While the starships players will inhabit in the massively multiplayer Star Wars: The Old Republic may look unfamiliar, the initial reference for those vessels is a vehicle Star Wars gamers are intimately familiar with.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is an extension of the acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic role-playing game franchise BioWare introduced in 2003, so it makes sense that developers would turn to that game's answer to the Millennium Falcon for inspiration. Senior concept artist Ryan Denning explains the ship design process in full this morning at The Old Republic's website.
For reference once we began creating concepts, we took a look at a version of the Ebon Hawk from the original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic game that we scaled to be consistent with room sizes that we use in The Old Republic. Because our camera can be higher than in the original, ceiling heights and room sizes needed to be larger, but we wanted to maintain the perception that our ships are the size you'd expect. For the first ship, the Sith ship, I did a rough layout based on the new scale and design's requirements.
Once the size and scope of the ships was determined, the design process was relatively similar for each individual craft. Ryan walks us through the motions of creating the Imperial Agent's sleek and sexy ship.
We knew that we wanted the Agent's ship to look advanced, like something you wouldn't know was in the Imperial fleet until decades later, but something that still fit within their current ranks. It couldn't be overtly Imperial, since we didn't want to blow the Agent's cover. The SR-71 Blackbird was a natural reference, especially since it related to Queen Amidala's ship in the Phantom Menace. We also wanted to evoke the feel of something that a certain British spy might drive. The first thing I created was a bunch of thumbnail sketches which the team reviewed, and from there we narrowed it down to a few ideas. Once it was narrowed down, I created a rough sketch of what the final ship might look like.
Hit up the link below to follow Ryan through the rest of the design process, after which he hands things over to senior environment artist Christopher Reeves to explain how that concept is brought to life in game.
Studio Insider – Starship Creation [Star Wars: The Old Republic]