible).

    Talking to some friends and mentors and looking around at portfolios of people who had the job that I wanted (environment artist/senior env artist) at the companies that I liked, I noticed that these people's portfolios look different from mine Their portfolios are comprised almost exclusively of several screenshots of fully-realized, fully-developed, polished, complete environments. Very few of them had individual props, half-finished dioramas, or little texture studies, whereas most student and junior level artist portfolios I've looked at recently are full of that stuff.  MY portfolio is also full of that stuff!

    So I decided to take a hiatus and begin a long-term environment and treat it for all intents and purposes as a professional project. I've tried to thoughtfully run through the actual production process as I understand it and treat this as if it were my full-time job, with a main goal of producing a functioning, polished, shippable product at the end. I've gone through pre-vis, approvals, blockin/prototyping, and am now in production using a workflow that I developed for myself. I've tried to be very thoughtful and purposeful about what I produce and why. I began my project in April 2017 and have tried to devote at least a few hours per weekday to it (2 kids in daycare means sometimes taking care of sick kids eats a week here and there).

    I wanted to start this thread now that I have some progress to show, both as a place to get eyes on the project and get feedback but also as a way to organize and collate some of the things I've learned and experienced so far. This may just turn into a thread full of me replying to myself, but that's ok, I just need a place to come to avoid hiding my work away from public eyes and share my thoughts. If it strikes up conversations or helps someone else, all the better.

    I'll keep my latest updates pinned in the OP and talk about my process down below. In my next posts I'll post my current work-in-progress screenshots and then talk about my pre-vis process and how I settled on this particular idea.
  • Bunnirobotcat
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    Bunnirobotcat polycounter lvl 4
    I'm trying to overcome that hurdle of my portfolio looking too junior artist. Takes a hell of a lot of time and determination to keep on one project. Ill follow your thread to help motivate myself and to see your awesome progress Worth :D  

  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    I totally agree...I only started recently and my one and only portfolio piece was a unicycle. After being so excited to upload it, it just didn't feel right to have only this as a portfolio piece, so i started doing a whole interior scene. And still, A full interior environment will propably make me be a little bit "meh", because i also want to make a couple of landscapes. You see, the problem with "environment" artists is that environments can vary from interrior to exterior and outer space, and making a scene consisting of as much as you can show is very, VERY crucial.

    So thank you for pointing out about your experience in portfolios, it really helps me stick to my project as well :)
  • jesusblasco
    I also have that problem with my portfolio pieces, I am not entirely satisfied with them at all, your post inspired me to keep pushing myself to make long term porfolio pieces treated like professionals ones, I will follow your progress and good work :)
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    @Bunnirobotcat Thanks so much! Good luck. :)
    @Larry Yeah, environment art can be pretty brutal. You don't get anything for free and you have to make everything from what's under your feet to what's on the horizon and beyond!
    @jesusblasco Thanks, man! Good luck!

    So I decided to go all-in on a long-term project set in the Overwatch universe. A lot of good artist friends recommend that 3D artists go out and look for an existing piece of concept art from a solid artist and build from that; that way you're starting from a well-designed foundation. On the other hand, the artist in me wanted to have a bit more creative input and besides, where was I going to find solid concept art for Overwatch that wasn't already in the game? I started putting together a tearsheet of a few options like mountain-top observatories or middle-American missile silos. Then a friend got a really awesome brainwave: The comics! The Uprising comic had just come out which shows the halls of the Overwatch headquarters in Switzerland for the first time. Pages of perfect, unused, official concept art!

    Here's the tearsheet I made of my "concept art"

    At this point I started thinking a lot about Overwatch levels: how they're constructed, what elements and areas make up OW levels, and how they are designed for gameplay. I wanted to make an environment that was big and fully-realized enough to be worth working on for 6+ months. A couple hallways wouldn't cut it, I thought. There's a panel where Cdr Morrison and Cpt Amari are walking down a hall and an exterior is shown with a large Morrison statue. Overwatch maps tend to be made up of:

    • A POI or point of interest in a large, open area. These are main story "beats" of the map. Capture points or payload checkpoints.
    • Main routes run from POI to POI. These are medium-quarters areas for fighting.
    • Side routes criss cross through the main routes. These are close-quarters areas.
    • Peppered throughout the routes are smaller vignette areas. These are filled with interesting props and often contain backstory hooks to other characters or more obscure lore. They also tend to have health packs in them.

    I'm technically not making an actual playable, balanced OW map, but I wanted it to at least feel like one, so I thought I would at least include some of these elements, even if they didn't make for great gameplay in the end. At least the space would feel authentically OW. I also wanted to add a lot of my own elements not shown in the comic. The environments in the comic are frankly pretty sparse compared to in-game OW levels which are much richer in population and variation. It was all about my interpretation.

    I went for a few walks and talked my way through the design. I wanted a comic book-feeling HQ facility that looked solidly Overwatch themed but set in the alpine mountains of Switzerland. I would have close quarters hallways, a medium-sized atrium room, a vignette area, and a large POI exterior space.

    My projects never start pretty. Here are my post-walk brainstorm "sketches":

    I'd be surprised if anyone could make any sense of this except me!

    I also watched a ton of tourist videos of Switzerland and compiled an Alps tearsheet. I'm looking for the essence elements of the alps: the things that you recognize when you look at an unknown photo and go "Hey, that's the Swiss Alps". In this case I honed in on the unique color gradient: rich green valleys with deep grey cliffs that spring right out of the grass, get clipped with white snow just at the tops, mirrored by snow-white clouds on vivid blue skies.  Also the Matterhorn. I'm also looking at architecture styles of the chateaus, gondolas, and local flora.

    With raw ideas, I then go right to 3D block in. This is pre-preproduction 3D work. It's not even prototyping and I only call it "block in" because I haven't thought of a better word for it. None of this geometry will survive even into the next iteration, but it does become my underdrawing so to speak for the project. The goal here is to get into the game engine asap and start developing a sense of space. This is where I begin nailing down units, measurements, and scales and it's where I begin setting up my pipeline and workflow. This means making project folders, deciding on naming schemes, getting a feel for the export process, and deciding on tools. This can all remain malleable at first but it will need to solidify and become Policy pretty quickly so I can avoid tripping over myself weeks and months down the road. Organization is king!

    Anyway, I get this block in into the engine as fast as I can so I can start running around the space and getting a feel for how things need to be proportioned. Once it starts to feel physically ok, then I use the block in to do some quick, simple concept drawings. I do these drawovers throughout the project as things pop up. Drawovers for me are a creative problem solving tool.

    Here are my initial drawings of the exterior space and some of the skydome as those areas needed the most creative input from me. The interior was done more by riffing directly from the concept art, but I'll get into that in my next post!

  • Olingova
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    Olingova polycounter lvl 3
    Obviously i first clocked because of the "overwatch" in the title, but i'm really glad i did your post is very inspiring!! I especially love to read you workflow and the evolution from your initial idea to the final project cant wait to read more, good job!
  • EliasWick
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    EliasWick polycounter lvl 3
    This is by far, some of the best work that I have ever seen! Very inspiring!
  • Tectonic
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    Tectonic polycounter lvl 4
    I really like your design and I think the modeling is good, but I think you should study some of the overwatch materials a bit more.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    @Olingova Thanks! I'm glad that my excessive words are useful to some. I've needed a place to compile my experience, so I figured why not do it in a thread?

    @EliasWick Wow! Thanks! I don't think I agree, but I'll do my best to live up to that. :)

    @tectonic Oh man, you're dead on. Getting the materials feeling like they're in the same neighborhood as Overwatch's has been one of the biggest challenges with this project. I'm planning on making another tuning pass on the base materials, but if there's anything you see specifically I would be suuuuper interested in hearing your thoughts! Thanks! 
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    I tend to view any project as a collection of creative problems that need solutions. Once you've both designed and executed solutions for the full list of problems, then the project is finished.  Between the exterior drawovers and the panels from the comic illustrating the interiors, I felt I had enough concept to start 3D pre-production by doing a vertical slice. 

    Usually a vertical slice for a game includes all sorts of other things like gameplay prototypes and even UI etc, but for me it just meant picking a small area and pushing it through the complete pipeline to get it to a "finished" point. I had a few goals during this stage:

    • Figure out how, exactly the interiors were constructed. The comic art is somewhat vague as to what walls and floors and ceilings are actually made up of.
    • Establish, at least initially, a good look and feel for materials.
    • Explore detailing solutions like decals.
    • Author an initial library of materials.
    • Hone in on a longer-term lighting solution.
    • Map out a broader pipeline workflow to rely on for the rest of the project.

    I picked the most fully-realized area from the comic, Commander Morrison's office, and focused just on that room alone and started blocking in, tinkering with sizes relative to the player, doorway sizes, etc. One of the first things I did was assemble a quick and dirty "temp" materials library as fast as I could to slap onto my blockin geometry to start differentiating materials. Here's a sloppy sample:

    I feel like overall this is a good idea, but I eventually had to admit that my execution of it was really dumb. I made them with a grid pattern on them because "that's what temp textures look like". All that did was create visual noise in the form of lines and square details where they weren't needed and actually made it hard to look at overall shape language, proportions, and everything else. I wish I would've just done flat colors and tones along with the material definition (glass, plastic, metal, etc). Durrr!

    I wanted to keep the physical feel as close to the concept as possible but also make the in-game sizing feel as close to an actual Overwatch level as possible. Doorways got wider, and everything got slightly more roomy, but I got to an ok place, I think. The bigger challenge was deciding exactly how the walls were constructed. The art played lose with the in-between areas; the seams between the panels, especially around the corners and the intersection with the floor. I ended up tinkering a lot with exactly how much detail to put in, again balancing it with the level of detail in actual Overwatch maps.

    Here's a shot from the comic:

    And here's where my vertical slice ended up (I've turned off a few props to make comparison easier):

    It's obviously not perfect, and looking at it now after having moved on from it so long ago and having done so much work since then, there are several things I'd like to go back and change, but I feel like the main problems were solved at the time, and it helped get the workflow established and set a good quality target for the rest of the project.

    Here's a few more vertical slice images, in various stages:

    I feel like some elements were more successful at recreating the Overwatch in-game look that others. I was able to keep lessons learned in mind moving forward (which I did at the time to keep momentum).  There are definitely some elements in here that I'd like to revisit:

    • Initially I was much too high-res with my textures.
    • I relied too much on roughness and not enough on hand-painted albedo. 
    • I had to remodel almost everything twice due to my tendency to model everything too small and intricate. Overwatch (and the Blizzard house style in general) is very chunky, and MUCH more round than you think it is. "If you think it's round enough, go 1.5-2 times rounder" became a rule moving forward.
    • It began to set in just how. many. props. Overwatch levels have in them, particularly in the vignette/story heavy areas.
    • Decals are vital, but they can only carry you so far before you need to bite the bullet and model in some details.

    And more! I learned a TON by doing a vertical slice and it gave me those good feelies that come from seeing shiny, pretty things so soon. Great for momentum and general artist well-being!

    From here, I wrote down my actual workflow I wanted to follow, at least initially, and I made sure I had a proper organization system in place. I'll post about those next time.
  • Olingova
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    Olingova polycounter lvl 3
    It's really interesting to read the evolution of your "overwatch style" analysis! Like so many of us, i tried to make some overwatch style props this year but you definitely get wayyy closer than i was :p i still have this feeling that there are maybe more totally metallic parts used in overwatch, maybe you could use more in yours, it looks like you only use non metallic parts for the moment.

    Rly look forward to read more anyway!
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    @Olingova Now that's an interesting piece of feedback! I am definitely using metallic materials in there, and it's more apparent as you move around the space, but I also think that my reflection spheres are lacking. Perhaps I need to go through and tune my metals to get them more apparent?  I've also added some more metals since starting the thread, so maybe that will help too. I'll definitely jump into a few empty maps and run around with this in mind and see how the overall material variety feels..

    Overwatch metal materials in general actually have a lot more albedo in them than you initially want to think. I'd love to see what their internal rules and ranges are for the metals in the game.
  • Olingova
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    Olingova polycounter lvl 3
    Glad if it can help you! By the way it could be awesome if you could post a little walktrough video i'd be really curious to see that!

    I'm at work right now but i could try to take some screenshots at home to shw you the kind of areas/materials im thinking about
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    The vertical slice was a great time to test my initial workflow and processes with an eye to adjust and set some policies before I went wide and moved into full on production. Small problems or disorganization only amplifies over time, so if I started, for example, saving my files as "texturethingy1_final.tga" it would never get MORE understandable and, in fact, would only get more confusing as time went on!

    Similarly, based on past failed projects where I had lofty goals and grand dreams, I knew that I would hit what I call creative friction. If we can all recognize when a project has "momentum", then I feel like there's an equal and opposite force that works against us in our projects and I call that friction (I know, I'm super clever, right?). Creative friction comes from anything that makes it easy for me to NOT work. Life stuff, clutter, disorganization, even having Facebook and stuff open on another monitor. The more things I have to solve or put in place before I start working, the less likely I am to start working, and the moment when creative friction is at its strongest is in the minutes/hours before I sit down and begin working. In the past I've had projects in progress that only halted and failed because I had a bad night one night and decided to not work that night and I never went back. Friction can kill a project.

    So getting organized and writing out a pipeline that I will follow are ways I can reduce creative friction to make it as easy as possible to sit down and start a work session. Knowing the pipeline and having it accessible to look at and reference is good. Setting up your project folders and directory structures logically and ahead of time is good. Making sure your equipment works and stays working is good. Making sure you have backups and version saving is good. Making sure the physical space you're working in isn't buried under a pile of papers or dirty dishes is good. Making a list of tasks that you can refer to when you sit down to start is great. Making a note at the end of a workday about what you want to do when you sit down tomorrow to work is good. etc etc.

    Anyway, if anyone's curious, here's how my project is set up:

    Basically, I have a project directory where source files and the actual assets live, an overflow where reference and tertiary materials live, and a backup if I have to migrate up a version in the engine or whatever the reason. Inside the project directory, there are essentially 2 neighborhoods: the Source directory and the Content directory. Content is the actual Unreal project files, and I segregate root-level assets like plugins and default content away from my personally authored assets.  That's basically it, but you can study the image to go deeper. 

    Additionally, I have what I imagine is a pretty standard naming scheme. It's all pretty straightforward, but I find it to be vital to the health of a project as big as this. With just the interior in production I already have over 200 texture files, 146 materials, and 190 static meshes (blockin and final). Since I set up my organization before I really started production, months later I can still find things pretty easily.

    Here's the pipeline I wrote after vertical slice:

    As for my pipeline, I found it to be an excellent source of early momentum, even if I eventually ran into places where I deviated from it. After a little while, since I'm the only person working on this project, I found that keeping momentum was more important than strictly adhering to the steps in the list, so if, for example, a specific area was becoming a slog to continue with, I'd hit pause on that area where ever it was in the pipeline and then go visit a different area which was inevitably at a different point on the pipeline.

     I have my project organized by logical areas or zones (which is where those first 2 file prefixes come from). There's the exterior (EXT) and the interior (INT) and in the interior there's the east hall, west hall, atrium (AT) and Morrison's office (MO).  Instead of bringing the entire project through the pipeline steps all together, I found that areas naturally progressed individually through the pipeline steps somewhat separate from each other. This meant I could maintain momentum by getting to later, "prettier" steps sooner in a certain area but I could also jump over to a less-finished area to do modeling when I got burned out on texturing in a different area. Obviously, if I was working on a team then the pipeline might be a bit different or I'd approach it differently.
  • WadeWT
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    WadeWT polycounter lvl 5
    That is a nice post with useful information.  I am finally seeing the value in being more organised and it's helpful seeing how others go about it.  Thanks!
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    @WadeWT Thanks! Yeah, it's been enjoyable to really dig in and try to do things right. Project management is a side-interest of mine and at scale it's easily a few people's full time jobs.

    One thing I didn't touch on but should have is backups. My project folder at this point is over 14gb large and it would be terrible to lose that much work. One thing I haven't done a great job of is keeping my Maya file clean and organized. I at least have things in layers, but man, I really should be keeping things separate and referencing things in and the like. Maya crashed once while saving and I almost lost my master file. I didn't have version saving on either. Luckily, I had been saving in Maya Ascii so I opened the .ma in notepad and found where it had gone corrupt and deleted that bit and resurrected it, but it's been more unstable ever since. Now I at least have versioning on.

    Backups are pretty vital too. Just having an external HDD that you copy/paste your project to at a bare minimum. There are also apps that can sync 2 folders to mirror them, etc.  Additionally, Dropbox and Google Drive do file history now, so saving your stuff to the cloud can be very useful, like a poor-man's Perforce. Speaking of which, Perforce is free for small groups or individuals, so if people REALLY want to dive into source control, that's an option too.

    Nothing kills momentum like losing your project, but even having to burn an entire workday salvaging after a catastrophe can really take the wind our of your sails.
  • Joao Sapiro
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    Joao Sapiro interpolator
    watching this one very closely :)
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    Oh man, @Joao Sapiro !  You are VERY welcome here! :smile: If you see anything with your trained eye that needs fixing, please please let me know!
  • [HP]
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    [HP] polycounter lvl 10
    Oh hell yeah man, this is what I'm talking about! Liking what I'm seeing so far, for sure!
    So wait, let me see if I understood, you did a vertical slice as sort of a art styleguide, and now you went back to blockout stage and you started fleshing out the environment? I'm asking because I see blocked out areas, and some interiors more fleshed out.

    I had fun going through your process and organization guidelines, it's actually one of the most important and vastly overlooked part of environment art in a production environment, so that alone I found really impressive about this project already.

    Let me know if you need some pointers in anything more specific.

    best of lucks man, this is looking great already.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7
    @[HP] Thank you so much! Yeah, so it's a bit confusing since I'm backtracking a bit and filling in from where I started up to now, but I posted some more recent screenshots in the OP. (I'm prepping some old walkthrough videos from my blockin stage, but they're bad quality so I'll probably draw a little overhead map just to clear up the different sections of the space for ease of understanding later.) You're essentially correct, though: I picked a small area (Morrison's office) to push through the stages all the way to a reasonably solid state in order to solve some of the bigger creative problems, mainly the details of the construction of the architecture and how to match my style target (Overwatch). Then, once I had that one office feeling reasonable (albeit not complete) I went back to the interior space in general and started over at blockin using what I learned in the vertical slice to fuel my work.  It's not perfect (and I don't think I'm quite nailing the OW style everywhere) but it was a nice, small, compact place to solve some BIG problems up front.

    I feel like it has paid dividends in that (A) I got to get to see "pretty stuff" pretty quickly since the office is such a small, controlled space, (B) I established base-level construction and design languages that I based the rest of the interior's architecture on, and (C) I came out of vertical slice with a small library of basic, usable materials that I've been using for the entire rest of the project so far.

    I'll be up to current day pretty soon here and then the thread will turn into more of a traditional work in progress thread, which will be good because I REALLY need more eyes on some of these spaces since I've been staring at them for so long. :neutral:  I'll be coming to you for help! :smile:

    Edit: Oh, geez, I didn't realize who you were, haha! Welcome! Yes, I will DEFINITELY need your help on this! Gibraltar has been my go-to map for studying the "Overwatch facility" design language. :smile:

  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 7

    (Big version)

    As I mentioned before, in the past a lot of my personal 'for fun' work has been dioramas or prop collections. My goal with OWHQ has been to produce a shippable, professional, functioning environment, with the emphasis on looks first (I'm an artist after all) but design a close second. For lack of a cooler term I've been calling this design-minded art and it follows my professional experience wherein form follows function.

    I think that the real magic of video game environments is born from where the constraints of design encroach on the demands of art. Constraints breed creativity. For example, level designers work a lot in grey cubes and primitives and their primary focus is on making a space play and function in fun ways. "There needs to be a ramp here and a large spacious room here." Then story and art direction comes up with the context for that space, and the 2 don't always match. "This level needs to be set in a police station because of story/theme reasons x, y, and z." It becomes my job to take those 2 directions and respect both of them and execute something beautiful and unique and visually engaging. I love this process.

    In my personal projects, though, I get to be the art director but I often don't think much about design at all, and that's why I try to pick what I call a Reference Game. Reference games give my projects a grounding in game design and help me make a unified environment that looks professional. If I use the reference game effectively, I can reduce creative friction and make decisions more easily and end up with a result that the viewer can imagine having fun in as opposed to just looking at. I want to communicate gameplay with my environment art.

    At the outset of this project, instead of asking myself "What kind of environment am I making", I tried to ask myself "What kind of gameplay am I making?" and Overwatch the game has served as my art director and my level designer. Some creative problems are easy to solve: the ones that are polar opposites. "Do you want fire or ice?" Easy. Some problems are harder to solve when they seemingly are all the same equally. "Does this crate need to be made of wood or metal or plastic?" Probably doesn't matter too much, but I've still been in meetings where we discuss the minutiae of the pros and cons of stuff like this. I've found that the hardest problems, though, are ones where the solutions are all vague shades of the same color. "This kind of architectural feature frames ground-based action but this other sort of feature directs the eye upward. Which is better?" Sometimes these types of art direction questions can take a lot of time and energy to solve. Having a reference game gives you a place to go to hold up your various solutions and see if they match. As you bounce your solutions off of a reference game, you start to make unified decisions and you start to learn the visual and design language of your chosen game.  If you picked Uncharted 4 as your game, for example, you could go into that game, learn its design language, and use those principles in that game. "Oh, levels usually start out in this kind of room but they quickly open up into a multi-path platforming section made of modular assets. Platforming sections are built with these metrics in mind, but combat areas have these waist-high features to hide behind..." It gives you a creative scaffolding.

    Even if you're not doing a direct emulation (like I am), I feel having a reference game can help reduce creative friction.

    Overwatch game mechanics (particularly hero abilities) directly affect how levels look and feel. I'm not claiming to know the minds of Blizzard's designers, but these are just observations I've made as I've tried to analyze and learn the various languages being spoken by Overwatch's level design and art, and I've tried to hold to some of these as I decided how to layout my environment. Here's a very quickly-drawn schematic of the playable areas:

    So in addition to studying texture style, color, and lighting, I also looked at Overwatch maps as a whole (playing it a ton has helped ;) ). In general, maps are made up of:

    • Large, open point-of-interest anchors where most of the major engagements and point captures happen. These contain the main story beats of the map itself and few props.
    • Connecting those areas are main paths and chokepoints that are medium-sized areas where teams push forward; the goal in these spaces is to battle through them to the next POI, so again, few props beyond some map flavor stuff.
    • Occasionally, a map will have a mid-size arena that opens up for more vertical/mobile combat.
    • Close-quarters vignette/story areas off to the side or along the way. These are the areas packed with props where you're most likely to find broader story hooks to the map, characters, or past lore. "Easter eggs".

    I tried to include each of these elements in thoughtful ways. The layout may not be the best for an actual map, but I was also trying to hold true to the comic concept art I'm working from, and there was a clear shot of Jack and Ana walking down a hall that has served as a piece of key art for me. This frame:

    I made some changes and additions (ok a lot of them) but this frame has served as a starting point for my layout. Small-quarters hallway paths with a POI outside on a terrace, a mid-sized arena connecting the hallways, and vignette areas in Morrison's office and a breakroom themed area.

    Here's another example of an instance where design considerations won out over pure aesthetics. For the atrium area, I wanted a break room as a separate area but still integrated into the space under the dome. I made these 2 quick schematic drawings to run the idea past a few friends:

    As an artist, I thought the top layout, with a main path circling around a central break area, was the most interesting architecturally. I could put an enclosure over the top and windows on the walls so as to make a sheltered center that enemies could see into and poke in and out of! But that solution creates a desire path through the "side area" and to avoid putting a health pack along the most direct route, I have to cheat and put it on the "main path". I had to admit that the 2nd option, where the sheltered side area rewards the longer, more complicated route with health and allows for a more direct main path, was the better design. Design (based on how real OW levels are set up) dictated the layout and it was up to me to make it look pretty.

    I have other examples, but I'll bring them up on future posts as this one's getting a bit long. I'll try to post some blockin progress walkthroughs this weekend. Holidays and some paid contracts may slow some updates now and then, so thanks for sticking with the thread. :smile: It's been super fun compiling my process on this. Happy Thanksgiving!
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