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  • Writer's pictureMagik Chance

Building Worlds One Day at a Time: An Interview with Aetherica

Jess posts amazing worldbuilding content daily on X as AethericaArt, and she just launched the website for her 7 Worlds project, which you can check out here. We asked her about her project and how she creates her wondrous 7 Worlds.

Q: What inspired you to create the 7 Worlds?

A: I have written a couple of novels, still in manuscript phase, and although wonderful to do, the process of writing can be a lonely journey. I wanted to do a project where I share every step of the creative process with the community. So far, the interactive element has been extremely enjoyable. It can be hard to let all your ideas be "seen" as soon as they are conceptualised, but it's been an uplifting experience.

I've been a gamer since I was a child, so immersing myself in other worlds has been the norm all my life. Starting with the Final Fantasy series, and more recently Elder Scrolls, these games inspired me to create worlds of my own.

The final inspiration was a strange kind of otherworldly intervention. I felt a bit lost, not knowing why I was running my AI art account. I needed focus. I awoke one day with a strong inner narrative that said: Build worlds! So here I am.

Q: What was your process for coming up with the distinct style of each world?

A: I started my AI art account with a theme that I enjoyed for each day, and they morphed into the 7 Worlds, one for each day of the week. Create what you enjoy.

A brief summary of each of the 7 Worlds and what I love about them:

Atlantis Nova - I did a history degree, so this world channels my inner history geek. I'm obsessed with ancient civilisations.

Astral Bloom - This channels a magical world, with pinks and purples, silver buildings and flowers. Combined with Astral Rifts, my love of astrophotography.

Codex Neon - This lets me explore my love of cyberpunk and neon. I loved playing Cyberpunk, but Night City was a bit too dark for my tastes, so my planet will be a lighter take on the cyberpunk theme.

Helios One - Desert ruins and steampunk machines! Seraphim Construct - With this world I wanted to create huge intimitading structures inhabited by AI.

Xeon Prime - This world channels my love for the gothic, as well as elves!

Aetherion - I love the thought of higher dimensional beings sharing a world with normal humans.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of building out these elaborate worlds? What has been the most challenging?

A: The most rewarding part so far, has been the friends I've made in the community. The kind words and excitement about the project keeps me going.

The most challenging aspect has been keeping the creative flow and creating content daily. I've never been a content creator before and posting content every day for 6 months, while holding down a demanding job, has been a challenge. There is so much left to build, this is only the beginning, I will take the challenge head on!

Q: How do you use AI in your worldbuilding workflow?

A: Concept art - My main AI art tool is Midjourney. I began using this tool in around December 2022, working through a number of models, I'm impressed with the improvements at every new version release. I have started using DALL-E to conceptualise some scenes that the current Midjourney version struggles with.

Lore - I try and use my imagination as much as possible, but I mix my own ideas with the assistance of ChatGPT at times, especially after a tough day's work!

Video - I use RunwayML Gen2 and am looking forward to Midjourney's video capabilities

3D - I am waiting for the release of text or image to 3D asset creation.

Q: How do you organize and keep track of all the lore, details, and components of each world? Do you use any special tools or software?

A: A good tool I used when writing my novels was Microsoft OneNone, which was great at keeping everything together. I have also used a large word document with a contents page. With this project, I also have my website I am updating with some of the lore.

I have a Discord server for creating each days content, see screenshots below, a lot goes on behind the scenes. I also have a thorough folder structure on my PC to store imagery.

Q: What do you foresee as the future of the 7 Worlds at this time?

A: The ultimate aim is to make them into 3d explorable worlds, or a game. I envisage a central portal, where you can jump into one of the worlds, with something that connects them all. I would love for other people to build worlds too and connect them all by portals or bridges!

These are the current phases for my project:

Phase 1 ​

  • Concept art and lore/ worldbuilding for the 7 Worlds

  • Character creation - Learning Unreal Engine

Phase 2 ​

  • Render 3D assets for the 7 Worlds

  • Build 3d environments

  • Create soundtracks

Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in embarking on an ambitious, long-term worldbuilding project like this?

A: Try not to be intimidated. Creating the lore for my epic fantasy triology gave me a lot of experience, out of that I would say:

  • Make sure you organise your content well so you can refer back/ cross-reference

  • Focus on one small section at a time

  • If it gets "too big" don't be scared/ guilty about not working on it. Do what you can, when you can.

  • Remember, you have created an amazing world and it would not exist without your hard work!

Q: What are you most looking forward to in the field of AI?

A: The thought of the tools meaning I can be a solo developer and create a whole game by myself is extremely exciting. I have no coding experience ect, just a love of gaming and a passionate imagination, if this is all we need in the future, we will unlock so much more creativity than we have ever seen!

Thank you, Jess, for agreeing to talk to us! If you would like to ask Jess more questions or otherwise comment on this interview, head over to this X thread. And don't forget to check out her new website!

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