I have almost finished a ship set. I need a transport ship, a freighter, and possibly a command ship hull for a fleet augment platform. It takes me a while to come up with an idea, then plot and plan for the way to make it happen, and then fuss with the ship designer until I am happy with any one design. So, since I got this far, I thought I would share.
All these designs are in the Workshop, search for them by name and find the workshop that nobody owns.
Warnings and Disclaimers. All these designs are animated. The animation engine doesn't look like it takes up a lot of cycles, but if it does, large maps full of these may stress your system a bit. I freely admit I have a warped sense of whimsy, an abstract approach to ship design, and a deep conviction that aliens will not be designing to any Terran standards or aesthetics. I also believe that in a galaxy of such control over force fields, gravity, and what not, all traditional and reasonable engineering and architectural requirements are mere suggestions at best. Nothing here is aerodynamic or sensible. I just like seeing them on the map. The videos attached are primitive, but I have just figured out how to do that. If you want to see these things in the battle viewer, which can be very interesting in cinematic mode, you will just have to download them, equip them, send them into battle, and watch for yourself.
Colony Ship (Colon)
There is a hull in the Workshop named “Orbitor”. It is my first design, from the days of the Alpha. I posted it just before this thread got started. The Colon (all puns intended) adapts that design. It is a template, and if you use it in the Ship Designer, then select a Colony Module and just let it drop onto the ship with a double click, it will come up in the middle of the tumbling rings with the needed offsets and symmetry to become a globe perfectly centered. It is my only design so far that gets to use an actual equipment part. Any other equipment needed is attached wherever and then hidden, which is what I do to all other equipment in all the other designs.
Originally, this was going to be a fighter that attacked enemy hulls, but it morphed into a Constructor specially designed for mining asteroids for Durantium. It is on a cargo hull now, and its battle ready hardened tips are relegated to pounding rocks instead of enemies. What with actual asteroid mining scheduled to come back to the game, I feel kinda prescient.
This design deliberately breaks graphics rules and physics by having the parts slide through each other. It is part of the design and part of its so-called explanation text. So, I am only kinda sorta cheating.
Geek note: The ship embodies a known optical illusion. If you focus enough to clearly see the surface details of any one oscillating part, your eyes will find it difficult or impossible to even see the surface details on the other two parts. The eye-brain combo has trouble with the disparate timings. Try it, but don't stare too long!
Sensor Platform (SensorShip)
Who needs a hull when you have force fields? A small cloud of sensors scan the area, slowly, randomly, roaming about and avoiding each other. Well, there is no random in the animation engine, so this is an illusion of randomness. Also, there is one point where two of them actually touch. See if you can find it.
This is my most complex and laborious project so far. A lot of forethought and lessons learned from other, failed, designs went into making this one work at all. As with several designs, you will have to look into the Ship Designer if you want to see how it's done, but a lot of these things are based on little math tricks that are not immediately obvious even if you look at all the details.
Tiny (Shuffle Shuttle)
I don't normally use custom tiny ships. If I need tiny military for a bit I use stock ships and have done with it. However, I do have an ace in my back pocket. This is a sneaky tiny little ship because it is hard to tell which tile it is actually in. This is also a very old design concept that I have created and re-created through several versions of the game ever since the beta. This video is from that beta version.
All the rest of the military hulls are loosely based on the idea of melee combat. The narrative justification is this makes them pose a psychological threat to the enemy. Really, it is just an excuse to have some fun, but it works for me. The stabbing motion is a touch more subtle than it first looks. Most of my animations are set to not repeat themselves very soon, even if the difference is not obvious. Also, I like it when I can pull off a complete design and look with a minimum of parts. This is a good example.
This was the most fun to make. The visual effect just kept getting better and better and a lot of my plotting and pre-planning paid off. There is a principle in ship designing where you use a stock part for something else entirely. The whirling blades are a nice example. I am very proud of the “lock washer” on the back of this thing. It is not obvious at all what it originally was unless you already know, then it feels obvious.
The start/stop motion is a very nice trick, especially with that little rock-back action, but I am more proud that it looks like I have the blades whirling faster than the animation engine actually intended to let me do. The difference between these two models is one timing adjustment on one part.
In many ways, the most vanilla of the animations here. However, I think the total visual effect is spot on. And again, a bare minimum of parts were involved. The fact that the hilt part has a marking that looks like an emblem adds to the look. I like how all the parts almost actively try to help you make the ships look better. That is a credit to the ship designer designers. Being able to see the inner axle that the blade is turning on turned out even better than I hoped. It really sells the model for me.
Huge (Space Mace)
This is one of the earlier designs and I had some fights with the various scaling factors I wanted. I think now the designer has gotten a little more flexible and there are more parts to choose from, but I don't want to change the design anymore. I think the visual effect of the Mace swooping in a big wide swing at an invisible enemy in the next hex is the most compelling visual of the set.
So, I encourage everyone to play with the ship designer, it has the ability to accommodate all sorts of designers, from folks who produce things ready for cinema, to strange puzzle-headed folk like me, to people who do little things with stock ships or models found in the workshop, and to those who never ever tried, yet. Yes, you should really try it. For one thing, your ships are much less likely to be quite so deliberately strange and silly as mine.