I had about six weeks to create the Forsaken 2 intro movie which included all the modelling, texturing, lighting, rendering and compositing. 2 weeks of that was modelling, particularly the huge spaceship.
I made a grave error at the beginning in deciding to build the 20km long ship to real world scales in Lightwave. I didn’t understand the realities of floating point coordinate systems at the time and it was only when I came to animate it next to an equally realistically sized moon and found vertices jumping about that I realised there was a finite level of accuracy/detail. Luckily I could just scale it down without any problems as the details fell within the 8 or so decimal points available to the maths at the time. Lesson learnt!

The following image is big by usual net standards but is less than half of the original file. I’ve turned off the fancy lightbox widget for this page to ensure you get to see everything.

The original image was printed out over 12 A3 sheets and stuck to the wall so the design team could use it to plan (I’ve sadly lost the final few sections) . It was really quite an imposing sight. 600,000 quads, most made by hand. This was a massive undertaking that I didn’t quite appreciate when I started. Much of the detail, particularly on the spheres, is created with multiple layers of clip mapped polys with extreme bump mapping. Far cheaper and faster to render than actually building them and it helps create that Borg like depth and multiple layers of detailing. The idea to approach it that way actually came from the brass etchings they used to detail buildings in Bladerunner. The 747 is there so people could appreciate the scale we were working to.

Two of the more than a dozen clip maps used to add multiple layers of detail.

This is how the ship looked in all its glory. The engine to the left, environmental and life support spheres in the middle, and the lab structure at the extreme right. The only areas to have proper gravity were the spheres as they rotated around the hub. The rest of the ship was under the effects of an artificial gravity created along its length in its core, so as you moved to decks further away from the centre of the ship the gravity got less. So the windows you see near the engine section would infact be the floor of which ever room you were in.

The central spindle as it looked in the movie.

Before the film was finished it was decided that it should be scrapped and redone with the game engine. So I created a lower resolution version of the ship and and used the high to create the textures.

I mocked up a few interiors but these were produced on the fly a starting points for a design meeting. The first eventually got used in the movie.