The Fury Vortex - This is the first draft I did for that level. I reused the skydome I made for GoW3 to speed up the RnD. I animated it all and threw the character on the ship to see how it'd work
with design and cameras. When I created this one, there was no design to it yet. The only thing we knew was that the game director (Todd Papy) wanted a massive epic vortex, so I improvised.
I made two tests for the vortex movement as well. One using only UV's to guide the direction + flow speed, and the other where I used UV's, combined with separate meshes rotating with different speeds.
Even though it was a bit more expensive, I ended up using the latter technique so we could easily tune in the speed and time it all with the design. My original goal was to make the ship static, and make
everything move around it, an illusion, so we could simplify the development, but later on, there was a decision to animate all it instead of using those tricks.
Everything on this page is done by me. The boat is a temp mesh I did for testing. Click on the pictures to see test videos.
I originally made the vortex so it animated from a calm ocean and turned into a chaotic mass and used displacements from the zBush mesh to control where the foam shows up.
The animation is just a Y-scale anim,
with shaders animating with it in sync. The shader part required most of the work, since one shader had to turn from a calm looking ocean into a foamy, crazy mass once the vortex got deep enough.
I created the base wave mesh in Maya and exported it to zBrush to fix any tiling issues. The waters use 2 normals that scroll in different speeds, the foam fx is just an overlay ingame done in photoshop and controlled with a displacement.
The final vortex ended up way steeper than the first one I created at the top, due to design changes with the monster. The direction changed to a more oily/ink looking vortex so I created this one below.
The base normals stayed the same but I added a different distortion to it all so it'd look and behave thicker. This one uses the mesh rotations where the top mesh is static and the deeper it gets, the faster it rotates.
I used around 5-6 meshes in total, and they're all blended in with alphas at the bottom edges. Sorting was an issue so I made only the necessary parts with alphas.
The lighter parts were controllable with the displacement so it was easy to adjust it so it looked thicker, or as if a light was lit behind it under water.
This is the vortex used in the final fight, against a massive tentacle monster. Other artist changed the final lighting and rotation direction of the vortex later in game, but overall it's the same mesh.
The same vortex in also used in the main fight area, located in the center of the vortex. Only difference is that I made the inside work with the monster when it bursts thru the water wall.
I also changed the water speed so it'd work better with close up shots.