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The Rebirth of an Old Universe - The Making Of Perry Rhodan 


In this making-of documentary we will illustrate the laborious process of creating the Perry Rhodan game. Locked into dark rooms filled with computers, a group of 30 enthusiastic artists and programmers has spent 14 months to design hundreds of space ships, planets, alien races and fantastic stories and baked them all into one of the most complex science fiction computer game adventures.


Our main goal was to create a modernized design for the classic Perry Rhodan series in order to approach a new target audience without alienating the traditional fan base. The original designs of planets, space ships, architecture
and costumes were elaborated by a whole army of science fiction authors and coined the perceptions and expectations of the readers. We had to stay faithful to these sources while connecting them with new concepts and introducing
transformations to established characters and places. It was a delicate balancing act.











"There were some interesting gaps within the Perry universe, things that were only marginally touched by the novel authors. We tried to fill those gaps and invigorate them with our own ideas."






It was a constant challenge to envision a world more than 3000 years into the future. What does exist in that time? Objects and environments need to look strange and foreign to us even though they can be traced to mundane elements of everyday life. And how can today's concepts of futuristic design be interwoven with the classical future visions of the sixties that are omnipresent in the Perry universe?

All designs relate to today's architectural principles. Familiar elements are modified but still recognizable. This enables the viewer to relate to this world, understand it and interact successfully with it.











We didn't want to stay confined to a small area like a building, a city or even one planet. While it wasn't possible to show the gargantuan size of the Perry Rhodan universe within the scope of a game we wanted to at least hint at its expanse and visit multiple planets throughout the galaxy. Following the storyline the player is confronted with 4 significantly different planets, each featuring its own history, environment and subsequently a unique design.






The game script separated the player's progress into 5 distinct areas, each of them based on a different concept, connected through 4 dramaturgical transitions. For each of these levels we developed a scene that contained the core design elements that were influenced by the story and the environment into which the level is set. Those images were a guideline for the mood, the color, the level of detail, the texturing and the lighting. Together they added up to a style guide that was given to the level designers.











The second level already hints at later twists in the story. The further the player progresses through the area the darker and more mysterious the design becomes. During the following levels the atmosphere turns significantly more ominous, lights are increasingly displaced until Perry finally reaches the planet Betha where he is confronted with a dark and barren wasteland which provides a stark contrast to the clean, bright and life filled areas he visited in the beginning.











The original script positioned the museum in Arkon City, the capital of one of the main species of the Perry Rhodan universe. But the distinctive design of Arkon architecture would have destroyed the envisioned impact of the museum's concept. It was supposed to convey reclusion: A relic of times long past, abandoned and forgotten in a rocky desert. To emphasize the morbidity of this once proud building we furnished its facade with scaffolding that prevents the monument from collapsing.










The towers and machines were envisioned as a crossover of old ironworks and oil drilling platforms. To convey the size of the mining operation the drills were not separated from the actual city area. Instead we decided to mount the whole city onto the countless connected platforms. The result was a giant city-sized mining drill that's eating its way through the planet's surface, taking the whole settlement down with it.

We visited multiple decommissioned ironworks and took them as a base for the city. Ironclad giants, the remains of a glorious industrial epoch. They convey the impression we tried to achieve for Gom Callaedus. It's a dead city, but its former bustling activity can still be felt. While the derelict mining city is now a hideout for criminals the player is still reminded of the old times when the place represented a technologically significant place.








The last level focuses on the crashed space cruiser in the wasteland. An eroding structure, untouched for thousands of years, the ship has almost become part of the surrounding landscape.







The first trailer and in-game sequences of the game were scheduled to be shown at the Games Convention 2007 in Leipzig. At that time production was still in the early stages, areas and characters were incomplete or missing completely. This required us to improvise. Character designs were not yet completed, so we used helmets to hide their faces. To illustrate the origins of the Illochim species the game centers around and how historical encounters with them influenced mythological lore we used woodcarving images because the corresponding CG assets were not yet finished. What originally started as an improvisation quickly developed into a distinct style that was untypical for a game production but successfully managed to spark the interest of the audience:

The Perry Rhodan trailer was chosen into the top 10 list of game trailers at the Games Convention for its artistic approach.














"Making of a game" |  "Digital creation days 2008  












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