Monday, April 28, 2014

343 Industries and Halo 4

Since my last update, I've been working on the Halo franchise at 343 Industries. My role on the team transitioned from environment artist into a lead role fairly early in the project so I don't have a ton of personal work to share, but thought I'd share regardless.

At the beginning of production I helped develop the 3d style for 343i's UNSC visual style under Paul Pepera. These hi res models are using visual language pulled from Kenneth Scott's art direction and various pieces of concept art, but are my original designs.

I was also responsible for a fair amount of pre-production massout work. This consisted of expanding upon the designer block-in and giving more form and dimension to the space. Our goal was to make the Forward Unto Dawn feel claustrophobic like a submarine. We had one piece of key concept art that was the inspiration for all of these rooms. Our goal was to create a claustrophobic atmosphere based on naval submarines. I didn't get to see these areas through to completion, but the final incarnation of these spaces is very faithful to my original massout work.

 I was also tasked with look development for our first beauty corner on Dawn. We chose a random hallway of my design to prove out what we could do graphically. These shots are all using incomplete lighting and shading systems, and the final shot isn't the content that shipped in game, but it gave us a visual target for the rest of the level.

All of these areas were modeled in Softimage and pushed into our engine through Maya. It mainly consists of "low" res geometry with tiling textures applied, but the center ceiling object is a hi-res bake.

Shortly after submitting the beauty corner work for Dawn, I was moved into a new role as Multiplayer Environment Lead. From this point on, most of my hands on work was to demonstrate successful implementation of our visual languages or pre-production work. Beyond that I was working with the team to create a diverse field of maps, and directing visually where needed.

Most of the work below is the product of a large team of incredible guys and gals. I can only take credit for a few small pieces of it, but am extremely proud of what we accomplished nonetheless.

Our first task was to tackle the MP map Haven, which had been in production for some time but wasn't making the progress needed to hit it's deadline. Forerunner architecture took a long time for the Halo Environment team as a whole to understand, but this map was one of the first successful examples of it in our game. Below was my first take on forerunner that we used as tileable textures in Haven. I built a few example sections and the team rallied to finish it from there. 

Complex was another of our multiplayer maps. Below is the designer block-in, followed by my massout work, and the final shot which is the combined effort of four awesome artists. I contributed more artwork to this map than most of the other levels, doing a lot of the pre-pro work, terrain, and the forerunner obelisk inside the main base.

 Below are two examples of our episodic content, Spartan Ops. These maps were created from the ground up specifically for that experience. We had a lot of other maps that were recreated from existing single player content which I didn't display here, but it was a good amount of work to get those optimized for this game type as well.

I'm super proud of the teams that created these maps, my role was mainly in helping them to shape their concepts and providing visual direction as needed. I should also thank our awesome concept team which took a lot of the guesswork out of creating these amazing areas!


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