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Derakon

Minimalist torchship

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Derakon    456
This is a design for a ship created by a culture that is extremely metals-poor. Hence, in space they emphasize trade and asteroid mining, using ships that minimize materials requirements. Here's a torchship miner/freighter ship: The wings are habitat areas, as the only parts of the ship that have shielding from interstellar radiation. The central area is used for cargo storage, as well as holding the massive water tank that fuels the fusion reactor (water being one thing this culture has in abundance). The fusion bell and armature can rotate forwards when mining or as an improvised weapon: I'm not especially happy with the engine glow, and the entire model kinda feels like a Lego project - that is, it's a representation of a ship instead of a real ship. Any suggestions for making it more "real" would be appreciated. Incidentally - modeled and rendered in Blender.

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Professor420    496
The textures need work. There needs to be rust, wear, etc. The modelling looks decent, but looks too high-poly for a game engine if that's what its for. If not, I'd also suggest getting rid of the flame and putting it in in Photoshop. The other problem is the lighting... the engine gives off an orange glow, the lights give off a blue glow that should have less/no falloff, the stars give off a certain color... yet all I see is white light. It contributes to that toy-like feeling.

I think your culture design has some flaws, though. Its nice to see you actually gave some backstory to the model, but think: How could a society without plentiful metals reach space, and create the infrastructure to colonize it? Unless they developed some other sort of material which could substitute for metal, but right now it looks like they are using metals, but just with scarcity. And speaking of scarcity, the model is not exactly efficient. Think about what the ship actually does, where the forces are coming from. Your trusses and reinforcements have to counteract those forces. Right now your structure would do well if compressed vertically in the photo, but the 'drill' part would destroy it laterally. The reinforcements and trusses above and below where the drill attaches to the cylinder don't actually have a load-bearing purpose, either.

Things like architecture and Industrial Design really help out here. And really sit down, sketch, and think logically when you are designing things like ships. You are already on the road there, but you just need to practice and get helpful criticism.

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Jarrod1937    522
yeah it needs better texturing all around. its way too high poly if its for a game (but a lot of the looks can be faked through certain techniques), and it does need some wear and tear.
and professor, maybe the colony became metal-poor after they reached space, ie. ran out of resources, didn't have the technology to recycle...etc. however it still is a bit odd...
either way, good job, you atleast went for detail, some people would try to add all the detail in the texture and none in the model... which doesn't produce the best results. usually a good balance between polygons and detail in the textures works well.

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Derakon    456
Thanks for the comments. This isn't going to be used directly in a game; it'll be pre-rendered and then inserted as a 2D sprite. Hence, the poly count doesn't really matter. Which is good, because it has several hundred thousand polygons! Ahh, surface subdivision.

I'm working on improving the textures. I'm quite new to 3D modelling in general, so making good UV-mapped textures is going to be a bit of a struggle. Especially given my highly unpolished drawing skills. Still, my preliminary results are encouraging, if crude. The model shown above is done entirely with procedural (i.e. built-in) textures, which is largely why there's so little detail.

As far as the design of the ship goes, the point about where forces are going is well-taken. I must admit here that part of the design descends entirely from my desire to have a ship whose engine can rotate entirely about the body mid-flight. Shapeshifting is cool. :) That being said, there's a non-trivial amount of unseen reinforcement going on here; the culture I'm working with is rather fond of induced electromagnetics. Careful placement of magnetic fields can significantly spread out incoming forces.

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Fruny    1658
Quote:
Original post by Derakon
The wings are habitat areas, as the only parts of the ship that have shielding from interstellar radiation. The central area is used for cargo storage, as well as holding the massive water tank that fuels the fusion reactor (water being one thing this culture has in abundance).


An efficient design would use the cargo, especially water, as additional shielding for the habitats.

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Avatar God    1072
I'm with Fruny. It seems like you could easily place the habitable parts in the middle of the current cargo areas with no problems - and you could make the wings much simpler as a result. Sortof a tall cylinder areas, maybe stack the rooms.

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Derakon    456
Hmmm...I may just end up scrapping that model and starting over then. A flattened sphere would make more sense and would be more stable, to boot. Ahh, well.

Thanks for all the responses!

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Derakon    456
Okay, here's the new design for the ship. I think I solved most of the major design flaws:

Torchship Mk. II

Water storage and the habitat area are in the central tower. The fusion bell assembly is neater and distributes forces more evenly. The body has a better surface area to volume ratio. Really, about all that's missing is a good way to tell which way the ship is facing. :)

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Professor420    496
Looking much, much better. And the fractal noise on the shader bump channels works nicely. A couple suggestions:
The dome would probably be a geodesic dome, as those are one of, if not the strongest, architectural configuration in the world, and without parrellel in spherical structures.
How does it move sideways/up down, not just forward? It needs some sort of boosters/thrusters for turning/change of direction.
I'm not sure if that flame is a torch for mining or the engine. If its the engine, it can be tiny... there is no air resistance in space, and the amount of fuel it'd take to power that would outsize the ship (think of space shuttles).
A satellite dish on the bottom. Since satellite dishes are dependant on direct line-of-sight, and are not like radio antennae which pick up omni-directional waves. So communication with a station under the ship, on the opposite side of the satellite, would be impossible using that dish.
I still think the engine/torch could be more integrated, or less integrated. It looks tacked on a bit still. Perhaps making it swivel around the side of the ship (and give it a reason for the sphere shape) is a good idea.

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Derakon    456
The engine can actually rotate about the entire body of the ship; those two solid bands are attached to the engine but not to the ship's body. Actually, come to think of it, it'd make more sense (and would be lighter) if the bands weren't there and the engine just had maglev-style "connections" to the ship's body. I'll need to fix that.

The engine works by venting high-energy plasma and radiation generated by its fusion reactor into space. It's oversized because this ship has a cargo capacity that vastly exceeds the ship's tare mass (i.e. the mass of the ship itself), and it needs to stay mobile even when fully-loaded. That's also, incidentally, why the engine can move independently of the ship's body: when fully-loaded, the mass of the engine assembly is puny in comparision to that of the ship+cargo. Additionally, the array of pipes around the edge of the exhaust bell contain magnetic field effectors that focus the exhaust stream (that's why it narrows instead of dispersing in the vacuum of space), allowing the exhaust to be used for melting down asteroids or as a crude weapon.

Other attitude jets aren't currently shown; I do still need to add them in. Two sets are needed: one to allow the ship to change its orientation in threespace (i.e. rotating "up" and "down"), and one to counter the torque induced by the engine assembly when it rotates about the ship's body.

I originally had planned to use a geodesic sphere, but that plan bombed when I realized that there was no reasonably easy way to have both geodesics and the tracks used to allow the engine to move. So yeah, this design isn't quite as practical as it could be.

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Professor420    496
Ah, OK. Sounds good then. As far as the geosphere goes, if you are sure you can't integrate it, then you should change the orentation of the sphere/dual domes.
Domes are designed to carry force along the revolved arches that they are comprised of. Currently most, if not all, of the force is coming horizontally, for which arches are not designed. This could be simply fixed by rotating the sphere 90* so its poles are horizontal instead of vertical... the two 'tracks' for the engine could follow the arches. This would give you a much more structurally sound, and aethetically pleasing, arrangement.
I also see there's a satellite on the bottom already, didn't notice that.
Glad to see you're putting a good amount of design into this ship.

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wildhalcyon    149
Quote:
Original post by DerakonThe engine works by venting high-energy plasma and radiation generated by its fusion reactor into space. It's oversized because this ship has a cargo capacity that vastly exceeds the ship's tare mass (i.e. the mass of the ship itself), and it needs to stay mobile even when fully-loaded. That's also, incidentally, why the engine can move independently of the ship's body: when fully-loaded, the mass of the engine assembly is puny in comparision to that of the ship+cargo.


Just don't forget to account for this using some sort of ballast. The weight of the cargo will need to be controlled in order to keep the rotational inertia within the ship body and not outside of it, near the engine.

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