Map Updates! Introducing Vineyards – the Community Map!
More maps = more tanking action! Take a look at the updates coming your way!
We know how much you love an immersive battlefield experience. We’re proud to bring you two major changes to the maps in rotation, which you’ll see starting on Tuesday, February 23rd:
- The Highway map will be sporting fully upgraded visuals and new elements that bring the map into the 1980s.
- A brand-new map will be available for you to play: the long-awaited Community Map, Vineyards!
Here are all the details!
Vineyards, formerly known as the Community Map, is finally making its debut in World of Tanks!
Vineyards was an initiative by Design to work with the players of World of Tanks on developing a new map for the game and giving the community the chance to vote and voice their opinions on what kind of map they want to play!
The Community Map initiative began in September of 2019, when we started a poll on the forums asking players what kind of map they would like to create! Since then, the forums and social media have been a source of feedback and ideas for developing the map and sharing the progress back to the players.
For more information on the development of the Community Map into Vineyards, you can visit our Community Map forum topic here:
Early in development, Vineyards was decided by the community to be a Summer Camo map in the daytime, with large open areas, medium density of foliage, minimal water, and a European regional setting. The location of Vineyards in Italy was decided on by Design after a recent trip to Italy and seeing firsthand the fields of Tuscany and the ancient architecture of Rome, Venice, and Florence! This was inspiration for the aesthetic focus of the map.
We hosted public playtesting in Team Training and collected data and heatmaps to share with the community and provide insight on the map development process, including how we planned to tackle changes moving forward. With the community goals and the data collected in mind, it was time to prep the map for polish and launch!
We wanted a map that would cater to any playstyle and any tank type, but we found there just weren’t enough brawler zones or cover for those who favor the Heavy and Medium classes. In playtests, the city was far too exposed to tanks hiding in the open fields. So we built up the city section of the southern half of the map and planted (no pun intended) additional trees in line with the railroad to better conceal the city from the open fields in the north. The goal here was to better isolate the combat zones of the map. For instance: If you are in the open fields, you will fight other tanks in the open fields. If you are in the city, you will fight tanks in the city! There is absolutely still opportunity for crossfire between the city and fields, but the initial concern has been alleviated!
On the aesthetic and art side of the map development, since it was a new map and not a touch-up of an existing map, more preliminary work was needed.
The first stage is tackling anything that may greatly impact gameplay or design. Art and Design will regularly go back and forth finding creative solutions, so it’s important we always tackle the larger elements first. Some of these include:
- Finding creative solutions for required gameplay elements and/or creating new art assets to match those needs, such as the bridge adjustments and the median dividers in the city
- Having placeholder assets placed for gameplay purposes replaced and/or adjusted by Art for final models, including trees/bushes, rocks, cliffs, buildings, etc.
- Creating an appropriate atmosphere and feeling in the lighting and sky—we wanted that hazy golden-hour look you often see when you look at photos of Tuscany
- Set dressing with secondary props: since the larger structures were established for gameplay, secondary props like fences, cars, light posts, etc. had to be populated
The next stage of the art pass is largely aesthetic. While these elements may affect gameplay or design, they’re a lot easier to correct and fix and thus come later in the art process. Much of these are large-scale “blanket” art-passes and will comprise a large portion of level art. Initially the artist will create a “pretty corner,” an area that’s a sample of what’s to expect for the entire level. When that gets approved, it gets carried to the rest of the level.
- Painting terrain textures: initial terrain was generated through world machine to create natural-looking terrain painting based on height and erosion, which would then later be touched up by hand where needed based on terrain hardness or general appearance
- Grass, pebbles, etc. would be painted down where appropriate, initially based on terrain painting, but then we’d go in and adjust by hand where necessary
- Adding decals for additional terrain variations, such as tire-tracks, puddles, and rocky earth
The last phase is polish. This is when we go in and try to create smaller “vignettes” or details, such as making flooded sections of puddles in a farmland, adding ivy growing over houses, adding additional vineyards carrying out in the distance, set dressing and vistas beyond the play area, or even just a small little bench up on a hill where someone might go to relax after a hard day of working in their vineyard.
Check out these images showing early versions of Vineyards on the left, compared to the final versions on the right!
We’ve always had a soft spot for Highway. In fact, one of the original artists who worked on this map on its first release had the opportunity to revive it with a new coat of paint!
Early in the art process, the map received a new lighting pass using updated tools from our Tech Artists.
The terrain now gets a new shader pass, and older terrain textures have been replaced with higher resolution PBR (physically based rendering) ones. These changes start to give Highway a fresher and more updated sensation that starts to bring it up to speed with the other maps.
Prop textures have been adjusted so they are in the correct range to work with the new lighting.
Older assets, like the grass, trees, and bushes have been replaced with newer models. The new tree models are more detailed and realistic.
Decals get an update too. Like the terrain, we’ve updated the shaders the decals use and give them higher resolution PBR textures. This improves the look of the tracks on the dirt paths, the wear and tear on the asphalt, the lines on the road, crosswalks, parking lots, and more.
Then there’s the set dressing pass on the map to fill in the scene wherever possible. This can include extra prop, decal, and cultural placements. Guard rails have been added along the road. Telephone poles with connected wires appear throughout the map.
In the small-town section of the map, sidewalk prop objects have been added. Street signs, benches, fences, bicycles, extra grass, weeds, and debris all were added to some areas to make some areas look more lived-in and others to look dirtier and more neglected.
Some extra work was also done to fill up some of the sections outside of the play space. New trees have been placed to fill out the area, and homes and warehouse buildings have been added towards the small-town area.
It is always fun to revisit the classic maps.
Take a look at these side-by-side comparisons showing Highway before and after its upgrade!
We hope you enjoy playing these maps just as much as we enjoyed working on them! Don’t forget to share your feedback in the forums! We can’t wait to know what you think!
Brenden McCormack – Game Designer – World of Tanks Console
Louis Vieceli – Artist – World of Tanks Console
Richard Bernal – Artist – World of Tanks Console