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Project Reclamation
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Project Reclamation

by taeun ryu and timmy on 28 Apr 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

Mech lovers assemble! Here's collection of mech designs that assist an elite squad of explorers in the post-AI insurgence world.

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Project Reclamation has been my exploration of mech and vehicle designs that focus on shape studies followed by reasonable functionality. 

The Project closely follows the plot where a band of elite troops ventures into a massive bunker that houses a dormant AI module that once instigated a global AI uprise. 

I love reading on the military archives, tactics, stories behind a weapon development, and its repercussion on the military tradition, and as such, I wanted to see how a pocket of human resistance would stand its ground against the machines that wield more firepower and maneuvers at unmatched speed.

Deciding the character art direction was the hardest of all the design questions. My mind was bogged by what marketing direction I was following and I was torn between an idea of realistic Western Sci-fi route, like Halo, and Starcraft, and the idea of adapting more stylized and casual looking characters like Final Fantasy and Metroid.  

I like both, and both have merit. But since I love designing realistic mechs over anything, and the studios that I would like to work adhere to imbuing realism to chracters too, I had to make up my mind. However, I did not want to leave my characters a bunch of dull people that just sit there in the project. So, I pushed their shapes to pike more interest from the audience. Oh, yea, I heard them the rabbit ears are pretty popular. So I integrated some of those adorable aspects into the design with some technological anecdotes.  

I am a big fan of Gundam series. Yet, also as a military history enthusiast, it also consistently haunts one's mind that its fatuously large body would make an easy target to go down first in the realistic battle scenario. As a matter of fact, wheeled vehicles are capable of carrying far more armaments and munitions at better fuel efficiency with less trouble of logistics and maintenance reliability issues. 

So, I have been pondering the necessity of a bipedal in modern warfare. But if mankind encounters a battlefield that is constantly littered with craters and chasms so cracked that conventional wheeled vehicles can not traverse? Then I further developed it into a quad pedal vehicle whose legs can serve as an anchoring mechanism to cling onto cliff or side of buildings to climb or gain stable shooting positions.  

Shape wise, I wanted to make the mech look cool and majestic, so the rear legs became bulkier and visibly more reliable than the forelegs. Also, I tried to balance the limb locations so that when the mech loses a leg or two, it can still continue to move around.

Tanks are a formidable presence on the field. No small arms fire can even scratch its paint job. Yet, as the weaponry develops,  tanks become increasingly vulnerable to strikes from range. So, I imagined tanks becoming more of armored fire support that provides long-range firepower projection to assist lighter advance group. 

Such a tank  model would need high mobility, powerful armament, and minimal armor protection. So I designed the tank into a turret on wheels. The large rotation wheel riddled with plentiful power supply and motor system means a high rotation speed and reliable recoil absorption.  Whenever the scout party encounters feral machines in skirmish, this tank  will  swoop in quickly to deliver a singular blow to save the day.

Whenever I saw helicopters in a game or movie, they take their sweet time dropping supplies or man on the landing zone.  In the future, where the adversary can spot this and strike from afar, this would often ends up  with helicopters getting shot down.  Maybe what the frontline unit could use is a quick agile aircraft that can ship out the necessary resource or manpower within a minute or two from the base?

Every time I see terminator movie, it just seems absurd that those skeletal looking things take so much of beating though they look as slim as human. Maybe it would be psychologically overwhelming if the human soldiers encountered beings so massive and well-armed? 

Down below is the development process before I reached the final designs for character and vehicles.  I was thinking of devising my own RTS game since I first wanted to become a concept artist cuz of Starcraft but maybe mix in some of the seemingly more popular casual vibes. 

At first, the project was about designing three different human factions: A scientist faction that survived in the bunker armed with superior technology, a raider faction of female scavengers with high mobility and sabotaging tactics, and a military faction derived from the remnant military with heavily armored vehicles and mass enslaved mob army.

Obviously the project scale went way out of proportion quickly, and I had to control myself to keep it doable, and focusing on making the existing characters more interesting than just printing them out. So I turned it into a simple military VS feral machine story. 

 It was a really interesting exploration since I learned to maintain a sense of unity throughout designs to show they all belong to the same faction,  yet each of them clearly shows what it excels at.

An idea of what the cities would look like before the machine uprise and also of how the human soldiers have to operate from shadows and hiding.


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