Saturday, February 27, 2016

The IX Series - Worldbuilding Part 6

I know quite a few of you will recognize the ship above.
For those who don't, its the USS Sulaco, a Conestoga class starship and the 13th of her line - as seen in "Aliens". A craft operated by the United States Colonial Marines as a rapid-response military transport, possessing orbital bombardment and fleet support capabilities.

As you know, I'm a bit of a worldbuilder, and going into Exordium of Tears, I needed a spot of inspiration to bring the ships in that story to life. 
In particular, I wanted to devise something in my mind that summed up the Sulaco itself, whilst adding an element that was totally kick-ass for the book alone, and its main battleship:
the Avenger Class dreadnought, Shadow of Autumn.

So, what components would I incorporate into the battleship of the mind?

For that, I turned to a couple of shows I've watched from beginning to end on a number of occasions.

The thing that made me think of Battlestar Galactica, was its unique Crocodile-head design. It extends a concept I think is important - secure bulkhead compartmentalization, (with Operations, Flightdeck control, the drive section and engineering being partitioned away into distinct sections of the ship). However, I didn't really like the retractable hangar deck idea. As such, I turned to Babylon 5 and the Warlock Destroyer. 
I mean, just look at it. Ultra-aggressive or what? (yum yum)

Now, I know you won't actually get to "see" the Shadow of Autumn, per se. Nevertheless, I like to work from visuals as it allows me to scope things out in my mind. I know what goes where; who does what; how long it would take for crew to get from one part of the ship to others; where the armaments are situated, etc, etc, as it adds that solidity that might otherwise be missing, especially during battle scenes.

Here are a few of the preliminary sketches I made to start working from.

Remember, I do this to add foundation.
My more detailed, later sketches show where the menta accelerators are; the torpedo tubes; the missile launchers and silos. It details the size and capabilities of the drops ships, the EMT shuttle, the hangar decks.

After a month or two, I'd devised quite a lethal bit of imaginary kit, something I'd have craved to operate from when I was in the military: Something the book describes as 
"Three miles of lethal tactical divinity — personified by bristling guns and metal"

I wish I was a graphic artist, I really do, as I'd have loved to show you what I eventually settled on.

However, while perusing the art sites I like to look at - look what I found last week

As you will note, someone out there was thinking along similar lines, as certain aspects of the above starship (Especially the armored exoskeleton) are comparable to what I came up with.
(Great minds think alike)

So there you go - I hope you like this latest peek into the creative process that makes the IX Series special.

(And may I also take this opportunity to thank - David Kerin & Crouchy for their respective artwork too)

If you would like to find out more about the IX series, you know what to do.

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