Quick introduction and art overview

Hello all.

Now that the new forums are up and everybody has had some time to familiarize themselves with it, its time to start posting.

I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Jan (I had a good laugh at the other team members attempts to pronounce it) and I’m one of the artists working on Infinity. I wasn’t very vocal on the old forums, I lurked more instead of pressing the post button. Some of the older community members know me as Stannum. For those who don’t know me hello and welcome!

I am a full pipeline artist but mostly I do concept work and r&d. I do have a model project running that will hopefully blow your mind when we launch the kickstarter. I repeatedly broke/break the editor with crazy materials and I did most of the investigative work and testing on working with physical based rendering for the artists.

This is going to be my first mini development blog post and it’s sort of going to be an overview of the art stuff.

Don’t recognise the new dev names? Check out this post: New Developer Usernames

The current engine has changed a lot compared to the 2010 tech demo. Over the years nearly every part of it has been upgraded. On the tools side we have replaced the old ase2bin tool with the I-Novae Editor. It has a node based material editor so artists can easily create complex materials without having to touch any code. And with the real time in engine preview we can immediately see any changes we make to the materials or textures.

Node based editor:

In engine preview:

The planets are sexier than ever. Flavien and Keith have implemented a lot of new technologies fixing issues we had with the old planet system and also adding a lot of new features. We have realistic atmosphere scattering and it looks gorgeous. A new texture blending method has been implemented and Kristian (spAce) applied some magic to reduce the tiling artifacts considerably. When I first received the new planet demo build I literally spent an hour flying around the planet. Keith posted two new shots which you can find here: Infinity Business Model - Better Community Involvement - #4 by INovaeKeith

The rendering changes have been immense but the most important change for the artists was the switch to a physical based rendering pipeline. With physical based rendering the time to author textures is lower and each asset will look correct in any environment. Instead of artists guessing what looks good and fine tuning from that, we now use real world values. I created a photoshop swatch pack so artists can easily pick the correct diffuse and specular reflection values for a material, as well as a surface shininess (roughness) value that fits the intended look.

We are now on our second shader model for physical based rendering. Lots of time has been spent on research, learning and understanding how to work with this system. This had to be done twice due to changing the shader model, which again took a lot of time. Right now the swatch values have been locked down and artists know the ins and outs of our physical based rendering model. The end result of all this are some very good looking spaceships.

You all know the Hellion, a 32m long SFC corvette class ship. The Hellion has been our test asset. Eugene has uv mapped it one too many times, spent countless hours baking and fixing the normal map and done a lot of work on fixing all the smoothing errors when importing models into the editor. Andre and Slobodan (AltFuture) have created many iterations of the texture while learning how to work with our physical based rendering model. When not working on the Hellion the concept artists are busy designing a series of core ships of all sizes.

In the coming weeks I am going to write more art related mini blogs using the materials we had ready for the art content update. We have a SFC Fighter/bomber to show off that’s pretty far along. I plan to write a blog showing the first concept sketches and how it transformed into what we have now. It will show the commitment the artists have to make the best looking ships we can. Not just mesh and texture wise but also great designs. A more in depth artists perspective on our physical based rendering model is also in the works and of course a better look at the latest Hellion.

Maybe some surprises too.

To compensate for the amount of words have some pictures:
An early capship doodle:

A fighter doodle:

A ship called othership:

Watch me draw the other ship:

An exploratory drawing of a SFC cargo ship:

Also in available in timelapse edition:

With the new forums we want to post more and have better community involvement. I would like your feedback on what you would want to see. Other than the planned posts I want do some more smaller impromptu posts. I have some ideas on what these can be but I’d like to hear what the community wants too.

Take care, and NEVER. STOP. POSTING.


Quality stuff, man! I personally love concept art more than anything. I’d love to see more.


It wasn’t till I looked that I realised how much I missed the art from the team and community.

As for what I would like to see… Progress, just keep moving the project along and I’ll stick around and I assume others will as well.

Nice work and great article Jan.
Thanks, and keep them coming!

Great article. It’s nice to get more in-depth info into the way the game(s) is(are) being made. I knew you guys kept busy while the site was down, and it’s awesome to see what was going on during that time. I can’t wait for the next post.

I love that capital ship. It feels like it was designed to mass as little as possible, and everything else was built around that. If that’s not SFC, I don’t what is.

One thing I’ve really been dying to see is more ships in-engine, deltan and/or cent if possible, if/when it’s convenient.

Thank you so much for posting that! Are guys designing all new ships or are there still some community concepts that could be included? I know that the 3D models are out due to quality reasons, but I think some of the concepts were really good.

I’m looking forward to seeing some models in-game!

Now this is what we like! Great to hear about and see some of the behind-the-scenes stuff going on. I hope you continue it - the relaunch of the forums seems to have created a lot of momentum that should help fix the idea that I-Novae is vapourware!

Keep up the good work.

That SFC cargo ship looks kinda Homeworld-esq to me. Love it!


I dislike that fighter doodle, but loved everything else. :wink:

And since we have already seen the helion a bazillion times, I think it would be best if any future art update focused on the other 2 factions.

We’re focusing on SFC for the KS, so that’s quite unlikely.

I am incredibly envious I am of you and your skill. All of you: absolutely amazing work.

Side note: what is the music from? Was that an Infinity music contribution that I missed?

I think all the devs are either programmers(Keith,Flavien) or artists(Gene,Kristian,Jan,Andre,Dan), and couldn’t make this type of quality music. I don’t remember any of them ever posting music on the old forums.
And since if they had hired someone to make it for them, they would probably have mentioned it by now, I have to assume Jan simply forgot to give credit to whoever he “stole” it from. :moneybag: :trollface:

edit: Ops. One of the videos has the proper credits on it. Its “cry of the ancients”, from dead space 3, but the small cargo one still doesnt.

edit2: I just listened to the music from the small cargo video again, and the fact that I didn’t even realize how awesome that song was when I was paying attention to the video the first time shows how cool those timelapses are. :expressionless:

And @INovaeJan, how sped up are those videos? 10x? They look really cool. Do you take any precautions while drawing them to minimize the requirement of editing those timelapse videos later?

While I understand and agree with the obvious resons for that, this still sucks. :worried:

Don’t any of the old centauru’s ships(or any old ship) fit the new quality standards? Making the KS video with at least SFC and centaurus would look much better, even if the centaurus ships never got any close-ups.

Amazing work guys. This things fills me with so much confidance, that Infinity has to be succesfull project.
I always loved to lurk through forum and look at ships and ideas. Only wishing that i could have some talent to help too…

Anyway thank you for update!

Hoping the factions are so different a cat can tell. Thanks keep up the good work.

No they do not unfortunately. We will likely show concept art for different factions in the campaign as stretch goals or future DLC options. For the minimum funding, SFC will be the only faction in I:B, so that is what we’re concentrating on in terms of assets at the moment. We don’t have the resources right now to be working on multiple factions.

Must… must… possst… yesss… always postingsss…

Great stuff! Looking forward to impromptu posts!

Keep it up.

Is it just me or does that cargo ship remind anyone else of the firefly class ship from the show Firefly?

If by remind you mean

“Carries a similar feel of shape and overall layout of functioning bits, cargo door, cockpit / bridge location, and engines at the rear. I can really imagine a small crew making not so interesting, yet interesting, runs from planet to planet exploring the verse.”

But if you put a picture of the firefly up on the screen next to this one, you’ll see the differences are quite extreme :wink: Yet the similarity will linger… human brains are fun…

That’s exactly what I meant, how did you know? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Eh. Needs more Crazy Ivans.


SFC was my favorite…we did a ton of the writing on them, but regardless, I have to ask. What’s with the ship being rendered in front of a hardwood floor? Are you showing the architectural rendering capability of the engine (something I know IA did a ways back)? Or are you using AR?