Imploring you to stay true to your ship design

lately i’ve read some comments saying how weapons and turrets should look bigger and how ships need to be sleeker and rounder. and i just have to add that please don’t give in to popular demand and turn your aesthetics toward the generic, impractical, and unrealistic look of elite dangerous or star citizens.

your sense of style, aesthetic vision, and adherence to verisimilitude are head and shoulder above the competition, please remain true to yourself.

ignore the clamoring for big boulder cannons that look like they shoot eiffel towers instead of bullets/rockets.

the tank like design of the ships is perfect, because in space you want more coverage and deflection in an environment where high velocity comes into play and the smallest of debris can punch a hole clean through. the smaller windows, and the sloped armor of the ships is very pleasing and unique. these ships look like they can survive space combat, unlike the elegant swan like fragile things in star citizens.

keep up the good work. thanks


I too would love it if they remained true to original ship design but as some designers have left, I-Novae won’t be able to give us the ships they first offered on the Kickstarter. Personally, I think the new ships are way too ‘tank like’. Also ships should stand out from station and base designs if not to offer variety but to keep overall design from looking repetitive and bland; ship design can also help stations stand out and vise-versa. Of course the present designs aren’t bad but they are not great either. Station and base designs, however, are stellar and singularly unique. As for Star Citizen and Elite, they have a mixture of awesome ships and real disasters. Games will always have a mix bag mostly because there is no accounting for taste, but I hope INS ups their game a tad on overall ship design.

I would argue that IB ships are all of the above. However we are talking about a fictional setting hundreds or thousands of years in the future. Versimilitude is therefore a veeeery subjective argument.


I tend to agree with @selbie on this matter: “unealistic” is very subjective as we speak of spaceships with protective shields and self-repairing capabilities.

However, rest assured that the “bulky” frame for the starfold confederation should remain; it is the faction’s visual identity after all.

Yes I hope IB gets to the point where INS can add the other factions for some ship variety.

I’m a big fan of the bulky and angular looking ships in this game too, but there’s no reason it’s going to change as far as I’ve seen. The ‘fighter-planes-in-space’ look most other games go with is really tired now.

it literally makes no sense to have ships built for combat be anything but bulky. space debris and projectiles slamming into your hull at high speeds, decompression, oxygen loss, etc. if anything, ships might need to be more angular than boxy, for better deflection properties. but to turn them into elegant stick insects that would break apart from sheer inertia is something space sims are guilty of far too often. ib ships generic? when was the last time designers actually bothered to include practicality into the equation? ib is the only sim in development that i see doing this.

tbh the cockpit really needs to be buried inside the hull.

fictional isn’t incompatible with realistic. realistic design, in terms of sci fi is exclusive. things like little fins that don’t do anything are what i mean when i say generic, impractical, unrealistic, and frankly overused.

star citizen ships are full of these impractical generic tropes as to make them look comical.

is this a space combat vehicle or a race car? those little swept wings and canards will break apart from one strafe

so many bits and pieces that serve zero function. and by that virtue, isn’t aesthetic either since it doesn’t look believable. huge round glass bulb as a cockpit connected to the hull by precarious arrangement of thin little stems. i look at this vehicle and i feel like 1 burst from a conventional minigun would obliterated it:

if this vehicle, in an environment full of drag and other impeding forces, can be blown apart from just one hit, how can either of the above vehicles survive more than 1 minute in battle?

bottomline:common sense approach of ship design>fashionable trends.

I have to question your knowledge regarding ships as the top photo, M50, is for the most part a racer for atmospheric flight so makes perfect sense design wise; moreover, the ships you demonstrated have force-fields so your ‘one burst from a conventional minigun would obliterate it’ is misleading. As for the bulky tank, incorporating such a basic design against spectacular backdrops of planets and detailed surfaces is a disconnect of gigantic cosmic proportions. In my opinion.

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I don’t think this is an “either, or” discussion. I agree with @jamesroe on an emphasis on functionality when it comes to vessel design. Nothing more annoying than seeing ships with all kinds of weird spikes, wings and shapes that seem that seem to have no function whatsoever.

However, @Zen is right on preserving the connection between ship and surroundings. I prefer to fly something pretty :smile:. I’m sure it must be possible to come up with a functional looking design without resorting to a flying armoured shoe box with peepholes.

As I mentioned in another post, one of the coolest “pretty” functional looking ships in my opinion is the Caldari Charon Freighter (


I’m going to preface my post by saying I don’t disagree with your argument. It’s just that you are presenting a very narrow set of constraints for a very subjective framework.

Why not have winglets for the M50 that, for fiction’s sake, serve as control surfaces for in-atmo racing? You say that they serve no function, but you ignore the fact that they are a mounting point for weapons for a rapid intercept role. Have you seen M50s in SC? A good pilot in an M50 will strip your hull clean before you can even get a shot on them. The balancing act is that these ships are intentionally weak to compensate for their speed. So OF COURSE you can take out the winglets in one strafe. That’s the point. It’s the same reason F1 cars wouldn’t survive an impact.
You also conveniently chose the most lightweight ships in the game to make an argument about heavy military vehicles such as an armored tank…that doesn’t make any sense. It’s like saying a Hummer should have the same design goal as an M1 Abrams.

Another argument for not producing a blanket tank-like aesthetic is the sheer energy requirement to maneuver such a ship in combat. You have to sacrifice mass in order to out-fly your enemy. Take Rogue System ships for example. They are designed to be light whilst also protecting the pilot by having the cockpit entirely enclosed by the hull. How many of those cockpits do you see in IB?

INS have a very clear set of design parameters that they are aiming for, so there is no need for you to worry too much about aesthetic compromises. The only reason they would is for time and budget constraints, not for community feedback that goes against their brief.

Also please stop assuming that one game developer is going to somehow adopt the aesthetic of the other. SC is going for a specific “hollywood popcorn movie” aesthetic, Elite is going for its own 70s retro scifi aesthetic. Etc etc. So your apparent fear of another design style somehow bleeding over into IB is unfounded.

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Yeah, the Caldari Charon is so simple but sexy. Personally I would love it if I-Novae found a medium between Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous. For me Star Citizen went overboard on most of their ships as where Elite made them too simple. Finding that balance however is difficult but the payoff is definitely worth the effort, especially when you have an amazing engine and superb planet/planetside graphics to back them up.


When was the last atmospheric aircraft you saw with a spoiler? Why are the engines mounted above the ship’s center of mass? What gives with the downward wedge-shape rather than it being more symmetrical to help with airflow?

Nothing about the M50 was done in the name of realistic aerodynamics, it was just made to look like an F1 car in space.

There is a reason it looks like an F1, because it is fast and used for racing, combat is not it’s main function:

As for everything being aerodynamically correct, I am not interested in a game that is - if INS Devs, or any Devs, for that matter started designing ships that were aerodynamically correct, chuck on an additional 2~3 years for game development. Moreover, I doubt very much whether any INS ships are aerodynamically correct and that’s fine. Making ships appear aerodynamic works, and to be honest, very few care whether ships are or not - they just want to go about their business and blow things up.

I tend to agree with most of what you said, but Dev’s should listen to community feedback, especially when feedback is part of being a Dev-tier contributor. Of course budget constraints take precedent but sometimes community feedback can be positive and influence their brief.

But almost all the aerodynamics on an F1 car are designed to generate as much downward force as possible for maximum torque, and grip in tight turns. It makes no sense at all design wise.

I was arguing against this point:

Well; they don’t. Saying you don’t care now doesn’t stop them not making sense. :wink:

*There’s nothing particularly wrong with using a form of cultural shorthand to convey the idea of what different ships are supposed to be good at from a glance. It works. I look at the M50 and immediately think ‘fast ship is fast’ (before bursting out laughing at it) so it does the job the designers intended. The issue I have is that designing things in that manner has always felt a little bit cheap to me, as though whoever sat down to make the thing didn’t care at all about the thing beyond that first glance, first impression.


There are all sorts of things to consider when building ships: purpose, aesthetics, making sure everything fits and moves correctly, size…and now you want to toss in aerodynamics? Building ships is harder than you think and as I have already stated, including aerodynamics would greatly hamper development. Moreover, we cannot even fly in space as it is unless we hitch a ride on a Russian capsule, let alone zooming from here to there in warp and shooting things…so where exactly are you drawing the line? Aerodynamics?

I think you two are speaking on different levels when it comes to purpose.

Zen I think is talking about purpose in game, whereas Naiba + OP is on a practical engineering standpoint.

Furthermore, Zen is places aesthetics above purpose, as apposed to Naiba, where purpose trumps aesthetics. Not that one is overtly more important than the other, only that more emphasis is placed on one but not the other.

I’m just stating this because this could go on for a long time without going anywhere. :stuck_out_tongue:

That said, it is important to note that in IB, as far as we know and as per the devs’ statements, realism rules except when it hampers good gameplay.

Star Citizen is unrealistic and laughably so from an engineering standpoint, which was briefly talked about above. However, it’s just a game, and has no effect on reality whatsoever. And who knows? Maybe in the future, the style of the ships will make perfect engineering sense because of this doo-dad technology or what-have-you gadget. The point is that this is a science fiction genre, and realism, along with aesthetics, is a highly subjective point just because it’s, well, fiction. Pure imagination.

However, when realism is stated in regards to sci-fi, it tends to carry with it the ideas and knowledge of today’s tech and theory applied to the future.

With that in mind, all that remains is to determine how much baggage we want to carry into our game.

So far, we have glorious 1:1 scale planets with realistic features, wind, proper planetary belts, REAL FLIPPIN NEWTONIAN PHYSICS (!!!), and with the last update, we have a pretty sweet drag system.

All of the above could have been short-cutted across to get to the core game play of IB. Small planets, ED style belts, and hard-codded per-ship flight models. Honestly, none of the fancy stuff we have now is actually needed for the style of gameplay that IB is planning to employ. But we have it, thank goodness, because of the mantra realism rules except when it hampers good gameplay. (and because we have a truly epic engine to play with. :slight_smile: )

We have the tools, why not make stuff with them?

Now, as a final note, I have absolutely no doubt that the current direction of the ship design is intentinal. Keith and Flavien aren’t wringing their hands screaming at Jan demanding what on earth is he thinking building tanky looking ships.

I’ll leave it up to you all to decided whether or not it’s realistic.

I personally am somewhat disappointed that we probably won’t get the KS concept stuff. Like the orange neon glowy Hellion/Helion :stuck_out_tongue: skin. Or the Hellion for that matter. But I trust the devs to push the game in the right direction.


Well said. And I would like to point out that INS spent roughly 7 years to get this far yet it has only been a few months of implementing ship design. Not saying it should take another 7 years for ship design but taking the time to make great ships for a great engine will pay off. So if ships have to be redesigned then I have no problem with it. But short of building an in-game wind-tunnel, talk of aerodynamics is overkill. Although, if making ships truly aerodynamic meant having to redesign ships so they weren’t so blocky - I could definitely live with that - aesthetically speaking.

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To be honest, it would probably be easier to 3d print the models and get them tested in real wind tunnels to analyze the coefficients and data from that than it would be to create their own wind tunnel simulation. It’s probably cheaper from a man-hour perspective as well.

I would offer to do this, but alas I do not have access to a wind tunnel and I’m willing to wager not many do. :stuck_out_tongue: