Home / Uncategorized / In art design by Heavenly Bodies out December 7th – PlayStation.Blog

In art design by Heavenly Bodies out December 7th – PlayStation.Blog

After nearly three years of development, we are excited to announce that Heavenly Bodies will arrive on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on December 7th, 2021 – so don’t wait to share it with you. Our new gameplay trailer below points out some of the varied, alluring, and often ridiculous scenarios that you might find yourself in, whether you’re playing solo or with a space friend in local co-op.


In art design by Heavenly Bodies out December 7th

The art of the heavenly bodies

Before that, we wrote about how the game feels and what you’re going to be doing out there in space. To celebrate that the game is so close to launch we thought we’d look at the reference that inspired us and what Heavenly Bodies looked like, what it looks like.

Visual direction

The game’s visual style is influenced by mid-century technical illustrations, archival images from early space exploration, and sectional drawings that allow viewers to see detailed structures. Our goal was to create something that would look more like an artist’s interpretation of space than pursue realism. The work of the Soviet architect and designer Galina Balashova and the illustrator Russ Arasmith, who cooperates with NASA, has significantly shaped our visual language.

Photo credit: artwork by Russ Arasmith, date unknown. NASA

Capturing illustrative qualities in a real-time context

To reproduce this bold, graphic and analog aesthetic, we first analyzed what we need to reproduce effectively in a real-time interactive context. The most important functions that we wanted to integrate were:

● high contrast between highlights, midtones and shadows with little blending in between;

● the ability to replicate descriptive techniques such as hatching and dotting;

● grain that feels relative to the scale of objects in the scene;

● Ability to control the roughness of an object;

● Texture support for hand painted details.

The results of our first experiments are below and we thought they were an early step in the right direction.

After encapsulating these properties in real time in 3D on smaller objects, we really wanted to apply them to larger, playable environments.

Our main considerations in translating this style into Heavenly Bodies were:

● Prioritizing the playable space and interactive objects over unnecessary details or clutter;

● Using color to highlight key elements and different types of interactions;

● Prefer analog technology and large forms that communicate how they work.

Here’s a look at the in-game “data” scenario, where you can see how all of these elements come together.

Communication terminal and operations manual concepts

Mission Control delivers the information required to complete the task at hand via the communication terminal at every level. This information arrives as a hard copy which is then added to the instruction manual carried by the player.

The Operations Manual is based on NASA manuals and checklists given to astronauts for quick reference in stressful situations, of which there are many in the game. Favoring analog technology over digital, modern, and science fiction is a fundamental direction for the game. Below are some early concepts for the chunky communication terminal, followed by an example of the materials they put out in the “Energy” layer.

Reference to memorabilia

Throughout the game, we’ve hidden a number of special collectibles that players can find and send back to Mission Control to proudly display. These collectibles are our nod to major achievements in space history, such as Sputnik, the first satellite to be put into orbit, and the Voyager Golden Record, which was blasted through the cosmos with the sounds of our universe, and more that we think of Discover them left behind.

The artwork for the PlayStation Trophies is our way of recognizing the efforts of our brave cosmonauts and commemorating their efforts in the form of a physical artifact that players can collect and ponder – to create their own story of unforgettable events. Vintage space memorabilia, including postage stamps, matchboxes, lapel pins, and badges, were key sources of supply, so making our own assets felt like a great way to pay tribute to a bygone era of space exploration.

Our love for historical space illustration extends to every corner of Heavenly Bodies, and our goal is to capture the magic of mid-century graphic illustration wherever possible. For us, this era embodies the early romanticism and optimism of space travel. As we play in the late 60s, early 70s, we’ve been tweaking events and technology from later decades to create the types of scenarios we want players to experience, and we hope you enjoy it. See you in orbit! Heavenly Bodies will be released on December 7, 2021 for PS4 and PS5 – you can add the game to your wish list here.

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