Concept Realization and Development - NEW CONTENT!

Hello all. In this art content update we’re going to present a small walk through of the process used to create the SFC bomber. The first part, focusing on the concept stages, is written by Jan. The second part is written by myself.

Developing the Concept

When drawing, the first thing you do are warmup exercises. Simple straight lines, ellipses, circles. Good line work is a fundamental skill so always keep practicing. Sketches are the next step. As many as possible. The sketches are usually unrelated to what I’m working on at the time.

Usually I have a good idea of things I want to try out, if not smashing common house hold items together works well. These two images were based off combining 2 hair clips and a Lego rubber ring.

Sketches vary in detail. They range from object line drawings to full shaded drawings. Here are some examples:

Now on to the bomber. It started out as a fighter concept created by Andre. Kristian and I then created variations.

More exploratory sketches and variations were made:

Amongst the devs there was a preference for a more detailed version of the bottom right flat version, only with a different style cockpit.

For some sketches 3d mockups were made to better visualize the designs

The flat version felt too boring and with little room to add flavour asymmetry. More volume was needed to account for various internal components. A hump was added to create room for these components and to have space for two similar but different halves, satisfying the need for some asymmetry and a less boring ship. The rear landing gear was moved back to create a better balance since the rear of the ship was now too heavy for the original placement. Finally a more final concept was created:

Creating the Model

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Dan, (many of you will recognize me as “Hutchings” from the old contributions forums) I’m one of the Modellers on the I-Novae team and it’s about time I shared some work.

When starting a new model I spend some time gathering references, and discussing the design with the concept artist. Rough landing gear placement, animated objects, cockpit design, etc, are all things to consider. Polygon budgets and texture requirements are also established.

Using the 3D Mockups provided by Jan, I roughed in the main shapes and features of the primary Hull. At this point I didn’t worry about the details, instead I focus on the silhouette and proportions, to ensure they stay true to the concept.

Now that the proportions have been established, it’s onto the rough detail phase. Cutting into the hull, adding new detail objects, and working out the distribution of details across the surface.

Using the blocked out objects as a guide, I now focus in on individual elements of the ship. Creating Subdivision Meshes for curved and circular parts, and refining edge details on the hard and sharp surfaces. I’m constantly referencing the concept to be sure my details are true to Jan’s original vision. This part of the process took the most time, and on more than one occasion parts were discarded and remodelled.

The original concept included a very industrialized cockpit design, that once modelled felt out of place for a military craft. Working with Jan and the rest of the team, I came up with an alternative design that still embodies the brutal industrialized SFC style, but gives the pilot a wider field of view.

Using the HP mesh as my guide, I construct the LP game mesh. Keeping in mind the level of detail, polygon budget, and optimal shape(s) for the texture bakes.

Below is a preview of the game mesh with the current normal and AO maps applied. This is still a work in progress, but you can see the higher resolution details translating to the low polygon surfaces. I was hesitant at first to show this image, as it’s quite early in the mapping process, but it demonstrates the purpose for modelling the high resolution mesh. I still have some work to do optimizing the model, and tweaking the Map Bakes, but it’s coming along nicely.

Normal Map and AO Preview, Followed by Normal Map Only

Each asset I produce will follow a similar pipeline, utilizing I-Novae tools and an array of software to achieve the high quality visuals we’re aiming for.

I’ve included some Additional renders of the HP mesh below. Enjoy! :slight_smile:


Great work! Its nice to have such a detailed view of the Asset Pipeline. Thanks for taking the time to write this up.

This bomber already looks great. I especially like the engines. I could really feel the power when I first saw them.

At first I thought that ship had a large cargo hold, then at a different angel engines reared there hydra heads. 8()

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This looks great.

You obviously have the visual style and workflow nailed down. You described how you took things like animations and landing gear placement into account, and i can see that you put some thought into the placement of manouvering and reverse trusters.

I have a question though: Do you generally plan out the placement/number/type of hardpoints in the early concepting phase for military ships?

When we had the open contributions system, not only did each artist have a different style, but also very different approaches to hardpoint placement. Some basically made super nice looking ships without any thought on number of hardpoints, covered angles and such. Others designed ships around optimal angles / coverage for turreted weapons.

How do you do it nowadays? Do you pre - define roles of a combat ship and plan the hardpoint number/layout, size, coverage… ?

Unfortunately no, we still don’t have a good handle on that, gameplay will likely determine number & HP locations. Until we can test a game, we can’t say for certain how many, or where HP’s should be placed.[quote=“Wargrim, post:4, topic:191”]

How do you do it nowadays? Do you pre - define roles of a combat ship and plan the hardpoint number/layout, size, coverage… ?

No, atm it’s just art, subject to change if required by gameplay/balancing.

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Updates like these are really super cool.

Love the detail work on the engine/thrusters. :smile:

Keep it up!

This ship has the best designed maneuvering thrusters I have seen to date.
I have to say though. The model lost a lot details on the front of the ship compared to the earlier fighter concepts.

Hi there !

I’m really excited about this project and I can’t wait to see you guys on KickStarter !

Some questions about the ships :

  • Will all the ships be modeled with some sort of cockpit ? I was imagining large commanding ships without much of a cockpit, or even none, so as to best protect the occupants.

  • Are some of the larger ships with more than one pilot / player ? Though electronics and AI does help a lot, surely a very large ship could only be managed by a main pilot and his comrade acting as shooter / chief operator ?

The smaller player controlled ships, yes.

For Infinity Battlescape, players will only be able to fly smaller ships, Fighters, Bombers & Corvettes. (14m~35m). Larger ships will be NPC controlled only.

Looks very good. Lovely attention to details!
What 3D program was used for the modelling?

Looks like 3ds max to me.

Well, we all use 3DS MAX at some point in the asset pipeline, it’s pretty much required. This particular mesh was made in Blender. The initial modeling can really be done in the artists software of choice, as long as it can be smoothly translated into MAX for baking and other prep before importing into the I-Novae Engine.

So how soon till we see a render of a miniature version of it floating indoors?

Well, Keith & Flavien are fixing a few things with HDR, tone mapping & the like. When those updates are done we’ll have engine generated cube maps to use, so you’ll see less of the indoor/street level enviro’s, and more engine generated ones in future content releases.

Too bad.

I was hoping you’d model some pedestals for all your ships and figure out how to make your indoor enviro’s seem as if shot with a handheld camera. Basically release an advertisement for highly detailed space-themed miniatures before mentioning that those “are the actual in-game models used in this game (insert link here)”.

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Genious! Do it I-Novae!

Id much rather see images of the ships inside a planet or asteroid ring than on a kitchen. I think that advertising the ships as toys(even if fake toys) isn’t a good idea. There are better ways of doing that.
And at first I didn’t like that final shape, but that high poly does look awesome.

Does it have a name? Does it make sense for us to give suggestions?

I can see that thing having some wicked acceleration. I love it and I can’t wait for the next blog/post.

It also looks like the polygon limit on models has been raised a tad?

I still use Blender3D as my primary modelling package. For this content release the final renders were created using Blender 2.69 Cycles Render.

Soon enough :wink: