From the start, one of the strengths and limitations of WolfQuest has been the Yellowstone environments. They’re strengths because they give the game a distinctive look and, I think, a unique appeal. They also limit us because, unlike nearly every other game, we can’t design the maps to serve the gameplay. That’s one reason why Lost River was fun to make, but we’re fully focused on Yellowstone environments now.
We work hard to make the maps both accurate and beautiful (but I repeat myself). Twice in the past two years, we’ve upgraded the graphics of the original game maps, but they’re still only 2km by 2km in size. Fun fact: Back in 2007, we worried greatly about the tiny size of these maps compared to actual wolf territory. Then we were pleasantly surprised when players in the summative evaluation talked about how big wolf territory was, because it still *felt* big when running from one end of the map to the other. I doubt we’d get the same response today, given the size of maps in current games. What’s more, the popularity of multiplayer games has far outstripped anything we ever imagined originally, and that kind of repeat play definitely deserves bigger maps.
So it’s time to remake the maps, bigger and better than before. Messing around with terrains is one of my favorite parts of game-making, though with the original game, I left that job to our senior producer Steve Allison-Bunnell. He’s back at it now, working on the Tower Fall map, but I’m also getting my hands dirty, making a new map for Amethyst Mountain. Here’s a video showing the first part of the process: creating the map from digital elevation data and satellite imagery. Enjoy!
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