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ESCAPE - Towers of Kozel - Team Kozel

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Major changes!

We got a new star in our team, Berth is our character artist!

After a massive online meeting and brainstorming, we have changed everything! We have however kept some of the things, and made a fresh setting.


A 12 year old boy, in a loosely fitted armour that he had "borrowed" from his father is running away from a castle as menacing stone goat statues are coming to life in pursuit. Little trouble maker was feeling adventurous and wanted to prove to his friends that he has great courage, little did he know of the dangers that lie within the abandoned castle.

The characters will be:

-The moving statues, just like gargoyles, but goat like statues that protect the castle.

-And the running away boy. Trying to prove the point to his friends that it takes courage to venture into an abandoned cursed place. Equipped from armour "borrowed" from his father.

The environment:
An old abandoned Gothic like castle, connected with a bridge to a tower, like the image, but standing on a cliff instead of water. The castle is very wormed down, with some walls being collapsed, and overgrown vegetation growing on the bricks and walls.

Next is concept art and block out. Did I mention that we need a concept artist?

I have kept the initial post as a quote to keep as the original post.

I am currently looking for a team to make an Environment portfolio piece with two (or more) characters.

This is my take of the kind of Environment I would be happy to make.
I am very happy to do something that the rest of the team is happy to make. A concept artist in the team to design the assets, characters and perspective shots would be ideal. A character modeler. And last an addition of another 3d Environment Modeller.


The setting I want to make, its the Towers of Kozel.
Kozel is a dead witch that used to be a wealthy all powerful Lady-Lord that used to live in this castle with many towers looking at every corner of her massive land. When she became old she then became obsessed in retain her youth by captivating young teenagers from her farmers, cutting their wrists and bathing in their blood. With the years she became more sickly in her ways of torturing in different ways and forms, always looking to regain youth. With her years however she became insane with a never ending with no rest to find a way to live for ever and young.

After Kozel died, with no kids or no one wanting to be part of her sinister past, eerie shadows lurk in this abandoned castle, haunted by her and haunted guards that still capture teenagers for her.


The escape scenario happens when Sofia (name in construction) is captured in one of the tallest tower. She manages to break out of the room, but in every hall they are haunted guards equipped with an eerie armour that symbolizes goats. The meaning behind Kozel.

The scenario is very similar to Ico, when the boy has to escape with Yorda from her evil mother out of the castle. Its the same feeling I want to capture, escaping from an evil witch/queen in a haunted castle.


The style and architecture of the castle is open, but I would like the castle to be set in a fantasy world. And heavily influenced by designs of goats as statues decorating the walls and furniture. (the meaning behind Kozel)


The armor could be similar to the designs seen in FF12 of the judges.


The haunted guards that have the goat inspired armour is a similar take to the Zelda Phantom Hourglass dungeons (and in the Spirit world of Skyward Sword), where if the guards see you, run after you and you have to find a safe spot for them to stop running after you.

It seems like a very broad and incredibly ambitious project, but it does not need to be. The beauty shots can all be part of a hall in the abandoned castle with an open balcony with a view of other towers in this castle where the girl is hiding or running away by this guards. All this is to create a thoughtful brief to add details in the spots later.

If anyone volunteers to be part of this project, I am more than happy to make any chances to the brief of the project to their content as long it does not change something major as changing the setting from a Fantasy setting to Sci.

The ideal team for this project would be to have:

  • A character modeler to model the main character and the haunted guards.
  • A concept artist/texture artist to come up with the designs of the modular pieces. Perspective shots and character designs.
  • A 3D zbrush sculpter (me and someone else) that can do high poly sculpting, retopoly and then baking into normals.

The team/project is not limited by who can join or who does not join. I am a trade of all jacks with a strong interest in focusing in Environment modelling for games. But I am very happy to do any part of the project. However I am not very experienced doing character modelling, I would be happy to enter in that area to self teach to make some character modelling and rigging if there is a strong need.

I do not want to leave this project vulnerable if no one is interested to join. So if that is the case I will then undertake the project alone to make a environment based on a room of this abandoned castle, described earlier at *It seems like a very ambitious project...* with no characters.

I would like the project to be made in either Unity or UDK, entirely up to the team. If there is no team then I'll choose UDK. But I am incredibly confident and capable in using Unity.

Anyone is welcome as long they have some experience doing game art and as long as they are exited for the project. Of course if many volunteer, the team can only be up to 5 and I would pick someone that has a portfolio that I would be happy to stick due to his/her style or workflow.

All images belong to the respective owners, And they are only used to captivate the principle and ideas behind this brief and project.

Next step, if no volunteers pop up, its to make siluettes and sketches of the perspective and isometric shots of the chosen hallway from the abandoned castle. Time is ticking and I am going to live a window of opportunity of 48 hours or so until I start with the project alone, however! Anyone can step in any time as long its not too late.

To anyone curious, my website is:
And video reel from university:
I have skiped to the game project we did at university, and the environment I did for my assignment.
Sorry for the long and massive post. :)


  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    This post is reserved for team details, and/or changes to the initial brief.
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Hello! Sorry I have left the computer earlier, What does NCD do?

    Can I also have your Skype and Email details? Also, Google hangouts is really good for screen sharing as well.

    We still need a concept artist for our team, if we can find one it would be fantastic. If not I can make some sketches and concepts. I am totally 100% fine with changing anything as long we stay in the castle/fantasy/medieval setting!

    I have also just thought of the castle of the beauty and the beast statues. Shots here.

  • 3DVlad
    Hey guys, with Paco's blessings I am joining team Kozel.
    It's a bit funny to me because in russian kozel (goat) is the english equivalent of an a$$hole, that's not the whole reason I wanted to join the team though =)

    A bit about myself I am environment artist, based in Montreal, Canada. Currently working on beefing up my folio so I am hoping to kick up my skills in this one. My current focus is sculpting in Zbrush and texturing. I am competent in 3D Max, and UDK is my engine of choice. Rather then bore you to death with text here I am just going to show you my present day website and let the pictures to do the talking: http://vladimirholopov.blogspot.ca/

    I like the direction that Paco has already established. btw are the 3 concepts above yours?
    Let me share a bit of my vision for an idea for a shot we could use. An enormous castle gate, with half destroyed bridge, with a couple of giant goat looking statues at the sides of the gate (think minotaur but with goat heads). A burglar running away with some loot, chased by two menacing knights in goat inspired armor.

    Here is my contact info:
    Email: [email protected] (can also be used for hangouts I believe)
    Skype: myway_07

    Looking forward to working on this project with everyone, and stretching my 3D muscles!
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    *edited x 2*

    Oh sugar hahaha, I did research on names, and I came up with that as a common surname of a country. Never mind! We can find another name to use :) Towers of Kozel is a name under construction.

    We are still looking for a character artist and/or a concept artist. We are looking for someone that is looking for experience, but has still some basic foundations on anatomy/perspective/game art making.

    I love the burglar idea with the bridge, to make things interesting, we can do some brainstorming on what kind of burglar is it, and what did he steal from the castle, and even better, the burglar is the guy that finds out that there is someone captive and he has to save him/her. Ideas, so many and so good. But its all about execution!

    There is still time for anyone to participate, but no more environment artists as we already have two in the team.

    Last, but not least. We will be working in UDK.
  • Berth
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    To have a better visualization, I have put this together quickly. I would like to create another 12 thumbnails, and maybe edit these.

    The structure of the environment, is one bridge where two parts of the castle is contected. And Goat statues guard the bridge on the sides and entrances.

    I am not a concept artist, so dont mind the images!
  • 3DVlad
    First stage blocking in UDK:


    Berth can you send me a quick email using your gmail account? I shared the map in google drive, but I don't know your gmail.
  • 3DVlad
    The flipped cars are to be the Goat statues =P the small robot is the boy, and the big robot is the usual character scale for reference.
  • Impala88
    nice! looking forward to this :)
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Hey Vlad! I love the block out, I got a couple of things I would liked altered, maybe add a second hill on the side of the large structure, and add a small tower that is connected with a small upper level bridge on this hill. This is to break symmetry with the overall design. Add some more cliffs or terrain in either side so we can add large rocks and history of the location. Other than that, its pretty good start up block-out. Last, the width of the bridge may be too wide and the side towers too big, but that is just me.

    Also, Berth's email is [email protected]
  • absorbentghost
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    absorbentghost polycounter lvl 6
    Paco glad u see u have a team and already kicking into high gear,good luck on your entry man,have fun.
  • Berth
  • 3DVlad
    Hey guys, a little update after your feedback. Paco I took your side tower on a cliff idea just a bit further and had some fun with it, I hope i didn't go too far =) With proper modularity and LODs this should be manageable. Also added some variety to the side towers, so they are not just boring cylinders. The bridge is now narrower as requested but to compensate I also had to make the the statues (cars ) narrower so there is enough space for a gate.

  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Oh woah that is sensational!! I love it I love it I love it!

    I want to export the terrain to zbrush, edit it and re-import it back. I know how to do it with Unity. Could be the same with UDK. I know there is a world terrain map editor somewhere... I just need to check it out.

    Also, last, we have an animator interested to join out team, but I need to know. Is it OK to have animation in this contest???? Who can I contact about this? Also, we need to consider many other factors.
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    I will give this a quick go with your terrain.
    Also, <3 this link, gotta check it out later
  • 3DVlad
    Hey Paco, thanks for the links! Sorry I forgot to upload the .udk after i posted this last night but its up there now if you want to mess around with it. I plan on zbrushing today so we shouldn't have any conflicts there. Also I uploaded some reference we could use of some mountains and rocks from my summer trip to the rockies.

    Regarding animation there is a Q&A thread that people asked about animation a lot, if you don't see an answer to what you are looking for you can post your question there.
  • chebermech
    Hi there, im Vlad's friend. Was just checking out what you guys are making, and especially what Vlad is making, and wanted to give a little feedback, since vlad is hard to reach by phone now a days =) here goes it! So when i looked at the udk printscreens, it seemed like the towers are a bit uniform in size and distance of how they progress upwards, also the bridges seem a bit too long. The first thing I thought of when i looked at that screen reminded me of Pyke from game of thrones:



    which has both stone bridges as well as the wooden plank bridges tight with ropes, not exactly sure what they are called, but in any case variety of bridge types could make it more interesting. Also if you swap towers for maybe different sized tower-like castles each with a unique design but similar style might also be an interesting idea. And last but not the least =), i like the setting of your project but to be honest the story doesn't attract me at all. It seems a bit generic and throws me off right away when i find out that the main hero's motive is to prove something to his friends by "borrowing" armor from his father (who is his father?) and risking his own life, seems like he's got some problems with being socially accepted and has some asshole friends (pardon me), thus makes it less likely that he won't run away in panic at first sight of animated goatmen statues (seems like he is a type of person who doesn't think before the consequences). I guess it could get more interesting if you put a lot of character development in, but knowing that the main hero was manipulated by his friends to make some bad decisions makes me sort of dislike him right of the bat, and wearing his father's stolen armor that would benefit you all the way till the end of the game or even some portion of it still feels a bit wrong especially once you finish the game and become a hero, stealing from your parents becomes a major/necessary part of it. And another minor thing, about the witch who used to live in the castle, my only guess would be that she got that castle from marrying someone rich and noble, or from her descendants, in other words maybe that castle wasn't always corrupted, which is something to consider when designing it.
  • 3DVlad
    Hey Dan, thanks for the advice buddy. When planning out this environment I was thinking of it more like "towers along the mountains" than a castle to be honest as its called towers of Kozel, not castle of Kozel =) The rope bridges between smaller towers might be a good idea and I agree about the uniformity right now, it would be good to add variety through things like height and some details so they don't all look like clones.

    On the story note, i think you are reading into it too much, we are more concerned with creating an interesting image here than writing a game script. We just thought that a kid in adult armor would be an interesting character design, and just wait until you see the animated goat-men, you'll understand why the kid got scared ;)
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Towers or Castle, does not matter as the tittle and concept is still under construction. I really like the concept of that, and we do not have a concept artist. So we could just spice it up and make it our own version. I love the feedback with that post. I really appreciate it! I cant believe how busy I have been at work lately. Its almost like the world if pulling me apart to test the best out of me. But only the best will come out. Some concepting will be happening tonight. Thanks for the research :)

    With the story, well, we can change it. Maybe the boy just wants to check out what is in the castle? And its common for teenagers to mock and try out other friends to see if they are capable of things or not. Its not about good or bad friendship, but its to test and to teach. Maybe the boy is hungry? and wants to help the family? and his friends told him about the castle and its hidden wealth, but that its too dangerous and not to go? We could sit down for another brainstorm to give more texture to the story element. But to me, a boy that is running away from Stone-Like Living Goats is very interesting for a art demo perspective. We can have a number of characters but only model 2, the goats could have slight variations.
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Oh, and I'll say it again. I love that concept. I almost just want to use that for our project in a mountain setting instead of sea. Maybe a more gothic/16th century artstyle?

    We could pick an architecture style/time, and then do research, and stick to it. Doing a castle, is cool and all, but taking the step further by checking out real life architecture would be the job.

    This is the Torre Belem.

    I am also a big fan of the Plateresque gothic style. Or the Flamboyant.

    Also, how tasty is this for growing moss and vegetation on sculpture and formation? Same architecture style as the Torre Belem.

    The trick is to come up with our own well stablished characteristics to create a gothic architectural style and stick to it. For now, we are going to stick with having goat/monster like sculptures and intricate brick designs.
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    I have put this concept together quickly
    I may give it a quick update/brush later, but only after some feedback or what changes to make or do.
    Id like to make some architecture research on castle Gothic architecture, like I mentioned earlier, and have a number of set characteristics to follow and stick to. For example, we have a non-symmetrical layout here.

    I feel it may be too big. Maybe cut in half? Either stick to the far right side or the left side. At this rate we might call it the bridges of Kozel haha.

    I have drawn this concept on top of one of one of the UDK blockouts (image blocking 21v). Its very different to what it was innitially.
  • Azkur
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    Azkur polycounter lvl 8
    I love it already cause it has a tower from my country xD
  • Joshua Stubbles
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    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 17
    Concept looks interesting man. I love buildings built into organic stuff like this.
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Haha, thanks guys! Looking at it again, it certainly has space for improval. Its a touch too dafty. I may do a version no2.

    Azkur, you from Portugal?
  • Azkur
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    Azkur polycounter lvl 8
    yeah i am ahah
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Some architectual studies. I would be happy to try this guys out on zbrush and then do a retopology. We are still looking for a concept artist. But if none turn up, I am more than happy to keep on drawing! I think as any 3d modeler, sculpter or character artist, its still essential to be a good drawer.

    The big landscape concept of earlier, I have edited it and I am happy with the new changes. I'll see if I can upload it sooner. We need to brainstorm architectural features.

  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Last post of the day, sorry, bombarding the thread haha. This is the work in progress for the castle/mansion/towers

    The white thing, is supposed to symbolize the size of the boy. Would be happy if I can finish this by tomorrow.
  • Burnzy
    Your concept drawings does a good job portraying mood through its use of color and values. I really like them. Good Job
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks Burnzy! I love doing concept art.

    I am organizing my portfolio a little bit, and I found this two buggers that I did two weeks ago. I could totally do something like that for the statues. I am exited to see what I could pull out. I know these guys are bulls. I am exited to make goat versions haha, Brett how is the concepts going for the character and goats?

    I did this guy in maybe 6~8 hours?

  • TortillaChips
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    TortillaChips polycounter lvl 10
    I'm liking your progress, good job!
  • Berth
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    I like the idea with the goats. I can give them a rocky/statue feel to them.

    The concept of the boy is very good. However, give it another 3-4 shots, make different variations designs all together. Make one with no armor, and more farm like. Another one more a-la colossus Wander-conceptart.jpg The more variations and styles you make, the closer you'll get to doing a character you will be happy with. Also because its a fantasy setting. The cross may not be ideal, perhaps another symbol or a pattern.

    The torch is a great idea as it will give a good ambience while the boy is travelling.

    With the boy wearing an armour suit. Its good, but, it does not read well that he took it from his father, or he stole it... something more farmer like or peasant like may suit better? Experiment and get good fun out of this!

    I have not finished with concepting, if anythign I have barely started. I want to give another week or so of concepting before I start doing modular pieces. I will do close in environment shots. Hopefully of this style (3/4 bird view)


    Also, I just found this blog. So tasty. Really good concepts in here.
  • 3DVlad
    Great concepts guys, im liking this direction. I was itching to get started so here are some progress shots of what im working on.



  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    What can I say? mindblown! I am super mindblowned LOL. Y are you telling me that you know little zbrush? I am getting itchy to do some good zbrushing too but I still need to figure out some architecture specifics, modularity sizes and pieces, and last some more asset concept and design... I have been reading and looking into castle that I like and I have done a drawing of a goat-statue, maybe I can upload soon.

    How did you do the twisting pillars?
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    I also really like the direction with the window frame, it has a more Palace direction and I had that in mind too. Very elegant and yet still very old like, built for strong defences. We may need to have 2 or 3 variations to break repetitive assets? or maybe we don't!
  • 3DVlad
    You are right, its a good idea to get some architectural motifs going so we could reuse them in the scene and save time and memory.

    Maybe I will break this window up into few pieces that way they could be reused in different assets. For instance the pillars and the reliefs could be used together with other assets.

    The twisting pillars were done entirely in max. just a subdivided cylinder, with some extrusions, and a twist modifier, nothing complicated ;)

    Sure we could have more then one type of window, as long as it all fits together nicely in the end, but i think we will see that kind of thing once we start populating the scene, if it calls for more variation well make more.
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Hey guys! It has been a while!
    I have spent a lot of time doing this concept and I have been very entangled with work and work!

    Its a bridge to a part of the castle, its very wide however, and it has these pillars that come from the sides (and underneath the bridge)
    Also, coming suspended from underneath they are these lamps.
    On the sides and centre of the bridge, the posing goats all sleep until the boy passes by them with something taken away from the Towers of Kozel.
    This is an exterior environment, but it features a lot of interior possibilities as it can have balcony like features. At the entrance the scale of the boy is shown in purple. This also has great potential to have a gate in the other side, not shown here. If you guys are happy we can move to do a top view, side view, and front view drawings. Specific and separate assets designs. Modular pieces designs and designs for the gates. I have done a lot of research and I could upload some scans from this book I have fallen in love with. I am more than happy to wear the concept artist hat for a little bit longer as I have already put some love in this aspect.

    The drawing is not finished as I dint want to spend too much more time when there could be some things you guys may not be happy with.

  • Conor
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    Conor polycounter lvl 13
    Those environment concepts look great Paco, nice work.
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks Conor!! :)

    Hello guys and girls! I got a pretty strong idea *mentally* after so long of what I want to do. I am terrible at kick starting projects as I always wind up spending a lot of time thinking on what to do and how to do it. I am going to finalise doing any more concepting or research and I am going to stick finally with what I built in mind. Next step its to make a top view line layout and a side view and a list of possible assets. I have put Line in bold because I do not have much time to make designs as there is just over one month left and I should have this done presto. I am doing this in a very ambitious manner and I may end up doing this as a personal project instead. Lets hope not!


    The *plaza* bridge description:

    - The bridge is incredibly wide, built specifically to accommodate parties for guests at the entrance door. With time however it became a showcase of sculpture. Its wide enough that in each balcony its big enough to fit a tent, and the space on the sides to fix a carriage.

    - the bridge carries 6 round *balconies* that sit on each side symmetrical. Big enough to hold in its centre the posing statues.

    - In the centre there are stands of base shapes made of circumferences again with more goat statues. In the final design I may opt in making a elongated fountain with sculptures.

    - Before the bridge starts, there are steps to walk in with side towers. Look at image references for clues. The bridge is not made for transport. But for anything with wheels I may consider to build a side ramp in one of the sides.

    - At the end of the bridge its the castle/mansion entrance with a decorated door, windows and towers. Its 3-4 steps higher (not shown in the concept) and sometimes used to have the throne seat at the entrance.

    - At the sides of the bridge they are these *floating* pillars that come from the sides. Between the sides of the pillars they are these lamps that stand between the pillars. This is to give the exterior plaza a interior feel while its exterior. At special ceremonies a semi transparent curtain used to hang from the top of the pillars.

    - Parts of the bridge not shown, or details will be fully inspired by the images I have collected in the last week. I have done a lot of studies and I know pretty well what I have done! Look down to have a better idea. For example the towers will be very similar to the image no 10. The entrance to the bridge will be very similar to image number 7, but with the steps of number 5. The decoration on top and around the doors will be similar to number 8.


    A lot of the stuff I am writing here is to keep and to look at my self at a later stage ;)

    Because there are only roughly 4 weeks left. I want to have the low poly modular pieces ready and done in one week without counting the statues. That is, not textured or detailed on high poly. I need to think smart to make the smallest number of modular pieces as possible and then repeat them across the environment.
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