Gnomon welcomed four artists from Cloud Imperium Games to our campus last Thursday to share a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of Star Citizen. From the mind of Chris Roberts, acclaimed creator of Wing Commander and Freelancer, Star Citizen is a 100% crowd-funded game that aims to create a vast and immersive science-fiction universe. Gurmukh Bhasin (Concept Artist), Elwin Bachiller (Senior 3D Artist), Omar Aweidah (3D Concept Artist and Gnomon alumnus), and Forrest Stephan (CG Supervisor) shared insight into Cloud Imperium's unique production pipeline, and discussed the challenges of working on a crowd-funded game.
Being a crowd-funded game brings a unique set of challenges and advantages to the development table. The community is considered part of the team, and continuously influences the game as it takes shape. Forrest Stephan noted that transparency between the backers and developers is key when it comes to any decisions, changes, and the overall vision of Star Citizen. The fans also serve as a major part of game development by testing and providing feedback on the game's elements such as ships, weapons, armor, and playable maps.
A big focus of Star Citizen is the ships. The style of the game and its elements are described as photo-real science fiction, so everything not only has to look realistic, but also must be functional. Each ship in the game is treated similarly to a hero asset in a movie–very detailed and almost a character unto itself. Gurmukh Bhasin shared several examples of how some ships come with a basic starter model, and that artists will go on to create variant looks. Senior 3D Artist, Elwin Bachiller, discussed the huge amount of consideration and planning that goes into the design of each ship interior. If an object on a ship looks like a player can interact with it, they can. Almost no asset in the game was created by a single person, but by a collection of artists applying their individual strengths.
What's both incredibly challenging and rewarding for the team at Cloud Imperium is making everything run efficiently in Star Citizen's game engine (CryEngine 3), while still maintaining an incredible amount of detail. Creator Chris Roberts envisioned Star Citizen as a next-gen game that delivers movie quality effects and a cinematic feel to its players. Much of the visual inspiration for the game's style was drawn from a mixture of classic sci-fi films and World War II weaponry. Omar Aweidah emphasized how the team is always encouraged to push the limits to see what is possible, then figure out how to make it work in the game.
Because Star Citizen is set in space, it allows for continuous development throughout the life of the game. The possibilities for creating new ships, worlds, and alien races are limitless. The team at Cloud Imperium is just as excited for the future of Star Citizen as their fans, and we can't wait to see what they'll come up with next.
Gnomon would like to extend a big thank you to Cloud Imperium Games for sharing insight into their incredible work! For more information on Star Citizen, please visit their website at
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