Star Citizen community ship design contest puts more than $30,000 up for grabs

Fresh off blasting past $21 million in crowdfunded support, Star Citizen's latest challenge isn't about boosting its bottom line. The Chris Roberts-led project is looking for modders, designers, and concept artists to develop "the next great starship," according to the space sim's official website. And there's $30,000 waiting for the individual or team who puts together the best design.

We can already see the direction that ship design is heading, based both on the available specs currently published on the Roberts Space Industries website as well as in recently released videos . Ship design for the contest can be completed by teams with a maximum of three members who will work within the CryEngine 3 system. They'll be tested on "concept, design, 3D realization and game integration," according to the official contest rules.

"These sixteen teams of finalists will have to conceptualize, design, model, animate and rig their model while submitting their progress for weekly review by a panel of science fiction's leading concept artists, designers and celebrities, along with the man himself, Chris Roberts," reports the official announcement.

Phew. That's a lot to accomplish, even in zero gravity. Registration for the contest opens October 31 and closes December 31. The contest will run through June 2014 as the final 16 teams are whittled down to a final group. There are also $10,000 and $5,000 prizes for the respective second and third-placed teams. Be sure to check out the complete list of rules and regulations for the contest here.