Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Megastructures Update #1 Nov 2019

Welcome to the first update to the Megstructures book project! Megastructures will be a visual encyclopedia of scifi megastructures, everything from orbiting space habitats to solar system spanning stellar engineering projects. Each structure will include a scientific explanation, followed by paintings and diagrams that bring the concept to life.

The project started back in 2015 with my first illustration based on Larry Niven's Ringworld. But I was busy finishing my first book, "The Story Of Inc", and so "Megastructures" got put on the backburner for awhile. After Inc was released in 2018, I returned to the megastructures project. 2019 was supposed to be a big year of work on the book, but life got in the way. I got a brand new full time job as a concept artist at the videogame company Monolith in Seattle, I moved to Seattle from San Francisco, we sold out old house, bought a new one, got our kid into school, etc. Picking up your life and transporting it 800 miles north is a draining experience. But I am happy to say my life and schedule has started normalizing again, so it's time to get back to the book.

The book currently contains 42 megastructures, the complete list is below...

Alderson Disk, Arcology, Artificial Sun, Bernal Sphere, Birch Planet, Bishop Ring, Ceiling City, Cloud City, Discworld, Dyson Sphere, Ecumenopolis, Floating City, Fusion Candle, Gas Giant Refinery, Geofront, Hoopworld, Interstellar Highway, Krasnikov Tube, Launch Loop, Matrioshka Brain, Megatall Skyscraper, Movable City, Nicoll-Dyson Laser, O'Neill Cylinder, Orbital Ring, Orbital Shipyard, Planetshine Reflector, Polyhedral Habitat, Ringworld, Rungworld, Shell World, Shkadov Thruster, Skyhook, Space Elevator, Space Farm, Stanford Torus, Star Lifter, Star Tram, Topopolis, Undersea Habitat, Warp Gate, Worldhouse Roof

A structure or two may be added or removed before the end, although I'm gonna try and keep it at 42 since it's the meaning of life.

On the progress front, a first draft of all of the book's text has been completed. Art wise, 43% of the artwork has been completed. That may not seem like a lot, but the art is always slower at the beginning, now that we have 3d assets and a pipeline worked out, the remaining art pieces can be completed in far less time than the initial paintings.

In total, 14 structures are completely done, 13 are in progress, and the remaining 15 will be done by friends from the film and videogame industry. Expect the same realistic style from the guest artists, in fact, I'm sure much of their artwork will kick the butt of the 27 structures I am contributing.

The plan is to have all the artwork done by Dec 2020. Then comes book layout, publishing and shipping.

As far as publishing goes, "The Story Of Inc" was self published with a kickstarter helping to pay to print 1000 copies, and we're not afraid to do the same thing with "Megastructures". However, using a publisher does have some advantages, the main one is they can potentially get the book seen by an audience that we would not be able to reach with a purely online campaign. We have a number of publishers in mind, we'll present the project, and see if going the publisher route is the right thing to do. Otherwise, we'll do crowdfunding to print copies of the book just like last time.

So that's the big story for now. I'll try and post an update every few months, give an updated % completed, show a few teasers, and eventually talk about the people who will be helping out with the book. Thanks for following along, we're really excited about getting this book done and into your waiting hands!

- Neil

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