So, I did the thing I fear most, slapping together a bunch of alphabets, to help some random dude on the forums. I was asked by Fox to post this here so it would be easier to find. I've also added, and might add more extras in the future. So... Here goes.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
[BEWARE ALL YE WHO ENTER, COLOSSAL WALL OF TEXT AHEAD]
This is just my personal opinion, but it takes several elements, but mainly attitude, patience and practice. Trust me when I say that my first ship isn't anything pretty to look at either. I'm not one for writing super long essays because I'm lazy to structure them and all, so I'll just list a few tips based on my workflow right off the top of my head: General Tips:
It won't hurt to look to the work of others for inspiration. You don't need to make an exact carbon copy, you can just pick out simple elements in them that you find interesting, or look for common elements that make their design appealing (shape, silhouette, colour, arrangement of elements like the engines, etc.). You may not feel the effects immediately, but you'll slowly get a sense of design.
This can apply to the overall process, as you won't suddenly
get all the Dragon Balls
get good overnight. Be prepared to take hours to work on a build, especially in your earlier builds. I can spend anywhere from 1-8 hours (usually around 2-4 hours) on a single build, just to get it both functioning well and looking good enough. You may start out slow at first, but your later builds will eventually get better and be done faster as you develop a sort of 'sense' for it and your own workflow.
This is pretty self explanatory. The more you do something, the better you get at it. Best thing is that you'll get better without even knowing it. This is one of my earlier ships. It looks like a bunch of random shapes slapped together, but... well, you get the idea:
Give yourself some time, and you'll eventually end up being able to pull off shit like the stuff you nerdgasm over on the forums.
This is probably one of the biggest factors. What we usually see is the result of someone's success, but not their journey to get there. If you see a really awesome looking ship (or any other outcome for that matter, from artwork to businesses and so on), be sure to know that the creator put a lot of blood, sweat, tears,
money, food, house mortgage, reproductive fluids, his/her marriage and sacrificed their first-born child
and time into it. You should DEFINITELY NOT
be berating yourself for being incapable of doing such things because that just starts that vicious cycle of you
being unhappy because you eat, and you eat because you're unhappy
hating yourself because you can't do that thing so you hate yourself because you can't do that thing so you hate yourself because you can't do that thing
... etc. And then you give up.
. Instead, try to look at it like... You can do that, just not yet. Other people can do that? Well, you just let them do their thing, you work on yours. (Plus, it doesn't hurt to be a little competitive, you know, the friendly sort
Furthermore, you have to be prepared to completely scrap a project if things seem to be going nowhere. Accepting that this will inevitably happen and being ready to just burn everything down to start over will take a huge load off your mind. Trust me when I say that forcing it will more often than not just back you more into that corner you're stuck in. Though, this won't mean you've failed since you've still gained experience from it. Which you'll apply in the future anyway, whether you want to or not.Other Tips:
1. Get schooled
Yes, I know... Studying, ugh. But you can take my word for this, getting the basics down can go a very, very long way. In this case, learn about design elements
and design principles
since you're, you know, designing ships. Keep those in mind whenever you build, and you won't even need to think about it eventually as it becomes second nature. (You don't need to think about how to use a spoon, right? You just... know. Same shit, different task.)
2. Design direction.
Establishing a theme or concept to direct your design, it can be anything as simple as "triangles" or "chunky" or something as verbose as "has a lot of cheap, repetitive, copy-pasta armor plate thing-a-majigs that's actually just a cheap, lazy son-of-a-bitch way to make things look good" , will help you tremendously, such as speeding up your workflow and guiding your train of thought when designing.
3. Templates. Templates. Templates.
It's not being lazy, it's a way to speed up your workflow, improve efficiency and also help maintain unity (the design principle, not some magical friendship crap) and the continuity of your certain theme. Also, do you really want to manually build every single one of those repetitive, repeating bits of your ship? (PROTIP: Select the blocks you want by using Ctrl+mmb or the other 2 methods in the builder > Ctrl+C > click the '+' at the right side of the bottom toolbar > select a blank space in the list of templates below> Ctrl+V . You've just saved a template.
4. "Build an ugly brick, then make it look pretty."
This one is more of my personal method of building than an actual set-in-stone method. I just slap a whole bunch of blocks together, in roughly about the shape I want, adjusting as I go, until I'm happy with the stats, then I start putting on the "skin" or "make up" for the ship. (REMEMBER:What matters more is the end result. People like eating sausages, not knowing how they're made.
Comparison GIF of with and without panels:
A real life example, sort of, is if you peel off the trunk cover of a Zonda R...
You get this:
5. "Observe. Obliterate. Renovate."
Not in a literal sense. This should tie in with the first point from "general tips
", but I decided it can also be a point on its own. As already mentioned, picking out details in your references is one thing. How to pull off those details is another. In the context of building from various references, you have to take the time to observe your reference, think about how you are going to break it down and translate it to constructing it in this game, or any other for that matter. There's already a few observable techniques here in the forums from building the exterior first, to using frames as scaffolding, but I'll use my technique in point 4
for example. For my technique, I've actually developed it by observing how the ships were modeled in Fractured Space, more specifically, Zarek and TDS vessels. I realized that there's some semblance of "realism" in their design, whereby a similar approach to how things in real life are built are applied, with systems and all that fancy, fragile techy bits on the inside, held up by some form of support structure, and surrounded by a protective covering that in most cases, also serve to hide the not-so-pretty insides. That's how I thought "I'll just do the same thing and slap pretty plates on ugly bricks". Though, this isn't THE
way to develop a technique, as there's more than one way to skin a
cat. Also, there's a lot of experimentation, trial and error and FAILURE
to get to this point, so be prepared.
Well, that's about it. Hope it helps...
Or not, it doesn't matter to me.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________