As you heard in our previous update, we recruited a new concept artist, Ian, to help us finish the game. For her last day as an intern here at Mobius Digital, Katherine took some time to interview him about his new job and the creation of Nomai Architecture.
Katherine Wang: What’s your daily routine like?
Ian Jacobson: Get in an hour early, load up preference images and do some warm up drawings. I’ll usually have something from yesterday to show Alex, Wesley & co. That little meeting usually sets up for what I’m going to do later that day. For example, I’ll show them some iterations of wall designs and they’ll give me some pointers. Maybe they’ll like Figure 1 more but really like this little design from Figure 4 and ask me to put those two together. From there, I work the rest of the day improving and re-iterating that design.
K: What sort of inspiration do you use when working on Nomai Architecture?
I: I look at a lot of ancient ruins and culture, like Ancient Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, or Africa. I look for the colors and designs that they do and put them in a makeshift Pinterest folder that kind of acts like my art reference board.
K: A lot of the material and colors were already decided by the time you joined the team - did that make it easier or harder for you?
I: Both. Definitely both. Sometimes it can be easier because designing things can be a lot harder when there’s no restrictions and everything is open - it’s the curse of too many choices. You can go in a million directions and any of them can be valid so having kind of a course already established definitely helps narrow down the focus.
But it’s also a challenge when it gets to the technical aspects of it. We have a lot of grey box stuff already designed and it already has its own essence. Taking that and trying to put a cool and unique twist on it is what makes it challenging. It’s not something I’ve had to do before but it’s really cool and fun to try something new!
K: You’ve been asked a few times to make things “more Nomai” - how would you describe something as being “more Nomai”?
I: I’m still learning what that means more and more everyday [nervous laughter]. In my mind, the Nomai definitely use a lot of geometric, mathematical shapes in their design so I focus on intricate pattern work. I often pull from Ancient Mesoamerica and sometimes even Grecian designs. It has to be sophisticated with interesting patterns and designs but the materials they use is a bit more crude. It’s not sleek metal. It’s ancient rocks and stonework. So it’s smoothly blending the sophisticated designs with such archaic materials. The Nomai also liked color so I try to include a lot of muted, bright colors into the architecture.
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