Sign in to follow this  
Cirocco

do you prioritize aesthetics or efficiency?

Recommended Posts

Something I've been wondering about for some time when I see some of the creations here on the forums: do you think efficiency or aethetics is more important when designing a ship?

I see a lot of big (mother)ships here on the forum which are absolutely gorgeous, but where I find myself thinking "what do you DO with all that space?! So much of it must be superfluous!". Things such as more than one science lab, meteoroid shields, or even just simple structural elements for the sake of aethetics. All of these add a crapton of weight which severely cuts down on your delta-V. And being an engineer, I can't help but cringe a bit at such inefficiency.

Then again, when I build purely for efficiency, all my ships start to look alike and basically are all butt-ugly. So I personally tend to go for a bit of middle gound: I design for efficiency first, then I'll add some bits here and there or re-organize the design a little to beautify it a little.

Lately I've tried my hand at designs that prioritize aesthetics over almost everything else, but I found that I absolutely suck at it :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The trick is to find synergy between the two.

My science Mun-lander had to incorporate a materials bay, goo tank and such, but also have enough fuel to decelerate from orbit, land neatly, and return the crew pod to Kerbin + collected science, and as many light-weight science instruments as I could afford to add in weight to the capsule from the lander for recovered monetary cost on return (rather than leaving expensive gear on the Mun).

The end result was a materials bay main body, with rotated tanks on the sides for weight balance and to look a bit more integral and a little less wide/wobbly. It proved both efficient as the fuel was just enough for each task/stage, with little excess, and I'd kept it looking contained and I think rather nice (Will share photos when I am able to access my screenshots from home). Incidentally though, my plan for any with excess fuel remaining is to build an automated rover with a KLAW, and go and collect any excess fuel dribbles left in these to fill up storage tanks on a Mun-base once I eventually set up a permanent station on the surface. Waste not, want not!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have quite a few mods that add both parts and unique uses for those parts... so I tend to get both efficiency and looks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neither, I try and balance things.

Typically my builds will start with some general goals and constraints. These of themselves are often what I want to do rather than what is the most efficient. For example if I'm making a Mun lander I might decide that it's going to have a two-Kerbal orbiter and a one-Kerbal separate lander a la Apollo, and that the lander will be RCS-powered.

Then within those goals and constraints I'll try and build reasonably efficiently while still having an eye to looks. I won't add loads of extra mass or parts for fashion but neither will I take the absolutely most efficient choice if I consider it ugly. Prime example is using a 48-7S in a 1.25m stack looks ugly so I'll often use the 909 instead.

When I have planned on building something pretty often it comes out looking like it hit every branch on the ugly tree anyway. The Magellan was meant to be a luxury yacht.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aesthetics, realistic. Dont like to build too unrealistic rockets so try to build decent looking ones without much deviation from standard rocket design (apart from things like goo canisters etc)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends. If I'm building a replica and want it accurate, then of course I would want aesthetics first.

For machines that I'd want to use for missions, then efficiency is first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking through my old screenshots I noticed how ugly my old designs were. It was all there for a purpose even if WAY over-engineered. Now however i do go more for aesthetics since I can't bare to launch an ugly contraption for any use except space-station and base building.

I have also worked on the efficiency side of things, for example my new Duna mission has Mk3 spaceplane tanks and cargobays to haul the purposeful yet aesthetically 'alright' looking stuffs inside. It's also my own little practices for when 1.0 brings out proper aero.

Tweety

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My only rule is: frak effiency, AESTHETICS

And besides, spamming reaction wheels always work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aesthetics, but also with the intended function in mind. Can't stand pancake launchers and flat tops. I always go beyond limits just to avoid them (drain fuel, nosecones, etc).

Not to mention that I prefer hauling extra fuel than what I need.

Can't wait for the fairings and aerodynamics overhaul update!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My only rule is: frak effiency, AESTHETICS

And besides, spamming reaction wheels always work.

Agreed. What some people seem not to understand or comprehend is that when you build a replica it doesn't matter about the efficiency as long as the rocket behaves as intended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' It is subjective, transitory, illusory even.

There is only function. Form follows function.

When I'm in the VAB or SPH, I feel much more like an engineer than a sculptor.

Happy landings!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Looking through my old screenshots I noticed how ugly my old designs were. It was all there for a purpose even if WAY over-engineered. Now however i do go more for aesthetics since I can't bare to launch an ugly contraption for any use except space-station and base building.

I have also worked on the efficiency side of things, for example my new Duna mission has Mk3 spaceplane tanks and cargobays to haul the purposeful yet aesthetically 'alright' looking stuffs inside. It's also my own little practices for when 1.0 brings out proper aero.

Tweety

This is exactly what I feel my problem is! I over-engineer EVERYTHING so that I can do my missions with the least amount of weight/fuel possible. Problem that I feel is that ALL my rocket/deep space ships end up looking the same because of it: long fuel section with a couple of nuke engines, utility section with science or some other stuff, cockpit and lander, either pushed or in the utility section. THey all look the same and they all look ugly to me.

'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' It is subjective, transitory, illusory even.

There is only function. Form follows function.

When I'm in the VAB or SPH, I feel much more like an engineer than a sculptor.

Happy landings!

While I do agree with that statement (hell, I studied to be an engineer, I feel like one almost all the time :P) I sometimes feel like something's missing. I can have a ship that accounts for almost every possibility (not that hard in KSP, missions are very predictable), but still just looks like a chaotic mish-mash of components. The large fuel tanks are especially bad: the difference in looks between the orange tanks, the riveted look large tanks and the painted look of the extra-large and small diameter tanks is so big that some of my creations just look like a bunch of stuff thrown together. I sometimes consider encapsulating it all into structural panels or something but that requires a) skill I often find I don't have and B) a high degree of clipping that I don't like.

so yeah, I'm just a bit annoyed at my own lack or artistic skill I guess :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to be honest my first ssto was supposed to be a knock off of the skylon design. i was mostly aiming for a copy of it and i had to tweak a few things ( such as angle a few wing parts to move the col ) but i was really surprised when i got it into the air and it is pretty controllable. and now recently I've started adding on more needed pieces but you can still see the similarities.

Edited by jman508
to asleep to spell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it looks like crap, it doesn't even get out of the VAB or SPH, let alone into space!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer simplicity over aesthetics and efficiency. After all, I'm a computer scientist, so I've been brainwashed for half of my life to avoid unnecessary complexity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Number of parts.

Total weight at launch.

Costs.

dV yield.

In that order.

"But TimePeriod, aesthetics is not even on the list!"

That's because I don't care about them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I find that by building aesthetically pleasing launch vehicles they tend to turn out quite efficient. That's usually because any rocket I build tends to model real rockets (which, not surprisingly, tend to be designed for efficiency).

In the beginning I use to be all about asparagus designs that promoted efficiency, but somewhere along the way I began to really value a realistic looking rocket. They presented more design and engineering challenges to solve.

I will admit, I use clipping to make more aesthetic looking launch vehicles though (i.e. hiding batteries inside the command module).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally depends. In career mode it's obviously about efficiency. Though if possible I try to make it look groovy, but don't really care about it. I do, however, like to try and create asymmetrically which tends to be more challenging.

Sandbox mode, which is what I have been doing the last couple months, is a totally different story. I go big, or go home. Who cares about functionality or cost - I want to create testaments to Kerbal ingenuity, things the race can be proud of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I build for efficiency - I don't really care what it looks like. I design space missions first - the spacecraft is just the tool used to complete it. I design my craft to complete the mission using as little mass as possible, nothing more. As an engineer, I find that something designed for optimum efficiency has a certain beauty to it, even if others think it is butt ugly.

edited to add...

Although efficiency is extremely important in my designs, it is not my primary goal. My #1 goal is always mission success. I will, therefore, make compromises to efficiency is if it will enhance the likelihood of mission success.

Edited by OhioBob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually go for looks as much as I can.

But when you want to get a low tech-tree flyby of Eeloo, you have to compromise.

I guess I'm the same in RL with cars. I could go with the ford escort, it's far more efficient.

But barring funds, I'd much more like to go with a Dodge Challenger or a Cadillac ATS 4WD.

Edited by Francois424

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually start with a very rough idea of what I want to do, start building, then get a much more specific idea of how I want the ship to look like and/or how I want it to do things( dock, stage, where the propulsion is, etc).

Build build build. Compromise, build some more. Rinse and repeat until its how I want it ( more or less due to part size or other game/computer limitations). And when I'm done with it all, I make it aesthetically pleasing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

While a tad off the beaten path here when you have functionality you may or may not get efficiency, but in KSP looks and aesthetics may be a tad more than 50% contribution to the game...I am working in a KSP Resource SIM and am using aesthetics AND funtionality as primary goals...probly in a 70/30 ratio respectively.

Now I am adding environmental effects which take up valuable game memory so I have to trade off things; it is a major struggle to do this and have environments; but in the long run; aesthetics is a major goal to achieve as much as possible; for me anyways.

Cmdr Zeta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this