Newsletter SPECIAL #1 - Inverness (08/03/2021)

Hi All!

I apologize for the lack of Newsletter last night, but I had a good reason... yesterday, I went north and visited Inverness, partly because there are sites I would be able to visit during lockdown, and partly because I was going nuts in lockdown, and the restrictions in Scotland allowed me to grab a train up north and visit some sites in open public spaces. It does set a handy precedent for a new form of Newsletter; Sunday is a great day for me to take a day and visit some sites, and I'll release more specials like this at 8pm on the Monday.

On the development side, we have some upcoming meetings for a big content push, but I've been doing some more research on the Visual Effect Graph, as was lucky enough to visit some Unity workshops on Thursday and Friday, to better understand how to set up and manage Scriptable Pipelines, including HDRP. I've also put together some smaller rooms to split up some of the large rooms to help deepen the gameplay, so I'm looking forward to adding some more content next week!

I managed to visit three sites in Inverness that were (partly) available to the public, but I was able to grab some decent shots; the first is Blackfriar's Burial Ground.

This cemetery was founded with a Dominican friary (The Dominican order were known as 'Blackfriars', for the color of their robes) in 1233 by King Alexander II, until 1559, when the last of the order either left or died, and the remains of their estate were moved into magisterial custody, signifying the end of the chapter.

This pillar is the last remaining structure of the church (what the stone at the base says) and it implies the kind of building style that the friary was erected in; at the top, that slight curvature could have been part of the semicircular arch; there are a lot of medieval example of this kind of architecture so it seems like a solid assumption.

The site is a litte outside the direct examples of what we're trying to achieve in 'The Silent Tombs', but looking around the site was a huge boon, especially for overgrown source images! I'm actually going to try putting together a greybox scene in one of the rooms, using Blackfriars Burial Ground as a casy study.


While doing research on this site, I was kicking myself that I missed one of the best shots available in the site, which is a worn effigy of a knight in armor.

(not my shot, sadly)

This is supposed to be the graveslab of Alexander Stewart, the Earl of Mar; most notably, he drove back Donald, Lord of the Isles at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411, before dying in Inverness in 1435.

The second site I visited was much closer to the actual design of 'The Silent Tombs', which was the Knocknagael Boar Stone.

This is currently kept in the Highland Council's offices as protection from the weather; It was moved from its former standing position at Knocknagael Farms in 1991 and during COVID it is only able to be viewed through the full length windows surrounding it; I was still able to get some shots from the front and the sides, however.

Believed to have been carved in 600AD, the stone depicts a boar in a state of agitation (its shoulders and back are up, and there are visible bristles across its back) topped with a series of pictish symbols.

This is another example (like the Brandsbutt Stone last week) of really fascinating carving that isn't immediately visible without knowing what you're looking for; it's the start of a concept I'm putting together for a special torch in 'The Silent Tombs', and I'm looking forward to putting together some basic designs for it at a later date.

Lastly, I took a trip around the outsides of Inverness Castle. It's definitely a trip I'll have to retake once COVID is over, but I grabbed some great shots of the illustrated history of the castle on the displays outside; so rather than talking about it I'll post the shots here!

Hopefully the next trip up to Inverness will be more successful, once the lockdown is lifted and I can really visit these sites in more detail! Thanks so much for reading!



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