Dev Diary 3: Diving into the zones, West Szaraz
Table of Contents
- Some Lore Bits
- Thinking Process
- Visual Changes
- The Vision and What’s more to come
- Next Episode
You might have seen our short teaser video about this zone, West Szaraz.
Before we begin, If you look at our map, you might say Szaraz is only one zone. Yes and no. For some, Szaraz is considered it’s own zone but for others Szaraz is divided into two: East and West.
If you are curious, let’s dive into some of the reasons shall we?
Some Lore Bits
Without giving away too much let’s just say Szaraz used to be a one big zone where it was culturally homogenous. People shared common history, struggles and language. One day a strange event took place. Little the people of Szaraz knew this would have changed the entire landscape and history of this zone.
For our team, West Szaraz was one of the zones that helped us incorporate different political dynamics of the game. Once a uniform zone, now is a more diverse almost like an arena for different cultures to come and compete, interact and discover.
Due to this reason, West Szaraz had to be something foreign to all cultures and populations. This unlocked the opportunity for the player to truly feel a sense of mystery and surprise.
If you look at the screenshots below you will notice that this zone has unique plants and landmarks that no other zone in Mist contain. We haven’t released any images on East Szaraz however, the difference between these two zones are especially large.
Let’s start with the topography.
Here is our map for Szaraz, and as you can see in the gray photo, we wanted to stick to our map and start with it as a base. For this base we made sure to capture important geographical elements such as mountains, craters, deltas etc. Once this process was completed, more fine tuning began.
Above you are seeing the comparison of our map and the in-game zone. Grey picture represents the height map of our in-game zone.
Below you are seeing an early marked map for the different parts of West Szaraz map.
The yellow line between west and east Szaraz represents the transition zone between the two zones. Each whited out area also represents a settlement zone.
Besides this there are 7 colored dots that represent a crystal(which are significant in terms of lore and history of this zone).
The Early concepts
In the video below you can see that the feel of West Szaraz wasn’t foreign at all. The trees were interesting but they could have been anywhere on Dunia, the zone didn’t look like it was “not from Dunia” .
For this we had some other ideas, everyone from the team threw some concept ideas into their folders. After all of these ideas was presented we finally knew what the zone should look like which also ties in to our lore.
Here are some more concepts and trials that we had before settling on the final design.
None of these ideas clicked really. We had to re-think some of the other designs.
It was getting closer but not really, still didn’t have that flare.
The Vision and What’s more to come
After agreeing on the new design, team got to work. More environment builds were coming in and being evaluated.
On Mondays video we have shared a limited look of what is in West Szaraz.
That is an old video without our skybox, crystals, effects and more. The final part of our zone will not be shown today but here are the screenshots of the final concept and a look from the environment developers view.
Next Dev Diary Episode:
Some cool secrets.