The main goal of the redesign was to give the resource tower a more bulky appearance, while also reducing the overall footprint. We wanted the main body to appear similar to a storage tank, and also incorporate the more armored look that the marine technology has in Natural Selection 2. We also wanted to include additional animated parts to give the resource tower more life when it's active. With the redesigned structure, the "bellows" on the sides move in and out as it pumps resources from the node and the computer screen animates to display its activity.
Here's the new concept sketch that Squeal_Like_A_Pig created:
The model and texture were then created by Marcus Dublin who is one of our off-site artists. During the modeling and texturing process, Marcus sends us renders from 3D Studio MAX so that we can evaluate progress and give feedback. Here's the final renderer from 3D Studio MAX:
This model was created right after we posted the siege cannon which Marcus also created. You'll notice the resource tower texture has more wear and grunge than the siege renders. This is partly based on the role it fills in the Natural Selection universe, but also partly based on community feedback.
We're still working on some of the details like getting the specularity just right on metal surfaces, but here's what the final resource tower model looks like rendered by our engine:
Creating assets for Natural Selection 2 is a lot more involved than in the first game, but if you take a peek at the resource tower model from the first Natural Selection, it certainly seems worth it!