Ancient Aliens: Environment Art

Today I wanted to share some of the environment art the team has been building for Ancient Aliens: Severed Skies. We are really fortunate to have nine (yes nine!) artists workings on the project – 3 experienced industry vets and 6 art school grads who have been eager to practice their skills on a serious project. I’m thrilled by the working relationship the artists have developed – progress has been fast and steady over the last month under the solid leadership of Stephen Philpott, our art director.

Egypt Aliens

Stargate-esque reference art


South Park – my favorite Egypt color reference!

While the alien spaceships are definitely the keystone on which the game puts most of its aesthetic weight, building an environment that is true to the setting, which includes a variety of ancient civilizations (in this case Egypt), will really clinch the tone of the game.


Egyptian Buildings – Untextured WIP

Egypt Building - Textured WIP

Egypt Building – Textured WIP

For the upcoming demo version of the game, we are using the UV scrolling technique to bake the 3D environment onto a 2D texture, and have that image scroll downwards to simulate the player’s upward movement. As such, the environment assets need only be readable from a distance.

Market Stall WIP

Market Stall WIP

Above View WIP

Above View WIP

However, as with many aspects of this project, we are taking a high-to-low fidelity approach; that is, we are building high fidelity assets (within reason) and baking them down to smaller files and textures as needed. This will allow us to easily upscale if we choose to port to PC or consoles down the road. There are other advantages as well: we can potentially use the assets in cut-scenes or during story beats between missions, and we are freed up to have the player fly very close to the ground from time to time.

Environment Art

Egyptian Building WIP

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these early works-in-progress. I’ll keep posting about the progress of our environment art as it comes together into a cohesive backdrop. Expect to see vast deserts, sprawling cities, quaint villages and ancient relics, including of course the iconic pyramids, the Sphinx, and other recognizable landmarks. We plan to add an alien twist to these locales, of course: it was Ancient Aliens who helped build them after all!

Next up: spaceship art!