Subnautica Concept Art: Interior Sketch

Posted by Hugh 5 years ago

Over the past three weeks, we here at Unknown Worlds have released five pieces of concept art. Until today, each one was accompanied by a piece of ambient soundtrack created by Simon. We’ve come to the abrupt realisation that if we keep up at this pace, we will run out of soundtrack before we run out of concept art! So for two weeks, we are giving the Subnautica YouTube channel a break.

That doesn’t mean you allowed to stop visiting the Subnautica channel. Nothing makes Charlie happier than seeing that little ‘subscribers’ number tick upwards, so lets put a new year smile on his dial and subscribe!

The image you see above is called ‘Interior Sketch.’ It is a very special image, because it is the first piece of concept art that Cory created for Subnautica. The day it was finished, everyone crowded around his desk to ‘umm’ and ‘ahh’ – Our first visualisation of the game as it might one day look.

Unknown Worlds Subnautica

Cory introduces Interior Sketch to the team, with Charlie & Steve in the background

At the time, one of Charlie’s first Subnautica prototypes was doing the rounds of Unknown Worlds. Each of us played through the game, with Charlie taking careful notes. One of the key elements of that early prototype was relatively granular submarine construction: Players could add and remove entire sections of vessels, with those sections confering various abilities to the whole.

While quite fun to play with, the system was visually… Interesting. Keeping it as it was in the prototype would have resulted in Subnautica looking a little bit rough, with submarines appearing as though they had been mashed together by a two year old learning how to play with Lego bricks.

Subnautica Steve Unknown Worlds

Steve talks Charlie & Steve through a possible technical implementation of Interior Sketch

Cory created Interior Sketch to give form to the idea that Subnautica submarines could take on reasonable shapes, while retaining the ability for players to modify the vessel to their liking. Note the modular layout of the image, with each item attached to a bulkhead or deck in a defined grid area. Whatever these gadgets are (item fabricators? Airlocks? Power systems?) they are attached to the submarine at predefined modification points. It is this thinking that lead to our current theory of Subnautica vehicles: That players will be provided various chassis, the systems and capabilities of which they can modify within the bounds of the original structure.

Subnautica

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Since Interior Sketch, the goal for interior designs has been updated with Control Room. While no longer representative of what Subnautica interiors are likely to look like, Interior Sketch still serves as an interesting look at how submarine chassis might work.

Of course, the coolest part of the image is ‘Flayra 2:’ Cory’s nod to the fact that Subnautica is, after Natural Selection, Charlie’s second major game design project and the second major project for Unknown Worlds, the company he founded with Max. Like the rest of the image, the Flayra 2 diver is a very early representation of what players might look like, and it is probable that final designs will evolve significantly. Stay tuned to the Subnautica blog for reveals of more up-to-date character concept art, and more, over the coming weeks!

Each week in December and January, we will release a new piece of concept art, and discuss that piece’s implication for Subnautica gameplay. You can chat to Charlie about gameplay, Steve about tech, and Cory about art on Twitter any time! See more concept art here.