Concept Art, Visual Development & Production

SEGA Rally is a classic arcade racer which dates back to the mid 1980s.  Developing a remake on the consoles was quite an undertaking and with a brand new studio it proved to be one of the most toughest and fun challenges in my career.  Before the studio closed in 2007 after just three years from opening its doors, the team written a proprietary engine, built a super rally game, an arcade version with all new content and several impressive  prototypes for new titles.  Today a small number of the team still remain in SEGA in the Leamington based SEGA Hardlight Studio.

Early Concepts

To begin with we spent time research the locations and in parallel we worked with the design team to establish the mechanics of the game, how the tracks would be designed, what would make them a true SEGA experience.  This involved rough sketch explorations and simple colour mockups of track layouts and content.

These helped the team establish a dialogue around the content for the game.

Concept Art Development

To better realise our objective we would develop a concept of the environment as a 2D painting at the earliest opportunity, this would ensure the art and design team could see how big a track was, why it was that big and what might be the narrative of the track.  There were five simple steps, ending with a final concept; this last image was painted by Gary Tonge who worked with us for a short while and helped to establish the mood and feel for the environment.

These concepts and the subsequent  race track lead to this video being recorded to announce the progress of the game.  The prototyping and iteration to get the game world feeling cohesive was huge, we completed what some people refer to as Vertical Slice on boxing day 2006.  We had six months until Alpha was due.  The game would be released in October 2007.

Solid Production Methodology

Whilst the pre-production phase had difficulties, the production phase was six months and in this time the team designed and built 15 tracks in an aggressive but sensible schedule, together we reviewed track development weekly and crafted some of the best race tracks in racing game history, even to this day.

Motion Video

For the studios opening sting video I decided to have a bit of fun, we had developed quite a slick pipeline for the track development and so I built a track in the shape of the SRS logo including AI splines and track details, setup camera paths to pull out from ground level and reveal the whole logo, initially it was 15 seconds long but this of course needed to be much shorter so it was cut to about 3 seconds in the end.  Here is a short clip of it.

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