As part of my job at Imperial College London, I am currently developing a 3D social world to be used in the maintenance stage of a weight-loss intervention programme aimed at young children. The brief called for an engaging spaceship environment within which the children can interact. The final product will be used in a research project.
All images are Copyright Imperial College London.
Seen above, are some early spaceship prototypes followed by the final design. I found it interesting to thematically examine the middle-ground between seafaring and space travel, thus creating something unusual yet familiar. The sea vessel aspect of the design was largely inspired by Queen Anne’s Revenge, a pirate flagship captained by Edward Teach (better known as Blackbeard). In place of sails, are solar panel arrays.
Here we can see the interior of the spaceship as it appears in Unity. The overall aesthetic needs fine-tuning, mainly by improvements to my custom shaders.
The primary shader I have written uses a posterisation algorithm to create a dramatic contrast on reflective surfaces. More specifically, specularity is mapped to 8 discrete values rather than being the function of a linear gradient. This effect looks good on metallic/glossy surfaces whose normal maps contain medium-to-large surface detail, but on more noisy metallic surfaces, and matted surfaces, it can produce a less visually harmonious result.
Finally, we have here, a preview of some of the spaceship’s textures. The art-style partly draws from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, one of my favourite stylised games!