Prime Design: Gauss Prime
Blink and you’ll miss this look into Gauss’ sleek new design.
Posted On 2024-01-25 12:04:00
Prime Design: Gauss Prime

Speed kills, especially when Gauss is involved. Every footfall sends him flying forward, destruction delivered in the blink of an eye. With Gauss Prime in your arsenal, you can push it to the Redline and leave foes smoldering with Thermal Sunder.

The Saint of Altra returns in this Prime variant, with a quicksilver body outlined in Orokin filigree. But Gauss Prime was first forged in the crucible of our excellent art team, created by Warframe Concept Artist Vadim Sverdlov. We had a quick chat with him about bringing Gauss’ new form to blazing life.
Prime Design: Gauss PrimeWhere do you generally start on the process of designing a Prime Warframe?

Usually, when I have to do a Prime version of Warframe or Weapon, I try to keep the main idea of a previous design, but I seek to enhance, improve and enrich. For me, it is about respecting the previous artist and adding to the evolution of an item without taking away from what came before. My next step is to find out what and how I can change the design without breaking the model, rig, and current mechanics. I have a lot of freedom and space for creativity, but it is not like, “do whatever you want.”

What aspects of the original Gauss design jumped out at you for upgrading in the Prime version?

From the very beginning, Gauss’ original head reminded me of a jet pilot helmet or some sort of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) like the RQ-4 Global Hawk. The torso felt like a mix of streamline aesthetics and the air intakes of the MiG-17. And of course, the flaps exposing his battery exhaust are similar to the F-22 Raptor. All of these inspirations helped me to focus my research and design on fighter jets and aerospace concepts.
Prime Design: Gauss Prime

Prime Design: Gauss Prime

Which parts of designing the Prime were particularly interesting to you?

Hmm… Well, I would say combining the style I personally wanted while working within design guidelines was the trickiest and most interesting part. But if I had to pick a part of Gauss Prime’s design, I would say that his Altra Prime Syandana was the most interesting. I really like Liger Inuzuka’s slick, elegant and sci-fi original design, inspired by a stingray. I was trying to follow those aesthetics and functionality, but I’m not sure I fully succeeded. Honestly, I still like the original design more.

What other designs or media (movies, TV, etc.) inspired this Prime take on Gauss?

I was inspired by a great deal of modern military technology, including fighter jets like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II, stealth bombers, and long-range missiles. The military concept art of Mike Hill and the work of film designer Daniel Simon were also sources of inspiration for me. 

Unfortunately, I had to make a few compromises in my design, because at one point it was closer to a Deluxe skin rather than a Prime. Luckily for me, I don't work in a vacuum. I got support and feedback from Weapons Lead and TennoGen Supervisor Kaz Adams and Associate Art Director Marco Hasmann. They have years of experience working on this game and its unique style, so they helped me to find a common ground.
Prime Design: Gauss PrimeWere there any challenging parts or aspects to the Gauss Prime design?

The entire process was challenging for me, since characters are not within my comfort zone. It makes the process of design even more interesting though. You’re not just designing a character, but also keeping the unique style of our game.

Another tricky part is doing design work, while keeping in mind that there are already existing animations, rigs, and additional removable parts that need to be in the same place as the previous version. That’s always challenging, but it’s the fun and interesting part of working on such projects.

There’s also the additional bonus of seeing people like your final design (or not, I guess) making you want to do better next time.

Are there any hidden inspirations or design cues that players might not notice in the final Gauss Prime?

I’m not sure it’s as visible as I'd like, but I was trying to integrate air intakes into the helmet design. Since it is a Prime Warframe and not a Deluxe skin, I had to apply a “Warframe filter” to the design. His “ears” are inspired by the airbreaks of the F-15 Eagle and Su-25 Grach. There may be a small bit of inspiration from dogs in a K-9 unit. Who knows?

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