Or: Weapon design & graphics modularity in Starfarer
A game which revolves around combat in space naturally places great importance on the weapons used in said space. In short: They must look really cool. Here’s a picture to show how I’ve been going about this:
Click to view full size. You see here the process of taking a weapon design from concept art to pixel-art sprite to in-game screenshot. The barrels of the Heavy Autocannon — a nice standard warship cannon — recoil individually upon firing.
And how about some background on what influenced this outlook on displaying weapons?
A wing of fighters moving into attack formation is quite possibly the most evocative visual in sci-fi. Examples proving this thesis abound – two of the Star Wars movies end with battles that have fighters playing a central role. Or, consider Battlestar Galactica – on the surface, it’s about what it means to be human, and isn’t a great example – but if you dig deeper, it becomes obvious that it’s really all about how cool the human-cylon dogfights are. Star Trek, on the other hand, does not use fighters often, but just imagine how much cooler it would be if it did! Well, we’re not going to make that mistake with Starfarer – rest assured that fighters will be featured prominently. Some lore on the subject:
In the years after the great war, fighters became commonly used throughout the sector. With the decline in industrial capacity, producing a capable military ship was a significant undertaking. Fighters, on the other hand, could be produced cheaply using a coded blueprint at an automated factory.
Now, some basics. Fighter wings are first-class citizens – they’re members of your fleet, like all your other ships. Early in development, fighters were launched from carriers (being weapons, in a sense), but it became clear this limited fighters to being used only in battles that directly involved carriers, and that just wouldn’t do. We’d miss out on all this: