Monday, June 23, 2008

Adventuring Space Janitor?!?

...and, no, I'm not talking about Roger Wilco, hero of the old school Space Quest series. I'm talking about a much older and, er, grumpier janitor... who sifts through the endless refuse of space debris for a rare bit of a strange relic which somehow perpetuates his very existence. Okay, it's a bit of an odd concept... which is why I'll readily admit that it was not mine. No, the author of that concept is Mr. Rodney Allen. For my part, I envisioned said janitor as a kind of futuristic Ponce De León, discovering a "fountain of youth" which disguises his 200 years of existence as a mere 80 or so (perhaps mid 70's with proper makeup and lighting). On the other hand, perhaps this aged janitor has become eccentric over the years and believes this story to actually be true (i.e., Don Quixote), and simply leads a life of adventuring within his mind. Either way, I ended up settling on a Conquistador-esque aesthetic for his suit. The concept was so strange that I felt I needed to go in a more stylized and exaggerated direction to capture the spirit of the concept. Although the story was set in the future, I wanted the suit of janitor to look as old as the janitor himself. I wanted the hints of deep sea diver, conquistador, old hydraulic valves and hoses to reflect a technology that has long since passed into history, yet still functions nominally. I also wanted the rusting, obsolete suit to reflect the lonely and "discarded" feeling the janitor must have. With that said, I drew my concept sketch of the character...

Hydraulic valves assist the janitor in partial and full gravity environments and mag boots allow him to walk across the hulls of space vessels. A custom-built wrap-around converter mechanism accepts pieces of the relic through a small front door, processing the material and utilizing the radiation to prolong the character's life. A "hand jack" (not modelled) breaks larger debris into smaller pieces, while the "graviton grinder" (also not modelled) crushes medium and small bits of debris into space dust. Ah, such is the glamorous life of a space janitor. The finished model was a respectible 3,000 polys (how's that for an even number?).

After creating the normal maps via some Zbrush sculpting as well as the textures, the real character of the, er, character began to come through...
...and, yes, he installed a jet pack upgrade to the back of his converter thingie. You gotta be prepared for anything the the depths of outer space.

Ooh, grab the Tums cause someone's got some space heartburn.

"Obi-Wan never told you... I am your mother."

Okay, I mentioned I was going kind of exaggerated with this, right? Somebody give him a sam-ich!

Normal maps make all the difference with the fine details...

...especially skin textures. Eww, that looks like the worst case of psoriasis I've seen!

Grumpier Old Men... IN SPACE!!!

"...and I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids ...and your friggin' talking dogs!!!" Hey, he must be related to our gang member... same cauliflower ears!


Yusuke Sato said...

i can't beleive it.

that old man sure is.......old.
really nice texture on the face.

You even made a video for the weapon! uber awesome. They both have nice concepts :)

andrewQuintiliani said...

Agreed! These both came out really nicely. I REALLY wanna play with that ginaormous gun. Looks like a "realistic" Ratchet and Clank weapon or something.

Good stuff, can't wait for more posts!

Heather Berry said...

Wow I thought you dropped off the face of the blog.

This is really good so I dunno what to say. I think I will go through the list of why this guy rocks.

Texturing is awesome.
Model is awesome.
Concept art is super detailed and awesome.
Wrinkly old man face is gross but awesome.

Bryan Wynia said...

working is looking great. the thug rocks man. keep pushing it and rocking man.

EL GRANDE said...

Sweet JESUS! Very cool design and amazing execution Aaron. I'm floored.