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#1 Deimos

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 01:27 PM

Are we going to design ufo's models ourselves? I ask because if we are we need to be concerned with the tactical challenge they are going to represent. I'm thinking of how the player will approach each type of ufo in the battlescape. Everyone has their faveourite type, mine is the medium scout because of the holding room on the right the aliens make a beeline for and the problem it presents for flushing them out. Ok the other types of ship are fun too but the MS does it for me :)

I think any ship or tech design we do should firstly represent the job it's going to do and the tactical challenge it presents to the player and once we got that nailed, turn to its looks. Sort of a function over form to begin with and then concentrate on the form.

Not to put the aesthetic down, quite the opposite the ufo's have got to look amazing as they represent the shiny new alien tech the players will want to get their hands on :)

I don't know how everyone else feels about this, and it's something we're going to have to look into along with the backstory of how ufo design fits into the story. Anyway to fire off the discussion here's a concept of a medium scout using Breunor's pentagons :)

I apologise the design isn't to scale or even the correct dimensions, it was just a quick sketch :)

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#2 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 02:04 PM

I'd like to see all the scouts on legs. then they'd be more like 50's Hollywood UFO's!

#3 Breunor

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 02:59 PM

I agree that the function should define the form, as aerodynamics aren't much of an issue for UFOs IMO. The pentagon/hexagon discussion was actually in repect to the wall sections rather than floor plan, but it could be used there as well. As you all know, the original used rectangle chunks of wall for everything for convenience, and you had box-like UFOs. Using a modified geosphere for the outer shell would allow for a much different look, and technically it's the strongest, most efficient structure on the planet (currently!).

I'm fiddling with some ideas, starting first with form, but I think function is better to start. The old ships had useless spots that made little sense. Here's a shot showing how the triangles go together, using triangles will help reduce the triangle count as well :huh?: :idea:

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#4 mikker

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Posted 09 April 2003 - 10:43 AM

Here is a quite small harvester, whith plenty of storage room for the finnished product of the chop-off saw machine.


Also has 2 plasma cannons :P :P :P

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Posted 09 April 2003 - 11:03 AM

Oh I -really- like that geodesic thing, there must be a way to make it work. :D

I'll talk to one of the old design guys and see if he can remember how and why they designed UFOs in any particular way...

It's like the original alien AI, people attribut all sorts of intelligence to it that JUST AINT THERE. :alienlol:

#6 Breunor

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Posted 09 April 2003 - 01:09 PM

Here's a quick mock-up of a UFO using the geosphere triangle system, based off of Deimos' and Mikker's ideas. It looks like a Nintendo version of some aquatic animal, so I can see this moving underwater as well. The front wing stubs would house weapons of some sort, while the rear studs would be storage and house any landing gear/thrust vectoring/control surfaces. The isometric shot shows the front viewports, while to top view has interior walls in red and doors in blue. That interior stuff isn't there in reality. I was able to turn edges in the rear to provide a rectangle opening for a hatch, the same would work for interior walls. This shot is flat shaded to show the surfaces, it's smoother than that when rendered of course. If anybody wants this to play with, I'll email it to them, can also email the geosphere if your particular 3D app doesn't have that.

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#7 Breunor

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Posted 09 April 2003 - 01:18 PM

Also as Stewart mentioned, we could include landing gear. Say if the UFO is intercepted and shot down, the gear is still tucked in those rear stubs, but if you catch it after it's landed a different model is used which has the gear extended. The hatch could be flipped down if the gear is in use as well. I have a feeling that 50' gear may be bit TOO extreme! :alienlol:

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Posted 09 April 2003 - 01:40 PM

hehe it's nearly like the triangle ufo that gets so many "real life sightings" ;)

just make the pods a little smaller.

Hey, that's an idea, there must be a site somewhere full of "real life" ufo shapes.




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Posted 09 April 2003 - 01:52 PM

http://www.zerotime.com/ufo/shapes/


Lots of domes and shperes. Of course the insides can be arranged any way you like to give a particular strategy.

#10 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 09 April 2003 - 02:06 PM

Drew, when the original XCOM was being developed was there a lot of reasearch into the actual UFO Lore for things like UFOs and the races?

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Posted 09 April 2003 - 02:10 PM

Also as Stewart mentioned, we could include landing gear. Say if the UFO is intercepted and shot down, the gear is still tucked in those rear stubs, but if you catch it after it's landed a different model is used which has the gear extended. The hatch could be flipped down if the gear is in use as well.  I have a feeling that 50' gear may be bit TOO extreme! :alienlol:

When shot down the UFO could be sitting at a 45 angle and partially dug into the earth, or something. Well @ least for v1.0+.

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 12:37 AM

Ufo lore:

Yes, a fair amount. I've not got any of it now, but "the truth is out there" - on the web at least.

The Greys and etherials were straight out of "eye witness accounts".

The genetic tampering thing (mutons, cryssallids etc) was an extension of the experimentation theme of a lot of the "abduction culture." (also from the whole cattle mutilation thing of course).

Alliance had a couple of set-pieces lifted more or less straight put of the x-files :)

We should probably put the Greys in silver suits seeing as we're giving them a bit of a facelift. In fact we should go and do some research and see what's spooky in the current world of alien interactions with humans :D

time for a bit more google, be warned tho, there will be TONS of data.

#13 Breunor

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 06:23 AM

I had thought about putting the UFO down at an angle, all we have to do is tilt the model a little and set its Z axis origin a little below ground level. When it's imported into the battlescape it should be sitting somewhat below ground, but my question would be whether the software can "cut out" the ground it needs to for this. If it can, we can then we can also make buildings with basements, or even sewers in terror sites.

#14 Deimos

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 06:53 AM

Here's a quick mock-up of a UFO using the geosphere triangle system, based off of Deimos' and Mikker's ideas.

Oh sweetness and light, that is one very cool looking ufo. I really like the design styling, for the landing pods does anyone remember space 1999? (now showing how old I am) The Eagle lander craft had very distinctive landing feet which I think would look pretty cool in our ufo's.

The ufo looks a little like a sectoid head as well if you remove the weapon pods.

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#15 mikker

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 07:18 AM

does anyone remember space 1999? (now showing how old I am)

hehe...you are more then 4 years old?


That acturly looks more like an avenger, then an UFO.

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#16 mikker

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 07:21 AM

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battleships comming up.

Also, thanks that you liked my idea.

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#17 Deimos

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 07:44 AM

does anyone remember space 1999? (now showing how old I am)

hehe...you are more then 4 years old?


That acturly looks more like an avenger, then an UFO.

Actually I never even thought about that, Eagle=Avenger hmm. A missile pod on either side, a judicious bit of aerodynamicizing (sp?) and it might just work. The other plus is there are plenty of free models in 3ds format of it to play with around on the net.

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 07:47 AM

does anyone remember space 1999? (now showing how old I am)

hehe...you are more then 4 years old?


That acturly looks more like an avenger, then an UFO.

Actually I never even thought about that, Eagle=Avenger hmm. A missile pod on either side, a judicious bit of aerodynamicizing (sp?) and it might just work. The other plus is there are plenty of free models in 3ds format of it to play with around on the net.

I LOVE that design. It was always one of my favorites, partly because it looked so feasable.

It would make a great avenger.

#19 Deimos

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 07:54 AM

I forgot to menion this, Maverick and I were talking about colouration of UFO's as I was watching Star wars ep2 with all the pretty chrome ships I said it might be cool to have our ufos in chrome. But the alloys are alien so chrome would be a bit tacky so we decided using a metallic texture like irridium (for those that don't know what it looks like take a look at Oakley shades and the paint job on a TVR cerbera) or maybe Niobium. Irridium is the lighter grey of the two, being nearer to titainium in colour. Niobium is closer to graphite in shading but much more reflective. Maybe insead of the silver suits for sectoids they could wear something made from one of the above?

#20 red knight

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 11:33 AM

Also as Stewart mentioned, we could include landing gear. Say if the UFO is intercepted and shot down, the gear is still tucked in those rear stubs, but if you catch it after it's landed a different model is used which has the gear extended. The hatch could be flipped down if the gear is in use as well.  I have a feeling that 50' gear may be bit TOO extreme! :alienlol:

When shot down the UFO could be sitting at a 45 angle and partially dug into the earth, or something. Well @ least for v1.0+.

The most important thing here is not the problem of put it in that way... special crafted code can do a lot of things (thats why it is special)... but the change in gameplay will be huge.... i was thinking instead of tilt them... we can think to make a crash land marking (in the direction where the ufo crashes) .... But that is more whishy...

Have you ever though from the game mechanics point of view, if the hatch and footed ufos (dont know how to say it in english) are a good idea??? The old scheme works cause you always have doors to enter... with hatchs if you crash lands, from where you gonna enter the ship?....

Just my 2 cents to the discussion..

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#21 mikker

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 11:58 AM

have any pics of the metals?


BTW i finnished the BS. What do you think? I did not use weapons, how ever, but you could change some of the interior to make room. They could perhaps be in the first floor?

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#22 Breunor

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 11:59 AM

If the ufo crashes and is a bit embedded in the ground, it would likely be nose-first. This shot shows an updated nintendo/starfish o death ufo :D The rear view shows the hatch, which would swing open using a hinge at the bottom. If the ship has landed normally and is up on the landing gear, the hatch swings down to an angle and acts as a small ramp. If the ship has crashed, the door swings down and lays flat on the ground. Even if the ship's sticking out of the ground some at an angle, the door just swings down until it touches the ground. You could then have levitating lifts within the ship where you need them. I'll play with this design some more to make the hull into wall sections and also put some interior walls in it. It needs more faces right now. I'll also make some landing gear for it. Does anybody have some suggestions for modifying this design?

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#23 Breunor

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 12:01 PM

btw, this is only for a small scout ship, I have some thoughts for larger ones that I'll play with.

#24 mikker

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 12:44 PM

I think the UFOs should look more "squared". Not so soft on the edges.

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#25 Deimos

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 03:53 PM

I think the UFOs should look more "squared". Not so soft on the edges.

I'm gonna disagree with you on that one :) I think that ufo's should be more organic. If for no other reason it differenciates design styles between human craft and alien. Ufo's are designed for travelling long distances in a short time (in this case Mars to Earth) and I think they should look fast, sleek and polished to minimise drag. I know there's no atmosphere in space but there is matter which causes drag.

http://www.xinamarie...oducts/irid.htm
http://einstein.stan...ata/stepq2.html
http://www.chemsoc.o...elements/pages/ data/iridium_data.html
http://www.chemsoc.o...obium_data.html
http://www.kentbicyc...talog/97055.jpg

These are examples of Iridium and Niobium. Think of oil on water and the rainbow pattern it creates and you're getting close to the gorgeous effect these metals have, similar in effect to the last link picture. The chemsoc website has got pics of quite a few other elements as well.

In the pic below, look at the bottom right side at the rainbow effect. That usually happens when you move and you get the striking colour change. It really is quite beatiful to see it happen.

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#26 Breunor

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 06:13 PM

NIOBIUM! I like it! That would look _very_ nice on a hull. I also like the smoother look over lots of sharp edges. A critical part of space travel IMO would be entering the planet's atmosphere. The smoother the air flow is the less chance of a problem I think. Perhaps on larger alien buildings you could use the more angular look similar to the shot of the house above (which I did not do, btw). I was also pondering an idea about a modular system for space ships. If you took that scout or some other small craft, and connected it to a larger hull below and booster engines off the sides, you'd have a harvester. It lands in a remote spot, the scout detaches and makes its rounds, returning with what it finds to deposit it in the main hull. Or the scout can act as a command bridge on a battleship. As the big ship enters its kill zone, the scout detaches and scouts out targets using it better maneuvering and speed. A tactical bridge would be on the main hull for combat maneuvers if the scout was away during combat. I don't know if any of this has relevance, but I figured I'd spit it out there anyway.

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 05:02 AM

we could prolly fake the niobium look with some sort of dynamic vertex tinting and an environment nmap.

Like the modular UFO idea

I gotta say I'm not too keen on the more spiky ufo, that's just me mind. rounded is goood, "biomechanical" has been done to death tho.

#28 mikker

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 06:30 AM

nice pics there.

Biomechanical would not just, but would optain alot more air of speed then a triangle.

Let me show you:

] Just a flat edge. Do not remove any of the air in impact with them at all. We should proberly avoid this in the case of dynamics.

) your "Biomech". It will remove it, but in super sonic travel, it rams them more then it can expose them.

> the perfect shape: The air cannot rest on it: it eiter go to one way, or the other.



But as a player, i really do not care if the UFOs are dynamic or not: they just have to be pretty. Good pictures, and animation, and you can get very long without planning such small details as dynamics.

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 07:08 AM

nah. by biomechanical I meant like "alien" or "farscape" biological ship with ribs etc.

blobby looking craft are fine, but no ribs ok?

i'll knock up a quick sketck of the battleship when I fave a spare few mins to show you what I mean.

#30 Deimos

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 09:46 AM

Yeah I'd agree, though farscape 'was' one of the best scifi shows period, it doens't fit into xenocide's overall feel. What i meant when I said organic was the shape of the craft mimics somehting found in nature. Still made by technological means but copies the graceful aerodynamics found in nature.

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 10:43 AM

Yah. I know what you mean. I still like the idea of facets tho, we could get nice lighting on that, especially with an iridescent surface.. It should be possible to combine the two.

For instance if it was a plain saucer shape it would be a flattened geodesic sphere rather than slick and smooth.

It'd still be more aerodynamic than an F-117a which need's it computers just to stay in the air.

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 10:58 AM

So a lil alien fighter might look like this.

(not big enough for a real mission but to illustrate. -post-it notes strike again.)

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#33 Breunor

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 02:46 PM

The pointy areas in the front of the ship are there primarily to represent the idea of two weapons posted towards the beginning of the thread. The actual ship stubs would be much shorter, just enough to house the weapon and forward landing gear. The rear stubs were for housing landing gear as well. The overall shape was based around that triangle partly because when in transport, lots of ships could be stored together with that similar shape. I sort of liked the angular look as it reminded me of an insect's head. Like inSectoid, right? The angled look wouldn't necessarily be inferior to totally smooth and aerodynamic, and you'd end up with lots of tear-drop shaped ships in that case. And there was some consensus so far on function guiding form.

I'll try to put pencil to paper in the future to show the modular design stuff, that should be scary! :unsure:

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Posted 12 April 2003 - 04:05 AM

Yah it think you are right. the shape would work better if the stubs were a bit shorter and less tall.
more rounded/stubby like big muscles sticking out.

The weapons could stick out of the pods and it would look more aggressive. It would also make it a bit more triangular and obvious as a shape.

The pods could curve in like an insect jaws, or is that getting a bit too ID4?

Just as a matter of interest how does it look with the smoothing turned off? I know I'm goin on about the triangular thing a lot but I've not seen anyone do that in any game and I know it could look really cool.

#35 mikker

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Posted 12 April 2003 - 01:59 PM

I'd drew some more, if i were drewid :D


cool design. Show it to the NASA guys, and you have a high-tech spaceship in NO time!

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#36 Deimos

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Posted 12 April 2003 - 04:31 PM

That is one cool looking ship. It's got a flight of the navigator thing going on :)

It's interesting because I drew hover bikes in a similar style when I was younger. Not just bikes, all kinds of traffic. Here's a couple of examples, please remember these were sketches drawn back in the 80's when I was bored at school.

#37 Deimos

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Posted 12 April 2003 - 04:32 PM

No.2

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Posted 13 April 2003 - 03:09 AM

i've been looking at anti-gravity and inertia cancelling drive systems on t' web. Having flat panels all over the craft would be an advantage I reckon. I've got to go out now but I'll explain later :-)

I like the second ship. we can use that in a modified for I reckon. I WILL have a go at enclosing the battleship floor plan l8r in a similar style.

#39 Breunor

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Posted 13 April 2003 - 08:53 PM

Hey Drewid, to get an idea of the angled/no smoothing look check out the shot towards the beginning of the thread. It was done with flat shading, you can see the various angles on it. It will be nice to get back to doing this, just finished installing a water garden, stone edging, trees and plants over the weekend. All I need is some computer gaming to smooth out those aching muscles! :D

Should we try designing several different versions of the same type of ship-scout, battleship, etc-depending on what alien species are in the scene? Maybe snakemen equivalents have a different ship compared to Sectoid equivalents? Assuming I have little to no work to do this week ;) I will try making a harvester using the scout as a bridge to show the modular style.

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 03:58 AM

Yah I see it. mmmmmm :)

I prefer the stubs on that one. I have to say. Still think they should have a bit less height tho. How would somewhere in between look?

more pointy than 1 but less than 2. maybe the point has a 60 degree angle rather than a 30?

#41 Breunor

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 07:52 AM

Now that I'm back at work I've got time to do this stuff again! :alienlol: Here's an updated shot of the scout in flat shaded mode. I prefer the wings on it, as I was going to use them as a mounting point for the modular design. I thought about wings that curved down some, and it would hug the hull of whatever it's attached to, I'll work on that variant. I'll also post a delta wing version of the scout in a second for comparison. I made a generic cannon barrel to put in this model, so the front stubs should be more agreeable now :D

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#42 Breunor

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 07:56 AM

Here's the delta wing version, also flat shaded:

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#43 Deimos

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 08:31 AM

I don't know what it is about delta wing craft, but they look so much cooler. :)

#44 Breunor

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 10:10 AM

I modified the wings on the scout (sorry Deimos, wasn't the delta design, but that was a 50/50 choice :D ) so that it could be attached to a generic container for a harvester design. Mind you, the container is by no means an attempt at anything other than a placeholder for the scout/bridge. The wireframe shows the original wing layout versus the modified one. This could be used for the regular scout, only needing a langing gear in the front. It could be missing the gear (and thus tilting forward) at a crash site. The arch-winged scout reminds me of a Klingon bird of prey from the front angle...

I was also considering a standard disc shaped container for this as well, and could then use the original flat wing scout on top of it. If we want an efficient design (which they would probably stick to), the disc is more efficient than a cylinder container. I'll try a disc with the delta wing scout on top next.

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#45 Lambers

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 11:03 AM

Wow, looking great guys! I go away for a week cause I get into SWG beta and you guys have alien spaceships done ;) I have been working mostly on terro site junk (boxes, mailboxes, dumpsters...) but I have donw some UFO components (alien entertainment, power source...) Anyway I'll probably be a little less active on the models now that Star Wars Galaxies is distracting me. I work on them everyday a little, I'll keep checking back, and I'm getting off topic here....

I like the house done with triangles, I think basing the alien structers off of that house would be very kewl, look better than the origional.

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 02:30 PM

I like the inverted wing-tips. (Angel Interceptors - Captain Scarlet)


These 3d "sketches" are really starting to take shape. I was thinking back and I seem to remember that the main reason that all the ships were octagonal based was that we couldn't do saucers :D
But it did mean that all the different ships had an obvious common ancestry.

I was thinking that we need to keep some design features common to all ships. be it viewport shapes or wall shapes or whatever. I'm also thinking we need to bring something (for want of a better word) unhuman. the iridium surface and the facets is a very good start but I can't help thinking we are missing something, if only I could think of it :blink: I don't know what, but throw some ideas in and we'll see what sticks.

(bangs head on desk a couple of times to jump-start brain).

#47 Breunor

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 02:39 PM

Let us know what you've done Lambers, and we'll add it to the list. Here's another harvester idea, using a 2 story disc for the container and a flat delta wing scout. You get smooth shaded, flat shaded and wireframe in this one. Also included a single story version of the disc, its profile is a bit more "flying saucer" in style. Which path do people think it should take? Flat disc or longer container? Should there be external engine mounts, or is it a given that the alien power source is tucked away in the hull? I can modify the scout's wings to include some anti-grav pads as mentioned earlier, and put some more in the back as thrust. The same could be done for the main container. Should there be any wings/control surfaces on the main container?

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 03:30 PM

HA HA I was in the middle of doing a sketch of the Battleship. I kind of like it like that. but building id would be tricky, or at least time consuming.

Hey RK can we afford to have the ufos double skinned. It would give ttthe illusion of wall thickness when we blow a hole in it. Bit wasteful though.

Bruenor. I've found I get better results on the spheres if I use ordinary L spheres (not geospheres), and rotate every other row of verts around a bit. (halfway between ther non-rotated verts if you see what I mean).

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#49 Breunor

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 03:59 PM

I see what you're saying about the sphere Drewid. I was having an annoying time squashing those verts on top to make a flat surface, your version is a lot easier. That shot looks like saturation bombing with nukes! Once you have the tops as flat as you want, I guess you add in verts to section it off into sectioned roofing?

#50 Guest_drewid_*

Guest_drewid_*
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Posted 14 April 2003 - 04:15 PM

HA HA - INCOMING...

Yah I tried all the variants of Sphere that Max produces and this was the least painful :bash:

Not sure what you mean about the sectional roofing? They are basic Max L-Shperes with the top few rows squashed. if fact we could weld a few to save a few polys.

Regards
-Drewid