Monday, 13 April 2015

How Himmelsdorf was built

Hello warriors,

this time, we will have a look at how Himmelsdorf was built, based on an interview with Aleksandr Shilyaev, the Wargaming director of global operations for meta-games and mobile products.

The idea to create Himmelsdorf came because after Karelia, Prokhorovka and Malinovka, the game needed a city map. Style-wise, the map resembled the armored clashes that took place late in the war in Berlin for example. As the first city map, it was a challenge as for example the building production had to be optimized (streamlined). After Himmelsdorf, all the other city maps were easier to make as the process was already there.

There is no "Himmelsdorf" in real life. The map uses elements from several places but it is overall based on the mapmaker artists' fantasy. It was designed for comfortable gameplay, not realism. The map was originally supposed to be called "Khrensdorf" (a Russian joke, "khren" means horseraddish but also "nonsense") but there were issues with the localization of this name and it was changed to "Himmelsdorf" instead. After this map, the developers started working on its Soviet-themed counterpart, the result of which became Ensk.



The map was not themed to be exactly German, it was supposed to be simply European. That's why the developers, who visited Europe in the past brought their photos and those photos became the basis of the buildings and design of the map. Since the tourists photographed mostly known buildings, it turned out however that what the developers thought as "typical" European architecture was in fact something unique - for example the red "town hall" on the map is in fact the Royal Palace in Warsaw. The horse statue was taken from the Hohenzollern bridge in Köln (respectively old pictures of it).


Warsaw palace versus the building in the game:



The details on the map (like signs and such) were taken exclusively from old photos to make them as realistic as possible.

The first thing that was created for the map was the symmetry principle and after that, the developers began to fill it with content. Identical houses would look boring and that's why the houses have different heights for example - plus there are landmarks so players orientate themselves easily. On one side, it's the church, on the other side it's the above mentioned town hall. In order to make the parts more distinctive, the church side has a typical European housing while the other side has more like "Third Reich" type of architecture (more like an office district).

Himmelsdorf mock-up:



Himmelsdorf base - resources used:



The castle - resources used:



Town center - resources used:



The railway station - resources used:



The first version of Himmelsdorf appeared during the beta testing of WoT and the "houses" consisted of textureless boxes.It was only gradually that the map was filled with textures and other elements. The lighting proved to be a challenge - to make it look natural without interfering with the gameplay. At one point, one part of players drove against the sun while the other team had the sun in their back. This was not ideal and after consulting the player statistics and feedback, it was decided to simply leave the sun on one of the sides for both teams to have equal chance.

Himmelsdorf content (house models) was made with its further re-use in mind for other maps. The set of houses, developed for Himmelsdorf could then be later re-used for faster map creation and appears in many locations that were added later.

25 comments:

  1. That's awesome. Just like this:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=754662657984307&set=p.754662657984307&type=1&theater&ref=m_notif&notif_t=photo_reply
    Been spreading it around but it hasn't been seen by jingles just yet. Maybe you could pass it on to him, it deserves to be shown in his videos

    ReplyDelete
  2. Actuialy, Himmelsdorf is based on Stalingrad. Look at those maps - they are almost identical, except of huge mountain with the castle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Himmelsdorf is a map in the early BETA stages....Stalingrad was only released a few months ago...sounds like you are one of the newer players aren't you?

      Delete
    2. Sounds like one of WG's paid bitches. Ignore the bastard

      Delete
    3. Nope. Stalingrad was made based on real photos. So, those photos could be used to make Himmelsdorf. It doesn't matter, which map was made first.

      Delete
    4. And nope, most of the buildings were taken from ACROSS the Europe , not all of them are from Russia

      Delete
    5. You may need a timeline there mate.
      Himmelsdof was from the stone age, even Stalingrad was made out of real photos, looks so like ( actually not ) the former, it was not going to affect Himmelsdof, that is a logical fallacy.

      If you are saying photos for Stalingrad were taken before Himmelsdorf was released. Terribly sorry about that I couldn't help

      Delete
    6. I'm saying about map level design, not architecture.

      Delete
    7. Then back to my first point. The Himmelsdorf was there for a long time.

      Delete
    8. So basically, you saw an article about how a city map was made from lots of different locations and buildings from different parts of Europe, ignored all of it, and are claming, against someone high up from WG, that Himmelsdorf is taken from Stalingrad?

      Because it has a railway?

      PS: "they are almost identical, except of huge mountain with the castle."
      That means, they're identical, except for half the map.
      And the rest looks similar because, spoiler alert, they're both cities, with streets and buildings.

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Come on guys, Himmelsdorf ain't built in one day you know.....

    ReplyDelete
  5. wish they had never built town maps!! especially ensk!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wat, city maps are the best maps for heavys and mediums. I dont think you want to drive your e100 on prokharovka

      Delete
    2. That'd primarily be heavies and tank destroyers (and the better armoured variants in both cases, French need not apply). Mediums flourish more on open maps, as flanking can be difficult when your stronk camping opponent has blocked off all access routes.

      Delete
    3. Fabio Müller, probaly arty-player... eww

      Delete
  6. Wish had more city map. All city no parks/open areas

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wish had more city map. All city no parks/open areas

    ReplyDelete
  8. so does that mean that this map will be removed due to it not being historically accurate, as that seems to be there reason for everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, considering over 60%+ of their maps are unhistorical/mashed up elements. I don't think they will do that with the maps.

      Delete
  9. Comfortable to play in.

    HAH, tell that to the scouts and arty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love playing my LTs in city maps. It require skill to drive through those claustrophobic streets.

      Only useless drivers hates city maps.

      Delete
  10. the mock-up looks a lot better than the actual map, it's a pity they changed it so much

    one of the things it's better on the mock-up is the southern end of the map, where there's the railway tracks and station on the real map, because there's nowhere for arty to hide there like how they can hide behind trains in the in-game map

    ReplyDelete
  11. Himmelsdorf is outdated because arty and scouts have changed over time. They need to rework Himmelsdorf and maybe make it bigger.

    ReplyDelete