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"The Elder Scrolls Travels wireless games bring to life the excitement and challenge of rich fantasy worlds."

I found the biggest challenge, at least art wise, on the Travels series was to fit a "first person" viewpoint in the tiny memory and screen resolution of the then current crop of phones (circa 2003). To do this it was decided that the creatures/characters were to be broken up into smaller pieces and "glued" together in various ways, to form a wider variety of forms than would be otherwise possible. It's an old technique used in older "memory challenged" systems.


So, for example, a base body would have three head choices, a couple of arms, perhaps some  armor.  Still a tight fit though. We thought it important to retain the first person viewpoint, as it's one of the things that defines the Elder Scrolls series, which strive for creating an environment in which one is totally immersive.
As a true 3D environment was impossible at that point we strove to mirror the look of Daggerfall with its "cardboard" cutout figures. No animation was possible however and the poses had to be somewhat neutral. This was because a very dynamic pose would obviously show  the fact that it was the same character being reused time and again!
Gehenoth  A creature from the Dawnstar installment of the Elder Scrolls Travels. Here it is from a very large version created for a "standee" (a large cardboard "cutout" ) for E3. It came close to being six feet tall!
Click on the graphic to the left for a larger version.

This had to be finished over a weekend and the final version was huge! 7500 pixels tall.  As the artwork for the Travels games themselves  was a combination of 3D modeling and old fashioned "pixel pushing" I had to end up creating the standee artwork through a variety of means, to ensure enough detail. First, the base model was rendered to give my the lighting I needed. The base model was very low on detail though, fine for a phone game but completely insufficient for the artwork needed to create the "standee". Using my creature model collection (A nice tax deductible!) I matched the lighting on the 3D render, photographed the models, and created dozens of "monster pieces", to assemble the Gehenoth "Frankenstein". A scute here, a horn there,  a  bit of an arm off one model,  some claws off another. This was then all lumped together to form the base for the creature. Once assembled it was then a case of painting for the next 36 hours to meet the deadline.

 
The Gehenoth. Taken from the "Standee" artwork created for the 2003 E3


© 2003 Vir2L Studios Inc., a ZeniMax Media company. All Rights Reserved.

Hopefully it's not too obvious where the photography/ rendering ends  and the painting begins. Once completed, no part of the image was left untouched, and no original "raw"  image remained. Still, cheating? Perhaps. 
Gehenoth  This time from the game itself. By comparison the larger version was originally over 5000 pixels across where as the original to the right is about 120!

© 2003 Vir2L Studios Inc., a ZeniMax Media company. All Rights Reserved.

Troll.  The final version of this character. My original concept was a more traditional/human type. Hard to get the Moria cave troll out of your mind one you've seen FoTR! The Elder Scrolls troll is a 3 eyed, big clawed, beasty. Below are some of the earlier versions.

© 2003 Vir2L Studios Inc., a ZeniMax Media company. All Rights Reserved.

Early Trolls The initial attempt at the trolls proved to be too close  to "normal" trolls, and did not match what had already been established in the Elder Scrolls Universe. To save memory on the phones and to gain us some variety in the graphics, the creatures were designed to be "pieced" together. Some had different heads, some different arms. In this case variety was  found in swapping out clothing and weapons. 

© 2003 Vir2L Studios Inc., a ZeniMax Media company. All Rights Reserved.

Final Trolls The three eyed versions are closer in feel to the Elder Scrolls Troll, which originally appeared in Arena. There was a more "insect" like quality to those which I tried to incorporate.

© 2003 Vir2L Studios Inc., a ZeniMax Media company. All Rights Reserved.



 
 

Click HERE to go to the Elder Scrolls Travels site where you can find more information.