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[WIP] Blue Origin BE-4 Engine


GusTurbo
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Background

About 8 years ago, I decided to pursue my dream and go into game art design. I was a decent modeler, and I could see myself going places with those skills. Well, things didn't quite work out, and now I'm an unemployed lawyer.:P

My abortive attempt at a career in game art design left me with a limited skillset. For example, I never learned how to properly unwrap models or texture them. But recently, I've been inspired to dust off my old hobby and try to learn some new things in the process. This thread will track my progress in relearning modeling (with Blender) and hopefully progressing toward a completed game asset. I will be using Blender and Photoshop CS3.

For this task, I've decided to model something fresh, Blue Origin's proposed BE-4 engine, which may replace RD-180 on the Atlas V in 2019 (we'll see). Here's a good article on the engine. I searched the forum, and I don't think anyone here has modeled one yet, so it seemed like a good candidate.

Latest Progress Images:

XUhKTyG.png

veIy4gD.png

d93m5Qr.jpg

v3vI2pc.png

el1tdt0.png

QhlRiTa.png

High poly version:

4Ys8CHT.png

Low poly + texture:

RggZb9Y.png

Edited by GusTurbo
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A nice start! Following with interest. KSP always needs more engines that look like engines. :)

It's not outside the bounds of possibility that it would be used in a second stage in KSP (where it would not be inside a boattail), so I would definitely argue for modeling the turbopump and other details. You might take the latest engines in FASA (F-1, J-2, RL-10) as an inspiration, or the ones in any of the OLDD packs or BobCat's Soviet Engines.

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Looks great Gus! I'm curious to seeing how the real BE-4 pans out and it's nice to see it in KSP. It will also be nice for Realism Overhaul with some patches. :)

Random fact: the picture in the middle of the spoiler tab was taken by my father. :)

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I've been out of commission for about a week with some medical issues, so I've just now gotten back to working on this today. Here's a new render:

3EqFKKR.png

As far as showing off some wireframes, what would be the best way to do that?

[update]

57AGsxv.png

Edited by GusTurbo
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Select your object

Click the object tab

Scroll down and check "wire"

Press Shift+Space to maximise your current view (The one where the mouse is hovering)

T and N to hide the Tool shelf and Properties

Zoom to fill the view.

Print screen

Edited by Cpt. Kipard
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Thanks! I'm going to do a lot of optimization later. The engine bell itself currently has 42 sides, and those ridges will be baked on the normal map when I'm done. The big challenge right now for me is recreating the details of this engine, since reference pictures are a bit limited.

More stuff:

QmTPNel.png

4Ys8CHT.png

Edited by GusTurbo
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Hi Gus, looks great! I saw you asked if there were any more photos my dad took  I think these are the rest of them. :) Hope they help

http://www.gettyimages.com/search/2/image?family=editorial&phrase=Win+McNamee+Jeff+Bezos

Another reference picture from someone else: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/model-of-the-be-4-rocket-engine-stands-on-display-during-a-news-photo/455602964

Edited by Woopert
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Those ref pics are definitely helpful!

Here's the latest. There aren't a lot of views from the back side, but I think I was able to capture it pretty well. It was fun making the hydraulics for the engine gimbal.

OCCiAH1.png

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I've finished modeling and decided to pivot a bit. The model was way too high-poly in its previous stage (16k+ tris) so I've reduced things significantly to make it a little more game-friendly (6300 tris). Now that that's done, I'm working on unwrapping, texturing, and other fancy stuff. I've done some work on the engine bell with a basic texture and normal map. I'm not sure what the texture should look like, since the model of the BE-4 engine shown in the press has been all solid-color. Blue Origin's prior engine, the BE-3, looks like this:

XscYXp6.jpg

So I've decided to go with that general color scheme, as you can see here:

RggZb9Y.png

Edited by GusTurbo
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I can't wait to see some AO on this. Complex models like this always look so good with it.

Will you be using the bumped specular shader?

I don't know anything about shaders yet, but it sounds like something I should do!

I've been following your very helpful texturing guide as well as other resources in the thread you put together.

Edited by GusTurbo
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AO is Ambient Occlusion. It's a different way of casting shadows based on nearby geometry. It's usually baked, and incorporated into the colour map directly, mostly for static, or slightly moving models. You bake it in Blender.

The KSP Bumped Specular shader is a shader that uses a Normal Map, and a Colour map with an alpha channel for specularity.

Normal Maps are used to give the impression of small bumbs or indentations on your models.

Specular maps determine how shiny your texture is in various places.

Click the Texturing Guide in my sig.

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This is looking great so far! On the final version, are you looking to have a thrust plate or support structure to attach to the tank, like so:

rs68.jpg

More progress. I'm really starting to get the hang of bezier curves.

Jealous. I've never had the patience to make beziers bend to my will. (pun only slightly intended.)

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I might do something like that for a later version. For now, I'm sticking with the somewhat lazy conical structure on top.

Also, I need some input. What size shold this be? I've heard that the new Atlas will have a 5m core and will be powered by two of these.

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If it were me I'd duplicate that mesh and make a double engine with a 3.75m base then. There's an unwritten rule here apparently that says that if you're making a replica of something irl you reduce it to 66% size and then scale up or down to the nearest standard diameter.

On another note, that image makes it look like all the interesting geometry would be hidden.

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