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Michael Paul Cottam

Space Marshal
The intro for DarkLight conflict. NASA recently sent up a satellite that looked just like this, I must be able to see into the future (maybe not).

Done in Alias.

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Michael Paul Cottam

Space Marshal
The captains room Reliant - Starlancer.

My pencil concept drawings:

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I like the cramped feel, like a submarine.

Work in progress Images here:

The space suit was done by Paul.

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This must be the instruction manual.

Notice the same frame with different texture. Saved modelling and UV mapping time.

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The end result Paul did the lighting:

You can see that he has his own loo.

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DopplerD

Spaceman
Oh I think NASA's destroys incoming ICBMs heading towards the United States. (snicker...snicker). i love the pictures of the Captains quarters that is cool. Did you have any at all design in the exterior or framing of the Reliant?
 

Michael Paul Cottam

Space Marshal
Oh I think NASA's destroys incoming ICBMs heading towards the United States. (snicker...snicker). i love the pictures of the Captains quarters that is cool. Did you have any at all design in the exterior or framing of the Reliant?
I have about fifty big boxes I'm unpacking. Watch this space, I have no idea what I will find.
 

DopplerD

Spaceman
Awesome, the thing I liked was the diversity in designs of the carriers for both the Alliance and the Coalition.
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
Gosh,

I can't remember a lot of the details.

-Yes, Nick was on the team very early (also his brother Mark, he was dam good and still is, he was way ahead of his time), I know he was there because of this image: https://www.wcnews.com/wcpedia/File:dARKENIN.png this was taken in our second building just after we got the green light from EA. This is just after we became EA Manchester, (we were Digital Creations before that. Gosh, I was working at ICI, EZIT with Jon and Digital Creations. No wonder my memory is messed up). This was long before building three, where we started working with a larger team.

-Phil made our textures for most of the in-game ships. He had a great way of making them as efficient as possible. He would flip, mirror and loop/tile; it made it harder to UV the models but his work was so efficient and that means more ships to fight. We also changed the RGB colors to make one ship look like another (or was that Starlancer????). I've never worked with anyone that was more efficient than Phil at texturing.

-Nick was right, we did a short animation (Just four of us then) and later Nick E and Phil M modelled quite a lot of the fighter ships. I remember building some of them again later in EOR at first then 3D Studio. EOR was extremely painful to use, it was a 2d package that exported 3D - Hard to explain. I remember Jon and I had to work without any disturbances to concentrate, a single mistake would force you to start again, it was crazy. We must have switched to 3D Studio at some point because I remember completing the game using that.

-I still work with Jon Rashid now, but have not seen Nick or Phil since I left to work in America many years ago, I miss them both. I left the UK to try and get a job at Lucas Film, this was almost impossible, but I am very pleased to say I made it and here I am on the steps of Sky Walker Ranch:

View attachment 6197

-As for Mr Steed, I only worked with him for two days, maybe three. Paul was very helpful and showed us a lot in a very short time. This stuff was way ahead of it's time then. I believe these may have been the very first 3D objects in a game. Wing Commander was years ahead.

-When I first started working on Privateer, I remember doing some simple drawings/paintings of rooms, (one was used in a DK multimedia book after they visited our EA office).

This one:

The first Apple computer was in this book also Nick Goldsworthy.

View attachment 6182

-Later I started building the environments in 3D Studio and designed them as I went along. I remember starting with Bex.

View attachment 6196

This took 14 hours to render.

-We were quite free to build our own thing at the time. I remember the "no wheels on space ships' rule.

-If you look at that image of the team again you will see images on the wall that Nick and Phil put together to guide us. I remember each planet had a style that they put in a design document. Later other artists started designing rooms as well, you can see a few of the drawings on the Privateer site.

-I did a lot of textures but during the first few scenes Phil helped me out a lot. That was our pipeline back then. Building models was a lot harder in 3D Studio than 3DS MAX today, so it was very time consuming. I think it took us 3 + years to make that game. (I made Need for Speed in less than a year).

-I'm sure I built the ship in your image. Looks crazy bad now. We had SO little texture space then.

-I think the textures were done in Animator Pro, only the UI was done in Photoshop later. I was shown how to use Photoshop by Paul half way through the game. Thanks Paul!

-Looking back, I have to remind myself how much Nick, Phil and Paul showed me. How did they know how to do all this stuff? Unlike today there was no internet (or browsers in the UK), books, lessons or help to be found. Windows had just come out and we worked in DOS. Some of the early packages were very simple. It was all experimental. I was introduced to the web while visiting Origin to see Chris and Paul.

-Our first textures were done in Animator Pro:

View attachment 6181

-For Alpha we used the pink found on the right of the palate above.

-To put this into perspective, EOR was worse than the first prototype of 3DS Studio (example found here http://www.maxunderground.com/the_history_of_3d_studio) and the first 3D Studio was not much better than the prototype.

-Hope that answers a few of your questions? (My memory sucks at times :eek:) Unfortunately I have to get back to work.


All the best,

Mike

Thank you for your response!

I remember loading up the models for the first time, opening up the UV maps and, once I realized what I was looking at, thinking "this must have taken superhuman effort to do!" But it was worth it, because it gave the game a level of detail that really was unmatched for the time. I don't know about StarLancer, but I can confirm that the P2 ships have a RGB color-swap system built into their textures. I guess you could call it the precursor to modern alpha channels? It's another one of the ways Privateer 2 was ahead of its time.

And I think you do yourself a disservice; the textures may look blurry today, but the detail packed into them is amazing, and the sheer variety and way they're mapped keeps the ships looking fresh and interesting. Compare that to contemporary games like, say, FreeSpace 2 (1999), where the capital ships used the same two or three textures tiled over and over again like wallpaper.

It's still a bit shocking to me when viewing the models. "They did all this with 256 colors and 400 faces?"
 
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Red Baron

Rear Admiral
Yeah WW2 submarine is exactly what the Reliant feels like. Makes me want to look at the ceiling and hush everyone into silence. The Yamato was cozy too, but she almost made me feel guilty for living in that five star hotel at the frontlines.
Also like Paul's flightsuit design.
 

Whistler

Commodore
The Yamato was cozy too, but she almost made me feel guilty for living in that five star hotel at the frontlines.
Rank has its privileges. By the time you get to the Yamato, if you've been nailing all the objectives, rates you rather high on the command ranking. The Reliant made me feel like a fresh volunteer fresh out of the city streets and I loved it. It was cramped, felt authentic, and made you sweat your first time out the chute. Parts and paint fading and broken in places, but everything is still high-tech. Although...*laughs internally for a few seconds* a "CD Player" in the bunk room...really CDs? LOL. With the way we do digital music these days I'm amazed those still sell. Oh yeah, legacy devices in our cars and homes, but by 2160? Please.

BTW, loved the carrier's launch-n-retrieval system. Simple, effective, and allows for simultaneous recovery and launch operations.

Reliant felt like an aging battle carrier but she was still a very capable design. The "used universe" feel, that endeared me to Wing Commander and Star Wars, runs strong in Starlancer and made it believable, even if the neo-Cold War mentality cliché was a bit over-the-top. Still, her last hurrah went out with a bang and I'll miss her greatly after Captain Foster's final strike. *salute*

I was rather angry when I found out in Freelancer how the events in post-Starlancer turned out. Made me want to go back to Sol and finish what we started at Titan. The Houses of Sirius should unite and fight to reclaim Sol. Now THAT is a Starlancer sequel I want to see (read: that will never happen).

To see all we had fought for, turned to ash...

That's how bloody motivating the atmosphere was. My one regret was I had hoped to see more of the Reliant's insides outside the bunk and briefing room. The ship felt like another Tiger's Claw to me and believe me, that says ALOT.
 

Michael Paul Cottam

Space Marshal
Rank has its privileges. By the time you get to the Yamato, if you've been nailing all the objectives, rates you rather high on the command ranking. The Reliant made me feel like a fresh volunteer fresh out of the city streets and I loved it. It was cramped, felt authentic, and made you sweat your first time out the chute. Parts and paint fading and broken in places, but everything is still high-tech. Although...*laughs internally for a few seconds* a "CD Player" in the bunk room...really CDs? LOL. With the way we do digital music these days I'm amazed those still sell. Oh yeah, legacy devices in our cars and homes, but by 2160? Please.

BTW, loved the carrier's launch-n-retrieval system. Simple, effective, and allows for simultaneous recovery and launch operations.

Reliant felt like an aging battle carrier but she was still a very capable design. The "used universe" feel, that endeared me to Wing Commander and Star Wars, runs strong in Starlancer and made it believable, even if the neo-Cold War mentality cliché was a bit over-the-top. Still, her last hurrah went out with a bang and I'll miss her greatly after Captain Foster's final strike. *salute*

I was rather angry when I found out in Freelancer how the events in post-Starlancer turned out. Made me want to go back to Sol and finish what we started at Titan. The Houses of Sirius should unite and fight to reclaim Sol. Now THAT is a Starlancer sequel I want to see (read: that will never happen).

To see all we had fought for, turned to ash...

That's how bloody motivating the atmosphere was. My one regret was I had hoped to see more of the Reliant's insides outside the bunk and briefing room. The ship felt like another Tiger's Claw to me and believe me, that says ALOT.

Yes, a CD, but I helped make the first CD. For real.
 

Whistler

Commodore
If they weren't so fragile (I'll never let anyone borrow a disk of mine again) I'd be inclined to agree. I do enjoy the fidelity, but a digitally identical recording is just that, a recording. No matter what I store it on digitally, it will sound great the 1st and millionth time. Digital music doesn't skip, unless the master recording source was rubbish.

Friends steal CDs, not HDDs. At least none I know lol.
 

Michael Paul Cottam

Space Marshal
Images done of me by other artists and later used in Privateer and the Darkening. I was one of the crew on the Yamoto.

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Then the in-game WINGMAN image, bottom right. Did I ever help YOU? ;O)

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And the Pirate:

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