Popular Online Game Comes to Life in 3D!

I was thrilled to be asked to participate in the relaunch of Grounded 1.0, the popular online video game from Xbox and Obsidian. Several miniaturists were also were asked to create in this sponsorship event to celebrate the full release of the game with a social media post on TikTok. We were given very few parameters for creative expression and had very few limits for the final piece.

Grounded is the game that puts a group of miniaturized characters in the backyard of a virtual home. The characters are challenged with surviving the elements including bugs!

I decided for this project, I would build a miniature 3D version of a treehouse build which players are encouraged to build using the tools and materials available to them while playing the game.

I started the project with an "old-school" sketch on graph paper, staying as closely as possible to what players are able to achieve in the game with respect to materials, dimensions and scaling.

After I was satisfied with the direction of my build, I went out (and online!) and scoured the art supplies stores for materials including acrylic paints, fabric, faux greenery, needlepoint thread and bamboo.

I then built a 3D model made from cardboard and foam core of the 3D version of the virtual treehouse to make sure I was getting the scaling and archtecture just right. The biggest challenge was trying to stay within the parameters of what can be achieved in the game. Pitch of gables and size of windows were difficult. I did, in the end, have to take some creative lisence.

Above is a montage of beginning of my build!

I used lots and lots and lots of bamboo stalks which I found Amazon with varying thicknesses and colors. Some were more naturally colored and some were more shaded a darker green.

My build started to take shape. I used plywood for the base and drilled holes for the bamboo poles which acted as the main supporting parts for the build. The roof is a separate element and can easily be removed to work inside the treehouse space. One of the biggest challenges with working with the bamboo was trying to find the best adhesive to use. I started with hot glue (horrors!) and thankfully that didn't work because it was messy and bulky and I knew was not really permanent, and I wanted to create a pieces that would last past the TikTok.

I used fabric I found at Joannes to represent the plants and garden greenery materials which represented the same materials players are able access for their builds.

The process for my builds is a messy one! There are often many layers of materials and parts on my workspace as I work on one part without clearing off my space to start another. Eventually it just become untenable to work and so I have to clear the space and start anew.

I used rope to highlight the window trim. I agonized over the width of the final rope to use (I went thicker!) and the curve of the trim. I was fortunate to find fabric that perfectly matched the colors used on roofs for builds which can be seen in the game. My hand held wood snipper came in handy as I cut countless bamboo sticks down to size for the walls and gables.

The parts and accessories were made and hand-painted by talented miniaturists I found on Etsy including Ashley Balderson (purple chairs and gnome) and Elf Miniatures (sneakers).

I crafted hanging fixtures and entrance door sconces using LED lights, faux plants and twine.

The interior design included wood planked square flooring, a pair of spiral staircases and hanging wall art featuring portraits of each of the characters in the game.

The taxidermy bugs were crafted by mistersmartee and the purple chairs, backpacks and tiny sneakers were made by Ashley Balderson of clay.

The double door entrance opens to reveal the treehouse interior space and all of the fun decor and accessories found in the game.

And....here's the final TikTok Post!

A BIG thank you to Buddha Jones, the agency representing Xbox for this sponsorship opportunity - it was such a joy to build and bring this awesome game to life in miniature!


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