Unfortunately, I don't have the time to comment in detail. As mentioned previously, this is not a priority for me or the project at the moment. But I want to clarify what I've said previously and correct some things.
In fact I'm going to say, be as free and inventive as you can be, but design for a specific alien race.
I meant this in terms of forms, shapes, proportion, materials - basically everything connected to the design language.
I also wrote:
You are free to make changes to the races, if you feel so
I didn't mean you should make major changes in the race, as you did. What I basically meant is, if the visual description isn't artistically promising, you are free to do the necessary changes. The visual instincts of the authors from the story board are often somewhat lacking(no offense).
On a related matter, I'd actually try to avoid talking about how ships behave in gameplay during concept art, focusing on them separately would probably work better.
Quoted for agreement.
Well, the main important things are the designs. Everything else should follow those, in my opinion.
That's unfortunately a complete misconception and in a way undervalues the effort of creating a successful design.
Keeping in mind or imagining how such a race would build(architecture), how they live, what they wear(cloth), etc can provide important guidelines for the ship designs.
This OF COURSE includes social structure and philosophy just as well. Design is based on those and NOT the other way round.
Product design(for example) is done for human beings. Design fits into their lifes, it makes things easier, it comes natural. It doesn't force someone to act in a strange, uncomfortable way.
Now if we design space ships for a fictional alien race, it has to reflect in our choices. Their lifes, their ways to do things, their interaction and everything that is essential to those aliens should translate into the design, because in the end the player should ideally be able to recognize these things by looking at the ships.
Now regarding your sketches. As it is now, it's merely some form. I don't see indications of function(might be changed, if there were some kind of color or texture involved). How does is propel forwards? Why the wings? Why is is shaped (in terms of proportion) like it is?
I have said:
I just ask for consistency and justified design decisions. Arbitrariness should be avoided.
Justified design decisions, are decisions based on the one who you are designing for. That's what I was speaking of above. The people need to be reflected in the design.
What I see is just the start of the design process - getting the most obvious(but also most common) ideas out of your system. I'd recommend looking at some reference images of the different kinds of minerals/crystals that exist. Maybe do some reading on wikipedia. And then start re-arranging, re-shaping and re-thinking! In artschool I would be expected to come back with at least 5 pages(A3) filled with sketches of different approaches and ideas. But we aren't in art school here. So I just ask for some more work put into this. Take your time, we are in no rush.
Regarding sketching technique: Try using some variance in line thickness and darkness. This will add visual interest. You can use this to direct the viewers eye to the parts you want him to look. Using some indication of tone will also help to get away from the flat look.
Regarding 3D: I wouldn't underestimate this task. The crystalline structure should be well planed in terms of topology(meshflow). I would even say it's harder than doing any regular hard surface modeling.
Putting a raytrace material on this won't work. There is no such thing as real time raytracing AFAIK. What we need is a shader(preferably cg
, because that's what Ogre can work with and I think it's the only platform independent option, but that's not our concern) that will fake the refraction. The reflection could easily be handled with a map, although this will make a reflection of a ship in another ship impossible.
I hope I didn't sound too harsh. It's meant as honest critique. Anything else wouldn't be of much use anyways.
In your defense: I think a crystalline race is one of the harder ones to design for