Making Far Cry 2's Africa

Far Cry 2 is set in Africa, but what part? Turns out it's in a fictional, Africa, one that while it may resembles bits and pieces of the continent, isn't in fact tied to anyone area.

The developers told me that while Far Cry 2 may feel a lot like central Africa there is no one area that has the same "biomes" as the game. That's because the team didn't want the game's location to politicize Far Cry 2 and what you are doing in the title.

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So the team worked with World Machine to create their generic, yet oddly familiar section of Africa. World Machine allows developers to procedurally generate terrain based on what a developer wants to see in their world. The engine can even predict proper geological erosion allowing the developers to wear down an area with weather effects.

Next the team populated their artificial Africa with a blend of different wild animals, each with specific artificial intelligence. This animal AI tells the creatures when to sleep, hunt, even drink from a pool of water. They know to run from fire, and when to be started by approaching humans.

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They tied all of this to the human enemy AI, allowing them to pick up on things like animal movement, so if you were to startle a creature into an enemy camp, it will alert the enemy.

I know this is starting to sound Fable-esque, but it they really can pull off all of this inter-species AI interaction it's going to add a lot of realism to this game.

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DISCUSSION

Looks great but how is this different from Far Cry or Crysis, no aliens and different location?

While these guys seem to be wizards with coding, their game design is lacking, problem with both Far Cry and Crysis was that I felt that I was playing a benchmark, and not a game with its own distinct "spirit".

For example games of Blizzard have traditionally been not that impressive graphically but they have ability to put lot of "spirit" into those games that suck people in.

Or maybe it is just the real world setting that I find so boring. Surely a good game though, big plus for not making a heavily scripted rail-shooter copy of Half-Life 2, which seems to be the industry trend still.