House Dres Settlements Brainstorming

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Meriyal's picture
DeveloperExterior Developer
2017-09-25 17:29
Last seen:
5 hours 9 min ago

This is superb, thank you very much. Could you also supply artwork on these assets as well, we'd like to see your take on them:

Feivelyn's picture
2018-08-30 13:56
Last seen:
1 year 8 months ago

I really like the overall shape on the original concept, so I went for detailing and coulours only.

EDIT: probably this would also influence the colour of the organic structures if they are partially made from the chitin shells.
and here are some building mix style concepts:

and concerning technical concepts, I'd rather model some detailed proxy meshes because my usual workflow involves 3D anyway. Not sure if I can tackle the actual in game models yet, I know too less about what restriction are in place for the models concerning UV and polycount, probably at some later time I'll try it.
For the proxys it would really be helpful to have what's already in the existing tileset as a .obj or .fbx format because I didn't find a way yet to get .nif files working in Maya.

Gnomey's picture
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior Developer
2015-08-10 20:50
Last seen:
15 hours 16 min ago

I took the liberty of quickly fiddling with your concept to try and illustrate the sort of colour palette we're going for; generally a very stark contrast with a subtle purple hue:

The only thing I'd keep in mind is that the actual models would need a foundation so that they can be sunk into the ground, but otherwise the design is spot on.

Some image/palette references:

While the plainstrider shells would start out lighter, they are coated in a dark resin finish to preserve them from the elements.

As far as the plainstrider concept is concerned, I think I prefer the shell more fused so that it is more directly usable as shelter; for instance, clanstead platforms are built on top of a pile of plainstrider shells, the domed shapes of which redirect the weight of the structures above into the ground. They need to be quite sturdy structures to pull that off.

I would also like to see the head elaborated on a bit more, whether you keep the current design or change it; I basically ran out of ideas when I got to the head of that concept, but have since considered perhaps taking inspiration from the camel spider:

As you're churning out excellent concepts at such a quick rate, a few more things we could use: more textile designs (stuff like rugs and tapestries), perhaps furniture, and concepts for the Dres Matriarchs; ancient figures similar to wise women who struck shady deals for the sake of House Dres, including themselves becoming vampires, making them abominations to most Dunmer. They would generally stay out of sight, partitioned from other Dres, and would probably disguise their appearances. Otherwise, they should have rather fancy clothing, as they are the effective rulers of House Dres.

Atrayonis's picture
Lead DeveloperDeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest Developer
2015-09-28 20:13
Last seen:
2 hours 12 min ago

Well, I'm not exactly a shining beacon of feedback on the forum, but I'll take the time to thank you for your contributions, Feivelyn.

It feels like a (functional concept art) unicorn (with a comparatively insane level of high quality output) just fell from the sky and you are very much appreciated. If you care to, you might want to check out our Discord server, which sees considerably more immediate feedback than the forums.

Feivelyn's picture
2018-08-30 13:56
Last seen:
1 year 8 months ago

Ok, thanks for the input, I will adjust future concepts accordingly.
I'll give the strider another try one day. wasn't too happy about the result myself.

@Atrayonis oh my, thank you very much!

have some skyrender ornaments in the meanwhile

Hotseflots's picture
2018-10-23 12:48
Last seen:
1 year 8 months ago

Hey guys, I've never posted on these forums before but reading all this has got me inspired. I've attached some ideas for Argonian slave dwellings under House Dres. This is not House Dres architecture per se, but it is architecture that we'd only find in House Dres territory. So I hope you're fine with me posting it here.

What? Argonian slave hut
Why? It emphasizes uniqueness both of house Dres (unwilling to build shacks) and the Deshaan plains (no trees widely available), and allows TR to add a bit on Argonians. Should be quite rare - only if a clan is too poor to construct a slave pit, if the slave pit is overpopulated, or if the clan's ricefields are far removed from the clanstead.

Description: These mud-and-rock dwellings are constructed by the Argonian slaves of House Dres in lieu of slave pits. Some clansteads have no slave-pits due to lack of room or funds. Slaves are not allowed to enter the clansteads of Dres, are at night simply left to their own devices. The Deshaan Plains are themselves a prison. House Dres also builds no shacks for its slaves, firstly because no wood is available, and secondly because that would mean a Dunmer would work for an animal. Slaves who wish to survive the temperature and predators of the night outside the clanstead must construct their own dwellings. Built in a native Argonian style, but improvised from the salt-rich clay of the Deshaan saltrice paddies, these primitive dwellings serve to shelter the miserable slaves.

Although the dwellings themselves are simple, they are often richly decorated by the slaves. These hand-paintings serve a triple function: aesthetic, warding, and storytelling. The pictorial depiction of the Hist (in either upcurling tentacle/branch patterns or a stylized tree with three upward branches and three downward roots) is invoked to keep misfortune out of the dwelling - this is a popular motif among the wretched slaves. Some pictures will also figure Argonian figures hunted by Dres slavetakers. Others show Argonians killing Dres slavetakers. These invoke no punishment since Dres overseers do not examine the paintings, considering them to be meaningless scratches made by animals.

Colour sketch:


In an Argonian setting, these houses would be made of the finest pale clay or light-brown mud and painted in bright green and red colours. However, in Dres captivity, the clay is tainted yellow by the omnipresent salt, and the only pigment available to the slaves is from a waste product of saltrice farming, which is of a blue hue. Thus, the Argonian slave dwelling is a mockery of Argonian architecture in the colours of their slave-takers. On top of that, the dwellings are stained white on doors and lintels by the salt which its inhabitants take with them from the fields, and brown by the dust which keeps blowing in from the more arid regions.

Comments: I think this would be a really fun inclusion to add more flavour to House Dres but also to the huge slave population that seems to get overlooked in these discussions. It might be a bit presumptuous to "design Argonian architecture" all by myself, buuut because these are more-or-less improvised dwellings, they keep the lore door wide open for any future Argonian developments. Thing is, can this concept work alongside the slave pits? I think it can, because slave pits means building a big facility to house all your slaves. Not all clansteads will have that opportunity. This type of dwelling should be seen only near smaller or overpopulated clansteads, or near ricefields that are far removed from the clanstead. The Argonian slave painting might actually be cool to add to the slave pits.

Let me know what you think. And if I've posted this in the wrong place or something, do let me know. I tried to keep to the TR handbook and everything, but it's a lot to take in.

Telumendur's picture
2019-03-20 13:12
Last seen:
1 month 1 week ago

Howdy! What follows is a summary of a discussion that was had recently (may 2019) on the Discord's Concept channel, about what Tear should look like: canton-based and/or verticality-based? how sprawling? should it have walls? I typed this summary in the hopes that it will help inform future discussions, instead of getting lost in the Discord log. Here it goes:

Concept and ideas for Tear - May 2019

Current agreed-upon concept, as reported by Meriyal, Atrayonis, and Gnomey

Tear is currently envisioned to be built around 1 or 2 large hexagonal cantons (see Feivelyn's concept for a large canton to get an idea of the size of one), with many more smaller cantons around and between them: a main canton for House Dres, another big canton for slave pits and markets, a Factions canton, a Temple canton, a seaport canton, an airport canton, a noble canton, and various plantations around the whole thing. It'd look like a honeycomb from bird's-eye view.

Gnomey favors this current concept of cantons of different size arranged into a honeycomb pattern, but would prefer to see the canton tops reserved to House Dres: a big Dres canton, a big Temple canton (unlike the clansteads which have temples on smaller platforms), a high market, houses and manors (although Dres don't have a strong internal stratification), all for house Dres. Add to that perhaps a non-Dres Dunmer canton (for the Morag Tong, the other Houses, etc). Skyports would also be high. Large slave pits with high walls would work as well in his opinion. Meanwhile, most of the trading markets, slave pits, Skyrender bays, silos and all outlander-related constructions should spill out from the cantons and sprawl over the mudflats on low platforms, bridges, or stilts (to protect them from the flooding)

Newer concepts

More recently, extreme verticality has been put forward by several devs (eg Rats and Kevaar) as an alternative central concept around which to design the city: Skyports for Dres skyrenders and Sload airships at the top, and deep, multi-layered slave pits ("the Betmeri Well, like Dante's Hell") at the bottom. This would be a nice way to get a new cliff-side city, if Akamora as we know it does get axed during the Map1/2 redo.

Expanding on the idea, the big island Tear is built on could be made of harder rock than the surrounding mudflats and marshes, and thus be way less eroded. This would allow for a deep river canyon where the Arnesian Jungle meets the ocean, in which Tear would be built (not unlike the salt crevasses found on the Deshaan?).

Skyports would be on the top plateau, and the only thing visible from the surface, along with some plantations and other industries. The rest of the city would then be built into the cliff-faces, with a sprawling market around the harbor at sea level, and deep slave pits built into the cliff's crevasses and along the riverbanks.

Atrayonis also noted that avoiding the use of cantons as much as possible would play into the idea that to the Dres, the outsider-filled Tear is no proper city. Avoiding a multicanton-based architecture also mitigates the risk of Tear ending up too Vivec-like. Small cantons could still be used for the skyports, the harbor, the Temple, or smaller "upper-class" slave pits.

While generally OK with the use of verticality inside the city itself, and possible pillar formations of salt and rock, Gnomey is of the opinion that for the most part, Tear should be sprawling on the mudflats, so that the base of its cantons would get periodically flooded (though not in-game). Kevaar noted that flooded areas at the foot of the cantons could make for some fun dungeon-crawling.

Tear is sarcastically referred to as the Jewel of the East by those in the Empire who know the city, a play on what is actually Thorn's nickname (Thorn for its beauty, and Tear for the amount of trading going on there). This is inspired by the cities' description in Arena.

About Tear's walls

Gnomey feels that Tear shouldn't really have walls, since Dunmer in general don't come through as great wall builders (Ghostfence aside), especially in the case of ex-nomads like the Dres or Ashlanders. Instead, the occasional paraphet at the canton top should be enough to do the trick (see Dunmer strongholds). That might go against what's established in the TR book *The Skylamp Night*, however.

An interesting compromise would be to have temporary pallisade barriers that can be set up between cantons in times of conflict, and make sure that there are open ways to the east, to let floodwater come in.

A good argument in favor of having a wall is that Tear was famously sieged by Argonians. A wall could have been quickly built then, and remains of it, crumbling in many places, could still be found around the city limits. On this topic, Kevaar nots that Tear's wall might be seen as more of thick dams built around the city on most sides, to help canalize the floods and protect the rice paddies.

Mwgek's picture
DeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior Developer
2016-03-14 23:18
Last seen:
7 hours 33 min ago

Loving these recent concepts. It takes the best things from all previous versions. Hope to see these pieces ingame soon.

-- Mwgek --