Concept and 3D Game Art Production for Stellaris

Game Art Production for Stellaris, Grand Strategy Game by Paradox Interactive

Stellaris is a grand strategy video game by Paradox Interactive. It allows the player to explore a myriad of galaxies populated by various races as well as build an empire and engage in space warfare with other civilizations.

  • Compelling game art for several DLC releases
  • Concept art production for the existing Stellaris races and developing new ones from scratch
  • Developing 3D models following strict game art production guidelines
Location
Sweden, Stockholm
Industry
MVNO Solution Development Video games
Partnership period
June 2017 - present
Team size
7
Team location
Ukraine, Lviv
Technologies
Adobe Photoshop, Quixel Suite

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Client’s goals

Paradox Interactive teamed with N-iX Game and VR Studio to create art for its grand strategy games including Stellaris and Europa Universalis. The company needed to release regular updates and DLC for its games and so our client required a professional game art production team that would create appealing assets within tight deadlines.

Working on the Stellaris project, the team creates such extra content (DLC, expansion) as concept art and 3D models of the spaceships.

Challenges
  • Following distinctive art production guidelines

The client provided clear guidelines on the art production process overall and the texturing techniques in particular. The documentation described a distinctive art creation pipeline. So, the team had a full understanding how to produce content for Stellaris.

  • Studying multiple races and their specific design

Stellaris is a grand strategy game with a lot of galaxies and races with different styles and features. Also, the game has distinctive amazing graphics that convey all the beauty of space.

Therefore we had to study it very carefully to produce the art in line with the game style and ensure smooth implementation of the project. Working on a brand new race, a concept artist developed shape language, drew a silhouette and approved it with the client. Then we drew it in details, made projections, got the final feedback and went on to 3D implementation.

  • Meeting tight deadlines

At some stages of the project, we had a very limited timeframe to deliver all the assets in time for the DLC release. Our team successfully met this challenge and completed all the tasks in time.

Implementation

N-iX Game and VR Studio started cooperation with Paradox Interactive in June 2017. After successfully completing the test task, we started closer cooperation and worked on DLC releases together.

Our concept artists and 3D artists have been working on various spaceships for Stellaris races. Working on Humanoid species pack, our team created different classes of spaceships for a single race, as well as one class of spaceships for various races in Apocalypse expansion.

Since the project start, we expanded our partnership, so the client gives us the tasks of different complexity and we develop a lot of content from scratch. The client provided detailed documentation, which ensured smooth project flow. The team is changing dynamically depending on the amount of content needed for a certain DLC.

The work has a defined pipeline and we get approval at each stage: 

  1. Blockout. We make the basic form of the 3D model. As the concept doesn’t always work in 3D, we use this model see the silhouette and check how much it corresponds to the concept.
  2. High poly model. We add some elements and small details.
  3. Low poly model. We create an in-game version of a model.
  4. Unwrapping UVs. We unwrap UVs of the model to make textures at the next stage.
  5. Texturing. At this stage, we bake maps from the high poly model and finalize them using Photoshop and Quixel Suite.

Value provided by N-iX

  • Producing compelling art for three DLC releases:  7 spaceships for Apocalypse DLC and also 16 spaceships for Humanoids Species Pack. Now we’re working on the next DLC releases.
  • Delivering quality game art within a limited timeframe to meet the release deadline;
  • Creating concept art for the existing Stellaris races and developing new ones from scratch;
  • Developing 3D models following strict game art production guidelines, mastering distinctive techniques to meet the client’s requirements;
  • Establishing effective communication with the client including constant feedback and a clear art production pipeline to minimize change requests and deliver game art of the highest quality.

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