Hi, everyone! My name is Marco Alamia, and I am a software engineer on the Overwatch team. Since we recently finished working on a new piece of technology for Overwatch 2, we thought it would be a great opportunity to give the community a sneak peek of what goes into creating improvements for a game engine. To assist me in this endeavor, I have enlisted the help of two other developers from the Overwatch team: Bruce Wilkie and Fabien Christin.
The new technology we added to the engine is called Environment States, and it has quickly become our favorite workflow for map creation and design. Although the feature is developed and refined inside the Overwatch 2’s engine and tools, the core idea stems from the mind of our talented lighting artist, Fabien. I asked Fabien to help us understand how he came up with the idea that has now reshaped how the team creates maps, and to walk us through his design process.
Fabien: Overwatch is set in a bright and colorful world, and much of the character of the game is expressed through its maps. The creation of a map starts with the level designers who invent the entire architecture of the place using big grey boxes to produce interesting and balanced gameplay. The most important thing at this stage is to design a map that’s fun to play! After many hours of testing, it is the environment artists’ turn to transform the temporary grey boxes into carefully handcrafted buildings and environmental assets that will give life to the locations players will travel to.