Dark Elf Week One: Architecture Style

Blog from Rosie Rappaport, Senior Art Director

Here is our initial dark elf style guide! The idea for this style guide (as with any style guide) is to encourage a basic shape language for dark elves. Style guides are critical in setting a foundation that keeps everyone working together on a consistent look. Guides are intended to establish a framework for creativity but not restrict creativity. During the first steps of working together on the environments, we intend to revise the style guide based on what’s working visually. The key is getting core concepts established and in front of everyone so we can build together in a consistent and recognizable style.

The first step in the processes of defining the shape language is to get into the mind of dark elves. We have to ask, “Who are the dark elves, what kind of architecture do they build, and why?” Here is a little background on the EQNext Dark Elves: “The return of the Teir’Dal—the elite military unit which disappeared during the final days of the Dragon War—was disconcerting to members of the Combine. These dark elves, as they came to be called, had been transformed both physically and culturally by their time in the shadowy realm of Umbra. Their Elven influence has evolved to become more aggressive, imposing, and even sinister. Though they have been reluctant to share details of their long exile, it is clear that the dark elves were exposed to potent magic, a force that continues to influence their manner and behavior even on Norrath. It remains to be seen whether the Teir’Dal will attempt to reintegrate themselves into Elven society, or if they will seek their own path.

So the main adjectives are aggressive, imposing, sinister, and magical. The two basic shapes we used to create this look were a square and a triangle with a curved side. These two shapes are combined or used alone to make up the majority of the forms, but dark elves take liberties in the inlays. The most important feature of the inlays is the aggressive spiky shapes mixed with curves. Every shape looks like it could be a weapon of some kind.

Dark elves buildings rise up out of rock, so the bases of their buildings are rooted in rough stone, which contrasts with the detail work at the top, forming a “crown”. Dark elves like to build in hard stones. They grow bioluminescent plants to light their interiors, and these plants often take root naturally around their cities. They really like florescent lights, especially ones that cast blues, purples, and red lights. They use lights and luminescent materials for accents, and they like to use analogous light colors (next to each other on the color wheel, i.e. blue and purple), with never more than two colors in an area. We want you to make your own choices about the materials that they use most. If you don’t have the right ones, then suggest them! Color in the drawings so we can see what you mean. Remember, we are visual people and we like to be shown things.

My question for you this week is, “Does our initial dark elf architecture style guide fit in with your ideas for dark elves?”

Happy Building and see you next week!


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