Scenic Tour: Clifftop City – Part I

Cities are always tough to bring to life virtually. Anyone who knows and loves a city somewhere in the world knows their city is alive. It ebbs and flows and breathes, and buzzes with a subtle energy in a thousand different ways that makes it unique and makes it home.

I wanted to create a city that demonstrates triumph over its harsh environment and a stubborn refusal to compromise its culture despite its stark circumstance. What I came up with is a bustling, industrious city built on a bluff on a kilometers high cliff. Howling winds and bitter cold tear at the stone buildings and their denizens, but life continues and even thrives.

My city lacks walls, for of what benefit are walls when you’re already perched way up high and out of reach? Traders, visitors, and homecoming citizens alike ascend in massive lifts to reach the city streets. These three shots are rendered in the toolset so they’re not quite as sharp, but it’s the only way to give a proper sense of scale.01ToolsetWide02ToolsetAngledNote how the roads aren’t textured in to the left and the top from overhead. These parts of the area cannot be seen from in game, and merely serve as backdrop. 03ToolsetTopNew arrivals hurry off the lift, their legs wobbling like jelly, and scramble up the cobbled streets awaiting them.05DownstreetThose merchants who can’t afford a license for the market proper set up their stalls wherever they can. The city’s aqueduct escorts a little stream over streets and between buildings, and also serves as a boundary for the city’s less affluent district.04StreetBack at the city’s edge stevedores bustle to unload the lifts carrying goods from the warmer valley below. I really strove to evoke a waterfront feel, sans the water. Wooden wharfs and cranes for loading cargo, and a trebuchet for defense.06Dock07Dock08DockWarehouses close to the city’s edge store an ever changing flow of goods. Crops and perishables arrive from more fertile lands, while the compact and valuable cultural creations of the city wait to be spread into the world.09StreetThose too poor for a home in the city’s slums erect their little lean-tos beneath the meager shelter of the aqueduct. 10AqueductThe sun slowly sets over one of the city’s squares. An ancient oak’s frosty branches sway slowly in the frigid wind.11Sunset12NightThe poor huddle around makeshift fires in their Court of Stars and light candles to honor their absent friends. 13StarsFire14StarsAlley15StarsNarrowOnly the rushing water of the aqueduct breaks the relative silence of night along the city’s edge. 16DockNightThat’s it for now, so thanks for reading. The whole city will be split over three or four areas, so stay tuned for the rest.

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