Monday, October 31, 2011

Weird Retro Spacecraft

Ok, is it just me, or does this spacecraft look backwards? Whoever designed this made it for looks, but is the design functional?Unless it jettisoned a portion of itself after liftoff and it was out of the atmosphere, it must be designed to work on low/no atmosphere worlds like the one pictured.

This standard rocket design, typical of the 40's and 50's especially, sits right with me... but it is also predictable. The picture is enjoyable to look at and I can envision it happening, yet haven't we seen this a zillion times before? It makes sense; perhaps too much sense.

I find old drawings of space ships before the Space Race to be beautiful concept-wise, but they would be an engineers nightmare. I know it is Science FICTION, but some artwork depicting the vessels that would transport humans across the galaxy seems like someone was looking at the plans backwards (points to first picture above) or on some heavy psychedelics, like the person that did the pic below:

I sure hope the heavily drugged pilot of the spacecraft at the bottom of this pic isn't crashing into the futuristic building. I am getting visions of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in Space" or "Hippie Trek".

Still, such radical designs could reflect advanced or alien technology we haven't dreamed of yet. Incorporating weird designs into a space game might be a challenge, but it could add to the effect. In the Star Trek universe, there were many culturally influenced designs that each galactic race had. You could tell who was who, generally, by their ship design, much like ships have been spotted and identified on the seas for centuries. Everyone had to do their own thing and we liked it!
I just thought I would share these images because they were out of the ordinary.

It would be interesting to see these on graph paper being designed for Traveller or some other space RPG. I love to design ships, but the balance between all of the factors you want vs mechanical needs can be hard to balance - it is part of the fun of most starship design systems for games. Whatever these designers wanted for the spacecraft depicted here,  functionality wasn't at the top of the list. However, they sure make mind-bending art!

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