Environment Inspiration

We now have multiple projects on the go that need a theme so I can develop appropriate assets. There is the walking simulator and now a room interior or spaceship interior to model for Matt.

I did all this before learning about the second project (only discovered that today) however given the option to take a sci-fi direction for the modelling project its still relevant.

I wanted to theme my walking sim with a dirty sci-fi feel, almost industrial. It’s a style I’ve always been fond of growing up watching Sci-Fi in the ’80s, before the wave of clean looking Sci-Fi in the 2000s. The big name off the top of my head would be Alien/Aliens that took this design choice.

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As you can see, lighting is always very low and makes use of heavy shadows. Common themes are grates, pipes, wires, all usually with heavy weathering to show use and age. While movies for a long while dropped this theme (there are notable exceptions) video games never lost it. Here are a bunch of stills I took from certain levels of Unreal Tournament 2004.

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The general aesthetic is very similar and something I’d like to try and replicate for at least one of the above projects. It’s a daunting task but I did a couple of things to put my mind at ease, the first doing some time travelling even further back than 2004. Here are some stills from Looking Glass’s System Shock 2 1999.

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The dark sci-fi aesthetic is still there however being 5 years before UT-2k4 the textures and models are even simpler. While I might struggle within the time frame to create the level of detail from Unreal, this is a lot more plausible. I just have to aim as high as I can and see what the outcome is. The second bit of aid was a book.


Truthfully I bought this many many years ago where it sat gathering dust after I changed career directions to keep a roof over my head (damn bills). I can happily say it has now been cracked open and is a wealth of information about making your own textures, bump & displacement mapping, alpha decals and even gives some great examples at making textures for certain themes. Sci-Fi being one of them!

Fingers crossed with a bit of time, inspiration and assistance I can produce similar to the work I’ve been looking at. Signing off for the night to read my book with a cuppa!



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