Sorry, i reworked my post after you read and started to reply to it.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
But if FreeOrion was to have build-your-own-hull-model functionality, it wouldn't need to be linked to actual ship in-game performance. Design your own ship model with carefully designed snap-together hull model sections could be interesting while being entirely independent of actual ship function, much as it is in GalCiv. The difference between this and what GalCiv does is that the snap-together parts would be much more limiting, but would be designed to always look good enough to make pd and similar-minded ship modellers happy.
Well, personally i think the idea is much more compelling if the modules indicate function, but it is true this could be used to differentiate different ships of the same size similarly to the handful of alternate sprites that earlier MoOs used. The other important difference between this method and GalCiv's is that it is, i suspect, orders of magnitude easier to implement.
Which is quite hard(=time consuming) to do IMO.
But, is it not many times easier than the earlier idea of adding on the different individual components to the hull models that we discussed in the earlier design thread?
I think one of the basic questions is, do we want players to be able to gauge enemy ships just by looking at them, or do we rather want to make them use techniques provided by the game itself(detection?) to do so?
I don't remember anyone making a good case that it was bad
to be able to tell what a ship does by sight... the case was made that it would be hard
to do so. But nobody considered building ships out of a few large modules.