Project to model a realistic lunar colony as an interactive environment in Unity

I have been designing a lunar colony and have built a set of simple models for it. The goal is to expand it into a full 3d environment that realistically presents the physical environment of the Moon, and how people would live there. The purpose is to make it fun to learn about this, and thus build a more mature dialogue about the significance of space exploration.

What is done is open-source, i intend for the whole project to be Creative Commons CC0. My hope is that people who are also interested in space exploration will find it enjoyable to participate, and that by doing a good job of giving credit, it could lead to paying work for contributors. There is plenty of scope for participants to shape the final version of the colony, as long as work remains grounded in realism. Most of the work will be on detailing large interior spaces depicting all aspects of life, from farming to sports, medicine to fashion.

On the projects GitHub site there is a set of issues that identifies needed work on current models. That focuses on design input, but in many cases, the models just need to be fleshed out with details, textures, and rigging. In fact, i am trying to stop fiddling with details so i can make simple models that are enough to get across how it works, so that then people who are much more skilled in Blender can complete them.

Moonwards is all i do. In support of it, i am also one of the moderators on Space Exploration, of the Stack Exchange network. I have spent the last 9 months on it. Most of that time has been taken up on researching it, locating an appropriate site, designing the installations, learning Blender well enough to make the initial models, upgrading my markup skills, and building the website. I am able to continue to work on it exclusively for the foreseeable future. I have put some money into it for the purpose of going to conferences to present the concept and seek technical input. The concept is well received within the space community but has a very long way to go to be appealing to the general public. If there are signs of success, my husband and i can put more resources into it, and seek sponsors.

I am completely open to any dialogue about the project. As the project moves forward, i am determined to find ways to make the efforts of all contributors pay off for them. If you find it interesting at all, i’d like to hear your thoughts. Based on feedback here, possibly i will try posting another thread focused just on getting assistance on some particular model, so people can see what it is like to work with me.

I will of course check up on this thread, if you wish the website also has a forum, and on space.stackexchange the project has its own chat room

Thank you for your time - Kim Holder

Hi Kim,

I have spent the last hour and a half reading and looking at the work you have completed on Moonwards. My first thought was ‘this is a big project’, my second and stronger thought was ‘I want IN!’. Your website, is structured intuitively with great imagery and I love the dialogue you have with Hohmannfan on sstack exchange.

I have not previously used blenderartists much, just periodically checking for projects that may interest me. If you are still looking to get in contact with people to conduct some modelling, texturing, Unity work or programming those are areas that I have some ability in. I am not up to speed on the mathmatics or even the names of space craft but I am a self-confessed sci-fi fan.

I was thinking of sending you this message as a PM but thought I would write the response here so that others may take further interest in the project once seeing that there has been some on my behalf. I will attempt to contact you via stack exchange also.



Hi Sam

Thanks a lot for responding, i really hope we can work out a role for you that you find rewarding. I’m afraid i’ve neglected this post because i’m racing to prepare for an upcoming conference where i give 2 talks and am also on a panel. I sent you a note regarding that on space.stackexchange as well.

I hope you can bear with me until after the conference, i’m burning the midnight oil just for that. But, it should pay off for everyone on the project, i think the models are maturing and the whole concept is filling out.

I get back from the ISDC on May 25th, and will likely be a zombie for the first few days after that. As i mentioned on the space.stackexchange chat as well, you can in the meantime check out the models posted on GitHub - which i will update right now - and look at the notes i’m building up on Realtimeboard.

Hi Kim Holder,

First off, what a cool, exciting and inspirational project! I commend your effort and passion to create a vision of the future of human exploration and colonisation of the Moon. Indeed this is a subject I am also incredibly passionate about. Human space exploration and the colonisation of the Moon, Mars and beyond is so awesomely exciting and fundamental to the future of the human race.

I am a professional, freelance 3D artist (Blender user) and the Project Leader on the Science Fiction / Space Action game War For Orion - currently in development with Unreal Engine 4.

I am intrigued by your project for it’s ambition and forward looking scope. And although my primary focus and passion at present is Science Fiction in interactive video game applications, I am also incredibly interested and inspired by realistic, scientific visualisations of the possibility of human space exploration within our solar system.

Unfortunatly due to my commitment to the War For Orion game development project it is unlikely that I will be able to become a contributor to your Moonward project. That being said it may be possible for me to offer you some free consultation on the subject of 3D modelling large space environments. Something I may be happy and indeed excited to do. In this capacity I am an expert on Sci Fi and Hard Surface Modelling for current generation computer games, and would be happy to offer my friendly advice and assistance.
I am also an expert Blender user with over 5 years experience, specialising in Space and Science Fiction models and i would be very interested to hear about the kind of realistic technological and space objects it is your intention to build.

You can see my Portfolio here:

I understand that it is your intention to build the VMC using the Unity Game Engine. Personally I am not experienced with Unity Game Engine, although this is not an imprediment since the fundamentals and concepts of 3D modelling are univeral among game engines.

But I wanted to ask whether or not you had at all considered or researched using Unreal Engine 4 for this project?

The reason I ask this, is because it is my personal opinion that Unreal Engine may be a much simpler and more appropriate development platform for this kind of venture. This is just a friendly suggestion and based partly on the fact that a number of successful and highly realistic space exploration / simulation games have already been built using Unreal Engine - including MoonBase Alpha and Adrift:

The other advantage of Unreal Engine 4 is that it is a lot simpler to use than Unity and features a robust visual scripting system called “Blueprints” which makes it easy for people who are not C++ or C# programmers to quickly make gameplay prototypes and even advanced and complex gameplay systems. Also much of the free Unreal Engine content examples such as the First and Third Person Gameplay examples maybe incredibly helpful to you in producing a good work start to your VMC simulation.

If you have not checked out Unreal Engine yet, it is definitely worth taking a look at and it’s free:

So hey, you have a great and ambitious project here and I would be happy to help and assist you in any way i can. If you would like to have a chat about any of the topics I have raised here or would just like to touch base and chat about space exploration and space science then i would be happy to hear from you. The best way to contact me is by email at: [email protected] or on Skype: dyotoorion5 and you are welcome to message me either way. If you think that I could be helpful to your project then it would be great to hear from you!

Oh hey, did you see the XPrize Special Prize Project “MoonShot”? They made a small series of 9 truly wonderful short documehtaries of Sci / Tech teams building lunar rovers for the Lunar X Prize - definitely wonderful stuff!

I wish you all the very best with Moonward and I hope I can assist you in some way with your excellent project.

Kind regards,
Russell :slight_smile:

I really like your project and I consider this future-vision of how human kind might evolve as very interesting.
I would be glad to help you with the modelling. I also can do texturing in Blender but I do not think that it would help since you are using Unity.

So, if you stil need help with your project please contact me. I always like to help with projects that have a passionate person behind them.

Normally I do low-poly art but I am nevertheless familiar with realistic modelling. I uploaded some of my work on this blog:

Hi Dancing Polygon

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I just returned from the International Space Development Conference, where i was plugging Moonwards. My time has been completely devoted to that for a few weeks. It went well, happily :slight_smile:

I would appreciate it if you could email me at [email protected] so i can invite you to the Realtimeboards for this project. You can look at what is on it at the moment here and here. I hope those whiteboards will allow us to get the project properly organized and develop a work flow.

I have a few more emails to pound out related to the conference. After that i will post the first versions of the SketchFab models of new sections of the colony to the main page of the website. Then i will plow into putting content on the whiteboards and organizing them.

When we have that a little more in order, it is time to have a conference call, also through the whiteboard service.

Thank you for your interest, i hope we get a good working relationship going. :slight_smile:

Hi DyotoOrion

Thanks for your advice. I am sorry i didn’t respond earlier, i was entirely wrapped up in the International Space Development Conference, and my preparations for it.

I will email you in the next few days. I have a lot of other emails to send out to follow up on connections made at the conference, and i have to do those first because those people are expecting them soon.

I don’t know anything about game engines, and so it is hard for me to have a real conversation about it. Maybe you can help me with that. I note that Unity as well has a version of JavaScript integrated into it for programming, and others have reported to me that its interface is pretty intuitive. It also has a free version that is suitable for Moonwards. Since people have started coming on board with Unity experience, i would need quite a compelling reason to switch.


Hi Sam

I am finally starting up serious work on the modelling after some hubbub and downtime after the conference, and i’d like the chance to talk to you. My Skype name is briligg, my email through the website is [email protected]

(PS - i thought i contacted you when i got back from the conference, but it doesn’t look like it - my apologies.)