Senior Multiplayer Designer
May 2012 // Starhawk Multiplayer
Fracture is the larger of the two Sever levels in Starhawk, and the most massive level in the game. Perhaps too massive, in fact; while the raw terrain size isn't much larger than Basin, the effective playable space is much larger, then spread further apart by bridges. This results in very low player density on all but the most packed servers.
Where Hollow used flat terrain islands, Fracture's massive islands are all rotated off-kilter, adding extra challenge to developing the World Machine layout. To offset this, I used the same approach I used on Hollow to generate the cracked look and instead created large outcroppings sloped such that they would be roughly "flat" when applied to the island as placed in-game. Both teams' bases sit on the edge of massive outcrops at either end of the map, creating an imposing approach from the bottom and once again resulting in impressive vehicle jumps on the way out.
My favorite part of Fracture is actually its underside; a pair of bridges extend from the bases to protected islands underneath to create a long protected low-route for flag runs. These bridges are the only direct land route to the low island in the center which is, thanks to the towering rock walls on either side, an imposing area and a valuable central rift location in Zones.
While the level's sheer size is tricky to deal with, Fracture does stand as the best pure flight layout in the shipping game - the ability to fly under, around, and through the broken up islands leads to some of the most intense dogfights Starhawk has seen.
© Sony Computer Entertainment America
Stephen Daniele / Jon Galloway