Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Invisible Cities Online Greenlight Review


  1. OGR 08/10/2015

    Hey Zoe,

    So, Esmeralda it is, then! I can see I'm going to have to watch your adoration for a certain Alan Lee, as it seems to creep into your thinking time and again! There's something missing from your influence maps, if your influence maps are meant to reflect the emphases of your mission statement: you observe that Esmeralda is a city characterised by change and by changes in its water - when you read Calvino's description you do certainly get a very clear impression of movement, change, a sort of watery circuitry; a sense of kinecticism. Your influence maps seem rather preoccupied with monumental masonry and monolithic solidity - and not the back and forth and splash and change of waterways and arterial movements from one level to the next. Isn't there something a little more chaotic and energised about Esmeralda? I can't help but thing of stuff like this when I read Calvino's descriptions:

    There's something about this city that feels like a bit of a puzzle, or like a platform game; it begs questions about how the water is pushed up and around the various connections; is there a more elaborate system at work here?

    Indeed, there's something about the description of this city that puts me in mind of automata:

    It's a city of change and movement, which creates new pathways for its inhabitants, new routes - and I just wonder if all those big old stone references are actually 'on message'? Certainly, if you were to get into the idea of water-powered mechanisms facilitating structural changes in the city itself, I can instantly see how your concept art role could get about 1000 times more speculative and 'for animation'...

  2. Hi Zoe,

    Firstly, sorry for not engaging hugely with you over the last couple of weeks. I've been very busy working and I've not had the time to lurk around Blogger very much as of late.

    This is a satisfying summary of your project progress so far. Having viewed your development process through thumbnailing and reading the reasoning behind many of your creative choices, I can understand your decision to focus your attention on Esmerelda. Whilst you've yet to begin really rebuilding the city from the ground up, the thumbnails presented here and in your previous posts provide a solid idea of the direction you're heading in.

    I am particularly fond of the idea of duality you have drawn upon in previous posts. The idea of two halves of the same city, functioning vicariously as the result of the other. There are some interesting opportunities to create some drastically contrasting, yet complimentary spaces. From what I've seen throughout your project, you appear to think of your city from the perspective of the inhabitants, designing various elements to serve a specific sort of character (hidden passages for smugglers, etc). Whilst the city's aesthetic would certainly draw influence from those using it, I think you could explore the practical functions of the city, and the aesthetic impact of these functions, a bit more. A notable example would be the iconic use of aquaducts by the ancient Romans. They served the practical purpose of bringing water into the city, whilst acting as symbol of opulence and class. This aesthetic feature is synonymous with the Romans, and yet it wouldn't exist without it's practical purpose.

    In terms of fictional influences, the idea of a society constructed around water generates serious Bioshock vibes. Again, the design choices here were influence not only by 1950s Art Deco architecture, but also the practical purpose of building a city under countless gallons of water. As a result, the corridors are reminiscent of the corridors of a submarine crossed with a sea life centre.

    In short, I suppose the question that needs answering is "what are the practical needs of this city and how would these needs affect the city cosmetically?"

    Great work so far, Zoe. Everything is coming along nicely. I'm looking forward to seeing how your interpretation of Esmerelda develops!

    1. Thank you, have worked on your advice, following on the idea of change. Have yet to look at specific aquaducts, but have tried to tackle how the water changes direction, which I have done on my first post of colour comps. More to come from me on that score.