Reference from : VERTEX <--nice web!!
The process of creating environments at Naughty Dog is lengthy and detailed, but the real secret is sticking to the fundamentals; both the fundamentals of art as well as the fundamentals of video game pipelines. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself when trying to create whole environments, but there are foundations of environment art that will keep you on track.
Here’s an example of modular environment creation with prototypes. This building facade is created with just 4 different prototypes and a minimal amount of non-prototyped mesh. We call this non-prototyped mesh Tfrag. Since Tfrag is only used once, it is a waste of memory whereas prototypes that are instanced multiple times but only load into memory once are much more cost efficient.
這裡有一個模組化場景檔案和原型的範例，這個建物只是由4個不一樣的原型和最少數量的非原型物件組成的。我們稱non-prototyped mesh 為 Tfrag .由於 Tfrag 只被用過一次，是一種浪費記憶體，而 prototypes是被實體化多次，但只被讀寫一次，是相當有效益的。
Obviously some Tfrag will be needed, but being as modular as possible will allow for numerous amounts of detail to be added to the level with a minimal hit to memory. Below are examples of both the Prototypes and Tfrag that were used to create the façade.
有些Trag很明顯的會被需要，但盡可能的模組化，將考慮到更多數量的細節增加，對於使用最小記憶體的層級。以下是 Prototypes 和 Tfrag 被利用製作的外觀。
Working on a game like Uncharted requires a lot of planning and work. It takes a long time to finish an environment, especially with changes in story, design and artistic style. The best way to finish then, is to work iteratively. Taking areas of environments to full completion early on is risky as you’re sure to have to change it sooner or later.
There is a process called look development where we will complete a small section of art as a proof of concept to show what each Environment Artist’s vision of their level is, but very little of this is actually used in end results. From there we focus on macro art (the whole environment) and micro art (the detail within the environment). To help explain this, I’m going to use the market from Yemen in Uncharted 3 as an example.
這有一個流程叫"視覺開發"(Look development)，這階段我們將會完成小部份的美術的區塊，如同"概念性驗證"(proof of concept) 呈現每個場景美術他們的關卡版本。但是相當少的部份會被使用在最終結果，從這裡，我們聚焦在macro art整體(整個場景)和micro art 局部(環境中的細節)。為幫助解釋，我將利用uncharted3的 Yemen 市場當作範例。
After researching and look developing Yemen, the designer then gave me their initial level design in a form we call blockmesh. This is just a gray blocky mockup of the level in 3D. After deciding on the look and purpose of each area, I set to work on defining each set in a way that communicates to the player what that space is. In the market’s case, I had to communicate that this was a lively part of the city that people gather to shop, meet and dine. On a macro level, this involved buildings, shops, food vendors, transportation, etc. And within such categories, the art is broken down on a micro level to give detail and life to the area.
A perfect example of this is the shops. After researching the different types of shops typically found in Yemen, I created various shop prototypes that were modular so building an entire marketplace would not only be quick, but also easily iterated on. I made around 9 of these shops that could connect and be interchanged to create the maximum amount of variation with the minimal amount of resources. Then I could work within each shop individually to give each one history and character. Below are examples a few modular shop pieces that were used to quickly and iteratively block out an entire market place. Working in this workflow mindset allows several different “looks” or environ -
ment styles within a level to be accomplished easier and faster.
With the basic setup of the market in place, then comes the fun part: detail. The creation of each environment is heavily dependent upon the game design. In the market’s case, the gameplay consists of a foot chase which means the player will run past the art quickly and will need as much information as possible without being overwhelmed to quickly make decisions on what to do. The idea then is to give that information to the player quickly and easily to communicate where they are and where they are going. This is where detail is key. Some of the obstacles in the market are folding tables where the locals eat. To reinforce the design, the tables are adorned with plates, cups, pitchers, bowls and other items. There are food vendors cooking kabobs over charcoal pits with smoke filling the air around them. Next to the food vendors are shelves full of cookware and serving trays. And there are umbrellas and chairs to suggest people sit for extended periods of time here, possibly to dine and talk with friends.
由於市場的基本格局到位，接下來有趣的地方 : 細節，每個場景的建立是相當依賴遊戲設計。就市場的範例而言，遊玩是由雙腳追逐，這意味著玩家將很快的跑過美術並且將需要更多資料，盡可能不需慎重而快速做出該做甚麼的決定。然後這想法是給予玩家資訊快速並且容易交代他們在哪裡和他們將去哪裡。這邊"細節"是關鍵，有一些在市場的障礙物是當地人吃飯的摺疊桌。為加強設計，桌子用盤子，杯子，罐子，碗等物品做裝飾。小吃攤透過木炭窯烤肉，他們周遭伴隨著煙佈滿空氣。緊鄰小吃攤的是擺滿炊具和湯盤的貨架。並且有遮陽傘和椅子提供人們久坐此地，可能吃飯或是與朋友交談。
While this detail is good in an art sense, it is also good for the design since we want to encourage the player to make the choice of either going around the tables or running over them and knocking all the items off for a more cinematic experience. It seems like a lot of work for only about 5 seconds of gameplay, but the job of the Environment Artist is to both capture the player within the world and support game design with hints of detail that serve as communication tools.
Another aspect of environment art is vistas or expansive art sets that a player sees from a distance. This could be anything from sprawling cityscapes to tall mountain ranges. At Naughty Dog, we refer to the parts of a level that comprise a vista as a “wide”. Typically in video games, wides are just matte paintings that a player will never explore or be in. But it is easy to lose the parallax effect of 3d objects within a matte paining and also they appear flat on 3D monitors and the illusion of depth is lost. However, working on Uncharted 3, it was discovered that there is a certain distance at which point neither parallax nor 3D depth can be experienced and that’s the best time to utilize a matte
painting. When creating a 3d wide, the artist has to take into consideration how close the player will be able to get to the wide as well as how expensive the wide will be in conjunction with the level. Therefore, a wide is usually one of the last aspects of a level to be considered and early during production will not be represented except by maybe some simple blockmesh. Since most assets within a wide will be at a distance from the player, the art can usually be lower resolution than that found in the actual level, both in terms of poly count and texture memory. For example, in the Yemen city wide, (based on the real city of Sana’a), the further back the buildings go, the simpler the geome-
try and textures get. It’s up to the imagination of the Environment Artist to create a setting and mood with the wide to enthrall the player with a minimalistic amount of detail, just as a painter can imply detail with just simple brush strokes.
，一般在電視遊戲裡，wide就只是matte painting，玩家將絕不會探索或身在其中。這容易失去在一個matte painting內，3D物件的視差效果容易失去，並且他們在3D螢幕上顯示平坦且也失去深度的錯覺。然而，在Uncharted 3中，這是會被探索的並且這絕佳的時機去利用matte painting。當製作一個3D wide，美術要去考慮玩家將能夠多靠近wide和wide要多奢侈將和關卡連接起來一樣。因此，一個wide通常是一關卡最後部分之一被考慮並且在早期製程將不會出現，除非是一些簡單的Blockmesh.因為在wide裡的大部分道具將會離玩家有段距離，美術料件可以通常是比平常一般可見的還要低一點的解析度，無論是poly數目和貼圖容量。例如，Yemen城市的Wide，(以Sana'a真實城市為依據)，更靠後面建物，更簡單的幾何體和貼圖。這些由場景美術的想像力決定製作設置和wide中的氣氛，去吸引玩家，運用較少的細節，就像是畫家可以只用簡易的筆觸暗示出細節。
An important part of the production pipeline that is crucial to talk about it outsourcing. Outsourcing is a huge part of production, and after much trial and error, Naughty Dog seems to have found the best way for us to implement it into our pipeline. Utilizing outsourcing for art helps to keep deadlines on track as well as give the environment artist more time to work on a larger amount of work. For Yemen, most of the outsourcing was done early on to help visualize the look and after a full library of assets was created, putting together whole levels required very little outsource.
However towards the end of production when the levels were near completion, again outsourcing was used to create the large amount of shadow blockers so that almost no final art casts its own shadow, freeing up frame rate which ultimately allows more final art and detail on screen.
然而產品來到最後，當關卡接近完成，再一次外包被利用於創作大量的 shadow blockers 因此最終的美術料件擁有自己的影子，可以提高"幀速率 frame rate"最終允許更多最終美術品跟美術料件在螢幕上。
A big part of an Environment Artist’s responsibilities is the invisible environment. That is, all the behind the scenes stuff going on that the artist is responsible for that isn’t viewed by the player. These things include collision, shadow blockers, reflection geometry, and sound designation. While all of these are fundamentally basic to the experienced environment artist, a focus on these will enable the maximum amount of final art capable of being rendered in real time. As stated, shadow blockers were helped with by outsourcing, but early in production we decided to make all prototypes include shadow blockers so that through instancing we eliminate the amount of one off shadow blocker art that eats up time of the outsourcers.
場景美術最大的責任是看不到的場景。也就是說，所有在幕後的料件正是美術負責不讓玩家看見的。這些料件包括碰撞(collision)，陰影阻擋(shadow blocker)， 反射幾何體(reflection geometry)，和聲音指定(sound designation)。當這些所有是根本的基礎，對於一個有經驗的場景美術，會專注於讓這些能夠使用最大量的最終美術品，以real time方式渲染出來，但早期在生產階段，我們決定製作所有的prototypes 包括陰影阻擋(shadow blocker)，因此透過實例化，我們消耗了一個陰影阻擋(shadow blocker)的數量，用完外包時間。
Collision is created both in prototype and as one offs within a level to suit the needs of the needs of design and also to fix bugs. Reflection geometry is usually low res meshes whose textures are rendered from the higher poly final art that the player sees. Then both geometries are marked to either reflect or not reflect to save frame rate, allowing for real time reflections. Another job of the environment artist at Naughty Dog is to assign sound information to the collision to dictate what sounds are played when a player walks on or touches it.
碰撞(Collision)是被創造在prototype裡和在關卡裡一次性的(這句不懂)，滿足設計需要並且修正錯誤。反射幾何(Reflection geometry) 通常是較低面數，它的貼圖是來自玩家看到的高面數最終美術品而被渲染。然後這兩種面數的幾何，被標記為既不反射，也無法反映降低frame rate，只允許real-time的反射。在頑皮狗裡，場景美術另一件工作是置入聲音資訊給碰撞，去命令聲音播放，當玩家走過或是碰觸。
Although this has been just the tip of the iceberg of the environment modeling workflow at Naughty Dog, it is easy to see that so much goes into creating an entire environment from conception to what is shipped in the final version of the game. And although this is the way that Naughty Dog does it, that doesn’t mean it’s the best or right way, but simply what works for us and we are constantly analyzing our methods and improving upon them. It is difficult and sometimes tedious work to fully realize a whole environment but also very rewarding. I often tell people that my job is actually to problem solve and that environment art is the fun thing I get to do for doing that job well.
Special thanks to Designer Eric Schatz, Texture Artists Jeremy Huxley and Adelle Bueno, Lighting Artist Eva Krzeminiski and the numerous other talented artists, designers and programmers at Naughty Dog.
特別感謝: 設計師 Eric Schatz, 材質美術 Jeremy Huxley and Adelle Bueno 燈光美術 Eva Krzeminiski 以及許多在頑匹狗其他的有才華的美術，設計，程式人員
I’m an Environment Artist with 5 years of experience in the game industry. Titles I have worked on include Section 8,Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3. I worked on the train level, over a dozen vistas and a few multiplayer maps in Uncharted 2 and was responsible for the Yemen single player levels in Uncharted 3.
我是一位在遊戲界有五年經驗的場景美術，有參與過Section 8,Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3