MMMmmmm... I love California, when I was there last summer I never got the chance to check out San Fransisco, its definitely one of the cities I want to see, and also where GDC is taking place in only a week or so!
I've had a look at whats going on, and there are definitely a few sessions I would love to go see. Most notable would be the 'Terra forming of Far Cry 2'.
Far Cry 2 is a really fun game, I wont lie, the story and missions get repetitive and boring really quick, but. Its so beautiful, it feels like Africa, the graphics are awesome, the grass, when set alight burns ferociously with a roar, and spreads with the wind.
I initially bought FarCry2 as a benchmark for my new system build (and it doesn't lag, even on super high graphics :P) But I soon realized what an awesome game it is, the multi-player is fun too! but the defining feature was definitely the scenery, and the setting. Without this setting the game wouldn't be half as engrossing and impressive.
From working in mod teams, I have learned fairly rapidly that it is always the maps that take the longest time to make, and the longest time to perfect. They always have the most bugs, they always take ages! When working for mods of 'Operation Flashpoint' I soon learned that the huge maps, were built object by object. The map mappers would place every tree, every building, every clump of grass. And it literally took months (I believe its the same process for ArmA but I'm not sure).
But what about FarCry2? The map is huge! and even more detailed! For someone to place every individual object on such a game would take ages, years maybe.
And this is why it interests me, my understanding of level making leads me to suggest that something interesting is involved, that the developers have used a new 'trick' to help them develop their environment, and I'd love to know what it is.
For the record, I'm guessing it is something along the lines of the technique used to populate 'Oblivion's' forests.