Friday, July 1, 2022

Interstellar Express Part 2 - Alien Concepts

Continuing what I began last week, I have more work from Interstellar Express, the educational game I art directed and made many assists for. This week I am sharing the concept work that went into the game's aliens. The planets and aliens were all linked, but as production proceeded, some of the aliens were abandoned. This resulted in more worlds than aliens, which is neither good nor bad; it is just a shame some of these didn't make it to the final. Let's get back to the Interstellar Express!

Interstellar Express space screen
Final art by Lee Bretschneider

With all the concept work for this project, I was given full freedom to have fun, explore options, and make things I wanted to make. That should be reflected in the work I have to show you today. I made a list of the ideas I wanted to explore and work on one at a time. I believe these aliens came first and then the planets, but they were all in my head the entire time I worked on them. Some of the ideas for the aliens came from thoughts about fun planet types, while other planets needed to be designed to go along with the aliens I wanted to make. While brainstorming, there were suggestions of making planets that mirrored different periods of Earth's history, but that was scrapped early on. The closest to that contining to the final game would be the desert planet. For the aliens, I wanted them to have a concept around them, an idea that I could pin the visuals too.  For the most part, that worked, but not all were well received.

Space Dinosaurs
These were the first I designed, and I love them so much. The Triceratops was the winner by a long shot.

Space Fish
The sea horse made the cut and got a water helmet to help it breathe.

Space Shapes
These were a particular favorite of mine. The sphere was the winner here.

Lava People
The client LOVES this one. They were of the mindset that no matter what came of this project, the lava people would end up somewhere doing something. The top right was the direction that was chosen.

Space Bugs
They thought these were too scary (?!?) and were nearly on the chopping block, but the bottom left ended up making the cut.

These were also considered too scary (?!?) and were scrapped.

Space Elementals
The elemental planet had water, vapor, and ice aspects to it. I wanted the aliens of that planet to also be gas, liquid, and solid. Sadly, they were all rejected.

Generic Aliens
I was having fun making shapes and trying things out. These were not meant for the client to see, but they saw them and picked one. The issue is that they were not designed with a planet in mind, and I feel they clash a bit in the game.

Space Birds
Again, more ideas that were not really meant for the client to see... but they did. I was working on some birds for the bird planet, but these were all rejected before I could get to the good stuff, which ended any more work on birds. I was playing around with the dog, which was REALLY not meant for the clients. They, of course, loved it, and we had to convince them that it had been done already and we didn't want the ire of Marvel on our backs.

Universal Translator
The UT helps give instruction and information to the user and translates the alien's speech - who all but one or two speaks gibberish. The overall feel for this was accepted, but it changed slightly in the final.

The Conductor
Not sure how much this character will be in the final game - if at all. In early versions, the conductor and UT help get the user up and running and bring urgency to the tasks. The robot version was rejected outright. They went with the organic version. The top left was initially accepted and then rejected when some said it was too scary (?!?), and they went with the top right... but that also had to be changed some because it was on the fence of being too scary (?!). Adults do not give kids enough credit. 

That's all for another exciting week on the blog. See you back here on Monday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability, head over to my website:

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