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Urbanopolis Art Gallery

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

I'm still waiting on some confirmations before I can make my big mystery announcement, but in the meantime I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the work I've been doing towards my second planet map, Urbanopolis. This one is of course city-themed, so I wanted it to have a very different feel from Purple Planet. First off, it needed to be much more dense; I didn't want players to be able to see clearly all the way from one edge of the map to the other. For that, I required buildings. Lots of buildings:

As you can see, most of these are pretty geometrically simple, but it was still a huge time-sink for someone with my skill level to UV and material every single one of them. Luckily, I was able to use everything I'd learned about performance to create a single texture map for each color, then place the UVs for each object so that the windows and other accents still showed up correctly. The result is that I can draw everything you see above (and as many copies of each as I want) in exactly three draw calls (again, one per color). That gives me a lot to work with, without feeling too repetitive as you're flying around the level.

The second step was making all the tiles I discussed as part of my map-making post. This was done mostly at random, but generally putting a building on each corner so that when the tiles are placed together, they appear to be organized in city-block clumps. You can also see the empty tile and generic pen variants. My ground material still uses the special worldspace tiling shader, this one using an asphalt or asphalt-and-grass texture I created by using random splotches in Photoshop.

I wanted the city to feel more like a maze than any other map, but I also felt that there should be some distinguishing landmarks, especially on the largest map size. So I created some: a city hall, a hospital, a police station, a school, and more. These use my "special tile" placement algorithm, so that there's only one of each of them placed per map, and even more importantly, city hall is always placed at (0,0), the exact center of the map.

One more thing. Remember that I came up with the dynamic that "there are no freely-wandering cows in the city"? Every one starts in a generic pen (which, incidentally, means I need to use a much higher ratio of pens-to-normal tiles for most game modes), and must be stolen out of it. To further play into that, I decided to add a new AI enemy: the attack helicopter. These copters patrol the city, and, upon encountering a player carrying a cow, start an all-out attack on them. If you shoot back, helicopters do not get stunned like other players, but after taking a few hits, they'll be destroyed completely. I personally find this dynamic really cool, and I think it'll be a great way to make the map feel unique.

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