There are four basic types of Assets in a game, Static, Interactive, Animated and Variation assets. Static assets are exactly what they are called, still objects in a game. Interactive assets allow the player to use them to their advantage or disadvantage, whether that be a loot crate, or a vase hiding a dangerous snake. Interactive assets usually tie into the next type of assets- animated. Animated assets could be anything from a tree blowing in the wind, to a ship flying through space, anything that moves in a game is, nine times out of ten, and Animated asset. The last type of asset is probably the most useful, Variation assets. These are to create believability in a game, it is when one type of asset is duplicated throughout a game, but it has something slightly different qualities in each variation. These help a lot as it takes the strain from the PC/console while playing. All of what is said applies to 2D game environments too!
When creating a game environment, you can divide the processes into different layers according to what models are incorporated first. The first fundamental stage is the base geometry of the environment. This stage is where you define the absolute boundaries in your game and when you create the very basic shape for the level or game. This layer usually includes things like Walls, Ceilings, Floors, just to give the building blocks for the next layers. The next layer is when you create the environment specific structures, these structures are things like Stairs, Walkways etc. They can be defined by not being completely necessary to the gameplay, but help the experience be more encompassing for the player. The last layer is the decorative assets, these are just as important as the other two, but it may seem like they are useless due to the amount of attention they get from the player, as they usually seem to be unnoticed. These assets include models such as Wall-torches, Unusable Computers, Ledge Supports and so on.
I will be taking a look at a game that I haven’t actually played yet, not that I plan on not playing it, Ryse: Son of Rome. First I will take a look at the layers of the game and define what objects in the game fall into which categories. The first layer is the Base Geometry of the environment, in Ryse, this includes the normal objects such as Walls, Floors and large buildings. The next layer is the environment specific structures, this title uses this to full advantage to create dramatic scenes and views. The title has very large walkways as bridges, and very wide sets of stairs that climb towards centurion halls. There is also small structures made out of wood that you can climb to get a better view, some of them have crossbows mounted to the top of them to use from a greater height. There are a lot of decorative assets in this game, and something that surprised me by the videos I watched was that I was noticing them more than in other titles, it may be because you have more time in specific areas. Decorative assets include walkway supports, railings, pillars, statues, flag poles and trees.
In Ryse: Son of Rome, there are many different types of static assets, but the one specific one I will be choosing to explain are the statues. They are in the third layer of creating an environment- the decorative stage. This is because they do not serve a fundamental function in either game boundaries, or movement around the map/game. Another prime example of a static asset is the staircases, although these are in the same category of asset, they are in a different layer. Staircases are usually encompassed in the second layer of environment creation- environment specific structures. I came to this evaluation because although they are completely required, they do help the player move to higher/lower points on the map. These assets both have a specific theme to them, using the same sort of textures, these types of textures imply that the time zone of this game is set in Roman-Centurion times.
An animated asset in the game I will be explaining is the trees, they sway in the breeze, implying that it is an open area, which it is… Very open. They are completely and undoubtedly in the decorative layer, this is because they do not contribute to structure whatsoever, and they are there to create a sense of believability and life-likeness for the player. An example of an interactive asset are the ladders in the game, these are used to climb to higher levels without using full-on staircases. Another use of them in the game is for enemies to climb up to the central walkway/bridge, they are interactive in another way too, you can knock the ladders down so that the enemies cannot make use of them. If they had to categorised into a game layer, then it would be the environment specific structures as it helps the player get from A to B while on a level. They benefit the playing experience quite a bit as they are incorporated into the story progression of the game (knocking the enemies down the ladders). The last asset I will be delving into is the columns. They are varied assets as you can find different variations of the same pillar (model) design. Pillars in this game are used as decorative assets and so are placed in the third layer of environment design. They help the experience a great deal, this is because of the time zone the game is set in. Columns/pillars are a very large, symbolic design for Roman-Centurion times.