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PLANETSIDE 2 Pre-Viz: M100 Lightning by ukitakumuki PLANETSIDE 2 Pre-Viz: M100 Lightning by ukitakumuki
Concept art 2012 Sony Online Entertainment LLC. SOE. All Rights Reserved.

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Planetside 2 is out soon! Watch the trailer here: [link]
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Current Planetside 2 design, and Planetside 1 design.
[link]
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So, with the new trailer out, and the tonnes of beta footage, concept art and media floating about I think its safe to release some of my pre-viz work I did for SOE from 2009-2010. I will be releasing in the order of what is only out already in the media, and then finally once the game is 'gold' then the rest will follow in updates to come.

Planetside ([link]) was, and is, an unimaginably amazing true-MMOFPS franchise that should have taken the world by storm 9 years ago. It was the only game back then that could hold my attention for more than 7 minutes. Defending a hard-earned facility, Mass Gal drops, MAX Raids had me rushing home from school and logging on and doing my part for the TR/Vanu. Most of the defining moments of my life's gaming experience is credited to Planetside and its open-world 'sandbox' nature, allowing hundreds of players to wage epic freaking war in a 24-hour long persistent world server. The network connectively was surprisingly sharp, and the frenetic gameplay, camaraderie and immersion to be had was nothing short of exhilarating.

I eventually left the game due to the introduction of BFRs (Don't get me wrong it was fun as a Collosus killing shit and acting out my Mechwarrior fantasies on live human opponents, being a troll even before it became a popular meme, but the entire battlefield dynamic just changed too drastically for comfort. I mainly enjoyed the combat with 50% infantry, 30% armour, 20% air vehicle mix...)

Fast forward 6 years, and right after finishing up my Space Vagabonds commission and wanting to take a holiday, a phonecall came in from SOGA Taiwan. It was for a project titled Planetside Next. I think I screamed a bit. A combination of self-doubt, horror, and eventually facemelting joy followed by a frantic followup email and a test and the job was awarded to us at IFS! :) (Helped to be a fan and swearing on my life that I'd do my best to homage Planetside and update it respectfully, too.) It was then supposed to be just a revamp of Planetside, a sort of Planetside reimagined. Explains why you don't see glass cockpits on my vehicle concepts, that was an early creative decision when they weren't sure they wanted to show off the characters or not due to engine limitations (IIRC they wanted to vastly increase the player count with the same engine or something, so something had to give). I also chimed in saying it was fantastic idea, because we'd be able to create a truly hard-sci fi futuristic look where high end optics were commonplace, removing the need for fragile transparent components. A cold, hardened look that is reminiscent of drones. I still think its a great meaningful look, and I always feel kinda broken-hearted when I see how in the current iterations the cockpit areas of my designs got carved up into glass, because it was a real labour of love for myself, and the early team members (GM John Laurence, Programmer/PM Steve Wang, AD William B. Yeatts) that went into designing all that stuff.

While I may not agree aesthetically with those changes, I can definitely appreciate and understand why they went the direction of showing off glass cockpits and crew especially now that the project has the brilliant Forgelight engine to bring that world to life. (Don't get me wrong, if its an open canopied jeep or ATV by all means uncover it all, show the crew, the rawness and exposure has beauty too... just that my design approach at the time was simply based around the original principle of being a hardened cockpit coffin and the pilot buried behind layers of protection. To my mind, it is very hard to just swap a part out and change the context and expect the design to carry the same meaning anymore. Players might not ever care, but I just felt the need to say my peace on that tiny matter. :) )

So anyways, I spent almost an entire year (2009-2010) on the project. It was one of the most transformational periods of my life professionally and testing in my personal life as well; the relationships forged and artistic growth, the incredible brain drain endured along with the soaring creative highs, no money can buy any of that. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have experienced it all and especially to have worked on the project of my dreams alongside some amazing people (credited above!), the game that made me a gamer. Can't wait to show more when I can and I sincerely hope my efforts have added to the joy of fans worldwide! Long live Planetside! :)

More on this piece:
-Credit to Steve Wang/John Laurence for the copy writing and backstory unless stated otherwise.
-Concept presented in 'Nanite Grey' since its a common pool vehicle. (NS Logo designed by me)
-The idea behind the updated lightning was to feature a 'variable stance' flexible frame to handle rough terrain. The side was intentionally left looking like industrial rebar to push the lightweight 'skeletal' feel as well as to suggest later-stage armour addons like modular skirting and so on.
-The Brief was to give Nanite Systems a rather ironic 'corporate sleekness' to the design, since it is an arms manufacturer to the three factions, branding would be important to showcase its presence on the battlefields of Auraxis and beyond. I had lots of fun working in the curves and contrast between what could be made 'pretty' and what had to be left functional.
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:iconunb3kann1:
Unb3kann1 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014
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:iconhenrykhaung:
henrykhaung Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Man!That.....is a one heavily armored Lightning!Oh! please visit me to see my first upload!
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Really? I wanted this to look as lightweight but still as 'tanky' as possible :) The frame looking sides were my way of suggesting potential add-on armour, or conversely, to suggest this is a stripped-down version! Thank you anyway!
Reply
:iconfrankmanic:
FrankManic Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013
SOE adopted the your basic design for the Lightning with only a few changes and I've been wondering since the game launched - Where does the pilot sit in there?
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
the most drastic change is the shift to a permanent flat-rider mode which i find ridiculous since it makes it long and unsightly. As for the pilot, he squeezes into an armoured 'bathtub' in between the forward drivetrains where there is a small cupola.
Reply
:iconhobbes148:
Hobbes148 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013
I loved alpha testing when the lightning was dual piece like this... was so sad when they changed it... awesome work here though, keep it up!
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Sorry what did you mean by dual piece? Dual weapon layout or dual chassis..?
Reply
:iconhobbes148:
Hobbes148 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013
Sorry, meant the dual chassis, and do miss the dual weapon layout from first planetside as well.
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Oh wow... im really touched to know they kept it in that state during alpha... the original team are truly champs :) Did u ever get to see the Eod/minesweeper variant? Anyways, they wil be missed. Wish I could say the same for the bunch that succeeded them.
Reply
:iconhobbes148:
Hobbes148 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013
If I remember right, I saw it listed at one point under the certifications tree and locked, but never saw it tested or even unlocked for use. 
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
sweet :D Stephen Wang, the lead designer back then was telling me how it was in the internal alpha so was just curious :p
Reply
:iconnollieflipx:
NollieFlipX Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yet another way better concept than the one we have atm. I hope they decide to add ATGMs at least.
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
havent played in forever... is anything like this in yet? hheh
Reply
:iconnollieflipx:
NollieFlipX Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
T - T nah... The actual Lightnings don't look this good, and I don't think they are going for Empire Based Lightnings. And if you ask me it's a damn shame they are not using this model D= I can see space for every single module in game on this design. SOE missed another one =/
Reply
:iconmrkirby2:
Mrkirby2 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Well, they kinda copied the front at least =(
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
hahaha :p... kinda
Reply
:iconmatthewvandusen:
MatthewVanDusen Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:P should of gone with this look :)
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
:) Thanks for the vote of confidence. All it needed was a break in the middle to enhance the profile...
Reply
:iconmatthewvandusen:
MatthewVanDusen Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
the one they made is boring, haha a split in the middle would add some nice suspension too :P
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
which was precisely the point! To make matters worse, I proved the rigid version flawed when I got stuck, literally, after I jumped a ditch with my Lightning ingame and got stuck lengthwise, tip to tip, and suspended over said ditch. Funnily enough I used it as cover as I took out an infiltrator stalking me.
Reply
:iconmatthewvandusen:
MatthewVanDusen Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ug they are horrible at 4x4ing. i want this one haha i'll post a reddit maybe
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
haha cheers!
Reply
:iconxployalist:
xployalist Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
The Lightning is probably my favorite ground vehicle. It's just fun to drive.
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
If they implemented the bendable rig I had in the concept maybe I wouldn't get stuck on Esamir on those perfectly Lightning-wide ditches.. :| But yeah otherwise its super fun to drive and slide around in!
Reply
:iconxerthil:
Xerthil Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
I personally prefer your art over what PS2 currently has. Though I do admit, some of the concepts may be tough to balance out, yet I don't think its impossible.. Look at BF3 with their LAVs
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yeeaap. With regards to the balancing, anyway. :) Oh well! I'm DiveSignal, TR, Eurydom btw :)
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:iconxerthil:
Xerthil Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Oh, diff server. I'm Thourq, NC, Connery (West US)
Reply
:iconmrspartin:
MrSpartin Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Most realistic tank out of the buch.
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
thanks! What part of it did you feel made it the most plausible?
Reply
:iconmrspartin:
MrSpartin Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
In a short answer it would be how it followed the theme of a tank that can't be harmed and has very few weaknesses while still working as a weapon platform of sorts. I feel that concept is where real tanks are headed.
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
thanks for taking the time to break it down! :) Yes, that was the general intended function :) Cheers man!
Reply
:iconthevampiredio:
thevampiredio Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
vortex canon? cant wait to see what that does.:D
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
40K inspired. Again, I don't know if the pre-concept ideas were eventually adapted into the game. There was some seriously fucking awesome ideas by the team and I doubt seeing the beta footage as it is now, alot of it were implemented. Esp for the Vanu.
Reply
:iconthevampiredio:
thevampiredio Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
sweet. looking forward to seeing the ingame.
in the cinematic. those stealth assassin chicks does reminds me of eldars.
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
oh, how very disappointed you will be, young padawan... :yoda:
Reply
:iconthevampiredio:
thevampiredio Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
ehhh??:?
Reply
:iconarchonzero:
Archonzero Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
Really dig this remake of the lightning!
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
thanks, again, I really wanted to bring in that low-rider tank feel from the original but shift the weight around to make it seem like it could really supercruise across a desert and strike fast and hard, or do rapid gal drops as an airdrop tank (already a feature in the first game).
Reply
:iconzulusplitter:
ZuluSplitter Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
Hey Kai,

did you used a 3D Software for your vehicle designs with a bit of overpainting??
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Sketchup and photoshop! :)
Reply
:icongustavoabrill:
gustavoabrilL Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012
no way man!!! i thought you use maya or something... good job!
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hey thank you man :D Its an honour to hear that. Hey is that Zbrush you use in your gallery?
Reply
:icongustavoabrill:
gustavoabrilL Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012
nou.. it's sculptris, is like a zbrush lite & free, i'm still learning zbrush, maybe in a couple of months i upload something :D
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Looking forward!
Reply
:iconmagenguy:
magenguy Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I love you
Reply
:icontemplar127:
templar127 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012
NICE!
Reply
:iconmoonlitcrescent:
MoonlitCrescent Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012
I absolutely love ALL of these they are really great.
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
Reply
:iconmoonlitcrescent:
MoonlitCrescent Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
If you've more to come or holding them back I'd love to see them (you're welcome)
Reply
:iconukitakumuki:
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
just uploaded some weapons :)
Reply
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