Ayrngear is a worldbuilding project comprising a collection of stories, articles, art, music and videos created by Zev Chafer, aka Vincent Jongman. Every piece of work is created by hand. On this page, I will tell you a little more about the background of this worldbuilding project, how I create art and the goals I want to achieve.
The History of Ayrngaer
Ayrngaer is the name of a fictional world and universe. In its primal form and with different names, it existed for most of my life. When I was younger (about eight years), I fantasized about a pastoral world, where only good creatures live, and a dark world, where only bad people live. This concept of duality is still present in my current stories and world-building projects. I projected part of this pastoral world on a small forest where I played with my sister. We built huts, tunnels, and treehouses and had small camps in the forest. We followed trails, learned about plants and animals and collected special items we found in the forest. This magic place we named "Greenwich" is still present in the current Worldbuilding project as the "Grenn Forest". The beauty of this place was translated into small poems and stories, the first dating from 2002 (called "Heldere Dagen (Dutch) or "Bright Days (English), when I was ten years old.
Years later, around 2008/2009, the Greenwich RPG (Role Playing Game) game was created, where my sister and I wrote part of a story and reacted to each other actions. This was a very simple game with very simple writing, but it proved to be an enormous inspiration to create another, bigger RPG game online.
However, before this second online RPG game was created, the first actual Worldbuilding project was started in 2009, called Gowue. This was a fictional world with its own language, characters and history. Many elements from this project were used in the online RPG game and still have a place in the current Ayrngaer project. Most notably the basics of the fictional "Litran" language. However, the project was terminated after a few years because I was unhappy with its development and lacked a clear storyline.
Parts of Gowue were reused to create a new world, which was transformed into an online RPG (Role Play Game) called Dust. Created in 2010, Dust was a fictional world made from the remnants of the old world, destroyed after a cataclysmic event. Where in the first RPG, only me and my sister wrote the story; now, everyone can create a character in the world and write about their adventures. The RPG ran for four years under different admins until it became inactive in 2014. The game is, however, still online and open to readers.
Meanwhile, I was working on another Worldbuilding project, using parts from the Gowean and Dust world and diving into old stories and poems from my childhood, most notably the short story "In the Heart of the Forest", written in 2012/2013. The world was called "Arinn" and consisted of an encyclopedia, a fictional language, characters, a working economy, maps and many artwork and stories. I worked on this ambitious project from 2014 to 2018, which remains the biggest one to date.
But then the development stopped. Between 2018 and 2022, adult life and COVID-19 got in the way, and there was no time or inspiration to work on Arinn. Also, the project became unmanageable because there was no clear development path and too many separate notes, sketches and unfinished ideas. But, I have always felt a special connection with it and wanted to transform it into a small animation movie and book(s).
So, in 2022, with renewed inspiration, I started collecting all the materials from previous unfinished projects. From the fragments of words, sketches and ideas, a new (semi-)fictional world was born called Ayrngaer. This time I focused more on having a plan, main storyline and scope. This project aims to serve as an inspiration source for stories, poetry, artwork, video and music. How it will go and if I can keep it running, I do not know. But working on it, even without having a finished result, fills me with joy.
Since all past projects were terminated mainly because they became unmanageable or did not have a structured plan, I first created a "World Building Process". This process consists of traceable steps from an idea to a concept to an end result. Below you can find the steps:
- The Brainstorming and Planning Phase
The process starts with an idea in the form of a picture in my head, a collection of words or inspiration from older projects. As soon as I have an idea, I place them on a digital KANBAN board. A KANBAN board is a graphical representation of tasks in different categories (baskets). I use the categories "New Idea, Planned, Doing, Review, On Hold and Complete" to organize them. An idea or task is represented as a card that is put in a category basket and moves to another basket until it is complete. This KANBAN board makes it much easier to get an overview of the tasks and cut big tasks (such as creating a whole world :P) into smaller pieces.
I use "ClickUp" as a tool for my planning process (not only for my world-building project but also for work and personal tasks).
- The Sketch Phase
When I have created an idea and put it into the KANBAN board, I start collecting inspiration and writing the concept. I collect all this information on my KANBAN board. I will then make a checklist of tasks I need to complete the idea. Then I move the KANBAN task to the next category, "Planned".
I use different tools for creating sketches. I use pen and paper to create concepts in Adobe Photoshop and 3D concepts in Trimble SketchUp.
- The First Version
When I am ready to work out the idea/task, I move the task from "Planned" to "Doing". I combine all the information I have collected so far to create the first version. When I am happy, I move the tasks into the "Review" basket.
For developing the first draft, I use a collection of tools. For creating 2D images and art, I use Adobe Photoshop. For 3D-models, I use Trimble SketchUp with V-ray (for rendering). SketchUp is mainly used to create buildings, nature scenes and backgrounds. I use Reallusion Character Creator and I-Clone for human characters because I want to re-use the 3D models in different artwork and videos. I use Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing and Magix Music Maker for creating musical scores. Besides this software, I use websites like Unsplash, Pxhere and Pexel for CC0 stock images I process in my artwork.
- The Break
When the task moves into the "Review" category, I usually tend to get a small break from it and work on other tasks. After a period of time, I revisit the task and review it. I will make the final version if I am happy with the result. If not, I will put it back into the "Doing" category and work on it until I am happy. This iterative process can sometimes take days, weeks or even months.
- The Final version and Publication
When I am happy with the result, it is ready for publishing. At this moment, I am making a new post on my website and Deviant Art. When the item is published, I move the tasks from "Review" or "Doing" to "Complete". If I want to change anything in the future, I can move the task back from "Complete" to "New", and the process starts over. Because all the collected information is stored in the KANBAN ticket, I have everything in one place and managing the Worldbuilding Process becomes much more accessible.
After publication, I share the newly made post on Social Media (Instagram, Facebook and Deviant Art)
Before I started (again) with this Worldbuilding project, I set myself a few goals to make the process more fun but still have a future perspective in mind:
- Create all the artwork myself.
I aim to create all the stories, art, music, videos and the website myself. This is because I want to challenge myself to learn/improve skills and techniques and create something unique. I am allowed to use CC0 stock images to incorporate into my art, but I cannot use them "as is"and always have to edit them in some way;
- A "slow" and "go-with-the-flow" development.
The goal of this project is to have fun, so I will not make strict deadlines. I work on the project when I want to and take breaks when needed. The process is much more important than the end result;
- Learn to create music, videos and animations.
I have always wanted to create a small (animated) movie, and this worldbuilding project suits that. I will challenge myself to learn how to create animations, edit videos and compose music.
The ultimate goal of this project is to create a small movie series of the storyline. However, before I can do this, I have to take other essential steps with a rough schedule:
- Create the basic world encyclopedia (Q1/Q2/Q3 2023);
The first step is to create the basics of the world, such as the main characters, places, timeline and additional background information. This will make it easier to build a storyline and can spark new inspiration. Also, I can get a sort of connection with the world and be able to move into the characters better. The world encyclopedia will be available on my website and will be an art project on its own;
- Create the main world map (Q1/Q2/Q3 2023);
The second step is to create a world map to get an idea of the scale of the world. This will make creating a timeline and storyline easier. The world map will be part of the encyclopedia and will be a piece of art itself too;
- Write the main storyline (Q3/Q4 2023);
After creating the encyclopedia and world map, I can work on the main storyline and subsequent sub-stories. The main storyline will be developed into a book and video series. The sub-stories will primarily be published in character diaries or events, which are also published on the website for you to discover;
- Create the first story (Q1/Q2 2024);
After the main storyline has been written, the first story can be worked out and written. This will be turned into a book and (hopefully) an animation series;
- Create the first video (Q3/Q4 2024);
One of my main future goals is to create a (short) movie from the storylines. At the moment, my goal is to make a 3D animation divided into episodes which will be published on Youtube and this website