Monday, 25 January 2010

Ship Review: Corellian Starhawk by Sharina Applemoor

Sharina Applemoor has been releasing ships for about a year or two, many smaller physical vessels and a few bigger, single linkset starships, which are mostly themed around the Star Wars universe. Despite this, for the most part they are quite easily used in any sci-fi setting as freighters, bounty hunter ships, or personal transports. The Corellian Starhawk is one of the few that does actively look like a Star Wars ship on account of the Millenium Falcon-esque cockpit. Size-wise, it is just a tad under 40m long, with the cockpit at the very fore of the ship, and the rear dominated by the engineering section. The fore and aft sections are joined in the middle by a semi-circular thorax. The overall aesthetic is very Star Wars, the rear end being in particular extremely reminiscent of a Corellian Corvette (the very first ship we see fleeing the Star Destroyer at the start of A New Hope). A sturdy, large landing gear holds the ship off the ground, and steep ramps lead the way into the ship's interior. The smoke emanating from the front landing gear bay is a nice touch, giving the ship a dynamic quality when it is sitting on a landing pad.

As you walk up the ramp, there is an exterior door that opens up when you click on it to reveal the entrance lobby, a room decked in bright grey colours, with a door to the aft that leads to the engine room, and a circular glass door to the fore that leads into the rest of the ship. The engine room is fairly basic, with two seats for engineers and some fairly clunky computer consoles - no clickable bits or animated screens, unfortunately, which is a bit disappointing when you consider the way that the market is starting to move, vitalised by the extremely RP oriented ships of Agent Tairov and Podwangler Zapedzki among others. The crew lounge is similarly basic. There is a game table on one side, and a lounge with a holoprojector on the other, and both have viewports that allow passengers to look out into space. Again, there is no interactivity here; the planet on the holoprojector changes all by itself, where an option to click on it to cycle through the planets or to turn it off would have been welcome. The texturing, like the lobby, is light grey, and quite effective, and the use of sculpted seats here offsets the blockiness of the engine room.

Moving forward, another circular door opens into a connecting corridor, at the end of which is the access to the cockpit. The control panel textures are nice, though again there are no animated screens here, and the only real concessions to interactivity here are a couple of buttons to raise and lower the landing gear. I recently had a play with an older Podwangler Zapedzki ship, the Thermopylae Freighter, and although the build was - well, the build was somewhat noobish, let's be honest - I was tickled by the operational pilot's console. If you stay in mouselook, you can operate the ship's functions from the console. Want to drop the landing gear? Hit the lever, watch the lever animate, and the landing gear drops. Want to switch flight mode? Click on the flight mode button. Want to hit the red alert? Go for it. Gadgets like that would be perfect in a ship with this kind of superior build. It would give it that extra 'oomf'.

Scriptwise, there is nothing exciting here; the flight script is the (sadly quite laggy) Multimove freebie and, er, that's it, apart from the landing gear and the doors. Even the guns haven't been scripted. The sound effects are good on the doors though, I have to admit, very clunky and great for the atmosphere. There are some glaring omissions in the scripting, however; the sit ball in the pilot seat doesn't disappear when a pilot sits on it; and the ship will quite happily fly around without you actually turning on the engines (which you activate by zooming out and clicking a ring on the back of the ship). The ship itself clocks in at 222 prims, which I thought was quite heavy for a ship with so little interior. A lot of prims have been used on the cockpit window, however, and the landing gear, but still, this seems heavy to me; with the number of excellent sculpties now coming onto the sci-fi market from such folk as Ifrit Skytower, I would certainly think that replacing some of the parts with good sculpts would help keep the prim count down. The final gripe is that the ship is no mod. This is, as far as I am concerned, sacrilege - most people on SL love to customise their ships, and to render it non moddable dooms it to carry the same old scripts, same old furniture, same old paintjob as everyone else who ever bought one.

To her credit, Sharina does say on some of her Xstreet listings, "I am not a scripter" - in which case I would say that it would definitely benefit her to get in touch with someone who is, and who has a good name in the sci-fi scene; Agent Tairov's flight scripts and Podwangler's Alexander power core scripts would turn this into a corking ship rather than an average one. Because let's be fair, it is a looker, and if it was Mod too, so that I could paint the hull a different colour, I'd be over the moon to call this my ship. The price makes it still recommendable, because 599L is really not a lot for a nice ship like this, so if you can't afford the comparatively luxurious quality of the Agent Tairov, Podwangler Zapedzki, Smith Fizz or Moo Spyker ships, this is a fine alternative.

Build Quality - 70%
Although the ship is pretty from the outside, I do see a lot of prim wastage going on in the build, and the sleek exterior is somewhat spoiled by the clunky looking interior consoles, especially in the engine room. With more use of sculpties, and a more prim-conscious approach to other areas of the ship, this would be better without spoiling the look of the thing. The texturing is mostly nice, and rarely falls down, though the engine room did like it had been decorated to a lower standard. Otherwise nice.

Scripting - 20%
I don't really see anything here beyond a freebie Multimove script and some basic door opening scripts. Oh, the engines glow when you turn them on. Um. And the landing gear disappears when you push a button. That's it though, fairly basic stuff. If Sharina teamed up with a reasonable scripter, this ship would be a little stunner, despite the prim issues - RPability can forgive many sins.

RPability - 25%
There are seats for people to sit in and wait for the pilot to fly them around, and that really is all. Making the ship No Mod kills the customisation craze that most roleplayers have for tinkering with their ship's appearance, and having nothing at all for other passengers, or even the copilot, to do kills atmosphere and leaves the other members of your troupe feeling that they are just passengers on a bus rather than crew.

Gizmos - 20%
What gizmos? The landing gear. Oh yes.

Value For Money - 90%
This is where the Corellian Starhawk starts to win back points - at 599L there simply isn't much at all around that is quite as good looking as this. Podwangler does a couple of his older ships that are uglier but more RPable, and Rez Gray has just released the beta of his Condor shuttle, which is also uglier (though it grows on you) and has more gadgets, but Sharina has this corner of the market to herself.

Overall - 60%
Saved by the price point and the general prettiness, and by the fact that there simply isn't a lot out at this compact yet spacious size, the Starhawk is something I could only really recommend to folk on a strict budget - if you were debating between this and a Barracuda - get the Barracuda. But if you balk at spending over 1000L on anything, then this could just be the ship for you.


  1. Have to say it isn't fair to review one of her older ships. I own this and the Bounty Hunter Ramrod and the scripting is night and day. The Ramrod has bells and whistles that you might appreciate. You should definitely check it out.

  2. Well, to be honest, this is the last big ship she did before the Ramrod, so I don't think I'm being too unfair in reviewing it :)