Jump to content

Question to the Artists who worked on the IE games


Recommended Posts

I just installed IWD2 again, and now I'm curious how exactly the process was in creating these beautiful areas for the IE games. Is it all hand-painted/Scanned/Photoshoped (if yes, how did you get all these photorealistic details into it? Inclusive Ligthing/Shadows) or is it 3D art, then rendered (if yes, how the hell did you manage it to complete it in that century?). And then the characters... I suppose those were created as a fully 3D detailed model and then you rendered frame for frame, till you got an animation, right? It was never really clear to me how 2D games were made, so any insights from the veterans who worked on the IE games are welcome! Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny but I was always wondering about the same :rolleyes: .

HERMOCRATES:

Nur Ab Sal was one such king. He it was, say the wise men of Egypt, who first put men in the colossus, making many freaks

of nature at times when the celestial spheres were well aligned.

 

SOCRATES:

This I doubt. We are hearing a child's tale.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In general the process was a 3D pass, followed by a lighting pass, followed by a 2D touch-up pass. The extent of each pass was dependent on the artist in charge of each of the area.

 

So, generally what would happen is that a 2D area layout would be made by a designer on graph paper or in some paint or simple layout program. From there, an artist would often build a very simple 3D representation of the area to make sure that sizes and spaces looked right to both him and the designer. After that, the artist would model and texture either the entire area or the parts of the area that were easier to do in 3D. For Torment, we used mostly Lightwave to do the areas, while for Icewind Dale base models were often done in Lightwave, but the final scene was put together in MAX.

 

The next step was lighting the areas. A lot of the IE games ended up being lit by a guy named John Dickenson although some of the other artist lit their own areas as well. John would spend a bunch of time with each area getting the lighting to look right and then he would render out the final. For an 8x8 level (the largest) that ended up being 5120 pixels by 3840 pixels. Although for IWD1 and IWD2 we often stuck to a max of 6 x 6 or 3840x2880 for IWD1 and 4800 x 3600 for IWD2 (we went to 800x600 screens for IWD2).

 

After the lighting, artists would touch-up the areas using either Photoshop or Painter and that would then be the final area. The only thing that was left was to render were all the parts of the picture that had alternate looks - things like open doors, pulled chains, broken walls, etc... The area with those changes would be rendered and touched-up and then a process was run to only keep the 64x64 tiles that had changed between the versions of the same area.

 

Some areas were done in 3D very quickly and then spent more time in 2D touch-up - a lot of the snow areas in IWD2 were done this way. While other areas were rendered and that was pretty close to the final - I am pretty sure Dragon's Eye from IWD1 is a good example of this.

 

There were some other things that needed to be done to make the areas work in the game correctly including walkmeshes and occlusion polys, but those really didn't have to do with the art itself.

Feargus Urquhart

CEO

Obsidian Entertainment, Inc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Feargus and if you'd get a chance to make Icewind Dale III today, what methods and programs would be in your programmer's arsenal? Surely 2D RPGs are obsolete today (a pity indeed).

HERMOCRATES:

Nur Ab Sal was one such king. He it was, say the wise men of Egypt, who first put men in the colossus, making many freaks

of nature at times when the celestial spheres were well aligned.

 

SOCRATES:

This I doubt. We are hearing a child's tale.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting... So, this probably sounds like a stupid question now, but do you feel the overall effort in doing Art for the IE games was higher or lower than creating now a fully detailed 3D world a'la NWN2? I'm just thinking about the sheer amount of these detailed areas in IWD2, how was it possible to do good old 2D games with far less artists than creating now a fully detailed 3D world (which looks like gets more and more challenging for the artists as the time moves on) when Models/Texturing/animation etc. must be done in such high detail and quantity nonetheless?

Link to post
Share on other sites

For IWD3, I would probably use what we are creating for NWN2. We would have to make modifications to make a party system work, but with all the changes we've made I think it would work well.

 

As for the amount of effort it took to make the 2D IE games vs. the latest 3D stuff, I guess there is a fairly long list of reasons why. Maybe the succinct way I can explain it is that comparing 2D backgrounds to 3D ones is like comparing the making of a movie set vs. an actual building. In 2D the artists usually only have to worry about making the things that actually face the camera. Plus, when it comes into adding the detail they can bring the picture into a paint program and touch it up. They can also be pretty "sloppy" with how they build things. This is because as long as you don't see the sloppiness in the final, it doesn't matter how they got it to look that way. 3D engines are much less forgiving - if they take a piece of geometry and just stick it into another, you can get errors with lighting, shadows, collision, Z sorting, etc... And if the error is bad enough, the level won't even load.

 

Like I said, there are a lot of other reasons why it's harder and takes larger teams, but the above comparison is probably one of the main reasons.

Feargus Urquhart

CEO

Obsidian Entertainment, Inc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What surprised me in this, is that Feargus measured the size of the maps in pixels. I wonder what Gothic 2's world would measure in pixels..

Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

Link to post
Share on other sites
I just installed IWD2 again, and now I'm curious how exactly the process was in creating these beautiful areas for the IE games. Is it all hand-painted/Scanned/Photoshoped (if yes, how did you get all these photorealistic details into it? Inclusive Ligthing/Shadows) or is it 3D art, then rendered (if yes, how the hell did you manage it to complete it in that century?). And then the characters... I suppose those were created as a fully 3D detailed model and then you rendered frame for frame, till you got an animation, right? It was never really clear to me how 2D games were made, so any insights from the veterans who worked on the IE games are welcome! Thanks.

I think it was like this drawn, scanned and than painted in photoshop.

"Your total disregard for the law and human decency both disgusts me and touches my heart. Bless you, sir."

"Soilent Green is people. This guy's just a homeless heroin junkie who got in a internet caf

Link to post
Share on other sites
I just installed IWD2 again, and now I'm curious how exactly the process was in creating these beautiful areas for the IE games. Is it all hand-painted/Scanned/Photoshoped (if yes, how did you get all these photorealistic details into it? Inclusive Ligthing/Shadows) or is it 3D art, then rendered (if yes, how the hell did you manage it to complete it in that century?). And then the characters... I suppose those were created as a fully 3D detailed model and then you rendered frame for frame, till you got an animation, right? It was never really clear to me how 2D games were made, so any insights from the veterans who worked on the IE games are welcome! Thanks.

I think it was like this drawn, scanned and than painted in photoshop.

No, read what Feargus has written. PS was only used for the touch-up.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I just installed IWD2 again, and now I'm curious how exactly the process was in creating these beautiful areas for the IE games. Is it all hand-painted/Scanned/Photoshoped (if yes, how did you get all these photorealistic details into it? Inclusive Ligthing/Shadows) or is it 3D art, then rendered (if yes, how the hell did you manage it to complete it in that century?). And then the characters... I suppose those were created as a fully 3D detailed model and then you rendered frame for frame, till you got an animation, right? It was never really clear to me how 2D games were made, so any insights from the veterans who worked on the IE games are welcome! Thanks.

I think it was like this drawn, scanned and than painted in photoshop.

No, read what Feargus has written. PS was only used for the touch-up.

I meant for the portraits.

"Your total disregard for the law and human decency both disgusts me and touches my heart. Bless you, sir."

"Soilent Green is people. This guy's just a homeless heroin junkie who got in a internet caf

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...