art - tech3 and the renovated effects
The Tech3 art team recently wrapped up the last stretch of the fourth variation for the newly discovered Strategic Cruisers. It's been a crazy few months for the team and we've seen people grow from mere juniors into invaluable team members, as well as getting a helping hand from seasoned veterans like Art Director Kári Gunnarsson and Lead Illustrator Börkur Eiríksson. We've overcome many obstacles, fighting the technical restrictions, while also demanding quality and variety from the designs and their execution. Boundaries were pushed, polygons and pixels abused to the max. With time and resources having been at a premium, we truly had pushed it to the limit.
For those interested in the process, the video below depicts it to some degree, from sketches to blockout models to what we call paintovers to finished assets. Making the thousands of man hours put into these seem like mere minutes.
For those wanting to know more about the stats and game design behind the fourth variation, there's a great discussion thread on the subject on the EVE-O forums.
The process had also been an evolving one. We had set out to make the asset production as efficient as possible but we also made sure that we were never sacrificing quality or vision to do so. Great care had been taken to insure all the varying pieces fit together. That's no small task, seeing as we had 243 different ship combinations per race (972 total) with the with the 3 variations available when Apocrypha launched. The 4th variation made available as of Apocrypha 1.1 (April 16th) brings that total up to 4096 different ship combinations. That being said, we can't exclude the possibility that some might find some interesting combinations not specifically to their liking, be it stat wise or visually.
By this time in our minds here in the Art department, we were certain that now close to 6 weeks after release the market would be flooded with Tech3 ships and people would be bored with the 3 variations already in and would be anxiously awaiting the 4th. But it seems the required ventures into Wormhole space, with the accompanying Sleeper encounters as well as the manufacturing involved, has proven to be quite the challenge even for the most seasoned of players.
The experience has been quite the learning process and even though proving painful at times it ultimately yielded the results we were after. Not enough can be said about the efforts and dedication of the art teams involved and it's been an honor to have been part of such a team that took a near impossible task and made it happen.
The effects system was due for an overhaul and we at CCP took that to heart. All the effects were renovated making eve look even greater than ever before. Having said that, the cliché is also true, there is never enough time to polish and iterate on the work. Add on top of that the fact the effects system itself also received an overhaul this time around. These facts left us with a handful of renovated effects after release, needing exactly that. More time and polish. With resources still being scarce we're working from a priority list. On it were f.e. the Warp effect, POS forcefields and the SalvageScan effect. The stargate jump effect was also polished a bit, but mostly timing wise along with some technical defects being solved. Adding new effects alongside polishing our current ones will be an ongoing and evolving process as our artists get a better handle on the new system and figure out new and creative ways to abuse it. All in the noble goal to make EvE the most beautiful (SciFi) MMO out there.
"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson
- CCP jBot