Norilska
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Norilska

Oliver Ward
by oliverward14 on 1 Jun 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Norilska is set in a dystopian city, recently struck by a nuclear disaster. What once was a city rich with life is now left to be engulfed by the aftermath of the disaster. A driver sighted outside of the city is headed into the thick cloud around the city centre, despite warnings, he decides to continue his mission.

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Overview

Norilska is set in a desolate and dystopian city, recently struck by a nuclear disaster. What once was a city rich with life and vibrant buildings is now left to be engulfed by the aftermath of the disaster. A driver sighted on the outskirts of the city is headed into the thick cloud which surrounds the city, despite warnings over the radio, he chooses to ignore them and continue his mission to reach the other side of the city.

After having been blown away by the UE4 Rebirth video in 2019, I have always had the idea in my head to try and create a cinematic piece similar to that. Norilska is my attempt at doing just that and is heavily inspired and referenced to the Rebirth video.

Environment Production

Norilska has been by far my biggest project to date. In total, there were 18 different scenes and landscapes to make throughout the production. I have included the process of creating a few of them below. Some were designed by myself from scratch, however, I referenced the incredible photography of Elena Chernyshova and Christophe Jacrot for several of the scenes to make it possible to complete such a big solo project.

In each of the scenes, I generally stuck to the process of using Quixel Megascan assets for the terrain, as well as anything really close to the camera so that the high-quality photo scans could really sell the realism of the scene. This would then leave me with assets such as the buildings, signposts and anything I needed custom made to help with both environmental and storytelling progression.


Below is an unfinished shot I spent a lot of time on, however, through self-critique and feedback received throughout, I thought the video benefited best from it being left out.

Vehicle Design

The design of the vehicle was inspired by the old concept car called the Holden Hurricane. To create this design I took the base shape of this vehicle and then added some futuristic features to it, such as new wheels and lights. As well as this, the main shape was completely adjusted by swapping out panels and morphing the bodywork to have a more bold and interesting design.

The vehicle is also retopologized and optimized so that it can be successfully run in realtime in Unreal Engine and other game engines.

I realised the importance of the interior shot whilst doing it; not only did it need to fit with the style of the car and look aesthetically pleasing, but it also needed to clearly portray the storyline to the viewer. I found this quite difficult and it took several iterations.


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