A few people now have asked how things get made for Worlds Adrift, and instead of just telling you I thought it’d be nice to show you too!

Here is a video of me sculpting the main shape of the Sky Whale in Zbrush. As you can see I am very fast at this.

I usually deal with the early stages of a creature’s development, and they go a little something like this:

Concepting – One of the concept artists roughs up a few ideas either in 2D or 3D – in this case 2D with the Sky Whale. We then hone in on a few ideas, taking into consideration questions like “will this fit with the art style?” or “do the visuals convey how this creature will behave in-game?” or “is the shape/silhouette appealing?” etc. Once we’re happy with a design we prepare it for the 3D artist. In the case of the Sky Whale Dan painted up some side, top and front views.


Sculpting – Using Zbrush I will then go about sculpting up the creature in pieces. I’m only 2 days into this process and would usually spend around 5 or 6 days on a model this big (this thing is big enough to swallow a ship!).

The proportions are still quite a way off (don’t judge me!) but the beauty of Zbrush is that at this stage you’re essentially just working with a big lump of digital clay, so making the tail longer is nice and simple.



Modelling – Once the sculpt is finalised the next stage is making the model nice and optimised. The Zbrush model is currently standing at around 20 million triangles, which as it sounds is a crazy amount. For the sky whale I’ll probably crunch this down to somewhere closer to 50,000. This cuts down on the cost to render such a huge beast and allows us to spend more processing power on making the other elements of the game look good.

Texturing – On a creature of this size we are probably gonna use some nifty new shaders, so there is likely to be some time to experiment to see which shaders will offer the best results. Once happy we’ll jump into Photoshop and start painting the textures directly onto the model in 3D.

This is as far as I take the process.

After this, the model gets rigged, animated, and then linked up with the AI systems to breathe the final bits of life into it.

At this stage I can only stand back and watch as my giant ugly baby flies off into the sunset, tears streaming down my cheeks.