Shipyard Alpha is not fun

Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2014

Here is my attempt to work with the Shipyard Alpha. Per the strict admonitions that come with the Alpha, I wasn't having fun. Honest. You did ask us to go crazy. Here are two examples. These are not intended as functional ships, although I have done things like this with GC2 and hidden massive weapons inside for surprise attacks. The AI never really expresses surprise, though.




This ship abuses the rotation/oscillation features. There are three nested sets of rotating rods with sensor dishes attached at the ends. One rod attaches to another, which attaches to another, etc. The end point of the outermost rod follows a path of complex 3D cycloids depending on the relationship between the various rotation speeds. By assigning rotation speeds interspersed between 10.1 and 18.7 on a couple dozen different rotation points, the combined rotation effects approach chaotic. There is no visible video loop. It just keeps shuffling itself. The rods have been shrunk in two axes and appear as threads. I visualize this as a tangle of independent sensor devices connected by force lines. I am sure it wouldn't work that way in game mechanics, but shooting at this thing should have most of your ammo go right straight through without harm. There are nine copies of the exact same ship in this picture, each one on its own phase of the shuffle sequence. If you look closely, there is one dish that looks the same on each ship. It is actually bobbing up and down slowly on one of the major axis poles. It is the simplest motion involved and even that motion is not in sync across the different ships.





This ship has only one set of nested rotation rods, but it abuses the symmetry settings to make a much more complex visual effect. The ship constantly unfolds itself through a ~30 second loop. Three phases of the same ship are shown here. There is much of the standard video graphics overlap artifact involved and it looks very funky in the Shipyard view. (Note: at any one moment in the shipyard view, the graphic overlap keeps looking stylistically consistent. This is a big tribute to the artists. It shows just how far you can push things and they will continue to look as good as possible.) When shown in-game on less than closest view, the animation looks like something from Transformers movies. Note that when you put two animated ships into a fleet, the animation syncs up. If you take them out of the fleet, they go independent on cycle again.


Again, no fun was had playing with the Alpha. None whatsoever.