For this map, we wanted to give players a whole new experience.
Before, it was maybe like a marathon, but I think, for this
one, just because the map is so small…
Instead of a marathon, this map is more like a 100m dash.
What is the map’s identity? What are the big notes this
map has to hit to be considered kind of awesome and unique?
How do we set up a smaller map that also has the same kind
of intricacies the other 2 maps, Miramar and Erangel, have?
My job is kind of coming up with a lot of fun locations I
think players would enjoy visiting and then
kind of working with all these really talented individuals
to bring it together.
We wanted to make a more intense Battle Royale mode and to
create a more unique experience.
At the beginning we knew we wanted a small map. We wanted
it to play fast and
I seriously believe, as long as it’s fun, it can be in any
So we had a few different ideas. We talked about the
pacific North West. We talked about South East Asia. We
talked about the Australian outback.
And then we kind of jumped in a room with TS and the other
stakeholders and had discussions of what would
feel like the most fresh departure from Miramar.
We want to give our players a new experience every time we
try a new map.
And we already did Europe and we did South America.
So I guess the natural process was to continue and pick a
spot that we haven’t touched before, which was South East
So you go from these hot sands of Mexico right into this
overgrown lush jungle landscape.
We wanted to base the map on the real world.
So we didn’t want to start with drawings
We wanted to visit the real environments
to take photos for research.
So we thought basing the map on practical elements would help create a real world.
We decided to do more research.
For Sanhok, we took a different approach in the production, where we tried to implement a process called Photogrammetry.
We find an object, get a color card reference of it and then we start taking photos.
Typically 50 to a 100 is a good range of photos. Then we feed those photos into Reality Capture,
which is the program that converts all the photos. It stitches them all together and actually makes the point cloud that becomes the model.
From there, we still have to touch it up because it’s not perfect and we still have to optimize it. When that’s done, we get the 3D asset and put it in the game.
When we were putting this map together, we have these locations, and we were just kind of like spitballing and ‘resort’ came up.
So we found reference shots of abandoned resorts in Southeast Asia.
So we thought, God, let’s just go there and shoot. We’re going to Southeast Asia, we’re jumping in a plane and we’re getting some cool stuff.
And our team Seoul and Madison went to do that trip.
We wanted to find a location that had a good cross section of everything that we needed. We found a good coastal location that also had mountains.
The main focus of the trip was to get some in-person reference that we weren’t really getting from just the internet.
That really paid off. We weren’t really concerned about having perfect footage when we were done. Or even stuff that we could use in the game. We managed to get both.
We strongly believe the art should follow the fun. So the first thing we do is have a lot of talks about how this thing should play.
Off the bat, we wanted it to have something simple, fast. We focused on really simple architecture, really easy to
and from there we kind of spread towns around and really we were looking for, is it fun before the art follows?
It starts with a concept. We knew we wanted something that played fast, it should be accessible to new users, and it should feel like a breath of fresh air after Miramar.
So with those goals, we made some decisions upfront to kind of limit most gameplay to first and second-story buildings, so that it’s very simple. Not too crazy.
From there, the design and our terrain artists make a really really rough version of the map.
The players have told us that when it comes to gameplay, there is a huge difference when the map is condensed.
The playtime is quicker and there is a lot more action. There is plenty of loot so you can focus more on combat.
and if you die, you can quickly hop in a new session.
We wanted it to be fast, we wanted it to be accessible. That means getting into fun stuff faster, right?
I want to have rifles, I want to kick ass sooner. You know? I want to hot drop.
So really, trying to make that first appetizing bite for PUBG, for our audience, was the goal. Right from the
What sets Sanhok apart from the other maps is more traversal ability for boats gameplay that we couldn’t have for other maps.
Obviously the smaller space leads to more chaos and more gameplay that players are looking for to test their gun skills
and just simpler design overall so it’s much easier for players to find each other. Which will obviously lead to more unpredictable spaces where people can do things.
In Erangel, the bluezone stays for a long time and when the bluezone moves, it very fast.
In Sanhok, the wait time is really short but the bluezone moves very slowly.
So in Erangel you can use the buidings more strategically. But in Sanhok, you are more exposed to enemies and your gun skills are far more important.
In my first Korea trip, I said why don’t we just open this thing up. 4 days later, it was decided we were doing open development.
And that was really scary because it’s like, uh-oh, now I have to deliver this map and it has to look cool and everyone is going to see it way early.
Like, way before they should see it. So that was insane to get that first version of the map out and actually have the streamers respond to it.
You’re getting feedback sooner. You can fail fast. Right from the jump, we’re hearing if people like what we’re
doing or if they don’t.
It’s so early in development that if people aren’t responding to layouts or towns or unique areas, there’s plenty of time to make adjustments based on that feedback.
It’s important for us to create content our players enjoy so we constantly revise the map based on player feedback.
If the changes are fun and working well, we keep them in the game.
This wasn’t the first time we tried open development. We first tried with Erangel. Most people aren’t aware of
that because we weren’t that big then.
Now that we’re bigger and our player base has grown, we are able to fully utilize the benefits of open development for Sanhok.
So open development was a great tool for us since we had grown.
We want players to enjoy the game and we want them to have fun playing our new map.
I’m really excited just to see how all the different types of players we have that haven’t yet played the map,
just to run around it and see what they see and what they think. I’m really looking forward to it.
The Korean design team and our designers here in Madison, that was their singular focus,
was to make sure that if this is your first time playing PUBG, you’re going to have a really good time,
you’re going to get to the action fast, and it’s going to pump you full of adrenaline and you’re going to want to come back and play it again.