Behind the Wheel Part 2

Last week we kicked off our ‘Behind the Wheel’ series which gave you a behind the scenes look into the development of our latest and greatest downhill longboarding game, Downhill Xtreme 2. This week we focus on all things art and design with Nick R, Neil and Dean!

Nick Renkel – Game Designer

Hi guys, I’m Nick. I’m one of the Designers on this project and I’ve been responsible for progression, economy and level design. For most of the project so far I’ve been creating the scenes in Unity which we’ve used to make the levels. I’ve been doing things from terrain and track creation to event setup and decoration!

Terrain WIP
Terrain WIP

From a design point of view, how do you think you have improved on the first game?

One of the biggest improvements for me on the first game is in track creation. In this project we’ve spiced it up a little and made a huge change in the way we create tracks. With this change we’ve been able to do much more; from adding alternative routes and shortcuts, to huge mid-air jumps across canyons!

Track creation WIP
Track creation WIP

What do you think has been the toughest challenge so far?

The toughest challenge by far has been using Unity and other external tools for the first time. We’ve been under considerable time constraints and had to learn a whole new way of making games, but this extra challenge has really driven the determination of the team to make the best possible game that we can.

What are you most excited for about this game?

I’m most excited to see how the game performs on the market. The game has been really fun to work on and I think we’re going to end up with a top notch product. Given that longboarding is somewhat of a niche market, I’m excited to see if the game can still attract the attention of other racing game fans!

Neil Adamson – 3D Artist

I’ve been an artist at Distinctive for over 10 years now and I did a lot of work on the original Downhill Xtreme. On the new game I’ve been working on UI/menus as well as character animation, board models and trackside scenery.

Boards WIP
Boards WIP

What is the biggest artistic challenge that you have faced during the game’s development?

The biggest challenge for me has been learning how to use all the cool features of Unity3d to make the game look as good and as realistic as possible.

What kind of style/direction is the overall look of the game taking this time around?

For DHX2 we’re aiming to make the game more stylish and vibrant than before. It’s going to be realistic but more colourful and fun, a style we call exaggerated reality.

Boards WIP
Boards WIP

What are you most proud of so far?

I think it’s the animation of the characters. The way they drift around corners and go into the tuck position at high speed looks really nice. You can even see the wheels turning properly on the board if you look close enough!

female character WIP
Female character WIP

Dean Atkin – 3D Artist

I have worked in the games industry as an artist for over 20 years, during that time I have worked on numerous games and platforms. At Distinctive I create both 2D/3D artwork for our games and also their promotional material. I’m currently working on the 3D characters/players for DHX2, which include different styles and genders.

What is the biggest artistic challenge that you have faced during the game’s development?

DHX2 is the first project we have done using Unity, so getting to grips with a new game engine always takes a bit of time to learn.

Character model heads WIP Character model heads WIP

In terms of characters, how have they evolved from the original Downhill Xtreme?

In DHX2 the characters have evolved a lot from the original 2012 release. We are able to have higher poly counts and more realistic texturing with the use of normal and specular maps. The character animations have been improved due to the new animation system we are using. The motion between moves/tricks and poses is very smooth.

What are you most proud of so far?

I’m really happy with the current look/style of the characters. It is also great to see what the other team members have done, and seeing everything come together in the weekly playable build.

Male character WIP
Male character WIP

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Check out PART THREE next week, and keep up to date with all things DHX2 by signing up to our AWESOME NEWSLETTER