Even though Stargazers is a relatively short game, it’s creation has required a lot of art to be made, from BGs, CGs, Sprites, concept art and even dabbling into 3d modeling for finer details. This is pretty difficult for a team that up until very recently only had me as our only artist and hardly enough of a budget to pay for another. In this blog post I hope to share more of the work that goes into making The Stargazers.
The Stargazers is inspired by old 50’s-80’s Sci-fi, mecha anime, retro futurism. Musically, the scores of old sci-fi movies that range from a jazz to 80’s synthwave. Stargazer’s influences are vast and varied and I decided to start researching with books on retro futurism, art deco, pintrest, music, movies like Flash Gordon, Day The Earth Stood Still and anime like Captain Harlock.
I started firstly by designing the ship, and the mechs.
Mech and Ship Design
We were recently on a podcast with Oprainfall where we talked about the design aesthetic of the robots, a lot of emphasis was on a sleek, more rounded design. Taking inspiration from things like trains, cars, old 50’s rocket ships and more. I chose a cyclopean theme to the robot that was common in movies like War of the Worlds of The Day The Earth Stood Still but wanted to make the overall design still feel human-made and sufficiently retro. Each mech known in-universe as Cosmatons, are customizable, with many options for boosters, armor, weapons, tools, optics and communications arrays.
Internally, the cockpit of the Cosmaton is based on a motorcycle but with much different sort of controls. Each handgrip moves forwards and backwards to control main booster thrust, which the grips themselves can tilt in any direction to direct the main thrust. In addition to this, the Cosmaton is covered with small stabilizing thrusters at various points on it’s chassis. Leg pedals in the cockpit slide & tilt much like the hand grips to not only aid in walking on the ground, but in space control rear legged thrusters. The center seat tilts as well, controlling the roll of the Cosmaton in space. Overall the Cosmaton is a very sophisticated, versatile machine that is capable of serving many duties from combat, to construction, and for telecommunications and survey missions.
The Shooting Star
The interstellar ride of Stargazers Squadron, the Shooting Star also took inspiration from trains, zeppelins, and cars. After creating a reference we commissioned a 3D model made of this ship, which would allow us to use it for a variety of shots in the future.
The Shooting Star is named for the way it leaves a streak of light as it travels FTL, in conjunction with it’s shape, it gives it an almost comet like appearance. Featured above is a very rough example of the bridge of the ship, but this is okay as most of the detail I prefer to hand paint. This model opens the door for complicated shots in the future where the very complex geometry would ordinarily make hand painting a ship of such detail extremely time consuming.
At the rear of the ship is a rail system for deploying the Cosmatons. Within the Cosma Bay the Cosma are loaded via crane to the rear of the Bay where the hangar is opened, the Cosma is attached to the catapult system and launched into space for their mission.
Character Design & Outfits
When I initially designed the characters, I wanted to do an homage to the silver/tin-foily space suits of retro futurism, but also bodysuits of more modern scifi.
Temperance Goodchild spent most of her childhood on Mars in a high-powered cadet academy. In that time she grew very attached to Mars, and grew up loving red and wears her favorite jacket over her space suit. Design wise her jacket was inspired by the Rocketeer, likewise with the design of her mech Red Eagle. She’s very tomboyish and when wearing civilian clothing she’s typically in boy’s clothes.
Risty Mello grew up on a space colony called Neo Sao Paolo orbiting Europa. She came to the Shooting Star as a telecommunications expert prior to Temperance. On the surface she has a bit of a shell, but inside Risty has a very nougat-y center. She doesn’t like to admit it but she she seriously likes cute things and often keeps her room and mech decorated with things like stuffed animals, much to Temperance’s annoyance.
Viiflidi Ylvida Camilladilly Marjoram-ana
Viiflidi or “Vii” comes from a race of polyamorous, biometallic aliens the humans call “Space elves”. As part of a cultural exchange Vii serves aboard the Shooting Star to learn more about humans. Under the surface Vii has become something of a human fanatic. Among other things, she likes to collect (all of them are human related) magazines, shows, underwear, and snack foods. Despite her lazy shut-in nature, she’s quite physically capable. She takes metal supplements to keep her metallic levels high, since she can’t get access to food from her home very readily.