Dev Diary: Embracing the Outback Style

June 16, 2023

Howdy Hunters!

My name is Sanna Friberg and I work as a Hard Surface Artist on theHunter: Call of the Wild.

I usually work on anything from props decorating our outposts to equipment purchasable in the in-game store. However, I was given an amazing opportunity to explore the world of character art for the first time in our new location, Emerald Coast, through the creation of the Australian Bushwear Outfit.

Inspired by Australian icons

Since our new DLC is based in Australia, much thought was put into what kind of clothes would be perfect for that tropical climate. As you can imagine, chasing after kangaroos in large puffy winter jackets just didn’t feel quite right.

Our design team pitched the idea of making a little nod to the late Steve Irwin by taking some inspiration from the iconic outfit we all remember him wearing. We decided to do just that but with our own little spin by going for longer zip-off style pants and some rolled-up sleeves instead. No one wants pesky spiders climbing up their shorts, right?

While we’d had a good initial concept for the outfit, we still had to figure out what to do with the hat. We looked at all sorts of options, from bucket hats to traditional caps, but nothing seemed to be the perfect fit. Until we decided to look up to yet another Australian icon, Crocodile Dundee. His classic hat added that outback feeling to the overall appearance.

Virtual tailoring

Once all the planning and collecting references were done it was time to get started on the actual modeling.

The base for the shirt and pants was created in a program called Marvelous Designer which is commonly used to create clothes and fabric with realistic folds. It works like real-life sewing but in a 3D space.

When I was happy with the designs in Marvelous Designer, I transferred everything over to another program called Zbrush – a digital sculpting and painting tool used by many artists in the gaming industry. It is great for the final detailing of the high poly version of the clothes.
However, these high poly models come with a drawback – they are quite resource-intensive. Imagine trying to run a game with dozens of highly detailed clothing items simultaneously. It would put a significant strain on your computer or gaming console.

That’s why my next step was to create low poly models. They are a simplified version of the clothing item that retains its basic shape and overall appearance but with fewer polygons and less intricate detail. Using this technique allows us to provide you with smoother gameplay and better overall performance.

I was not done with the high poly model just yet. I projected the details of the high poly version to the low poly model with the help of a texture called a normal map. It allowed me to recreate the illusion of a more detailed outfit in the game, without sacrificing performance. And you will see the final results in the game soon!

I had a lot of fun and learned so much working on this project! I really hope you’ll enjoy running around in the Australian Bushwear Outfit while exploring Emerald Coast. We made sure it is fit for anything from strolling around the beautiful outback to ‘wrestling’ saltwater crocodiles! 😉 The outfit will be part of our free Outback Update and you’ll only need the in-game currency to unlock it.