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View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view GDC 2023 session details and speakers, and share your favorites via social media. You will be able to build your schedule and access it during the show via export or Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

Art Direction Summit: The Art of Making Vistas

Ethan Ayer  (Senior Environment Artist -Vistas, Santa Monica Studio)

Location: Room 301, South Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 21

Time: 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Visual Arts

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

The God of War series is known for its grand scale including epic beautiful vista environments that span across the horizon. God of War: Ragnarök continues this tradition. This presentation will be the definitive how-to-make awesome vista environments for AAA games. It will begin by covering the various functions of vistas, from level-swapping LOD backgrounds to epic hero landscapes. It will then dive deep into the process of making vista environments, starting with the overall composition, then asset creation, and bringing it to ship quality. Examples taken from God of War: Ragnarök will be used to identify the various challenges of working on such a large scale. Artistic methods and techniques commonly used to address these challenges along with optimization will be discussed in finer detail.


Attendees will learn about vista environments, what role they play in art direction, and what distinguishes them from environment art that exists within the play space. They will learn about the different approach required to tackle larger background environments and the artistic processes used to create assets within a performance budget.

Intended Audience

This session is for artists, leads, and developers who are interested artistic methods that specifically addressing large-scale environments.