Matthew Medina, one of the environment art designers for ArenaNet, follows up with another blog post on Lion's Arch - this time on how it was structurally developed.
Designing a city for Guild Wars 2 takes many different skills. I need to place characters, gadgets, scripts, scenes, paths, and more. As the quote above suggests, I can’t simply throw down hundreds of characters (though I’ll contradict myself on this point a little bit later). Not only would this negatively impact the performance of our game, it just wouldn’t be convincing or all that interesting.
So, the first thing I do is familiarize myself with the city’s lore and layout. I also identify the overall theme for the city as well as sub-themes for each of the different sectors. I spend a good amount of time reading our wiki and writing down some preliminary questions that I will later throw at the world designers and writers. Then, once I’m armed with this basic information, I load up Guild Wars 2 and take an in-game tour. I find that this is the only accurate way to get a sense for what the artists and world designers are trying to do within each sector.
Check out Guild Wars 2 Guru for the discussion!