Very busy with some other things so not much progress as of late. I've mostly been modeling more assets for the world map, which has forced me to think more thoroughly on what each city might look like. I don't feel totally ready to commit to anything I've made yet though.
Modeling and texturing are very time consuming processes, even with the low-res look I'm going for. I'm convinced that 99% of the time spent working on the game will be modeling and texturing.
I find modeling very meditative and enjoyable, though for the map the things I've been modeling are much bigger (e.g. buildings and cities), and for some reason that's a lot more daunting. It might be because larger objects need more details to look convincing. Modeling smaller objects is a lot nicer.
One thing that hasn't helped is that Blender (2.92) constantly crashes. I'm not sure what the cause is because it doesn't save a crash log.
Texturing is the slowest part of the process. Building the textures can be time-consuming: collecting the images, processing them and then assembling them into a single texture, editing parts to be seamless, etc. Most if not all of this can't really be automated or streamlined much further than they already are. One thing I'm trying to keep in mind is that because of the low-res style I can usually get away with low-resolution textures, which makes searching for appropriate ones a lot quicker (in particular: stacking islands together—kind of baffling that this isn't a part of Blender).
I'm also still learning workflow tips for faster UV editing. Blender's built-in UV editing tools are also kind of lacking, but I learned of TexTools which has helped make some aspects of it a lot quicker.
I'm also experimenting with how much I want to rely on free 3d models from elsewhere. For the megaflora on the map (see below) I'm using this model of a borage flower (organic shapes are harder for me to do quickly) but processing and editing it to better fit into the game also takes a decent amount of time.
This city, inspired by the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery that I visited many years ago, was so tedious to texture, mostly because I was selecting and positioning faces in a really clumsy way:
This pagoda was pretty quick to model, mostly because the UV editing is relatively simple, but also because I'd started using TexTools:
I'll spend some time watching videos on more UV editing tips to see if I can make the process less tedious.