NEIL MELVILLE Web Site
CITY of SPECIAL EFFECTS

My work as Lead FX Artist for a superhero MMO

In June of 2005, I joined Cryptic Studios in their production of a stand alone sequel to their popular City of Heroes MMORPG (massivly multiplayer online role playing game). It was my experience and expertise as an FX artist they wanted, and I was impressed with their development tool philosophy. (Not to mention the opportunity to create a super hero game - I had been a comic book fan for 20 years.) So now that I was onsite, the FX team totaled 2 full time FX artists, and 2 animators. Still, there was a staggering amount of work to be done, despite being able to leverage off of the existing FX assets in City of Heroes.

I started out building powers FX for mob groups like the slag golems, scrapyarders, and Paragon Police Department. I soon moved on to signature characters like Silver Mantis, the Mirror Spirit and Ghost Widow (upon which I also based the Patron Powers). Then there were new item powers for players like Jar of Bees and Nuclear Missile Strike. I also initiated a revamp of the grenade weapon FX to get FX more apropriate to each kind of ammunition (because it looked odd to have a gas grenade throw shrapnel).

Because of my technical acumen I was also chosen to lead the integration of new physics enabled particles and FX, including retrofitting all of the existing FX in both City of Villains AND City of Heroes. Previous to this, FX particles did not collide with the world or characters at all. Now sparks could bounce of the asphalt and players could push around debris. Fire powers now spread fire across surfaces, and gravity powers would lift fallen leaves and debris, or even suck money out of an ATM. The most noticable element of this physics FX integration was additional quantity and quality of exploding objects throughout the game. Inspired by the satisfying experience of hitting things until they blew up, the game designers added a new type of mission: the Mayhem Mission.

I worked on City of Villains and various updates (Issue 5, Issue 6 and Issue 7) to the game franchise for a year. (You can read about the Project wrap up that was the City of Villains: End of Beta Event) I have since moved on to leading the creation of new FX tools for Cryptic Studios' future projects.  

Now don't forget to visit my City of VILLAINS FX video Clips Page

  • Below are some screenshots that show some of the FX I created in the game.
    (Visit the Official Website)

  • CITY of SCREENSHOTS

    Click on the small images to view full size images:

                

               

                

                

    Enough with the stills - go to the
    City of VILLAINS FX video Clips Page

    City of Villains and logo, and all images (c) 2005 Cryptic Studios and NCSoft