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30 June 2023

Skywatch #6 - Ship Parts: Aerodynamics are for people who can't build engines

Welcome to this weeks Skywatch development diary!

Today we want to show you some of the progress we've made on ship engines. Engines serve as a form of propulsion in Lost Skies, alongside sails and will come in different tiers.

Early Renders

The image below is a super early render of a ship engine. We used this blockout model to determine the level of detail we wanted to apply to the engine geometry, as well as for scaling.

Below is the same engine model as above, with basic textures applied. The image shows a general overview and result of the modular material layering system, intended for use on the vast majority of props in Lost Skies.

Please note that the character model in the image is our old character model and has now been replaced with the model shown in the reveal trailer. The character was shown in this image for scale. Also, the material look and art direction are not representative of the final art target. Consider these as placeholders, purely for the purpose of testing the surfacing system and workflow.

Due to project constraints and requirements around certain aspects of art production, the image below shows some preliminary exploration undertaken for solutions / workarounds to overcome these limitations. One key constraint imposed on art for ship components, environment assets and general props as a whole is to avoid (as much as possible) bespoke asset textures.

To get around this, modulated vertex colours are used to expose, with a fair amount of artistic control, different generic material layers, that can be combined and blended in interesting ways. Looking at the lower image, the red vertex colour in this example is used to expose a rust layer.

And the image below shows a fully assembled engine, each using a single material, with all components subjected to the same asset pipeline.

Saborian Engines

We've already shown you our Saborian engine WIP in previous Skywatches, but below is a recap of the concept art for our Saborian engine, as well as an early look at what a Saborian engine might look like in-game based off of those concepts.

In the images and video below, you can see a more recent engine model based on our Saborian concept art, that sticks closer to the design in the concept piece. The video clip also shows off our modular design for engines.

Tier 1 Engine Concepts

Next up, some concept pieces for our wooden tier 1 engines. The left picture is a first take on tier 1 engines, but our artist felt that the designs were too advanced for early game engines, so would perhaps be better suited to tier 2 engines. The middle image is the second take, to make the designs less “slick” and more "scrappy" which is a better fit for tier 1 engines, and the third image is a mesh model of our first wooden tier 1 engine.

Legacy Engines Rework

The images and clips below show some of the progress that's been made on bringing some of the legacy Worlds Adrift engine assets up to date for Lost Skies. The video clips show the engine operating with animations applied. Not all ship parts from Worlds Adrift will return, as many don't match the shift to a more sci-fi inspired aesthetic that we're aiming for, but some parts do and so will be updated for Lost Skies.

And below is the second legacy engine to receive the rework treatment.


Below is a look at some of the different propeller styles that our team have been working on. Propellers will mostly be used for lower tier engines, with higher tiers utilising more advanced methods of propulsion, such as jet turbines.

Ship Material Shaders

The clips below demonstrate our material shader system, which will change certain visual elements of a ship component based on the material it's crafted out of. Please note that the shaders aren't final.

All the engines...

And finally this week, the clips below show how all of this work comes together to offer a range of engine styles.

And that's a wrap for this week! There's still a lot of work to be done on our ship engines and on ship parts in general, but we hope you've enjoyed this look at how they're shaping up so far. As always, let us know your thoughts in Discord.

See you next week!