Post feature RSS Ship Design Series #14 Katraxi Fleet

This week for our ship design series we're covering the art direction behind the Katraxi fleet!

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The Katraxi are a feline warrior race with a strict code of honor. Their fleet was the first one I have designed for Lord of Rigel, and as such it influenced everything that came after in terms of how things were done technically, or how they compared stylistically to other races.

Overall, the designs needed to look aggressive; the ships and stations are assymetrical and contain sharp, fang like details. Katraxi technology, while effective, can sometimes appear crude by human standards; it is, however, extremely tough, resilient and built to last in a battle. The color palette chosen was earth tones with orange and red; while designing the fleet, I was trying to get into the mind of such a species to determine what would they consider normal behavior during battle, and how it would in turn influence their ship design.

For this reason, I’ve made the frigate – the first of these ships built – have a pointy, sharp looking “head” that was mounted on a long “neck” like hull connecting it to the command and propulsion areas in the back; the idea was that Katraxi would consider ramming a more honorable choice than retreat if the battle wasn’t going well. As such, all Katraxi ships were built with ramming in mind; the most extreme forward part is always the sharp, pointy head which also contains airlocks on the sides, in case the crew decides to board the enemy ship should both vessels survive the ramming procedure. This is also the reason why most windows are found towards the mid and aft sections of the ship; the crew would normally spend the majority of their time in the aft areas of the ship and would thus be well protected during ramming procedures.

On larger ships, the body evolves into a twin boom mode – there are two heads, one is more exposed towards the front so it makes contact with the enemy ship first in case of ramming, and the other, shorter one contains the majority of the ship’s main weapon arrays. The ship’s command, crew and propulsion areas are all in the backs of these ships. These areas also contain a small docking pad in case of the frigate – this ship is too small for a hangar of it’s own, and the docking pad was designed to receive a personnel shuttle so the Frigate can transfer personnel and equipment quickly without having to dock at a starbase.

Below the landing pad are airlocks which are connected to directly when the ship docks at a space facility, and used to transfer personnel, fuel, ammunition and other supplies required.
On larger vessels the landing pad is replaced with elevators used to receive shuttles and dropships, while the fighter hangars are located centrally beneath the ships. Next to the crew and command areas located on the port side of the ship is a large protruded claw-like structure which contains the majority of the ship’s escape pods as well as some additional weapon systems.

Engines are located in the back of the ship, and going with a slightly less technologically sophisticated look, I decided to make their engines into large cylindrical clusters containing a lot of small thruster arrays, rather than having just a few large, technologically sophisticated engines.

For the conquest victory-oriented player, these warships should provide the tools need to destroy the other races and achieve total domination of the galaxy!

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