So during our summer of dev, we have been formulating ways to express alien cultures through their architecture. There are seven dominant cultures in the galaxy we are creating (alas, we will dive deeper into their nuances in further posts). So for now, we’re talking ‘tecture (architecture).
One of the biggest challenges in imagining a culture is finding how symbolic representations, from colors to ornamentation to actual building designs, express identity. I found it’s best to think in terms of shapes. Specifically, finding ways to emphasize a certain shape in a building’s style and see what forms take hold. If I like something I stumbled onto, I may use that as a basis for many of the other buildings within that culture. The ChimCham culture, for examples, has a heavy emphasis on the crescent as a symbol and shape because the culture pretty much fetishizes the letter C. Take a look at some smaller village houses and then some larger city buildings/businesses:
We used coding wizardry to create a Unity tool that proceduraly generates structures. What this means is that we have a way to create unique buildings by combining the base hulls, windows, doors, and details of the building parts/meshes we’ve modeled. This allows us to create homogenous cultures as well as freaky combo-structures for those areas of the galaxy that lie between two or three different cultures. The ultimate goal here is to create regional immersion. When you’re near a hub of a certain culture and you land on a planet, we want it to feel different from where you just warped. Umm, let me just show you…
So, whenever I finish creating architecture for a culture — houses, complexes, businesses, etc. — I use the aspects of the style I just created to build a lovely townhall. These are MASSIVE edifices that truly emphasize what sort of look an alien culture values.
That little white dot is the size of our alien!
Checking them puppies out: