At the Frontier Expo on Saturday October 8th I got to chat with Sandro Sammarco, Frontier's Lead Designer, about paint jobs.
Following my article last week, the FD Power Survey, I thought I would go to the source and ask Frontier how they decide which ships get paint jobs and ship kits, and what - if any - criteria was used to make this decision.
Sandro is a very approachable person and offered to talk to me any time I wanted during the Expo. So, between presentations I put on my "Journalist" hat (or Elite: Dangerous cap at least) and asked the question.
"How do you decide which ships get paints in the store?"
The paint jobs, ship kits and other DLC are all managed by the marketing department. The development team are not directly involved in the selection process.
"From the numbers I've gathered from Inara, the most popular ships are the Asp Explorer and Anaconda, but the store mostly has Viper and Cobra paints; do marketing not look at ownership stats?"
Marketing choose what skins they want to sell based on their own research of player purchases, but they do approach the developers for numbers of ships owned.
So that answered my question.
Sandro had a bit of chat with me; he's a very amiable and we spoke about ship roles and where different ships fit in, with the popularity of the Anaconda.
The Anaconda is a bit of an overpowered ship, but we can't change it now, as it is very popular. Players wouldn't like us changing their favourite ship.
Our conversation tool place before the presentation, so he couldn't say anything without spoilers, but he did say there were ships coming to the game that would make some exciting changes.
Looking at the Krait, Type-10 and Chieftain, I can see what he means, as these are the first wave of a number of ships to come in 2.4 and Beyond.
On an unrelated topic, I drew a new blueprint on Friday of a Thargoid Interceptor; leaked from an undisclosed source in the Federation here is the Cyclops!