Exterior TileSet

    The Exterior TileSet Tool was a collaboration between the Art, Design, and Engineering departments. It was designed to quickly create massive amounts of content without the traditional bottlenecks between Art and Design. With the TileSet a Designer can literally 'draw' out a city in a matter of minutes, complete with elevation changes, waterfronts, piazzas, trees, parked cars, phone booths, and bus stops, etc.

    I worked on everything from modeling the actual ground-plane Tile geometry, to Tiles with elevation changes, came up with the system of rotations, positioning, and spacing for the buildings on the Tiles, placed all the proxy-buildings which could later be swapped out for final art, and many other elements.

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   As an MMO the Agency needed hundreds of hours of gameplay, and so we invested heavily in tools and infrastructure like the TileSet Editor. Its aim was to make levels that were both memorable and easy to create, the levels had to be made of modular pieces while still creating unique city spaces, and it needed a quick work-flow for designers and stay within the PlayStation 3's memory limits.

    The TileSet attempted to reduce long iteration times associate with hand-building levels from scratch which required custom content, custom designs, debugging, and manually cutting levels for streaming. I was part of the multi-disciplinary team tasked with developing a solution to these production realities. The TileSet was developed by our Engineers, visual content was provided and maintained by the Artists, and the end customers were the Designers. When complete, as a time comparison one of our Designers remade a city in the TileSet Editor in a few short hours which had previously taken several months to build.

   My main focus was on aesthetics, our grid system, and hardware performance. (see images below↓)

  1. I developed our street system which created a wide range of visual variation.
  2. I created our building measurements and their placement configurations, and worked with engineering on load balancing for performance - how often to reuse buildings already in memory.
  3. I evaluated building-height requirements to limit how much content players saw.
  4. Finally, I placed the 'proxy' buildings which were later swapped out with final art assets. This also meant designers didn't have to wait for final art before making cities.

    1. Top-down diagram of all the street configurations for the TileSet where the black lines represent the streets and each square represents a full city block (tile).

    A top-down image of a single street tile showing that on any city block a street can connect to one of two 'connection points' per side.

    2. Top-down diagram of the spaces the buildings would occupy (colored areas) which were used to determine building sizes, how often building groups repeated, and the street angles the buildings needed to accommodate. Later, 'proxy buildings' were made to fit these colored areas.

    3. The image below shows the player's restricted viewing area, both horizontally (left) and vertically (right)

    4. Below, the gray proxy buildings were enterable by the player. The colored buildings were non-enterable, but instead acted as bookends to keep the gray buildings lined up.