Stargate 2020 (Film Version)

Orthographic diagrams of the model
Alternate views with the chevrons locked, and unobstructed views of the Earth and Abydos versions of the inner ring glyphs

“Stargate 3.1 (Film Version)” for Lightwave 2020, Released March 22, 2021 (CC0) —44 MB

Conversion Kits:
FBX Version (CC0)—78 MB
OBJ Version (CC0)—87 MB
Texture Reference (CC0)—24 MB

Since last summer, I’ve been working on a new 3D model of the stargate in Lightwave, my third attempt. Since I last built a stargate model in 2006 (with small updates afterward), my skill as a modeler has increased, and reference material is far more plentiful. That includes behind-the-scenes photos, low-res but still useful construction diagrams from auction websites, HD home video releases of the movies and television shows, and, most importantly, high-res photos from Les Enfants de Mac Gyver, a group creating a duplicate of the SG-1 stargate setpiece using pieces of the screen-used version purchased at auction as well as their own copious research. There are many sections of this model where I simply wouldn’t have been able to even guess at what went where without their detailed and plentiful photos of their stargate being assembled, disassembled, and otherwise worked on.

I’ve been taking it in stages, and have completed the stargate as it appeared in the original 1994 movie. There are several differences between it and the more familiar version seen in Stargate SG-1 and its spin-offs, including the metallic silver color (only visible in behind-the-scenes photos due to the lighting and color filters used in the movie), a unique top chevron (or “register clamp”), no internal lights, and different versions of the symbols on the rotating inner ring, which are engraved rather than extruded. There was also an alternative set of symbols created for the second stargate on the alien planet of Abydos in the movie, which I cover in another post.

The model is available for download at the top of this post. It includes template scene files to help you animate your own dialing sequence, as well as an example sequence to use as reference when animating, or as-is. In addition to the canonical Lightwave 2020 version of the model, there are conversions to FBX and OBJ format for those of you who don’t use Lightwave or a Lightwave-compatible program. There’s also a texture reference package which includes renders and surface settings of the two PBR procedural surfaces I used on the model to help you achieve the correct look for your conversions. Converters, note that the scale of the model is slightly incorrect; it should be 90% of its modeled size, or exactly 20′ (6.096 m) in height and width. The correction has already been applied to the setup scenes for the Lightwave version. The model and associated files are released under the CC0 Public Domain Declaration. Credit for their use is not required, but is appreciated.

In addition to these still images under neutral lighting, I rendered a turntable animation of the model in many different lighting environments from HDRI Haven and HDR Labs, to see how my texturing job responded to a variety of different lighting situations. I’ve also rendered 5K wallpaper versions of the front and back of the stargate in each lighting environment. I intend to also recreate all of these renders using the SG-1 and Atlantis versions of the stargate once I’ve finished making them.

Additionally, the model contains an example dialing sequence, and template scene and instructions for making your own. More information on the dialing process is in this post.

Model Revision History:

  • Version 3.1, March 22, 2021
    Updated dialing template and setup scenes with more precise dialing animation and correct model scaling
  • Version 3.0, March 14, 2021:
    Initial Release