Yeah, not long after I posted that I decided keeping too close to the art isn’t the way to go, as it’s just a starting point anyway. That it’s less work is fine by me too of course.
It’s interesting how the series’ aesthetic developed from HW1, where there’s a lot of implied geometry and a lot of the blockyness is from hardware limits, to Cata where there’s a bit more breathing room but it ends up being the worst off for it, to HW2 where things converge and the hard edged look becomes more deliberate.
This leads to some strangeness in HW:RM with some ships being updates of the original model (there’s some really weird details because of this) and others being new models of the original design before it got hit by late 90s 3d (the ghost ship is the big winner there, in an ideal world everything could’ve got that kind of attention) and the attempt to unify the look across the games not entirely working.
So… in the end i’d say there’s more important elements than the kind of edge. What sets Homeworld’s art apart from what inspired it as it’s own thing is (to my eye) a sense of weight, and greater attention to detail and functionality. This is partly the requirements of being a game, but if you look at (as one example) Chris Foss’ art it’s more fantastical. Kind of an aeronautical quality, like you could cut it open and see something like a fighter jet’s innards.
Any of that make sense?