Damion Schubert Explains Map DesignDamion Schubert Explains Map Design


Last week’s Friday Update to the official Star Wars: The Old Republic website consisted of a dev blog by BioWare’s Damion Schubert on the process of creating the game’s various in-game maps.Damion explains how BioWare’s technology can create maps automatically:

What we decided to do was to have a design process which generates maps based on the objects that exist inside of any zone in the game world. To start off, a designer draws a trigger box around part of the world, and then designates which map that trigger box belongs to. He then uses a tool which effectively renders only the objects that are inside of that particular trigger box. This gives us a basic map image. After this, he runs a Photoshop tool which applies a filter that makes the resulting image look techy, holographic and vaguely architectural (if indoors) or topographical (if outdoors). Finally, an artist does a cleanup pass, removing visual artifacts and other noise that might have crept into the process.

The end result is that we have maps that can show astonishing details about the game world. Chairs, crates, statues – all manner of items show up on the map from a birds-eye view, giving the player a real sense of where they are in the world. The resulting map was in fact so good that early on, we found unexpected obstacles were appearing on the map. After investigation, it turned out they were chandeliers and rafters rendered near the ceiling.