Update 15th May: Created a rain effect and softened the lights on the fighters. Created a camera flythrough to see how the fog a rain feel with motion. Slightly reduced depth of field means that the rain close to camera is nice and soft and less distracting, and the background falls off a little bit as well. I just had to keyframe the camera focus as well as the positions. Feels pretty good. The shadows are a little too harsh, might need to up the fog a little.

Update 14th May – Working on a new scene. Fog is an issue in this engine but I think it will work better in motion.

Update 12th May – Experimenting with keyframed camera and waypoints. Waypoints for the fighters are keyframed, so they fly along a path that uses the movement mechanics I created. The camera is keyframed as well. Needs a bit of work and background elements but the movement feels pretty good.

Update: 11th May – I iterated on my fighter sketches and ended up with something I’m really pleased with. I had a strong idea of the general shape of the ship in profile, that smooth curve combined with hard edges. I always like the look of cars that seem like they could pounce at any moment, like they have kinetic energy even when they’re not moving. I think this ship has that feel. I painted the whole ship yellow using a variety of tones randomly applied using a rectangular brush, which gives it a nice texture, rather than just a solid block of colour. Few simple details here and there give it a bit more character.

Update: I’ve started to sketch out my own shapes rather than riffing on existing art. The forms are ubiquitous in sci-fi design but I think that’s how everyone starts ^_^ Below are some rough sketches, I was just looking to create some forms I had in mind, in particular the smooth curved silhouette combined with hard edges. I found this really difficult to figure out, but eventually got something I liked by blending an elongated spheroid with a long hexagonal prism. I then started cutting into this with more hexagons and added a couple of details.

2020 – I’m using this lockdown time to learn to create 3D scenes in Dreams on the PS4. To learn how to model and light in this engine I’ve been using some Homeworld concept art by extremely talented artist Brennan Massicotte as inspiration.

Learned to animate by developing logic systems that simulate flight mechanics for my fighter model. I’ve set it so that it will follow a moving sphere, point in the right direction as it does so, and roll as it turns along it’s own X axis. Videos below show what I’m describing.

I also developed a system for the fighter to lead its target; it calculates where the target will be by the time its weapon can hit it and aims at that point. This is calculated based on data about the distance to the target, the projectile velocity, positional data and the current velocity of the target. I made the aim point larger than the actual target so the fighter takes imperfect shots; this feels more natural than the fighter just nailing its target every time.

By creating these systems I’ve been able to set up procedural animations. I animated random paths for the target to follow, so the fighter’s movement is all dynamic, rather than keyframed. This means I can look for neat camera angles find interesting moments. I set up a camera that also moves dynamically. I set it so the camera follows the fighter but can’t change it’s momentum as quickly, so it sweeps past dramatically as the fighter changes direction and speed.