BEHIND THE SCENES: MAPS ON MOBILE

October 3, 2020

Hello People of the Fog, 

Today we wanted to take the opportunity to bring you something a little different. A lot of work goes into maps on a day to day basis, between porting new ones, and revamping the old to improve graphics and performance. We frequently get questions about Dead by Daylight Mobile maps and all that encompasses, so we sat down with our Technical Art Lead, Laurent Dufresne, for some more insight.

 

Can you walk us through the steps of porting a map from PC/Console to Mobile? 

If it’s a map we haven’t done before, the first thing we do is see what the lighting is like. We open it up, tweak lighting until we’re happy with it and are ready to work with it. The Art Director will look through it as well to determine what looks good and what’s going to need some work. take a look at assets that are cost-intensive (meaning it takes a lot of resources to load it into the game) and identify what to do with them. Porting is not 1 to 1; sometimes PC/Console assets have broken models or materials because they use techniques that we cannot do on Mobile. Due to these differences we often have to make a lot of adjustments which adds more work. Most of these are engine limitations for mobile; some of these things are just too heavy to run and wouldn’t meet minimum performance requirements for mobile devices. 

 How closely do you follow the map design on PC/Console? 

We generate maps in the exact same way as PC/Console so it’s 1 to 1. We do have to remove some things from Mobile, but we’re never removing anything relevant to gameplay. It’s all small stuff; for example, stuff that gets removed would be things like 3 books in the corner in Léry’s.

 

Are there big differences between Android and iOS devices when porting maps? 

The initial work on the map is done hoping it works on both Android and iOS, but sometimes there are bugs that are only on one platform or device model. We try to mitigate this and do our best to make sure they look the same, but we sometimes encounter problems and it becomes a game of balancing to account for all supported devices.

 

What are the biggest challenges of map porting? 

Light maps are the hardest. We’re not able to use dynamic lighting like PC/Console; we need to introduce our own UV set that we bake lighting to. Basically there are tools available on PC/Console that are not suited to use on Mobile, so we need to do lighting our own way. Whenever changes are made on the other platforms, we often need to do some reworks. This is a very time consuming and tedious process. Usually whenever we merge new changes from PC/Console we’re left with some re-doing.  

What’s something you wish players knew about map porting and optimization? 

People have been really receptive to and appreciative of our work revamping existing maps, but when we do a new map it’s a lot of work for the whole art team. It’s even more work than people think it is. We’re only a handful of artists for the environment side so we’re doing them as quickly as we can, but sometimes there are minor issues that we can’t get to – it’s not that we don’t know about them, it’s just that we have to let some things go in the interest of time. 

 

Do you have a favourite map? 

When you work on something long enough, even if everyone says it looks good, all you see is the flaws, so it’s hard to choose a favourite. I’d have to say Ironworks of Misery in the MacMillan Estate Realm since it’s the one I’ve spent the most time on. It’s the one we were working on when I started, and it’s also the testing map; whenever we make changes to something, we load it up on this map to take a look. 

How do you decide which maps need to be revamped? 

This is determined more or less by how the production team feels. We prioritize hitting the maps that we feel are below our standards or felt too rushed on initial release, such as the Crotus Prenn Asylum realm, so it helps to be able to do another pass. We also look at how well a map is performing technically when choosing which one needs to be revamped next. 

 

What are you working on right now? 

In the next update we have a revamp of Yamaoka Estate: Family Residence coming, with updated textures and lighting

 

We hope this gives a bit of a better insight on the tremendous amount of work our art team does to bring maps to Dead by Daylight Mobile. Is there any other development process or team you’d like to hear from? Let us know! 

The Dead by Daylight Mobile Team 

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