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Engineers vs Beauticians

Discussion in 'General' started by Bullet_Force, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. Bullet_Force Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    275
    I have been playing this game for several years now, its a great I love it but one thing that always struck me as odd is the way a large amount of the community builds and designs things in this game.

    Space Engineers is an engineering game at its heart and yet if one stumbles onto the workshop they are instantly bombarded by very pretty looking but poorly engineered designs. Ships that seem to serve no purpose other then to look good. Entirely non functional blobs of expense and weight ripped from their favorite Sci Fi series or hand crafted in front of a mirror.

    For instance type in "Battleship" and sort by popularity over all time and you get an entire full of extremely expensive multi million tonne vessels with very limited combat capabilities, poor armament and often made of light armor in large parts but they all look very nice and that is what counts.

    These are some of the ships that come up:

    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    All of these are extremely expensive and heavy, the first one alone is 40,000,000, the second is 20,000,000.

    Maybe I am just a PVP player that doesn't understand the finer things but I find it a great shame that some really great designs get easily overlooked by these glitzy cosmetic ships. There are some amazing designs out there that do wonders with very little, that to me is what this game is about - engineering.

    Anyways that is my view on this, feel free to share your view below.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  2. ShadedMJ Apprentice Engineer

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    177
    <heh> I've made many very functional ships....all without a single armor block
     
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  3. Stardriver907 Senior Engineer

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    2,390
    I hear you. You're singing my song.

    The main thing about beautiful ships in SE is that these types of ships have appeared in movies and tv from the moment they started doing scii-fi in movies and on tv. At first it was done because no one knew any better. Once we all knew better, they had no better inspiration. Once we got inspiration from NASA and the Russian counterpart, most producers began to change, except for Star Trek. The Halo franchise, in my opinion, presents the best military ships. The human (UNSC) ships are angular with flat sides. The alien (Covenant, or what's left of it) are nothing but curves. Space Engineers gives you the ability to recreate these ships, some more closely than others. One can either come up with an original design, or copy something they have seen. The latter usually presents itself as the most expeditious way to make a ship. As I have said in many other threads, we are most comfortable with the familiar.

    The other thing is that a lot of people start with the outward appearance of the ship they are making. Unfortunately, armor blocks are deceiving. What appears to be hull plating from the outside is actualy a six foot cube of steel. Once the outside is built, there's practically no room on the inside. Looks, however, still seem to trump everything when it comes to anything made in SE. To me, however, the most beautiful ships are the ones that are made without regard to appearance. When you design a craft to perform a function first, and then make sure it will perform the function under most conceivable conditions, then you can make it pretty if that still matters. Often it will not. Anyways, if someone is making a craft for the purpose of having it be popular on the workshop, yeah, the pretty ships always win. It's a shame, but what're you going to do?
    Yeah, funny thing about armor blocks. A good while back I decided to make an assault vessel (small grid) using as few blocks as I could get away with. Essentially a couple of medium cargo containers covered with missile turrets and gatling turrets, with batteries for power and ion thrust, and I managed to find a space for a cockpit. After all that I put as much armor on it as I could without blocking any of the firepower. I tested it against Argentavis and her drones and was victorious. Funny thing was that when I was finished all the armor was gone but otherwise the ship was intact and functional. Turns out that things like batteries and refineries and assemblers can really take a beating. I don't cover my ships with armor. There's almost no point. As a result I don't need a kabillion thrusters to make them move :D
     
  4. Malware Master Engineer

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    9,032
    I couldn't make a "pretty" ship if I tried. My thing is to make purposeful ship as small as I can make them while retaining all required attributes, both real and imagined, while keeping a small modicum of aesthetic.


    All that being said, people like Shiny. They're attracted to Shiny. Purely functional ships are rarely Shiny, and thus they will rarely top the workshop. The fact that these builds top the workshop and not the functional ones are just yet another proof of this.

    There are very creative people in the Space Engineers community and there's a place for them too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  5. Timuroslav Apprentice Engineer

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    160
    I like a balance of size and looks. I'm honestly of the theory that if you're building a "does it all and looks pretty ship" bigger than 10,000,000 Kg you're playing the game wrong or at the very least you never play in survival and it shows.

    I can build super minimalist, but then I don't care for my craft so... there's that. Although if it functions and is ugly that's a plus too sometimes.

    I know people like to rag on survival.
    But, one thing I have noticed that playing on 1-1-1 survival for more than a week; is that my designs have gotten a lot more compact. A balance between efficiency, cost, and some compromised looks for ease of use in 1st person mode.
     
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  6. Burstar Apprentice Engineer

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    374
    Yeah I call BS. Every third post you talk about your super thing designed to cater to a team of 32 players, with videos of it bogging your computer down to .1 sim. :p
     
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  7. Thrak Apprentice Engineer

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    416
    Sorry, @Bullet_Force , who is overlooking what now? Is this about the fact that pretty ships show up on the front page of the workshop but functional ones like yours do not?

    Respectfully, I'd submit in a game that is so open and, well, plot-less as SE... the charge of, "You're not engineer enough!" is a bit thin. If the whole point of the game is to create our own challenges, how is creating a good-looking ship any less of a valid challenge than creating one that can take an unholy pounding in PVP?

    Anyway, sounds to me that maybe the real issue is the crappy search function on the steam workshop.
     
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  8. Burstar Apprentice Engineer

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    374
    There's also very little in the way of engineering to begin with. With no environmental stressors or structural integrity, an 'optimal' space ship is literally a cockpit connected to an O2 tank or generator with a gyro, enough power, and at least one thruster in each direction. Any armour block you place does nothing but weigh it down, so are you arguing that people should be subscribing to terminal block skeletons? Where armour does matter, how many bricks with turrets would you scroll through before you found the best space fighter?

    How many art exhibits do you see in museums entitled 'lever and a fulcrum'? At what point does functionality become artistic?

    I too get disappointed when my Cargo Sorter system blueprint that organizes everything neatly, fills bottles, is easily accessible, requires no scripts, is not annoying as it uses sensors or timers to remove/minimize transfer looping, and has no artistic additions so the user can greeble to their hearts content gets 20 subscribers when someones 1-wheel-and-a-passenger seat makes the front page. Meh, I'll live.
     
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  9. Morloc Apprentice Engineer

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    235
    Amen. Geeze, I thought I'd stumbled into a wine-tasting chamber or something when I found this thread ;)

    To be honest though, while I respect those who build nifty looking craft, I'm playing on Survival and most of my stuff is cobbled-together-functional. I played much of the game on 1-1-1, but that last time I was playing I upped the carry to 3 just because I wan't having fun anymore. Unlike Stardriver, my Frankenships performed very poorly in the PvE combat. I never got a good feel for the use of armor in the game. When I was done slapping some on, I always found the loss of maneuverability unacceptable. Heavy armor?...OK for space stations.

    ~Once~ I put together a true "battleship" and attacked a pirate station. It was pretty neat, though not pressurized, it had an auto-repair system with part distribution (remember to turn that off before walking around). Testing showed that it should hold up just fine as long as I corkscrewed the nose (so auto-repair could keep up) when closing on the target. I thought my turrets were crippling and slicing up the fighter drones that the base was pooping out (and they were), but I clearly underestimated how much damage the wreckage was doing when slamming into me (realistic!). I "won", but was rudely ejected from my cockpit deep within the ship when the cockpit broke up. Lots of fire, tons of floating parts and pieces of ship systems, and the view of the stars was breath-taking (fortunately I had my helmet on). Thankfully, I'd slowed down so I was able to repair enough of the ship using parts from the pirate base and finally stop her from drifting.

    -Morloc
     
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  10. Stardriver907 Senior Engineer

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    2,390
    Well, it doesn't do that any more. At least, not since 1.185. Plus that ship is designed to run on MY server and not someone else's. It's on the workshop, with a warning.

    I thought this thread was about looks, not size.
     
  11. Arcturus Senior Engineer

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    1,647
    My single player ships for survival were mostly functional. The few that had a designed interior bridge/crew module tacked it on to a functional body.

    There was one that was like a mushroom/star trek starbase/kadeshi mothership which flew upright and had the pointy bottom a drill. It was a deliberate aversion of the "lawn dart" spaceship. It looked nice and the cap was all interior while the stem was functional.

    Later I didn't really play the survival game, but did attempt making an XCOM 2 Avenger scale ship (so heavy it needed mod thrusters, rotating thrusters klanged or folded up) and more recently a scale Stealth Ship from The Expanse. That was a fun one as I had to fit certain interior elements into a weird shaped defined exterior.

    Workshop things that irritate me:
    - Ships hundreds or thousands of metres long that have pretentious names/classes belonging to small wet navy ships
    - Wings, in SPACE
    - Lack of dedicated garbage scows
     
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  12. Burstar Apprentice Engineer

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    374
    [QUOTE="Stardriver907, post: 1287100084, member: 3339215"Well, it doesn't do that any more. At least, not since 1.185. Plus that ship is designed to run on MY server and not someone else's. It's on the workshop, with a warning.

    I thought this thread was about looks, not size./QUOTE]

    Ah, good to hear it works better now. I think the thread is about looks vs practicality.

    As for wings: they don't bother me so much if the ship is designed to be transatmospheric. In fact, I'd love more wings if it meant that atmospheric lift was in the game. Regardless, depending on the ship, it's plausible to think of the 'wings' as radiators instead.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  13. TenshouYoku Trainee Engineer

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    98
    To be honest.....Why can't ships be both functional and like, some really beautifully looking ships that at least are not bricks/2x4s. Obviously ships that require a metric tons of power and thruster mods to just move, and are otherwise essentially useless are bad, but there should be some sort of artistic tastes put into the ship. Even PvP ships can look good and be functional.

    As for why the shiny, glitzy cosmetic ships are on the top side of the workshop, well.....that's the nature of us. We like the bright, massive, cool/beautiful stuff rather than a brick of stuff slapped together. Everyone can conveyor, make a surface with turrets on and pack all the stuff like hydrogen thrusters into a really compact package, that is easy. Anybody that has some concept of compactness can do that.
    But how to make a ship that truly looks like something that a normal person would want to live and work inside, making important bits (like refineries and reactors) accessible from the outside and repairable, and looks like as if effort is put into the overall shape and design is the tough aspect. The core engineering of power/ammo system is simple and everybody can do that, but the artistic and design taste is difficult to replicate and is too unique to put together from ships with different authors.

    You can't deny how awesome those flashy ships look like in hindsight even if they suck at battle or just outright looks stupid as a space ship, either.
     
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  14. Thrak Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    416
    To use the SE Wine Tasting Chamber, you must turn on Experimental Mode.
    --- Automerge ---
    This made me think... is it also because, people tend to download (or "like") ships on the workshop they themselves are less inclined, or believe their are not skilled enough, to build?
     
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  15. Roxette Senior Engineer

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    1,065
    FTFY
     
  16. doncdxx Apprentice Engineer

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    351
    I've found that making the big useless pretty stuff taught me how to add small stylistic touches to functional designs. Designs don't need to look good, but when visitors to my station spend several minutes trying to figure out how I made some small but ornate corner, that feels good.

    As for the pretty/useless ships taking the top of the workshop, that's a a classic problem of engineers vs artists. An artists work only need be seen to be appreciated. An engineer's work must be used to be appreciated. SE just needs more to do, then top ships on the workshop will likely be the ones that can do those things well.
     
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  17. Smokki Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    76
    Was Space Engineers ever even meant to be more than a creative tool to design cool stuff to be shared for others? It's pretty shallow as a survival game and lacks any meaningful engineering but it does allow to build some amazing looking creations.
     
  18. mojomann71 Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    597
    I rarely build anything that looks nice. I build something for a job, if it works and is ugly I am cool with it, however I am not so cool in puting it on the workshop as I know it will be scoffed at. :)

    For example I need to get from point A to point B I may make something as ugly as a 1971 Honda Civic, it gets the job done I am happy with it, but I know that out there somewhere someone has built a 2018 Tesla Model S that will be drooled over and will get the most views and subs.

    However with my Honda Civic I am going to be more willing to let it take damage over the Tesla. :)

    Not hating, is human nature to go after beauty, even if it has flaws. :)
     
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  19. ShadedMJ Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    177
    The best example I saw a while ago in the workshop.
    The mining vehicle looked awesome. Unfortunately, it drilled down in a manner that you couldn't drive it away afterward without it falling into the mining hole.
     
  20. Cetric Junior Engineer

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    701
    It allows both approaches. And that's fine.
    And name us a game which has more "meaningful engineering" than SE has.
     
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  21. mojomann71 Junior Engineer

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    597
    @Cetric Not trying to add any fuel to a fire, but Planet Nomads engineering is more meaningful. That game is not perfect but you do get more of a meaningful feeling when you engineer something in that game. Also Scrap Mechanic is more meaningful. Just sayin... but SE does still have it's grips on me. :) Neither of the games I listed am I saying is the end all be all for engineering, but they are more meaningful in there game types vs. SE in my opinion.
     
  22. Smokki Trainee Engineer

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    76
    What I mean with "meaningful engineering" is something like building an airlock or solar tower and proper gameplay reason for them. You can make them simple but with some knowhow and engineering you can make them much more efficient and automated. And that's what I find lacking in SE. Game mechanics and survival system in SE ain't deep or fleshed out enough to allow much of a "meaningful engineering" outside of few things like airlocks and solar towers.

    If you ask me, Stationeers is a very good example of "meaningful engineering".

    And I do like those engineering possibilities that are in SE. At the moment I'm building a cargo ship which is capable of transporting cargo modules which can also be connected to a flatbed truck using a forklift. Both of those vehicles can also be transported inside that ship which also has cool LCDs with different "pages" that can be scrolled by buttons to show different statistics.

    All that is overengineering as there are no gameplay reason for cargo modules, or forklifts to transfer those modules, or ground vehicles to be transported inside cargo ships, or LCDs to show redundant information, or any interiors at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  23. Cetric Junior Engineer

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    701
    Does 'Planet Nomads' or 'Stationeers' have programable blocks?
    --- Automerge ---
    OK, having a look right now at 'Stationeers'. Looks too 'cute' to me, also started just nine months ago, so they had time to copy things from... known projects. ;)
    --- Automerge ---
    Hm, now checking 'Planet Nomads'. Looks better than 'Stationeers', less bonbon-colored and 'cute', but seems it is restricted on a planet surface...
    Started Mai 2017, that means it is also a 'successor in the idea' of our champion here.
    I may arrive at another opinion if I ever buy them and have a close look from within, this is just my first impression. Thanks for mentioning.
     
  24. Spaceman Spiff Apprentice Engineer

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    463
    Preach it, brother!

    As a IRL engineer, I focus on functionality, with appearance taking a much reduced role in my designs. That’s why, I assume, my posted blueprints will never be popular. But that’s OK. I enjoy the process.

    I should add, however, that my more recent builds have leaned more toward aesthetics. For example, the Oberon Nuclear Generating Station (https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1504132417) has a single mod installed that will enhance the visual effect. Furthermore, I added some useless piston/sparky things with corresponding light and sound (via a sequence of timer blocks) to make the simple large reactors into something perhaps a little more interesting, although they serve no purpose. Regardless of my effort, this level of whiz-bang seems to draw very little interest, so maybe it’s not worth the extra time. It was fun to create, though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  25. Sirhan Blixt Apprentice Engineer

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    427
    Pretty much every ship I've ever built.
     
  26. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    576
    I strive to meet the middle ground.

    For example- to get my engineering fix going I set myself up with an engineering challenge: Make the Raiding Station into a functional jump ship that handles well. And can land and take off from Earth. (pretty high level challenge)

    As I engineer the crap out of that 4.5million kg frisbee to "feel right", of course I also do it with a minds eye to "aesthetics"

    Now, Its important to note that "aesthetics" is NOT equivalent to "beauty". The A-10 Warthog or B-52 Stratofortress are about as ugly as they come, but is still a different kind of beauty to the eye of an engineer.
     
  27. Spaceman Spiff Apprentice Engineer

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    463
    Hey, I did that, too, many moons ago!?! I wanted to see if I could safely land that big piece of junk on Earth. Yup, I did, but it took a lot of large hydrogen thrusters to bring 'er down in one piece. As far as making it aesthetically pleasing? Yeah, well, not so much. I dumped a couple refineries on top so I could build all the additional thrusters from raw material (back then I was stubborn about doing everything in "survival" mode). I should have dumped them for the landing, but I figured "What the hey...in for a penny, in for a pound."

    Getting lined up for the run-in...

    [​IMG]

    And...safely down.

    [​IMG]
     
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  28. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    576
    I dont have the blueprint anymore, but my frisbee lander had 8 large atmos arranged around the ring, and 2 large h2 thrusters for ascent. The atmos were on merge blocks and dropped away in a glorious all or nothing jettison commitment.... for the adrenaline rush of no going back or do -overs.

    It was a beast. but it put a gleam in my eye watching it go.
     
  29. Spaceman Spiff Apprentice Engineer

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    463
    I wish I’d done that. I got tunnel vision and did a bunch of hydrogen thrusters.
     
  30. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    4,468
    The pretty-ones are always the most popular. That's life.

    I build for performance first and looks a far second. So I'm constantly crunching numbers, cutting mass where I can, etc. I've found that using large windows for interior spaces... like 3x3 is a lot lighter and consumes fewer blocks than installing 9 armor blocks or 9 catwalks. It also makes tight interiors less cramped feeling.
     
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