Post feature RSS Ship Design Series #2- Human Fleet

This article covers the art direction behind the Human fleet's design in Lord of Rigel.

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In some ways, the human fleet was one of the hardest to design; after all, it’s the only "real" race in the game, and by extension the most complex one. Being members of said species ourselves also gives us some preset ideas on what the ships should look and feel like – and it’s easier to design without such pre-made ideas. However, the tougher the design process, the more rewarding the feeling when the final design “clicks”, and this was indeed the case with the human fleet.
The general design philosophy behind the human fleet was to come up with ships that look like something humans might actually build one day; in other words, something that would, to an extent, look like a modern day navy in space. This resulted in sleek, narrow, sometimes almost submarine looking hulls; the general arrangement of engines and bridge tower in the back and a long body going forward towards the nose worked well with that kind of setup.
A good example of this approach would also be the fighter, that was very much designed to resemble modern jet fighters in a more sci-fi style.
All of the human ships also share certain commonalities, such as thicker hull lines typically separating the hull in a number of pieces, that number depending on the class and varying anything between 2 for a frigate, 3 for a cruiser, etc. This was done to make it look like these pieces were manufactured separately, and then put together in a space dock, lending another hand to the desired familiarity in the look and feel of these ships.
All human ships use escape pods, and on each class the size of the escape pod was measured, then I approximated the number of crew each pod could accommodate; this was later used in determining the exact number of escape pods that were needed on each class of ship or base, knowing the approximate crew complements for each class.
From the destroyer and upwards, the human ships have fighter launch capabilities; while the destroyer only has some modern carrier-like elevators that are used both for launch and retrieval, larger classes, such as the cruiser and battleship typically use elevators for landing only, having separate launch bays used to deploy fighters. Of course, in case of larger ships being launched, such as personnel shuttles or drop ships, these elevators would be used both for launching and landing.
The first ship of the fleet that was built was the cruiser; it took us a while to find the design philosophy we were all happy with, and the cruiser seemed like a good place to start, it being a large enough class to incorporate all the design elements present in the species. As I found out later, this made designing the smaller ships a bit more difficult, because it turned out easier to build from a small class, such as a frigate, towards bigger ships, adding and evolving design elements, than it is to reduce. The human frigate, for example, is a very simple looking ship, but that does fit into the design style; it’s a small scout in an already sleek and minimalist looking fleet.
The human space stations were also kept familiar looking, them being our take on the classic mushroom shape, as well as sharing other design commonalities with the rest of the fleet, such as the general blue theme, human logos that have spotlights illuminating them and of course the same style of hull lines and paneling.

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