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recently i wanted to try and model a spaceship. i want to make one with interior and exterior. (like spaceships in star citizen.) But i dont know how to start working on it. Do i first build the interior and thzn build the exterior around it ? or reversed ? also how does one design interior if there is already an exterior. my goal is to maybe implement this in a game engine so i can walk around inside of it. i tried looking for this on google but i only got results that show how to make a spaceship but withoud interior. or interiors alone. does someone know how to make this ? or does someone have a tutorial i can use to learn from ? thanks in advanced.

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When you have two elements of any sort that rely on each other to make sense, whether they be interior and exterior of a spaceship, or the design of two opposing asymmetric factions, a standard way to do it is to build both things in parallel.

For a spaceship, that could be: block out the basic forms of a cool exterior in half an hour or something, then make space for the rooms inside. Notice that you forgot a restroom or a cargo compartment, add those, and reshape the exterior to match. See that the exterior doesn't look as cool any more, and adjust it. Then go back to the interior and squeeze things in. Go back and forth a few times, and then when you're satisfied with the layouts you can polish them each up with a lot of details. When you get more practice with how adjusting the exterior affects the interior, you won't need to go back and forth so many times to get something you're happy with.

Remember to make your interior and exterior meshes separate so you can render just the exterior for ships you're not in, and avoid wasting GPU time.

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Often the interior and exterior will be separate models.

Splitting them this way improves rendering efficiency in our common use cases:

  • If you're inside the sleeping quarters, you generally don't need to render the exterior - it's all occluded anyway.

  • And vice versa: from the outside, you can't see the quarters. A low-fidelity model or shader trick might stand-in for glimpses of the interior you can see through the windows.

This also allows us to "Tardis" the ship - making the interior bigger or different in shape than the exterior. This is a common trick used in games to make the insides of buildings spacious and intricate, while making the outside easy to navigate by compressing the distance you have to travel to get around the building, or from one building to the next.

If you're new to modelling complex game assets and environments, this might be a good way to go: you can start modelling either the interior or the exterior, and switch back and forth between them as your work on one gives you ideas for what to do next in the other. The two don't have to match perfectly, just close enough that the player deems it plausible that they're the same structure, which gives you a lot of wiggle room to change your mind or make mistakes along the way.

The main spot they need to match up is wherever the player gets in & out of the ship. If that happens invisibly in your game (eg. via a teleporter, camera cut, or loading screen), you can avoid dealing with it at all.

If not, then you can create an airlock that fits both the interior and exterior, and ensure that at some point in its operation, the player's view of the opposite side is obscured, giving you an opportunity to swap their surroundings for the other version of the mesh.

If you need your interior and exterior to match perfectly - if Tardising it would be noticeable to the player, or just antithetical to your design direction - then I'd suggest not starting in modelling software at all. Start on paper, drafting a blueprint for your ship and its various requirements. Once you have a solid plan in place, then you can start modelling any part of it you choose.

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