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I came across an interesting book in the school Library at work yesterday. It was a copy of the Hobbit translated in to Korean. In the introduction it showed some amazing illustrations from different versions of the book from around the world. Look at these different versions of the book to see what I mean.

It made me think about how I want to depict monsters in my game. I had been avoiding adding Orcs to the game because I didn't want to go with the D&D style orcs, or the green skinned Warhammer or World of Warcraft Orks. I wanted something a bit different.

My game world is set perhaps half a million years in to the future. Mankind had screwed up the climate and nearly exterminated themselves. But some humans managed to cryogenically freeze them selves in crypts buried deep underground. Others underwent experimental gene therapy to create human animal hybrids who could survive the harsh environment of this post apocalyptic Earth. These creatures multiplied and mutated, some types were more stable than others and settled down in to a number of distinct species. the Orcs are one of the most advanced and dangerous of these monsters.

I was inspired in part by this illustration:

I didn't want to make my orcs black, there's already a racial element to these monsters, so I decided to make them white. I was influenced by a picture of an albino gorilla. But I also used textures from an albino turtle and an all white penguin. For armor I decided to give them a kind of Mongolian style armor as in the picture above.

The orcs are not stupid creatures. Like the Mongols they have quite efficient weapons and armor. They are savage, but not unthinking. They are one of the most dangerous humanoid creatures you'll find in the game, with only their lack of magic ability keeping them from being the most dangerous.

I plan do do something with goblins along a similar line too, though with more focus on scaly wrinkled flesh and less hair.

In game the orcs use the same armature as the lizard men sharing many animations. Orcs are similar to lizard men in their size and strength but they are generally more dangerous because of their better equipment and the fact they are warm blooded. Lizard men do sometimes use iron weapons if they can find them, but usually they use wood, bone or stone weapons which are not very effective against armored opponents.

When I was a kid I used to read books like the Hobbit and my imagination used to make pictures in my head. I had a definite idea of what hobbits and elves and orcs looked like and I could imagine them all as I read the words on the page. I don't want my monsters to look exactly the same as every other game out there. I want to make something a little different, something like those monsters that lived in my head as a boy as I read books about strange lands and strange beasts.


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