January 2nd, 2011


Realism versus Art?

Thinking about style for The Struggle for Empire and FF XII

The setting for the next Forgotten Futures is a 1900 novel describing a space war that reminds me in some ways of the Russo-Japanese war - very long cruises to meet an enemy fleet, then incredibly savage battles. I've been thinking in terms of going for maximum realism in the artwork, lots of 3D models, Imperial Space Navy recruiting posters, etc., but should I maybe think about something a bit more stylised for some of the pictures? Hokusai's art of the period comes to mind, for example this:

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Obviously I can't hope to match Hokusai, but the idea of going for something that isn't trying to look like a photo has a lot of appeal. I'd probably be starting off with 3D models anyway, but it might be a fun way to do things. For example, here's a fairly crude version of one of the spaceships firing its guns (they roll to bring the next lot of barrels to bear, so the ones facing right are firing, the ones on top have just fired and are still venting gas, etc.:

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I feel that both of the manipulated images have a more lively feel than the first, though they're identical apart from colours.

Any thoughts?

Habitable planets revisited

A few weeks ago I was asking about possible justifications for all of the solar system being habitable for FF XII. I've just taken a look at that entry and discovered a commment from 3pitaka which looks to be exactly what I need:

Christiaan Huygens, the 17th-century astronomer and discoverer of the moon Titan, in his book Cosmotheoros, argues for the habitability of all the planets. His idea, as far as I can understand it, is that God would not have created the planets pointlessly, but that such worlds, akin to the Earth in size and substance, must exist in order to house life: "should we allow the Planets nothing but vast Deserts, lifeless and inanimate Stocks and Stones, and deprive them of all those Creatures that more plainly speak their Divine Architect, we should sink them below the Earth in Beauty and Dignity; a thing that no Reason will permit...".

And, this being so, Huygens argues that each planet will have its own airs and waters, suitable to its size and distance from the sun, from which the life of each world can find sustenance; and that the life will be different from ours in detail, but of the same basic kind, with shapes suitable to their mode of locomotion, which will in turn be constrained by the geography of each planet; and that among them will be "their Inhabitants: not Men perhaps like ours, but some Creatures or other endued with Reason. For all this Furniture and Beauty the Planets are stock'd with seem to have been made in vain, without any design or end, unless there were some in them that might at the same time enjoy the Fruits, and adore the wise Creator of them."

And he goes on to ascribe to his 'Planetarians' reason, and the five senses, and arts, and sciences, and geometry and astronomy and writing, and an ordered society; and by turns he argues that they must have a form not utterly different from the human. All very plausibly, sensibly, and Platonically argued; and, alas, for the most part very far from the truth.

I think this works - maybe combine it with autopope's idea of an emerging deity derived from humanity as the Creator. The original book is here. Any better suggestions?