Electronic Arts had recently concluded the open beta testing of Star Wars Battlefront. Senior Environment Artist Pontus Ryman revealed what were the reactions of the players who participated in the beta to what they experienced during the testing as well as their feedback to his team’s work in designing and rendering the game’s iteration of the ice planet of Hoth.
This scene was first introduced in Empire Strikes Back and is one of the iconic worlds of the Star Wars universe. According to Ryman, they had received overwhelming positive response from the participants of the beta, which made available the Walker Assault mode of the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront game to the gamers who volunteered to test it out.
The DICE environment artist said that fans praised the experience of being able to fight in environment like Hoth’s. Ryman said that it had always been their goal to provide an immersive experience for the gamers, and the feedback during the beta test is indicative that they’ve done a good job.
By immersive, the artist said that the environments were designed to affect the players’ senses when they play in the planets’ environments. Ryman also revealed that much of their success at realistically portraying the harsh environments of the ice planet of Hoth stemmed from their experiences when preparing for the game’s development.
He said that he and his team had to struggle to traverse the snow and brave the cold when they visited Finse in Norway where the iconic scene in Empire Strikes Back was filmed. With the team bringing along their filming equipment, the journeys were physically demanding.
But it all was worth it, as the team had come up with various ways that the experience for the player becomes realistic and deeply rooted in the otherwise fictional landscape of Hoth. Just like it would in real life, patrolling outside with snow blowing around will cause snow to accumulate on the visors and weapons.
Entering a warm interior will cause the snow to slowly melt. Similarly, players will get a face full of snow when an explosion occurs nearby. Other environments will have corresponding effects as well, such as mud when fighting in Endor.
Ryman also revealed that they’ve made full use of the environment in Hoth that was only slightly explored in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. That was how several game modes that utilized the Hoth caves and Rebel Base were developed, particularly the close quarters combat in the Battlefront’s Blast and Cargo modes, in addition to the immense battlefields in the snowy outdoor environments of Hoth.