The Vegas Prime Platform Array
I was tasked with creating a large environment for Vegas Prime Retrograde that would offer a sense of exploration for the player while serving as canvas for storytelling.

Contributors Stuart Templeton, Thomas Hurtt

Created At Open Form Games

Role Creative Director, Lead Designer, 3d Artist, Developer

The Challenge

Building an open world is an immense undertaking that typically requires a lot of resources. The size of the environment is large, about 4km2, so the scale of the work is daunting and multidisciplinary.

Additional time constraints were imposed by the scheduled beta release — Open Form Games needed to have the environment in advance to allow time to engineer a base set of stories to include in a community release.

Because of the scale and depth of the environment, it's incredibly time consuming to explore more than a handful of options.

The Solution

I quickly got to work with 3d software that specializes in rapid development. I sketched out several potential road maps for the city in Sketchup before settling on a handful to pursue.

I leveraged our existing asset library, building additional assets in Sketchup. This addressed both the time constraints and the enormous size of the project, allowing me to iterate rapidly over a several designs, honing in on one final map.

The Raw Layout of the City Itself

I went through multiple large scale prototypes before deciding on a layout that worked for the game. Sketchup provides a simple, intuitive and, above all fast work flow. It was perfect for this task.

I then went in with our in-house 3d asset library for Vegas Prime Retrograde to populate the pieces that make a city feel natural: traffic signs, benches, power lines, etc...

The Map

Actively building a level of this scale can be fairly daunting. I started just like I would as a tourist, by learning the streets with a map.

I used the map to start placing businesses and resources into logical neighborhoods, creating points of interest. This drove the creation of street signs, billboards, and ground clutter.

Bringing the City to Life

The city was largely complete, but lacked vibrance and bustle. I added ground clutter, like park benches and trashcans, and vegetation like trees and bushes. I added particle effects as atmospherics and Ridley Scott inspired visual effects.

I also added NPCs and vehicles to roam the streets and business affectations like cafe patios.

The result is a bustling 4km2 storytelling canvas that offers the player a sense of exploration in a sprawling neo-cyberpunk metropolis.