About
 
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About

Ayrngaer is a visual art- and worldbuilding project created by Zev Chafer, also known as Vincent Jongman. The project involves the creation of a semi-fictional universe, complete with its own geography, demography, and cultures. The world serves as the stage for artwork, short stories, and a main storyline, which will eventually be transformed into an online encyclopedia, a book, and videos. On this page, you can learn more about the history of this project, its process, and the goals that I aim to achieve.    
   

History

Ayrngaer is the name of a fictional world and universe. In its primal form and with different names, it existed for most of my life. When I was younger (about eight years), I fantasized about a pastoral world, where only good creatures live, and a dark world, where only bad people live. This concept of duality is still present in my current stories and world-building projects. I projected part of this pastoral world on a small forest where I played with my sister. We built huts, tunnels, and treehouses and had small camps in the forest. We followed trails, learned about plants and animals and collected special items we found in the forest. This magic place we named "Greenwich" (pronounced as Green Witch) is still present in the current Worldbuilding project as the "Grenn Forest". The beauty of this place was translated into small poems and stories, the first dating from 2002 (called "Heldere Dagen (Dutch) or "Bright Days (English), when I was ten years old.   Years later, around 2008/2009, the Greenwich RPG (Role Playing Game) game was created, where my sister and I wrote part of a story and reacted to each other actions. This was a very simple game with very simple writing, but it proved to be an enormous inspiration to create another, bigger RPG game online.   However, before this second online RPG game was created, the first actual Worldbuilding project was started in 2009, called Gowue. This was a fictional world with its own language, characters and history. Many elements from this project were used in the online RPG game and still have a place in the current Ayrngaer project. Most notably the basics of the fictional "Litran" language. However, the project was terminated after a few years because I was unhappy with its development and it lacked a clear storyline.   Parts of Gowue were reused to create a new world, which was transformed into an online RPG (Role Play Game) called Dust. Created in 2010, Dust was a fictional world made from the remnants of the old world, destroyed after a cataclysmic event. Where in the first RPG, only me and my sister wrote the story; now, everyone could create a character in the world and write about their adventures. The RPG ran for four years under different admins until it became inactive in 2014. The game is, however, still online and open to readers.   Meanwhile, I was working on another Worldbuilding project, using parts from the Gowean and Dust world and diving into old stories and poems from my childhood, most notably the short story "In the Heart of the Forest", written in 2012/2013. The world was called "Arinn" and consisted of an encyclopedia, a fictional language, characters, a working economy, maps and many artworks and stories. I worked on this ambitious project from 2014 to 2018, which remains the biggest one to date.   But then the development stopped. Between 2018 and 2022, adult life and COVID-19 got in the way, and there was no time or inspiration to work on Arinn. Also, the project became unmanageable because there was no clear development path and too many separate notes, sketches and unfinished ideas. But, I have always felt a special connection with it and wanted to transform it into a small animation movie and book(s).   So, in 2022, with renewed inspiration, I started collecting all the materials from previous unfinished projects. From the fragments of words, sketches and ideas, a new (semi-)fictional world was born called Ayrngaer. This time I focused more on having a plan, main storyline and scope. This project aims to serve as an inspiration source for stories, poetry, artwork, video and music. How it will go and if I can keep it running, I do not know. But working on it, even without having a finished result, fills me with joy.  

The Process

Since all past projects were terminated mainly because they became unmanageable or did not have a structured plan, I first created a "World Building Process". This process consists of traceable steps from an idea to a concept to an end result. Below you can find the steps:  
  • The Brainstorming and Planning Phase: The process starts with an idea in the form of a picture in my head, a collection of words or inspiration from older projects. As soon as I have an idea, I place them on a digital KANBAN board. A KANBAN board is a graphical representation of tasks in different categories (baskets). I use the categories "New Idea, Planned, Doing, Review, On Hold and Complete" to organize them. An idea or task is represented as a card that is put in a category basket and moves to another basket until it is complete. This KANBAN board makes it much easier to get an overview of the tasks and cut big tasks (such as creating a whole world :P) into smaller pieces. I use "ClickUp" as a tool for my planning process (not only for my world-building project but also for work and personal tasks).
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  • The Sketch Phase: When I have created an idea and put it into the KANBAN board, I start collecting inspiration and writing the concept. I collect all this information on my KANBAN board. I will then make a checklist of tasks I need to complete the idea. Then I move the KANBAN task to the next category, "Planned". I use different tools for creating sketches, namely pen and paper to create concepts and then work them out in detail in Adobe Photoshop and Trimble SketchUp (for 3D concepts).
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  • The First Version: When I am ready to work out the idea/task, I move the task from "Planned" to "Doing". I combine all the information I have collected so far to create the first version. When I am happy, I move the tasks into the "Review" basket. For developing the first draft, I use a collection of tools. For creating 2D images and art, I use Adobe Photoshop. For 3D-models, I use Trimble SketchUp and Unreal Engine for modelling and rendering. SketchUp is mainly used to create buildings, nature scenes and backgrounds. I use Reallusion Character Creator and I-Clone for human characters because I want to re-use the 3D models in different artwork and videos. I use Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing and Magix Music Maker for creating musical scores. Besides this software, I use websites like Unsplash, Pxhere and Pexel for CC0 stock images I occasionally process in my artwork. I tend to stay away from using AI. It is only used for inspiration, but not to create artworks. The imagary in this project is made by myself using a combination of the forementioned 3D modelling, rendering and Photoshopping techniques.
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  • The Break: When the task moves into the "Review" category, I usually tend to take a small break from it and work on other tasks. After a period of time, I revisit the task and review it. I will make the final version if I am happy with the result. If not, I will put it back into the "Doing" category and work on it until I am happy. This iterative process can sometimes take days, weeks or even months.
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  • The Final version and Publication: When I am happy with the result, it is ready for publishing. At this moment, I am making a new post on my website and (if needed) Deviant Art. When the item is published, I move the tasks from "Review" or "Doing" to "Complete". If I want to change anything in the future, I can move the task back from "Complete" to "New", and the process starts over. Because all the collected information is stored in the KANBAN ticket, I have everything in one place and managing the Worldbuilding Process becomes much more accessible. After publication, I share the newly made post on Social Media (Instagram, Facebook and Deviant Art)
 

Levels of Detail

Worldbuilding is an intricate process that involves a wide range of topics and relationships. It's easy to get sidetracked by minor details or overlook the big picture. To avoid this, I determine the level of detail to be worked out beforehand. There are three different types, namely (1) Low, (2) Medium and (3) High.  
  • Low: at this level, there is only a rough concept with a simple description. At this moment, I am still figuring out its placement in the universe and it's consequences. The concept does not have any relationships, artwork or stories yet.
  • Medium: at this level, the topic is not a concept anymore and has a full description, main relationships, at least one artwork and a place in the universe. The topic is ready to be used in stories.
  • High: at this level, the topic is described in much more detail, which results from development in stories. At this stage it really gets its unique character and has a main role in the storylines.
 

3D modelling

As part of this worldbuilding project, it is important to create 3D models of various locations in the world. As mentioned earlier, I utilize a combination of SketchUp and Unreal Engine for modeling and rendering. Additionally, Adobe Photoshop is used to create materials and textures.   Because of the large number of models that needed to be made, I decided to create simple low-poly models. This means the models themselves are not very detailed. They simply comprise of a few vertices on which a texture is pasted. This texture contains a full image of, for example, a wall, including doors, windows and other details. Extruding parts of the vertices add depth to create semi-realistic shadows when rendering. The images are made in Adobe Photoshop. Multiple buildings can be created with one single image, making it possible to model the world quickly.
Name
Àyrngáer, aka Field of Stories
Created by
Zev Chafer, aka Vincent Jongman
Creation date
2022
Former projects
Arinn (2014), Dust (2010), Gowue (2009)

Status
Active
Last update
July 6, 2024
Current task
Describing the Batavian Revolution and Napoleonic Wars

Organization
Clickup
3D Modelling
Trimble SketchUp & Unreal Engine
Character Creation
Reallusion Character Creator
Animation
Unreal Engine & Reallusion IClone
Image editing
Adobe Photoshop
Video Editing
Abobe Premier Pro
Music creation
Magix Music Maker
Publication
World Anvil & DeviantArt


Cover image: by Zev Chafer (original art)
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