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Form or Function?

Form or Function  

255 members have voted

  1. 1. Form or Function

    • Efficiency and simplicity is the primary objective
    • I make small sacrifices in efficiency to improve visual appeal
    • I balance the two as equally as possible
    • Making the vehicle efficient is secondary to making it look good
    • I only build fantastic looking vehicles. Efficiency doesn't factor into the design.

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Efficancy leads to elegance and thus good aesthetics. They're one of the same to me, obviously there are 'artsy fartsy' ships that serve no purpose other than to look good, but then they're being very efficient at their job (looking good). Thus they are efficient.

This is efficiency: a staged rocket with payload fraction almost 74%.


If you see anything elegant or aesthetic there, you're a strange person.

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I think function, always, but I think as long as you design your missions and vehicles yourself, your character bleeds into the design. I personally make everything very modular, so if something goes wrong, i can tear apart my vehicles and rebuild something new as I see fit. So my designs tend to have their own unique look.

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With FAR, and probably with the upcoming revised stock aerodynamics, making an efficient launcher necessarily means making it look aerodynamic and pretty. "If it looks right, it'll fly right" is an old adage and very true.

Exactly our visual system is all about patterns, so looking right is fitting with the pattern of what we've seen works.

Only in the broken (hopefully old) aerodynamics of KSP could ugly be considered efficient.

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To me, a spacecrafts form is a result of function. It's fun by itself to watch a craft changing by every iteration and the inclusion of new ideas.

Doesn't need to be ugly, so some adjustments are ok, but the Space Shuttle isn't famous because of it's looks.

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For me it depends on the goal.

When I try to recreate and existing craft (like Saturn 5, Mir, Soyuz etc.) Form is the most important, and then function should match the required performance, but it most certainly is not optimized for function.

When I build a craft to accomplish something in game, like a manned mission to eve or eeloo I try to make it (1) as light and efficient as possible with (2) a low part count and then (3) try to make it look the part.

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If it flies good, it looks good.

And for aircraft in stock aero: If it looks right, it flies wrong.

(But really, spamming parts to fit some preconceived measure of beauty that has nothing to do with a craft's operational environment in KSP and often has little to do with real life seems boring)

Edited by UmbralRaptor
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It depends.

If I'm going for eve return, I don't mind if the craft is so ugly that my eyes burn. However, sometimes I go for pure looks, "nerfing" the ships to oblivion in favor of sleeker wings etc. It really depends whether I can afford the looks.

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Functionality sometimes lends itself to really cool-looking spacecraft. Consider this latest undertaking of mine:


It took a long time to get that thing to look as good as it does, but it only looks that way because it was the only way I could balance the spacecraft and still get the functionality I wanted. If you can't tell, that's a lander probe slung behind the command capsule (it's designed to deploy in Munar orbit and land on the surface using RCS power). There's a suite of scientific instruments I have on the main spacecraft that exist partly to balance out the weight, but also to scope out potential landing sites!

I think that, in this case, I've managed to balance efficiency and appearance. After all: nobody likes an eyesore!

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I like to make things amazingly beautiful, but it has to work at least a little. like my shuttle "technically" can make it to orbit, but being 1300 parts means most people won't use it every day. But it's sure pretty.

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I try to make my rockets efficient and visually...hmmm.....maybe not very appealing but symmetric, that for me, have some appeal and it becomes more efficient. So for example, what I put in the right side, I also put in the left. Since I use lots of mods to make my KSP real as possible (in a way I consider real for a space game).

Of course some things can not, and do not have any point of been symmetric, I do not put 3 extending ladders for visual because I have one in the side of the airlock.

I think when a rocket is balance in terms, not only in Dv but also in terms of not falling to one side because of CoM, it becomes visually appealing.

This does not mean putting weird stuff on a side of a rocket to make the CoM getting in the middle!

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