Planning is an essential part of any production, and with the tight schedule and small team we've had for Afrika Korps (only 2 full time artists: Róbert Kovács "Robix" and me, Tamás Varga), it was very important to get all the details set before we started to build anything.
We recieved short descriptions for each FMV, which were used to write the scripts and then create simple 'storyboards' for the campaign movies. These were actually Maya screenshots using proxy models, so that we were able to precisely show the camera angles and object placement.
Digital Reality also provided a lot of the reference material (blueprints, photos) they've gathered for the real-time 3D models and levels.
1. EXT. DESERT. DAY.
View from a plateau. Some Panzers are coming up on a
dirt road leaving the battlefield victoriusly. A Panzer
VI Tiger is in the foreground. The commander is watching
the burning remains through his binoculars.
2. EXT. DESERT. DAY.
We see what the commander sees: destroyed tanks (mostly
Shermans and Crusaders) and smoking debris everywhere.
3. EXT. DESERT. DAY.
Back to the previous view. The commander lowers the
binoculars, the Panzers are still moving on.
Storyboard image for 'Axis outro'
The story intro was a little bit different. To save time, we've decided to skip storyboarding and started with the animatic once the script was approved. However, we decided to complete the 4 short movies first, so that we had time to revise the script with the developers and the publisher.
Once the animatic was completed, it turned out to be more than 2 times longer than what the client expected, so we've had to negotiate a few changes in the schedule and the budget. In our experience, it is very common to underestimate the lenght of an FMV based on a script/storyboard only, so it is highly recommended to create a 3D animatic, especially when action scenes are involved.