On today’s devstream we shared some early concepts of environment and creature design from Dark Agartha. For your perusal, here’s the actual images used and a brief description of each one.
This was one of the prototypes we explored; clearly different from what you see today. This was more of a space/silence themed concept - of course, we loved it and thought it was super cool, but we wanted to communicate more of a post-post apocalypse scenario, asking “what happens after the world already ended?”
So, we went in a different direction.
Now this is looking more familiar. We wanted to base the theme around a wildfire that rampaged through a forest, and the subsequent overgrowth that occurs. That’s where the fungal growth came in! Additionally we were immediately taken with the idea that something terrible punched a hole through the world, allowing you to gaze upwards and see the destruction. You can see the branching tendrils of Agartha up in the skybox, inspired by the structure of veins inside an eyeball.
Before we settled back in on what you might recognize now, we explored another idea of the skybox essentially looking like a giant force-field and showing how Agartha “actually” functioned. Please note: the quotes are because this is not canonical; the structure shown in this image was purely aesthetic exploration.
We’re getting there. Building upon the foundation of an Agarthan wildfire, we looked to the visualizations of trees being struck by lightning. What kind of terrible force could cause this sort of damage at this scale?
We knew the above direction was what we wanted to home in on and finalize with. We altered the palette to bring out the still-smoldering ruins and scars, and also to bring out the red orb in the skybox. There was a short time where the live, 3D version of Dark Agartha used the indigos and reds seen in this concept, but we try to avoid using purples in the environment for specific story-related reasons. Some of the fungus and the fog in the playfield were changed off purple into a more blueish hue, and we landed on the final design.
You may have noticed Dark Agartha is populated by a couple creatures with unique appearances! One such foe you may encounter is “The Second”, a lithe Jinn unlike most of the others you’ve encountered. We wanted to go for a slender, almost regal appearance for this Jinn; below is their concept…
…and a couple high-poly renders, which we then implemented for you to face in Dark Agartha.
The Damaged Guardian
- The final obstacle in Dark Agartha is the damaged guardian, the Gatekeeper. In keeping with the theme of taking what was familiar as a safe haven for players and turning it upside-down, we wanted to portray the Gatekeeper as a heavily-damaged entiry that’s not quite right. Also, some people on the stream asked “what’s with the pretzel?” - that’s flaking gold, used as a material reference for the concepts.