*checks thread title*
Have we gone off-topic?
Just to steer it back on course, well sort of... any ideas about what the keel or fin-like thing underneath most terran fighters is for? Is that an aid for docking with those platforms, or something housing sensors? Or does it make a ship more stable in atmospheric flight? It's a common thing seen on the terran designs.
Come to think of it, the Ulysses doesn't have one, nor the Apollo or most of the bombers. How does a Ulysses "land"? On it's wingtips I suppose, but it could have retractable skids or an undercarriage.
The ships of Fs1 are boxy design until freeSpace 2 comes around. They are more sleek and the little fins come after the study of Shivan tech. Don't remember where I got that last part from. I think wiki or tech room
its only fair to note that at the time of fs1, boxy models were common in games, mainly because the speed wasnt there to render more curvy designs (not to mention 3d acceleration back then was not standard equipment). had the graphics technology been available, then the ships would have been much more sleek in nature, more akin to what fs2 had.
another analogy was between ww1 and ww2. fs1 was more like ww1, planes were boxy, underpowered, not so well armed, and very fragile and not much of a defense existed on the ground or aboard ships. fs2 is like ww2, not only are the ships faster, better armed, armored, and much more durable (due to improved shields). also the defense against fighters and bombers increased (beams, flak).
you can either use the analogy to explain the differences in fs1 and fs2, or you can use the hard fact that the 3d technology wasn't yet capable and that streamlined ships weren't yet possible.