Syd Mead's "Sulaco" ship from Aliens just a big gun

Bethesda's Adam Adamowicz has a great post up talking about some of the thought that went into the concept art for the upcoming videogame Fallout 3. He namechecks BBG's patron saint of design in this great little anecdote about Aliens:
Seeing Syd Mead lecture in SF was an incredibly profound lesson on design. During the Q&A I asked him how far he went on a design to make it technically believable. His advice was ‘to design with the story in mind and stay consistent with it’. Hence I learned that the Sulacco [sic] from Aliens is essentially a massive gun in space with a big nuclear reactor at one end which beautifully fits the theme of space marines exploring a planet infested with deadly hostile aliens. That answer freed me obsessing over minutiae that diverges story-wise, and focus on the broad strokes that propel the story. The addition of ensuing consistent minutiae would give it richness.
I want to see Syd lecture. I want to hold Syd in my arms while he traces invisible, tasteful whorls over my cheeks.
The concept art from Fallout 3 is pretty fantastic, too. These are some fantasy gadgets, all of which are attempts to create that strange alt-history aesthetic where technology was slightly more advanced than what we have now, but still using only '50s materials and design cues. Conceptual Design [ via Rock, Paper, Shotgun] Image: Michael Heilemann
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6 Responses to Syd Mead's "Sulaco" ship from Aliens just a big gun

  1. Euryale says:

    I was just watching Aliens last night and thinking, “Huh. That ship looks a lot like the design of their guns. Nifty.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    All my computer hard drives are named after Alien(s) ships or tech: Sulaco, Nostromo, LV427, Mother, Father… such an endless source of inspiration!


  3. Scuba SM says:

    DrTheopolis has explained a great mystery for me. I’ve seen people on various forums and communities named “Nostromo.” I’m a rather big fan of Joseph Conrad, and wrote a 25 page paper on his book, Nostromo, but nearly everyone I talked to had never heard of the book. I, of course, had never seen Alien….

    <_ <

  4. License Farm says:

    Isn’t that one of Rob Liefeld-era Cable’s guns?

  5. zuzu says:

    I want to see Syd lecture. I want to hold Syd in my arms while he traces invisible, tasteful whorls over my cheeks.

    Please buy VISUAL FUTURIST: The Art & Life of Syd Mead through his Oblagon store.

  6. certron says:

    I am certainly looking forward to seeing what Bethesda has done with the Fallout franchise. I was a little worried when I heard about the combination turn-based and real-time combat system, but since then I have gained a little faith that they can pull it off.

    I expect the visual design to be stunning, however. There was never any doubt in my mind about that. The secondary interest will be when the players start supplying their own objects.

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