How to Make a Beautiful Sci-Fi World

By Julian Benson on at

Olly Skillman-Wilson, the main artist over at Big Robot, explains how the studio is turning Ian McQue's concept sketches and paintings for The Signal From Tolva into a game in a new dev diary. It's a fascinating watch.

If you've not knowingly seen Ian McQue's work before, he spent 19 years at DMA Design and Rockstar, working as the lead concept artist and assistant art director on games like Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, and Bully. Just take a look at some of his work:





Having now left Rockstar, the Big Robot team hired him to define the artistic style of The Signal From Tolva, a sci-fi shooter filled with AI-controlled robots you can command and fight. What McQue has produced is gorgeous work:


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In the video Skillman-Wilson goes into how McQue's work was translated into the game, from the broad strokes of the shape of the geometry, to touches like avoiding parallel lines in the models, to even using McQue's own Photoshop brushes to create the in-game textures.

From the first trailer I've been fascinated by The Signal From Tolva. Its music, art, and landscapes are familiar but also intangibly different. I really enjoyed Sir, You Are Being Hunted, the studio's last game, so I'm itching to go to the planet's surface and explore its McQue-ian world.

Here is that first trailer, just so you can get a sense of what to expect:

I hope Big Robot releases a great big glossy art book alongside this game.