This post is a transcript of ATV Behind the scenes – Shubin Mining Platform, material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is a Star Citizen fansite and is not officially affiliated with CIG, but we reprint their materials with permission as a service to the community. INN edits our transcripts for the purpose of making the various show participants easier to understand in writing. Enjoy!
ATV Behind the scenes – Shubin Mining Platform originally aired as a segment on Episode 2.13 of Around the Verse.
ATV Behind the scenes: Shubin Mining Platform Transcript
Paul Jones: So welcome back, good to see you guys again. It’s Maple Jones, Art Director for Foundry 42 and here with me is Gary Sanchez again. We’re going to do another little in depth segment about some of the content we’ve been working on the past few months. Today we’re going to cover Shubin, obviously those fans have been around with us a long time will be aware that Shubin mining platform has been part of Squadron 42 probably since we first started. It’s a 6 km long base with huge lasers that mine asteroids tethered to this base.
We’ve done…there’s been quite a lot of concept done on this on the exterior. The exterior is done by Andy Lay, interior by John McCoy and Yan Urshil. One of the problems I’ve had is sometimes through availability I have to switch concept artists, you know, the difficulty for me is basically that sometimes the artist’s style are slightly different or maybe I haven’t given strong enough direction that does happen sometimes, hold up my hands.
Most of the time, it’s decent enough direction the concept artist will understand what I’m driving for and what Chris wants, we arrive at something good. With Shubin, for the interiors we originally started off with two interiors, it was called the small room set and the large room set and it did exactly what they said on the team, one for was for small rooms, one was for large rooms, like hangars, one was for corridors and stuff. You know, we quickly found we were suffering from visual fatigue, there was a lot of repetition.
Orange was our sort of accent colour but it was coming too repetitive and obviously we’re striving to make a triple A experience wanting that depth, we want it, you guys want it, between us…me and Gary..Gary’s been driving a lot of this. We’ve been working hard on taking as Gary would say, the spirit of the John McCoy stuff and kind of advancing it. It’s not on the screen at the moment but originally we started off with a corridor, we’ll get to that in a bit, because corridors, I see them as the backbone of any sort of interior space.
From that everything sort of branches off and it makes it a lot easier if you sort of figure out style guides, colours, all of that good stuff. Like I said, we suffered from visual fatigue, there wasn’t enough variety going. It was kind of cool, I mean the corridor we had and the segments we had were good but after working on the Idris and the stuff Nate and team has done on that, we basically started to head towards more the archetypes so what is it again Gary, the four archetypes, technical….
Gary Sanchez: Technical, habitation….
PJ: So, those are the three we’ve been working on just recently and you’ll see stuff today that possibly Chris won’t have seen yet. It’s not fully signed off, he knows we’re going in this direction, we’ve been really trying to sort of push this as an environment set because this won’t only be used for Shubin there will be other mining places or we may re appropriate it and turn it into like some mobile mining base or something, who knows, but basically we’re trying to create the variety, create the modularity, it will the designers the flexibility to give the fans as much variety as possible basically.
So, in our journey this is sort of basically how we’ve been splitting it up and like I mentioned we had orange everywhere it was orange, orange, orange, orange so we basically you know just simple thing we’ve just been changing up the colour palette. For engineering we’ve basically switched to yellow just to continue, you know, a lot of people associate yellow with engineering it’s more like JCB, it’s like Caterpillar it’s that, it’s that….. sort of industrial feel so that’s kind of our signature colour in one area, I mean Gary you’ve put this together
GS: So, to show that the more industry are part of Shubin is more dark and more like an underground industry, engineering area. So, as per say we took some kind of modern industry we put something more high tech and personal from the game and we also differentiate the two level of Shubin with making some transition props and room to harmonize all the design of all Shubin, but we it was a request for the gameplay to have two different levels so the challenge was to harmonize all the props but we still are still having two atmospheres in the Shubin area so the underground engineering and technical, habitation area are more and more high tech. So, this is the main spirit of….
PJ: So, this basically shows your….
GS: The tools and some…
PJ: Security assets and then basically engineering area. Basically the larger of the amount of colour is your base colour.
GS: It’s based on also on the lighting because we play on two lightings to define atmosphere so more dark light for the whole engineering area and more neutral white light for the technical area.
PJ: So, here these two existing concepts worked on by yan or sean.
GS: I think it’s yan and this one is..
PJ: That’s John McCoy’s, so basically we’re taking a lot more style cues, this is quite industrial but we really liked what Yan had done with the large numbers and the big graphics so really just sort of taking more of that and taking it inside. Also for the technical area getting closer to John McCoy’s original idea and metals, slight orange accents, cool lighting, light greys and a dash of, what have we got there, white…it’s hard to see on this screen at this angle. So, that’s pretty much the route we’ve been taking. So we’ll show you a few more pieces, what have we got…
GS: So, we define each object and each props of the industrial engineering area, like real industrial object but with a touch that is defined by some materials, to break with some, too much old industrial code, so we keep some carbon fiber to define the pipes, to define some tools, so there is also all the graphics,
PJ: And also, just pop back, in the line work as well you know, one of the original sort of like ideas I guess I had with this set was there was always to be a small amount of radius on the objects, it wasn’t to be super harsh. Angles, ninety degrees or split you know, harsh, folds in metal whatever, there was always going to be a slight radius, a softness, so Gary’s kept that in mind.
GS: So we research the, we keep the industrial code of the more modern industry existing from our days, even for the graphic stuff like, this is from coming from NASA and we modify to see what kind of sign it’s research about what kind of sign we can translate to the industry and engineering area to have an immersive feeling. So we define some structural elements
PJ: Yeah, because the Shuban cardas, always had this feeling of it was essentially an exoskeleton cage, it was fully modular, and from that either interiors or exteriors were bolted on to this cage. But we were finding with the original stuff that it wasn’t coming out real enough, like it was still looking like a game. It was a well-rendered game, it looked good but it needed more fidelity
GS: Yes, and we would like to put a little bit also further the technology of process and manufacturing metal, so we try to go on the next step after pressed metal, we wanted something more high-tech, but keeping the feeling of old mining industry
PJ: Yeah, because Shubin is, you know it’s, it’s sort of a floating factory, but it is high-tech, you know, there’s a lot of high tech equipment that’s being used on the exterior, the exterior a little more high-tech than we have the interiors, so it’s kind of just again what I’d call second round concept. Basically you know Gary’s doing an awesome job of harmonizing it, of you know, bringing everything into line, making it feel coherent and you know, you’ll see as we go along that basically artists you know, it’s not paint by numbers, you know there’s still a certain creativity involved, but you know, hopefully we will advance on a lot of questions that they may get stuck on.
GS: So we begin to introduce some hydraulic jack systems that will be like paraseismic absorbers, so
PJ: Kind of like a shock absorber isn’t it? yeah
GS: Yeah, to show that even just to have pressed metal is to go further, to say okay we have some structural high-tech equipment that will define and keep the spirit of mining industry, but going further with the modern technology that exists from our old days, or the dirty look like innovation in our old days for biggest building. So we try to redefine some props and make the hull identity with some props, some security barriers, here we begin to see also, we work a lot with some mood boards, to see what is the new technology from our days, how we can translate it, how we can go a little bit further,
PJ: And this has all come about because I was falling this, you know the archetypes, you know there would have already been a mood board originally, but this is sort of what we call second round mood board, you know, it’s an advancement and really just helps us figure out what our direction, what’s important, what are the key what are the key things when we’re working in this area.
GS: So there is the texture of the UI, all the small elements that will make some reason, and break a little bit the repetitive things into corridors, so we try to to make some of them into all these parts and with some research through the mood board.
PJ: So what we have here is an engineering corridor. This is built by the artists here and you can see that it’s in a pretty good solid state. Floors, walls, ceilings, supports, but you know, it’s at this stage where you know, often you know we need to take it further so you know, again we’ll go to a second round pass of concept. And you know, Gary’s been the master of this, of like sort of taking it and really working up the detail you know, it’s a lot more important these days for us to define the materials you know in the past it used to be that, I think that the artist had a lot more leeway with it in the sense, they would have a concept image and you would leave it up to the artists to build the material and oft they would go, here we’re a lot more, we’re trying to define a lot more, you know, obviously we’ve got a lot of things to worry about, memory budgets and streaming and you know, not duplicating textures and just being optimal.
And this is all part of the process, you know, is defining materials, and you know, providing a library for this set so the artist can choose from whatever it is for example, say 15 materials like, okay I know it’s this brush matte, or it’s this polished plastic, or it’s this hexagonal whatever it is. And you know, it’s all about streamlining the process basically. We obviously have a lot of work to do for Squadron and for Star Citizen, and anything we can do to sort of cut down on iteration time, is as good as possible you know.
We’re obviously, we’ve all got a lot of experience, but you know Star Citizen I think has tested everybody, and you know, we are developing new techniques constantly as we go along, same for the interiors, the ships have had, are ahead of environments in a way in terms of the development, you know, environments definitely are on track now, we now just have to start building final arts, or getting to that point, but that being said. from this we’ll flick over to something we did earlier, not that one, not that one, one second, this one. And so here, this is basically what we’ve been working on in terms of just you know, tightening up the feel basically, really sort of pushing that high-tech technical feel of Shubin, so you’re almost like inside a swiss watch. It’s… there’s a lot of stuff that’s been added in this image I mean, Gary, feel free to jump in and give us a little more info about the kind of things you’ve been working on in this image…
GS: Yeah, we found some interesting with the 3D environment and asked an artist to make some textures, that I take like that for the pipes. Also to have some small components around these kinds of pipes that gives some more high tech feeling, all these kinds of details around the door and changing also the pattern into something more modern. We keep so the industrial code of the industry, but we’re trying to put it a little bit further with some high-tech feeling through the materials, through small components, and a walk on lighting too to have this underground spirit for Shubin, and generating our…
PJ: So for you know, for the eagle-eyed people out there, you’ve probably noticed this sort of rear section of this image, of this corridor, is a little bit pasted in. This is, you know, what often happens is that Gary or you know, concept artists will produce an image, and it might not be quite what I’m after, so I’ll draw all over their work or, you know, photoshop some elements in that I’m happy with. Of course, my time is quite limited, so it’s generally done quite swiftly but it, you know, it’s really for me it’s about getting the direction across basically of what I want as fast as possible. As you all know I’m not just working on interiors, it’s ships, it’s the full shebang. But here it’s you know, again, it’s just sort of, this is essentially a toilet block. This’ll be part of developing the Shubin believability. You want toilet blocks, kitchens, you want vending machines or, depending on what the area is, chances are this is sort of coming out of some industrial area and coming into a break room, you’ve got certain highlights of, actually that is an exit figure, it should be really a toilet figure, but, and then we’ve also got some light, some essentially chinese text there, but that just sort of represents a direction that we’re sort of investigating in terms of having english and some kind of iconography or maybe another language basically, so we’re going to work with the writers more on that to just figure out how we get that dual layer, but again it sort of lends itself to that. You’re in high-tech, it’s advanced, multiple languages, and so these are the things we’re kind of working with, again we’re sort of figuring out lighting, mood, materials,
GS: reiterating through decals, to know how all the Shubin area has been constructed, so we know through the decals where is a part that has been conceived in the first part of the construction, and how it has been implemented shoe by shoe, so for having more storytelling
PJ: So obviously we’ll try our best in this session not to give away any spoilers, so we’ll just be concentrating on sort of the theory behind the visuals that we’ve been creating. We have like a transit hub, this is not giving any of the story away, but it is, it’s an important room for many reasons really, because it helped define the architecture. It’s also helping define the large room architecture, and so Gary’s been working heavily on this as you can tell so it kind of looks like a madman, but when you zoom in, everything’s got a good theory which Gary can give you a bit more info about.
GS: So the main thing, it’s before going too much into art work with atmospheric feeling and things like that, we are trying to give some immersive feeling to the room, like it has been manufactured for real into the game, through some components and through a real manufacturer conception. So we were inspired with Paul about hydraulic system, that are like shock absorbers…
PJ: So we’re kind of thinking as if all the interior spaces essentially have shock absorbing system, so say Shubin, and I mean it’s all theoretical right, but it ties into the fiction of the world, so say Shubin facility gets hit by a large asteroid, every segment has its own internal shock absorption, so theoretically they’d reduce damage. In reality, it makes for good visuals you know,
GS: Yeah, it helps to make something looking interesting between some big industrial element, with some high tech textures on it, so we are keeping the code of industrial things but with some conceptual engineering component, so this is what could be interesting in this kind of large room, to play with scale on different industrial component. And we try to define before the artwork what will be the place of each manufactured component, if it’s fitting with the gameplay and all this kind of harmonization, before going too far on art, and then we can begin to make the artwork.
PJ: This is all, this is all based off whitebox we’ve had from the design department, so you know, we already know the sort of spacing and everything works for AI and gameplay etc… so it’s really about sort of how do we make this huge space interesting visually, how do you make it striking. But also still keep that mechanical, high-tech feel.
GS: So here, it’s a preview of the foyer, so where we can see some holo tables, some scanner parts, industrial hydraulic systems, for the transit area, with nothing too much on it. But the idea was to play with some industrial component, with some high-tech feeling and some small part of this engineering area.
PJ: What else have we got. So this, you know, depending on various areas that you’re in you’ll go through various security terminals or scanners, so again, this is coming up as sort of various props. These aren’t fully signed off but, the feel of them, design of them, the complexity of them, this is something that maybe you know, you stand in the middle of and it rotates around you and scans you. You have a couple of these in a row, so, be sort of like security or immigration, it’s got that kind of feel. If we move on to another area…
GS: So, here it’s more the feeling of technical and habitation area. We wanted to give so we refine some components of the engineering area but conflate with other colour codes and materials code,
PJ: So yeah, this is very similar to what we’ve already seen. It’s, from a sort of yellow we’ve got to a white, or a light grey, but now we’re in the technical area, the habitation area, you know we’re going to more plaid and interior basically, a little more, a little less industrial, a little less hostile, but again, still riffing off on this sort of exoskeleton scade, cage and then everything bolting on to it or into it so Gary is basically worked on the whole series of what do you call them? Variations, obviously we don’t just want a long corridor of the same panel, basically we’ve given the artists and you’ll see here a whole tonne of variations they can pick from and depending on what the Designers want to do in the level we’ll be able to sort of influence it with the pieces of art that we throw in.
GS: So we’ve seen the technical habitation so remembering some of the industry feeling that we found on the Engineering area so we can see sometimes on some wall some pipes appearing for maybe some control or checking in. So we have also some data and some more computer feeling also to have something more like a real technical area that combine industrial but also more advanced feeling. We have also this kind of panel that maybe helping advertising in Habitation Area so we have all this UI and graphics things that can contribute to give the feeling to be in a real Habitation Area
PJ: This isn’t our so this will be replaces to something
GS: Yes, it’s inspired by something existing but after the Graphic Artist will do also our own advertising keeping with Star Citizen spirit but as a first loop of the process we use some graphical image that seduce us then to modify it but its, giving the feeling of
PJ: It’d be nice to have like, it’d be nice to have. Obviously you’re going to have characters walking around but we want to go for the, we want. Any good game environment you want to have believability, you want to have multi layered reeds, so it’s not just the environment it’s effects, it’s advertising whatever it is. We’ll be able to could that we come out with some kind of branding that Shubin uses or some kind of company that they always use for their advertising so it’s always, could be always like could be a bit like work harder or more rocks more whatever it is more money kind of thing so we’ll be able to inject an extra level of personality to the environment.
GS: We have also created some researchable breaking the rhythm of the repetition corridor with creating some area that look totally different so there is some panel like Emergency or things like that, that could make or break into corridors.
PJ: Do you have, do you have that sheet where you got about eight, eight… ok we’ll get to that..
GS: So the final source some bays are for the wall panel and making some research how it could work what we can find graphically and also what kind of filament we can plug on this wall and so you see a little bit of the variation we have shown to you, there is more but we show an extract here
PJ: Pardon? What was that?
GS: So you can see here that, it’s essentially the same cross section but we’re always, we’re always looking to build on top of that and ultimately we’ll be able to build additional, here it’s essentially it’s a flat wall, not a flat wall but it’s linear through just swapping it out certain areas we’ll be able to push in or push out or add framework or create more interest but as an initial pass the Artist will build these block them out throw them in, see how it feels. But again they’ve got a good direction so we won’t be losing time on them trying to figure out materials or what the style guide is it’s all pretty clear so theoretically iteration should be a lot faster. This is an idea for breaking, obviously this is similar to what we saw on previous image except they were yellow but this huge shock absorber it’s punching through this floor piece and you’re going from a single to a double aim and just creating visual interest it’s not gameplay related it’s just for us, we want this to be an interesting place to walk around.
PJ: So we create all sorts of border like that, trying to define what would be the panel, the graphics thing, the area first globe but it helps to creating the different panel and different world variation so we work like that for the manufacturer of spaceship where we define the split line and things like that we do the same for environment.
GS: Yeah we could go on forever there’s a lot of content for Shubin. We’ve got quite a bit more to develop on this, but this gives you a good insight into what Gary’s been doing and where we’ve been pushing it. We hope you guys like it, thanks for watching.