Under The Hood: Highlands – Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 Dev Blog

06/03/21 |
In our second episode of "Under The Hood", I got to take more time with Rainbow Studios Senior Artist, Misty Parnell, on Highlands! This is without question our most fantasy based open world map, so enjoy!!

Misty is an experienced 3D environment artist with a demonstrated history of working in the games industry. She is skilled in world-building, multi-platform game development, and traditional art. She is a promoter of positivity and a lover of all things magical! Let's take a peak at what was going through her mind when she was asked to bring this world to life:

Q: What is your position at Rainbow Studios, and how long have you been working for the company?
Currently, I am a Senior Artist at Rainbow Studios, where my job consists mostly of creating environments and world building. I have been happily employed for over 3 years.

Q: What was your inspiration for this environment?
Ever since I was a young girl, Science Fiction and Fantasy inspired and fascinated me. I have taken this inspiration and applied it to working on the Highlands. It was a fun way to add some of my love of these genres into a Monster Jam Game.

Q: What makes Wastelands different from environments in MJST1?
The most important thing I hope players notice is that each level is crafted to show off the uniqueness of the Monster Jam Trucks. Monster Jam Steel Titans was a fun game, but this sequel has more diverse, open worlds to explore, while some of the new areas are more fantasy inspired.

Q: The Wasteland level features:
Fast and fun races, rugged terrain to climb, mysterious architecture, and magical caverns to explore!

Q: What trucks come from Wastelands?
Avenger, Bakugan Dragonoid, Great Clips Mohawk Warrior, Soldier Fortune Black Ops and Soldier Fortune!

Q: While there is no official storyline of Wastelands, did you create any background lore to motivate you when building your world?
There is not any official lore, but when creating a world, we like to come up with ideas of what may have happened. This is so that we can tell a story within the environment. I like to think that sometime in the Highlands' history, Defenders (An archetype of Monster Jam trucks, particularly belonging to the Highlands) discovered a crashed alien ship and built Delta Outpost to protect and study it. Where they salvaged technology from the spacecraft to invent technology such as the light bridges and secret doors. In addition, something that inspired me when making the Highlands, was the collaboration I was able to do with our design team. They were great at providing narratives to help inspire the environments. This was a short description provided by the design team in development: You emerge from a cave into a valley of darkened stone. The rocky terrain crunches beneath your tires as you drive towards this world’s massive centerpiece: a steel fortress built atop a natural peninsula, casting its shadow over the valley below. The Highlands is the home of the Delta Outpost Base, a hub of security and communications. Surrounded by steel walls and sheer drops, the fortress watches over the valley of Monster Jam’s finest Defenders.

Q: Where do you like to hangout in the map?
My favorite place is to hangout in the Highlands is inside Solider Fortune Black Ops’ Secret Base! It's such an interesting and intricate landmark that has all sorts of spots you can discover and explore that you might miss your first time passing by.

Q: How many other artists helped to work on this world?
While I was responsible for the look and feel of the area, there were other artists working on props, textures, materials, special effects, and lighting. I worked with Designers, Engineering, Audio, and Production as well. Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 was a full group collaboration. I also want to mention how much fun it was to work with the zone designer Jeremy Johnston, we worked together to build this environment and establish game play.

Q: Is there a part of the map you are particularly proud of having been a part of building?
I really love the Delta Outpost, and how it glows like a shining beacon in the center of the map. I am an admirer of glowing neon and vivid environments, so this was a good opportunity to add some unique elements to the Highlands, while visually separating from the other zones. It was awesome to create this level from concept art to the finished product.

Q: How cool is it to drive a Monster Jam truck in a world you made?
It is always epic to drive Monster Jam Trucks around in our open worlds. My favorite truck is the Solider Fortune Black Ops because of its sleek and mysterious design.

A: Any parting words for fans excited to jump in and explore Wastelands?
The dev team and I would like to thank you for playing Monster Jam Steel Titans 2. We LOVE seeing what you guys enjoy doing in the game, so share all your favorite screen shots and moments on our social medial pages so that we can see!


Senior Software Engineer (Generalist)

Rainbow Studios is looking for a Senior software Engineer who is willing to push the limits with the next generation...