Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Greece - Building Athens with Aartee

Today, we bring you a special blog, in which we would like to share more about how the city of Athens is being developed for the Greece DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2. We interviewed our map designer Aartee, who is working hard on implementing the city into our game!

„Greece is a beautiful country, especially in terms of landscape. There are so many beautiful places that sometimes, I wasn't able to decide what to put into the map. Also, I don't always get the opportunity to work on something coastal. My only regret is that there are very few monuments from antiquity left in Greece. unfortunately, time has taken everything away and so we can't have those in our map,“ Aartee says.

The team working on the Greece DLC visited the country last year to gather references for their work as you can read about in this blog. "The research was simple. Anything I liked was immediately recorded in some way and we could move on to the next thing. I have to admit, the vastness of Athens is incredible. Any hill would show a veritable whirlwind of buildings and flats, all spilling into each other as if it were one big white lake. Right from the beginning we knew we wanted a port in Athens; Piraeus is the most famous one in Greece, so we spent a lot of time with that. It was also important to find out the locations of the depots and put them in a way that made sense," Aartee shares with us.

The team then uses these materials to model the map expansion in our game. Not only that, they also use all possible map services like Google, Mapy.cz, Yandex, or Apple. "Streetview is a tool without which it could not be done. I also occasionally use videos from people who upload them to the internet, be it dashcams, vlogs or 360° videos. On our trip, we also made our own 360° videos so I draw from those as well," says Aartee.

Aartee already has experience working on cities from our previous DLCs like Porto, Belgrade, Tarragona, Tver, and Zagreb, and while some of his colleagues preferred to work on Greece’s islands, he wanted to work on this beautiful ancient gem. He also shared a step-by-step process of creating a city of this magnitude. 

"Roads and depots are the cornerstone. The important thing is to connect the roads correctly and map out the overall size of the city. I also investigate any unevenness in both height and curves and fine-tune the roads to make them beautifully smooth and the curves visually pleasing. As a mapper, I tackle any optimization right from the start, as performance in our cities is very important to us. I try to plan my paths and assets so that individual views are somehow separated from each other and don't load assets that don't make sense to the player at that moment. Part of my process is also to delineate industrial, commercial, and residential zones. Every city has such a structure, and so it shouldn't be overlooked here. The rest of the mapping work is adding more and more details which is also the most fun part," he says.

Modelling a city this big can take up to six months and right now, Athens is about 75 % done. As Aartee says, the cities are done first and their surroundings are completed after that. He also tells us how we have to adjust the cities for our game and where we have to shift from reality. 

"Mainly in visibility. There has to be a limit somewhere. Also, if there is a road situation that would be annoying to gameplay, then we'll tweak it a bit so we don't irritate the player unnecessarily. As for the choice of locations, sometimes we close our eyes to reality and allow trucks to go where they normally can't just because the location is nice to drive through. One last thing I'd like to note is our scale. Although we really enjoy creating cities, we can't stretch locations, everything takes its toll afterwards in space, time and optimizations."

Aartee also shared a preview of how the capital city of Greece will look like in Euro Truck Simulator 2. "Although it may not seem like it at first, Athens is a very industrial city that contains a bunch of chemical plants and logistics zones. There's certainly no shortage of sea views, and you can also look forward to narrower roads. Even though it's a big city you will also experience the beautiful surrounding nature. Athens also acts as a kind of thoroughfare, so we need a bunch of big intersections. As in real life, there will also be some landmarks in our city like some historical buildings or the Piraeus Port, which I am really looking forward to building. There are several marble mines scattered around Athens, so we had to include at least one."

And what does Aartee think players will like the most about Athens? "There will be one location in the city where you will see everything. That place has taken an incredible amount of work to create and I hope they will like it."

We cannot wait to show you more about this upcoming map expansion as it continues to be developed. Stay connected with us and all the latest information through our social media channels, make sure to follow us on X/TwitterInstagramFacebook, and TikTok. If you are looking forward to trucking in this map expansion, make sure to add the Greece DLC to your Steam Wishlist!

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