Nightmare World

I began research on the Friday stemming from conversations I had with my team I looked at horror games such as Silent Hill, The Evil Within, Dark Souls and Alice: Madness returns.

However I first looked at the scientific side of dreaming. Dreams, in particular Nightmares are caused during REM, or Rapid Eye Movement. Running with this idea, and playing on the idea that the world is powered by fear my design featured the world looking like a brain, which is chained to the person’s subconscious. The Thalmus is the part of the brain which responds to pain and as such processes fear into a power source which is why I have designed the lower area of the brain to look like a machine, borrowing ideas from the rejected idea of the steam punk world.


My concept for Nightmare World

It is a plane of existence as the world can only be entered during sleep. As such the landscape above the power supply adjusts to the fears of the person trapped within the dream. I looked at the art of Ken Wong and Sun Guoliang in order to find inspiration for the environments in which people would find themselves trapped. I feel like a lot of the shadows and angles would be exaggerated in this world, like in German Expressionism. Similar to the styles of ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligary’ and Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. And likewise the creatures that live aboard this world change depending on what the person fears, either projecting their fears onto their forms or shape shifting into their fears. However, I did not elaborate on character design as that is this week’s project.

More Environments

Inside a Star World

For this world I focused on the nuclear reaction that happens when a star explodes, a supernova.

I designed the centre nucleus inspired by the work of Roger Dean. His art is so unique and creative. It makes me think of environments that you would find in space.

Roger Dean

My team also came up with the idea of having the planets (well, more accurately, moons) act like electrons around the nucleus. Each planet would also represent an element. The nucleus is Energy, due to the supernova, the two planets (Electrons) closest to the nucleus are Air and Fire, with the final two planets furthest away from the nucleus being Earth and Water. This is due to the extreme temperature changes caused by the reaction with the core being extremely hot and the exterior being cool. The inhabitants of these planets as well as the environments would be affected by the radiation produced by the supernova. There was also the topic of the relationship between the Elementals discussed, would they support each other or wage war on each other?

Structure of the pocket universe
Each Planet is an Element

The Air planet shall be a gaseous planet, similar to Rose’s Storm world idea, however on a smaller scale. The entire world shall consist of living molecular beings, they would build colonies on whatever debris is swept up into their atmosphere. There are constant storms on this planet. I was inspired by the sand storms in Matt Nava’s game Journey for this planet as well as the shrinking abilities of Ant Man.

Matt Nava Concept Art Journey and Abzu

The Fire World would have extremely hot temperatures. The ground would be made from Igneous rocks which have cooled, however they can be melted down and reshaped with the lava that is formed on this planet. The only structures which could not be reshaped would be obsidian structures which were formed by the water Elementals pouring water over the molten rock. The radiation has caused certain compounds of lava and rocks to come alive forming the civilization on this planet. I briefly looked at the work of Oozkr to help me design a concept for this world as I was struggling to find any non apocalyptic art which included a world engulfed in flames.

Oozkr Fire World


This Earth World is very different from our own, cooler, with life forms only having grown due to the radiation produced by the supernova. It used to be a massive lump of rock.. I was inspired by the work of Seth Engstrom who worked on Avatar, with the luminescent plants, and glowing natural environments. I also took inspiration from the ‘Tell Tale’ games ‘Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 3’ as it sees our heroes enter a habitat full of strange and wondrous plants and creatures.

Seth Engstrom

Water world is inspired by Matt Nava’s game ‘Abzu’ and concept art by Nikan Anindita. The two artists focus on how big the ocean is in comparison to humans and the beauty that comes from the isolation of the ocean. As such the population of water world is very low, as they are mainly solidarity beings. Submerged completely in water different barrier reefs create small colonies connected by massive stair cases. The creatures surrounding the civilisation and they themselves have been affected by the radiation caused by the supernova.

Niken Anindita


Energy world is barren with sentient light beings made of pure energy surviving on the last of the original Star’s core. These beings are like Gods to the other Elementals as they control the Supernova making sure it doesn’t wipe out the other planets. Its design is simple, inspired by the album work of Roger dean.

Individual environments for each planet

Maze World

Maze World is a giant intergalactic prison.The point of the world is to ensure that they way out is confusing that prisoners can never escape. Escaping in itself is a criminal offence. The actual shape of the world is inspired by childhood toys such as Rubix cubes and geometric 3D puzzles. The details of how the world works is inspired by the game Monument Valley, designed by Ken Wong, where the viewer has to change perspective in order to progress and thus prisoners can shorten their sentences by obeying the laws of this world and using clever perspective and memory to escape.

Ken Wong
Concept ideas for Maze World

However should they attempt to scale the incredibly high walls inspired by Maze Runner’s walls and the walls in Attack on Titan, drawn by Hajime Isyama, their sentence shall be lengthened and traps will be activated. After a trap is activated the world will begin to shift and change, like in the concept art for Inception drawn by Paul Christopher. Making progression so much more difficult for every creature and thus antagonizing the cheater.

Ken Barthemelmey

The Maze also produces different textures and environments in varying degrees of harshness depending on the crimes committed of those placed there. The worse the crime the harsher the punishment. For example, a small crime would get you placed in a small stone city where you are fed and given medical attention. If you committed something worse you would be placed in an environment which required you to hunt to survive and only receive medical attention if desperate. If you were to commit a crime such as rape or murder you would be placed in an extremely harsh environment, inspired by the works of Emmanuel Malin with limited supplies and medical attention only if you were dying.

Emmanuel Malin

Finally if you were sentenced to the Death sentence, you would be placed in an inescapable, isolated area, where a Minotaur would then hunt you down. Similar to the Minotaur who guarded the Labyrinth in Greek Mythology.

Environments and Minotaur

My team were so helpful throughout this process, suggesting concept artists, games,movies and ideas to each other via messenger. Tomorrow we shall meet and present our ideas to the rest of the class to receive advice and critique.

You can view the development of the rest of my teams work here:


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