Creator Spotlight: Meet Ahlvie, the Environmental Artist Behind Fantastical Worlds

When @Ahlvie “picks up” her digital paintbrush in Blender or paves a windy tree-covered road in Studio, her mind wanders to the lush nature of Scotland and rural England. :european_castle::mountain:

Ahlvie started building on Roblox at age 12, intrigued by how she could turn the fantasy worlds of her dreams into real games. Now, she’s a 3D Artist and Modeler at Twin Atlas and also a UGC creator. Her dreamy landscapes can be seen in the multi-floor open world of Swordburst 3 and the mystical habitat of Griffin’s Destiny, among others. Outside of Roblox, she also finds joy in creative hobbies and side projects like cake decorating, gardening, and crocheting.

Building Enchanting 3D Environments That Bloom :cherry_blossom::tulip:

Ahlvie spends her free time hiking, gardening, and soaking up the natural beauty of the United Kingdom countryside. Being surrounded by nature motivates Ahlvie to recreate her environment in her 3D projects. She describes her art style as cute, stylized fantasy, using bold colors, natural lighting, and various flowers to bring her worlds to life.

Isle of Skye in Scotland

Swordburst 3

Swordburst 3

Much of Ahlvie’s work draws inspiration from her own life and environment. In Swordburst 3, you’re spawned to a farm with rows of vegetables and crops. She created this inspired by her own garden at home, where she grows cabbages and other crops. And, on each floor of Swordburst 3, Ahlvie has created a unique flower — a detail she adds both for herself and to delight players. :bouquet:

Vegetable farm in Swordburst 3

Flowers Ahlvie designed for Horse Life

Real life flowers that inspired Ahlvie’s designs

How a World Comes to Life From Start to Finish :volcano:

  1. Concept: When designing a new world, Ahlvie starts creating a mood board on a blank canvas using the app PureRef. She spends a couple of hours adding as many reference images as possible to visualize the look and feel of the world. And when she can’t find inspiration for an obscure, fantastical object, she’ll sketch out her idea by hand.

  2. Greybox: Then, she greyboxes an environment in Studio by adding simple parts to the space to figure out her map design. She lines out paths, maps out multiple locations and spawning points, and figures out what the endpoint is and how a player will get there. She’s learned that through building open worlds, you don’t want a straight path — rather you want curves and multiple directions to encourage that sense of exploration.

  3. Create the environment: She uses the Part to Terrain plugin to convert the parts she’s placed into terrain then begins sculpting the landscape. She then adds in the material, colors, skybox, and atmosphere.

  4. Make stylized environmental props: Much of Ahlvie’s environmental art relies on a distinct style that adds to the charm of the experience. To make her props, she models in Blender and at times will texture them in Substance Painter.

  1. Place the props: Finally, she places the props and ensures the environment looks like what she envisioned. Some of her favorite plugins include:

    • Brushtool for quickly placing a lot of pre-made props easily
    • TerrainPainter for adding a lot of color and material variety quickly and easily
    • MeshVox to make mountains, hills, and other formations instantaneously. She can then sculpt down if needed.

Life as a Professional Roblox Artist :art:

Ahlvie’s first notable freelance project involved redesigning Kingdom Life 2. The team was just her and the programmer, so she led the creative direction for restyling the environment. She was an avid fan of the game and therefore had a clear vision for creating the medieval fantasy world of her dreams.

To keep the map layout the same to avoid confusing veteran players, Ahlvie added artistic details to give the game a visual refresh. She upgraded the simplistic, blockier buildings to its current detailed, cottagecore style. To make the environment feel more lived in, she added medieval stone fencing, grassy parks, backyards, and floral front gardens.

Kingdom Life 2 before and after Ahlvie’s revamp

Afterwards, she applied for a job at Twin Atlas (at the time Sonar Studios) as a 3D modeler for Winds of Fortune and then continued at the studio as the lead map developer for Swordburst 3. This gave her the opportunity to then work on multiple projects like Dragon Adventures and the Horse Life beta. Sometimes, Ahlvie can be working on up to four experiences at once. Juggling different art styles and multiple avenues of feedback can be challenging, so staying organized is key. Ahlvie feels blessed to be surrounded every day by other talented developers who’ve shared their expertise in environmental art and exposed her to many new skills.

W

Crocodiles Ahlvie designed for Winds of Fortune

In the future, Ahlvie wants to be a project manager to round out her skillset and grow on Roblox. She’s also passionate about teaching and mentoring others, so she’d like to create tutorials for new creators looking to design maps and environmental art.

Thank you @Ahlvie for sharing your story with the community! You can connect with her on Roblox and Twitter to stay up to date on her next builds :hammer_and_wrench:.

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Very pretty stuff! Love to see the process behind these creators :slight_smile:

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I love this! The format of this spotlight is a HUGE improvement. I’m so happy you guys included a workflow because that’s what I feel like I always struggle with (as someone who struggles with ADHD, it’s difficult to know where to start sometimes.) And the tools included are super useful.

Also the work is really beautiful. I grew up playing the original Kingdom Life 2 map, and I remember going into it as an adult and thinking “Woah, this got a glow up!”

Again, love this, super useful. Ty for the workflor and the useful plugins.

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It’s not about detail, it’s about aesthetic.
Some people have a preference for detail, but detail means nothing if it’s not pretty.

Also, where you been that you haven’t seen any other girl developers.

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Having done 3d modelling myself for close to a decade now I can clearly see how much effort Ahlvie puts into these scenes. The composition, use of color, balance of level-of-detail and more is all very well crafted. This is not something you’d be able to match in only a few months.

Greyboxing is a very underappreciated skill so I’m glad it’s being mentioned in this post. Great worlds are impossible to design without some form of greyboxing. I strongly encourage newer developers to practice that skill as it’s essential.

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Also dude, this is super rude. Detail does not make things better or worse, it’s how its utilized. The style that was shown here is ideal for Roblox because of the performance and the fun and visually appealing atmosphere it brings. And not to mention that there’s multiple aspects of environmental design, such as color schemes and harmony, placement of assets and probably many more. All of which Ahlvie’s work shows off beautifully.

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Misogyny is not tolerated here. Do not say things like that. (Also, Fierzaa, the creator of Knife Ability Test (Better known as KAT) exists too, you know.)

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Ahlvie is a wonderfully talented artist and I’m glad to see her finally getting a spotlight and the recognition that comes with it!

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Don’t be sexist and undervalue women creations that’s not right man. She has some very pretty work, not all games are high details. Details cost triangles and have a toll on performance. Work like this is good for performance and for lower/mid-poly style games which is what a majority of Roblox is. As much as I love detailed games it’s not the best for a wider audience on Roblox if you want the most people to be able to enjoy your experience.

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I think the devforums are meant for creator growth.
If you want to criticize her work, you gotta explain what needs to be done better; Your allowed to yap all you want here so make the most of it and explain why you think the way you do yk. Like “the detail is not good enough” - so what needs to be done better? What specifically does not look good enough?

Also this is the first time I have ever seen sexism on the devforums lol what

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Very awesome stuff! Kingdom Life 2 looks amazing.

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Please, what’s the experience being displayed here? This castle is gorgeous! The color combination is really my style

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It’s Griffin’s Destiny by Sonar Studios :]

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It sucks that this level of skill and attention to detail isn’t more appreciated on Roblox. You never see quality like this on games anywhere.

The fact that almost all the games (all minus one) linked on this page are either outright 0 players dead, or barely scraping 1000, really says a lot to how underappreciated a well made world is - If that’s the most popular games with that much effort put into them, that’s a terrifying thought.

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Thank you! I was glad to see it was at the very beginning of the game so I didn’t have to search much. Nicely done on your works @Ahlvie

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Besides being a talented developer and artist Ahlvie is one of the sweetest, most supportive people I’ve encountered on roblox, she’s the person who encouraged me to get into development a couple of years back, she taught me the basics of 3D modeling and texturing and now I can proudly say that I’ve contributed to games amassing >200 million visits, all thanks to her unwavering support early on in my career. I’m very happy to see her getting the recognition she deserves!

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