Here is a ship with pumping guns. I call it the Gunboat Diplomat. The pumping action is the turrets from 4 Cannon parts, so this is with functioning weapons, not just moving bling.
There is much use of the offsets here. Yay, offsets!! It involved much trial and error. I had to let my OCD son plink at things for half an hour to get the final alignment exactly right. At one point, he had a calculator out. I have no idea what that was about and didn't dare ask. At another point I was kvetching about hardpoints and how I was hoping they would get better. He turns to me and says in unconscious deep guru tones, "Hardpoints are not as important as you think." I thought I was being admonished against the dark side or something. Obviously, the shipyard is deeply satisfying to his tendencies. He loves it, too.
A lot of what is convincing seems to be based on the visual cliches of movies, etc, which I try to avoid in designs. In this case, it seems to be necessary subliminal triggers to tell us, "Hey, that's a weapon!" I tried the motion being synchronized between guns and it broke the illusion. At certain points, it looks like some sort of oscillating drive mechanism instead of weapons action. See point one below. The best results came from hiding the majority of the cannon inside the hull and just letting the turrets stick out. Giving the turret a visually static base to project from is the primary base of the illusion. There is a whole lot of oversized Cannon inside the hull swinging back and forth. If you remove the four pieces that comprise the hull, it looks rather comical.
The action would be better with possible additional features. Consider these my wish-fulfillment suggestions.
Assymetric oscillation speed control. The motion really needs to be two different speeds, slow in extending, quick in retraction to simulate recoil. Otherwise, it is more obviously just a cycle of movement, possibly a ship mechanism.
Phase control of motion. The best visual is when the two turrets act opposite of each other. Definitely a movie-cliche visual thing. This happens some of the time with the de-sync ocsillation periods I am using. To accomplish this consistently would take both of them being at the same speed setting or period, with their phase being separated by 180 degrees.
Synchronized weapons animation. The ultimate visual illusion would match whatever weapons fire graphics is going to happen with motion. In this case, firing a weapon just before the recoil. This obviously has some complications in getting the two concepts to link. My impression is that weapons fire rate may be somewhat variable according to tech level, etc. Still, coordinating moving parts with laser blasts or guns a'blazin' would be very effective in tactical battle display.
The buttons for sliding values in scale, rotation, etc, are too fiddly and tiny. Often, I ended up selecting the little text box next to the slide bar instead of the right end end of the bar. Also, if I miss, I end up deselecting the part completely. That is very annoying.
It is unclear what I can or cannot get away with in the numerical values input. In oscillation mode, it seems you can only use integer values. Any fractions entered get discarded and do not seem to take effect,. My son found that he could put in a offset value of 0.15. It doesn't show in the numerical display, but it seems to put the object exactly where he wanted,
I will echo previous comments about the need for a 3D X/Y/Z coordinated indicator. Please!
I dearly dearly want to pick up and move parts.
Ship designs are only saved within the game they are created in. There is no carryover between one game and another. I expect this is an Alpha phenomenon, but I didn't realize it and unknowingly threw away a lot of work. Now I know.
Still, I got a gunboat out of it. It took stubbornness on the part of two different people, but it worked. That is success.