There are several things I will have to figure out before I can start making the actual models.
In this post I will create a list of things I used/will use to get the narrative for my art.

Concept art

Concept art is the best way of quickly getting multiple ideas on how you want things to look in general. This is completely seperate from what the outcome will be when the Narrative will be included but it gives you a nice way of making your own inspiration or Ideas you would like to incorporate into your work.

Besides your own work you should also collect inspiring images from other artist that interest you. Ofcourse it helps narrowing the search down if you already set a theme.

In my case my base theme was "Sci-Fi" but later on we added "Overgrown" to it as I haven't done much organic modelling yet and this would be a great opportunity to learn it. So in my case it will be a nice mix of hard surface and organic modelling.

Example of my art wall in its current state (I will give more pictures in future post as I fill it up)

Creating the story

Most important is that I write out a small story that the art will/should tell. My max is one A4 page to limit myself. You should set a limit too because you can get carried away with writing a story pretty fast. And the story itself is not our main focus in terms of an end result.

First thing my teammate and I did was settle on these three points:

  • Location
  • Objective of the players (in our case teams) > Why are they there?
  •  Time

This will give us a base to build a story on. 

In our case the location is an overgrown city where the players will infiltrate an "abandoned base". The objective of Team A is to reach the core and collect schematics, they are scavengers that travel around for lost "treasures" that might give them a fair bit of coins. Team B are the androids that were left there and are still active to defend the base from intruders.

More Concept art

Once you have your story all written up you will need to make specific concept art based on that story (basically incorporating it into your assets for the first time). There are multiple ways on creating a story into your work. I will do research (Analysing other maps and examples) on what these ways can be and make a more detailed post on this subject. I encourage you to do it yourself too as there might have been new ways or good examples created by the time you read this.

In my case I will also receive a blockout of the designed map at some point where I will base my concept art on too. But meanwhile I will continue making atmospheric images to get a good feeling for it.

In the near future

Since I am still in my concept fase I haven't planned exactly yet how I will start modelling. Since I will be making an entire multiplayer map in my case I will start making modular models that I can easily place in the world. Ofcourse there will be new discoveries and ideas once I'm further into my own process I will post new updates.

The Story
As I said in a previous post I would write a short story within the limit of a single A4. I managed to work that out and here is the current version of the story the map will be based on. However I did make two seperate stories, this is due to the fact that I wanted to tell about both current and previous events. For me two stories were the solution. Ofcourse if you are a better storywriter than I am you could probably make a single story.

Story I (Current event of the players)

The Scavengers
It's 2241 at the planet called Acronis. A scavenger ship appears into its atmosphere. They are here to collect valuables from a recently rediscovered base located deep into the abandoned capital. Of course they heard tales about Acronis and the wealthy occupants that lived upon it during their search. But they could not believe their eyes once they landed. A city completely abandoned. It seemed like people haven't lived here for hundreds of years. Most of the city seemed intact, yet overgrown. It seemed as they Arconians just left everything behind for some reason.

After a safe landing they started to load out their gear and moved out. Once they entered the base courtyard it seemed all clear. But then the alarm suddenly goes off it seemed like they weren't alone. The base's defences were still active and within the minute the first robot came to defend the base. It seemed like the previous inhabitants left the defenses up. This would make it a lot harder for the scavengers to push in. On the other hand this must mean there is something in the base that must be really valuable.

They had to s
lowly push into the base to get closer to what they came for. While they went through the facility they came across clues as to why the Acronians had left. It seemed like the base had a giant reactor in its center. This was a nuclear facility used to power the entire moon. Obviously they went overboard on it and had to leave because there was a big possibility of it becoming unstable. Shutting it down was not an option. But the scavengers were used to these kind of trouble. If it had been intact for so long, why would it be any different now. So the scavengers kept going until they reached the core. They found nuclear material that was used to build the reactor. This would give them a high price on the black market. Once they defeated the robots they loaded their treasure onto the ship and left the planet to never return.

Story II (History of what happened to Acronis)

Acronis is an ancient planet on the edge of the Endaerio system. The Acronians were intelligent people. They created technology to help further their planet which quickly grew out to be an entire city. With such growth came problems. They weren’t able to power such a large city. So they started to develop a way to do so. They found out how they could make a power source that contained enough energy to power the city twice as much. However little did they know this power source would quickly become unstable. Alarms sounded in the city everywhere, mass evacuation started and the city needed to be abandoned. Not every Acronian was able to make it due to the radioactivity that came from the powersource. Since that day the city has been empty and quickly became overgrown and forgotten.

Concept art & first models

I also said I would make more concept art. Now I've paused working on general environment art I narrowed my art down to specific objects that will be seen throughout the city and/or in the base. Weapon crate I used my weapon crate as a simple object to discover how I wanted things to look like. I started with making the shape and I wanted something unique besides the conventional squared crate (Even though I still put it in there). 



I got interested in the pyramid so I coninued on with that and made a more detailed drawing 
of said crate.



From there I started experimenting with excisting artstyles and came to a conclusion.

In the end I went with the center bottom crate. And this is the 3D result of that:

A clean version.

An overgrown version.
After that I created a small test scene to check if this is indeed the style I want to go with:

The next step (also next post) Will be another game breakdown and after that I will go into depth on how I will implement my narrative into Project Acronis! 

Incorperating the story


Now that I am a bit further into the project I have started to create some story into my models starting with the broken train rails/crashed train.



So the story behind this train is that the Acronians tried to stop the generator from becoming even more unstable in a futile attempt. They shut off power from certain parts of the train as these were the area's that used the most power. There were many casualties during this event as this was a decision made in a moment of panic. Once they realized turning power off in certain area's was not giving the effect that they had hoped they stopped this process immediately to avoid any further casualties.


I am planning on extending on this story with some more supporting items like consoles and posters. For now however I am going to focus on making some good progress on the level itself.


Progressing on the level

I also decided to make building blocks that can be re-used all over the level. This way the designer I am working with can easily place these model into the level according to her own vision while designing the level.



I will make more of these items over the course of the project.

In the last update I showed how I started to add narrative by adding the train. Now I have made some great progress on the building blocks and parts of the level has been put together:



Slowly but surely we are filling the level with new assets and making it look complete.

So I had to put my focus on story aside to make sure I would actually be able to finish the level. In hindsight I should have planned it out a bit more so that I could have kept a nice balance. But then again it is my first full FPS level so I am very happy with what I have so far.


Meanwhile I have also made some additional concept art for new vehicles:


This might very well be one of the final updates as I have not posted in quite a bit. We are nearly done with the project and made great progress. In last post I said that I did not really have a focus on the story anymore so I decided to pick it back up. I created a console that references the train to make it more clear. And I also created some posters that you can find throughout the level.



At first sight you might thing it is impossible to understand anything that is being told there but if you look more carefully it is actually english. I picked this font on purpose to make it look more alien like but yet you are able to read it.


The console shows an option to shut down more of the powergrid and also tells you 4 of them has already been shut down. Hence why the trainrails broke down.


So the yellow poster is made by the goverment of Acronis to warn the people about the evacuation.


The red poster is an older poster made by people that were against the creation of the powersource in the first place. So it calls for people to rise against the goverment. A call that was not answered in time.


Final post

The next post will conclude his project with some final images of the finished product and a summary of how I look back on this project.

About Sander

I am Sander, A graduated interaction design student and am now close to graduating on Game Art too. My main goal is to become a great 3D environment artist in the game industry. So in this portfolio you will see a big focus on that.