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Fallen Earth: A Closer Look At The Post-Apocalyptic Environment

Posted Thu, Jan 07, 2010 by B. de la Durantaye

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 fog.



Scrub

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.



Terrain

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.



Fog

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!

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