One of my proudest achievements this expansion, was getting to be apart of the team that brought the Ardenweald Covenant Sanctum to life. This was such an amazing experience and every person involved did such an amazing job. This may be a long read, but so much work went into this project and I want to call out those who I specifically worked with during this process and what they contributed. I highly encourage everyone to check out the work from all of those who worked on Ardenweald and the Covenant Sanctum. Enjoy!
I got to primarily work with my coworker Gabe Gonzalez on this project. He was tasked with the initial 3D blockout/design of the sanctum, including scale and layout of the interior and exterior. When I joined onto the project, I was given the greyscale, low poly model to begin polishing up all of the geo within the Sanctum. Meanwhile, Gabe focused on polishing the exterior and producing all of the textures for me to apply to the interior. I got to contribute to a couple of textures to the interior of the Sanctum, but the bulk of the textures came from Gabe. Since I designed the look of the amber glass on other trees within Ardenweald, I also got to design all of the glasswork textures within the Sanctum.
On top of the textures, Gabe created all of the doorways into the Sanctum. He designed all of the exterior geo and bark for the tree, as well as the canopy and branches spiraling above. We also decided we wanted to frame the Winter Queen in her chamber, so Gabe concepted the amber glass backdrop that frames the Queen and her throne. Then the concept was passed off to me to model.
As the Sanctum started becoming more and more complete, we realized we wanted some specific pieces made for the Sanctum, not found anywhere else in the zone. Gabe and I got to work with one of our prop artists, Ashleigh Warner
, who concepted and created such beautiful pieces to accent the Sanctum. Ashleigh created the Heart of the Tree that is the center focal point in the Sanctum. She also created the ethereal banners that drape down the pillars of the Sanctum. Ashleigh also created the throne for the Winter Queen and floating lamps that decorate her chambers.
Once the geo was established and the layout complete. The next step was to start decorating the interior. Normally I handle the placement of just the environment assets when it comes to decorating, and the level design team handles the prop asset placements. This time around leadership felt that since I was the most familiar with the interior of the Sanctum, that I would be in charge of all of the decorating. This was my first time getting to work with prop assets to decorate and I had such a fun time creating all of the POIs within the Sanctum.
To figure out where things needed to go, I got to work closely with Arden's point Quest Designer, Katherine Bankson. She and I were in constant contact to figure out where places like the Inn would go and where all of the specific vendors would be and to make sure the look and feel were what she envisioned. I really had such a great experience getting to work this side of the pipeline. Some of my favorite POIs I made, were the Garden Portal area in the lower Sanctum, as well as the Inn.
Now speaking of props. Not only did Ashleigh work on the Sanctum props, but she and Yili Tan
, our other Arden prop artist, designed every prop used in Ardenweald. I had so much fun getting to utilize all of their assets to help decorate the interior. Every asset that came from them was stunning. Outside of the prop team, the rest of the assets came from the Ardenweald environment artists, including; Myself, Gabe Gonzalez
, Marie Lazar
, Tai Walker
, Nick Murano
, Servando Lupini
, and Tina Wang. Both the Prop and Environment team really went above and beyond with amazing assets that were so fun to place around the Sanctum.
Then lastly, once everything was established and decorated. Our point quest designer, Katherine Bankson, and our point Level Designer, Victor Cortis
; went through and placed all of the NPCs and vendors that make up what the player sees today in game.
So much love went into this Sanctum and everyone involved did such a great job.