Thanatos Gate - Regulus & DarinK collab
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  regulus

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Celestial Watchman
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Posted: 2012-January-28 at 5:39pm | IP Logged Quote regulus

Hey everybody,

After working on this for what seems like ever, Darin and I can finally present to you "Thanatos Gate." You can skip the huge backstory if you want, but it does explain what is happening


Full Wallpaper View: 1280x1920


Location: Komaria, Tk'iln, Scutum-Centaurus Arm
Race: Homo Sapiens Variation 14c (seeded 1.5 million years ago)

The Komar are an advanced Type II civilization controlled by their ruling elite which number about 3% of the population. These wealthy aristocrats, who long ago confirmed the existence of the soul in living beings and the Cycle of Learning, have dedicated themselves to developing life extension technology for the sole purpose of prolonging the privilege, wealth, and trappings of luxury they were born into. Pursuit of this technology must be done at all costs.

They were warned centuries ago by the Dream Travelers, the enigmatic race of nomads that are known primarily for their esoteric study of dreams, that embracing this lifestyle would increase the karmic debt that follows them into the next existence. They choose not to take this advice.

84 life cycles ago a Komari scientist perfected a device that at the moment of death could capture the life force of the departed. The experiments began with the capture and release of single cell organisms and plant life forces. The scientist who created the device noticed that when working in close proximity of the energy hungry device, now known as the Soultrap, that he felt invigorated and energized. He also noticed after decades of work and experiments, that he had not aged visibly more than a few years. A team of researchers and scientists later concluded that being in close proximity to the Soul Trap reduced the aging process drastically and kept the subject in good health, with no adverse effects upon cessation of exposure.

There was a group within the science establishment that wanted to continue these tests using as a catalyst the deaths of more highly developed creatures. Over the protestations of the Dream Travelers, the number of experiments was increased, soon it expanded to include reptiles and native lab animals. These animals' souls eventually proved to be too weak to be of much use for detailed study, and it became obvious that it would require the death of much more advanced life forms. For this purpose, the secret police of the Komar began to gather up the migrants and homeless; these poor and downtrodden were sent to internment camps. Suicide rates were high in these camps, but it proved a bonus for the scientists running the experiment, since they were able to tune their instruments to these suicides and thus began a program known as Project Black Truth. This program worked on identifying and isolating the unknown energy source given off from the captured souls, and attempts to harness that energy.

More research confirmed that the Soultrap needed a constant replenishing of souls; eventually the souls would become drained and the energy levels given off by the device would diminish. Once emptied, a soul was never released from the system, because opening the exit gate on the Soultrap not only allowed drained souls to escape, but also fresh newly captured ones to flee. In effect, the souls were in limbo unable to obtain the light and start the cycle of rebirth.

Where these souls were actually trapped was a matter of almost no debate among the elite, since they cared little what happened to their 'property,' but the scientists began to formulate hypotheses. It gradually became accepted that the trapped souls of the dead were sent to a dark and empty universe, a monstrous abyss of nighted horror. Again there were strenuous objections to what they were doing, but such was the price of their progress. After years of bloody work, finally an interface was created which allowed a Komari individual to directly tap into the life force energy of the captured souls. This required a small, highly controlled gateway to draw the energy in raw form out, without letting the souls themselves through. Plans were drawn for an extended interface which would allow hundreds of elites to receive the reinvigorating soul energy simultaneously. However, this device needed energy to power it more energy than the planet could provide. In their search for this energy, they decided on the single most powerful source in their entire solar system, their sun. Their plan conceived of building a Dyson sphere around their star to capture titanic amounts of solar energy to power their interface, known now as Thanatos Gate.

The sphere was constructed over a period of six centuries. The building of such a massive structure required suitably gigantic amounts of matter, more even than could be found in all the asteroid belt and available moons, so the Komar began an empire spanning program to mine the cores of both gas giants in the system. Millions of workers' lives were lost, but they were simply fed into the Soultrap network as fresh fuel for the aristocrats and their loyalists. Enormous mines, hanging from orbital stations thousands of miles deep into the gas giants' atmospheres, served to dredge up enough raw materials for the teeming construction stations to create the framework of the sphere. Besides the incredible amounts of carbon, steel, titanium, and other structural materials, there is also a great need for more exotic elements. Perched in the foreground, on the moon's ageless regolith, is N'kai mining base, built to remove the exotic ores from deep veins in the moons crust. Once the pure elements have been separated from the rubble, it is loaded onto freighter ships which leave for flight up to the orbital construction station. From there, the basic parts are sent to massive orbiting construction sites where huge pieces of the sphere itself are built. The sections of sphere are sent on a course towards the star, where they are carefully caught in nets made out of the star's magnetic field lines. There, in a delicate dance of robotic limbs and remote controlled construction craft, all guided by the inhumanely precise Artificial Intelligence, the Dyson sphere has slowly taken shape.

Due to their haste, and impatience to finish the project, the Komar decided it was safe to begin powering up the system in stages, resulting in more and more energy being produced as the sphere was slowly completed. When the Soultrap initially went online and Thanatos Gate was opened, immediately millions of loose souls were devoured from the local stellar neighborhood. This resulting rush of energy caused a blast resembling a nova to light up the surface of the star. Of course, all this excitement has not gone unnoticed by the neighbors ....

Ok if you didn't catch it, this is a collaboration with DarinK, I'm trying to get him to post more work here at SV, so let him know in the comments that you want to see more! Don't be shy! Most of the story was his idea, and that killer planet is all his too


And fullview is a must!


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  Milay

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Posted: 2012-January-29 at 12:48am | IP Logged Quote Milay

as i wrote you on DA it's AWESOME work
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  Klankster

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Posted: 2012-January-29 at 1:14pm | IP Logged Quote Klankster

Wow guys, the detail in this image is simply FABULOUS!  I don't even know where to start -- the foreground planet with fantastic ground fog, the spacecraft and the planet are all top notch.



I'd love to see a writeup of how you did the various elements and how you worked together on the image.



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  Eskhata

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Posted: 2012-January-30 at 5:45am | IP Logged Quote Eskhata

Just noticed that the city lights on the planet are really awesome.
You guys kick ass!


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  regulus

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Posted: 2012-January-30 at 4:53pm | IP Logged Quote regulus

Thanks guys!

Tom: Well that's kind complex , but I'll try. At first, the idea was a terraspace picture with a completely different terrain, and a different basic idea. My original story idea was that their star was getting surrounded by a band of gas and dust, which would lower the amount of sunlight reaching the planet, so they were building giant mirrors and setting them in orbit above and below the dust cloud to reflect enough light to survive. And then someone had the idea for a Dyson sphere and most of the story became dealing with the construction of the sphere (that's where the mining station/city on the surface came from, as well as the big orbital construction station in the upper left, thought it would be cool to show the process). We never really got a terrain we liked with the first style, so when one day Darin showed me one he'd been working on (it's based on Mars heightfield data with some additions) I said "Let's use it!"

It was also a drastically different layout at first; except for the planet and foreground, literally everything has been moved around somewhere. The final version of the story we came up with just recently as we were finishing it up, Darin came up with the idea for the Soultrap, and we just ran with it  Plus we deliberately left it open ended, there's a very good possibility that there will be two more images in a series...

All the modeling of 'built' stuff (like the spacecraft, Dyson sphere, all the bases) was done in 3dsmax, the near moon with the mining station was TG2 (with the Mars data), the big planet in the sky was Vue, and the nebula I painted in PS. We used PS to composite everything as well. Oh and the landing pads around the mining city were done in PS since I was lazy - it's just a textured square that I used the perspective tool on, then I added some old spaceship renders on top of it.

Esk: oh man now I have to reply to like a million comments on DA - thanks!!


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  TeranAmbassador33

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Posted: 2012-February-01 at 2:24am | IP Logged Quote TeranAmbassador33

This hasn't been added to the header yet?

SACRILEGE!!!!!!!!


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  EchoStryk

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Posted: 2012-February-01 at 11:43pm | IP Logged Quote EchoStryk

Please... let me just say... OH MY GOD! This is freaking amazing! when I first saw this I was totally awestruck... it has amazing concept, detail and visual appeal! I also really like the back story so tell DarinK he should really start posting more stuff! 

I must say you guys did a phenomenal job! 
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  ChiSpaceArt

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Posted: 2012-February-02 at 5:01am | IP Logged Quote ChiSpaceArt

Guys, It's freakin awesome!
That's why it is worth to deal with space art, to see pictures like this! Absolutely a fav.
It would be very useful to see a WIP for all of us.


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  karl.garnham1

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Posted: 2012-February-02 at 10:51am | IP Logged Quote karl.garnham1

You have done a fantastic Job guys I especially like your space craft very well done indeed.

Karl


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  regulus

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Posted: 2012-February-03 at 12:41pm | IP Logged Quote regulus

Wow guys thanks!  I appreciate it, and I'm sure Darin does too.

Chi: I might do that, but I won't be able to do anything on it until sometime next week at the earliest. If you read the my reply to Klankster, you'll see it went through several major iterations, so that ought to be an interesting walkthrough


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