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Diving into the 3D making process for SpaceShifter's eerily lonesome environment.

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Hello and welcome back to yet another devlog for SpaceShifter!

Today we're going to explain the creative process that went into polishing our game's environment from scratch in order to reach the style we conceptualized!

A look back at the initial concepts:

  • Our first concepts for both the inside and outside of the spaceship were meant to demonstrate a contrast between the cold and hard-edged environment inside the lab and the colourful universe outside that remains everchanging through the shifts in space and time.
  • Thus, we created two moodboards to represent these contrasting views and help us bring these ideas to fruition in a way that would prove harmonious:

moodboard for outside

The space scenery represents change. It allows us to see when we're in a different dimension / time through the speed of its movements, the differences in colours and the flowing of the galaxies outside. Many of the puzzles are directly related to this space, and we can see this by small visual similarities inside the lab that hint to these subtle shifts.
moodboard of the inner view of the lab

The lab scenery shows the unyielding, cold nature of human presence. It's lonesome and lacks colour to remind the player that they are alone and their greed put them in this situation, but with clear views to the outside and small highlights that serve as a guide to the puzzles but also a reminder that we can always look up at the sky and regain our sense of direction.

Turning ideas into (alternate) reality:


With these initial ideas in mind, the group set out to start modelling, but first we needed to create concepts for our objects and environments alike, so we needed our lead artist Joana Silva to sketch out some ideas for them.

We stuck to the black white and greys theme for the lab, needing a highlight colour to make the important things pop up, so we ended up choosing a light shade of blue for this keeping up the cold colour harmony.

The following images have been shown in previous logs, but they're essential in understanding how the 3D models came to life.


Portal concept art - we wanted a round shape to symbolize the classic portal look found in known sci-fi media that would be easy to recognise, while keeping the hard edges of a lab environment.


Lab scenery concept art -a clear showcase of the "dead nature" of our main environment, where silence reigns after the initial explosion of the portal and only the few plants scattered about for oxygen, the player and the pre-recorded voice of their assistant bring any semblance of pre-existing human life.

3D modelling:

After creating these, we had a clearer grasp on what we wanted to showcase to our players, so we took out Autodesk Maya and began setting up the meshes.

The modelling process had both efficiency and simplety in mind. We had to create a lab that was useful, futuristic and polished while keeping a lowpoly view and not overpowering the VR headset with too much detail. Thus we created the following models for both the objects and the overall scenery:

cube mesh

portal mesh

scenery mesh

The end result:

With the meshes and UVs setup, we used Adobe Substance Painter to bring colour and detail to our models, creating the cool-toned recently abandoned yet polished environment.

cube final

portal final

scenery final

And thus, the lab was starting to take shape! The galaxies were done with particle effects and a skybox. As such, the final result for both the inside and outside was then brought to life and touched up with Unity Engine's visual effects, but that's a story for another time!

Next up: Putting everything together! The magic of post-processing and lights. Get ready!

See you soon!

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The art style looks interesting.

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