Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
June 24, 2019
arrowPress Releases
If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

The meticulous process of fine-tuning the  God of War  series' very first boat

The meticulous process of fine-tuning the God of War series' very first boat

August 23, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

August 23, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon
More: Console/PC, Design

The attention to detail from Sony Santa Monica is felt throughout the entirety of God of War and, according to a detailed blog post from the dev team, the task of crafting a lake-faring vessel to carry Kratos and his son from one destination to another was no exception to that.

Sr. Combat Designer Dan Rymer has shared a post to the PlayStation blog that dives into exactly how that boat came to be, exploring the evolution of steering and propulsion mechanics, animations, and control schemes that the team tried out throughout the development process.

Rymer notes that, while figuring out the movement of the boat itself was a complicated task, the most challenging problem to solve was how characters would enter and exit the boat itself. He says that the closeness of the camera limited the camera tricks they could use to mask transitions but they didn’t want characters to visibly snap into a rigid position upon entry or exit.

“To get into the boat, we ended up spending a significant amount of time on a system which would be used throughout the game whenever we needed the player to align to an object (the boat, chests, doors, etc.)," says Rymer. "This system leveraged our core navigation to guide the player along a path to their destination, always taking the shortest possible route and matching the entry speed of the upcoming move. Once we had that system implemented, the player was able to seamlessly enter the boat from any direction or speed.

That settled how Kratos, the character directly controlled by the player, would confront the canoe, but figuring out how the companion character Atreus would do the same ended up being another challenge entirely due to the boy’s more sporadic movements. 

“Because Kratos could be entering the boat from any angle or speed, which meant his son could be as well," he explains. "He may be attempting to lead Kratos to something interesting in the world, or he may be following. Because the son could be in so many different states, we had to create a system for him to reliably enter the boat."

"Every dock and beach has built-in area we dubbed the 'son no-go-zone.' If you notice as you run up to the boat, the son will hang back a little bit. When you hit the button to enter the boat, we limit your camera rotation. This allowed us to position the son based on the angle and speed Kratos is entering and have the son enter the boat seamlessly with Kratos.”

Likewise, getting out of the boat came with its own significant challenges that eventually resulted in the team creation 10 different animations for exiting the watercraft depending on factors like distance from a dock and which side of the boat was facing the exit point. Beach-side exits were a whole separate issue as well, something Rymer explores in the full post. 

The post also lightly explores how the boat became a literal vehicle for lore by hosting conversations between characters about the history and mythos of the game’s setting. And detailed looks at how the dev team crafted individual elements of God of War are your kind of thing, be sure to check out past posts on things like crafting a satisfying axe recall mechanic and the tricky task of implementing a companion character like Atreus. 

Related Jobs

Legends of Learning
Legends of Learning — Washington, DC, District of Columbia, United States

Senior Unity Engineer - $140k - Remote OK
Cold Iron Studios
Cold Iron Studios — San Jose, California, United States

Senior World Builder
Cold Iron Studios
Cold Iron Studios — San Jose, California, United States

Senior Content Designer
Behaviour Interactive
Behaviour Interactive — Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Senior Game Designer

Loading Comments

loader image