Worldbuilding: Illustrations, sketches and images

We could really ask you 4 main characters, to choose an animal to dress your avatar with. The idea is precisely to play on the fact that we are building all this at a distance, interacting in a virtual space which, at the moment, has no shape, but which if it had it would be as we wish. More or less. Your words will identify you. The only thing that really looks like it is the territory they move into.

1 Like

It really does need to be a cat-like creature in my case regardless of context :slight_smile:


Love the idea, @IvanC. I am +1 for this.
Let me share some artwork that might be of use (or not) to Michela’s imagination - just stuff I’m keeping as reference art for whenever I think of the city itself. They’re from an artist called Tithi Luadthong.


i love these.
@michi1, @marcolok, take a peek.

1 Like

cantik :slight_smile:


Made some art of buildings using Townscaper and threw them in here -> The History of Witness . These are of course just meant to be placeholders, and I’m pretending that these were Denton’s sketches that may or may not have been how Witness actually looks like in practice.


Hi Yudhanjaya (also ping @Joriam and @alberto) , I will be having a chat later on with the illustrators.
Are there any thoughts or ideas that you would like to add to the imagery of the districts?

Hi. These are the first panels of the graphic novel we are preparing. The first part contains the meeting between the Edgeryders and the territory of the Strait of Messina, the second part is the presentation of the protagonists and the working method used, finally in the third part the central city and its districts are presented. What do you think?


The final part will take us on a trip with the Migrant Train through the districts.
A couple of explanations here.

The last image (with “Worldbuilding” in the upper corner) represents actually only the beginning of the Project Viking. At the end of the graphic novel, the districts will appear attached to it giving the sense of their diversity, wastness and unforeseen growth.
The central structure will have experienced a radical internal transformation from the original city core to become what we now know as the Ramos Harvest Division with its connections which reach out to all of the districts.

As the landmarks for each district we have chosen the Libria’s District Council - references are the Renaissance Baroque palaces of Rome, but still exploring, Saint Benedict’s Library for the Covenant - Yudhanjaya’s model and Clairvaux, Subiaco and Catania for example and the (hanging?) garden cities for the Assembly. Terminus (hellenistic - roman) and Medium (Yudhanjaya - Shanghai - New York - Dubai skylines) will be sketched in the distance. All other references would be highly appreciated if they arrive in time to be drawn :-).

ping @yudhanjaya, @alberto, @Joriam, @nadia, @hugi, @lidiazuin

1 Like

Hey folks! I’m digging this, though I feel a bit unsure on how to contribute!
Here’s a couple of ideas that I’m not sure if they’re good or not, but some food for thought:

_ I’d love to see the thriving world among the ashes of a self-destructive world — something like the comparison between the water the cities treat VS the polluted waters off the outer ring.

_ I had given this rough sketch of a possible way to organise the cities. It’s not canon, but it had this cool property of creating modular cities and wandering distriks trying to find a home. I don’t wanna push exactly this design, but I wanted the artists to have it around.

In this architecture, each red bit is a distrikt, and they can attach and detach themselves. But there’s also the black circle, which is a moving piece of shared infrastructure that takes care of the water in the middle. (PS. if I’m not mistaken, Yudha asked this train to be in the interior of the circle, not outside like I drew)

The important part here is to show the designs are evolving, modular, everchanging. If we could demonstrate that visually, that’d be a-ma-zing!


_ I found this artist (playing Occupy White Walls lol) and I thought it was inspiring for this project here, perhaps our artists would also dig her work. Her name is Kirsten Zirngibl.

Good job, folks!


These images are really nice, would love to spend some time in a place like that.

If you take a look, Michela actually developped the first image of the city starting from your design. She interpreted it as a flower with the petals that can open and close. It is now evolving into the Ramos Harvest Division - the “single central power station”
which supplies all the districts with a (minimal) amount of energy.

Reading Yudhanjaya’s description of Witness, the city has grown far out of the original boundaries. To illustrate that, while the centre keeps its circular and orderly form, the geography of each district assumes the shape defined by its internal dynamics and the train - “extraordinary tough construct, a self-sustaining Snowpiercer-like that travels through these Distrikts, occasionally recalibrating its route to account for new or missing Minor Distrikts” - adpats to their social and territorial morphology.

Like that we get to have the elements of unity - energy plant, the train, and the elements of division - the diversity of the districts. Dialectics of the urban planning :slight_smile:


Hi! Back from a brief holiday.
Love, love, LOVE the art. #2 in particular gave me major Pan’s Labyrinth / del Toro vibes. One thing I would remove, though, is the dome from #4, because this isn’t really a domed city. What I would say instead is a half-formed ring of cities around a hollow center, this ‘ring’ clearly opened up to welcome another floating city trundling into the ring. I also really like the art that @Joriam posted here: VERY immersive. One idea I would love to take from that is to have little pocket communities around and cross-connecting major cities - that’s our highly experimental distrikts minor right there!

@IvanC, I totally agree with your picks. As a landmark I would request the Ramos Harvest Division as well, because of how important it has become to all the cities - to the point where it has slipped into language, replacing directions: “Seaside” and “Harvestside” are often-used navigational markets in street slang. The Harvest image would also let us show multiple distriks in the distance.


I am glad that you like it. I am a big fan of #2 too.

The idea actually is that the dome itself is the Ramos Harvest Division - a central structure which connects the districts that are still to be drawn around it. In the talk with the artists we sort of imagined the story of Witness where its original core evolved into this huge power central. Do you think that could work?
M&M are trying to catch the deadlines which are rather short at this point for us but there is still some margin for changes.

Just to keep you all updated, this is the scheme of the graphic novel: menabò_WORLDBUILDER_2.pdf (2.9 MB)

It is in Italian and will be translated in the final version, tells the story of Edgeryders, Comunità di Messina and introduces concepts (iceberg included)

Some of the sketches of Witness

in this last one you can see how the dome has evolved into Ramos Harvest Division and connects to the five borroughs, i mean districts :slight_smile: (hello Mr Scorsese and NYC, there is a reason why you are a model for the wiki) which will be more detailed

hello all @alberto, @nadia, @hugi, @joriam, @marcolok, @michi1, @lidiazuin

1 Like

The final tables. Still missing the front page and the text.
Last call for comments and corrections.


Yes yes yes yes!

This last panel is absolutely fan-tas-tic! It looks better than my imagination lol

I love the different architectural styles. I love how you can sorta infer an architectural idea with a simple glimpse. The counterpoint between the Acropolis style VS panopticon style is rad. The whole minitown that looks like the top towers of the Sagrada Familia is also amazing.

1 Like

I love them too!

Here is the graphic novel gn_WORLDBUILDING_def_light.pdf (2.7 MB) and the version embedded SciFiLab_docs_Worldbuilding_standalone.pdf (12.2 MB) in the publication we think of using as promotional material, but still deciding the times. Please don’t share them before we decide the proper timeline.

Here are their single images, extracted from the graphic novel:

Project Viking


The Assembly

The Covenant

Witness birdview

@yudhanjaya, @nadia, @alberto, @hugi, @bojanbobic, @MariaEuler


This is the final set of Witness images created by Michela. It contains views and glimpses of the city. I find them really beautiful and would love to hear your comments.

The Migrant Train

Inside Libria’s council

The Covenant - (inside the library?)

Officers of the Ramos Harvest Division

And finally, Fatamorgana (who could somehow be introduced into Witness’ lore)

@alberto, @bojanbobic, @nadia, @yudhanjaya, @MariaEuler, @hugi, @michi1, @marcolok, @lidiazuin, @joriam

1 Like

I really like the whole lot. I’ve been wondering who the Lady of the Lake was, and mow that we have an answer I would love to add her in. Very prow of the ship / Lady Liberty icon vibes.
That image from Libria feels like an anti-imperial museum they would have set up: just the kind of thing that might work for a hyper-Hayekian state.
I do have one critique: it makes little sense for the city (we really need a good name for this!) to be anchored so closely to landmasses: if they were large enough landmasses anyone sane would go off to land.


Makes me think of “Anathem” by Neal Stephenson