Védelem: The Golden Horde - Building Art

Védelem: The Golden Horde - Building Art

Kristin Nikolaeva Naydenova
by kristinnay on 10 Sep 2021

(Y3/ Block A, B, C, D) Védelem: The Golden Horde is a medieval Real Time Strategy and Survival game set in the 13th century. Build, expand and defend your lands against the deadliest Mongolian invasion ever witnessed. They will seek to destroy your walls and salt your earth. Will you survive the Golden Horde?

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Védelem: The Golden Horde was a year long remote team project.  We had to create a historically accurate RTS game involving a lot of enemy hordes and the goal of the player was to protect their kingdom and prosper. 
We went through all the stages of development - from concept, pre-production, production to release and released our project on Steam - 22nd of June.

My responsibility as a prop/environment artist during this project was to research, concept and polish the buildings of our game and most importantly - the Keep that the player had to protect.

In this post I will walk you through the development process of Védelem: The Golden Horde from my perspective.


The setting of our game was taking place in 13th century Hungary, fighting against the Mongolian invasion. During the "Concept" phase of the project I gathered a lot of information and structured it in several documents:
"Building A Castle Using 13th Century Methods Notes on Guédelon Castle documentary"
Medieval Arms and Armor"
"Medieval Hungarian Castle Layout"
"Medieval Village/Town Layout" 

I used various forums, books, videos, demonstrations, documentaries and even replica stores to ensure that every question or doubt that might rise up would be answered in those documents.

Building A Castle Using 13th Century Methods Notes on Guédelon Castle documentary
Since I was responsible for the center piece of the game I wanted to make sure that every decision I make was based off an approved concept. That's why I researched how castles were specifically made during the 13th century. Alongside this documentary I learned a lot about the life of the ordinary person and most importantly - their houses and communal buildings

Medieval Arms and Armor
It was important for us to know how did the 13th century warrior look like. What weapons did they use, how did they dress and what did they use to defend themselves. In this document I went through manuscripts and replica stores to show proof, but also provide the character artist with weapon dimensions and possible troop ideas for the designers. 

Medieval Hungarian Castle Layout (PureRef)
Since Hungary was the place of action, I wanted to gather reference specifically for Hungarian castles and how they were structured a.k.a what kind of buildings made the castle. 

Medieval Village/Town Layout (PureRef)
A file mainly focused on what a village could be consist of. The whole point was to set a list for both Art and Design on what kind of assets can be potentially used for that time period.

Building concept and Blockout
A list of buildings was provided to me by the Design team with potential buildings that might be included to the game - Windmill, Blacksmith, Barn, Granary, Church, Civilian houses, Sawmill, Keep, Military camp

In engine test (Unity Dots) with base materials to test out shapes and readability.

Modelling and Texturing
During that phase of development the workload was distributed between me and a teammate of mine. 
I focused on the Sawmill, The civilian house, Stone quarry, Fortification wall bundle and the central piece - the Keep.
The texel density was set to 32px/unit. 

Sawmill was partly textured by my teammate, but I had to finish some work related to the thatched roof. 

Stone Quarry
Concepted and modelled by me. Credits to my teammate for texturing the asset. 

Civilian house

Fortification wall bundle
There are two variations of the walls depending on the "Age" the kingdom is - wood and stone. 
It is a modular system consisting of several pieces, a tower and a gate. All the assets are longer than supposed to since the terrain in the game is not even. 

Keep Stages 
There are in total of three "Ages" or development stages of the central piece. All three versions are based on existing structures from the Medieval period - Settlement, Motte and bailey and the final version is a combination of several Hungarian castles put together.



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