How do they make the sausage when the sausage is an MMORPG? Generally, gamers are quickly made to regret that question, but Heroic Games is giving a peek into the factory anyway with the finale for its Ship of Heroes mission-creation video series.
“We previously covered how the mission design is created when the mission’s story is written,” the indie studio says. “But what happens when the art team gets ahold of that design?” To answer that, technical art lead James Smith explains that the developers use a mix of both unique hand-crafted environmental art and its own stock of map pieces and props.
“When we create new environments like human colony worlds, or the Nagdellian mothership, or a Promethean conversion facility, or other dimensions of reality, the common or similar art assets provide visual continuity and immersion. We’ve also been steadily collecting and creating art assets in advance to use in these new environments, reassembling them into maps that fit the mission design. It helps to decide on a good plan for future content in advance, and we do have one, though we also change it frequently to add new ideas.”
Smith says the team has built 30 such missions so far using the process demonstrated in the video, with another 20 under construction. All of this is good news for the game, which is apparently on track for a 2021 launch. In the meantime, players can expect mission-related testing early next year. “If all goes well, we’ll be counting down to launch after this event, working through the bug list,” he vows.