God of War has been a huge success for Sony, earning praise from critics and players while also selling extremely well. For a game as large and ambitious as it is, there were bound to be development struggles. One such issue centred on the boat Kratos uses. To solve some of the design challenges, the team at Sony Santa Monica Studio actually built a life-size boat made out of cardboard.
A post on the official PlayStation Blog from Senior Combat Designer Dean Rymer, goes into great detail about how the boat was created and implemented in God of War. There were a lot of technical challenges to overcome, including issues with Kratos getting into the boat and being able to dock at various points on land, but the use of simple old-fashioned cardboard is perhaps the most interesting.
With the team deciding that the boat Kratos would use was going to be similar to a single person canoe, Kratos propelling the boat with a single paddle, it was time to capture the animations needed for the character's in-game model. This would require a bit of handy work from the team.
As you can see in the image above, a life-size cardboard boat was built, allowing rowing animations to be recorded in the motion capture studio. While this meant accurate movements were captured for use in the game, implementing it all sounds like it was a rather tricky job.
"One of the challenges of a canoe-style single-paddle boat was just how many animations it required. Anytime the left stick was moved, the boat moved, and Kratos with it," Rymer says in the blog post. "This meant turns, moving forward, moving backward, and rotating in place all required individual animations.
"Additionally, it had to look accurate when Kratos changes the oar positioning from left to right. Depending on where Kratos is during his paddle stroke animation I set up timing windows which allowed the oar to change from side to side, and maintain the correct “phase” as it crossed back to the other side. The quality of these transitions, which respond quickly to player input, is one of the little details I’m most proud of."
God of War is one of the PS4's best games, as discussed in our God of War review. If you're still playing it (and you might be as it's massive), we've got a full God of War Guide, including how to get the best Armor in God of War.