Few of my thoughts regarding Kobrar's quite rude remarks about the Base star:
-Comparison of an in-game screenshot using in-game detail model and in-game practical textures and a state-of-the-art production renders from Zoic using hell of a lot more detailed models and sure as hell more detailed source textures is hardly relevant. Relevant would be how good it looks in-game at a typical gameplay distances, and I would casually wager a guess that you would normally want to stay a hell of a lot further from this ship in your fighter...
-The JPG image has a lot of compression artefacts in it. I wouldn't call it the ultimate depiction of how the model and textures look in-game. Also, no movement.
-The diffuse texture looks fine. Baremetal surfaces like that of a Basestar tend to look fairly uniformly gray to distance. You have to go really, really close to see the small detail in a baremetal surface, and no graphics card in existence supports such a resolution quite frankly. A more sophisticated material system would potentially allow marking parts of the model as material X and it would then automatically use the surface detail in tiled mode combined with the UVmapped textures of the model, but so far we have no such thing.
-The lighting effects like glares and reflections are achieved with specular lighting and environmental mapping, and we have no way of knowing if the thing is shine mapped yet, or if shine maps are active. Also, it seems like there is no skybox or other background elements apart from retail stars in the mission in question (in other screenies there seems to be a background starfield), so the lack of environmental reflections is not surprising even if they were active, which we also can't know.
-Kobrar's statement about normal maps making everything magically better is patently false and I believe good indication of his general understanding of FreeSpace modding or 3D modding in general. Yes, normal maps when correctly utilized make a model look better. No, it's not good practice to add imaginary normal mapped detail to parts of ships that don't have them in the reference. Sure, you can get a nice model with nice textures that way but it won't much look like the original.
The deck and Raptor cockpit look magnificent. And the other screenies of the Base star taken from further distance truly show the amount of detail in it. I don't even want to know how many polygons those curved surfaces require to be that smooth...