My name is Markus Pohl, and I've been working on X3:TC as art director.
I've been working on the X series since X2: The Threat and my main work area is 3d graphics. this ranges from modelling/texturing, coordinating external teams to writing exporters & plugins for 3d studio max.
For X3:TC there were a lot of new art assets needed. the most obvious ones came with the integration of the solar system and its inhabitants to the universe. I've created the solar system planets & backgrounds for those. As some of you will surely notice, I've not always sticked to all the scientific facts, but (like in the case of Venus) let my imagination play in, too. some of the solar systems planets are a bit boring in reality - so I decided to interpret them more freely to get atmospheric sectors.
Though the best looking planets we have in the sol system were created by nature and I tried to stick as close to the originals as possible: jupiter and saturn.
One of the main restrictions for planet design was texture resolution. for normal X3 planets we use a technique to circumvent this limitation, but for large scale surfaces that feature lots of unique details (jupiter's stripes & red spot, mars' craters, plains & volcanos) only texture resolution helps.
The other big chunk of assets came in with the terrans themselves. Though we had already seen some of their ships in X3:Reunion, we obviously needed a lot more of them - as well as factories, stations and the famous ringstation around earth.
The ships are divided up into military ships and civil ships, so for some classes you will find mutliple ship designs.
Here are some M3 impressions:
and some stations
we decided to make the terrans bright, clean & huge. they were staying in their system for quite some time, afraid of the terraformers to return. so they have built up an impressive defence force with huge military stations, outposts and defence fleets, always ready to attack. just try flying to earth after beginning the game, you will surely meet them ;)
there is a lot to see & explore, I hope all of you enjoy playing it!