by Fallen Earth
Graphics Programmer, Kevin Coyle
One of the primary reasons the early Fallen Earth
team chose the
post-apocalyptic setting was because it was one that they felt would
resonate with players—developing a game that would be grounded in
reality. That team has grown today and is constantly working to build
on that aspect of the game.
Enter the new scrub. In an effort to enhance that realistic aspect of
the Fallen Earth
environment, the team has made several gameplay
enhancements to the wilderness, specifically to the scrub, terrain and
The biggest issue with our old scrub was the scrub meshes
themselves—they were simply a series of intersecting planes that looked
ok when viewing them from a distance, but when standing above looking
down, they would pretty much be invisible. To fix this, we replaced the
old intersecting planes with a full scrub mesh that looks full and
covers the ground nicely, whether looking from a distance or straight
down. We also improved the resolution and quality of the scrub textures
to get a sharper texture with more detail.
One of the main things we did to enhance the look of the terrain was
change the way we blended the far detail texture with the near detail
texture. This change allowed us to increase the contrast of the detail
texture on the terrain in the distance, giving it more detail. We also
reworked many of the color maps for different regions to have a
smoother blend between colors as well as additional color variation.
For the fog detail, we improved the fog equation to stretch out the
range of fog so it starts earlier and builds up more gradually. This
gives us a nice layered look with the fog on the terrain and really
helps create a sense of depth while still maintaining a very large view
range. The old fog equation tended to build up the fog too quickly, so
we had to push the fog way back to keep the distant scenery from
fogging out too quickly. Now, we get a much more gradual buildup which
looks a lot better!
In the new scrub process, our team revisited the entire ecosystem of
the game to adapt it to the improvements. Once the art team completed
the design improvements, the live and systems team went back through to
move escort target locations and several use object targets to
accommodate changes to trees and scrub.
Our team is definitely pleased with the enhancements, and players will
surely notice the changes!