Art Diary #3 - Destroyer Class Ship

The process of creating ship models involves a multi-stage process starting with the construction of the ship in a 3D modeling program, continuing on to texturing of the surfaces, and finally finishing in the posing and lighting of the model in the various scene shots.

In the universe of ORG, the destroyer class of ship is the smallest dedicated battleship - while frigates are often used in confrontations and raiding, naval combat is not their primary purpose.

The destroyer class, on the other hand, is a dedicated war machine. Even more notably, it has no human crew, instead relying on a complement of Artificial Intelligence modules ranging from one to five A.I. depending on mission parameters and availability. With no human crew, destroyers need not obey normal acceleration limitations, allowing velocity changes that would crush a human crew. Ranges and mission lengths are similarly highly extendable, with destroyers being excellent choices for long-range pickets, suicide missions, and similar missions.

Despite the lingering residue of the Great Contraction, the Inner Worlds have a vast population base to draw from to crew ships, leading to the powerful Earth polities such as the Eastern Federation and State being able to comfortably crew the mighty battleships of their own navies, allowing them to support significant numbers of dreadnoughts and super-dreadnoughts.

The much more sparsely populated Outer World polities do not have this luxury, and as a result, among these distant worlds, the A.I.-crewed destroyer is very popular even where dreadnoughts could theoretically be afforded.

With a nuclear reactor powering engines and various systems, destroyers are typically armed with HED Lances and a minimal complement of tactical nuclear warheads intended primarily for ground assault operations.

Though this is the typical configuration, the destroyer-class has been successfully adapted for a wide array of mission parameters and local conditions, and some have even be outfitted with drone bays to allow the ship to operate as a flight deck carrier, mimicking some of the functionality of the fighter and drone bays more predominant on the larger battleship classes.

Where feasible, destroyer-class battleships have multiple A.I. "crew", partially for purpose of instantaneous backups in case of mechanical failure or battle damage, but also as a means of minimizing the notorious effects of A.I. glitches, an important safety feature when talking about a warship theoretically capable of glassing the population of some of the smaller worlds.

Although there are several protocols used depending on the policy of the various polities' navies, the most common is to have three primary A.I.'s who essentially vote on every single micro-action. In the event of a three-way tie or one of the three primaries going offline, two "alternates" - backup A.I. - can step in as well. There is, even, specific protocols dictating a procedure for "offlining" an A.I. module whom the other A.I.'s have determined has glitched - the equivalent of summary execution.

Certain polities - the Alliance being the most prominent - even mandate one of the alternate backup A.I.'s to have specialized psychotherapy training, putting the other A.I.'s on the metaphorical couch every hour or so of non-combat operation to screen for erratic or rogue behavior.

The heavy use of A.I., especially in the Outer Worlds, has created a philosophical and moral tension. Artificial Intelligence legal recognition varies, but only in the Collaborated Union of the Hildas Triangle do A.I. have full legal recognition.

In most of the Inner Worlds they have a quasi-legal status that falls somewhat short of full human-level legal rights. In the Outer Worlds which rely far more heavily on A.I. with their commensurate shortage of labor, A.I. often have no rights at all, and are subject to regular strict reinitializing procedures that do sometimes limit their ability to adapt and learn, but serve to check the obvious danger of any kind of broad-based A.I. revolt.

Some of the Outer World navies even maintain a special class of human and A.I. police sometimes called "Loyalty Corps" who are specifically responsible for checking, stemming, and heading off any A.I. discontent or revolt.