I've started planning for series IV and work has begun on the next Caldari ship. I originally considered doing the Ferox but since I had not done a tier II battlecruiser yet (in fact I've only done one battlecruiser, the Brutix in series I) so I upped the ante to the Drake.
The Amarr haven't seen a battleship article yet and I've not done a tier II battleship either so the Apocalypse will get the treatment. For Minmatar I might do the Thrasher destroyer but I'm leaning towards another cruiser first, most likely the Rupture to highlight some of their more advanced vessels as I've looked at older classes a lot for them.
Finally we will be back to Gallente who haven't done a frigate yet. Looking at the selection, I haven't done an interceptor yet so the Atron is looking like a decent choice.
I really enjoy writing these articles, it allows my creative side some room to roam while not tying me to plot or character development. Plus its given me a chance to play with the graphics program a little bit and get better in that regard.
The process to writing one of these is fairly simple but time consuming. First I spend a little while looking at the ship in EFT and EveMON, then visiting Battleclinic and the Eve-O forums to see players fits. Once I have an idea for how the ship is generally used, I roughly map out the variations such a vessel might have gone through in the service to its respective navy, understanding that they are less likely to have solo-capable ships but work in actual squadrons and fleets. I also see if I can work in some left-field versions to try and reflect research and innovation and the result progress.
Typically most ships have options of long range versus short ranged weapons (heavies versus HAMS, blasters versus rails, etc) so I make sure to cover the options if they make some sense even if a player pilot would not ever fit in such a manner. For example, rails on a Brutix.
Once I have the variations and timeline worked out, I work on the actually fitting for the variation I have deemed the current fleet standard, coming up with technical sounding names for systems and the possible producers of these items. This is the hardest part, trying to be original while not disregarding anything I wrote before; often I will compare to previous articles to see what I wrote there to keep some internal consistency.
Variations come in three types: precursor classes that are obsolete or near to it, optional weapon fittings for the standard class, and advanced versions which encompasses Navy Issue and Tech II. Some hulls have pirate faction versions which I fit in as however seems reasonable, like the Scorpion / Rattlesnake. I use the variations sections to describe how the class came about, how it is different from the standard class, and what ramifications (if any of import) it had on the New Eden political/military scene.
Once its all written in a first draft I re-read it and look for typos, sections that need further extrapolation, clarifications, etc. This doesn't take too long usually. After all that is done I open up Gimp 2.0 and make the main ship graphic that adds some spice to the otherwise dry technical article.
The end result is something that I hope is a cross between a technicial readout and historical record. For me its not enough to know what a ship can do, its also important to know how it came about.
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For those who are looking for quick links to the discussed articles, here you go: