Need for Speed Heat is the 24th installment in the adrenaline pumping NFS franchise.
Though this was the Technicolor team’s first association with EA Shanghai, Technicolor Games has collaborated on many EA games over the years and has long been a part of the vibrant NFS racing world. In fact, having worked closely with EA Guildford (Ghost Games) on Frostbite for NFS Payback, they had a head start on understanding the technicalities and expectations for NFS Heat, and adapted the pipeline accordingly.
This would prove vital given the shorter, quick turnaround time that was being targeted – necessitating a “need for speed” behind the scenes as well. With their close time zone proximity, EA Shanghai and Technicolor Bangalore were able to communicate and resolve issues immediately and efficiently. Their closeness enabled the team to leverage support from EA Shanghai in a most timely fashion, from the detailed scope of work they provided up front, to guidance throughout the project including when to expect – and be prepared for – large batches of files to work on.
For NFS Heat, the Technicolor Games team was given responsibility to create the contents of the Garage and work on Garage animations, as well as many of the environment elements in story mode.
The Garage is one of the most visited parts of the game, making it one of the most important. It had to be as detailed as possible, without significantly increasing memory requirements. The challenge was not only to make Garage assets as realistic as possible – but they also had to hold up under closer inspection. These props appear much closer to the players’ camera view when they are reviewing and tuning their cars in the Garage, compared to when they are seen while racing around the streets.
Story mode assets also required extremely high fidelity details, and the team collected as many references as possible along with input from EA related to location and style. Photogrammetry was used to capture photos of real engine parts and create the game-res mesh from scan data. They then created textures in the PBR workflow to achieve an amazingly photorealistic look. MoCap polish animation was also undertaken, and approximately 160 animation loops were created for NFS Heat.
The Technicolor Games team on NFS Heat – who cite the EA NFS franchise among their favorite games growing up – comprised Department Directors Sangram Yevale and Bhanu Prakash Gonnabattula; Supervisor George Mathew; Lead Artist Vijay Swaroop; Animation Supervisor Praveen Kumar PS; and Animation Team Lead Atheesh Sankaran.