The Art Of Jared Pullen, Soulful Savage

The Art Of Jared Pullen, Soulful Savage

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Starship Design: Creating a weathered Beauty...


Mediator Class Battleship: The USSN Brigadoon...


Rough Sketch and Top Elevation of The USSN Brigadoon...


In late 2011 at the end of my contract with KMM on Happy Feet 2, our then publishers proposed to the development team that we put together an RFP, (request for proposal) pitching a brand new title. Should it appeal, our contracts would be extended to a more full time basis, and we'd be brought into the KMM fold as one of their go to teams for their games development arm. With uncertainty looming, one of the lads had a stellar idea that we create a game based on starship command, in which you play the Captain of a crew and the commander of a worn and weary battleship. The overall idea was that the last defending vestages of Humanity were left aboard these tired old battleships, and of those not many remained. Ours was to be called 'The USSN Brigadoon', but there were others too that needed imagineering. I jumped at the chance to do something different.

Interior Treatments: Engineer's Armature Mounted Station...


Early on the design sensibilities became clear to me: the Brigadoon was not to be some sleek and modern cruiser with a myriad of headsup displays, holographic projections and pulsing lights. Rather she needed to feel like she was a touch 'outmoded' amidst a sea of more highly evolved craft. Levers, dials, knobs and switches were the order of the day. Repetition of broad structures would serve well. She was to feel more like an old American submarine and play very much the sanctuary to her crew; the wafer thin layer between them and the cold sucking death of the black beyond. Her lines were to be largely geometric, and her volumes robust and intersecting, as if she were comprised of mismatching modules spot welded together to form a cohesive whole... yet not cumbersome and still possessed of grace... she is a lady after all ;)

Battleship Rough Sketch with Quad-Array Engines...




Here I was looking to discover what could become an iconic shape; a feature that could hold its own and stand out amongst a veritable galaxy of sci-fi ship design. That is a challenging task. There was very little time to develop any of these designs unfortunately; in fact I believe the time from conception phase to finished 3D model was in the vicinity of about 2.5 weeks, props included. It was very much all hands on deck to prepare the pitch for presentation... and in doing so potentially win the right to work on this and call it a living -  and what is more, develop this beauty in her entirety. I knew from the outset that she had to be a fair one... I didn't like the idea of her being a pure destroyer, so I coined the term 'Mediator', because it inferred that she was one who settled disputes rather than created them.

Battleship Rough Sketch...


Battle Frigate Rough Sketch...

For me at the time, creating sketches of militarised craft with an industrial edge was a departure from what I usually did, but one I welcomed as it gave me the chance to get stuck in and try to create something that was not only a touch aggressive, weathered and 'harder edged', but also something a bit special. I didn't want this battleship to feel like some souless shard of welded steel, but rather something that had a human touch, something that in every detail suggested the notion of 'protector', 'defender' and even of a 'home away from home.' She needed to support a crew...

Main Exterior Battery...


Science Officer's Analysis Console...


Details like ladder rungs on the main guns, mounted step panels and non slip surfaces suggested not only scale, but reinforced that this beauty was populated by a Human element. Right down to her rivots, I wanted our battleship to smell of Humanity, imbued with all the character and drama that that implied. She still needed to feel like she was (originally) punched out from the manufacturing assembly line in some far flung shipyard, but through things like weathering, the removal of panels, (to show open access to wires and conduits) hand rails on consoles, and through the minute details of ship interface (like levers, knobs and dials) I tried to give the Brigadoon a bit of soul and not hide the presence of the operator. 


Mediator Class Battleship: The USSN Liberty Bell...




We presented a pack of concept art, a video based on what we had achieved in a real-time demo, and held our collective breaths... would our disparate crew survive the pitch process and remain as a team to work on this project? We entered the battle-zone weapons free and firing... but it was not to be, and we all of us parted ways, ejected into the void of space and hoped the salvage vessels would not be long in coming :) 


Mediator Class Battleship: The USSN Cumberland Sound...




So it is with a glad heart that I can at least share these with you all. While the team that worked on the title that never broke atmo is no longer fully intact, elements of it still persist; like the boys building Satelite Reign and a few others now teaching games dev at Evocca College. They were fun, hectic and hopeful times, and I'm proud to have served, at least a while, with a few good mates aboard the good ship. Here's to the Crew! May it live long and prosper!

Keep on creating :)

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