Portfolio site for Eric Knittel. Gamedev generalist, 3D artist, and sound designer.

// Experience // Walking on Mars

I'm constantly impressed by the incredible amount of media and data NASA has released from their explorations of Mars. It's simply amazing that we can actually see images of another planet, beamed to us by robots crawling the surface and hanging in orbit. 

Walking on Mars is an experiment to see how well I could re-create the Mars surface using only actual materials recorded on Mars by NASA. I started with topographic data, converted to a height map and imported into Unity 5 to create the surface. Each pixel of the map represents one meter, and the map is so big that it covers 36 square miles of terrain!

Using photographs of the soil provided by Curiosity Rover, I created seamless PBR materials to add texture to the terrain. I stitched together photos of the Martian sky to create a cubemap which became the skybox in Unity. 

All of the rocks were created from a 3D scan of a meteorite on Mars called Block Island. Using this 3D data, I created a game-ready model with 5 LODs and PBR textures.

Unfortunately there are no true audio recordings from Mars, but NASA released a sound file which was generated by converting vibration data from Curiosity into an audio waveform. The result is otherworldly and a bit creepy, and it works very well in adding ambiance to this environment. 


⦂ textures edited in Photoshop and CrazyBump

⦂ meteorite model retopologized and LODs created in Modo

⦂ meteorite normal + occlusion baked in XNormal

⦂ audio edited in Reaper

⦂ scene rendered in Unity 5

Block Island.PNG