So, are you interested in the car design in LEGO® City: Undercover and how we get them set up to work in game? Then read on....
There were over 200 vehicles in LEGO® City: Undercover and although half were based on the amazing original LEGO designs that you can buy in the shops, the other half of these were designed by our genius LEGO Designers here at TT-Fusion.
1) Vehicle List and Design
Firstly we had to decide on categories and make sure that there was a good spread of vehicles types throughout each category.
These included Aircraft, Farm Vehicles, Industrial Vehicles, Motorcycles, Naval Vehicles, Space Vehicles, Trains and Uber Vehicles amongst others. Even within just the cars category we had small cars, saloon cars, sports cars and muscle cars. Enough variety so that you would never get bored of discovering new ones!
Having decided on what types of vehicles we wanted, we then designed each vehicle, thinking about what would look really cool in game and give you lots of variety when you are playing. Once we were happy with the design, the vehicles then got built in a 3D software package called Maya.
We have a virtual LEGO library which contains 3D digital versions of every LEGO piece ever made, which really helps the designers in making their stunning creations.
Sometimes the designers actually build their ideas up using real LEGO Bricks, to make sure that the construction is solid enough, which is great because then we all get to see the real thing!
2) LEGO® Approval
Once we are happy with the digital versions of the vehicles, we send them to The LEGO Group for approval.
When The LEGO Group are reviewing the vehicles that we have created, they are checking that we are sticking to their guidelines to make sure that they can be made from LEGO bricks that you and I own.
As well as making sure that the vehicles can be made in the real world, we have to make sure we are using the official LEGO colours of bricks, (there’s only around 50!) and we have to make sure that the scale of vehicles is correct... On LEGO® City: Undercover the vehicles had to be between 6 and 8 studs wide so that they fitted alongside all the other LEGO City vehicles.
On occasions we produce instructions, similar to the LEGO instruction manuals that you get with LEGO sets, as this helps us show LEGO how it was built.
3) Optimising, Rigging and Damage States
Once The LEGO Group have reviewed and approved the vehicle, we then start the tricky bit of getting it set up to work in game.
Firstly we have to optimise the model so that all the internal LEGO Bricks that never get seen are removed. This makes the model simpler which helps to make the game run faster.
We then set up a Rig inside the model so that it can be animated to move like a real vehicle. This is a bit like a skeleton inside the car. The wheels need to turn, the chassis have suspension and the doors need to open. And we also add Locators, so that the game knows where the seat is, so that Chase sits in the right position. We don’t want him sitting on the windscreen!!
We also create Damage States to show how the model will look after it has been hit once, then twice, etc until it is totally destroyed.
4) Collision and Level of Detail
The next stage is to create a collision shape around the outside of the vehicle, for the game engine to know how big the vehicle is, so that it collides with other objects correctly.
We don’t want objects intersecting with each other, nor do we want them colliding at a distance. It has to look as realistic as possible, whilst still being as simple as possible.
Next we create different versions of the vehicle so that they become more and more simplified the further away they are seen. This helps the game to run quicker too. From a distance you are not able to see all of the details, so we create very simplified versions.
5) Export and Play!
Finally the model is exported and set up by designers as a vehicle object in the game and hey presto you have a new vehicle to drive around in! :-)
As you probably already know, for the first time ever, The LEGO Group have designed a brand new set specifically for LEGO City Undercover – It’s called High Speed Chase - 60007.
If you buy this set then you can use a code inside the box to unlock these vehicles and then actually play them in the game!
Now go and have fun discovering all 200 vehicles in LEGO® City: Undercover!