Concept101: Pollo's Map, Future Promotions, and Ship Teleports - Oh My!

Pirate101 Concept Art

Art can tell you a lot about a game. But what's really fun is when you find art that reveals something coming in the future. Fortunately, as we saw yesterday with Hawkules's second tier, KingsIsle employees aren't very good at keeping secrets.

Everyday this month, I'm offering a new Concept101 post with new art, new sources, and a new look at the concept process. On the first day (Preceding Darkness and Death), I talked about how and where KingsIsle went looking for artists, and showed Xavier Garcia's Valencia art test, and planted seeds about a past or future Valencia.

Pirate101 Concept ArtThe second day (Red Hair and Painted Shields), I talked about textures and building 3D models. I discussed layering and texture mapping, as well as the creative freedom that 3D artists have, and showed some of Isaac Oster's work.

The third day (Complexity by Design), I continued with 3D models, and talked about vector vs. raster images, dynamic shadowing, and display modes in programs used by the artists. I also showed some of the original models of Ambrose and Greyrose. 

Pirate101 Concept ArtThe fourth day (Hidden in Detail), I talked about vertex lighting, textures, and gave examples of everything that had to be planned, drawn, painted, and created to go in the game.

The fifth day (Extending A Hand), I talked about FX artists, animators, and finished products. I showed you some examples, including some animations of what seems to be Hawkules's second tier! 

Yesterday, (A Fresh Perspective), I talked about concept outsourcing, touched up on the 3D process, and explained how new art, even on old subjects, could offer a look you weren't familiar with.

Louis, Revisited

The concept shown here displays the Crown Shop version of Louis, Pepe. You see the three tiers as art, and then as 3D models. Notice the text on the lower image of the 3D models. It says: "This character was built modular. This means pieces are turn[ed] on/off or replaced dependent on their tier." So while some things that look the same really are different, these Crown Shop companions truly are new skins on old units.

Even the Icons

I talked about how just about everything has to start with concepts. Devin Busha did these icons here. Some are bottles from the Crown Shop, but most are horns, figureheads, or sails. There are a few that are curious ones, though. The electrical swirl, for example. what's that? What's even more curious are the ships that look like they're moving through portals at the bottom. What on earth on those? If they were just a power that surrounded the ship, you'd see the whole thing. 

Could those be teleports on some sort? Swap sides of the enemy and delay their attacks for a few seconds? Either way, it reinforces the point that everything starts with art.

Pirate101 Concept Art

Future Promotions, You Say?

That's right. Take a look at this set of 3D models. "Grenadier Tiers 1-3." Looks like Private Mills in future outfits to me!

Pirate101 Concept Art

The really interesting set is this one of Monkey King. Tier 1 is just an enemy. Tier 2 is the Monkey King we know and own. Alric Ravensinger mentioned something to me about Blind Mew talking about a future promotion involving immortality. Sounds like it just might work. This character, like Pepe and Louis, was built modular. You can see the texture maps, and his next two tiers. While 3 is a pretty minor change, 4 is a big update.

Pirate101 Concept Art

One Answer, Two Questions

Even interfaces have to start with concepts. Bryan Lian is one of my favorite artists, and he did the full Marco Pollo map that you actually collect in-game. This is really a very curious piece. Now we know what the full map looks like (Click to enlarge - yes, this is the largest available size), but we have to wonder about a few things. First, there's the Celestian text at the bottom that several have tried to decode.

In my attempt, it came out to "East to the blue s--, when the stars align, the moon is key." Obviously, sea fits in there nicely, but I'm just not sure if it works. I also tried "sun" and "sky" but neither seem to match up correctly. Maybe you'll see something I don't. This could be in reference to the entire Spiral, but it sure works well with Marleybone - stars, moon, "blue" sea or sky... lots of stormgates for sale over there, too! Based on the map, if Marleybone at least rotates, and El Dorado follows its orbit, there'd be a very small window opening for a stormgate to appear between the two. Hmm...

Pirate101 Concept Art

Concept Credits

All of these concepts are created by the KingsIsle art team, with a few exceptions by outsourcing companies like Firemonkey Interactive. Dave Greco is the Lead Concept Artist at KingsIsle, and shares many of his works on his blog, My Electronic Days. You can view it HERE. See more from KingsIsle Entertainment at

Pepe's concepts are by Nik, mentioned and linked in a previous post. The 3D Pepe concept, Aquila weapons, and Monkey King tiers are by Diego Rothenbach (on his site - Fuzzy Bunny Ninjas - don't ask how I found that one!) HERE. The Pirate101 icons are by Devin Busha HERE. The golem concept and Mills tiers are by Jason Young. See his site (which contains all of the Aquila outfit concepts - notice there's one for every class except Musketeers) HERE. The map is by Bryan Lian (one of my favorites for both his work and site) HERE.


Tomorrow is the final day of the month and will be the most exciting by far. I'll follow that up with a full list of artists, their styles, and how I located them. Then Concept101 will continue on its normal schedule. But all of the artists having been revealed (and some will be revealed with the list) doesn't mean no new work! *Wink*

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!


  1. I see some new worlds on this version of the map, can't wait until we go back to Valencia, more stuff to waist my membership time looking at the stuff there and its beautiful emerald sky.

  2. Notice the circle on the left side of Marco Pollo's map, the circle on the symbol of the pyramid and the S, the pyramid most likely to resemble Krokotopia and I have no idead about the S, maybe one of the storm gate to El Dorado is at there. But some say Valencia then Krokotopia is the next world, maybe the El Dorado stormgate would'n appear when pirates are in krokotopia but in S.

    1. Thanks to the map sent by mail to many of us, we know that the S is Valencia. The pyramid IS Krokotopia, it's labelled as such. Here's a list, since you aren't sure.

      Wizard Hat - Wizard City
      Palm Tree - Skull Island
      S - Valencia
      Bird (Essentially a U with extended sides on the far left) - Cool Ranch
      Circle within a circle (and symbol underneath) - Dragonspyre
      Three upward marks (III) - Grizzleheim
      Paw print - Marleybone
      An incomplete diamond shape (Like a T right of Valencia) - Aquila
      Two squiggly lines - MooShu
      Pyramid - Krokotopia
      Partial swirl - Monquista
      Triangle with a line cut through it (almost like a mountain) - Polaris
      Large city with sun - El Dorado
      Strange squiggle (up and right of Skull Island) - Not confirmed, but believed to be Darkmoor

      What's really funny is that on this map, the Pyramid is used for Krokotopia, and the incomplete triangle for El Dorado. On the map we got in the mail, the incomplete triangle was used for Krokotopia, and the two half triangles (not quite like the Pyramid) were used for El Dorado.

  3. I may get it, East to the blue sun(Darkmoor),when the stars are align(everything's in place), the moon is the key(Valencia). When everything is in place, Valencia will switch orbit routes, instead or circling Darkmoor it circles Marleybone meaning it's close to El Dorado which creates a Stormgate. There would be multiple eclipse. El Dorado is another Azteca, since legend says El Dorado is a golden maya or Aztec. Plus the buildings in Isle of doom show it plus the armada is there to get the celestia comunition. Lastly Valencia is based on real life Spain, and the Spanish ended the Aztec and Mayans which maybe the grand design is to invade El Dorado and to get their gold, one thing bugs me is Kane a living thing or a robot?Or his the armada creator.

    1. See, I can't be sure, but I believe some worlds are stationary, and Valencia is one of them. It may have some rotation but lacks an orbit. However, El Dorado certainly has an orbit, and it's extremely large - well beyond the known areas of the Spiral. However, it intersects on the orbit around Marleybone. It appears that it would, just for a moment, fall in line with Marleybone, hence the rare window opening to visit it.

  4. Guessing the stormgate might be near Marleybone.HMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  5. I want to say sorry for putting this post's content on P101 Central.
    You make a wonderful job, I was just excited to see other's people reactions fearing they would not find this.
    Thanks for the exclusive content.


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