• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

HBS_Leshy

Recruit
1 Badges
Feb 23, 2018
4
0
  • Harebrained Schemes Staff
Hello Everyone! I am Zach Hartlage, one of the Environment Artists that worked on bringing the Tropical Biome to life. I have been working at HBS for close to 4 years now. My first project was Shadowrun Hong Kong, and the following SR:HK Extended Edition. My claim-to-fame for BATTLETECH is working on all of the foliage, though I also had a heavy hand in a few of the Main Story missions and general polish on a great deal of all of the procedural maps.

I’ll go ahead and jump right in to my process for conjuring the look and feel of the Tropical Biome. I was instantly excited when given the prompt - maps with lots of foliage? This was going to be my jam.

Immediately I started looking into reference images, that’s always a great start. During my collection and absorption of the reference images, I also started dividing things into various folders so I can easily find specific images when I need them. Things ended up being parsed out into Beach (ocean, sand, cliffsides, rock formations), Jungle (deep forested areas), Tropical Plants, and Waterfalls. Waterfalls were a feature mentioned early on that we wanted to test and see how we could approach them best visually for BATTLETECH.

After parsing through the reference, one of the first potential problem areas that stuck out to me was the idea of doing another “green” forested biome. I wanted to take advantage of the tropical aspects to push it away from our Highland and Lowland sets and get a different look. I tried to achieve this differentiation through shape language as well as color. I spent a bit of time on the palm tree in the set because I knew it would be one of the most defining features of the forest here. I played around with different silhouettes and leaf styles, some of which continued to change even as I got into the modeling process.


With the Biomes, I always do a side by side lineup all of all my main pieces I have decided on, and play with the heights of each piece to make the forest look more full when brought together. Making the forest feel full felt especially important here for the jungle.

Also early in the process, I took a stab at doing a very sketchy look and feel piece.

I was mostly thinking about ground/rock texture, color, and how we could play with distribution of land in this biome to create something different with lots of small islands.

Another thing brought to my attention at the time was that we had not landed on a Special Design Mask. “Design Masks” are what we call the different sections of ground that affect gameplay. For instance Forest, Water, and Deep Water are all different masks we use. The “Special” ones are the masks unique to each Biome. Initially for Tropical we were considering Quicksand or even a revamp of the Lava mask. Again though, I wanted to push something new into the fold to break us away from some of the stuff we had already done. After looking at so many tropical plants (and probably my general foliage inclined disposition) I suggested what was later deemed the “Pollen Mask”.


Here I played around some different ideas, again keeping color and shape language in mind. Thinking about how things are going to read from a distance is pretty vital. After landing on some of the designs, I put together a ‘key’ of all the pieces.



While I worked on modeling foliage and creating textures, our wonderful VFX and Environment Artist Will Avery worked on setting up waterfalls, pollen VFX, and chiseled out rock prefabs for us to use on the maps.

After doing some modeling and texturing, here is an earlier shot where things started coming together a little bit. As you can see there were still some color adjustments we made further down the line. For a brief period the pollen plants were pink.


There was also a ‘Blue Period’ for the whole Biome, but we pulled it back from that.


Anyway that is pretty much it. Through lots of iteration and feedback and about 5 months of work we landed on the final Biome you see in game. Shooting for something new, while trying to keep it in theme for BATTLETECH.

I really enjoyed this opportunity to take the reins on this biome from start to finish. It was fun playing around with different ideas and seeing them come to fruition. Hope you all enjoyed the final look!
 

Havamal

Moderator
Moderator
30 Badges
Jan 3, 2018
4.720
39
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • BATTLETECH - Initiate of the Order
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Tyranny - Tales from the Tiers
  • Tyranny: Gold Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
  • Stellaris
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Magicka
  • Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Sword of the Stars II
  • Crusader Kings III Referal
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
Very nice!
 

Prussian Havoc

BATTLETECH Multiplayer Advocate
45 Badges
May 12, 2017
7.934
110
forum.paradoxplaza.com
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Victoria 2
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny: Gold Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • BATTLETECH
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
  • BATTLETECH - Initiate of the Order
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Surviving Mars
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Tyranny - Tales from the Tiers
  • Crusader Kings II
HI Zach (aka @HBS_Leshy)!

Your efforts to bring BATTLETECH's Tropicl Biome to LIFE, succeeded to an astonishing degree. It is already one of my favorite Biomes. So much LIFE! Flocks of birds, flowering plants and the beach effects are truly a joy to behold.

Thank you!
And my thanks to Connor and all of Team HBS's Environmental Artists.

Well done! : )
 

Packrat

Lt. General
25 Badges
Feb 23, 2018
1.400
0
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH - Initiate of the Order
  • BATTLETECH
  • Stellaris
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Teleglitch: Die More Edition
  • Magicka
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Divine Wind
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
The tropical biome might just be my favorite aesthetically. Everyone did a great job on it.
 

Antagonist85

Sergeant
35 Badges
May 18, 2017
79
1
  • Sword of the Stars II
  • Ancient Space
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • BATTLETECH
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Crusader Kings II
I'm actually amazed at how close to your initial sketch the map ended up looking ingame regarding the area used by that orbital strike FP.
 

gh0s7

Captain
19 Badges
Apr 24, 2018
438
30
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Initiate of the Order
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II
Very nice, I always find it fascinating the details and lines of progress on the work of gamedevs. :)

Also, any possible hint and/or teaser for URBAN areas? :D
 

Rustingbooger

Sergeant
4 Badges
Mar 12, 2018
85
0
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
That was an amazing job. It is by far my favorite. The level of detail is both amazing and scary. Cant wait to see what you and your team do next. Please, keep up the great work.
 

Havamal

Moderator
Moderator
30 Badges
Jan 3, 2018
4.720
39
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • BATTLETECH - Initiate of the Order
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Tyranny - Tales from the Tiers
  • Tyranny: Gold Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
  • Stellaris
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Magicka
  • Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Sword of the Stars II
  • Crusader Kings III Referal
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
Beautiful!
20180307221215_1 - Copy.jpg
 

CHH_Rampage

Second Lieutenant
6 Badges
Feb 25, 2018
182
0
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
The tropical biome is fantastic. I had asked for something like Gator Bait in a suggestion thread. This is close. Now if there were just some occasions where the entire map was blanketed in a swirling mist or wisp of fog and reduced lighting to give it that spooky, swampy feel then my dream would come true. Great work!

Also, I love the lunar biome and the challenges that reduced heat dissipation offers. The fight to claim the Argo on that moon was my favorite campaign battle. Great work there too!
 

Woolfe

Second Lieutenant
20 Badges
Feb 27, 2018
129
0
  • Magicka
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Age of Wonders III
  • BATTLETECH
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Pillars of Eternity
It is by far and away my favourite Biome already... One of the first maps I played after the update was a tropical, and I spent a few minutes marveling at the little details...



And this image reminded me I have to set the bloody scale to smaller for the mechs. I keep meaning to do it, and then I get playing and promptly forget.... Sigh....
 

Jonathan8883

Second Lieutenant
8 Badges
Apr 27, 2018
196
0
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Magicka
Good post, thanks.

One challenge I sometimes have is seeing the terrain ahead. On night time type missions, areas not viewable by my mechs are very dark.
I'd also like to see some way to briefly highlight all navigable terrain, as there are a few tricky areas I've run into repeatedly that look like they can be navigated, but really can't.
 

stjobe

Moderator
Moderator
15 Badges
Jan 3, 2018
2.665
252
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH - Initiate of the Order
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Magicka
  • Stellaris
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
I'd also like to see some way to briefly highlight all navigable terrain, as there are a few tricky areas I've run into repeatedly that look like they can be navigated, but really can't.
Not exactly what you asked for, but you can hold down Alt to see an overlay of movement dots around the mouse.
 

Brother Diogenes

Major
25 Badges
Feb 23, 2018
601
7
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Magicka 2: Ice, Death and Fury
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Warlock 2: The Exiled
  • Magicka 2
  • Magicka
  • Warlock 2: Wrath of the Nagas
  • King Arthur II
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
To be honest, I don’t like the heat dissipation on lunar, not the tile set!
Oh yeah. The lunar terrain's spectacular, but that punishing vacuum makes it hard to appreciate sometimes.

Besides the brighter colors, one of my favorite things about the jungle biome is how rugged it managed to be. Most people probably just focus on the overgrowth when they think "jungle," rather than rocks and cliffs, but I'm glad it wasn't the case here.
 

HurricaneSG

First Lieutenant
16 Badges
May 19, 2017
249
6
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Initiate of the Order
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Pillars of Eternity
@HBS_Leshy
Thanks for the insight. I have to say the Tropical Biome IS my new favourite one! Awesome Job of all involved.
 

MeiSooHaityu

Field Marshal
13 Badges
Jan 3, 2018
3.409
123
  • Cities: Skylines
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH - Initiate of the Order
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH - Beta Backer
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Magicka
The new biome is very beautiful, and I could tell you put an amazing amount of work into it. Great job!

One of my favorite aspects of the new biome is the birds. The first time I moved a Battlemech into a wooded area and saw the orange birds flying from the treetops to get away, it really surprised me. It was very cool. It might not have been a really big thing, but seeing interactivity with the map was cool.
 

Suralle

Recruit
May 3, 2018
1
0
The Biome's earned a solid from me as very pleasing. Thank you for the diary post and the great work.
 

mmurray821

First Lieutenant
19 Badges
Jun 9, 2002
297
0
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings III
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Prison Architect
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Surviving Mars
  • BATTLETECH
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Sword of the Stars II
I am loving the Tropical biome! Well done indeed!

The only reason I'm not a fan of the lunar or Martian biomes is I usually run majority energy 'Mechs and they are hell to fight in. Visually, they are beautiful.