Before PickCrafter, I worked with Fiveamp on an unreleased project. It was a space-themed idle tapping game, and was initially commissioned through my low-poly planet modelling work. Originally, I modelled an Earth-like and Mars-like planet for the project, but later on modelled a series of 18 low-poly power plants (well, two of them were oil pumps, and one was an oil refinery).
The young boy in me was enthralled as I had been an avid SimCity player for years, and bringing my own cute little industries (with a Steamboat Willie bounce) to life was a joy. Each of the six “power sources” have three variants that were to serve as upgrades from each other in-game. The hexagons are for scaling the models to the in-game planet sizes.
The big bad of energy, these plants were meant to be cheap but harm your planet in the long term. Though looking at them in their adorable low-poly form, you’d wonder how they could be so dangerous.
Stage 1 (148 polygons) is modelled like a simple factory with a saw-toothed roof, and a simple brick-like chimney stack.
Stage 2 (284 polygons) is a meaner looking fossil guzzler, with two mighty smoke stacks and a large barn-like building. Note the big pile of coal on the side.
Stage 3 (448 polygons) swaps the dirty-brick like aesthetic with a neutral concrete appearance. A cleaner look for a clean coal plant. Note the little tower crane that feeds the reactor from the coal pile.
The big anti-hero of energy, nothing says “nuclear power plant” in video games like a hyperboloid cooling tower, though in real life, coal power plants use them, whilst not all nuclear plants do.
Tier 1 (129 polygons) this Soviet-era designed plant is only cooled by one tower, so be sure to never hit the AZ-5 button.
Tier 2 (299 polygons) this gen III reactor promises a 75% reduction in nuclear meltdowns, owing to the fatter cooling tower design.
Tier 3 (229 polygons) the racing stripes on this design increase the aerodynamic efficiency of the fast neutrons, decreasing actinide waste production by 5%.
Wind power is a SimCity favourite for fledgling cities as they somehow, regardless of wind conditions, generate a stable base load.
Tier 1 (228 polygons) need to pull electricity out of thin air on a budget? Three blades is all you need.
Tier 2 (429 polygons) need more power out of your little pinwheel? Slap a couple of blades on it and slice that air like a loaf of sourdough.
Tier 3 (501 polygons) when you just don’t want to deal with the temperament of the sky gods, switch to a vertical wind turbine that is happy to rotate whatever which way the winds may blow.
The green favourite, solar power is the dark poster boy for a bright future.
Tier 1 (196 polygons) the classic flat-paneled photovoltaic array. They take up a fair bit of space, but it sure is fun watching them trace the sun across the sky, like sunflowers.
Tier 2 (237 polygons) inspired by SimCity 2013”s futuristic design, these dishes pack a lot more punch per square metre.
Tier 3 (293 polygons) and in turn inspired by SimCity 4’s solar power plant, the final tier for solar power is a concentrated solar array. These plants use heat to power an AC generator which are more efficient and can work well after the sun has bid the day farewell.
Whilst normally associated with power generated from dammed rivers, this was difficult to implement into a game. Instead, three concept tidal power plants were chosen for this energy source.
Tier 1 (429 polygons) these little buoys are the wind turbine’s aquatic cousins, generating power from offshore currents.
Tier 2 (497 polygons) this design uses one long double helix turbine to run its generator. Electricity is in its DNA.
Tier 3 (210 polygons) the final tier is a slick turbine that is sure to tame Poseidon’s domain to your electricity needs.
Ah, the thick, gooey lifeblood of nations. Though not a power plant per se, and undetermined how this would be implemented in gameplay, nevertheless this was a fun theme to model.
Tier 1 (455 polygons) rusty old oil pumps, and a few spilled barrels won’t get in the way of your extraction goals.
Tier 2 (308 polygons) maybe your workers decided to unionise thanks to you reckless disregard for safety. Upgrade to modern pumps that pump directly into a large storage well with no pesky middlemen.
Tier 3 (436 polygons) sure, drilling that flammable mud may make you rich. But if you want Rockefeller money, you better start refining the stuff into diesel fuel, candle wax, and everything in between.