We are in the unique position of having someone with an architectural background on our team. This is a luxury few game developers have, and so it was obvious which of us three would be responsible for environment and level design.
The building complex in Episode 1 will be one of the first things players get to experience when playing the game. It’s an important location, and we wanted the beginning of our storyline to be visually memorable and breathtaking from the very first moment. The idea behind the building’s design was to mix heavy brutalist architecture with a more contemporary setting. We wanted to create this familiar modern space while not making it bland and boring. Masters is a game whose storyline is filled with mystery and the supernatural, so we need atmosphere, tons and tons of it.
A big consideration was to make the entire area massively diverse in terms of geometry. Sure, you can do four walls and a ceiling, it’s what everyone does. But we had big visual impact in mind, complex looking structures, things that will take your breath away when looking at them in VR. The building’s central section is a big atrium surrounded by irregularly displaced floors with balconies. At the edge of the building we also have a more linear semi-open atrium that visually extends to the outside.
Thanks to the complexity of this design we now have lots of options for different vantage points and places where action will occur. Our initial target renders have moody, maybe eerie lighting. The sky is overcast, and the building is dimly lit, with an emphasis on the mysterious glowing items inside the glass cabinets. Eventually the environment will have to be populated with various assets such as furniture, but for now these images give an excellent idea of the kind of atmosphere we shoot for.
It’s difficult to do something completely new when it comes to games, even VR games. Our game is certainly not the first that allows you to cast spells. Although we’re not completely reinventing the wheel, we’re going to spin it in unusual ways. And we’re convinced that things like our engaging storyline, the multi-segment gesture system or the impactful visuals will make Masters stand out from the crowd.