Build the Perfect Daedric Shrine with These Five Developer Tips

14/05/2021

Show your dedication to your Daedric Prince of choice with these worldbuilding and Housing Editor tips from the ESO development team.

You can find shrines to the Daedric Princes in many of Tamriel’s dark corners, and thanks to the ESO housing system, you can show your devotion to your lord in the privacy of your home. However, Daedra are a varied and colorful bunch, and building a new shrine is no simple task.

To help you craft a shrine that would make your princely patron proud, we’ve asked Level Designer Kimberly Mallas and Systems Designer Cullen Lee from the ESO development team for some worldbuilding and housing editor tips!

Think About Atmosphere and First Impressions Early

Kimberly: I'm always interested in determining what kind of atmosphere the environment should portray. There's a big difference between a sunny meadow and a damp cavern, so thinking about the colors, textures, lighting, and inhabitants is a good first step. Though it can also be fun to think about how to integrate something unexpected in a space, creating something unique that still works together!

Cullen: Agreed! Another key thing to think about is how your guests will move through the shrine. What is their first impression going to be? Is your shrine their destination, or will they be passing through? You can use the elements Kim called out to guide people through the space, and to help ensure that they see your work in its best light.

Light and shadow are powerful tools

Use the Environment to Set the Scene

Cullen: A good question to ask yourself is “How do I want people to feel when they walk into this space?” Jagged shapes and broken objects might tend to make people feel anxious, while smooth shapes and flowers can lend a sense of serenity. For a shine to Sheogorath, you might want an environment that feels unbalanced or chaotic, while a shrine to Clavicus Vile might be inviting at first glance but use subtle danger-signaling elements to suggest it’s a little too good to be true.

Kimberly: Ideally, worldbuilders want an environment that draws the player into the story immediately. Darkness is optimal for those with an affinity for Nocturnal's realm, but if we can't control the environment and summon night at all times, we'll utilize what we do have to set the scene. For example, you could choose a dark interior, such as a cave or dimly lit room, and add in some heavy fog reminiscent of Evergloam's gloom along with decor in vivid shades of blue and violet. Add in a few ghostly lights and you're ready to slink into the shadows between.

Tell a Story

Kimberly: A great way to tell a story is to ask a lot of questions and then visually portray the answers. For instance, I might place a skeleton in the game and want to explain how they perished without using words. What was this individual doing here? What led to their demise? Can I visually show this somehow? Small props can go a long way, perhaps suggesting that this adventurer trusted the wrong Daedric Prince.

Cullen: Yeah! A good trick can be to start with a relatively obvious question and answer, to help get people in the right frame of mind, and then work your way up to more subtle connections. Building on Kim’s example, at first you could show two skeletons near a gruesome kitchen: one laid out as if trying to flee with a satchel of poisons, and the other slumped against a nearby wall, holding a knife. If you can make it clear that the first skeleton was murdered, you can get people to realize that you are telling a story, and not just placing skeletons for their spooky ambiance. Then later on, you can show them what that satchel of poison was used for …

Use Thematic Elements and Maintain Focus

Cullen: With shrines, it’s important to keep the focus on the shrine itself, and make sure that everything else in the scene is supporting it instead of distracting from it. If you have a great idea for something outside that’s a thematic fit, but would overshadow your shrine, try adding it later on the visitor’s journey. That said, there are no real rules when it comes to worshiping Daedra, so follow your heart!

Kimberly: I like to keep in mind the thematic elements associated with each Daedric Prince and incorporate those attributes when possible. For example, fire and brimstone will complement dark pointy furnishings perfectly for worshipers of Mehrunes Dagon while a tangle of foliage haunted by the presence of vile creatures may appeal more to Hircine's followers.

Use thematic elements to create the right impression

Use the Housing Editor’s Advanced Features

Cullen: If you haven’t tried out some of the features we’ve added to the editor over the years, it’s worth it to take a couple minutes to familiarize yourself with them! Precision Edit is great for precise movements, but it’s also really handy for when you want to make sure everything lines up at the right angle. One trick I’ll often use is to carefully place a few guide pieces with precision edit, and then align other furnishings off those guides.

Once you have a group of furnishings the way you want it, consider linking them together for ease of use. If you link smaller pieces to a larger one, you can still edit the small pieces individually, but you can also move the whole group at once by editing the larger piece.

Kimberly: My favorite thing about the housing editor is using Precision Mode and being able to straighten out a mis-rotated object or adjust the Unit measurement. Although I'd probably skip those settings if my Daedric shrine was in honor of Sheogorath and instead add some toppling towers of cheese wheels to my topsy-turvy temple!

Share Your Shrine

Hopefully, these Housing Editor and worldbuilding tips will help you build the perfect shrine for your particular Daedric Prince. Of course, there’s no right or wrong way to show your devotion, and if you’ve been inspired and crafted a new shrine, or if you’ve always dedicated part of your home to one of the lords of Oblivion, we want to see it! Share your screenshots, videos, and walkthroughs with us on social via TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, and we’ll share them with the rest of the ESO community—have at it!

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