This reminds me of the machine with the rotating rings from Contact. I'll definitely do a ship based on that.
That's one of my favorite tricks with the new ship designer. I have posted about it on the forums. I did one based on Altarian parts called "Orbiter" in the first beta with shipyard and I had Contact in mind. So, I enjoyed your reference.
And then I couldn't resist playing with the concept again and then one of the family sat down with me and then worked with me for a couple hours and then this is what happened. It's callled "Spinner". It has no weapons; it is strictly for fun and decoration. I have no intention of hurting my poor little system with a massive fleet of fully animated ships until the devs have announced a couple of optimization passes. But one or two can't hurt, I guess.
The matched rotating pairs is an exercise in reflections and rotations across the X, Y. and Z axes. Then, six prime numbers were used to create the pseudo-random tumble. It looks like a never ending sequence, but it is actually a three minute loop. During that loop it does not seem to repeat configurations and does the original three perpendicular pair arrangement just once in the loop. It also has a stage where all six rings are horizontal. Note the two synchronized ships in the fleet and the one rotating inside the shipyard.
I usually fuss with making sure that surface textures don't move past one another on animated parts, or that parts don't physically go through each other. It stretches the suspension of disbelief to come up with "how does that work, really?" for some of the visuals. I abandoned all that in this project. The three-axis nature of things was not going to cooperate. It impresses me that the artwork and graphics programming does so well with these deliberate physics/graphics artifact. At any given moment, if you take a screenshot, the textures look like that;s how they made the ship out the factory. It looks planned and deliberate, if maybe by different planners.
If seeing graphical glitches in 3D models bothers you, as it often does me, don't look too closely!
Sorry for dominating the thread. I'm going back to pushing constructors around....
Link to video here