More fun with the Ship Designer

Posted on Thursday, June 4, 2015

Back in the days of the Alpha I made a tounge-in-cheek post about not being allowed to have fun with the ship designer.  I showed off a few of my clever animation tricks there and in the Post Your Ship Designs thread.  If you haven't read that thread, do yourself a favor.  Close this stuff and check out the amazing designs there.  I am repeatedly more impressed by what goes on there.  

There is no way I can keep up with their talent, but that doesn't stop me from having my own fun with the Designer.  I think I can show that anybody can have fun with the ship designer if they let themselves.  So here goes.

First off, I found a color scheme for my custom faction.  I was looking for something stark and severe I could do awkward bulky stuff with.  Instead, I found a truly psychedelic color and surface combination that causes a ship to change color as it moves about.  I stuck it on the Iconian ship set.  That has the organic look that I enjoy as somehow alien looking.  The combination is something else indeed.  Nothing like I planned, but in the end, perfect.  Here are the three basic starting ships and a shipyard. Note the coloring on the shipyard itself.  

Each of the pictures has a video behind it.  This one shows the ships moving about in the editor and how the color scheme looks in motion.

I haven't done a lot of actual functional ship designs yet.  I am mostly playing around with the various equipment options as I learn battle mechanics.  I used to just throw ships together in GC2 for a quick platform for weapons.  Some of them were quite ugly.  Hey, aliens don't see beauty the way we do.  I am thinking about it more this time.  I am still looking for something different in style and aesthetics but simple looking.  I have a good first ship as a small constructor, a constructor with minimum equipment.  During the middle of the game, I have dozens of these cruising about at any one time.  It shows how simple parts can give interesting looks, and shows off my custom faction colors nicely. 

If you are wondering how that color works, I figured out that it interprets the surface as hyper shiny and you are getting the skybox coloring bent and reflected as the angles change.  I hope and pray this is intentional and the devs will not see a need to "fix" it.

The picture looks good, but the video is what I think shows off the ship best.

During the Alpha, I had a design for a custom shipyard.  The design-your-own-shipyard capability still isn't here.  This a repeated request for such a toy.  Somewhere between the Alpha and the Betas I lost all my ship designs, mostly due to human error.  During the late beta, I was fooling with re-creating some of my concepts while playing as the Terrans.  During my present game, I found the AI had confiscated several of my non-functional abstract designs, equipped them with Promethion drives, and sent them out as Scouts.  I had forgotten the files were there, but the AI dredged them up.  It was a wonderful little surprise and I got a geeky moment of thrilling anticipation looking forward to seeing the AI learn more and more about ship designs.

This ship is called the Orbitor.  Abusing the rotation functions with prime numbers works much better than it did during the Alpha.  The simulation of a shuffle is completely convincing to the eye.  A fleet of them looks like some abstracted version of synchronized swimmers.  Also, the pschedelic coloring scheme is shown off to maximum advantage, every viewing angle of the color reflections is achieved.  

Nice, nice work by the coders and artists.  It is one thing to make good art.  It is a much more complex thing to create a toy that lets others create art.  I admire that.  That goes for the battle viewer, too.  Cinematic view loves my crazy creations and paint job.

The picture shows six orbitors posing for the camera.  The video gives an idea of how the orbitor was built.

I get "helpful advice" over my shoulder sometimes when I am playing with the Ship Designer.  The animated parts seem to attract certain levels of young attention.  I was going for a Colonizer to match the Small Constructor ship.  My self-appointed junior supervisor got to guide the final aspects of the design.  It makes sense to me as a Colony ship, but it does have this distracting aspect.  And I think it points out that anybody can use the Ship Designer, anybody.  Your results may be unexpected, but that is part of the fun, too.  If it weren't true, I wouldn't have this way cool Colony ship to show you! 

And that is my main and repeated point, pretty much anybody can play with the Ship Designer and come up with something interesting, different, laughable, whatever.  A couple friends were going on about not having the talent to do the wonderful and impressive designs by the experts, or an eye to do the simpler designs, on and on and this and that.  I keep pounding on them to let their inner child out, the one that liked finger painting on Dad's sports car.  In the long run, this little Colony ship says it better than I do.  I am keeping it in my fleet.  Check out the video and see if you agree.