Skip to comments.Making of: The Super Massive ships of Fracture Space
Posted on 02/07/2019 3:43:52 AM PST by vannrox
In 2014 I provided Edge Case Games with concepts for Fractured Space. At the time, the game was in a pre-beta stage gameplay was locked down, but the team needed spaceship designs that felt genuinely manufactured and massive.
I was brought in to create convincing, engineered mega-ships for two of the games factions United Space Research (USR), and Zarek Industries fictional, militarized versions of NASA and Maersk, respectively.
Several in-depth conversations with Dan Lodge, the projects Art Director, revealed that the conventional concept art route i.e. painting in 2D and working with thumbnails wasnt developing believable designs.
I proposed a process that involved establishing core values for the two factions and then to work straight into 3D without any sketches or paints.
I was given background information about the factions and after sifting through reference I isolated some design themes that would be the consistent theme for each faction: Cylindrical modules for the USR and brutal cubist geometry for Zarek Industries.
I know that the USR will be utilizing a cylindrical module system so I start with a basic cylinder, carefully dividing and sculpting until the shape of the ship begins to emerge. I throw in basic stock components from old files so it doesnt feel too abstract.
With the design getting progressively more massive, I create annotated screenshots that keep my to-do list manageable. This is essential the design is going to be over a KM long as I zoom in to work on things at a human scale the ship becomes abstracted and I need to maintain a birds eye view with the screenshots.
I subdivide the design, carefully making shape adjustments to avoid it looking like a giant sausage. Dan is an essential pair of fresh eyes during these stages. I apply materials to get a better visual sense of the final design.
6600 components and 11.5 millions polygons later, the overall design is in place. It is however a bit overwhelming to anyone who is not familiar with the file setup so I begin a cleanup.
I break the design up for the Edge Case team so they can clearly interpret the modular sections. These blocks can be reorganized along the central pivot this way Edge Case can create many designs with the created parts.
I hand off the 3D file in chunks to Hans Palm and the team they begin the gargantuan task of optimizing and remodeling the design so that it can work within the performance parameters of the UE4 game-engine.
While the team gets familiar with the mesh and its construction I start exploring the designs aesthetics at a variety of scales this is to provide creative and technical material that will help with getting the design in-engine. First up I produce macro renders to visualize the ship under physical lighting conditions.
The renders give me a sense of scale and I weigh up the best way to execute details for the texture artist. The big issue is displaying the correct density of texture so they visually support the ships size from the players perspective.
The team will need a toolbox from me that helps them create more USR ships beyond the Flagship. I close in on a selection of modules that have a variety of materials with this area fully concepted, the team will have a transferable visual guide for USR materials.
I render several plates individually, such as reflection, specular, ambient occlusion and diffuse. I can then composite them in Photoshop with complete control. When the values are working together, I add photo reference and hand paint specific details to bring the module to life.
The guys wanted to see the design in context, so I was briefed with turning the model into an illustration that would show the design being maintained at a space port.
It was important that the ship be the center of attention, so I took care to make the port itself follow the circular design language without overwhelming the ship.
Must be fun to “design” something that never has to actually work. Doesn’t take an engineering degree.
Yes. I really agree with you. All these designs are all conceptual. In the real world you would crank out the designs using ProE, Autocad, Catia or solidworks. Then have it raked over the coals by a peer review. Oh, Yeah. I know it well.
Still the artwork is pretty. Useless, but pretty.
Doesnt need an engineering degree...
First, thats kind of a shitty thing to say.
Second, an engineer couldnt design something like that...it requires creativity and imagination.
This kind of Art and creativity is impressive.
When you are not constrained by the laws of physics, metallurgy, thermodynamics, Newton and a gazillion other things, you can make up fun, pretend “designs” that look really cool.
Explain why that is a “shitty” thing to say. It’s simply a fact.
That is almost certainly the most ignorant comment I will see all day.
Because you are dismissing the process that he has to go through to create this. Its a freakin game. Your comment made his efforts seem less real than if he were working for NASA.
Maybe you did mean to sound like a sour old engineer, and if I misread that, accept my apologies. But in reality, you wrote that like an old guy suggesting thats just a picture.
OK, give me a call when it flies.
I beg your pardon. Engineers don't have creativity and imagination in your universe?
I find it fascinating just because of the huge amount of patience and time that is truly required. I have played with modeling a bit and it just takes far too much patience for me. I guess getting paid to do it might make a huge difference. lol
Wow. Very cool!
That's almost as misguided as the other guy's comment.
It's not a design for a practical spaceship. It's artwork. Advertising copy. Its function is to get peoples' attention, so that they will want to watch the movie, play the game, read the book. We'll see, but I bet it will be successful.
Juxtaposed with the Babylon 5 station, I wonder how big this beauty is.
FFS, stop taking yourself so seriously. Its an Fing video game.
You must spend a lot of time with engineers. Ha ha. I know, I know...they create everything.
You must not know any in person.
Now I understand why Bernie Saunders is Vermont’s senator!
What is Fracture Space?
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