Somehow I ended up the principal environments guy on Disco Elysium. Some of my personal highlights are the sci fi looking crane (not pictured here, haha) and the machine bridge behind the huge doors that lead into the Docks area. I tried to give each and every one of the areas distinct landmarks or unique items propped somewhere prominent and easy to notice. Making isometric environments dynamic and interesting enough was a huge challenge and these here have both hits and misses.
This gallery includes some of the earlier work (look at how inefficient that Capeside piece is for example! Why did I draw individual tiles and stuff??!) and some slightly later work where I'm more confident with using shorthand because our workflows were finally in place (kind of). Man, working on Disco Elysium must have been the best art school one could have wished for at the time!
My process usually included a napkin sketch for starters (sometimes literally) and then a rough 3D blockout in Blender. When I was happy with the general proportions and scale I would just screencap the viewport and take it to Photoshop (and later Procreate - love sketching on the couch!)
With the environment designs confirmed by the stakeholders the 2D concept and my initial blockouts went to Rauno or Markus who did the detailed model. They'd send it back to me when they're done and I would do cleaning up and tweak those models until I was satisfied with the whitebox render. With Cuno's shack for example I was so unhappy with the pig's head sculpt that I redid that myself over the weekend.
Closer to the game’s launch in 2019 we could crank out a smaller map inside a week - from design to paintover. That was suuper fast and efficient for us.
Some trivia: Argo requested an imposing desk for Evrart. So I MTV-Pimp-My-Ride’d the desk by putting a desk onto a desk to create the ultimate megadesk. Also think Gizmo from Fallout, OK?
The more mundane and homey maps were super fun because I could invent little still lives for them to tell stories about the people who inhabit those rooms - not all maps had characters in them or all of the characters present who might live there. There's a great russian word for that "bytovuha" (pronounced boot-ah-vooh-ah) which loosely translates as "everyday". That is my favourite subject in any art. And Disco was all about that.