Scenic Tour: Tundra

This project is the culmination of a lot of long and hard work, but it has been well worth the effort. I wanted to create a setting that was instantly distinguishable from the usual, at least when it comes to Neverwinter Nights persistent worlds. The vast majority of servers out there feature the Forgotten Realms setting, and seem to be reminiscent either of the deep green hills and forests of western Europe or the arid deserts of Mesopotamia. It was very important to me to create something visually distinct and unique. I want my players to feel they are in a different world the moment they enter it.

I decided to set my server in lands that stretch from arctic in the north through tundra, and then taiga in the south. These images of the Scoresby Sund in Greenland and of autumn on the tundra inspired me to the decision, and I sought to create a bright and colorful environment.Neverwinter Nights 2 lacks the necessary assets to create such seemingly alien landscapes, so I set about designing my own. I initially attempted to emulate the vibrant reds and orange-yellows pictured above, but found myself having difficulties creating cohesive color palettes, so I opted for a softer pink which blends more seamlessly into the other textures.

To create such a bright, vegetation rich environment as those above, I would have needed to pack my areas with grasses and trees to the point that they would be too resource intensive, so it was important that I could apply color in patches alone without looking out of place. I also didn’t want to create an environment that felt too alien to feel like home. I will likely opt for a more accurate recreation of the above scenes in future work when it is more appropriate to my needs.

This overhead shot rendered in the toolset shows off my area as a whole. The cliff and river in the foreground and to the left create natural boundaries, as do the hills in the background the forest to the right. These parts of my area will be expanded to create adjacent zones in my module.OverheadQuaint farmland is nestled against gently rolling hills in this idyllic setting to create a sense of calm and peace. This serves to create a point of contrast for when strife is brought to the region in the course of the module’s storyline. EstablishingWorked by hand, this little farm’s fields are smaller than those we have come to expect today, and work to create a safe, homey atmosphere. FarmA frigid stream runs south from the mountains above, its stony bed kicking a fine mist into the afternoon air.RiverA short distance later, the stream tumbles over the cliff which marks the edge of the zone. Unfortunately, it is best viewed from the adjacent zone to the south which isn’t finished quite yet.FallsA small family operated meadery sits at the base of gently sloping hills. The tasting room is open, and will serve as a resting point for player characters. Beehives dot the hillside in the background.MeaderyAt the southern edge of the area one can peek into the campsite below. The edge of a forest sits atop the cliffs a short distance away.CliffsThe sun casts a fiery light over the tundra as it begins to set, darkening our sheep’s sorrel to an angry red. A windmill continues to creek as it turns. WindmillAs the sun spends a last few minutes above the horizon, it casts long shadows that highlight the rugged topography. SunsetThe odd lantern keeps travelers on the winding road, while firelight flickers in the windows, keeping this farm’s occupants warm. A keen observer might notice a very unfortunate flaw of the engine, in that it doesn’t apply point lights to grass.Night RoadThe bustling life of the meadery has gone still as the bees too rest for the night.Night MeaderyA luminescent moth dances beneath the stars as the moon rises, giant against the wooded horizon in the distance. Moon ForestAs the moon reaches its zenith, it’s gentle light glows against the patches of pink flowers that sweep out across the plain.Moonlight FieldsThat’s it for now, but there should be much more to come in the very near future. Finalizing the unique look of my setting has lent me a renewed sense of purpose, and I’m already well into my next visual spectacle. As ever, thanks for reading.

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