We just completed our best 3D rendered illustration of the Sunspot’s garden yet. We’re still working on getting the cityscape to look the way we want, but this forest scene was so satisfying to finish!
We did our research, and got this as close to a natural arrangement of brush as we could on our computer with the resources we have. We made some choices to make it look somewhat alien and fantastical, and some other choices to keep the colors dynamic and inviting. But now we feel we can write about the forests of the Sunspot with greater authority. (Some of our previous writing could stand some editing now, but we’re probably going to leave it all as just carelessness of the authors who don’t spend a lot of time wandering them.)
We’ve decided, at least since writing the Adventures of Molly Rocketcoil, that a lot of the Sunspot’s foliage has purple leaves. Some are still green, though. The moss also varies. Deep forest settings like this get the green moss. Moss with more sunlight exposure tends to be maroon or purple.
There are giant mushrooms because of course there have to be. This is also our inworld, and we want giant mushrooms.
Most of the forest floor is too covered to walk through, which is good, because people shouldn’t be doing that. However, there are paths. Some paths are created by the local fauna. Those are not depicted here. Other paths are maintained by the Crew through use of the nanites. The nanites simply make sure a minimal amount of plant life grows there, and they break down any large objects, such as rocks, logs, or carcasses, that fall across the path. A few of these cultivated paths are marked as parks, officially open to the public, with several meter tall, metal, scale shaped signs (as depicted in this illustration) placed within eyesight of each other.
The hex shaped thing in the middle of the path next to Metabang and the Pembers is a hatch. It’s a newer hatch design, with a nanite clay door that can iris open, or open any other way you might prefer. It’s essentially the top of a lift shaft, and the hatch won’t open until the lift floor is flush with it. And there are one and a half to two kilometers worth of decks to visit below this scene, almost entirely fallow decks here, with lots of living quarters that are being unused, but nearby tram stations so you can get to your own home fairly quickly when you’re ready to go.
Anyway, our ultimate goal in doing these scenes in Blender is to create illustrations for scenes from the stories. This particular scene never happened in text. Not yet, at least. But we still have a lot of assets yet to create to really start doing that. In the mean time, this will probably end up on the front page of this sight anyway, we love it so much.
3 thoughts on “The Forests of the Sunspot”
I love it! All the moss is suggestive of a humid climate. Coupled with the high energy the biodiversity must be amazing! I wanna find all the coolest bugs.
Yay! Thank you!
We’re modeling in part off of Pacific Northwest rainforests. But, of course, the fauna will be quite alien.
Here’s some of what we’ve come up with:
Yuwä`uf watakshiko (wataxiko) – n. Curly-many-thing-container fungus. This is an enormous fungus with giant blue fruiting bodies that resemble Earth toad stools, however, the mushroom shaped bodies, which reach up to four meters tall, are used as a hive structure by a colonial fauna that is small and wiggly and extremely numerous. The animals get shelter in return for providing food for the fungus in the form of excrement, and protection from predation in the form of being venomous and territorial.
Yuwänu – n. Curly-many-sharp-thing. A tiny (mouse sized), eusocial creature related to the badly translated “tree octopus”. Each one has ten tentacle-like arms, each ending in a venomous claw. And they live in colonies within the fruiting body of the yuwa`uf watakshiko. They more closely resemble sea stars than octopi, and behave similarly to ants.
Fashayora (vasayero) – A predator of the yuwänu. A slightly bigger lizard-like thing (rat sized?) that occasionally wanders into the hive and eats its fill, then leaves. It’s never enough to endanger the hive. These can also be found around carcasses of larger animals, waiting for the yuwänu to show up. But they’re typically solitary and will fight each other. They eat other things, too, of course, but find the yuwänu to be particularly enticing for some reason.
There is some megafauna planned, filling in niches similar to bears, wolves, and moose. And there’s the moaboang, which is kind of like a cross between a fox and a river otter, is very curious and can imitate many sounds (but not words).
Also, quite a few of the animals will look like they are related to what we think of as dragons, and have six limbs and a tail.