Games Proposal Blog - Genshin Impact Expansion - Week 4
Updated: Nov 29
21/11/2022 - 27/11/2022 Snow - Designer Material
Version without Ice for blending into the landscape material.
Above are some designs I worked on to figure out some alternative variations for the izbas. I mainly know I do want the same or similar silhouette for the cabins themselves, but I think it would be nice to add the major variation within some different pattern designs and colour schemes. When researching, I did find that these types of houses do mostly have the same size and shape to them, but they differ in small things like window shapes and intricate ornate detailing. This is why I chose to focus more on designing some patterns inspired by Russian culture, as now I have some alphas to choose from when I would want to make a trim on the 3D model. I know Genshin Impact does seem to prioritise a streamlined workflow and reusing assets where they can, so I think being able to reuse the base izba in certain places but being able to change it up just enough would be a plus for keeping my work consistent with Genshin Impact.
Region Icon Design
Above is the icon I made to represent the region. It was important to me to make my icon look like it already fits in the world, so I really tried to study the pre-existing regional icons (below). These icons in game are used a lot to represent the region, such as in loading screens and menus. Something I noticed when looking at other regional icons is that the region's element is somewhat incorporated or just outright in the icon itself, such as the Dragonspine icon or Inazuma icon, so this is my reasoning behind adding the Cryo element icon. Each icon, specifically for the regional ones, seem to be based on a prominent characteristic of the subject matter - e.g, Inazuma's regional icon has the Japanese torii gate, which is very typical and is easy for the player and outside sources to discern what region it is at a glance and what it is inspired by in real life. Again, the Sumeru region includes a big tree as their focus, and the Mondstadt region has the windmill. I think these are very appropriate and generally good graphic design because these do incorporate the ideals and common thematic of each nation. When designing my icon for Snezhnaya, I really wanted to have as strong of a silhouette as the icons of Genshin Impact. I noticed the main subject matter in the pre-existing icons tend to be the brightest colour of the colour palette, with a slight gradient as well. Smaller aspects that seem to just contribute to the overall icon's silhouette but not the main subject matter just have a darker colour, such as the framing in icons or things behind the main icon. I was also able to find and use the Genshin Impact font! I asked a lot of people and did some researching, and I think I can confidently conclude that one of the first things that come to mind when people think about Russia are their unique buildings, especially in Moscow. This is also what first came to my own mind, and so I thought the best design would be to feature the onion-dome cathedral as the main focus.
Above are some examples I complied for references of different icons in the game, some being achievement icons and not regional ones.
For my landscape designs, I was inspired to do this sort of layout after reading Atomhawk's Applicant Q&A Guide - 3D Artist article. I really liked the layout and clear development in the image below, and knowing that this is a sort of industry standard for sketches or concept art also made me want to produce something similar for my portfolio.
I started sketching different environment concepts that I feel would belong in the Genshin Impact world and ultimately fill it up. I wanted each of my 5 sketches to be representative of my previous research.
Zapolyarny Mine For the first sketch (top left), I wanted this one to be inspired by my research into the Zapolyarny mine. I imagine this setting, or at least in the perspective I have drawn it, would be a sort of transitionary area between all of the other landmarks in my region. The focus of this image is the glowing passageway, which I imagine would be one of many in these mines. I would like each of my images to sort of pose a question behind why the player would be there and their goal. For this mine, could they possibly be just starting a questline in which they have to discover a hidden truth at the bottom of these mines? Could the beautiful glow from the crystals in the cave have a mystical property behind them? Maybe in a smaller questline or daily commission, our player could have to just find a lost miner in these caves and save them.
Izba Village For my second sketch(top right), I wanted to depict a small but comfortable village featuring the Izbas, located at the foot of a mountainside. I wanted to show some life of the region, and what people would do in their everyday lives. At the bottom of the sketch, you can see the frozen lake with a small dock and some boats lined up against the snow. Of course, it wouldn't be ideal for the villagers to use their boats on a frozen lake, so it is implied that this lake was not always frozen, and that their lives were once different to now. In the storyline of Inazuma, the land was in a perpetual lightning storm, and people were not allowed in or out of the region. This was caused by the Archon (God) of Inazuma, as her story-arc at the time involved her changing from a tyrannical, controlling ruler of the region to someone willing to change. Her causing these constant storms was a form of her tyranny. Knowing this, I was able to establish that these Archons of the regions do have the ability to impact their region's weather with their power. "Her Royal Highness the Tsaritsa is actually a gentle soul. Too gentle, in fact, and that's why she had to harden herself. Likewise, she declared war against the whole world only because she dreams of peace." - via Genshin Impact wiki
After reading this excerpt about the Archon of Snezhnaya on the wiki page, I thought it would be a fitting idea for her to be the reason behind Snezhnaya's constant uninhabitable blizzards. This would also become a gameplay and storyline opportunity within the game, as the main quest for the region could involve the player trying to reach the Tsaritsa and essentially melt away the coldness in her heart. In doing such, maybe this could unlock and allow new gameplay opportunities in-game, as maybe some of the most uninhabitable areas of the region in-game could also melt away...
Ice Crystal Cave For the third sketch (left middle image), I wanted to depict the possible impact the Tsaritsa could have had on the region. Giant blue frozen crystals protrude from the cave and the surroundings. The locals refer to it as a cave as such, but this hole in the mountain-side is fully man-made, after a fight between the Tsaritsa and another unknown primordial being. The resulting crystals are a demonstration of the Tsaritsa's power. Towards the bottom part of the image is a Statue of the Seven representing the Cryo Archon.
Teplyy Village Left bottom sketch: Located in a mountain pass between two peaks. As such, the blizzards do not hit this village as harshly. The locals of the village view this as a blessing from the Archon, and as though she is offering her protection. The outsider's view of Snezhnaya and their Archon tends to be negative, and that she is only concerned about mindless war. But this shows an insight into her humanity.
Snezhnaya City The main hub and namesake of the region, the bottom right sketch. The city is believed to be built upon the strongest ley line of the region. This city houses the main Fatui military, oddly enough, the city does not have a lot of residential areas. Instead, the city is more dedicated to factories and military.
Map Design Snippet