Hey guys, SWS here to offer some useful tips, as well as some dos and don'ts, regarding good ship design. If you're asking right now "who are you to be telling me how to make my ship?" that's a fair enough question. I don't have any right to tell you how to make your ship. However, I am very experienced with this, having created well over fifty ships, being the organiser of the BSF Beauty Pageant, and being voted by many as being one of the best ship builders on the forums, when it comes to aesthetics. As such, I think I'm qualified to, if nothing else, offer a few pointers on what usually looks good, and what usually doesn't.
First off, here's an example of a big don't. I don't care who you are, or what you're making, this never, ever looks good, and can always by improved upon:
One section - particularly that section - tiled over and over again, in almost the completely same size, in the completely same pattern. Even if you somehow manage to make it look good, with a few changes, you can make it much better.
Let's try a few different things to see if we can get it looking better. First, perhaps we'll resize some of the sections, and maybe flip them around a little.
Damn. Just a few size changes and a bit of flipping and that already looks a lot better. But it's still sort of repetitive. Let's try a bit of section rotation, next.
Hrm, it certainly removed a lot of the repetition, but with that same section tilted all over the place, it looks kind of messy. Let's go back to the second pic, and instead of just rotating sections, we'll try also removing some, and replacing them with other sections, for added variation.
Complete transformation! The original ship has gone from being blocky and repetitive, to being a fairly unique looking ship, while still retaining most of the feel of the original. On larger ships, you can get away with more tiling, but I personally suggest only doing two or three rows at most, of tiling the same section, and then breaking it up with some other sections. Use of colours is also very helpful in make a ship look less repetitive.