This level is based underground in Hades. The original concepts made by Cecil Kim, Jung Park and Izzy Merdano illustrated that the whole area was carved out from sandstone and have a desert like atmosphere. But later on it got changed from a warmer to a more cooler look.
It's a pretty massive area and I spent months working on this. Design went changing back and forth on this as well so there was a lot of changes done. There's one texture I did not do on this shot and that'd be normal map for top section of the massive 3 columns in the center/right.
That was created by our Game Director, Stig Asmussen, that I borrowed here, but other than that, I did everything else you see in this area, inclusive the skydome in the background. Since the area was so huge, and the design let the player see most of it at the same time,
I had to make sure to use a minimal amount of shaders in the level. All of the architecture, ornaments are combined into one 2048 shader (you see the zBrush piece below) and all the rocks are one shader. This ensured that the level ran pretty fast even though it was so massive.
This level had some lava introduced to it in the beginning as well, which poured out of the statues in the bottom right. The snake got cut, but the other ones have water pouring out of them ingame.
There's climbwalls in many of the GoW3 levels, and this is one of the versions I made that I used in the hades levels and on the Titan Gaia. The tiling doesn't really make sense when you look at it...small vine turns into thick, and back small again, but I blended it all in
so the player would never see it happen ingame. All of the vines are mapped in Maya and I added bump map that tiles along the direction of the vine so I could blend that in the main normal map. I never used zBrush on this since most small details were simple enough
to do within Maya instead. There's 3 different versions of the vines so they'd be flexible to use on any kind of terrain. I added a parallax map to it aswell, but I ended up modelling some of the sections with polygons instead to make it look more realistic.
Parallax fx can look a bit funky depending on camera angles. It'll be pretty cool the day we get relief map support to the hardware. Might take a few years but it'll be a cool thing once it happens for sure...we should be able to make a lot with one polygon then :)