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Environmental Storytelling: Biomes

Texts that were used by concept artists to create multiple biomes. 


Image by Maxwell Ridgeway

The trees here have developed strange, elaborate root systems that writhe like long, reaching fingers. In some places they form snarled, impenetrable wall-thickets and in others they stand like tall, spindly-legged insects. Sometimes the intertwined roots form a dense 'carpet' that floats atop the water’s surface. The tortured shapes of the roots make eerie reflections on the dark water below. Sodden, grassy lumps (“islets”) rise from the stinking swamp water. Aquatic plants pierce or float upon the water's surface. Occasionally you notice sudden, rapid movements that disturb the plants and ripple the water — indicating the scurrying of small, unseen creatures. Clouds of marsh flies hover above the formless mass of a putrid, bloated carcass. The wailing call of a swamp creature echoes across the lonely, waterlogged expanse.


Image by Mark Olsen

Most things here are deathly-pale and clammy, like the underbelly of a deep sea fish. Skull-white glowing fungi line the caves, swelling into bulbous growths or elongating into reaching, anemone-like tentacles. These eerie fungal shapes cast long shadows that creep up the cave walls. Strips of travertine rimstone divide the passages, looking like ribbons of moist, ribbed flesh. The atmosphere here is close and suffocating, like pressure at the bottom of the ocean.


Image by Brandon Green

Colossal trees stand like god-like sentinels — they resemble Yggdrasil, the mythological "World Tree" that supports the heavens. Their branches thread the sky, infinitely sprawling and intertwining like vast neural pathways. It is dim beneath the dense canopy formed by these trees, with shafts of light seeping through the overhead foliage. A thick layer of fallen tree litter covers the ground consisting of broken twigs and paling leaves. Plants and snake-like 'vines' grow on the trees to get nearer the light filtering through the canopy.


Image by Chris Stenger

Epic rock formations — “sea stacks” — pierce the stormy sky. The rocks are jagged, as if a giant furiously hacked the coastline with an enormous axe. The beach consists of hard, rocky platforms pitted with rock pools strewn with slimy weeds. You pass under rock arches where the sloshing and slapping of waves reverberates from dank stone walls. The ocean is dark and unwelcoming. The waves crash violently onto the rocky shore, casting up foam and spray. In some places there is no beach at all — here the sheer cliffs drop straight down to meet the unrelenting waves below. Strong ocean winds buffet the low-lying grasses and shrubs coating the cliff top. The cliff face is seemingly encrusted with clumps of hollow limpets — these are in fact the nests of alien seabirds. The birds fly in a circle, screeching forlornly over the thundering waves.

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