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Blackbird Interactive used VR to sculpt Homeworld 3's new Mothership

They also took inspiration from the automotive industry

A concept artwork of Homeworld 3's vast Mothership, flying through an even larger structure.
Image credit: Gearbox Software

One thing I never tire of ranting about is the brilliance of the original Homeworld Mothership - both for its elegant crescent-moon design, and for its more practical function as a giant compass needle shoved into Homeworld's then-unprecedented 3D volumes, so that players can orient themselves and strategise. I admit, I was a little piqued by Homeworld 3's redesigned Mothership, which lies flat as a doormat - an act of blasphemy akin to flipping a crucifix upside down, or wearing a baseball cap backwards in your 50s. But I've come round to the new Mothership after reading Blackbird Interactive art director Karl Gryc's thoughts on its creation.

Gryc shared said thoughts in a lovely Mothership deepdive from TheSpaceshipper, who posts about fancy breeds of interstellar vessel on Twitter and Patreon. In the article, Gryc runs through several iterations and concept images of the monstrous craft, one of which skewed "functional" with turrets mounted on tracks and exposed resource collection elements.

We learn that Blackbird co-founder and concept director Aaron Kambeitz actually sculpted the Mothership in VR - which was not a thing I was aware developers did - allowing for "a more organic form of shape design similar to clay sculpting in the automotive industry". (I wasn't aware that car manufacturers made clay models, either. Here's a piece on the subject if you're interested). The new Mothership also went through a "compliance" process to ensure that, for example, its unseen hangar interior was credibly roomy enough to house all the other vessels in Homeworld 3.

Watch on YouTube

I'm guessing the "compliance" stuff also applies to the game's locations. We know from Blackbird's last shipment of Homeworld 3 details in July that the game will see you moving the fleet into low orbit, visiting ancient relics that float just above the clouds. Presumably, a vertically-standing Mothership wouldn't be able to manage that. You'd get the bottom end all dirty, wouldn't you?

Here's everything we know about Homeworld 3 at the time of writing. Alas and alack, the game isn't out till February 2024, but going by the quality of Blackbird's last project Hardspace: Shipbreaker, I suspect it'll be worth the wait.

(PS. OK, yes, fair enough - as a couple of readers point out, Homeworld being set in a 3D representation of outer space makes the whole vertical/horizontal distinction meaningless. You can always just change the camera angle. But come on, you know what I mean: the ships are designed to be looked at from a certain orientation and framed that way in-game by default. Gryc refers to the new Mothership having a "horizontal design" in the Spaceshipper post above.)

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