Ship designer has been a long labor of love for the Lord of Rigel team. Ship designer allows players to customize their fleets so that they are as efficient as possible in ship combat. As I am sure people can tell from the screenshots, the ship designer we have released is staying very close to the Master of Orion 2 design. There have been some 4x games that have moved towards ships with boxes to be filed by various weapons. While some may argue that this allows for more customization, we feel that it can be cumbersome and distracting for players. For instance does it matter is a weapon is placed one box up or down for a ship design to work? What practical outcome could a player gain from this? Our approach has been to let the player add the objects that they want to add and let the designer take care of the other minor details.
We have spent a lot of time trying to streamline the various features of ship designer into a single cohesive system that minimizes the complexities of building a fleet. We felt that this was important due to the huge number of weapons and systems that would already make designing a ship confusing to a player. Tons of questions can be asked - like should I build an ion canon with shield piercing or auto firing mods? This can be overwhelming to a new player and having a complex interface would make it over the top.
The designer can be broken down into 4 core areas: ship basics, basic systems, weapon systems, and special systems. Players can interact with these various systems to produce the best ship that their current technology allows for. Ship basics will let players choose the size of ship they want to build as well as name it and see it in a 3d viewer. Basic systems will let players look over the drive, shield, armor, and anti missile technology of their ship as well as adjust them to meet their needs. The weapons system is fairly self explanatory - add weapons! Players can add beam weapons, fighters, and bombs. Lastly, players can add special systems to their ships. Special systems include a variety of items such as cloaking technology, structural reinforcement, or science labs.