As the afternoon sun spills across the delta you find yourself on new terrain. The light exposes you to your enemies, so you move quickly and silently towards your goal. Detritus from the Civil War, ended thirty years past, is strewn throughout the abandoned area that was once a center of war-time commerce and military defense. But the population has faded away, replaced by a violent, rotten-limbed hoard that hungers for flesh. If the adverts are anything to go by, this was once a bustling military town, though it's former vigor is barely evident in the ruins it's fleeing residents left for the elements to devour.
That blazing afternoon sunlight is a new addition to Hunt that arrived with the Lawson Delta map Beta, where it is available exclusively. How did the developers decide on and implement this new lighting? Let's find out with two artists on the Hunt dev front lines.
The team had a lot of different ideas for new Times of Day for Hunt, and as with so much else in the game has, the new lighting choice started with big brainstorming sessions and a lot of analysis.
“Whenever we work on lighting, we are trying out a lot of different things and looking at what works well and what doesn't," said Lead Artist Marcel Schaika. We make sketches, and we review them, and we try it all out. Sometimes it will look good when you are facing in one direction, and bad when you are facing in another because of the position of the sun, for example. Because of factors like that, we need to find a time of day that is very versatile, and that works in many different locations: interior, exterior, walking towards the sun, walking away from the sun, in the dense forest, in an open field, and so on. It can be limiting to have so many factors, but it is definitely worth it."
Worth all the iterations because when you get it right, the lighting can have such a huge impact on the map. As Lead Environment Artist Stefan Heinrich said, “Lighting is a great way to make a location feel immediately unique. In this case, we wanted the image to pop and grab people's attention. It shouldn't be too dull or dark."
“We wanted high contrast, easy readability, and for it to be bright, but with that bleak Hunt appeal. It had to have a bit of a twist," added Schaika.
Out of the Fog: Daylight
As it happened, the Time of Day that fulfilled the team's criteria was something that Heinrich had started while he was working on the Foggy Time of Day setting players will recognize from the first Hunt map.
“When I was doing the foggy time of day I also tried out a more neutral tone, and that is basically the foundation for Daylight," said Heinrich. “It was a byproduct of trying out a few things and saying, oh hey that looks cool. Daylight really makes the assets we built for Hunt look good."
But creating just the right kind of Daylight lighting for Hunt was not without its challenges.
“At first the issue with Daylight was that it felt too happy," explained Heinrich. “The sky was really blue, and the colors were relatively saturated. It looked great,—but then things started to look too tropical—especially the beaches. That iteration didn't quite capture the Hunt atmosphere. It still needed that twist that Marcel mentioned. That is when the Concept Art team got involved and started trying things out as well."
After many iterations, the team finally hit on something they liked, was versatile enough to work in any in-game situation, and that still felt like Hunt.
“Then Ivan Tantsiura from Concept Art took golden and tweaked it, making it a desaturated blue-green that had a morning dusk feel. I took that color palette and used it to rework Daylight until it felt like it had that grim Hunt atmosphere," said Heinrich. “A bonus for streamers and content creators is that Daylight looks really good on screen."
Try It Out and Tell Us What You Think
With Hunt in Early Access, a process that depends on community feedback to shape the game, the team are looking forward to hearing what you think about Daylight, the Lawson Delta map, and everything else Hunt related.
Don't own Hunt yet? You can buy Hunt now on Steam.