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Neverwinter

Art Developer Blog: Fangbreaker Island Environment

By Andy (StrumSlinger)
Wed 10 Aug 2016 10:40:00 AM PDT

Hello adventurers! It’s Patrick Poage again, Environment Artist for Neverwinter. I’m here to tell you about the newest dungeon for you to explore, Fangbreaker Island, and to shed some light on how our development teams work together to create new experiences for the players.

First things first, I’d like to give a bit of a tour of the new dungeon, and all of the different environments you’ll journey through on your way to challenge Drufi, Herald of Winter.

(The Ascent)

Players start the dungeon by ascending a mountain path, guarded by frost giants, while their allies Catti-brie, Wulfgar, and Harshnag cause a distraction at the harbor on the other side of the island. At the top of the mountain, players will need to defeat a powerful guardian before descending into the caves that lead to the back entrance of Harshwind Hold.

(The Chilling Tunnels)

Crawling through the cavernous, frigid caves, players will need to destroy icy barriers that block their passage, while fighting off the hordes of ice trolls out for their blood. 

(The Frozen Bay)

Upon exiting the caves, players must cross a frozen bay, but should be wary of the monster the giants have lured there to guard their flank.

(Harshwind Hold)

After defeating the Dragon Turtle, players must search for the Ring of Winter in Harshwind Hold and meet up with their allies to make their escape. Blocking the path is none other than Drufi, Herald of Winter.

(Harshwind Harbor)

This will be players’ second chance to defeat Drufi. Luckily, Frost Giant’s don’t heat their food, because revenge is a dish best served…actually, no. I can’t.  It’s too awful. Good luck on the fight ;)

Now that you have an idea what to expect as you fight through the dungeon, I’d like to talk about how an environment artist like me needs to work with all of the other teams on Neverwinter to make a dungeon like Fangbreaker Island. Specifically, I’ll walk you through the creation of the ice floe where you fight the Dragon Turtle, and how many other people I needed to work with to make that asset work.

(Whitebox for the Dragon Turtle Ice Floe)

When I first starting working on the fight, we just placed a large cylinder on the map to approximate the size of the ice floe we’d need. Doug Miller, one of our systems designers (Asterdahl on the forums), and Chris Dods, one of our content designers, both worked with me to figure out what the size and shape would need to be for the Dragon Turtle’s powers to work. 

(Iteration and Testing)

I roughed out a quick shape and we playtested a bit with proxy models for the Dragon Turtle. After a few iterations, we decided on the “final” size and shape.  The size that we picked then influenced Matt Fagan, the character artist who sculpted and painted the beast. He had to make sure that the Dragon Turtle felt big enough on the ice floe to make the fight seem epic. 

(Final Result)

Even after all that came together, I wasn’t quite done tweaking this one asset. Once our animator James Lutz finished the animations, I needed to readjust the height variation on the ice floe to be more perfectly flat, so that the turtles front legs didn’t clip through as much when he rears up to blast players with his steam breath. 

Not every rock or tree impacts so many parts of our team, but a good environment artist will always be conscientious about how their work affects gameplay.

(Even Frost Giants need breakrooms)

I hope that you are all looking forward to Fangbreaker as much as I am. I just got my rogue’s item level high enough to run it when it goes live.  Best of luck to you all!  You’re gonna need it!

Patrick Poage

Environment Artist

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