What's with All These Nature Pics? Part Two
The Wheres, Whens, and Whys, from Her POV
Some of you may have noticed all the nature pictures we’ve been taking. In fact, we recently posted about these trips and the pictures gathered for them in the Design Den. When Chris first told me about his plan for research earlier this year, I didn’t completely get the purpose of it, but I’ve never turned down a mountain outing. And of course, with conventions shut down to due COVID, it was a good time to be outside.
The first part of the plan was to pick three locations in New Mexico that were forested by Ponderosa pine trees, which are often the home of choice for the forest raptors with which we plan to launch Raptors’ Realm, and could be visited, round trip, in a day. We would try to visit those three places once during each season, weather permitting. He chose the North side of the Sandia Mountains through Placitas, the Manzano Mountains near 4th of July Canyon, and the Jemez Mountains, on the way to the Valles Calderas.
We have multiple goals on these trips. One is just to learn from observation and experience. It’s hard to say how much of this understanding will make it into game design, but I bet some will. We are also gathering pictures that Chris and the rest of the art team can use for reference for 3d art. This includes tedious photogrammetry pictures and bizarre up-close shots of mundane objects and patches of forest litter (like dead leaves on the ground or patches of grass) for texturing. Finally, the environments are ripe for beauty shots that may or may not be useful for reference, but are perfect for social media and art prints for The Shop to support development.
Even though we are very familiar with these locations, observing how they change throughout the seasons has been educational. Our trips in February and March produced a number of snowscapes (and a few mud-scapes from snow melt off) that we weren’t expecting, along with a few bruises from slips in the snow. We’ve learned a lot about how the seasons effect our raptor habitats, and we’ve caught a few raptor photos in the process!
The next part of the plan involves research further from home. We can’t get to these places in a day, so we’ve dusted off our camping gear and laced up our hiking boots. So far we’ve visited the Gila Wilderness, the Red River area, and as I wrap up this post, we are preparing to visit Yellowstone National Forrest. In addition to our own research, we’ve been able to meet with raptor experts who have shared their insights and wisdom into the raptor world. We have had some amazing adventures! We will be posting much more about these trips in the future, so be sure to soar on by, no gear required!