Whatever you call it, travelling large distances in sci fi requires some sort of faster than light travel, and since the beginnings of cinema folks have been trying to find interesting ways of portraying the mechanics of those voyages.
Here I attempt to juice a hyperspace entry. I take inspiration from Star Wars, Star Trek (2009), and Battlestar Galactica (2003).
There are three beats I hope to hit:
A gradual crescendo increase in speed and warpness until some sort of threshold, where the ship seems almost ready to break through some barrier but can’t quite just.
The “Punch It” moment where you enter hyperspace and feel like OMFG
Dropping out of hyperspace. This should feel like reality folds back into existence around you and evoke a sense of vertigo.
This (vaguely) Marble Madness inspired sketch explores physics and motion in 3 dimensions. The objective of the game is to roll around and hop between small, close planets in search of missing parts for your broken spaceship.
At the core of the sketch is a gravity system that works based on the well known F=G(M1.M2/r^2) equation. The force applied to the player’s rigidbody is the sum of G(Mn)/rn^2 where:
G = some constant that has been tweaked for the size of the world
n = each planet (this function is an iterator)
M = an adjustable ‘mass’ for each planet
r = the Vector3 distance between the player and each planet
Since gravity works on an inverse square law (the result of dividing by r^2), being closer to a planet means that its influence is quadratically higher. When you’re near a planet you are ‘captured’ by that planet’s gravity, but when you’re in space the forces are weaker and relatively more competitive.
The story here isn’t as fully developed as it could be, rather this is an exploration of vaguely related themes and references. There’s blue things and red things and (hopefully) surprises and throwbacks. The non-deterministic physics of Unity threw off my plans of a predictably machine, so rather I tried to create the opportunity for little moments of delight, such as if you happen to see the red ball again, or you notice that your blue light is “winning”.
I started out hoping to make a zero-G Rube Goldberg, but as I was playing around with the rocket mechanics I discovered that it could be a lot more fun/interesting to have the rocket fly around haplessly in a gravitied environment, then crash and become part of the scene itself.
The zero-G plan turned into an anti-G plan, in which the ball activates a giant red button because of course there’s a giant red button. The giant red button flips the gravity of the world and all the falling pieces begin falling up.
I played around with how to handle the anti-G section for a while, and settled on a smooth camera flip a brief pause after the gravity flips. It seems to nicely accentuate the vertigo of switching the direction of ‘up’, and it’s a neat little mindf— that what were the bottoms of things are now the tops.
Finally, once one has in place a button for switching gravity on a whim, it is almost impossible for one to not put another button ‘above’ it. With no official end, this machine will keep on going until the physics breaks or the iewer gives up. It is a slow march from the joyfulness of bouncing balls and blinking lights into the endless despair of hoping something will change but knowing that it won’t.
Our first assignment was to GTFOutside and find something in the night sky. I had big plans to use my larger camera and long exposures over the weekend but alas I was struck with a terrible fever and going outside became a very bad idea.
So I resorted to ‘taking a quick snap’ with my phone on the only clear night that was left to me. The first trouble was of course finding something in the sky. With NYC’s light pollution and tall buildings everywhere it was tough to see more than one or two faint spots. The second trouble was when my phone told me to move back to improve focus, which was dumb; how can I move back from the sky?
At the beginning of 2019, to try familiarise myself with Blender 2.8, I started a 100 Days of Making project, on the theme of spaceships. On one day I modelled a spaceship, the next I animated it.
In an attempt to share what I’ve learned, I’m running a workshop at ITP Camp centered around learning Blender by building a spaceship. The workshop is only 3 hours, so it certainly doesn’t cover everything there is to know, but hopefully it’ll give you a good jump start to your 3D modelling journey!