Devblog: Medals

Great actions warrant great rewards.

While piloting your ship over time you’ll understand the best tactics and you’ll be able to deal with enemy threats in an efficient way. When you do so you’ll be rewarded with commendations of outstanding performance (and a nice credit bonus 😉 ). This can vary and depend on your general performance. 

As we keep developing the meaning or visual appearance of these commendations might change so keep that in mind.

From an art production standpoint these medals are made using Substance Designer and their workflow is inspired by the work of the amazing Daniel Thiger. Substance Designer (SD) creates a very flexible work environment for procedurally creating textures and materials. Over time people have pushed the use for this software package in many directions where some can model an entire building façade just by using SD and cranking up the tessellation of a single plane to the max. 

To start, I begin with determining the general shapes and the main parts of the medal. This can be as simple as a circle or square.

From there on the secondary details are added. These details are a bit more unique per medal and will try and communicate its message. Finally the tertiary details are added. These are the smaller details on the medal that give it some additional interesting aspects to break up the more boring aspects of the medal at that point. All of these aspects are still just part of the actual shaping of the medal. The color and reflectivity details come next.

When this is done I plug it into a pre-set section of the Substance Graph which then will apply the colors based on the masks I provide, and additional detailing like small damage effects, scratches, and roughness values. These additional details give the medals additional character and align with the space warfare aesthetic of the game. The beauty of using SD’s procedural texturing system is that it makes sure that there is a consistency in the look of the assets we create.

Every medal requires its own final polish tweaks before  I export the textures that are generated by SD.

To finish it off, I import these textures into a scene that I have set up in Marmoset Toolbag.

Marmoset Toolbag is a rendering software package that gives artists flexibility in rendering out their assets. As it is solely focussed on real time rendering, it is quick and light to work with, and gives the artist all the tools necessary to render a scene as they desire.

I’ve set up 2 different scenes that hold different lighting positions. The first scene is for the Icon rendering.

In this scene, I can make sure that the medal has highlights on the places that accent the shape and make sure the shape is readable in a small form. The second scene was set up to highlight the depth of the medal and would be used as promotional and portfolio material. 

The same workflow is used for the patches in the background of the Main menu. It is like modeling with only textures and once an artist has gotten the hang of it the possibilities are endless.

I hope you found this little insight on the artistic production of a part of the game interesting and I’d love to make more of these. As a little present here’s a free downloadable 4K Wallpaper for your desktop.

– Remco