Friday, September 27, 2013

Concept101: Darkmoor, Revisited

Pirate101 Darkmoor New World Concept Art

Legends, owner of Legends of the Spiral and Stormgate Pirates, recently sent me a message contained a high-quality version of the Darkmoor hub concept. I had seen this piece three places before, and couldn't imagine that it could be much higher quality than the ones I had. I was wrong. And the image, it turns out, would be very revealing in a variety of ways.

Wait, HOW Many Versions?

Four to be exact - that's the number of places this concept art has been released, all at different sizes, forms, or... whatever else. I wanted to compare each one, so I used a difference that stood out the most to me - cloud texture.
Pirate101 Darkmoor New World Concept Art

Even without enlarging this image, it's clear that they are not the same. The left two look pretty similar, and the right two look to be nearly the same, with minor differences in lighting and sharpness, but also positioning. With the bad on the right in the same place, I had to zoom out a ways to catch the bottom of the trees. And the bats flying to the left in the first two were clearly under the moon in the second two.. I decided to narrow it down to two versions. I noticed that the house or main building itself was positioned a bit differently.

Pirate101 Darkmoor New World Concept Art

If you didn't notice a difference before, you should definitely notice it now. One is clearly sharper, with different cloud textures and all. The lighting is different and the positioning of the housing is different... it has all changed. I had previously believed there to be only one version.

Close-Ups Give a New Perspective

Take a look at some of these close-up shots, and feel free to enlarge them. This first one is the path, with a gate that is clearly more detailed than the other parts. It was likely drawn separately and placed onto the concept. I added the concept overlay for fun.

Pirate101 Darkmoor New World Concept Art

This second image is a small town connected to the rest of the island via two bridges. What's interested here is that you see a dock with two lights. That, combined with the fact that we see islands in the background is a pretty good indicator that this'll be a world in Pirate101.

Pirate101 Darkmoor New World Concept Art

Then take a look at this lonely house in the forest - oh, and those white spots throughout the woods? Those are glowing mushrooms as seen in previous worlds. My question is - what's hanging from the edge? Is that some additional dock, a walkway, or what?

Pirate101 Darkmoor New World Concept Art

Concept Changes?

In looking at these images, I noticed something strange. It seemed that a part of the concept had been scaled up and had become pixelated. However, much of it had been covered up by new painting lines - and they appeared to be as simple as reduced-opacity paintbrush lines in GIMP or other editing programs!

You'll definitely want to enlarge this one - it contains four areas where the change is specifically noticeable. The top left is the underside of the world, with the back area being pixelated, and the "bridge" and closer area being painted over. The top right shows an interesting bridge and some trees, with the bridge and parts of the trees being very pixelated, with limbs and details having been added on.

The bottom left is one that I simply thought looked really great up close. It's almost as though there's a texture over some of the trees to simulate moonlight in the forest. The bottom left shows the towers of the house, with the moon and sky colors having actually been painted into some of them.

Pirate101 Darkmoor New World Concept Art

This is an interesting concept to me - no, not the art. The idea that you take an old piece and actually modify it on the computer or otherwise after having scaled it up. If not for having such a large version, this would not have been noticeable at all. That makes me wonder - have other concepts been done this way?

Also, is this area still changing? Why are there two distinctly different versions? If you can find another concept with changes like in this one, and upload and post a link to it here, I'll give you a little something... just because I'm curious. What do you think?

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!


  1. But, like randomly how azteca was released in wizard101, we thought it to be empyrea and it turns out empyrea became aquila and now it might turn out just like how aquila was released in wizard101 before pirate101 it could happen that it gets released in wizard101 before pirate101
    or at the same times

    1. Explain to me how in the world Empyrea became Aquila. That makes no sense. KI's confirmed before that they don't scrap worlds. Also I thought the fourth world would be Mirage, and then Azteca came out. So not everyone shares your view point.

      I have high doubts the next major world for Wizard101 is Darkmoor. I just don't see it.

      But yeah, explain to me in depth how Empyrea is Aquila please.

    2. Also Pirate101 released Aquila before Wizard101 released Aquila. Read the update notes on both sites you'll see.

    3. I agree - I think Aquila and Marleybone were too worlds with such diverse ideas that they worked for both games. In Pirate101's Aquila, you played the hero constantly communicating with the gods through statues and being the hero down on the ground. In Wizard101, you were up in "immortal Aquila" where you challenged the gods directly. In Pirate101's Marleybone, you ended up in some of the outermost areas that were much more industry-based, while being in the big city for a Sherlock Holmes style chase of Meowiarty.

      Darkmoor, however, if it is going to be an entire world in Pirate101, and everything suggests that, then I just don't see a lot of potential for a crossover in Wizard101. Greek mythology goes a long way. Transylvania and gargoyles do not.


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