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Dev Diary #1 – The Player Ship

by on March 21, 2014

We’ve been working really hard to make Stars of Icarus the best game it can be and we’d like to give you an insight into that process. To involve you all a bit more, we will start to provide you with detailed information about some of our core game elements on a regular basis. Today we’ll kick it off with the player ship.

We started with the blockout phase, finding a basic shape. We felt it was important for the ship to have a simple triangular form, in order for the player to have a clear sense of direction. At the same time, we wanted it to be unique in some way. Our number one choice, the military fighter look, worked but it was slightly too generic. However, since we wanted the overall feel to be strictly human (not alien), we took it from there and tried out a couple of design variations. Ultimately we ended up with a parting down the middle and slightly unconventional wings. After a debate about the position of the cockpit, we placed it right at the center, where it fit in naturally.


We wanted to have an authentic look from the start of the design phase, even at pixel-size. Consequently, having a 3D model early on which could be used as inspiration, was crucial. Additionally, one of the key features of Stars of Icarus will be a hangar, where players can upgrade their ship and which will be in 3 dimensions.

We were trying to decide on a color for the ship, while in the 3D phase. Orange and red, though catchy, clashed with our world design, and dark grey was hard to see against the blackness of space. Grey, on the other hand, combined the military look and clear visibility with a plain sort of elegance, so the color was applied to the pixel-version. The orange highlights were inspired by a sci-fi, military look, we have come to expect from big titles in the genre. The number is designed to inform the player of the fact, that he is one of many. This will enforce the military motif.


The model passed through a couple of iterations before completion. First we went for a slightly rough look, like old Star Wars X-Wings. The idea was to make all upgrades clearly visible for the player. As it turned out, they ended up redefining the overall shape of the ship, which was a problem. Additionally, this more clunky and “rough around the edges” design gave a feeling of cheapness, was ultimately too retro for our taste and didn’t really work with the overall game feel.


We decided to use a softer, more elegant design after a fair few discussions. The edges were softened, the Cockpit was rounded to give it more of a fighter-like style and lowered so as to not brake up the general flow of the space craft. The overall changes made it look more aerodynamic, meaning that in-atmosphere flight capability is suggested, which, since it’s a human ship, seems logical. Important details, such as the thrusters, where still visually represented, but they no longer broke up the ships design, flowing with it instead.


The ships overall look reminds us of a stealth plane, which at this point in time is a symbol of advanced technology, so it seems like the obvious choice for inspiration. Along with an overall texture update it was given a used look in order to evoke a battle worn, veteran feel.
The ship is  the players anchor point within the game. Therefore it was immensely important to us, to have it look exactly right for the job. We believe, we have succeeded in that endeavor.

Hungry for more? More Updates and Information will be coming soon, so stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter.


From → Stars of Icarus

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