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Designer's Blog
Blog 27th September 2010:
Adding content

We have just released first DLC for Commander: Conquest of the Americas. Additional content like this is something that breaths new air into a game.

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Esrb Content Rating: Teen

Designer's Blog: Building a beautiful world

Hi there!

My name is Niko Pesonen and I'm the Lead Animator here at Nitro Games. I thought I'll give little inside on the approach we had for all the 3D stuff you see in the Commander: Conquest of the Americas.

The Strategic view

You'll be spending most of your time in what we call the strategic view. Early on, we decided that we want to make the terrain look good at any distance. The common approach for making a terrain for games is building up an atlas of terrain textures and "splatting" them on top of a height map. This has it's pros and cons. The good thing is that it looks good the closer you get but the further you get there's all sorts of problems with tiling and the terrain tends to get dull at a far distance. So, what we did this time around was building the terrain so that it's divided into multiple pieces which all have their high resolution diffuse and a normal map. This way we could control the look of the complete map even at a far distance.

All the trees and other props were modelled in a way that they could be looked at an even closer distance than you see them in the strategic view. The good thing about this was that we could basically use the same assets for the strategic view.


The Tactical view

When going into battle you switch from the strategic view to what we call a Tactical view. Since water is the element we're in we made huge improvements on how the water looks and behaves. We decided to use the same way of doing things in the Tactical view because we already had a pipeline for it. All the islands and the shores were built just like the pieces in the Strategic view. And because we modelled the flora so that it can be used in the tactical level, things were relatively simple at this stage :)

One big thing for the visuals was getting our engine to the next level so that it handles lighting a lot better than before.

We also introduced three different climate types so that when the battle takes place in the snowy north, you get snowy landscapes with icebergs and the lot.


To sum up, we where very pleased with the visuals of the Conquest of the Americas. I hope you guys also like what you see! BTW, we already got some great new tricks for the next one.

Best Wishes,
Niko Pesonen

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