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Post news RSS Subnautica Concept Art: Coral Reef 3

Diversity of environments is a key design feature of Subnautica. We want Subnautica players to be able to experience vastly different and beautiful ‘biomes’ as they explore the underwater world. Of course, no underwater world would be complete without a coral reef!

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Cory painted Coral Reef Zone 3 to the team visualise what a coral reef biome might look like. Creating an ‘alien’ coral reef is quite tricky, because by their very nature terrestrial coral reefs already look quite alien!

An image of an actual coral reef that Hugh took in Australia

We also need keep our desire for diversity of coral life in check: Each new life form is a new model that needs to be created and put into the game. There are financial, performance, and time expenses involved with each one. If you look closely, Cory’s artwork acknowledges this by attempting to re-use elements in consistent but non-fatiguing ways. The most obvious example of this is the red sea grass, which gives a definitive ‘look’ to this particular area.

Detail from Coral Reef Zone 3 showing the player controlled submersible

As in previous concept art, a player-controlled submersible vehicle makes an appearance. Such vehicle will allow greater mobility than larger submarines, appropriate for the narrow canyons, low passes and frequent obstacles of a coral reef. Players might want to ‘anchor’ their larger submarine at a safe distance from obstacles, and make closer examinations with submersibles stored in onboard submarine ‘hangars.’

Download as wallpaper: Small | Medium | Large

Coral Reef biomes are likely to be the starting biome for players, occuring nearer the surface and presenting fewer existential threats than deeper, less welcoming areas. Speaking of which...

Lava zone terrain test (Not a game screenshot)

Over the past few weeks, we have been posting lots of concept art. But here is proof that we aren’t just drooling over Cory’s pretty pictures! The image above is from a test of our ability to generate terrain consistent with concept visions for a volcanic biome, such as this one. While it is not an in-game screenshot, this exciting image does hint at the level of graphical fidelity we are trying to achieve in Subnautica.


Wait, I just realized you are using Unity for this project, even though you have developed your own engine for Natural Selection 2. Is that because Spark does not handle 'terrain' and open areas well? Obviously it can do some quite amazing stuff.

Anyway, I like that the artist keeps in mind the need to re-use assets. Makes it a lot easier to 'stay true to the concept art'.

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