Hey guys, some of you might already have wondered why we’ve still not posted the next developer diary for Galaxy on Fire 2 – Supernova. Usually, our dev diaries are scheduled to be uploaded every second Wednesday around noon. And the eight dev diary is also already written and all the assets are prepared. But it’s still not there! Why, you might ask… well, the answer is quite simple. Since my work day started rather busy, I had originally planned to upload the next developer diary after lunch. However, before I could do so, the fire alarm in our office went off at ear-splitting volume. Apparently, something in the building’s basement had caught fire and hence everybody had to leave the office right away. A couple of moments later, three big fire trucks and several police cars arrived infront of the building and when it became clear that the fire-fighting operations would take a little longer, we were all told to go home early.[full] So instead of posting the eighth developer diary for Supernova, I went to the pub with a couple of colleagues for a beer and a few rounds of foosball. When my train back home passed our office about two-and-a-half hours later, it looked as if the fire fighters were finally packing their gear and the Starbucks on the ground floor was already selling coffee again. So I guess, the building didn’t go up in flames entirely and we’ll all be back at work tomorrow. Since I’ve got all the texts, screenshots and assets for the next dev diary saved at my computer at work, I can’t post it from my PC at home. But when I’m back at the office, I’ll so right away.
Our games are so hot, they do not only set the galaxy ablaze, but also our office building on fire!
Anyway, thanks for your patience and understanding, everyone. As you can imagine today’s been quite a crazy day, so I hope you’re not mad that today’s dev diary aint’ a real dev diary at all but rather an explanation why you didn’t get the real deal today.
In the sixth developer diary for our upcoming iOS-adventure Galaxy on Fire 2 – Supernova we gave you some additional insight into the conception of the most dangerous and destructive gunship in the universe – the legendary Bloodstar. Today we’d like to put that massive ‘n menacing battleship in the centre of the attention once again and tell you a bit more about how the 3D model of the Bloodstar was created. In the GOF universe this powerful vessel was constructed by the skilful craftsmen of a long-forgotten faction. In reality, however, it was brought to life by our Senior 3D Artist Matthias Kummer, who has not only supplied us with a lot of kick-ass “making of” footage of the Bloodstar, but also provided us with some very interesting information on how that ship has actually been created.[full] If you always wondered which stages and phases a spaceship in Galaxy on Fire 2 had to go through before it was finally ready to burst from one star system to another on the display of your iPhone or iPad, here’s your ultimate step-by-step guide to designing a heavily armed gunship in 3D Studio Max! Enjoy!
Once the 3D model is ready, the textures are added in 3D Studio Max in order to make the Bloodstar, the most powerful gunship in GOF2 - Supernova for iPhone and iPad, complete.
According to Matthias, the earliest incarnation of the Bloodstar is nothing more than a simple, four-sided box. In accordance with the concept artwork, this box will then get more and more split-up into sections until the general outlines of the vessel’s hull are formed. Once this state is reached, the wings and weapons racks will be added in order to complete the so-called basic mesh. Next up, the more detailed parts – such as antennae or air shafts – will be designed and added to that mesh. If the basic form and shape of the object in the making are symmetric like the Bloodstar’s, the graphics artist working on it will not create the whole object at once, but only mould one half of it. Once that half is done, it can simply be mirrored in order to create the object as a whole. This procedure does not only save the graphics artist a lot of time, but it also helps him not to lose his head – at least for the time being.
The 3D model of the Bloodstar without textures. Once they've been added, the Bloodstar is ready to set your smartphone or tablet ablaze with its four primary weapons and four secondary weapons!
The next step after the creation of the 3D model is the so-called mapping, which is used in order to add two-dimensional images – the so-called textures – to the surfaces of a three-dimensional structure. In the course of this process, each part of the 3D model’s surface will be assigned to a respective part of the 2D texture set. Once this has been done, the texturing itself is the next thing to be done. The first step of this phase is the calculation of certain kinds of soft shadows, the so-called ambient occlusions (AO), by 3D Studio Max on the basis of the 3D model. This procedure leads to the creation of the so-called AO texture, which will later on be multiplied with the colour texture. The colour texture, on the other hand, consists of several layers, which are added to one another in Photoshop. Those layers include, among others, metallic structures and gaps ‘n scrapes, as well as different colours, shades and minor details. Once the AO textures and colour textures have been added to the basic mesh, the object of our desire – in this case the Bloodstar – is finished and ready to be integrated into the game!
The Bloodstar in HD for iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the new iPad vs. The Bloodstar in SD for older iOS devices
For the HD version of the Bloodstar, the same 3D model has been used as for the SD version. However, in order to make the ship look even more impressive on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and new iPad, additional normal and specular textures have been added. While the normal texture enhances the richness of detail of the vessel’s surface without splitting up the 3D model any further, the specular texture defines the parts of the object that are characterised by a distinctive metallic glow. How big a difference these additional two textures make, can be seen in the comparison above, which contrasts the SD version of the Bloodstar with its HD version.
If you’re not a graphics designer yourself and hence have a little difficulty imagining the sequence of events illustrated in the course of this little essay on 3D modelling, feel free to check out the video aboveto see with your own eyes, how a simple, four-sided box is turned into the most feared and dreaded battleship in the GOF universe step by step. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
The Bloodstar in action on the iPhone of our forum moderator Mark-C.
Well, fellow space pilots, we’ve come to the end of our seventh developer diary for Galaxy on Fire 2 – Supernova now. We hope you enjoyed the read and we would love to read your comments and find out what you think of the Bloodstar in general and its High Definition version in particular. Are you already looking forward to see it set the display of your latest-generation smartphone or tablet ablaze with its unrivalled firepower and unprecedented destructiveness? Keep your comments coming!
In the course of last week’s introduction of Galaxy on Fire 2 – Supernova’s new bounty hunting gameplay feature, we’ve already hinted that you’ll be rewarded with certain “special” ships if you manage to take down each faction’s public enemy number one. Today we’d like to elaborate a little further on that topic and give you some additional insight into the conception and design of one of those special ships, namely the Bloodstar. If you’ve checked out our last developer diary, you’ll already have seen an exclusive action shot of that heavily armed gunship bursting through one of the new star systems with its auto-turret sprayin’ bullets all over the scene. Today, we’d like to give you some more in-depth background info on the Bloodstar and let you know which steps and stages it had to undergo before it was finally ready to find its way into the playable beta version of Galaxy on Fire 2 – Supernova for iPhone and iPad[full]
An early concept artwork of the Bloodstar, the most powerful ship in Fishlabs' forthcoming outerspace adventure Supernova for iPhone and iPad. The "red star" symbol that can still be seen on the picture above has meanwhile been removed for reasons of anachronism.
Being commanded by the notorious Qyrr Myfft, a multipod so mean and nasty that even Mkkt Bkkt and his brother Jkkt Bkkt look like saints in comparison, the Bloodstar is a real powerhouse of a vessel! Unlike the Nivelian ships, for example, elegance and style did hardly play a role in the design of the Bloodstar, but rather did the makers of this brawny gunship put full emphasis on durability, robustness and firepower. Originally constructed by an ancient faction and sold to its current owner by a trader specialised in rejected military crafts and equipment, the Bloodstar had been heavily modified and upgraded over the years in order to make sure that it would still pose a serious threat to each and any ship in the galaxy – no matter whether it’s a destructive Mantis, a sleek ‘n swanky Aegir or a highly advanced Nemesis. With four primary and four secondary weapons slots, as well as a turret spot, the Bloodstar even ended up being the most heavily armed space ship in the entire GOF universe! But at the same time it is also the most expensive craft on the market.
In terms of its design and appearance, the Bloodstar is slightly influenced by the Centaur, a Terran gunship from the original App Store classic Galaxy on Fire 3D which belonged to the shady smuggler Doc Washington. In direct comparison, however, the Bloodstar appears to be a lot more brutal and menacing than the Centaur. This effect is achieved, at least in parts, by the Bloodstar’s unique paint job, which looks as if the whole ship was spattered with the blood of all the innocent pilots that Qyrr Myfft has blown into oblivion throughout his dubious career. Consequently, the vessel’s name follows the same direction and was chosen by Qyrr Myfft in order to evoke feelings of danger, fear and death in the minds of all pilots, whose scanners indicate that the Bloodstar is approaching with all guns blazing.
A direct comparision of the concept artwork and 3D model of the Bloodstar from Fishlabs Entertainments' upcoming iOS adventure Galaxy on Fire 2 - Supernova.
To get in the right mood for the conception of Bloodstar and get a feel for what it should look like, our art director Marc Nagel imagined the long-forgotten faction of Terran origin, to whose fleet the Bloodstar originally belonged, to be organized and governed in a similar way as the former USSR. In an earlier version, the Bloodstar’s cockpit did even sport an emblem in the shape of a red star, which was later on removed because of the anachronistic impression that the use of such a symbol might produce. The same is also valid for the following description of the afore-mentioned faction, which had been sketched out by Marc prior to the design of the Bloodstar. Even though it is not an official part of the backstory of the main game Galaxy on Fire 2 or its upcoming add-on Supernova, we’d still like to present it to you here, in order to give you an idea of what kind of society might have created a powerful gunship such as the Bloodstar.
Neo-Soviet Separatist Movement: It amassed a considerable strikeforce of 1500 battleships, fighters and other vessels. After various small conflicts with the USSP (Union of Soviet Socialist Planets), which consisted at its zenith of 40 planets and orbital stations, the Neo-Soviet Separatist Movement was finally defeated by the Terran Spacefleet in 3475, and its planets were completely re-integrated into the Terran Federation by 3480.
The design of the Bloodstar from the highly anticipated GOF2 add-on Supernova is inspired quite a bit by the bulky shape of the Centaur, a heavy gunship from the original App Store classic Galaxy on Fire 3D.
Quite a story, isn’t it? By now you should know more about the origins of the Bloodstar than its owner Qyrr Myfft himself and we hope you enjoyed this little excursion into fictional and factional galactic history. In our next developer diary we’ll pick up right were we left off today and tell you how the 3D model of the Bloodstar was created and integrated into the new expansion pack! So prepare yourself for a lot of first-hand information directly from our graphics department and some spectacular pictures of the semi-finished Bloodstar in the making! In the next dev diary you will also finally be able to get an exclusive sneak peek at the gorgeous High Definition version of the Bloodstar for iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the new iPad!