Mars 2030

Lead Environment Artist
Fusion Media Group, 2017
Oculus Rift, Vive, PC

MARS 2030 is a VR simulation developed by Fusion Media Group in partnership with NASA and MIT's Space Systems Laboratory, where you can experience being one of the astronauts in NASA's planned Mars mission in 2030.

As the Lead Environment Artist I was responsible for the landscape and the outdoor regions of the experience. The goal was to show the landscape as accurately as possible as well as to portray how beautiful it is and be more than just a one to one simulation. We used satellite data from NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiters HiRISE camera to drive the topology and texture distribution in the game.

I also did a lot of Level Art and World Building, taking care of the technical parts of the landscape and setting up levels, placing rocks (procedurally and by hand) plus providing lookboards and direction for the different areas in the map.


Mars2030 takes place in a region on Mars called Mawrth Vallis. It's a candidate as a landing spot for the real expedition because of it's geo diversity. There were no processed typological data to use as a heightmap for the Crater that we wanted to use so we decided to process the steroscopic images ourselves which I started digging into.

It turned out to be a lengthy but facinating process. I used the Ames Stereo Pipeline and went through the process of taking two stereo images - taken at different angles by the satellite with months apart- correcting the camera mapping with scripts, make stereo calculations to finally get a DTM of the area to use as a heightmap in Unreal. From the process I also got an orthographic image that I and used as masks in the landscape material to drive the different textures.


The landscape material uses a mix of data from the satellite images and proceduralism. There's some options for manual editing like painting a different rock for the slopes or adding more sand.

I set up a system with gradient mapping for the diffuse so the colors could be tuned on the fly in the editor. I made two different sand textures in Substance Designer utilizing the technique.