April 19, 2013

Designing the Laser installation WMD

Giant Death Laser (work title) preying upon the enemy planet.

Hello to you, dear readers! I’m Jukka, one of the two artists working on Interplanetary. I will be responsible, for the most parts, for creating concept art and illustrations for the game.
In this post I’ll be talking a little about visual design, this time focusing on the "Laser installation" concept.

Our goal in Interplanetary is to make the technologies seem as realistic or feasible as possible without letting the gameplay suffer, so a big part in creating concepts for them is the hunt for applicable technologies that already exist or have been theorized. Luckily our team lead & designer Niklas is something of a "tech nut" so usually he already has some ideas to what might work.

The first step in starting designing the Laser installation, was to type "world's most powerful laser" in Google and hit the search. Quite fast I ran into the National Ignition Facility in US where they conduct research on nuclear fusion with lasers. They use 192 individual lasers all targeted to a small fuel pellet in order to reach the temperatures they aim for. 

So I thought that instead of using a single laser to create a powerful enough beam, it would be more feasible and interesting to have multiple lasers and have some kind of lenses to converge the beams into one. My thinking was, that a tower-like structure could be useful, so that the lasers could be arranged along its length along with the lenses so that theoretically the lenses wouldn't need to bend the beams too much. From that I made the quick sketches below, and later the one on the top.

Earlier GDL concepts. The idea of how they might work has remained pretty much the same.

Another thing to consider was the immense amount of energy needed to fire the lasers. While having it's very own nuclear power plant could be fun, I found out about SMES (superconducting magnetic energy storage), which besides sounding very sciency just might be a feasible way of storing the amounts of energy required... I'm still pondering what I'd do with the design to make it bit more interesting without making it look too unrealistic.

That's it for me this time, but I just might be back writing more of these posts in the future, and once the final concept is done for the Laser installation we'll no doubt be posting it to our Facebook concepts album.

- Jukka

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