Designs from the Vault. Age of Conan

Between early 2005 and late 2011 (feels like a lifetime ago) I worked in the Art Department of Funcom in Oslo, Norway - first as a Concept Artist, and later as the Assistant Art Director (and Concept Artist) on Age of Conan - Hyborian Adventures, and on the expansion Rise of the Godslayer, set in a mythological Hyborian land called Khitai, which was heavily inspired by ancient China. I have hundreds of concepts from these projects - from very polished visuals to rough and at times rudimentary sketches (when you work on a project such as this, not everything is a polished 'Artstation-worthy' piece of artistic flexing, and often you're called upon to produce a simple sketch at a moment's notice) consuming Gigabytes of hard drive space.

During a general backup, I happened to stumble upon this sketch from Rise of the Godslayer for city walls, and specifically a sea-wall gate for the passage of ships in and out of the harbour to the grand capital of Khitai, Paikang. Ultimately Paikang was considerably scaled back in scale and ambition, however I believe the sea-gate was made.

I have to say that I really love this sketch. The proportions, the sparseness of the walls themselves contrasted with the detail of the decks and layered roofs, the sense of scale and mass, the purposeful design with the staggered decks affording a clear vantage point for observing and potentially repelling seaward incursions. Monumental was the aim and I believe that this very simple sketch achieves this.

Subsequently I completed a more polished concept though I have to say, I actually prefer the simple sketch above.

I have a few other sketches from these projects that hold similar appeal and that I'm not entirely ashamed to share (given their age - I'd liked to think I've improved at my craft since then). I'll share these relics from the vault from time-to-time.


Posted: 11/03/2021
Category: Environment Design , From the Vault , Props Design , Sketch