Having the opportunity to create 3D art for Star Trek Resurgence was an honor and creative challenge the Magic Media team was more than happy to take on. Star Trek Resurgence is a story-driven adventure game set during a beloved period of the Star Trek timeline. It features countless iconic images of alien species, ships, uniforms, and countless other identifiable visual elements. To resonate with the fanbase as much as possible, we aimed to faithfully reproduce iconic Star Trek visuals and create characters and environments inspired by what has come before to help the game be consistent with the franchise’s legendary visual style.
The bulk of Magic Media’s work was creating 3D characters and environmental art assets. As with most games, characters and environments feature prominently throughout the game’s runtime, so it was our mission to ensure they possessed as much of the renowned Star Trek sci-fi style as possible. The primary references for our work were the various Star Trek TV series, since we aimed to faithfully recreate the well-known visual aspects of the IP.
Above all, our work needed to be precise. Some elements, such as character uniforms and distinct alien species visual features, needed to be as accurate as possible with little divergence from our reference material and concept art. Star Trek has a long and well-defined fictional timeline featuring many variations on visual concepts, and for Star Trek Resurgence’s place in that timeline, we needed to be exact in our work. The ship that a significant part of the game takes place on, the USS Resolute, features all the trappings of starship interiors from the franchise’s history, from its lush seating and touchscreens to its well-lit hallways.
Within the boundaries of the Star Trek Resurgence style, we had some creative freedom at our disposal. The concept for the transporter room, for instance, wasn’t completely set in stone, so we had some leeway to come up with a fresh concept that fit the Star Trek mold. Though we had to adhere to alien species’ trademark physical characteristics, we had room to play around with their facial structures.
We also had some unique opportunities to develop their physical characteristics during our work on Star Trek Resurgence. First Officer Jara Rydek, one of the playable characters, is half-Kobliad, one of the lesser-seen species in the Star Trek franchise. It was an exciting opportunity to mesh the physical qualities of these people with human characteristics, resulting in a unique and intriguing-looking character.
For both character and environment art with Star Trek Resurgence, we began with creating a blockout, a rough 3D model of the character or environment we were working on to establish a basis for more detailed work. Following this, we created high polygon count models featuring high levels of detail. For characters, this meant adding wrinkles, skin textures, and intricate features. For our environment work, this meant adding hard-edge detail so that it looked solid and inorganic.
The next stage for our characters was to create low polygon count models for use in-game, a lower-resolution model optimized for the game engine while retaining the important visual details. After this, our models were textured and integrated into the game, where they’re fine-tuned to ensure they look appealing within the game environment. Our process for getting our environments game-ready was similar, where a low-poly environment was created to prepare it for integration with the game.
We used an array of tools to bring our authentic Star Trek characters and environments to life. ZBrush was used for high-poly models, and 3ds Max and Blender were also used for low-poly models. Substance Painter and Substance Designer were integral to our texturing process, and in some cases, Adobe Photoshop was used for refining our textures. Last but not least, Star Trek Resurgence was built using Unreal Engine 4 so we used this to integrate our models into the game world.
At Magic Media we are veterans of the gaming, tech and entertainment industries, offering comprehensive services including game development, VFX, animation and full art services! Our main goal is to provide a one-stop solution for any project. If you’d like to utilize our expertize and experience in creating, game art and more, drop us a line and let’s create magic!