Design - Engine Section - DE

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Post by Darloth » Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:06 am

To people complaining of little mounting space... have you SEEN where the humans cram their turrets on fission engines? It's a tiny blob of internal space, and is clearly either automatically controlled, or some poor git has to crawl there in a cramped tunnel way before the battle, b52 style.

As such, I think we could get away with making the mounting spots on the engine arms slightly larger, and just putting them right on.

I've also got a preliminary model for E1 Tech2 - it's much the same design, but cleaned up, made to look a bit more complex and less rough, with more, smaller crystals.

Alternatively it could be E1 T1 and the one with the bigger (but in my opinion slightly less techy looking) crystals could be T2.

I'll link it here as not to clog the thread with pictures that might not be final. Should I be posting images like this here or in a separate thread, or it not really matter?

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Post by moving fusion » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:17 am

LordD and my self were discussing yesterday how best to approach designing all nine engines. If a quick sketch of all of them was produced so we can see at a glance how the tech and power levels differ from each other that would be beneficial to us all as it would give us something to aim for. It would also give a better idea of when to stop designing something.
Darloth, that picture is nice and the model is good as a base point for all the engines.
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Post by Darloth » Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:53 am

First, are we having nine engines? Most races don't bother with Fission T3 engines. I know that's only one model we don't need to do, but every little helps. On the other hand we need to know if we're doing pulsed fission, long range fission/fusion or anything like that.

Secondly, I have an idea I want to propose about the look of a tech upgrade (not sure which one, maybe second). I'll try and post it tonight, I have a (bad) sketch but no scanner, so I'll need to make a quick 3d model, it's much easier than drawing it out in paint or something which would take longer and look worse.

Thirdly we need to just discuss what we want the changes to look like. There are two main changes to consider.

Fission - Fusion - Antimatter:
All engines get larger, bulkier, better armed and armoured as they progress up this set. This means we need more metal, more grunt, basically just more. At some point, perhaps Antimatter, we may be required to stuff a medium turret on somewhere, which takes a significant amount of mountspace (usually. The liir get away with putting them in an only slightly bigger bit). Anyway, the engine needs to get bulkier and look instantly bigger and recognizable. I suggest if we go with the 3-arm style for fission, that fusion either has bigger or more arms. More arms looks okay but not quite right, so I'd suggest bigger arms with sub-arms. For antimatter, perhaps add the sidepods that you and LordD were working on to whatever bigger arm design we have for fusion, since sidepods will give enough space to put lots of guns. Alternatively we could shift to a four-armed design or something sqiffy for AM, but it seems odd.

Tech1 - Tech2 - Tech3:
This progression almost never involves the engine getting bigger, save for the T3 tarkan warpdrive which does change the structure a fair bit. Whether ours does that is up to the story team and whoever decides on wht the T3 actually does, but we can safely model the T2 simply as "more cool twiddly bits" - literally every race picks a cool twiddly part of the engine, and makes it cooler and twiddlier. Hivers and zuul obviously lack this progression because they have separate ships/mechanics for it, but humans, liir and tarka make things twiddlier. Tarka also widen the width of their nacelles, but lacking an instantly cool idea like that I feel we should focus on twiddles, specifically the "capacitor crystals" (or whatever they actually are, I know exposed crystals are probably not the best capacitors, but I'm calling them those right now) on the sides of the current engine model. I think they should get more numerous, larger, and sleeker as the tech progresses. Upgrades here should be visibly noticable but are not required to be massively so, especially on a destroyer - tarkan shaped hyperfields aren't too obvious unless you zoom in, and liirian engine pods are only that noticable because they're right on the end. We can get away with a fairly small change... For example, the two big crystals -> six small crystals (or back the other way) would be fine, meaning we may already have these nearly done if you like what I did with the smaller crystals.

My idea for an extra tech upgrade model is for this last progression, involving having only a single crystal + crystal ring in each of the spots where there are currently multiple small crystals.

We could/should also change the look of the main engine crystals for this, especially partially sheathing them which Silvaril suggested, to make them look generally tougher. Some sort of central crystal spike could also be added.

Then all we have to do is combine the various styles. That means we really only have six styles in general to decide on, we don't want Antimatter-T2-Destroyer looking too different to Antimatter-T3-Destroyer, or noone will be able to tell what's what.

Hopefully people will like my idea for T2/T3 greebles, but either way, we need concept art/models/sketches primarily of these separate bits, not entirely separate engines for each combination, so if anyone has them, please show us all :)

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Post by silvaril » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:59 pm


There was an Engine Design that split the single crystal per arm into a dual crystal per arm.

I thought that would make a reasonable E2 design.

The recent engine design that moving fusion and LordD did was something I thought might work as the E3 design, once we figure out how E3 does things in game... :D

The earlier suggestion I put forward for an E3 concept would likely have been AM only due to power usage/requirements to (re)charge capacitors on the fly.
However we don't currently have a pulse version of the engine on the boards pending Story and Gameplay requirements. :)

Another thought on bulking out the Engine section a bit:
Geodes have that relatively smooth exterior with spiky crystalline interior.

Place a demi-spherical geode covering the engine from the base of the arms until the bend leading down to the drive crystals.

Gives a slightly bulkier drive section, retains the arms, and in my mind at least, looks quite cool... :roll: :lol:

The idea came from the thought I had earlier to bulk up the first part of the arms by making them flare more towards the base.
That lead to a cowled look around the "interior" drive area, which lead to ways that cowl could look more crystalline...
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Post by Darloth » Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:21 am

Okay, sorry, forgot to do so immediately but here's the mockup I was talking about, just stuck (not as well as I could) straight onto what I already have. I think it looks quite impressively hightech, although the polycount might be a bit of an issue, I could work on that later.

Link here

There's four total, one assembly on each side and the one in the middle, and with some tweaking I would make the rings a bit thicker, the main crystals a bit thinner, and tilt the whole lot further backwards so they look like they're pointing back instead of just pointing out (they do have a 20 deg tilt but it's hard to see right now. Maybe a 45 deg tilt would work better.)

Edit: New version, with chunkier chocolate... uh... connection arms, and tiltier sidemounts. No greebles on sidemounts yet. Won't be around for a week, but here's what I've got, hope it's liked.

New Pic Here

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Post by erdrik » Thu Feb 21, 2008 7:49 pm

Don't like the ring.
Maybe each of the arms holding the ring can instead hold two small crystals facing away from each other... make them facing to the sides of the arm...

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Post by LordD » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:50 pm

My suggestion would be the arms holding the ring actually be designed to look like off shoots to the crystal in the middle of the ring.

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Post by Darloth » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:32 am

Added the arms as metal because it's really hard to grow offshoot crystals, and they tend to then be pretty fragile, there's usually a natural stress fracture plane along where the two crystals join.

Given that I already was wondering if they looked a bit fragile, metallic arms seemed the only logical option for making them look a bit tougher.

I personally like the ring, but the holding a smaller crystal idea is good too, I'll make two variants with held crystals.

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Post by Darloth » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:13 pm

Doubleposting so that this shows up to people as new:

I made two variants, then promptly lost one because I forgot to save, but I can make it again easily if people like it. I should also have taken better pictures, but meh.

Here is the idea erdrik suggested, I like the look of it muchly, perhaps even more than the ring although I'm not sure.

Here is a similar idea with the crystals held parallel instead of tangential/perpendicular.

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