Cathedral of the dragon king

Cathedral of the dragon king

by negalotus on 1 Jun 2020

Fantasy location for a tabletop game of my creation, where the continents fly through the skies and the dragons are considered protectors of the mortal races. Modeled in maya and rendered in unreal engine 4

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The cathedral of the dragon king is a location in the fantasy world of Azeran, a tabletop role playing game that i'm writing.

In the world of Azeran, the lands have been fractured during the age of the gods, and now the only place where the mortal races can survive is within the flying continents, where life has endured by acquiring roaming fragments of earth and extracting their resources.

These continents soar through the skies, without any way of directing themselves, and so, the survivors of this world have turned to the dragons for help.

In Azeran, dragons are revered forces of nature and chaos, each wielding an inmense amount of power, and so, the mortal races worship them for their protection. Even though some dragons have decided to aid the mortal races of Azeran in their survival, some species remain hostile towards them, continuing the eternal war of dragon kind.

The cathedral of the dragon king stands atop the hills of the floating city of Mystral, where all the inhabitants attend to pray for the protection of the dragons.

The cathedral is composed of 3 levels of galleries, and a main area, where the pew stands waiting for the devotees. 

The bottom gallery is dedicated to the paintings of famous dragons that devoted their life to helping the mortal races, each painting is adorned by its own frame, made of marble and gold.

On one end of the galleries, there's a fine white marble stairs with gold decorations that leads to the second and third floor.

The second and third floor galleries have balconies adorned by the light of stained glass windows.

The main area is covered on the ceiling by the giant vault, wich is held by the guides that raise above the galleries. This vault is house to the main sources of light during the night periods, the dimensional crystals.

These crystals are the main technology of Azeran, through arcane scripture each cyrstal can be linked to another dimension in order to draw power from it. Thus, each crystal can be converted to a source of heat, water, or light.

Finally, at the very end of the cathedral, stands the main altar, wich houses a giant painting of the dragon king in its middle, and a wide painting of the chromatic dragons, the enemy of the mortal races.

The altar is acompanied by two fountains wich pour water during the days, wich is used for many rituals of cleansing.

The altar depicts the two sides of dragon kind, and why they should be revered, either as saviors, or as heralds of doom.

This project started with a simple idea for a VFX shot, but quickly turned into the biggest project I have done until now. I was supposed to simply model some walls and pews, but my interest overtook me, and I ended up modelling the whole cathedral, little did I know at the time that I had messed up big time, due to my lack of texel density and modular design.

After reading different documentations and watching a lot of tutorials (and i mean, A LOT), I ended up remodelling almost all of the pieces I had done, and making them somewhat modular. That was the moment when I started learning substance painter, and man, isn't it amaizing? Even I can achieve good looking textures now (insert awkward laugh)

It was during that time that I decided I wanted to try Unreal Engine, since I wanted to render out a long sequence and I didn't have weeks to spare on the render. Thus it began my adventure into the fascinating world of Unreal Engine! and oh boy, was it a harsh adventure. I ended up rebuilding my meshes two more times, due to UV, LOD, and AO problems, did I mention this was my first big project?

After another big doses of tutorials and reading, I started to finally achieve some results, I had some serious issues with the stained glass, and wasn't able to achieve the results I desired due to time constraints, but I will keep revising it with the big help of my new best friend, online forums.

During my 4 weeks of work on this project, I learned 2 new softwares and a lot of techniques, and i've still got ways to go. I will focus my attention on the following weeks (thanks Covid) to further my understanding of enviroment design and ArchViz, I hope that by the end of the year I will be able to achieve some kind of photorealism.

If you made it through my piles of text and made it to the end, I apreciate it, and thank you for taking the time of watching my project and reading me rumble arround.

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