Danger Zone 2

July 2018

Three Fields Entertainment

Three Fields Entertainment

Level Design/World Building (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)
Vehicle Texture Art (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)
Pack & Marketing Art (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)
Front End & In-Game HUD (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)

With the first Danger Zone achieving its job of bringing the Three Fields team back to the world of driving games, phase two began.  The important big step was to take the gameplay out of the crash test facility, evolve it and set it in the real world.  Building off the basis that was the first game our coding team created additional tools that would allow us to build winding roads that snapped together with a variety of junction pieces which meant that we could create complex road networks, taking us far beyond what was possible before.

In addition to the damage caused by the crash at the end, Danger Zone 2 featured a series of ‘Run Up Objectives’ – challenges to meet as you race towards the Danger Zone.

Our first job on the new game was to seek out some of the world’s most dangerous roads and intersections and using the tools, recreate them.  This tested the tools, traffic system and vehicle physics as well as giving inspiration for more gameplay.

This meant that the greater part of my work on the project was working alongside Paul (Phillpot), our expert 3D artist to create authentic-looking landscapes and road networks.  I spent many hours on my virtual building site, digging and sculpting the earth, laying down miles of roadways and populating the locations with foliage and props.  The combination of our custom tools and those available in the Unreal Engine allowed Paul, Alex (Ward), Fiona (Sperry) and I, to each, by ourselves create locations and gameplay faster than we’d ever experienced in far bigger teams during our careers.  I recall a particular sense of pride when our coders, Ben (Smith), Phil (Maguire) and Alex (Veal) got jack-knifing trucks into the game – those, and trucks carrying payloads that would spill when they crashed, were things that in previous driving projects at Electronic Arts we’d always wished for but never materialised.

While solving the problem of what to with roads that go off into the distance away from the main play area, I decided the easiest and most robust solution was to connect the outlying roads together, forming a series of loops.  This paid off later in development when an additional unlockable game mode was added that added a set of time trials to the game.

Another sideline project for me was creating all the texture art for the many billboards, trucks, lorries and coaches that appear in the game.  That meant spending a lot of time researching vehicles and signage for the countries that appear to make sure that our fake designs felt authentic.  Like the work I’d done on the food packaging that appeared throughout Dangerous Golf it became quickly apparent that small details matter – not only do they add to the sense of scale but when due to the random fortunes of the gameplay the camera ends up featuring the side of a truck full-screen it will still hold up.

This is just the USA fleet of liveries I created for the game (and the games that would come after) This kept me busy – the UK and Spain locations feature the same number of variations!

For this game, we decided to keep the front end and HUD presentation light to allow me to spend much more time on the levels and therefore make a longer game. I also created the game’s cover art.  This was a return to the formula of Dangerous Golf and Lethal VR, the covers of which both featured a series of related objects and a logo that reads big and bold – an icon for the online stores.  This was achieved with a combination of Photoshop, Illustrator and renders of in-game objects from the Unreal engine with some additional overpainting and compositing.

A fun little exercise after the game shipped was creating a series of fake vehicle ads for the game.

Danger Zone 2 launched in July 2018, and it was merely days after that we took all we’d learned forwards into Three Fields’ third driving game: Dangerous Driving

Danger Zone2 is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC from Three Fields Entertainment.