Now for this project, about halfway through I had personal problems that meant I wasn't able to complete the project in time for the set deadline, BUT...... I thought of instead of leaving my a blog entry for this project until I had finished it after Christmas, I thought id post what I had done so far, then conclude with the final outcome in a later installment to show my progress from start to finish.
The basic idea for my vehicle was a sort of futuristic airship, I looked towards things such as Star Wars and Final Fantasy Games for my inspiration, as well as real life military aircraft such as war planes and helicopters of varying styles, so I could get the realistic aspects implemented into what is essentially a fantastical and imagined design. I liked the idea of having sails and masts that unfurled, when the craft took off or was dispatched from a larger carrier craft. The whole Crucifix shape to the ship, is something I experimented with from initial sketches to the final design, and think it provides a unique and unusual shape to a flying craft, which fits in with a fantasy/sci fi setting perfectly.
This is the final concept sketch, to both give an idea of what my little airships would look like in flight as well as the sort of environment they would be set in: decided the hangar that the final model will be rendered in will be like a hangar pod on the side of a much larger vessel, where ships can dock and be repaired, and even stored away deeper in the ship.
In terms of what stage I am at with the vehicle itself: The main vehicle is fully modeled, unwrapped and am in the process of creating the main texture for it. The tri limit i just under the maximum 10,000 by a few hundred tri's so didn't struggle too much, I think it was just the right amount, in fact looking at it, it could probably lose a few wasteful edge loops here and there that i will look at later (though isn't overly wasteful so may look past it to save on time to focus on the important stuff such as shaders and lighting). I also used a lot of instancing, as i made use of a lot of the same geometry, so made sense to save on the texture budget by utilizing this.
In terms of the environment, I'm keeping it as simple as possible (the main body of it is essentially a beveled cylinder, which is fine as this still fits in with the original concept for the hangar), and have so far built most of it, i just need to include: the large arm/airship crane that will act as the thing that moves and lifts each craft in and out of the hangar from the interior of the rest of the ship. Also other smaller things to populate the interior, storage crates, tools, workstations, etc. I'm planning to build, but other than that the majority of the building is done. The main bulk of the project I have to do, is the part which is focused on lighting and Shaders, so I'm going to give myself plenty of time over the holidays to focus on this part so i get a good chance to learn about the different aspects of these things, and utilize them in the best way that fits in with my design.