Featured image of post The Orbital Gateway - 03 - Do 3D Artists Dream of Electric Wires

The Orbital Gateway - 03 - Do 3D Artists Dream of Electric Wires

Panels inspiration from a toy


An update on the Stargate Orbital Station with some work I did the past days.

Main camera screenshot, showcasing the cylindrical structure. Compared to the last blog update, this time around the portal openings have a frame around them consisting of wires and greeble details.

My primary focus has been the geometry around the portals and on the face of the cylinder itself. I’ve been building it up slowly with cables, fuse boxes and other details. I’ll try to increase the variety and fidelity even more once I block out the basic shapes on the faces that are still empty.


Here is a gif of things in action:

Gif showcasing a timelapse of the build up of the panels work on the structure.

I knew I should approach the details on the cylinder as if they were greebles back when I picked the concept. I was worried that might make them look very squarish and nearly committed to just doing freehand placed geometry. I was having lunch next and I could not stop thinking that not trying more modular approach might be a mistake. I also had the imagine of this old puzzle toy my grandparents used to keep in their house back at home in Bulgaria when I was a kid. I could not get it out of my head. So I went back, took measurements and split the circumference of the cyl into few even pieces. I then started putting details on top of those pieces.

Three screenshots put next to one another. First one is UE4 shot that shows the cylinder with panels color coded to show the asset usage. Second is a hand holding an old Soviet puzzle toy. Third is the panel cuts from one, but this time showed in Maya with details.

The toy I mentioned is seen in the middle. (Googling an obscure, long word descriptions of it gave me a result saying “old Soviet puzzle toy”. Brilliant.)

End result is a bit more modular and structured than just placing random bits here and there. I’m hoping to produce a small library of 7-8 of these “arched panels”. Then I’ll build the whole structure through just them. I also decided I’ll probably not constrain myself perfectly into some of the panels so there is better feel of flow and it looks less forced into rectangles later on.

In the future, somewhere by the end I could also produce few pieces of cables and other details that serve literally as foliage (but are not plants, lol) and are scattered in engine to give even more detail.


Yes, making cables and wires was fun, why would you ask? Smile. Jokes a part the first few are kind of fiddly but then you build a small library of few curves and finished wires and you can easily knock out new ones through Soft Selection (in Maya).

I know they look very high poly right now, but I am keeping their back faces and proper edge loops for easy iteration. Once I start finishing the panels though, all back sides that are not seen are getting deleted, lots of the edge loops that don’t add that much flow will go as well. Result should be not too heavy.

Thanks for reading.

Until the next post,


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