Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #239

Greetings Friends! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:


Etceter Polish (cont.)

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Scottie” Jones]

Having finished my part of the polish pass for Etceter, I wanted to share some of the final results for the areas I haven’t had the chance to showcase to you fine folks yet…

When commenting earlier in this post, I hadn’t had the chance to make a beautifying pass on the outer areas of the scene, such as the main entrance and edge conditions. That has now changed, and as you can see by the images, one of my primary focuses was making sure that where areas of nature met areas of old construction and civilized development, there was a very “intentional” feel to the placement of natural objects and built structures. In these initial images you can see the remnants of these walls, which I have used to demarcate the roads more distinctly than they were before, and to beckon travelers toward areas of both commerce as well as the general entrances of the various estates scattered throughout the scene.

In Etceter, for example, descriptions in the book (pertaining to Amanda’s cottage) indicated that chest-high walls often lined the edges of the town’s roads in various places. Since 200 years and an Obsidian occupation has taken its toll, these walls have fallen into disrepair and neglect, but are still a rustic reminder of Etceter in its heyday, when it had been a prosperous port flowing with the wealth of its mine, and rich trade from along the coasts of the Bay of Storms.

I have repainted the roads, which before had a somewhat “spotty” look, moved the stones away from the center of the road towards the edges (where they would naturally migrate as they either got ground down into the dirt, or tossed aside by road-weary travelers), and did my best to make more natural paths that locals might have begun using as holes in the crumbling walls offered easier access. You’ll notice in these images that you are merely seeing placeholder houses instead of the actual fully-decorated player lots that occupy the live scene now, but rest assured that much of what you see has been carefully placed after I diligently scrutinized the real scene in our GM Live build, to make sure I took into account the existing layouts and entry features that well-nestled players have already grown to love. I was urged by our Art Director Hutch to be incredibly cautious about placing anything that might ruin either the convenience or the view of existing properties, and I worked hard to be as respectful of both access as well as beauty when improving the edge conditions of these areas for your business and pleasure…

It’s important to remember, when seeing these images, that though this was once a place in its prime, with a great degree of prosperous development and commerce, it has since fallen on hard times after the Obsidians invaded, its royalty was butchered, many of its houses destroyed, and with only a small population to keep it going even after the end of the wars (now including the dubious presence of satyrs and fauns). Etceter mostly survives today due to what little trade and travel occurs between it and Xenos. All the details I’ve added needed to indicate its past glory while still emphasizing its current state of “developed” decay. Hopefully you’ll all find my changes have provided some new excitement, interest, and immersion to the areas you now call home here!

Speaking of its current trade, I had mentioned earlier in the post that I wanted to share some of the changes I’d made to its harbor and dock-side areas. In the image above you can see the treatment I’ve applied to the sea-facing properties along the Western Road, which essentially adds a more “intentional-looking” quality to the path along this part of the coast, and the retaining wall that protects the nearby properties from the high tides that surely arise during storm-swells. It only makes sense that any architecture constructed along such a coast would need to be built either on stilts like some of the shanties in the poorer eastern quarter of the town, upon slightly higher ground as seen above, or upon firmer foundations of stone such as those seen supporting the pier-side shops of the commerce area. At this point, however, I would be remiss not to start the series of coastal images by showing a new feature than can be seen from many areas of town now, but especially along the docks. Seen below is the harbor itself, with its horizon changed to match both the world map, as well as the “Sword of Midras” a bit better. As described in the book, Amanda enjoys wistfully gazing out across the town and the distant bay, where she can sometimes see the outline of Siren Island to the north when the view is not obscured by the squalls that commonly assail the storm-tossed sea…

Of the many new qualities I wanted to capture with my additions to the harbor-side area was a stronger sense of commerce and connection between Etceter and Xenos. In these next few images I wanted to give a hint of the goods often traded here, especially since this is one of the few ports of call where passage to Elysium is easily acquired. Elysian amphorae, exotic rugs and fabrics, pottery, architectural elements, and decorative sculptures can be seen here and there along the docks, either waiting to be bought and sold, or already adorning some of the shops to be found here. Alleys and side-streets are no longer bereft of details, since some of these wares gladly spill over into them. The stone foundations of these portside buildings offer welcoming walkways where tourists stamp sand from their sandals (much of which gathers where the walls meet the granite pavers) before entering to sample the wares within!

And lastly, venturing toward the central marketplace, we can see the crumbling stones of the older walls and foundations hugging the newer shops and domiciles built within the last five decades or so. Again, with an eye to both “developing” and “unifying” the look of the town, I added these details more heavily in areas where permanent NPC buildings and non-decorated areas of homes presented themselves, while carefully indicating remnants of this same style-choice in and around player properties in ways that would accent the chosen “look and feel”, while not directly interfering with already-placed decorative elements, building choices, and points of convenient access…

And with that, my little loving pass over Etceter is complete. Like I said, not nearly as extensive or dramatic as the changes I made to Xenos, but hopefully these simple touches will really tie the various elements of this scene together to help tell the story of its tumultuous history, as well as its present-day predicaments and concerns. I’ll now be passing this scene on to Dan to insure any changes I’ve made to the town and its environs are now reflected in the behaviors of the NPCs that inhabit it!

Have a great week everyone!

Scottie ^_^
Senior Environmental Artist

New Norgard Garments (cont.)


[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear and Kevin “UglyFist” Wells]

Hey everybody!

I finally took a few minutes to get some shots of Norgard guard stuff. All of this Norgard work is in-progress. I still need to make color adjustments, fur-cards, and more — but this is everything so far currently with the player wearable, and also guards’ gear.

Feedback welcome as always. Thanks, all!

Here is the player wearable armor…

Here are female Norgard guards so far…

And finally, some male guards…

Making of South Paladis Scenes: Middle Downs and South Broken Road

Middle Downs

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you a sneak peek on my latest map, The Middle Downs!
The Middle Downs are located in South Paladis just south of Highvale in a rolling hills region. Serene and peaceful the area is lush, but scattered throughout the region are mysterious burial mounds built hundreds of years ago.

What mysteries do these burial mounds hold? Is there a link between their location/orientation and what puzzles/traps may lay inside? 

The Western Mound 

An abandoned village in the Middle Downs moments before sunset.

Another burial mound located to the South. 

A lowland bog cuts through the center of the Middle Downs. 

Stay tuned for more updates on the Middle Downs!

Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar
Level Designer

South Broken Road

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

Here’s some sneak-preview shots of South Broken Road, a Tier 2 area between Opalis and Jaanford.

Garret The Fabulous, longtime purveyor of fine hair tonics and plague cures, has gone missing somewhere along the South Broken Road. If someone were to find his wares untended, let’s hope they wouldn’t try to make their own mixtures.

Thanks for following!

Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski
Level Designer