Sunday, 22 January 2012


To get started I made a quick brainstorm to get me thinking about Manchester and hopefully find some inspiration and direction.

The plan then was to head into town and gather a bunch of reference images, things like buildings and architectural details, anything that caught my eye and provided inspiration for the project really. 

The first trip out was to the Science and Industry museum. This seemed like the perfect starting point as it would help provide an insight into Manchester's history as well as the opportunity to look at some impressive machinery in action.

I got a bunch of pictures whilst I was there plus a few on route:


I used to get the tram past this disused rail bridge on a daily basis, I always thought it was pretty impressive.
For a long time it was heavily overgrown, a sort of forgotten aerial wilderness. It all got cut back at some point and looked really bare after that. They should have done something like the High Line in New York City, that looks brilliant.

I had to get a pic of Beetham Tower, its a pretty iconic building in Manchester and totally dominates the skyline. Which ever way you come into the city centre you sure too see the massive tower, it would make a great focal point in game. It definitely has a feel of the Citadel from Half Life 2 about it too, the website even has a story on it: Beetham Tower like Citadel from Half Life 2?

This was an interesting building, I think it was the one with all the planes in. Plenty of nice details, things like the circular patterns on the iron work and windows, the floral motifs at the tops of the pillars and railings, also the big window on the front must help to let in as much natural light as possible.
Did you spot Beetham tower sneaking into the shot?

 Not sure what this one actually did, lots of nice mechanical detail for reference though. 

Thought this was pretty cool, the idea that Manchester had such a strong influence in the Textiles industry.
Could textile manufacture feature within the concept, a form of currency perhaps? 


All these machines fit really well with the steam punk theme, especially if the concept relates to Manchester's prominence in the textile industry .

A couple of printing blocks, more examples of Manchester's heritage. 

 I think the things hanging down were pattern cards which pulled through the machine altering the design acordingly.

Its incredible how many bits of thread there were, various colours too, all being arranged and sewn 
by a mechanical device reading punch cards, who needs computers.

 A bunch more machinery references.

 I imagine a steam punk theme would include lots of trains and track, this seemed to fit the bill.

These sort of warehouses would probably be a common feature in a world reliant on steam power and trains. 

This arrangement of furnaces was great, defo the sort of thing that would look great within a game world. I thinks it the combination of over sized pipes disappearing above and the fact there are five of them!

Gas powered street lamps could would make for an ideal level assest.

Beetham Tower yet again, this time the tall glass structure is quite a contrast to the squat brick structure and rived iron work in the foreground. The plumes of steam are from an early mill engine inside and rally add to the effect.

I imagine ceramics were used for this handle to insulate from an electric current. I not sure how much electricity would feature in a steam punk world, the use of ceramics could be implemented in other areas instead.

This machine was pretty big and had a really interesting shape. It looked a little to well looked after though, I think well used, battered and worn stuff would look much more interesting in game.

 An early mill engine, this thing was a beast!

Here's a vid of it in action, makes a really good noise too.

 I managed to get the shadow of the steam on the building across the yard, thought it looked pretty cool.

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