A new dev blog (opens in new tab) from the team behind the upcoming DayZ Standalone version features an interview with Ivan Buchta, a map design consultant on the project. Buchta talks about the importance of visiting real-life locations when designing maps and landscapes for virtual worlds.
"A field trip will give you insight you will never get from a map or photos or videos," Buchta said. "Sometimes it can be dangerous."
The "dangerous" aspect of visiting real-world locales is something Buchta probably understands better than most game developers. Buchta and fellow Bohemia Interactive developer Martin Pezlar were arrested in September 2012 in Greece on suspicion of spying and spent nearly four months in jail there. As reported by the BBC, the pair denied the charges (opens in new tab) and have maintained they were simply tourists.
When asked in the interview how his time in prison has affected his approach to his work and to map design, Buchta became reflective.
"Maybe now I think more before doing things," he said. From his response, it seems as if he gave a lot of thought while in prison to the Czech landscape he grew up in and to the changes he wanted to make to the fictional Chernarus setting of DayZ. At least one letter Buchta sent to the DayZ team while in prison included 11 pages of ideas about how to improve the landscape within the survival-horror game.
The dev blog interview was part of a report on the design team's recent trip (opens in new tab) to the "real" Chernarus.