3DArtist has published an amazing interview with the lead artist of Elite3D, Bjorn Seinstra.
Tip: Using a modular approach to build your environments is always good, however make sure the modular system that you are designing caters for all your needs going forward in the very early stages of your project, before committing to details. Testing out all combinations and possible usages in the initial stages of your project can save you a lot of headaches later.
Since the Lumberyard team wanted to show these technical features off in real-time, multiple camera angles and tracks were also blocked in using the in-engine feature called trackview, which can import cameras from any DCC package as FBX, then cameras can be refined within the editor to create camera tracks that (amongst a plethora of other usages, like cinematics or cutscenes), could be used as a real-time demo to show off the before after of these technical features really nicely. Getting these tracks in early was vital for the final positioning of the artwork and establishing the shots.
Elite3D breaks down this incredible Amazon Lumberyard scene
Tip: Amazon Lumberyard lends itself to be very much a real-time “What you see is what you get” type of workflow. Once you have the basic blockout of the scene in the editor, the engine lends itself for quick iterations, and will allow you to quickly iterate on your establishing shots, whether stills or complete fly-throughs or cinematic compositions. By adding the cameras to the scene in the initial stages of the project, we were able to quickly amend needed changes on the artwork and lighting, without losing precious production time
The assets that were made to complement the buildings, like for instance drainpipes, chimneys and antennas, could be shaded with the same materials as the buildings, since we divided this master material up in a variety of base materials, like different stone types, different brick types, plastics, different metals etc., all with their own blend- and dirt-/grime- layers. Most of these materials were fully tintable in the diffuse channel aswell, so we could get a lot of mileage out of reusing the same texture sets.