Massively has been following the development of the space-based MMO Black Prophecy, from Reakktor Media. The latest bit of info we've come across is a developer's diary on ship design from Black Prophecy's Art Director Nick Ebenhoch.
He explains Reakktor's approach to creating a distinctive look for these machines, which was influenced by how sci-films were made in the 80's, with those elaborately crafted models before everything became CG. Nick specifically mentions the ships from the original Star Wars films and Battlestar Galactica, as well as the USS Sulaco from Alien.
Nick says that the Reakktor team wanted to imbue the ship designs with a certain level of realism, and didn't want to create ships that were too digitally polished ("overdrawn" as he puts it), like with the designs seen in the Andromeda TV series.
He says, "The ships in Black Prophecy, be it capital ships or small fighter[s], rarely have really flat, clear and curved surfaces and remind of the classic Star Destroyer from Star Wars. This serves the practical purpose of a ship which only holds limited space and avoids design gimmicks."
Still, there are a few superfluous elements to Black Prophecy's ships because of the feelings they can evoke. Nick explains that some of the game's smaller ships will have tubes, cables, rivets, and even air ducts. What's important to the designers are the associations that players will make.
"Even if air ducts don't make much sense in space, they still remind [us] of air ducts on a combat aircraft or one of the radiator grills of a sports car and relay a more powerful character," he says.
There's more about the design decisions the Black Prophecy team has made in this latest dev diary, as well as new screenshots of the game's ships and space stations.