23 Sep 2017

Remastered Ship Graphics

by Michael Zahniser

Recently I’ve been playing with different ideas for making the ships look less flat and cartoony, and I reached the conclusion that the real problem is that all the ships were rendered with nearly-overhead illumination (30° from vertical). I originally chose that illumination angle to avoid big dark shadows, but it turns out those shadows are necessary to give the shape of the ship definition. I’ve switched over to a much sharper illumination angle of 65°, manually adding “fill lights” to keep the shadows from being completely black, and I’m quite happy with the results:

A collection of Kor Mereti ships looking blocky

Various Wanderer ships showing parts with different thickness

Kor Sestor ships with 3D-like exterior plating

Navy ships with a variety of colored panels

The downside is that plugin creators will have to re-render their own ships to match, but the improvement is significant enough that I still think it’s worth doing - and better now than in a year or two when there are even more ships in the game!

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