The Art of Tau Station

Words are awesome. Given a dictionary and enough time, a good writer can produce stories of limitless scope and grandeur. Dune, Foundation, The Laundry Files, John Carter duking it out with the baddies of Barsoom – we owe all these stories and more to authors spending massive amounts of time stringing words together. Tau Station is a text-based game, so believe me when I say that we like words. But we also like the richness that good art brings to a game, and the way it can give players some insight into the world and plot before they’ve begun to play or even read a single word.

A brilliant image can engage you in an instant. A good book cover can draw your attention as a reader, help set the mood for the story, and give you a peek at the adventure you’ll find within its pages. Tau Station isn’t a book, but we’re taking a similar approach. We’re supplementing the game’s narrative with custom art and an attractive user interface that establishes a sci-fi atmosphere and reflects the setting of the story at a glance. Each area in the game features its own background art created specifically to illustrate the universe of Tau Station, and we’re using a variety of images and custom icons to give visual life to the world.

3D artist Vladislav Ociacia has been creating some great concept art for our game. Here’s a look at a few of our favorite pieces so far, with some notes from our graphic designer, Tania, about why she chose them.

“The Port is one of my favorite art pieces, because it’s bright and full of life. You’re immersed deep into the action, seeing technicians repairing ships, workers loading cargo, and people getting ready to embark. It gives a feeling that great things can happen for you very soon. All the space journeys in the game start from here, which makes it the perfect welcoming image for our blog.”

The port shows a large, sleek spaceship docked and ready to take in cargo. Welding sparks glow in the air as repair crews work their magic.

“The Cloning Vats is another of my favorites. This one is completely different – dirty, muggy, and creepy. The vats with the bodies inside are a little chilling. This image brings your head out of the clouds and quickly reminds you that Tau Station may not be such a pleasant world.”

Dimly lit gestation vats line the walls of the cloning center. Some vats show human shapes gently bobbing within the gestation fluid.

“A couple more images, of a gritty Bar and a super-sterile Sick Bay. The first is a place where you might drink a glass or two of stim, and the second is where you’ll go to recover if you enjoy a few too many or find yourself in a bar fight.”

The busy, industrial-looking bar is filled with a mixture of pilots, technical personnel, and traders.

The sickbay is clean and clinical. Medical personnel can be seen at work among the many operating tables and medical machinery.

As you can see, each of the locations has its own spirit – new or rundown, modern or a bit old-fashioned – all created to bring even more color and life to the story. In future art posts we’ll show you some of our illustrations of the exteriors of the space stations, give you peeks of the game’s user interface, and more.