Lacuna Passage - Devlog #36 - Designing the Greenhouse

The last few art devlogs have focused on the development of the Hab.  This week we would like to switch gears and turn your attention to another structure located within Foundation Base, the Greenhouse.

Work in progress for exterior modeling and texturing. Click to enlarge.

The Greenhouse will be connected to both the Habitat and the Laboratory with a pressurized walkway made out of a similar inflated plastic seen here.

Since Mars has less of an atmosphere than Earth, a structure pressurized to Earth’s atmosphere on Mars will attempt to expand outward.  The Greenhouse was designed to be smooth and spherical in shape in order to reduce the number of weak points caused by this expansion on the plastic.  The base of the structure will be buried in a mound of Martian dirt with buttresses along its length for reinforcement.

Inside the Greenhouse there will be plenty of room to walk about and observe the various plantlife used for experimentation.

Work in progress for interior modeling and texturing. Click to enlarge.

There will even be a few areas set up with computers and microscopes where you can learn more about the procedures and results documented by the Hermes crew.

Now that we have the exterior shape essentially complete, we will continue designing the interior with plants, lighting, ventilation, and watering systems.  We also plan on adding a few exterior components for temperature regulation and electrical lines that would be routed through the Greenhouse walls.  There’s still plenty to be done, but the Greenhouse is on its way to becoming a fully-functioning part of Foundation Base.  Check back for more updates on its progress next month.

Lacuna Passage - Devlog #34 - Designing the Hab Part 2

Make sure to check part one of our continuing "Designing the Hab" art preview.

The Hab is designed to serve as the main living area for the Hermes and Heracles crew, so it will be a tightly knit and practical space full of dense detail. This week we want to highlight a couple new areas within the Hab and talk briefly about their design.

The laundry and bathroom unit combine into one compact space that utilizes more of the recessed wall space.  The shower, sink, and toilet are all located up a ladder-like set of stairs and behind the area that houses the washer, dryer, and cabinet space.  Combining these units would be a logical way to reserve less space for plumbing across the Hab.

Next we have the bunk sleeping quarters.  There are six bed spaces divided across the main walkway with a large table.  The table can be used for research, repairing equipment, or anything that requires a little counterspace.  Each bunk is equipped with personal locker space, a sliding isolation door, and even a digital screen with a built in radio.  Eventually there will be photos, letters, and other personal items that decorate each crew members’ bunk.

We are all very satisfied with the direction the Hab is going.  Improvements are being made everyday and we can’t wait to finish adding in all the details that make up this complex living space.  Our next big hurdle in the art for Lacuna Passage will be the Greenhouse - so be sure to check back to catch more on its development in the near future.  As always, feel free to comment below!

Lacuna Passage - Devlog #33 - Designing the Hab

My name is Spencer Owen and I am the lead artist for most of our internal habitats and other mission structures. I will be contributing posts to our devlog over the course of development pertaining to the design and art decisions that are being made. For my first post I am going to go over some of the decisions we have made for the main Habitat that you have seen previewed in previous posts.

The Foundation Base Habitat has come even further this past month.  We have added a few new pieces and are currently in the process of messing with the shaders and textures to achieve a cohesive look throughout the Hab.  The internal volume of this structure is meant to be dense and functional, but also a bit spacious and relaxing for the crew.  We are shooting for a certain realism in the Hab that will allow us to satisfy these restrictions.

Since most spacecraft today are designed for zero gravity, you will often see cargo holds and electronics strapped to every surface of an interior such as this.  Our Hab will need to function on the surface of Mars, meaning we have to design a little differently than the ISS.  We had to look for inspiration in things like campers, RV’s, and trailer homes.  I’ll highlight a few areas and talk about the design decisions.

In the kitchen area the size of the appliances and their position is most important for functionality.  Additional cabinet space for the non-essential equipment is stored above, accessible with a ladder.

In the couch seating area we chose to recess the couch into the wall, revealing the shape of the exterior hull.  This way the couch does not obstruct the main walkway, but instead serves as an alcove for relaxation, with a great view of the Martian surface.

The media center area sits directly across from the couch seating area, allowing the television screens to be used for entertainment, communication, or presentation.  The table serves multiple purposes as well, with adjustable computer stations located nearest the wall.  Radio and media equipment sit within arm’s reach.

Another design goal for us was to highlight the functional areas of the Hab so that the player can immediately recognize them.  In order to do that we will be using a signature orange color in the textures of interactive objects and locations, similar to games like Mirror’s Edge.

Most of all, we want the Hab to feel like a safe place for the player to relax and go over any information they find between EVA’s.  We still have work left to do, but we are really starting to get the atmosphere and design of the Hab’s interior finalized. The design problems we have solved here will carry over into the other internal environments throughout the game.

We will be featuring more of the internal modules of the Habitat over the coming weeks in another blog post. If you have any questions feel free to sound off in the comments!

Continue to part two of our "Designing the Hab" preview.

Lacuna Passage - Devlog #29 - Habitat Interior Designs

Since we posted our last few videos we have made even more progress with the time-of-day systems by adding in clouds and stars which you can see below.

Exaggerated clouds to demonstrate the rim-lighting effect as the sun passes behind the clouds

Exaggerated clouds to demonstrate the rim-lighting effect as the sun passes behind the clouds

Subtle, wispy clouds like you would find on Mars

Subtle, wispy clouds like you would find on Mars

With these systems mostly complete I have now moved on to improve our scripts for controlling inventory and context sensitive object interaction. One of the first steps in doing this has been to make a “tag” system. This will allow us to display information about any object just by looking at them. Below you can see these new tags in their early form.

I’m also very happy to officially announce that we now have a new full-time team member! My brother Spencer (who can be seen in the original Kickstarter pitch video) has joined us as a full-time artist and general assistant for the project.

Spencer and Jeremy (another part-time project volunteer) have been focused these last few weeks on developing the designs for the main habitat, otherwise known as the Hab. Jeremy has been creating a set of modular elements that can be combined like lego pieces and Spencer has been utilizing those modular pieces to rough out several different internal “modules” of the Hab. Below you can see the first three modules we have begun designing. The crew bunks, a bathroom/laundry area, and a couch seating area.

Crew Bunks

Crew Bunks

Bathroom/Laundry

Bathroom/Laundry

Couch Seating

Couch Seating

These are still very early screenshots. There we be lots of detail added in the final designs, especially when we start to apply more textures. With Spencer working on these models full-time we expect lots of progress in the coming weeks.

We are taking a lot of care in designing this habitat not as a sprawling space base out of a science fiction film, but rather a dense, functional living space that would be reasonable for an early mission to Mars. The Hab is one of three planned structures that will make up the Foundation Base Camp. The others are a greenhouse and laboratory, which we will begin building soon.