Post 8: Utilitarian Modular Container

The current vision of the project is to encapsulate the utilitarian aesthetic — the form being dictated by the function. This will be conducted entirely within Blender and entail modeling and detailing a modular hexagonal container that could be feasibly seen in the foreseeable future or simply in a sci-fi or military video game. Given the premise, there will be some leeway regarding whether or not the functions presented can actually operate in reality. However, the main goal is — after all — to create something visually appealing.
The idea of making the modular container — configurable to fulfill different roles — came from the containerized housing unit (CHU) used to quickly establish temporary housing without proper infrastructure along the base building from Subnautica.
[1] CHU Interior Rendition
[2] Subnautica Modular Base

CHU are a familiar sight in construction sites, remote areas, and military installations due to their ease of establishing locations. This is mainly attributed to these containers’ prefabricated and robust nature, as most are already furnished to the specifications and the ease of transport via plane and ground vehicles.

While CHU is modular, given that numerous variants exist aside from housing units, the idea for the project came from the game Subnautica. While I haven’t personally played the game, I have watched several videos of gameplay. Though the exploration of a water planet teeming with alien life is intriguing, what captivated me personally was the base building. Excluding the fact that every building can be built with a handheld device and high-tech reasoning, Subnautica had a more in-depth base building mechanic than anticipated. Each module is built with empty interiors that allow its purpose and decoration to the player’s content. While the first building may act as a small shelter from the harsh environment, it can later be expanded with additional and dedicated rooms ranging from bedrooms or a motor pool to store aquatic vehicles.

Regarding incorporating the dynamic aspect, one criteria for this project, the current plan is to animate the container unfurl into a more extensive and usable structure. The idea stemmed from the animations in the RTS game Halo Wars 2 and Command & Conquer: Kane’s Wrath.

[3] Halo Wars 2 Barracks
In Halo Wars 2, I was engrossed with the view of a ship airlifting a building like the UNSC Barrack into the designated slot within a base before the compartments and small things like antennas unfurl. While similar games may have the same mechanic of constructing buildings, the fact that the buildings are prefabricated and prepared in the field. While it doesn’t provide any tangible changes to the gameplay, most prominent games have buildings magically propped out in front of the ground or are built extremely fast; the manner that Halo Wars 2 makes it authentic. 


While the decision to make a hexagonal-shaped container instead of a simple rectangular one was mainly derived from utilizing a unique shape, it primarily stemmed from the representation of the troop compartment used by V-35 Ox Transports employed by GDI in the Command & Conquer series.

[4] V-35 Ox Troop Transport from Command & Conquer
Aside from being used to ferry troops, the V-35 is also used to move vehicles that forgo the container. This, compounded with the depiction that the container is used as simply storage in the game, inspired me for the project’s modular design. Combining the aspects previously mentioned from Halo Wars 2 and Command & Conquer — the prefabricated and the means of deployment with the overall shape and versatility — culminated in my vision for the project.

Initial Sketch
Seen above is a rough idea of the modular container that I have in mind. This would provide utility in additional internal space while being compact when not deployed for transport. Adding solar panels and antennae would further invoke the utilitarian feeling seen in military infrastructures.

[5] Current Blender Model
Regarding the impact to the project of incorporating the other aesthetics I mentioned previously, organic and minimalism, it will have little effect on the project. Aside from sourcing other references, the rest of the modeling process should remain unaffected.

Given that April 22 is the due date for the project, it translates to about 6 weeks to complete the project. With this in mind, along with having things done weekly, I divided up the processes I plan to undergo, which could certainly be subject to change.

Current Project Timeline


Starting March 11, the first week will consist of me gaining inspiration from other creative media (video games, movies, other works, etc.). While I already have many references, it wouldn’t hurt to obtain more. The second week will be dedicated to modeling all the assets. Aside from the container itself, I will need to make and incorporate other objects like solar panels, antennas, and other things for the interior. The third week adds details about the assets, such as rivets, wear and tear, etc. The small details that will make the model pop out. The fourth week entails coloring all assets and UV Wrapping, bringing 2D images, and putting them into 3D models. The fifth week will incorporate the dynamic aspect of the project by animating the container, unfurling it, and setting it up. The final week will be spent processing, rendering, and ironing out any remaining issues with the project. 

Of course, all this is susceptible to change. After all, I’m still learning Blender. My only experience with the program is a dozen or so tutorials online and random small projects that I’ve started and definitely haven’t completed. Additionally, this project will require me to plan, model, and finalize everything from the ground up instead of following a guide, so it’ll be a learning experience.


[4] Screenshot from Command & Conquer: Kane’s Wrath
[5] Program Used: Blender 4.0
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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Vincent, I like the utalitarian aethetic you are using for the containter and find the background to your inspiration interesting. I was wondering if you were interested in the design of buildings before this project?

    • Vincent Tang
      March 18, 2024 1:29 pm

      Yeah, the sources of inspiration were a bit everywhere but it’s the truth. Honestly, I didn’t have the same amount of appreciation of the building designs prior to this project.

  • Ethan Sanchez
    March 13, 2024 6:32 pm

    Hey Vincent, this looks really cool! I have used blender for personal projects before and found it pretty difficult to learn, but this project sounds like a great way to expand your skills. I never played subnautica, but I always thought it had a neat aesthetic and I think it’s cool that your project is inspired by the game.

    • Vincent Tang
      March 18, 2024 1:19 pm

      Admittedly, it was difficult getting into Blender but now I’d spent hours on it without thinking. Subnautica was a game that I more engrossed in the base building than the exploration from all the videos on YouTube, which inspired some aspects of the project.


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