Development: Fehnir House

Fehnir House

In one of my odd moods, I decided to post a development article of a location that hasn’t yet been released.

Fehnir House was a small D’ni location that I designed and built for the D’ni Location (Creation) Contest that was being hosted over at the Guild of Writers forums.


I had a pretty good idea in my head of the kind of area I wanted to create, largely inspired by the piece of concept art for Sharpers Office by Thom Schillinger

Fehnir House Development

I loved the enclosed feeling of the image, along with the use of wood elements which seldom show up in the D’ni areas we currently have access too as they dealt a lot with stone.

I had also been reading the Book of Ti’ana and had the concept of A’gaeris’ former mansion in my mind as I plotted my ideas out. I decided I wanted a small room, with wood flooring and a cozy balcony that overlooked the lake, thus came up very, very quickly with the following sketch;

Fehnir House Development

My concept sketches these days are very quick things, mainly to have a point of reference to trigger the memory of what I planned in case I forget (most of the time I remember my ideas), as a result most people probably couldn’t follow them with any sense of sanity.


The contest would cover many areas, gameplay, story, building, texturing, atmosphere etc. I knew pretty much right away that I wanted it to be a small story area, something that dealt with the Fall. I knew that I wanted to tell the tale of someone who was watching his world fall apart, unable to join his family because he was too late, and chronicling his last thoughts before he died. I also wanted him to express hope that his family made it to their family Age safely, only to have the player walk up the steps to the Book and find the tell-tale sign that Veovis and A’gaeris had seeded the Age with a plague victim.

Yes, I’m an ass, I wanted it to be a tragic, no happy ending tale.

So using some of the models from Cyans stuff (the Kadish corpse) I set about setting up the room.

Fehnir House Development

As often with my content, different strands of story seem to automatically weave together, it was the same with this location. A previous Age mentioned on my IC blog Beneath, was Lehns, an inhabited location that was owned by a D’ni family, the bodies of which were found in the Age.

I had always planned on releasing a location in D’ni where the Book had come from and this seemed to fit perfectly…kinda.

I actually hit some bumps.

  1. The Book to Lehns was discovered in the street in D’ni
  2. 2 bodies were discovered in Lehns
  3. Lehns is the family Age, but if we already had the Book then there wouldn’t be a Book to show that the family had gone to an infected Age.

The first presented an issue, how did they use the Book if it was in the street, and how did it get into the street?

The second presented the issue of, if everyone is dead how could someone be in the house?

My solution to the first problem was, they didn’t. And how the Book got to the street is something I would like to leave open for now.

The solution to the second issue was again answered kind of by the Book of Tiana. I thought well what if the family wasn’t just Fehnir and his wife, what if his son and his sons wife lived with them too like Kahlis, Tasera, Aitrus and Ti’ana.

So Fehnir would be dead in his study, the 2 bodies in Lehns could be either Fehnir’s son and his mother, or his wife.

The third issue was the Book being in the study to show people. Again the BoT came to help here, as Aitrus and his family had two family Ages, what if Fehnir had the same.

So this allowed for Ahry’ahn (the second family Age) to be placed in the study, illustrating the idea that the family had fled to the Age and a plagued body sent in after. This allowed for the family to then flee that Age to Lehns (thus not requiring the Descriptive Book) where they succumbed and died there.

So it all managed to wrap up nicely without anything being retconned (yes I’m looking at you vid)

Lighting and Textures

I love the contrast between blue and orange and wanted to use this within the location for lighting. I also wanted the items and artifacts within the room to be colourful.

Originally I had a set of stained glass lamps at the door which I had experimented with in casting multicoloured light upon a surface.

Fehnir House Development

Eventually I scrapped the idea and removed those lamp styles.
The problem then became what kind of lamp styles to use, I tried several styles which didn’t work (oddly one lamp design ended up becoming the display case for Fehnir’s Lehns artifacts). Then I hit upon the idea of the lamps themselves being artifacts from Lehns, and set about crafting lamps of bone with a firemarble set in them.

The blue lighting on the balcony didn’t come about until after the issues with the D’ni city backdrop.
The balcony originally had a skybox of the D’ni lake, feeling it was empty feeling I opted for making a backdrop of the city.

Fehnir House Development

Unfortunately I couldn’t get it to wrap properly and still look good. In the end I decided to enclose the balcony more with rock and kept the original lake view.

Using design elements from elsewhere in D’ni the blue balcony lighting was then put in place.

Fehnir House Development

With the change to Fehnir being an Archivist, the colour scheme inside kind of changed to reflect the Guilds colour scheme.

This area was also an experiment for me, regarding using textures for multiple items, instead of setting textures for specific things only. In hindsight I feel that perhaps some textures were over used, but that is life, and next time I can try not doing that again.


The location came with the usual footstep regions, but with each new thing I build I like to try something I’ve not learned before. In this case it was background sound/music.

I had always envisioned the location having mellow if not sombre D’niesque music, and I found a piece by Tim Larkin which he had given away freely on his site in the past that I wanted to use. The piece for the most part is sad sounding, but it does get a little uplifting in places, fortunately toning down the volume at which is plays took the edge off slightly.

In Conclusion

A small location, quick to build, which again taught me more, I actually found myself looking at Blender like I do Photoshop during this project, working out what I can do, what I can’t, how layers go together to form the bigger picture.

It was also a nice lesson in trying to get to grips with the D’ni aesthetic, which to a degree I think I was successful with, it was hard to juggle the D’ni with the outlandish content brought back from the Ages.

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