Thursday, 23 April 2009

The House of Celeborn

Lothlorien made me squee (and my computer cry and sweat)...
The House of Celeborn (as it is named in the game), or Galadriel's Court is simply... magical, even among other trees in Caras Galadon, it's details come together creating something truly special. Some of them are unique for this place only (or only here used in this, and not other, manner), something one should mark carefully as LotRO is mostly build with and from reusable elements.

The attention to detail in the design is astounding and most of those elements can be traced - though sometimes in modified form - in how the place looks like in game. Do you see the swirly way up the root of the great mallorn tree, appearing in pastel blue on the detail?
Yes, it's there as well as the minor branch somewhere at its end.
The circular platforms like giant steps are there too, and so are of course the huge structures just beneath the leaves of the mallorn... and the lanterns hanging down from too.
And if you look closely, you'll notice lanterns hanged on the gatelike-roots... and they are there too.

The place is stunning, but truth be told... it could have been done better. I love Caras Galadon, but every time I look at it's panorama I can't stop thinking that the platforms as they ended up in game don't look as organic and natural on the mallorns as they could be. Gorrem managed to achieve the symbiotic look, or at least I think so. Art department scored lower in here, but still... The place leaves me speachless.

Gorrem: Another rare environment piece of mine, done for Caras Galadon. This was my interpretation of Galadriel's courtroom from the exterior, which was described as a giant mallorn tree in the middle of a clearing supporting many flets, reachable only by ladder.

Original image can be found here.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Moroval Design

Some time ago I've discovered that one of art designers providing his work for the sake of LotRO has an account on deviantart. Not only that, he's the one that designed my all time favorite elven outfits GlathlĂ­rel and Narmeleth that always make me want to strip her... And for Galadriel too!
Basicly as it came out, he designed most of the elements of LotRO that I found the most stunning, so I decided to pay a tribute to him and catch his designs as they ended up in game (he himself is a blasphemer, playing the Jelly-WoW ;) )
Behold, the art of Gorrem you all love (but you just don't know that yet).

First on line, new in Moria Morroval designs I cought while in Morroval LI Instance.

Morroval Robber and...

Morroval Mistress

If you look closely, almost all details are there, even the droplet of blood running from Mistress' lips and the frivolous shoulder strap.
The only detail missing are, I think, Robber's glove-like straps.

Gorrem: Sometimes I need to make new versions of characters that are already in the game. These two are variants of the Morroval, which is a succubus. Instead of a screenshot paintover- Which usually turns out hideous- I decided to just paint them from scratch.
I believe the original concept was by Jeff Murchie.

Original image can be found here.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Did you know...

...that some dwarves have golden teeth?

I didn't and, I must confess, I was totally surprised when I came across this fashionable dwarf!

Holin Ridge

I've enjoyed some off-regular exploring recently, and when I heard about this title, it seemed like a perfect challenge.

The aim is to get to that old elven watch tower. The way is steep and narrow, and falling, or slipping, down is an ever present danger. But if your steps are sure...

And you can, finally, enjoy the breath-taking panorama of Holin, too!

The Evil in Sejer Tharakh

An enormous Caveclaw lying injured (?) in Sejer Tharakh...
Tho I prefer to think he just hit his head real hard and is fine, just a bit drowsy.

An Epic Fight

At least for me!
I encountered this scary vampire in Morrovail Caves in Eastern Durin's Way yesterday. I'm no Loremaster nor a Minstrel, but still I was able to bring down his 35k morale ass in just... 15 minutes!
Yes, I smacked him to death with my Rune.

...and 15 minutes only because I had Fall To Our Wrath slotted...

Tale of Heroism

Yesterday my friend's Minstrel's Tale of Heroism cought my attention.
Not the skill itself actually, but the icon - my first thought (first, as I have never payed attention to this skill before) was - Beren and Luthien!

Because what else could one think in Middle-Earth, if a Tale of Heroism is illustrated with a picture of a pair, her up the front, fair-skinned, black-haired and clad in white, him behind her? And their story is, indeed, one of heroism way beyond that of their mirrored pair at the dawn of times, Aragorn and Arwen (Aragorn may have been heroic, but Arwen never done anything to remotly deserve that term... yes, I don't like Arwen). Beren and Luthien has both done truly heroic deeds..!

Also the rich green background brings Ossiriand to mind, the green and forested land of seven rivers where Beren and Luthien lived.

...and... do you also think you can see NauglamĂ­r on Luthien's neck? :)

Hidden Hobbit Village

I've always regretted that I missed out on Hobbit Farmer and Squirrels... I was kinda thinking it will always be there for me to explore, and now it's closed off..

One more reason for me to hurry to explore another hidden wonder, The Hidden Hobbit Village just west of the Shire.

If you manage to fool the Bounders and sneak* pass Ered Luin gate unattended, following the road will finally lead you to this secluded, quiet place (alternatively, you can sneak* pass the gate in Michel Delving leading west...).

The place itself is surrounded with thick foliage of elderly oaks, which make quite a lovely sight as you approach.

Not many know about it's existence so no wonder that the knowledge about it exact location is even more rare, which suits it's shy inhabitants. As you will inevitably notice, they did not agree to pose to any of the pictures I've made.

Rare visitors can leave their mounts at the stable in northernmost part of the village (visible on the right side of the photo) and proceed to the center of the little town, marked by a huge windmill, standing proudly above the fields.

Among cozy hobbit holes a more extraordinary structure stands, clearly showing the influence of long legs architecture on the native art of the Shire folks.

Weary traveler can take a sip of clear, cold water from the village well.

But this building is unique in the whole Shire - you will not find another one like that. Even the Mathom House - itself build bearing strong resemblance to the architecture of Bree - looks totally different. I don't recall a building like that in the whole Middle Earth I've visited so far. The type of windows is unique, so are the ornaments adoring it.

In some distance to the east, digging under the hills of Little Delving, new hobbit holls are being buid. Still unfinished, and for some reason missing doors...

A campsite to the far south end of the area. Secluded, and empty. A puzzling sight, as the fire still burns brightly and the rabbit has just been prepared for roast, but not eaten yet. Who might have camped here?

As gossip goes, the "hidden" Hobbit village was added to showcase the game at E3 many years back - as Liquilla posted about the place of CM Forums (adding but you didn't hear that from me! (...and I may be wrong)).

Some old Shire preview screenshots show area bearing a striking resamblence to this village, but they are not identical. I tried hard to catch the same angle, but it has prooven impossible.

The Windmill Sight looks very alike, and at first glance it may seem that the only thing that has changed was the design of the horses in game, and that the chickens are gone. But the angles are seriously different, bushes have moved and a cart has been placed a bit off.

While trying to reshoot the scarecrow image, I stumbled upon even more difficulties. Apparently the guy has been moved altogether, and so have the fences. Also, there's no bag of grain resting anywhere in place allowing me to get the windmill and hobbit holes with the right angle.

But still, the place looks remarkably the same... Just... recreated?
My guess would be, it's either not the original E3 location, or it has been modified for some strange reason. Anyhow, the adventure was a great one!

* These passages are by no means ment to represent the actual route to Hidden Hobbit Village. It's an even longer trip, I just used Ered Luin and Michel Delving gates for RP and localization reasons.