1 week full-time. Created with Unreal Engine
This large area is designed from a macro perspective. Top priorities include readability, believability and exploration.
THE ISTRIA MAP
The result became a sandbox with three destinct towns and some smaller settlements, surrounded by mountain and sea. Points of interest includes; old tower, battlefield, crater, redgrove, old fort and brazier.
TOWNS & SPACE PLANNING
In purpose of believability every town include a center, main roads, general purpose and basic defense. Every town consist of at least three wards, ready to be enriched with storytelling.
I wanted the space planning of each town to have strong readability, but also feel organic.
POINTS OF INTEREST & THE 30 SECONDS RULE
Locations in the distance are meant to spark the player's desire to explore. Also, even though sometimes out of view, they often help with navigation as landmarks.
I put my design through an "every 30 second"-test, meaning that the player should always experience something specific within that time-loop; unique enviorments, encounters, npc's, packs of animals, and so on.
THE CREATION PROCESS
STEP 1, PLANNING & BLOCKOUT
After researching real-life terrain and playing around with the engine's terrain tool I settled on this basic design, and started to plan out town locations and points of interest.
STEP 2, FEEDBACK & ITERATION
After gathering feedback and evaluating the content of my original design I planned some large iterations.
Most notably the mountain-range and sea needed to become more distinct. Additionally, the crater would profit from being more intertwined with the rest of the landscape.
The main road was curved to serve the new flow of the layout.
STEP 3, FINISHING TOUCHES
This last part of the process include several smaller steps.
First adding features such as; new river, more bridges, glacier, waterfalls, more gates and walls, old fort exterior and more.
Then I went over the compositions of each town and made sure my Points of Interest were as visible as I wanted them to be.
Next I worked with foliage and basic props to make areas indentifiable, or in best case unique.
Lastly I threw togheter some fog, light and post-process for showcase purposes.
Given more time I would've liked to experiment with different ways of traversing the space such as; horse riding, para-gliding or floating, climbing, sliding and so on.
The Port Town would work great as a player hub with npc's, vendors and questlines. The other towns and points of interest could be encounter areas or exploration locations tied to various quests.