Update - 1 Apr 2021
Hey again guys! Thought it was time to update my entry since its been over a week already.
I'm having a blast building on the level, some parts are a bit messy but I'm changing stuff around as I work. The first two pictures are the angles I've spend most time trying to feel good.
Most of the things are going through the first shape iteration. I've made three main materials for the landscape and re-used and tweaked some basic grass I did for an earlier project. All the rocks and cliffs have been through a first pass in zbrush, but are still not baked since I prefer to test and adjust the shapes so they work good together before I spend unnecessary time with uv's and baking etc. I still think that I will need some smaller rocks/ pebbles and more variation on the grass, with flowers or something that can break up the monotonous feel.I've also spent some time making water and waterfalls. This is something I've never done before, but I feel they work good enough for the current stage of the level. The waterfalls were the hardest to make feel decent while also playing the level, but I found the "tool" FluidNinja and did some tweaking on the different templates that was provided.
I also removed my placeholder skull and I am currently thinking of making some kind of tin cans which will serve as "buildings" where the little guys can live. (Atm I feel like making the right can to some kind of shop or warehouse.)
Keep it up and happy Easter everyone!
Update - 23 Mar 2021
I've done a new level where I tried the second approach I had in mind for this challenge.
I also got into some world-building and today I spent some time brainstorming about the universe our fellow travelers have ended up. When working on personal stuff, I love to be able and run around and actually treat the level as something that could be playable, and therefore decided that I will go for more of a level design rather than just a single render composition.
I'm currently pretty confident with the current theme and size of the area I want to create, but thoughtful about not over-scoping. However, I think it might be manageable and if stuff end up taking longer than expected (which it always do) I've tried to design the level so I can just focus on one or two angles.
Coming up is to continue working on blockouts of the assets I know I will build the level around, and then probably sort out the landscape material. I will need to figure out how I want to create the waterfalls pretty early too, since that is something I have never touched before.
Update - 20 Mar 2021
I've been looking at a bunch of different pictures to develop a feel of what I want to do for this contest. From all of the pictures I have gathered I feel a bit torn between two different approaches. One could be to go for a more open world/ composition and another could be more of an smaller area with one major focus point.
I have started a super fast blockout of the first idea to establish some dimentions and get a better feel of what it would require in terms of workload. I feel would fit the theme of "open and vast" better. However I am a bit concerned it might be a bit overscoped to reach the quality I'm after.
I will be using unreal engine 4 and go for a stylized artstyle that could be reminded of world of warcraft universe.
I will be using PBR-workflow but will do some more planning once I've fleshed out and decided which Idea I will go for.