At Activision I have shipped the worlds greatest selling AAA games. I began my career working at Luxoflux which was acquired by Activision and then I moved to Treyarch.
I took advantage of my architectural background to create massive open world city simulations for titles like True Crime LA and NY for which I used GIS data, combined with city zoning maps, elevation models to create real time simulations for Los Angeles and New York using proprietary technology. I then worked on Spiderman’s Manhattan using a parametric building generation system. I have worked on three Call of Duty games - the worlds largest selling interactive franchise.
I like to focus on not only achieving high quality visual results but also ensuring optimal performance on the titles I have worked on. I have outlined some of the challenges & processes below -
TRUE CRIME STREETS OF LA
Using the UCLA Center for Research Library's Sanborn Map Catalogue as a reference (left), I researched and identified about 400 sq miles of Los Angeles that needed to be recreated for the game. The game shipped with about 250 sq miles of LA (right)
In editor screenshot of the complex I-10 and I-110 freeway interchange.
Virtual Los Angeles was built using a propriatary toolset which integrated Geographical Information system (GIS) data, Digital elevation Data (DEM) and City Zoning data. The result was an extremely accurate simulation of LA presented within a gaming context. The city roads were created by converting the GIS data into splines and exuding a variety of road profiles onto them. We had more than a 100 different road types in the game. The buildings were auto populated by researching and creating detailed 'rules' for each neighborhood. These rules when applied to terrain patches would automatically place buildings, trees, street objects and even parked cars across the city. For True Crime NY, we had a similar system for the interior of buildings - which would populate furniture etc based on the type of building it was.
TRUE CRIME NEW YORK
True Crime NY built on the previously tested model of its prequel and building of virtual New York was a lot more detailed oriented. Since we were dealing with a much smaller city, we could spend a lot more time detailing out specific neighborhoods.
In editor screenshot showing a section of the populated city with satellite imagery overlay and the lane editor system
In game screenshots compared to real photographs.
SPIDERMAN 3 - THE GAME
Spiderman's Manhattan was made up of approximately 1200 city blocks with around 10-15 buildings on each block. The buildings were parametric - their facades populated with 3d building meshmaps of a variety of architectural styles I helped research and build.
3D building meshmaps populated on parametric building facades
Game Trailer Video
CALL OF DUTY
MODERN WARFARE REFLEX EDITION
Call of Duty Modern Warfare was a top selling game during its time - it sold more than 13 million units worldwide ad won many awards. The challenge for me on this title was to optimize all the Xbox 360 levels down to the technical specifications of the Wii hardware. I worked on the most complex levels and also provided creative direction to address visual challenges that existed after solving for system requirements. The game was recognized as one of the best Wii games of all time.
Various techniques were used to achieve this seemingly impossible task using Treyarchs proprietary engine Radiant 3D :
All World geometry needed to be dynamically streamed in from the disk while playing the level. This was done by seperating all prefabs into streamgroups and assigning a radius to each based on the specific design and gameplay of each level.
Building prefab LOD levels were built using the world LOD system.
Framerate optimization by creating portals to hide models which were entirely covered by the players view.
Memory reduction of GFX, optimizing collision brushes,3D models and texture sizes.
Adjustment of light map density.
Surface count reduction by reducing the number of texture blends in the levels, combining materials and atlasing textures.
Once the system optimizations were complete and approved, I helped give creative direction for the levels - which met the high visual standards of the Call of Duty brand, without affecting gameplay.
After the success of this title, I used the above mentioned process on 2 other Call of Duty titles.
MODERN WARFARE 3
At its time of release, Modern Warfare 3 was the largest selling game in Activision history. As Sr Technical Artist on the Wii version I worked on giving creative direction and optimization of the most complex levels of this title. I helped train other team members and facilitated collaboration between multiple remote studios.
BlackOps sales exceeded $1 Billion and it sold 25 million copies worldwide making it the best selling game of all time. I played an integral role in managing memory and frame rate issues for the most complex levels of the game and also helped train other artists to bring them upto speed with the optimization process. The title was developed simultaneously with the XBOX version and that added another layer of complexity to the process.