June 3rd 2016
Another Concept Sale, another Question & Answer session. Since last Friday, we’ve been collecting questions from the dedicated Q&A post here and today our designers working on the ship will answer 10 more questions! We are very excited to discuss this ship in more detail, so let’s jump right in to part 2!
Special thanks to Matt Sherman for taking the time to answer these questions for us, and be sure to check out his Design Review at the bottom of this article!
We’re currently targeting it’s maneuverability to fall somewhere close to the Gladius, with a goal of being more responsive. It should have a decent top-speed while still below more dedicated racing-ships like the 350r, M50, or Mustang Gamma/Omega. Against larger fighters like the Hornets or Sabre, it should feel more nimble, though with the noted durability drawbacks when lined up against them.
There are currently no active plans for variants of the Buccaneer. Ideally, we want to make sure any of this ship’s customization comes directly from the choices in installed components it’s owner has decided on.
Like the rest of the Drake lineup, ejection seats are not provided. Die Trying, Die Flying, or Run.
The underbody hardpoint is a S4 hardpoint. This would allow for a single, fixed S4 weapon, a single gimbaled S3, fixed twin-link S3, or gimbal twin-link S2 weapon configurations.
No, the Buccaneer’s only entry/exit point will be its main cockpit access.
The bulk of the Buccaneer’s weapons are on its more exposed wings. If you’re fighting a Buccaneer and can knock these out, you’ll be able to seriously impact its potency, and ideally, push the pilot more towards running away from the fight as they’d be limited to just the weapons on the S4 mount. Beyond the weapon mounts, the more pronounced cockpit section is definitely going to create a more exposed cross-section to incoming fire.
No, the Buccaneer has only ever been planned and designed as a single-occupant, cockpit only seat. This also goes to show just how easy Jim Martin has been to work with on the concept of the Buccaneer, as when we saw those earlier versions leaning towards a 2 seat craft, he was extremely fast and accommodating to bring the ship back in line to the intended spec. There are no plans to provide anything other than a single-seat version.
At the core, its speed, maneuverability, and stopping power bring most of the interdiction potential of the Buccaneer. Along with that, we’re still developing out the full scope for more equipment-driven Interdiction gameplay and how you’ll be able to interact with other targets travelling at Quantum/Jump speeds. Expect more details to come as these systems are fully mapped and ready for implementation.
It’ll be flexible. If you’ve loaded out the Buccaneer specifically for the furthest possible range, you definitely should be able to match the distance of a Herald, though a Herald will probably reach the destinations first for its speed. On the other hand, if you’ve decided to run a much more ballistic-heavy loadout, you’ll actively be giving up some of the maximum fuel capacity to bring along the ammunition for your weapons.
Back in February of this year, we announced the Drake Buccaneer, but we wanted to try approaching the design a little differently. We opened the Buccaneer sub-forum, gave everyone some bare bones information based on our early planning meetings, and asked to get everyone’s thoughts on what kind of reference imagery did those details evoke.
In just one months’ time, you contributed over 22 pages of visual ideas and inspiration, ranging from other spaceships, cars, boats, materials appearances, doodles, renders, and every possible level of detail between. Even after we stepped away to start locking down the design, you kept contributing for another 2 months with more ideas and images leading up to the start of the concept sale. So we want to really start this off with thanking everyone who participated and contributed to the thread, you’ve helped make this little experiment a success.
Now, what more people are probably wondering about is how those early details and ideas have held up into the final concept of the ship, and reasons any changes happened beyond just saying ‘balance’. So in keeping you more involved with how the Buccaneer has taken shape, we’ll take you through each set of the bullet-points originally posted. Overall, the information breaks down into 3 key groupings: Core Design Goals, Visual Style Requirements, and Reach Goals to add nuance and character to a ship.
First off, the Core Design Goals. These are the things that have been the backbone for planning out the Buccaneer’s design, and with only one exception, have held true throughout the design as we worked towards the final concept.
Next up are the Visual Style Requirements. These are some of the primary Drake Interplanetary aesthetics that help shape the companies visual style guide. Each goal needed to be met, but still left enough room for the look and feel to line up with the gameplay needs.
Lastly, the Reach Goals. These are ideas that we felt could be capable additions to the ship, but would still be safe enough to alter or cut from the original design to help deliver on the goal of a dedicated fighter.
Hopefully this has provided everyone with a bit more insight into some of the choices made as we worked to bring the Buccaneer to its current state. While we’re really happy with how things have turned out, like anything still in development, there’s still some room for changes and alterations. Exact tuning and performance are things we can only plan for so much on paper before the ship is fully built and flying, but if anything does change, you can expect it to be in direct support of one of the Core Design Goals for the Buccaneer.
Once again, we want to thank everyone who participated in the original Reference Image thread. All of your contributions helped, from showing us some new things we hadn’t seen or thought of as Drake, along with seeing a number of images and ideas that were already working their way into the Drake style guide, helping us know we’re heading down the right track. This was definitely a new spin on our design process, so we hope you enjoyed being able to come along for the ride.
– Matt Sherman