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The main goal for this level was to build a dense forest, merge all that on a moving Titan (500m tall), throw in Kratos, add tons of enemies and explosions, and on top of this, add a boss, made out of water,
that'll blow thru the hand before starting the fight...and...make it all run over 30 frames a seconds...

The idea sounded awesome, but creating a level this complicated and epic was something nobody had done in games before. It sounded impossible and it also turned out to be a great challenge, requiring a lot ot research
and development, play testing, and lots and lots of team work. In total, we had almost 16 people from various departments involved in the Titan levels, but the main environments here were built by me and Michael Altamirano.

GaiaPreVis

I started with a simple 3d sketch so we could test it all before I moved on to blending the two pieces together and adding more detailed art. The green shows the environment that was merged in the Titans arm.
The main titan model was created by Louis Lu, but in the end, me and Mike added a lot of shaders to it all so it'd blend in with the rest of the environment. A lot of credits goes to the tech art and programmers
to even make this all work. Pictures show a lot but you really need to play it and see it all moving ingame to really understand the complexity.

Gaia01

We made a lot of rocks in zBrush during this game, I feel like 60% of all the time we spent, went into making different styles of rocks :) The one on the left (below) is the first pass I made for the mountain in the background and the one on the right is
the final one I used. The right one is based on a rock texture that was originally made by Paul Coda. After all rocks we made, we all agreed that he nailed the style we wanted for the GoW universe so we went and modified most of the other rocks
to match his style. I used Pauls texture and modeled out the rocks on the right and made the mesh tileable. I tiled the mesh and animated it all as a loop in the background to make it look as if the Titan climbs higher and higher.
I made two shaders so I could blend it into a more snowy one when the Titan get's higher up.


This shot below shows the ground shaders I made and how it ended up looking. (I used Mike's shaders for the mud and foliage sticking up between the roots). Early on, I made the grass blow in the wind,
using a distorion FX in the shader, but I ended up cutting it out in the end cause the shader got too expensive. This level had so much going on so I had to prioritize and optimize a lot to make it all run fast.
Though a similar fx can be checked in the skydomes I made. That has distortion all over.


I modeled this part (below) with rocks and trees and later on when we divided the sections, I assigned this section to Mike, who added more detail and foliage to the shot, making it all look fantastic.
Most of the work on the Gaia levels were done by me and Mike, but some credits for the foliage go to Mark Ahlin and Paul Coda as well, who created foliage textures early on for the GoW3 trailer,
that we based these textures on so it'd match the look from the trailer. Also a lot of credits goes to the tech art and programmers to even make this all possible. We had access to a lot of uber secret tech,
but also ended up using a lot of old school tricks to make it all run fast. When looking at these pictures, just keep in mind that these areas were on top of a moving, bending character...

That's all about this Titan level :)

 

Timo Pihlajamäki