Making of Dreadnought

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    Making of Dreadnought

    Part I

    Hi! My name is Alexei (aka Karanak), and I’m one of concept artists working on Star Conflict’s( design. Today we’re starting a “making of” series with this post about one of the largest ships in the game. I’ll guide you through the work process.
    So, here’s the task: make a huge ship-carrier, which will serve as a clan dreadnought for the Federation of Free Planets faction. The ship’s in-game size is 10 km long. Naturally it’s a carrier for smaller ships, but it’s also armed with multiple firing systems. That’s what we’ll talk about today. But first, I want to say a couple of words about the whole idea behind the dreadnought’s appearance.
    As soon as I received the order to create this ship, I started to look for inspiration: digging through piles of previous sci-fi works and searching for something capable of sparking my creative thoughts about the monster I was after. No proper inspiration was found. Then I went through some special space fantasy blogs – still nothing. I hadn’t found anything that even came close to what I was looking for, neither with this enormous size nor with the firepower and functionality of a carrier. So, I turned to the classics. I came across some artwork and screen grabs from Star Wars, and they gave me precious inspiration.
    I started making sketches to get my rough ideas down on paper. After coming up with some variations I finally had something to choose between:

    Once the generic view was established, I switched to the ship’s weaponry design. I was expected to make several types of weapons such as mounted AA guns (which will be manned by the player); the main heavy caliber weapons (enormous laser turrets supposed to fire at enemy ships of an appropriate size); smaller laser batteries; and rocket-launching towers.
    Well, let’s start with the AA complex. I’d been thinking about the overall concept for a long time by then. The main idea was to design an automatically controlled turret with its own power generator, so it could be independent from ship’s mainframe. The sketches didn’t take much time to be made, and here’s how they looked:

    After that I started making 3D sketches with Google Sketchup. I began with the optical sensor section responsible for targeting. The sections had several mounted cameras on it, able to rotate in multiple axes.

    When that section was ready I switched to the body of the module, which had an elliptical platform in its base (since it was necessary for the module to contain its own power generator).

    Barrels were put into a system of magnetic receivers that were supposed to be able to slide around the curved side of the module’s power generator.

    And last but not least – I had to invent an appropriate attachment mechanism for the whole module. It was given a sliding lock to give it mobility in the horizontal axis.

    Finishing the model I copied it into a blank Photoshop layer and gave it some after-effects. I merged the material render from Hypershot and a screenshot from Google Sketchup to enhance the picture without spending much time on it.

    Maybe I’ll give more details on how I designed that module later, but for now let’s move on to the next object.
    Next on my list was a small laser turret. This module was designed to carry a lightweight laser gun. Such a weapon would not be able to saw a light fighter in half, but would still be capable of causing severe damage with its pulsing heat beams. This is the sketch of it:

    Then I returned to the Google Sketchup environment and began modeling a basic concept. I started with the “barrel”. It was given a pair of radiators to exhaust excess heat. The element emitting the laser beam was designed as a spiral-shaped block. When spinning fast enough, it would be able to channel a static beam generated inside the turret.

    The next step was making a box stuffed with electronic devices and a locator mounted on the top of the container

    And finally I made sketch of the turret base that holds the barrel itself. The base is capable to move in vertical and horizontal axis and has wide angle of fire. The laser battery is also installed on it.

    In conclusion I improved the look with small details and painted the dummy in slightly different color tones.

    Then – same as for the AA turret – I remastered it in Photoshop and composed a concept list.

    Now it’s time for another gun.
    his time it is a heavy laser weapon of enormous size. Basically it has something in common with main caliber cannons mounted on nowadays line ships. This gun is obviously supposed to be the main attack unit designed to destroy enemy spacecrafts of similar size. By design, these lasers will be dreadnoughts killers.
    This is how the first sketch of it looked like:

    The weapon has two barrels. A large independent generator is placed between them. So, I began my work in Google SketchUp. I started with one of the barrels.

    After that when the basic shapes of the barrel were ready I began creating the central part - the portion of the gun which contains the generator and all necessary attachments.

    Then the base of the turret was made. I took the smaller laser turret base for beginning, made some changes in the whole module’s design. Added some geometry and small details.

    Next step – adding even more visual features. This is a gun that requires a lot more details to be shown so I had to dig in and make these details.

    Then I improved texture of the shell, put some details to main junctions and ‘voila’ – the gun is ready!

    The final colored picture was decided to be shown later since I started running out of time with the weapon design. This is how the final list looked like

    The last item in the current list of weaponry – rocket launchers. I believed that it should be completely classic: a box with an impressive number of rocket slots on a rotating block.

    Started with a dummy of the main container. Pretty simple.

    In conclusion I made a base that would carry the main portion of the gun

    The final image was designed just like the picture of the previous weapon.

    At this moment the order for dreadnought weaponry is complete. Maybe there will be additional requests in future but now I have to move to the next part – spaceship’s hull design. But this is a different story which I’ll tell later

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    Last edited by KaranaK; March 15th, 2012 at 12:18 PM.
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