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Boon: Call Of Duty 4's Art Was Acceptably Dirty

Talking to Gamasutra as part of a larger interview, Infinity Ward's Michael Boon has been discussing why Call Of Duty 4's art direction centered around "putting
Talking to Gamasutra as part of a larger interview, Infinity Ward's Michael Boon has been discussing why Call Of Duty 4's art direction centered around "putting dirt in the right places." Discussing the method behind his technical art direction for the multi-million selling Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, technical art director Boon first tackled the 'uncanny valley' problem with characters and how to overcome it, commenting to Gamasutra that: "I think the trick to gradually traversing it is to focus on going as far as you can with the character model itself. Then look at ways to enhance that model with improving elements affecting it -- such as the lighting, self-shadowing techniques, and other ways to improve not just the model itself but how it's viewed naturally in the world. With Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare specifically, we're fighting in war-torn environments and the characters are rugged and dirty, so the "put dirt on it" technique works well." However, when quizzed in more detail about the best way to realistically dirty the scene up without overdoing it, Boon noted that it wasn't necessary to over-grit the visuals: "Well, first of all, I'll say one of the hardest things we did in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was make people stop putting dirt all over everything. We finally had a lighting engine that was good enough that you didn't need to do any of that. And we're still pushing on this, put dirt on the right places, but don't put heavy dirt on everything. Yeah, that was a huge deal in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. And still, to this day, we get art applicants, and I'm like, 'No, they're still doing it the old way. There's dirt on everything all the time.' To get around that, good lighting is key." The full interview with Boon is now available on Gamasutra, with plenty more detail into the thought process behind technical art direction for the FPS series.

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