Checking the pipeline
Now it’s time to visit everyone else involved with your design. Knowing about possible issues before encountering them can save you a lot of redo work later on. This means going to the design and tech design teams, and the vehicle guys. In the case of this design, players will be running inside the rover, and the vehicle needs to fit inside the cargo hold of the Constellation freighter. These constraints turn out to be the key features of the overall design. Next, I start solving these constraints. I do this before searching for reference images online. This is because the mechanical problems require solutions before I make a start on the design. Once I’ve figured out the technical obstacles, I start looking for visual design opportunities. Doing this beforehand will narrow down my reference searches, resulting in a more focused workflow. I produce a lot of sketches on paper at this stage.
Next up is the traditional reference pull. I tend to use Google and Pinterest for this: Google for the more focused look and Pinterest for inspirational images. I search for military buggies, six-wheeled armoured personal carriers and jet fighters. I try to stick to real-world objects as much as possible instead of exploring designs from other games and films. This is because real-world objects tend to be full of layers of visual information, and so anyone translating this into a new design will always spot new angles or interpret things differently.
This stage will determine the size of all the rover’s various elements and how they all fit together. First, I create a set of floorplans in SketchUp for my vehicle. It’s relatively easy to play with configurations when it’s just made up of rectangles. After getting the art director’s decision on one of them I create three iterations in 3D, this time using boxes. For these boxes it’s crucial you use the sizes provided by the design team and make the elements as big as you know they need to be from your research. Proportiona l transformat ion