GDC: Day 5 Notes

Day 5 Notes include the session, “The Titans: Creating Living, Breathing Levels in God of War III.”

The Titans: Creating Living, Breathing Levels in God of War III

Kronos and Gaia, the Titans

Hero fights on a giant god (Titan) against enemies

Overview
Largest sequence in studio history
Multimillion dollar money shot spent on one tenth of the game.
24 month duration
5 core team members
35 total
420 animations
500 joints
25 min play time out of 10 hours in game
500 meters tall

Philosophy
Start with a bang… Immediately grab players attention
Go huge and reign it in
Play test a lot!!!
great games are made one piece at a time
Top down commitment to quality
Director is the gatekeeper, holds vision of the game, makes the hard decisions
Specialization = singleness of purpose, on person is specialized in fighting, environment, etc

Establishing vision of games
Locations, where is the game going to take you
Epic set pieces, define visual milestones
Wow moments, what will the player remember for years to come

Storyboard key pints in sequence
Prototype animations using old assets, used old assets to POC the fights on the Titan

Brainstorm
Concepts and images
Get on, do, get off
Break into groups for 30 mins
Regroup and put on a board
Director and leads vote on fav 3
Asses popularity
Director makes decision

Programmer wrote dynamic ik parenting system
Used a gray box man to start working

Selling the experience
Needs to be alive
Create an emotional buildup, created father son rift
Keep it believable
Dynacism, falling rocks, dust, etc
Animation
Visual effects, all the interactions had to be spot on
VO and sound FX

Scale
Real character, not just set pieces
Moments of relative scale, with enemies running on Kronos, show Kronos hand on mountain, etc
Camera work, pulling camera back, and panning
Real time, no cuts
Animation, sense of weight, grandness and slow

Experience
Not a boss fight
Show the goal, dangle that carrot, the end is the head
Epic payoffs, reward the player
Comfortable pacing, choose when it was tense instead of 25 minutes of intensity

Technical artists
Zipper tech, gutting of Kronos
Massive joint count, full face and fingers. Every time they changed the mesh they reskinned the character
Created stability vs aesthetic

Design process
Experiment and iterate over documentation – no game docs
Docs come last after iteration
Boss fights typically take 6 months to design, levels can take years to develop
Designers are encouraged to think for themselves
Things need time to come together
Get the right people on the bus
Know your philosophy and stick to it
Strength in numbers

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