Champions Online environment artist Gor Galstyan steps in to talk about his responsibilities and how to construct a proper video game environment in a new developer diary on IGN.
The key to making the environments in Champions feel right is communication with design. We work very closely with our designers to make sure everything works. A good example of that... Well, let's say I have a cool idea that will add visual impact. I immediately tell the designer about it and he figures out how to work that idea into or around existing gameplay mechanics to make it fit. The same works with designers when they have a cool visual idea, or if they need something specific built into the environment. We also do our best to keep production up-to-date about the status of the environments we build, so we don't go off on tangents and lose track of time.
The most challenging part of being an environment artist on Champions is keeping the visual style both consistent and appealing. That our game is an MMO makes that challenge harder due to all the additional budget constraints. On the flipside, we get so much environmental variety to play with that we never tire of working. Champions goes from urban cities all the way to the bottom of the ocean.