The influence of Warpgates in the game's dynamics have varied over time, but they've always filled an important role as a staging point, a safe zone and a social area. As an accidental omission task-wise that was caught shortly before the Hossin Summer '14 launch, I volunteered to handle the layout, resculpting, and repainting the surrounding terrain. While there wasn't enough time for any wild structural changes, all three received a custom race track circuit (sick jumps included), extra landing pads, and some bonus social / flavor props. Below contains a before shot of the messy, texture-corrupted version and all three finished variants.
With most of Koltyr in solid shape, the Warpgates were the last thing needing to be done for the tutorial continent. I had wanted to take a crack at revising the several year old warpgate design we launched with a simple, intuitive one that improved on flow and fit with expected player behaviors. During whiteboxing, I wanted to knock out as much as possible with the new design knowing we'd have some spare art cycles to spend on it.
Here's what I attempted to accomplish with it:
- Put the location of the warpgate facility onto one side and faced all of it inwards/across, building it more like a standard outpost. This was intended to hook into future features such as siegeable warpgates and intercontinental attacks, as well as be easier to understand overall.
- Placed the warpgate facility on high ground for both the above future features as well as giving the player a better vantage point of the area and where to go.
- Integrated 'activities' to entertain the player during this quasi-social zones downtime. Stacks of climbable crates on the main platform encourage players to perform classic MMO parkour while waiting for their next orders, and the holographic shooting range underground gives players NPC dummies to practice headshots on.
- Scaled the warpgate facility to better fit the game's massive numbers. Extra ammo landing/rearming pads were added, and the main loading area allows for over half a dozen tanks to drive shoulder to shoulder to prevent traffic jams.