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How do furniture get developed? (Example: Alinor and Vampire)

bluebird
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First of all, many thanks and a shoutout to Cullen Lee and 'Nick' who are apparently responsible for a lot of awesome things in housing! The recent ESO Live on Housing was very informative, thanks for that - everybody can watch it at the official Bethesda Twitch channel, I highly recommend watching it if you haven't. :smile:
In the stream, they talked about how houses get developed - coordinating the things that players requested with things that they know are coming up in their future releases, reusing assets that have been already created such as the longhouse models at launch, then making a list of references and a crude map, and after some dev magic by 'Nick' we get the new house releases. :smiley: When it comes developing furniture though, Cullen mentioned that they will go to the art team asking for some flowers for example, and the art team comes up with the unique models that we don't really see ingame anywhere else.

So based on that info (anybody feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) I think that:

1) The housing team has no control over 90% of assets that we see in housing, they get those (or take those) already pre-made from the asset team who develops them for world use. So most shapes and colours and designs are determined by teams who design the world - e.g. Solitude structures and matching furniture to populate the world - and the housing team's control extends only to deciding which of those pre-made assets they want to convert into player furnishings.

2) In the remaining 10% of cases however, the housing team can request furnishings to be designed by the art team specifically with player housing in mind, and these pieces often don't really exist outside of housing - such as the specially made Heart's Day furniture pack contents, music boxes, or the new Antiquities furnishings.

If that is indeed the case, then the housing team is really only responsible for the choices they make in converting assets, but most things (designs, architectural features, and general art direction) are already pre-determined for them. So every time we see a mismatched housing exterior and interior for example, it's not really the housing team's doing, because the asset team (no idea what they are actually called :lol:) never bothered to build an interior which lines up with the exteriors they made. That would mean that the housing team can be only held responsible for some questionable choices they made - e.g. why convert the Frostvault dungeon's assets into the Frostvault Chasm house, when there are plenty of actual Dwemer ruin models ingame that would have made for a more suitable Dwemer style home; or why convert 6 very similar basic Solitude benches into furniture when there are armor and weapon and instrument assets too that would have been far more anticipated as furniture.

The main point I'm trying to get to is that many players (including myself) have probably complained about housing regarding things that are actually not due to the housing team's actions, simply a result of the assets that they have to work with due to some overarching design vision that determines the upcoming maps and contents.
For instance, I was about to post feedback about the new Vampire furniture on the Greymoor PTS, complaining that they are far too similar to Alinor, and that adding yet more of the same type of medieval/gothic dark wood furniture is a waste when there are far more important furniture we are lacking - like gray stone structural items, planters, weapons and armour, instruments, etc. But then I realized (sorry if I'm slow lol) that these were probably made by a design team that were working with a certain 'vision' for what 'Vampire' stuff should look like, which had no consideration for what styles already exist ingame or whether they would make housing look varied.
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We can see for example, that 1) Alinor style arguably looks more vampiric than the Vampire stuff, since it's more spiky, more pointed, more Gothic. 2) Vampire furniture also fit in with Alinor furniture too much, some of them have very similar arch motifs in the wood, and spike details - the Vampire bench for example fits in right with the Alinor Desk and Chairs in style. 3) The colouring is also far too similar, while making Vampire furniture more gray or black lacquered would have made them stand out more. 4) Alinor furniture also fit in more with the Vampire architecture, which is pointed, arched, has spiky flying buttresses - overall Vampire architecture is also similar to Alinor architecture, albeit with a darker colour and texture.

So now my questions are somewhat different, probably aimed at the art team rather than the housing team:
  • Was the 'Vampire' style envisioned by the same team that envisioned the 'Alinor' style? If yes, was the similarity on purpose? If no, why was the Vampire art team not aware that there is already an existing similar style?
  • What were the keywords and references that were given to design the Vampire style? And Alinor? Because it seems that either the brief was too similar for both, or they somehow ended up in a very similar visual direction. Both are straddling that medieval/gothic boundary with a very similar colour palette, with some crossovers - like some Vampire furniture that are elaborate and spiked and some Alinor furniture which are more flat and simple.
  • Why were these specific assets chosen to be converted into furniture? And that goes beyond the Vampire furniture in the image - I think I know that once they were made by the art team it would have been a waste to not convert them into furniture and many players would have requested them. But more generally, why were 6 basic Solitude wood benches chosen for example (which are already similar to Nord or Breton basic wood benches), instead of structural items or weapons, armour, instruments (the usual, etc.)?

I guess we can speculate in the comments, and maybe some people don't mind the similar vibe of Vampire and Alinor at all. I know there is a whole range of players and tastes in the housing community too! :smile: How do you all reckon furniture decisions are made? Were you disappointed by anything in general? I saw comments on other threads complaining about the 'basicness' of the purple Solitude furniture, and many people were sorely missing strucural item additions in this patch. What do you think are things that the housing team are responsible for, and what do we perhaps falsely attribute to them that are actually determined by some other team? Any other thoughts and comments? And thanks for reading!
Edited by bluebird on April 24, 2020 11:20AM
  • Tigerseye
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    More to the point, why are there no toffee coloured, quilted leather couches?!

    Surely, if anything points to that kind of late 19th/early 20th century, traditional gentlemen's club, Chesterfield sofa style, Vampiric does?

    Not that I approve of gentlemen's clubs (or Vampires, for that matter), but you get my point...

    Something like this:

    https://www.1stdibs.co.uk/furniture/seating/sofas/victorian-serpentine-hand-dyed-restored-whisky-brown-leather-chesterfield-sofa/id-f_18343662/?&currency=gbp&gclid=CjwKCAjwnIr1BRAWEiwA6GpwNZhCirzgBUqalt_QO3-pBLBU0U8TFz5f9821b73Zj_kwGsr3ptVioRoCQS4QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Are we ever going to get some real sofas, in a colour other than red?
    Edited by Tigerseye on April 24, 2020 4:46PM
  • Tigerseye
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    ...and re. the central point of your post - I agree that Vampiric and Alinor are quite similar.

    I think it's just fairly inevitable, though, that they are going for a similar kind of look and feel.

    As it is all set around the same time and both Altmer and Vampires are supposed to be somewhat upscale and also, spiky in character.

    The Vampiric has a slightly more Deco feel, though.

    Especially the Vampiric Dresser, Polished.

    Which, as I say, would fit with the 1931 Dracula film release date.

    Most of it looks the closest to early 20th Century furniture, to me.

    Although, referencing earlier times, in some cases (as was often the case, at the time).
    Edited by Tigerseye on April 24, 2020 6:06PM
  • bluebird
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    Tigerseye wrote: »
    ...and re. the central point of your post - I agree that Vampiric and Alinor are quite similar.

    I think it's just fairly inevitable, though, that they are going for a similar kind of look and feel.

    As it is all set around the same time and both Altmer and Vampires are supposed to be somewhat upscale and also, spiky in character.
    I'd be really curious to know what the brief was for Alinor and Vampire! It's like they wanted to make a Vampire style, which I imagine had to be Gothic because Gothic and vampires are inexorably linked in popular culture, but they already played that card with Alinor which I suspect was 'Make it Gothic, but white - bonus points for spires' :wink:

    So I'm not sure what vampire could have been... 'Copy Alinor's homework, but don't make it obvious'? :lol: 'Make it Gothic, and avoid Daedric colours'? The Bastion Sanguinaris for example, if coloured in gray metals and blueish gray stone, would be quite similar to Wraithhome. Perhaps they wanted to avoid the same Daedric colour scheme, but as a result the warm brown Vampire furniture fit with Breton or Alinor styles much more than anything foreboding or monstrous.

    I'm sure there was more to it and it's not such a straightforward line from brief to concept art to final assets, but as players we can only look at the end result and just speculate the mysterious workings of the development process. :smiley:
  • bluebird
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    Zypheran wrote: »
    For example, this DLC the first new item I saw when I went into the purchase tab to see what's new, was a fern..... another fern!! I mean really, who is out there saying we have a shortage of ferns?!
    Look at the similarity between Alinor and vampire and you're forced to ask, did we really need another polished, dark wooden desk or wardrobe?? - questionable asset choices at best.
    Then you have a list the length of 10 forum pages of stuff that people really want and only a small percentage of these are getting added at a glacial pace.
    I just can't accept that good choices are being made on what assets become furniture when i see a new mildly retextured fern being added rather than that blue and ivory floor tile from solitude houses (That's just an example obviously).
    We have a hundred rocks and pebbles, more chairs than Ikea, but only one door!!
    Lol, Zypheran! :smiley: Yes, you're sadly right, I also saw that fern... There was a door (Ancient Nord Gate) datamined from the Patch, but since it's nowhere to be seen on the PTS, it might be added in the new Crown Crates as they started adding furnishings to the Crates (which is another topic in itself...).
    aw_crwn_furniture_ancientnordgate_1x1.jpg
    Yeah, when it comes to furniture decisions, I can understand that the design of the pieces is created by the art team, but the decision to turn specific assets into furniture is indeed the housing team's purview. So we can't really complain about the style and look of the items, but we can certainly question why exactly these certain assets were chosen as furnishings :confused: - when there really are heaps of already existing assets players have been asking for.

    Also, I think that a lot of great already existing models are being time-gated behind the luxury furniture vendor. So perhaps the housing team does have plans to add many requested furnishings (like some statues, Alinor plants, etc), but they do it 'at a glacial pace' as you said because they use those to pad out the yearly luxury furniture cycle.

    They also seemed to have added the Hlaalu shed (that people have been asking for since Morrowind came out - alongside the Amaya planters that were removed, the Sillar Stone structures, and the other Hlaalu shed and wells) into a Crown Store furnishing bundle merely 3 years later. :lol:
    aw_crwn_starterpack_bundle_steadfaststablemaster_1x1-600x300.jpg
  • Tigerseye
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    That's a lovely door. :smile:

    Problem with adding things to crates is that, even if you don't have any ethical objections to gambling and have the Crowns/cash, why would you do crates just to get a door?

    You normally have to like a lot of the items in a season of crates, including the Apexes, to bother doing them.

    I once won three Apexes, that I never use, because I was going for some of the lesser rewards (didn't even buy that many crates - I got lucky) and I have regretted it ever since.

    If you could trade them in for other Apexes, sell them, or even just give them away to deserving people who like them, then fair enough, but you can't.

    Most of the people getting these doors (or whatever else), won't even want them, or use them.

    As they were going for the Apexes and maybe some of the other mounts and stuff.

    ...and most of the people, who would have paid Crowns directly for them, won't have an opportunity to get them.

    Might work if almost all the rewards, in a season of crates, were really nice furnishings (including the Apex stuff), because then at least people who didn't want furnishings could stay away and people who did could buy some crates.

    However, even then, you still have the problem of the people, who like furnishings, but have ethical (and understandable) objections to gambling.
    Edited by Tigerseye on April 27, 2020 5:25AM
  • kind_hero
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    There is alot of speculation around housing.

    One of the reasons for this is that we know so little about its development. For example, it is not clear why it is so difficult to release an item as furnishing. There are so many assets in the game, but the quantity of furnishings based on these assets is a small fraction.

    Another topic is that housing is mostly premium content. Yes, the trial version is free, but you really need to sub to get the most from housing, and also many houses are cash only. So the players who are into housing pay alot of money for a service that does not offer much in return, and the team behind it is very reserved with comments.

    What I would like to know firstmost is why is it hard to make some existing assets into furnishings (craftable or not). Some styles have alot of assets. The Alinor style has probably the most varied assets in terms of architecture (so many columns, walls, decorative walls, fences, bridges, garden furniture, etc) and we can include there the Psijic assets as well, of which we got very few. However, most of these assets aren't available to the player, even though players spend so much real cash on housing.

    Returning to the OP, I like the new vampire style. The team behind it used the Greymoor logo (those fangs) in the theme of the furniture. Even the lamp posts have those fangs. It is not Alinor, because it is lighter. You can tell they are different styles. I will test to mix these two and see how they look, but from what I have seen they are not that similar. In my opinion some of the flowery Elsweyr furniture works better with Alinor than the vampire.

    It is obvious they reuse 3D models for saving time, but I disagree the new furniture styles do not work with their theme. The Solitude furniture works best with the rustic houses around western Skyrim (and not as much with the rich marble interiors), and the vampiric stuff will look great in the Bastion. I do think the team considers color alot, because the vampiric furniture looks best with the new amber lights from the vampire theme. The Solitude theme is seamless in shops or inns.

    Until now I haven't seen any new bulding blocks which makes me a bit worried, because I really like housing, but without new building blocks, I am not sure my enthusiasm will last until a new DLC. I am frustrated after all these years to improvise from several platforms and blocks when I want to do something new, and constantly worry about the item cap.

    I really hope someone sends this feedback back to the devs, especially to @ZOS_CullenLee
    People are waiting for certain items for years, so at least an answer will be much appreciated!
    [PC/EU] Tamriel Hero, Stormproof, Grand Master Crafter
  • bluebird
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    Yes, I also agree with y'all about the non-player-friendly monetisation of housing, I just didn't bring it up because it's probably also not the housing team's responsibility. There is probably a Crown Store / profit team (or whatever their name is :lol:) that determines prices and has a list of things they want to put in Crown Crates. I find it hard to believe that an asset creator or world builder would look at their furnishings/house and go 'This looks nice, but I really want players to gamble for it with their real money! And that other awesome thing I made, I want to put into a pack that is only available for 4 days per year!'

    So the money aspect of things is probably not up to them either. Again, correct me if I'm wrong but they probably have a quota for the year for how many ingame (low returns) and Crown-exclusive or Crate exclusive (high returns) releases they do. The housing team probably gets told, that if they want to get paid for developing 8 houses per year, they gotta make them profitable.

    So my understanding is (again, might be wrong), that the housing team's decisions include the choices they make in converting some assets into furniture, and in a few cases to request furnishings specifically for housing, and which houses they make and release at certain times to coincide with content releases. But the art style of most assets and the monetisation side of things are up to other teams.
    kind_hero wrote: »
    Returning to the OP, I like the new vampire style. The team behind it used the Greymoor logo (those fangs) in the theme of the furniture. Even the lamp posts have those fangs. It is not Alinor, because it is lighter. You can tell they are different styles. I will test to mix these two and see how they look, but from what I have seen they are not that similar. In my opinion some of the flowery Elsweyr furniture works better with Alinor than the vampire.

    It is obvious they reuse 3D models for saving time, but I disagree the new furniture styles do not work with their theme. The Solitude furniture works best with the rustic houses around western Skyrim (and not as much with the rich marble interiors), and the vampiric stuff will look great in the Bastion. I do think the team considers color alot, because the vampiric furniture looks best with the new amber lights from the vampire theme. The Solitude theme is seamless in shops or inns.
    Yes, I didn't include the lamps because those are fitting for a 'vampire style' - as you also said, mainly due to their spikes which resemble fangs. But while the the Vampire lamps suit the Vampire house, both have very little in common with the wood Vampire furniture, which is why I posted about those.

    If anything, Alinor furniture fit it far more with the Vampire lamps due to their aggressive spires and arches (some of which are directly copied onto Vampire furniture), while most Vampire furniture are softer and more rounded like we see in the polished column shapes, and might look better with fabric shaded lamps or Breton candesticks. And - I realize some part of it is due to personal taste - but I don't think Vampire furniture 'fits' the Vampire lamps and architecture - at least no better than Alinor or even Daedric.

    As for slight differences in colour, Alinor also has paler furniture - there were posts made about it when they came out - that are not the same dark polished wood but a lighter colour and don't fit in with the rest of Alinor pieces. So I would consider the colour variation between Alinor and Vampire to be negligible, since Alinor has colour variation in itself too. But yes, they aren't exactly the same.
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    They may have done housing a greater service if they expanded the Daedric style to include beds, more tables, kitchen furniture, etc, since Daedric is a very incomplete style that would have tbh looked right at home in Bastion Sanguinaris and has far more 'vampiric' features than the 'Alinor lite' Vampire furniture we got.
  • kind_hero
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    @bluebird I tested the new (impressive) Vampire Bastion on the PTS. From what I have seen, the devs did an amazing job matching the furnishings with the new architecture, and here are a couple of pictures:

    eByqldZ.png

    The furniture seamlessly fits with the theme, I disagree that Alinor would work here better. The decoration on the furniture matches with the one on the walls, and also the lighting makes the two fit perfectly. Even the bed looks great!

    gvRxCv3.png
    [PC/EU] Tamriel Hero, Stormproof, Grand Master Crafter
  • bluebird
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    kind_hero wrote: »
    bluebird I tested the new (impressive) Vampire Bastion on the PTS. From what I have seen, the devs did an amazing job matching the furnishings with the new architecture, and here are a couple of pictures:
    eByqldZ.png
    The furniture seamlessly fits with the theme, I disagree that Alinor would work here better. The decoration on the furniture matches with the one on the walls, and also the lighting makes the two fit perfectly. Even the bed looks great!
    gvRxCv3.png
    Nice pictures, I'm glad you like the new house! :smile: Though I'm not sure the images support the Vampire furnishing art direction, when the ones in your picture look pretty close to Alinor. Almost all the furniture in your images have a direct Alinor counterpart that looks very similar, or an Alinor complement that fits in pretty well.
    yu66jsgo73lk.png
    Yes, the knotwork motif exists on the Vampire house and the furniture too, but... what exactly is 'Vampiric' about Knotwork motifs? If anything that's more befitting Solitdue and Nords. And the other predominant motif, arches and spikes were abundant on Alinor already. So what did Vampire furniture design bring to the table (pun intended :smiley:) compared to Alinor?

    I tried to recreate your image, and I think they came out looking pretty close. And to me Alinor suits the house just as much as Vampire. (As a purely personal preference I think the darker wood of Alinor provides a more aesthetically pleasing contrast alongside the red curtains that sets it apart, while Vampire blends in with the tone of the walls a bit more).
    1tljkmn4sb9u.png
    In addition to the similarity between Alinor furnitue and Vampire furniture, and the thematic and aesthetic compatibility of Alinor furniture with Vampire architecture, there is also the questionable Vampire-ness of the Vampire furniture. I still think Alinor is far more Vampiric because it has more arches and more spikes which are the main feature of the gloomy Gothic Vampire architecture. But Daedric would fit the Vampiric aesthetic just as much.
    k3ibhsj0vmpu.png
    To me there is nothing about your Parlor and Bedroom images that would suggest that this is a Vampire style. So maybe a Nord noble who likes Saxon knotwork motifs moved a bunch of his medieval wood furniture into a Gothic cathedral. But... when creating a 'Vampire' style from scratch, why did the artists go into the current design direction, when Alinor already existed? Daedric fits Vampires far more, it's a unique style that stands out from all others, and it's partially incomplete. So all the design time would have been spent in a more versatile and more distinct manner if they expanded Daedric to into a full style by adding missing furniture types from it (like desks, benches, beds, wardrobes, etc.)

    I think the pictures above show that the artists didn't come up with a distinct enough vision (like black lacquer or rich red fabrics, or literally anything else than wood-coloured arches and spikes) that would have fit Vampires more and been a novel asset style in the game, and missed an opportunity to expand on more distinct incomplete styles - because imo it's questionable what unique identity justifies the existence of this current Vampire art direction in a game with a pre-existing Alinor style.
    Just some examples of black colour and red fabrics - they could have added either one of these design features on their current 'Vampire' furniture to make them stand out more - either in colour or in material. Also, this isn't a set-in-stone suggestion (and take them with a grain of salt, the Sims chairs are not Gothic at all but much later styles for example). And of course these are just inspiration as a style springboard to start brainstorming, I'm not suggesting that ZOS should plagiarize already existing ideas or styles. Though perhaps plagiarizing would have been better than copying themselves from an already existing ingame style, lol, and it wouldn't be the first time they copy real life furniture designs. :smile:
    vampire-chaise.jpeg
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    Also, the usual disclaimer, that I'm not saying the new stuff looks bad in itself, or that people aren't free to enjoy them and have preferences, I'm just curious about the design process since the results are so puzzling. :smile:
    Edited by bluebird on April 30, 2020 8:19PM
  • dcam86b14_ESO
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    Not many people craft alinor anymore. I've had to buy up all the alinor furniture from vendors just for the new vampire home. All because I think alinor stuff is more vampire than the vampire stuff lol
  • kind_hero
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    @bluebird , right, I get the point you are trying to make, and I appreciate the time you put in this reply.

    From my point of view, I see a good thing that the developers moved away a bit from the much overused stereotypes we tend to see everywhere regarding vampires, mostly inspired by Bram Stoker's Dracula and related movies. We tend to see this neogothic, black/dark red theme all the time, in a Victorian gentry manor setting, with the charming noble villain. Some people are tired of this trope. The same with Egyptian, Western Europe middle ages, Arabian Nights and other tropes. I love to see original stuff, like Vvanderfel or Clockwork City. The devs did a good job at balancing the need in some to have some familiarity with this classic vampire trope and the other need, much more important, to create something original, because Tamriel vampires are not like in movies, even though we have so many similarities (bats, coffins, and many more).

    I am not sure how spikes = vampires, it is because they have fangs? Well, so do orcs :smile:
    To me having similarities between Alinor and vampiric is a good thing, because we can use both in some settings without losing much from the general theme. I will surely use some vampiric pieces in my Alinor townhouse. I think the Alinor furniture will work very well with the Solitude house, because it has the same broken arches, it is elegant enough for the marble floors, it fits with the lighting, and even the courtains fit the width of the arched walls. This is kind of unfortunate, because Alinor is among the most fustrating thing to craft in this game, but it is also one of my favourite styles. I have a hunch that vampiric will be very rare and expensive to make, because it will be very desirable.
    [PC/EU] Tamriel Hero, Stormproof, Grand Master Crafter
  • Tigerseye
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    bluebird wrote: »
    So what did Vampire furniture design bring to the table (pun intended :smiley:) compared to Alinor?

    Well, Vampiric is slightly softer; despite the spikes, which are sharper and narrower.

    It's curvier, more polished, more refined and more reminiscent of the furniture from the 1931 film, in its overall shape and style, than Alinor is.

    Alinor is chunkier, squarer, darker - and not in a rich, glossy, Japanoiserie, black lacquer kind of way, but in a dullish, dark brown kind of way.

    Alinor is more conservative and uptight.

    It's more austere, whereas, Vampiric is more opulent, basically.

    Alinor is pared-back wartime; whereas, Vampiric is the luxury between the wars.

    Alinor is less Deco (or not Deco, at all, basically).

    Also, the colour of the Vampiric is warmer (or seems to be, in some pics, anyway) and lighter.

    That brings more to the table, for me, than dark brown Alinor does.

    Other than the green Alinor Bench, Verdant which can look good in many settings (as it is as beautiful as it is impractical and uncomfortable-looking!), Alinor furniture looks appropriate against Alinor architecture and that is about it for me, quite frankly.

    Almost everywhere else it just looks too clunky, dark and dour.

    It's just too boxy and dull brown, in most settings and I would, personally, include the new house in that.

    Obviously, this is just my personal opinion and I don't think it looks awful in the new house, at all, compared with how it would look in most of the other, non-Alinor, houses.

    It's just not as appropriate-looking as the Vampiric is.

    ...and as for Daedric - that always looks kind of cartoony, to me.

    I don't think that would have been appropriate and it would have also been far less versatile for use in other projects.

    The tongue-in cheek Sims stuff is also a bit cartoony, although I would have loved a slightly more subdued, early 20th century gentlemen's club, four seater sofa, as you know.

    Much as I like the Sims, ESO is just not the same kind of humorous style.

    Honestly, I could have lived without the spikes on the Vampiric, as that would have made it more unique and even more versatile, but other than that (and the lack of a sofa!) I quite like it.
    Edited by Tigerseye on May 2, 2020 10:54PM
  • Tigerseye
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    You know what most of the Alinor furniture reminds me of?

    Austere, church furniture.

    They gave us a gigantic cathedral and then the matching furniture, including pews(!), to fill it.

    This time, they have given us a huge mansion, with a mid-brown interior and intricate motifs on the walls and windows and again, the matching furniture to fill it.

    The question I think you are absolutely correct to ask is; is this how it should work?

    Should we be given enormous buildings, with austere furniture, or more homely* stuff?

    To be fair, Elsweyr furniture was more homely (if mostly out of focus), but most of it isn't really.


    * British definition of homely, by the way, not American:

    1.British
    (of a place or surroundings) simple but cosy and comfortable, as in one's own home.
    "a modern hotel with a homely atmosphere"
    Edited by Tigerseye on May 2, 2020 11:18PM
  • bluebird
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    Re: @kind_hero and @Tigerseye I'll make a joint post if that's all right, I'd rather not post the same pics in separate posts - as a result not everything below will be directed at both of you - I hope you don't mind. :smile:
    Well, Vampiric is slightly softer; despite the spikes, which are sharper and narrower. Alinor is chunkier, squarer, darker - and not in a rich, glossy, Japanoiserie, black lacquer kind of way, but in a dullish, dark brown kind of way.
    Yes, Alinor and Vampire are not identical - yes there are differences in the colour of the wood that people who've played housing for years will pick up on, differences in some shapes, and a few of the furniture are entirely unique - like the marble or green fabric Alinor pieces, or the curved Vampire dresser. But I purposefully avoided those since I'm looking at the overlaps between Alinor and Vampire, not the outliers, especially when those unique pieces stand apart from their own styles as well. And overall, Alinor and Vampire are undeniably similar design-wise.

    I labeled the furniture as Alinor (A) and Vampire (V) for clarity, and also because without prior knowledge of the game, and an awareness of what they are labeled as, nobody would be able to accurately guess which are the same style and which aren't. And sorry for the eyesore colours :smiley: My only aim is to illustrate what I'm talking about.
    vth9izwydhz8.png
    1) Spikes are present on both Alinor and Vampire, and some have angled and angular silhouettes as well.
    2) Both Alinor and Vampire have non-spikey pieces.
    3) Some Vampire pieces have arch motifs (prominent on Alinor too), some do not.
    4) Both have colour variations within the same style - some Alinor furniture are paler and some Vampire are darker.
    5) Some Vampire furniture are clearly distinct from Alinor, but these are the ones that are far removed from the rest of Vampire pieces too. The smooth furniture with sculpted column shapes without any carved motifs do not fit other Vampire or Alinor pieces. So they could have taken Vampire into this design direction and had themselves a unique style. But instead, many Vampire furniture look like Alinor remnants or complements.
    I am not sure how spikes = vampires, it is because they have fangs? Well, so do orcs :smile:
    [...]
    From my point of view, I see a good thing that the developers moved away a bit from the much overused stereotypes we tend to see everywhere regarding vampires
    I didn't come up with that myself, I don't consider Alinor to be particularly vampire-like in itself. But spikes = vampires because that's what the game suggests. The Vampire architecture they came up with is a mild variation on Gothic, same as Alinor architecture. It can't be the knotwork motif that makes Vamoire 'vampiric' (we have knotwork on Breton, Nord and Solitude furniture and architecture too), so its distinguishing Vampire features are the spikes and grotesque gargoyles and fanged faces, and even more metalwork spikes. I don't think the Vampire architecture or lamps moved far away at all from Vampire stereotypes for example, but we can see a mostly cohesive 'Vampire' vision there.
    8fflq1bxqp8n.png
    dkop2q0os17h.png
    1) Flying buttresses (my favourite architecture term, :wink:), a Gothic feature present on Alinor too.
    2) Arches, arches everywhere, also a Gothic feature and present on Alinor too.
    3) Vaults, also a Gothic feature and present on Alinor too.
    4) Gargoyles and grotesque beast heads, also a Gothic feature and also what makes Vampire 'vampiric'.
    5) Metalwork, fits in with the Vampire Lamps.
    6) Spikes, spikes everywhere :smiley:
    You know what most of the Alinor furniture reminds me of? Austere, church furniture.
    They gave us a gigantic cathedral and then the matching furniture, including pews(!), to fill it.
    This time, they have given us a huge mansion, with a mid-brown interior and intricate motifs on the walls and windows and again, the matching furniture to fill it.

    Should we be given enormous buildings, with austere furniture, or more homely* stuff?
    The reason Alinor reminds you of church furniture, is because it is Gothic (most of which would be preserved in churches or private townhouses from the era). But if Alinor buildings look like a Gothic church, then Vampire buildings are a Gothic crypt. There is nothing remotely homely about it, it shares design features with Alinor, except much more metallic, more grotesque, and darker.
    lcirec3itw4o.png
    1) Arches, present on Vampire too
    2) Vaults, present on Vampire too
    3) Rounded columns - Alinor buildings have rounded shapes too, and Vampire buildings have angular sharp columns too, so there is once again no cohesive difference that would fit Alinor/Vampire furniture more than the other.
    4) Flying buttresses, as present in Vampire Architecture
    6) Spikes (skipped 5, because spikes were 6 in the Vampire pics too, and also I thought 6 looked better :lol:)

    So you sort of support my point. If you think Alinor furniture is more austere, and Vampire furniture is more homely, then you're basically saying that Alinor furniture would fit Vampire buildings more, and Vampire furniture would fit a more homely Alinor townhouse. Because there is nothing homely about a gargoyle-filled Gothic crypt.
    qltj5g0epaas.png
    So tl;dr: Vampire architecture has a look they were going for (grotesque spiky Gothic halls with metal), and the Vampire lamps fit that - but the Vampire furniture do not fit in with that any more than spiky Gothic Alinor which are similar to many Vampire furniture, or grotesque metal Daedric which would fit the house and lamps more. And the few unique Vampire furniture that really stand out with their sculpted columns and smooth undecorated wood do not match the rest of the Vampire furniture nor the Vampire buildings.
  • bluebird
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    Since the thread has moved into a bit of a nitpicky tangent, I’d just like to return a little to my OP regarding the ’why’s and ’how’s of furniture design.

    @ZOS_CullenLee
    Thanks for the ESO Live on Housing, it was very informative. :smile:
    You talked about how houses are made, but a bit less about furniture. So just curious:
    • Does the housing team have any input on the art direction of the new zones architecture and furnishing styles, or are we right to assume that you mostly work on converting pre-made assets?
    • You did mention requesting furnishings specifically in a few cases like the Heart’s Day Retreat furnishing pack – I assume you also specifically requested Antiquities furnishings and Music boxes since we can’t see these in the actual zones? How many and what kind of furniture do you get to request specifically?
    • When requesting furniture from the art team, or when deciding which pre-existing assets to convert, what are your decision criteria and priorities?
    And depending on the answers to the above, and whether or not I’m right about my assumption that the designs of houses and furniture are up to the art team, could @ZOS_SarahHecker or someone forward these questions to the art/design/asset team (no idea what they are called, sorry :sweat_smile:)?
    • How do you come up with new designs? Solitude is of course based on Skyrim, but what about new art directions? Do you get some keywords? Do you look at some real life references? Do you look at ingame references? Do you make some concept art that you then pass on to the modeling team? Could we see some WIP images?
    • Is the art team who worked on Alinor the same as the one who worked on Vampire? If yes, was the Gothic design similarity on purpose? If not, was the team aware that Alinor already existed? What was the brief for Vampire furniture? And how was it different from the pitch for Alinor?
    You release a lot of info about the process of new systems like how the Antiquities minigames are designed, and you often show off the new Dungeon DLC mechanics during ESO Live, could you also talk about the design process behind furniture? The ESO Live with Cullen was great for example, wish we could have these more frequently! Thanks for reading, and for any insights you can share!
  • kind_hero
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    Oh my, this post...

    I saved my morning coffee to start with it :smile:

    @Tigerseye you nailed it, that was a very good analysis! I haven't thought of that until now, but yes, the Alinor furniture is so much like catholic/protestant church furniture! Dark, heavy, sometimes polished wood, with gothic decorations (because most catholic churches have gothic elements or influences). Even some pieces are very church specific, such as the wooden pews, the Alinor Writing Desk, Noble, the candle sets, etc.

    In my opinion, Alinor is more austere than the new vampiric theme, which seems to me more lavish. Also the round edges are more pleasant to the eye than the spikes pointing upwards on the Alinor furniture. Sometimes I look at the Alinor beds like a playground for the Impaler :) Now, after reading Tigerseye description, I see the furniture perfectly fitting for the Summerset elves, who are very stern, conservative and almost religious their customs.

    To @bluebird , I think the Alinor architecture is not so much gothic (even though it clearly draws from the neogothic revival), but more elven, inspired from the Lord of the Rings / Hobbit movies. The architecture is sophisticated and positive (while the interiors are a bit in contrast with the flowery exterior). It is very high fantasy, and probably it has the most unique elements (game assets) than any other style. The interior of the Shimmerine cathedral or Psijic Villa does not ring vampire to me at all. The Bastion architecture is odd, exactly like something from the underworld of Blackreach should be, it does not say vampire right away to me, which is good, vampires should be elusive, not wearing neon signs about their identity. I think the Bastion is a fantastic design achievement, although I am not into vampires at all.
    [PC/EU] Tamriel Hero, Stormproof, Grand Master Crafter
  • bluebird
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    kind_hero wrote: »
    In my opinion, Alinor is more austere than the new vampiric theme, which seems to me more lavish. Also the round edges are more pleasant to the eye than the spikes pointing upwards on the Alinor furniture. Sometimes I look at the Alinor beds like a playground for the Impaler :) Now, after reading Tigerseye description, I see the furniture perfectly fitting for the Summerset elves, who are very stern, conservative and almost religious their customs.
    I don't mind us discussing the minutiae of furniture since I love housing, but most of this supports my post. Statements like 'Alinor looks like a playground for the Impaler' especially - yeees, that's the point, that's the issue with Vampire/Alinor :smiley:
    Summerset Elves are culturally conservative, but very rich and lavish too. Many Alinor furniture are far more lavish than Vampire pieces and many Vampire pieces are more stern and more provincial. Many Alinor pieces have golden ornamentation, fabrics, and more intricate carvings compared to the rougher knotwork of Vampire. As for the spikes, again, if you consider that a stern elven feature, Vampire funiture have that too and contribute to the similarity between the two - there are plenty of flat and organic shapes in Alinor pieces, and plenty of spikes in Vampire pieces. And the lamps amongst Vampires clearly take it into an austere Impalery direction while Alinor lamps are far more lavish and delicate. If you consider Alinor furnishings more austere, then you admit that they fit the Vampire buildings, which are also very austere, definitely more so than Alinor buildings. If you think Alinor furniture are more pointy and Impaler-y, once again those fit with the very pointy definitely Impaler-y Vampire architecture.

    And I don't think that slight differences in colour tone, or whether they are using Gothic Lancet arches or Gothic pointed trefoil arches are a sufficient enough distinction between styles when we're discussing how these items fit in with a spikey and gargoyled Gothic crypt :smiley:.

    Because as all my pictures showed, we can't make clear-cut distinct statements like 'They made Vampire like this to be more lavish' when Alinor has far more lavish pieces than Vampire. Or 'They made Vampire like this to make it less austere' when Vampire architecture and lamps are more austere and many Alinor pieces are homely rather than austere. Or 'they made it more rounded' when Alinor has several organic rounded furniture too, and some Vampire pieces have spikes when their Alinor counterpart doesn't. Because there is limited internal cohesion between Vampire architecture, lamps, and furniture; and there is considerable cross-style overlap in features motifs and and silhouettes between Alinor and Vampire furniture.
    1oendsg8uakc.png
    If anything, we can group all these furniture into three types. 1) which are distinctly Alinor - these would include the more organic, more 'elven' pieces and some flat Alinor pieces too. 2) which are distinctly 'Vampire' - not that there is anything Vampiric about these, nor do they share Vampire house or lamp features, but this is where the furniture labeled 'Vampire' have a sufficiently distinct design. And 3) which are the very similarly silhouetted, very similarly archy spiky designed mixed bag of Gothicesque pieces, where the overlap and my original point comes from. :smile:
    I think the Alinor architecture is not so much gothic (even though it clearly draws from the neogothic revival), but more elven, inspired from the Lord of the Rings / Hobbit movies. The architecture is sophisticated and positive (while the interiors are a bit in contrast with the flowery exterior). It is very high fantasy, and probably it has the most unique elements (game assets) than any other style. The interior of the Shimmerine cathedral or Psijic Villa does not ring vampire to me at all. The Bastion architecture is odd, exactly like something from the underworld of Blackreach should be, it does not say vampire right away to me, which is good, vampires should be elusive, not wearing neon signs about their identity. I think the Bastion is a fantastic design achievement, although I am not into vampires at all.
    Alinor architecture is not very Elven, which was a common complaint when it was released; there was a really long thread about it. Many people said that Alinor is what Breton should have looked like. Because instead of showing us Summerset as the cradle of the High Elves where Auridon and High Elf styles come from, they instead moved away from the elviness of those. They took the magical and vague lore description of Summerset and made it too human and Disneyland-esque. LotR-Hobbit elves and even Elder Scrolls elves are traditionally far more organic. As we can see with Auridon and Rivendell.
    faaf14037f3a2d97491485a4e614ee0b.jpg
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    So you are absolutely right that Alinor is a fantasy style! :smile: It has very exaggerated large windows that practical buildings would not have, but it's still Gothic in style - just like Vampire architecture is exaggerated with far more spikes than real buildings but still Gothic in style. And I can't nor want to prescribe to you how you should perceive things, so if you don't consider Bastion with its spikes, gargoyles and snarling vampire faces Vampiric that's fine; but I wouldn't call it particularly elusive or subtle and surely if Alinor furniture is indeed 'austere' to you, it would fit with such an austere Gothic crypt, no?

    And anyway, I hope my posts don't come across as a personal issue or as an attack on anyone's taste. I post several pictures not out of condescension or a desire to be disagreeable, just to clearly refer to the design features discussed in the topic, and to provide visual examples in addition to verbal descriptions which alone might be too vague and ambiguous.
    So most personal impressions (is it austere, is it lavish) can apply to some Alinor and Vampire furniture both, which is why there is some ambiguity within the styles. And many factual features (Gothic, spikey, arched) are shared, which is why there is some overlap between them.

    Anyhow, this is far too tangential (hence the Spoiler tags) when I only brought up Alinor/Vampire as a curious example of how exactly art and design directions are decided - based on real life references, ingame references, what keywords and concepts does the team base new designs on, etc. And most of my post is concerned more with the creative process behind furniture asset development and conversion and what parts of it fall to the art/design teams and housing teams respectively.
    Edited by bluebird on May 3, 2020 12:49PM
  • Tigerseye
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    bluebird wrote: »

    So you sort of support my point. If you think Alinor furniture is more austere, and Vampire furniture is more homely...


    No, sorry, I was trying to ask if we should be given more homely furnishings and houses, in general, as opposed to these huge cathedrals and crypts (with matching furniture)?

    I don't find Vampiric furniture particularly homely, at all.

    As I say, it reminds me of something from a turn of the previous century gentlemen's club.

    All you need are the toffee coloured, leather Chesterfield sofas (which, of course, they didn't give us!), some cut glass port decanters and burl walnut veneered cigar boxes and you're all set. :smile:

    Although I don't find it homely, as such, I do find the Vampiric furniture slightly more sleek, refined and versatile looking.

    But, homely? No, not really.

    The spikes kind of put an end to that, lol.

    ...then you're basically saying that Alinor furniture would fit Vampire buildings more, and Vampire furniture would fit a more homely Alinor townhouse. Because there is nothing homely about a gargoyle-filled Gothic crypt.
    qltj5g0epaas.png
    So tl;dr: Vampire architecture has a look they were going for (grotesque spiky Gothic halls with metal), and the Vampire lamps fit that - but the Vampire furniture do not fit in with that any more than spiky Gothic Alinor which are similar to many Vampire furniture, or grotesque metal Daedric which would fit the house and lamps more. And the few unique Vampire furniture that really stand out with their sculpted columns and smooth undecorated wood do not match the rest of the Vampire furniture nor the Vampire buildings.

    I think it's more subtle than that, though.

    On paper, in the way you describe it and regarding the elements you focus in on, the Alinor furniture may sound slightly more appropriate (although, still similar to the Vampiric, I totally agree), for Vampires, especially as it's (generally) darker in colour.

    However, in reality, it clashes with the architecture in the crypt, in terms of colour, surface decoration and style.

    The colour is slightly off, the texture is slightly off and it's too chunky and austere.

    It looks carved from solid wood, which has then been stained and polished vs having been veneered in a rich luxury wood, with finely turned finials (like the Vampiric).

    The Alinor spikes have a square cross section, which doesn't really go with the crypt and the surface decoration is wrong and evokes vineyards, or the countryside; bunches of grapes, or Verdant leaves.

    Also, some of the surface decoration is slightly Art Nouveau-ish, while the architectural details of the crypt definitely aren't.

    Whereas, the colour and details of the Vampiric blend in perfectly with the wall and window decoration of the crypt.

    Perhaps you find it too matchy-matchy(?), which would be a fair enough opinion to have.

    However, it's hard to agree with you that it doesn't go with the crypt, when it literally matches it.

    Really, when it comes to the Alinor, I think it's more about seeing the ways in which it doesn't visually, or thematically, gel with the crypt; rather than just the ways in which it does.

    As I say, I don't think it would be a total no-no to use Alinor in the crypt, at all.

    In fact, if I bought it, I would probably end up using various styles, other than just Vampiric, but still.

    I do agree with you that furnishing styles are in danger of getting a bit too similar to each other, though.

    I also, genuinely, appreciate the sheer effort your latest post must have taken to compile and the way in which you have been able to (unlike other parts of this forum!) keep the conversation extremely pleasant, enjoyable and civil. :smile:
    Edited by Tigerseye on May 3, 2020 2:42PM
  • Tigerseye
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    bluebird wrote: »
    I don't mind us discussing the minutiae of furniture since I love housing, but most of this supports my post. Statements like 'Alinor looks like a playground for the Impaler' especially - yeees, that's the point, that's the issue with Vampire/Alinor :smiley:

    But, surely, Vampires would hate anything that looked like a wooden stake?

    They wouldn't be likely to invoke one of the few things that could kill them, in their furnishing design, would they?

    If they embraced wooden stakes, they might as well also have a light, bright, sunny home, with holy water fountains and crucifixes everywhere, and be done with it. :lol:

    So, assuming they wouldn't want the Alinor spikes, as they are square in cross section, exactly like a wooden stake they could be impaled by, that would surely be another argument for the finely turned finials of the Vampiric, wouldn't it?

    Or, ideally, for no spikes, at all...
    Edited by Tigerseye on May 3, 2020 3:14PM
  • bluebird
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    Although I don't find it homely, as such, I do find the Vampiric furniture slightly more sleek, refined and versatile looking. But, homely? No, not really. The spikes kind of put an end to that, lol.
    That's part of the issue. When designing art with a clean slate, should 'Vampiric' be more sleek and refined than Summerset High Elf? Would Vampires use a warm medium brown colour or a darker one? Should Vampires who live in a crypt with gargoyles, spiky metal fences and snarling vampire heads that are very over-the-top have more refined and versatile furniture than Summerset?

    If they wanted the Vampiric art style to be spiky (and the Vlad the Impaler-worthy amount of spikes in the Bastion suggest they did), why did they make the furniture monochrome brown wood specifically (when we already have monochrome brown wood spiky furniture), instead of something more unique (like black wood, or mix in some metal or stone colours that are actually present in the Vampire architecture)?
    The colour is slightly off, the texture is slightly off and it's too chunky and austere. It looks carved from solid wood, which has then been stained and polished vs having been veneered in a rich luxury wood, with finely turned finials (like the Vampiric).

    Whereas, the colour and details of the Vampiric blend in perfectly with the wall and window decoration of the crypt
    Why is a Summerset High Elf style more austere than Vampire furniture that belong in a dark gargoyled spiked stone crypt? Was this an intented design direction? That's the point of my post - not the minor details which do set Alinor and Vampire apart, but the general art design and vision. Are furniture (and architecture) designed with the currently existing ones in mind? Are they based on keywords? Real life references? What, how, why? :smiley:
    The colour of the Vampire wood furniture does not match the crypt. You're free to look at the colours inside Bastion (I suggest turning off the orange-reddish-tinted vampire lamps which make everything look uniformly warm). The stone is a paler gray, while the furniture are a medium brown. It could be argued that paler wood goes with the paler stone than darker wood (personal preference, I enjoy contrast more), but it's not matched in colour (like Clockwork furniture colours are matched to Clockwork houses).

    The knotwork motifs match, but as I wrote in a previous post, is that really what makes Vampire furniture 'Vampire'? A knotwork motif? When they were brainstorming Alinor, did they want a 'dark, austere Gothic wood with arch motifs and spikes'? And when they were brainstorming Vampire (to go with their metal-spiked, fang-faced stone crypt) they wanted 'Gothic wood with arch motifs but paler than Alinor, and smoother spikes, and add knotwork motifs'? Or what?
    What was the rationale, the design brief, the creative vision between the only 'Vampire' furniture that Elder Scrolls will ever get? Because without knowing their thought process, it's hard to believe that this is the best and most fitting and most unique 'Vampire' direction they could come up with.
    But, surely, Vampires would hate anything that looked like a wooden stake? They wouldn't be likely to invoke one of the few things that could kill them, in their furnishing design, would they?

    So, assuming they wouldn't want the Alinor spikes, as they are square in cross section, exactly like a wooden stake they could be impaled by, that would surely be another argument for the finely turned finials of the Vampiric, wouldn't it?
    Lol! :lol: Since you asked, vampires clearly don't mind the stake motifs, since they glued a ton of square metal spikes on every possible surface in their Bastion Sanguinaris. And while Vampire Hunter opinions may vary, most wooden stakes are cylindrical with a narrow point (for ease of handling and smoother penetration), not straight with square cross-sections. So if anything, the current 'Vampire' furniture spikes should be far more anti-Vampire than the Alinor ones. :wink:
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    Tigerseye wrote: »
    No, sorry, I was trying to ask if we should be given more homely furnishings and houses, in general, as opposed to these huge cathedrals and crypts (with matching furniture)?
    Ah, I must have misunderstood you then about that, sorry! :smile: Thought you were referring to Vampire specifically, not speaking in general. And yes, I agree that we could use more comfy homely furniture (the lack of padded armchairs and sofas were a missed opportunity from this aspect too). I also wouldn't have minded if they took Vampire into the sculpted column-curved drawers direction for example that we see on the desk and dresser alone, that would have been a unique style at least.
    As entertaining as this thread has become with its microscopic examination of furniture, my intention making this thread really wasn't to nitpick about minutiae (like that one spiky furniture has solid spikes with square cross-sections, while the other spiky furniture has slimmer spikes - incidentally many spikes in the Vampire architecture are actually rectangular not rounded like the Vampire furniture). I simply wanted to find out more in how new architectures and furniture are developed - does the art team get a brief from higher ups or do they have free rein, do they come up with a design based on real life examples, or do they consider already existing ingame assets? What determines the colour palette? How much influence does the housing team have on asset design? Etc.

    I enjoy discussing furniture and architectural styles btw, I just don't want the original theme of the thread to get lost under debates about finials and buttresses. Thogh ZOS devs are probably unlikely to see the questions and even more unlikely to have the time and/or inclination to answer them. :sweat_smile:
  • kind_hero
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    bluebird wrote: »
    I simply wanted to find out more in how new architectures and furniture are developed - does the art team get a brief from higher ups or do they have free rein, do they come up with a design based on real life examples, or do they consider already existing ingame assets? What determines the colour palette? How much influence does the housing team have on asset design? Etc.

    I enjoy discussing furniture and architectural styles btw, I just don't want the original theme of the thread to get lost under debates about finials and buttresses. Thogh ZOS devs are probably unlikely to see the questions and even more unlikely to have the time and/or inclination to answer them. :sweat_smile:

    My guess is that the concept artists create some drawings based on directions from the lead artists, and after these drawings are accepted, they get to do more polished versions like the loading screens we watch for so long, and that is sent to the 3d and 2d artists which create the 3d model and the 2d texture, based on those drawings. Most likely this process is streamlined by reusing 3d assets or changing the hue of some textures. You can recognise some of the 3d shapes in Alinor furniture from Morrowind. I am sure the art team designs the furniture and architecture at the same time.

    One last comment regarding your very detailed posts is that.. surely you see the key difference between the two furnishing styles, I mean, Alinor has a slight rural theme, with leaves moftifs, it has those broken arches that match the same pattern in the architecture, and same goes for the spikes which match the spikes on their architecture and spiked towers. On the other hand, the "vampiric" theme, does not have anything in common with vegetation, and its architecture does not have the same overlapping gothic arches pattern. Furthermore, the vampiric architecture is more like a dungeon, since it is in Blackreach, and it is carved out of cave rock. There are many similarities, indeed, but my perfectionism drives me to match the Alinor architectural patterns with its furniture, and same for vampire.

    The Alinor theme is very much like all Summerset, a very lush, verdant and sophisticated place, so its furniture and architecture reflects on that. Summerset elves are like that. They look down at strangers and see their insular culture superiour in every way. However, the vampires do not the same similarities like a people. The only thing they have in common is their curse, other than that you can have a vampire that is a Breton noble, one that is a Khajiit peddler or another which is an Orc pirate. I tend to see the orc breaking the vampiric furniture pretty fast. So, yes, the knotwork motif does not make the theme vampire, it just creates a theme which will fit the Bastion, but most likely will not fit everyone's concept of what a Tamrielic vampire is, and I am sure everyone will have their own stereotypes. Some people will go overboard with the evil vampire theme and use the cartoony daedric stuff and the torture gear, others will try to make the best of the new polished furniture style, which is quite beautiful.
    [PC/EU] Tamriel Hero, Stormproof, Grand Master Crafter
  • bluebird
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    kind_hero wrote: »
    One last comment regarding your very detailed posts is that.. surely you see the key difference between the two furnishing styles
    Yes of course, I said several times that I don't consider them identical, so I do see some difference, but they have significant overlaps. So these 'key' differences are not clear-cut nor distinct, as my previous images showed.
    There is far more similarity between Alinor and Vampire (the main bunch, not the unique outliers as I posted earlier) than within the Alinor and Vampire range respectively. Apart from Breton and Imperial (lol, let's not even get started on that design decision :tongue:) all furniture styles are far more different, even when they are the same race (like Khajiit and Elsweyr furniture, Vvardenfell and Dunmer furniture, even Alinor and High Elf furniture)!
    I mean, Alinor has a slight rural theme, with leaves moftifs, it has those broken arches that match the same pattern in the architecture, and same goes for the spikes which match the spikes on their architecture and spiked towers. On the other hand, the "vampiric" theme, does not have anything in common with vegetation, and its architecture does not have the same overlapping gothic arches pattern. Furthermore, the vampiric architecture is more like a dungeon, since it is in Blackreach, and it is carved out of cave rock.

    The Alinor theme is very much like all Summerset, a very lush, verdant and sophisticated place, so its furniture and architecture reflects on that. Summerset elves are like that. They look down at strangers and see their insular culture superiour in every way. However, the vampires do not the same similarities like a people. The only thing they have in common is their curse, other than that you can have a vampire that is a Breton noble, one that is a Khajiit peddler or another which is an Orc pirate. I tend to see the orc breaking the vampiric furniture pretty fast. So, yes, the knotwork motif does not make the theme vampire, it just creates a theme which will fit the Bastion, but most likely will not fit everyone's concept of what a Tamrielic vampire is, and I am sure everyone will have their own stereotypes.
    Wait, Alinor is 'lush and verdant and sophisticated now'? It was was 'austere' a few posts ago with Vampire considered more 'lavish' :wink: But yes jokes aside I do agree many of the Alinor pieces are verdant.

    Some curvilinear tracery (the 'veiny' decoration resembling Gothic windows) that we can see on the wood carvings of some Alinor wood furniture is present in Vampire architecture too (I won't bore you with more pictures lol, look upwards on the metalwork in Bastion). Yes many Alinor furniture have arches on the sides (most are lancet, equilateral, or rounded trefoil), but Vampire furniture also has arches on the sides (most are lancet or pointed trefoil). Furthermore, the vast majority of arches you see in Vampire architecture are lancet and equilateral same as Alinor architecture and Alinor furniture, with only a few pointed trefoils (doorways mostly). The Alinor furniture spikes are more rectilinear, while Vampire furniture spikes are more rounded, but almost all spikes in Vampire architecture are rectilinear too. Their flying buttresses are rectilinear too, just like Alinor's.

    So when we have to argue about the exact shape of the spikes, or the specific type of Gothic arch used, the styles are already considerably similar. Especially when the architectural style also features both styles. I thought that would be a given so I just put it in my post, I never thought we'd end up analyzing everything this deeply - otherwise I would have made a dedicated thread for a Vampire style discussion!
    So the existence of minor differences doesn't really detract from my points that 1) many of Vampire architecture features are present on Alinor furniture (and Alinor architecture but that's irrelevant) 2) many Alinor and Vampire furniture share similar motifs and silhouettes 3) that monochrome brown wood furniture with spikes and Gothic arches are neither the most unique nor the most fitting design that a gargoyled metal-spiked stone crypt with vampire faces could have gotten.

    Which is why it would be so interesting to hear about their design process. Was this Vampire furniture style referencing something specifically? Some movie or something? Did they come up with it because they thought it would be a good addition to housing? Did they get a brief that 'Vampires=Gothic revival' and forgot to make it different enough? Did they always plan on adding this furniture style so they just decided to call it Vampire for no reason and slap some knotwork on a crypt to make it fit? I know my questions sound snarky, but I'd just like to know :smiley:

    There might be a totally valid reason for why they took this direction, but without knowing their approach it's hard to guess what. Wouldn't you like to know more about how furnishing design directions are determined?
    Some people will go overboard with the evil vampire theme and use the cartoony daedric stuff and the torture gear, others will try to make the best of the new polished furniture style, which is quite beautiful.
    Yeah, I never argued that it's an ugly style, it's actually well done and high-rez too so I don't have issues with the furniture themselves. The same way I don't have an issue with the Solitude wooden benches or Elsweyr houses, I just wonder 'why this, when we already had 6 other Solitude wooden benches' and 'why another mouldy Elsweyr house when we're missing so many other styles' lol? Though I do think the gargoyles and grotesque snarling vampire faces push the Bastion into a cartoony evil theme already, everyone will surely find their own creative niche with the Vamp architecture and furniture too. :smile: But that's not what this topic was about... even though 90% of the posts ended up focused on analyzing Vampire style, lol.
    Edited by bluebird on May 4, 2020 4:45PM
  • Erissime
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    My 2 cents on this topic is a desire to please most people, without digressing too much from the general feel of the lore. On that line - no matter how diverse this game tries to be, medieval is it's base style. Vampires now - are a pretty controversial subject. You have the bloody-gore little monsters which would enjoy living in a cave surrounded by the last remnants of their dinner, and you have the high end aristocratic type, usually compared with 19th century goth (which is quite different from the real goth). How to bring in something which would satisfy all players without digressing too much from the medieval theme-core of the game!? - there - you have it. And do not complain. I personally like that it matches so well the Alinor style, saves one the trouble of matching, being that every new collection comes with so very few items, forcing the housing enthusiast to mix and match rather than go full collections. It does not have much of a personality of its own? As compared to Alinor ? - shove a few pillows around to get more 19th century comfort and that touch of decadence every respectable vampire owns, stay red - and be happy they care enough to ... try something as controversial as an actual vampire theme.
    Also I like the fact that the furniture is not black. That whole black and red thing is old by now (and boring). Wood on the other side is ... wood. Different shades of brown. Real furniture is .. brown. Very few pieces actually are black (in antique furnishings, not modern copies of antiquities meant to please every gothic eccentric with a purse out there) - and I like that they try to give a realistic touch to the items they publish, at least when it comes about creating interiors clearly inspired by reality .
    Edited by Erissime on July 17, 2020 7:42PM
  • bluebird
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    Erissime wrote: »
    And do not complain. I personally like that it matches so well the Alinor style, saves one the trouble of matching, being that every new collection comes with so very few items, forcing the housing enthusiast to mix and match rather than go full collections.
    Thanks for your comment, I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the Vampire style. :smile: Although this thread has gone off topic a little, since almost every comment is focusing on analyzing the Vampire style itself, lol. Had I know that would happen, I would have made a separate thread for the Vampire style alone.

    I simply wanted to know more about the art team's/furnishing team's design process, because Vampire and Alinor are indubitably similar. If two styles require argument about the exact type of Gothic arches, and the exact shape of spires and spikes they have, I thought their similarity wouldn't be up for debate, lol. When Dark Elf and Morrowind styles, or Alinor and High Elf styles are far more different than Alinor and Vampire. (Honestly, I'll probably give up on this thread entirely since it has seemingly lost its purpose along the way completely :lol: )
    Edited by bluebird on July 17, 2020 8:20PM
  • Erissime
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    You can't expect the answer to what you wish by opening a topic to which mainly players will answer. My answer is based on a personal thinking I would do if I were them, and I do believe it pretty much covers your topic. I only allowed a touch of personal comparison between items, as I have seen it debated above quite a bit. But as a hobbyist into graphic design ( which is what the devs providing this stuff are) - this seems the easiest way to approach it (first lines of my answer). Now if you want details on how they create their meshes and textures, and more technical stuff - style is definitely of no consequence, and indeed - all this is pretty much ... off topic.
  • bluebird
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    Erissime wrote: »
    You can't expect the answer to what you wish by opening a topic to which mainly players will answer. My answer is based on a personal thinking I would do if I were them, and I do believe it pretty much covers your topic. I only allowed a touch of personal comparison between items, as I have seen it debated above quite a bit. But as a hobbyist into graphic design ( which is what the devs providing this stuff are) - this seems the easiest way to approach it (first lines of my answer). Now if you want details on how they create their meshes and textures, and more technical stuff - style is definitely of no consequence, and indeed - all this is pretty much ... off topic.
    My comment wasn't meant as a criticism of your post, it it came across that way. I thanked you for your input, and acknowledged that players will have different personal responses to the styles. :smile: I was simply talking about how this topic ran its course several months ago, and as you say didn't really seem to hit the mark when it comes to exploring its original intention.

    But I did read all of your comment, I just didn't want to quote it because much of it is your personal enthusiasm of the style, and I didn't want to nitpick it. I'll post my response behind Spoiler tags if that helps, I don't want you to feel like I didn't read your comment or didn't think about what you wrote, I just didn't want to add to this thread further.
    For example, the literal pools of blood that line the naves of the Bastion Sanguinaris, as well as the snarling grotesque vampire faces firmly take the 'vampire' architecture into a monstery direction. So do the very spikey extravagant lamps that are far more fantasy-inspired than realistic.

    Also, you personally may have found black and red 'boring' but we have no such style in ESO, so clearly adding another brown wood Gothicesque style isn't less boring than coming up with something new, yes? If their way of solving 'controversy' is to add a style similar to one that already exists, what's the point? If you think adding Vampire is good because you can match it with Alinor, and there aren't that many pieces in that style, then surely Daedric would have been far better from that perspective as that style has barely any furniture but does fit an evil fanged vibe.

    Creating new styles and complements is all well and good, but they came up with far more diverse differences for even the same race (such as High Elf and Alinor High Elf, Khajiit and Elsweyr Khajiit, Dark Elf and Morrowind Dark Elf). So realistically, it seems less like a design decision and more like a necessity, after they designed the Alinor style without thinking ahead and realizing that they will want to add spiky brown Gothic to Vampires instead. So it really just seems like they were backed into a Gothic corner by vampire pop culture.
  • Erissime
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    I never took it as a criticism. The answer only felt to express my rather strong opinion on how I see things. The styles you depict above as different in so many ways, also are based on lore. High elf is apparently thought as a rather anglo-saxon inspiration ( natural enough, as it is in those mythologies that you have mainly the ideas of elves, as depicted in these fantasy worlds) - so upon what it seems a renewal of textures and meshes, going the classical medieval/gothic with that touch of elegance the high-elven culture would enable, was natural. The khajit, which seem to be having a heavily indian (and thereabouts) influence, upon renewal, it felt natural to go with all the colours and shapes inspired by those ( real life) cultures. Furthermore - the dark elves, seem to be inspired heavily by the asian culture, something you see both in the old items, as well as in the new ones. Also a touch of darker shades of woods you do find in those antique pieces, much more than in the european ones. Now coming to vampires - well... vampires are ... no culture really, they are pure fantasy, and their strongest imagery is connected with the 19th century. Now there are these different kinds I already spoke of above - monster/bloody/ugly/gore ( which does go pretty well with the whole daedric concept) - and noble, elegant, arrogant, immortal . How do you fit that in? Obviously the only style around which goes - europe +elegance is high elf. Obviously they would pick the newest (nicer/better) meshes - because there are only so many shapes and styles for real you can pick from, based on that time. And as for that touch of blood and gore? - well there is already quite a bit of that in game, and let us be honest - whoever is happy with a pack of bones and hanging skeletons about their place, along with rivers of blood really does not need all this much thought on style , like say those more inclined towards elegance ( and all the sophistication either high elves - as per this lore - or vampires - as per more ... ordinary/world-wide known , vampires are). So unless you can think of a completely new, never before seen in any culture anywhere on earth ( which is ultimately the main pool of inspiration for all the items, I mean - wood is wood and shall always be wood , no matter what colour you give it, no? ) - they did a pretty good job trying to fit in ... all of this . So what I said originally - the intention is to stay medieval. The only novelty they could have allowed, would be to bring in truly 19th century shaped pieces - but that would have broken the whole vibe and feel intended for the game.

    Also - to not ignore and the touch of baroque I see at times in their items - that seems to be about the "newest" time they are inclined to touch in matters of looks and style (times based on real life styles and times as main inspiration) - but only as a kind of eccentricity of sorts, ALSO to be fit in the strongly medieval world they created - rather than a style in itself .
    Edited by Erissime on July 18, 2020 12:19AM
  • bluebird
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    Erissime wrote: »
    Now coming to vampires - well... vampires are ... no culture really, they are pure fantasy, and their strongest imagery is connected with the 19th century. Now there are these different kinds I already spoke of above - monster/bloody/ugly/gore ( which does go pretty well with the whole daedric concept) - and noble, elegant, arrogant, immortal . How do you fit that in? Obviously the only style around which goes - europe +elegance is high elf.
    High Elf style is not medieval European. It's clearly a fantasy style. Inspired by Rivendell and the likes, with strong natural themes. It also often features fabrics and pillows, and has dual-tone furniture including inlays with engraved nature patterns.

    If you mean Alinor, then that's precisely my point. The Vampire furniture fit in with Alinor far more than Alinor fits in with High Elf. If they had known they will design two new styles (Alinor and Vampire) within the span of 3 years, would they have made both Alinor and Vampire so similar? Or would they have kept Alinor more similar in aesthetic to High Elf (we see Alinor pieces that are indeed different from Vampire like the brocade seetees or the marble items), so that it wouldn't overlap with the plan wood Gothic Vampire style that is dictated by popular culture because 'Vampire = Gothic' in ZOS's mind?

    You also mention Baroque, so surely we can agree that europe + elegance isn't automatically high elf. It isn't even the Gothic part of Alinor in particular if that's what you meant. Baroque influences - which you also mention already exist ingame - would have been far more fitting than bare Gothic wood, if elegance was their goal. Even Renaissance would be more europe +elegance (and not that far removed form medieval), although Renaissance would perhaps infringe on an upcoming Imperial style. So clearly, Europe and elegance has far more to offer than having to rehash Gothicesque styles, if elegance was what they were going fot.

    Regarding your comments on blood and gore, no we don't have enough furnishings of that style. Daedric, which is most closely linked to evildoers in ESO is not a full furnishing style like Alinor or High Elf or whatnot. It has no beds, no wardrobes, no dressers, and apart from some Crown Store exlusive items and candles and plinths, it is impossible to furnish a house fully in that style. So no, we don't have so much 'evil' furniture that we needed two variations on a similar style. The stone and metal material, the spikes and grotesque faces of vampire architecture suggests that they weren't designing Vampires with comfort and elegance in mind, so clearly ZOS don't mind that monstrous bloody association with the style.

    Again I'm not trying to take away your enjoyment of the style, if you like it, good for you - that's your subjective preference, which is why I didn't feel like there was a point in commenting on that.
  • Erissime
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    Uhm ... yeah . You clearly need to do a bit more research on real life medieval furniture - cause Alinor is far from ... fantasy. The only fantasy about it are the textures ( leafs and upholstery and elven/nature themes) - but ... that's all real life there, which - like I said - is where the inspiration comes from. By and by I was talking about the shapes ( the actual 3D item) - and not it's textures ( The way it is "dressed up" ) - and it was with that in mind that I invited you ( and anyone else interested) - to bring in new ideas , with a real touch, around the time frame ( again - as close as possible to medieval - as ... depicted in real life ). Baroque is a touch - but alinor furniture is far more real than the high elf one. Do not confuse the lore with the inspiration. Items we get are as close to reality as possible, precisely so that they can make a point in a fantasy world - you know, something we can recognise and understand beyond words and stories and what not.

    As for the metal stuff ( which is ultimately what all the daedric theme is based on) - well... that is pure fantasy. And I haven't seen a daedra sleep nor care so much about their wardrobe... . The Vampires are a border thing between monster and elegant . They can go both ways heavily, and ... well ... it's practically in the player's hands how they see it. They just tried elegance first - cause ... monsters do not really care about homes and living nice (again my first example with the cave and last dinner)

    So bottom line - you need to understand the roots of inspirations - which are pretty obvious in the creations and which come from real life half the time, then ask yourself logical questions like - what would a metal wardrobe be used to? (and I don't mean by you, yourself, but think wider, how are such beings associated with such furniture generally perceived) - then figure why we get some things more than others. Cause to me the answers are pretty ... obvious . Tis all.
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