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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:46 pm 
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Hey guys, SWS here to offer some useful tips, as well as some dos and don'ts, regarding good ship design. If you're asking right now "who are you to be telling me how to make my ship?" that's a fair enough question. I don't have any right to tell you how to make your ship. However, I am very experienced with this, having created well over fifty ships, being the organiser of the BSF Beauty Pageant, and being voted by many as being one of the best ship builders on the forums, when it comes to aesthetics. As such, I think I'm qualified to, if nothing else, offer a few pointers on what usually looks good, and what usually doesn't.

Note that this thread is primarily concerned with shipbuilding aesthetics. I won't be covering anything on weapon modification or ship balance, as those fields would be better covered by others, and are more subjective. While arguably aesthetics are also subjective, there are certain things that either almost always look bad, or could be improved upon with a little effort. Let's get started, shall we?

First off, here's an example of a big don't. I don't care who you are, or what you're making, this never, ever looks good, and can always by improved upon:

Image

This is one that I've been seeing a lot of lately, and it really isn't good. One section - particularly that section - tiled over and over again, in almost the completely same size, in the completely same pattern. Even if you somehow manage to make it look good, with a few changes, you can make it much better.

Let's try a few different things to see if we can get it looking better. First, perhaps we'll resize some of the sections, and maybe flip them around a little.

Image

Damn. Just a few size changes and a bit of flipping and that already looks a lot better. But it's still sort of repetative. Let's try a bit of section rotation, next.

Image

Hrm, it certainly removed a lot of the repetition, but with that same section tilted all over the place, it looks kind of messy. Let's go back to the second pic, and instead of just rotating sections, we'll try also removing some, and replacing tham with other sections, for added variation.

Image

Complete transformation! The original ship has gone from being blocky and repetitive, to being a fairly unique looking ship, while still retaining most of the feel of the original. On larger ships, you can get away with more tiling, but I personally suggest only doing two or three rows at most, of tiling the same section, and then breaking it up with some other sections. Use of colours is also very helpful in make a ship look less repetitive.

Anyway, that's all for this post. I'll update with more sometime soon. Perhaps in a few hours, perhaps in a few days, depending on my mood, and how busy I am. If you have anything you'd like to add, or any useful criticism or commentary, feel free to throw it my way.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:09 pm 
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For Image 2: You can skip the angling in Part 3 and go right ahead to breaking up the outline with things like curved pieces and 'ablative armour', as well as adding such intricacies as a centreline hull. Small things like that really make a difference.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:41 pm 
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Thanks Seraph, this is awesome.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:34 am 
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An even better way to break up tiling is the use of assigning colors to sections to provide more definition and contrast between ship peices, so it doesn't look like a giant blob.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:07 am 
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How do you get angled parts pixel perfect all throughout the ship?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:08 am 
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Extreme patience. Also group clone/group mirror/co-ordinate-based placement.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:36 am 
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w00t!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:50 am 
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Just a few tips from me for building smaller ships (yeah, your guide doesn't really apply to the smaller ships, SWS. that example ship you got there is bigger than about half the ships I have designed ^.^)

(Sorry, no pics!)

Normandy's guide to Small Ship Building -

1) Small ship building is nothing like big ship building. Big ship building is about the general patterns between the different sections and how they all interact together. Small ship building is about aligning the patterns of the pieces artfully to produce the effect of a much larger ship.

2) Repeating any piece other than the curved 45 degree one, the 3 rectangular ones, and under special circumstances the wing sections, should be illegal. 'Nuff said.

3) Never lose sight of the bigger ship. A pattern may look nice, but if it doesn't fit into the general shape of the ship, scrap it (or take a screenshot of it so you remember how to make it). Unlike larger ships, over-sectioning is a major problem for small ships. Sometimes you just can't add and overlap that many sections.

4) Whitespace is horrible on smaller ships. In larger ships it's almost necessary to keep the eye unfatigued, but in smaller ships it has no such effect.

5) Always align your sections down to pixel accuracy. It's not like you're making a 600-700 section ship, you're making a 10-30 section ship.

6) Finally, never overload your ship with weapons. Weapons, compared to sections, are eyesores.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:16 am 
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SWS get back to work on this >:(


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:29 am 
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God damn, who decided to sticky this!? Now I feel obligated to work on it more. :oops:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:23 am 
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Not it.

Now get to work! :twisted:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:42 pm 
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SilverWingedSeraph wrote:
God damn, who decided to sticky this!? Now I feel obligated to work on it more. :oops:

Yeah, move it, Seraph! You did a good job and now all of us are expecting greater things from you! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:02 pm 
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SilverWingedSeraph wrote:
God damn, who decided to sticky this!? Now I feel obligated to work on it more. :oops:


...

<_<

>_>

Don't look at me!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:33 am 
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THEN IT'S Game_boy!!!

All you need is color scheme, weapon design, and an advanced guide for effects like 3-d, etc...

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:52 am 
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SilverWingedSeraph wrote:
God damn, who decided to sticky this!? Now I feel obligated to work on it more. :oops:


I did't have the power to do it, but I have to admit: I woulda if I coulda. You set a very high standard sir.

And yes: Mea Culpa - I'll finish some of the threads I started as well. I'm just waiting for the moment I'm sure it won't become instantly dated. Some polling questions to be posted soon.


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