As a follow-up to our WipEout HD news from earlier todat, SCEA's Producer Daimion Pinnock has announced the WipEout HD Fury Expansion Zone Tracks.

To quote: We're back with the fourth in our series of developer diaries featuring the WipEout HD Fury add-on pack. This week we have Rita Linsley, an artist from the WipEout HD development team. Enjoy!

1. ZONE: Intro & context

'Zone' is speed experienced in its purest state, with no weapons. From a poetic point of view Zone can be likened to riding an atom in a particle accelerator. The speed of the atom as it 'rides the torus' gets increasingly faster and faster, until ultimately it moves at such surreal speeds that it exists contiguously at all points along its path.

It becomes an omnipresent singularity along this path, a very peculiar entity with 'mixed dimensionality.' If we could become that little atom at that moment we would find ourselves connected to a psychedelic 'speed-dimension.' It would be one hell of a trip! So zone mode is all about surreal abstract geometries, and shifting landscapes of colour that create an otherworldly atmosphere.

2. Landscapes Inspired by Nature's Fantastic Patterns

Zone has a psychedelic nature, so it was only natural to be inspired by patterns found in nature. In particular fractal phenomena and 'humanity hugging' psychedelic philosophies:

Fractal energy flows through everything on this planet. We see it in cloud formations, and in the majesty of epic mountain ranges: "As above so below." It's especially apparent in the springtime when plant forms starts to bud and bloom. Symmetries, self similarity, and branching systems are everywhere! We live in, and are all connected by a cosmic fractal-field of energy.

3. Four Sets of Geometry

There are four zone tracks, so four families of abstract shapes were created that looked/felt like they possessed a particular energy pattern. I wanted to 'riff' off these 'nature patterns' for Wipeout, so mixed them with graphic design and graffiti aesthetics in an attempt to create an otherworldly psychedelic atmosphere. Below are some of the concept shapes created for Zone 4, riffing off the patterns (below).

4. Time Constraint and Technique

I was working to an extremely tight schedule. So, with such a fast turnaround I had to come up with a workflow that enabled the fast construction of objects that could be tested on the fly. I liken the resulting process to a bunch of blues & jazz musicians having an impromptu session where they hunt for different permutations on a well known jazz standard.

They riff off a pattern, until that pattern becomes something else entirely, a fresh expression of something familiar. Families of shapes were 'thrown out there', which were then positioned alongside a tracks twists, turns and chicanes to see if they worked.

The design process was not a linear one, so it's difficult to describe in words. Each family of shapes was triggered by the 'vibe' that I got from certain fractal phenomena I encountered on walks and internet surfs. Zone 4 was inspired by Cambrian creatures & fern formations. See pics below.

5. Speed Perception

When you travel deeper and deeper into the pattern of a fractal the pattern repeats its-self infinitely. It is an infinite loop, which at a very huge stretch could be likened to the enclosed loop of a track.

When you travel deeper and deeper into the speeds of the zone, you enter a state of trance where you transcend reality and become like 'that atom' that exists contiguously at all points along its path... the pattern repeats, the pattern repeats, the pattern repeats - and "Dimensionality becomes a function of consciousness" Reference: (Ian McEwan: Solid Geometry). At these surreal speeds you become an 'infinite loop'. A cosmic piece of fractal consciousness in a golden state of flow!

Hope you enjoy riding the zone fellow pilgrims. God-speed!

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