The aesthetics of science fiction spaceship design
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In this thesis, we present a detailed analysis of the conventions that appear in fictional spaceship design, including a discussion of their origins, their uses in emulating certain traits, and reasons these conventions might be followed or ignored. We uncover these conventions by examining and comparing popular spaceship designs from the past sixty years, which we present in a detailed survey. We also examine an aesthetic interpretation of information theory, which can be used to describe the balance of uniformity amidst variety, and discuss specific strategies for incorporating these principles into the creation of spaceship surface details. Procedural modeling describes a set of techniques used to allow computers to generate digital content such as 3D digital models automatically. However, procedural modeling to date has focused on very specific areas: natural scenery such as trees and terrain, or cityscapes such as road maps and buildings. While these types of models are important and useful, they focus on a specific subset of the procedural modeling problem. Though procedural generation can be an invaluable tool for providing viable and dynamic content, it is troubling that so few types of objects have been studied in this area. Using the aesthetic and spaceship principles we define, we have developed a prototype system to procedurally generate the surface details of a large scale spaceship. Given a surface representing the frame of a spaceship, we apply geometry automatically in a coherent manner to achieve the appearance of a spaceship by emulating important traits.