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Star Trek Online

Building The Vaadwaur

By LaughingTrendy
Wed 22 Oct 2014 11:50:00 AM PDT

Greetings Captains! Let’s learn about how we created the deadly Vaadwaur Ships for Star Trek Online: Delta Rising!

For the Vaadwaur Ship group we had to accomplish two goals. First, we wanted to create an entire fleet of ships while maintaining the style of the only Vaadwaur ship that appeared in Voyager, this fighter.  

Second, we wanted to make sure the Vaadwaur ships were a formidable threat to the player even though their technology is comparatively old.

With these two points in mind we gathered our team to discuss the beginnings of the ship. The design leads, art lead, producers, concept artist, ship artists, and FX artists gathered together in a meeting and discussed a very broad idea of what the Vaadwaur ships are. We took into account the design team’s intent as well as Star Trek canon and we determined a loose guideline for what the ships visuals should be. At this point we wanted to have scale, style, and powers be a known quantity, as these elements guided the next part of the process which was creating the concepts.


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Our concept artist then retreated back to his desk and started the magic. We first took any canon information we had and expanded it into rough ship concepts. The Vaadwaur in Voyager had relatively little information about their ships, so we started by extrapolating the details from the fighter seen in the cave of the Star Trek Voyager episode, “Dragons Teeth”. Using the fighter as a guideline we determined a color pallet and visual language of the Vaadwaur ships. We analyzed the shape and flow of the forms of the ship, we took note of the panel lines and details, and we iterated many times to find the essence of the original design. We know Star Trek canon is very important to our players and we worked tirelessly to maintain it while expanding upon it.

After our concept artist had spent some time creating rough shapes for new ship types, the art lead, ship artists and concept artist got together again and spent time scrutinizing the rough concepts we had. At this point in the design process we can usually lock down a final concept. Often, though, we need another round of iteration to really make sure we are capturing the essence of the original ship.


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After extensive iteration we reached a concept that we were ready to turn into 3D.  Our ship creation process has been detailed well in the past, so I will let some progression images of the battleship that we created do the talking here.


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Often we work with the Art Lead and Concept artist to expand or iterate on a model after concepts have been completed. This back and forth process is used extensively through all of our design processes.


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During the process we created a tileable hull material for the ships to use. This texture is created in a very specific way that follows a template to allow it to be re-used as much as possible on various ships. Again, we went back to our initial research of the Vaadwaur design ideals and we applied it to the ship’s new material.

The Vaadwaur ships needed to match the canon fighter while still being a formidable opponent. Through our iterative process we feel we have reached these goals. We look forward to you going toe to toe the Vaadwaur! Enjoy Delta Rising!

Nick ‘Crypticquack’ Quackenbush
Ship Artist
Star Trek Online

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