This is a residential part of Brooklyn. One of the main features of the game was that there would be no loading anytime from when the player goes from the street to inside an interior, or between different parts of the huge city. This design aspect constrained our static terrain to be very simplistic. Here in this screenshot, you can see that most of the backfrop buildings are very flat, however, when the game is in motion we realized that keeping it simple in fact helped player focus on the action of the gameplay.
One major regret I have about this that due to the newness of the game engine, our memory budgets were extremely constrained and thus we had to limit our texture variety of buildings to only a handful. It would have been helpful to investigate the possibility of tinting these limited textures to stretch the visual diversity.
Another obvious eyesore is the extreme straight edge of the curb. Our roads are assembled using a different method than our buildings, and unforunately one of the downsides is that we have less control over each piece of road. In an ideal world, I would have loved to break up the straight line on the curb since I think the areas of transition is where the most detail should lie. Having a more natural, rugged transition from the road to the curb alone create a much more believable world.
New York City was built mostly on a perfect grid. While we tried to remain faithful to the feel of long roads with far vistas, we had to build in some bends in the road in certain parts of town to control the data loading. In parts of Little Italy where there were heavily unique landmark assets, we would put in a nice bend like above. It is more fun to drive around curves too, won’t you say? But that is the added difficulty of building a game on a real world city. How does one balance gameplay, technical constraints and the desire to showcase a faithful portrait of the landscape you’re presenting?