From X-Wings to the Millennium Falcon, Star Destroyers to Tie Fighters, they’re some of the most iconic vehicles of a generation (or two!). Imagine, then, how it must feel to be one of the lucky bastards at BioWare – working on the upcoming Old Republic MMO – who gets to design new ones for a living.
BioWare artists Ryan Dening and Christopher Reeves have shed light on the surprisingly exhaustive process that goes into contributing to Star Wars’ expanded universe, revealing that when it comes to the ships in this game, the egg definitely comes before the chicken.
“The first stage for all the player ships was a document from the design team that contained the gameplay goals for the ships and listed all the rooms and access points that each needed”, he says.
From there, the artists could get to work, drawing on inspiration as diverse as James Bond’s Aston Martins to an SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance jet.
Once a ship is sketched up, it has to be built as an in-game asset, the team approaching the task much like you would the building of a real ship: the hull comes first, then once the outside is done, you model each room on the inside, one at a time.
It’s fascinating to see the creative struggles going on here. On the one hand, this is 2011, and there are certain fashions and trends to be had in the design of starships. On the other, this is a Star Wars game, and a prequel at that, so not only are there influences from the classic trilogy at play but also from the prequels as well.
It’s a good read if you dig game and/or art design, but an even better one if, like me, you couldn’t get enough of cut-away drawings of spaceships when you were a kid.
Studio Insider – Starship Creation [BioWare]