I have an affinity for plants in my real-world environments. Places that don’t have tons of green things everywhere feel weird to me. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a pine forrest.
It’s the same for me in video games. There are tons of plant-free industrial environments to be found in video games, but I’m way more interested in the forests and jungles and gardens.
Making spaces for games is a strange and interesting art. Not being bound by physical limitations makes it possible to create impossible structures, but being bound by the technical limitations of modern computer graphics makes it difficult to create accurate simulacra of even simple objects. So video games cheat, using approximations to create the desired aesthetic result.
Plant approximations are especially hard, since organic structures tend to be difficult to describe in terms that graphics cards understand. This creates an interesting design constraint.
How do you create representations of plants given the limitations of realtime rendering?
I plan to use this blog to show a bunch of games that choose different answers to this question. I hope you’ll join me in looking into the weird world of video game foliage.