[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/FreeSpace http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/RScreen0045_502.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:It's a flying brick. [[BeamSpam With guns]].]]

->''"If human military designers had their way, every colour of the spectrum would be removed except for grey, green and black and we would all live in windowless boxes."''
-->-- '''Ranger Dulann''', ''Series/BabylonFive''

Many 19th century and early 20th century science fiction and PlanetaryRomance stories used to give little consideration as to the technicalities of space travel. Thus, designs of the era usually converged into an SimpleYetAwesome RetroRocket (often referred to as a “rocketship”): a cigar-shaped needle with several large fins on the base, either brightly coloured or chromed to make ShinyLookingSpaceships.

As time passed, [[RealityEnsues it became painfully apparent that the space program is unlikely to be significantly influenced by aesthetic sensibility.]] The two primary reasons for this are conservation of launch mass [[BoringButPractical preventing spacecraft from bearing any components that serve form over function]], and the fact that once you break out of atmosphere, just about any shape would do as long as thrusters are aligned correctly (naturally, a SpacePlane would still require an aerodynamic shape).

Thus, as understanding of what it actually takes to get into space became more commonplace, the rocket ship gradually became a DiscreditedTrope due to {{Zeerust}} and is now usually found solely in parodies or homages to classic sci-fi. [[note]]It does have some historical precedent, mind you; scale it down some and lose the chrome paintjob and you'd have something a lot like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-2_rocket the V-2 missile]], the first ever mass-produced ballistic missile and the prototype for much of the technology used in early manned spaceflight.[[/note]]

Its place was taken by the Standard Human Spaceship, featuring an aesthetic derived from linear extrapolation of today's space construction and design. As such, it is primarily driven by implied constraints of thrust, mass and budget [[FridgeLogic (even though the very ability to construct and propel massive ships would imply that these constraints no longer apply as severely)]].

The guidelines in use by countless engineers in multiple fictional continuities seem to roughly converge on the following:

#Human spaceships should be grey. While some important parts may be coloured, the majority of the spaceship should be the colour of unpainted metal. (TruthInTelevision, as a coat of paint is surprisingly heavy). In saturated anime palettes, said color may be rendered as blue or green. In American works, military ships may also be painted olive-drab in utter defiance of common sense. More post-modern, CyberPunk-influenced works can cover them in [[AdvertOverloadedFuture gratuitous, dazzling and obtrusive advertising and massive corporate logos]] instead; a SpaceStation is particularly prone to getting this "truck stop in space" visual treatment.
#While not required, visibly being constructed from riveted metal plates is encouraged, as are [[Franchise/StarTrek Borg cube]]-like details called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greeble greebles or nurnies.]] Bonus points for including actual space station equipment such as airlocks, solar batteries, and external manipulators. Note that fictional vessels tend to use enormous amounts of energy yet typically lack [[http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3au.html thermal radiators]] to shed waste heat ([[SpaceIsCold no air-cooling in space]]). Although that ''could'' explain all the so-called wings...
#Since OurWeaponsWillBeBoxyInTheFuture, larger spaceships must be angular too; the standard human spaceship will be mostly rectangular with engines on one end and weapons on the other.

{{Space Fighter}}s are a notable exception: they will frequently be built around a cockpit and wings to [[SpaceIsAir look like conventional airplanes]], even if they're not actually a SpacePlane and are not expected to descend into planetary atmospheres. ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifting_body Not that all airplanes need wings, either.]]) Granted, wings are also often used as hardpoints to mount extra weapons and to store extra electronic equipment or fuel inside them, although housing those on or in the main hull makes more sense. [[note]]Spreading out the ship's mass makes little sense for a vessel designed to maneuver in vacuum in three dimensions - better to keep it compact, to conserve angular momentum. You ''can'' increase maneuverability by putting thrusters on the wing tips a la ''Series/BabylonFive'' Starfuries, using the wing as essentially a big lever to rotate the ship faster, but a simple pole (especially a retractable one) would do the same job just as well and with greater shear strength (again, compactness helps here), making it less likely to bend or break off during high-thrust maneuvers in a direction perpendicular to the broad planar surface of the wing.[[/note]] Internal gyroscopic flywheels could do the same thing ''and'' be less visibly obvious tells to the enemy (no signal lights before a turn) - although the more moving parts a construct has, the more likely is it to break.

This trope is also likely influenced by RealLife designs for military vehicles. From the turn of the 20th century, such designs have gradually evolved to be sleek and angular, replacing the multiple masts and rigging of earler warships with consolidated superstructures, the replacement of the numerous external guns with internally stored missiles, and the increased emphasis on stealth. Aircraft and armored land vehicles have seen similar design evolutions, and this and other modern-day cues often reflects in fictional designs, which is why many modern sci-fi works predict that EverythingIsAnIpodInTheFuture.

Since the StandardSciFiSetting usually postulates that HumansAreAverage, TheAestheticsOfTechnology for other factions' ships usually puts humans square in the middle of the visual appeal spectrum. A ProudWarriorRace would probably have ships that are much more crude and sturdy with SpikesOfVillainy as the only ornament, whereas a HigherTechSpecies is much more likely to use [[EverythingIsAnIpodInTheFuture clean shapes and design indicating untold eons of refinement]].

For typical classes of ships likely to be rendered this way, see StandardSciFiFleet.

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross''[=/=]''Anime/{{Robotech}}'': Except for the ''Macross'' itself (which was, of course, alien in origin), most human vessels are pretty close to this. It should be noted that the ''Macross'' was in fact redesigned closer to those lines. Later subverted in subsequent ''Anime/{{Macross}}'' series with the later Macross-class ships which were more angular, and as well as by ''Robotech's'' SDF-3, which was originally designed/disguised with Zentraedi-like lines, but by the end of the Third Robotech War had the same ''[[Anime/GenesisClimberMospeada Mospeada]]''-style design.
* While all the different factions are usually human in ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'', the ships used by most incarnations of TheFederation tend to be more boxy and utilitarian looking, [[SpaceIsAnOcean generally designed to resemble naval battleships]] and come in shades of grey, olive or white, while the the various space colony factions tend to use more exotic, organic looking designs.
* ''Anime/BlueCometSPTLayzner'' is notable for the fact that the ''aliens'' have ships that look like this ([[TransplantedHumans though they may be descended from an ancient human civilization]]).
* In ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'' the starships of the [[UnitedSpaceOfAmerica Free Planets Alliance]] are decidedly utilitarian and bulky in appearance, with their interiors reminiscent of modern-day aircraft carriers and battleships. This of course is in contrast to TheEmpire's decidedly sleeker, more streamlined vessels.

* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': Avalon Empire's space-ships are pretty standard: they are shiny, grey and blocky. And some of them moon-sized.

* Originally, the ''Discovery'' in ''[[Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey 2001: A Space Odyssey]]'' was going to have large heat radiators to dissipate the heat from the nuclear reactor ([[ShownTheirWork and indeed did in the novelization]]). However, Stanley Kubric decided he didn't want to have to [[RealityIsUnrealistic explain why a ship in space had what looked like wings]]. One of the very few instances in the movie they went with RuleOfCool over scientific accuracy. Meanwhile, the ''Leonov'' of ''[[Film/TwoThousandTenTheYearWeMakeContact 2010: The Year We Make Contact]]'' implies that Soviet engineers prefer to design blocky and dimly-lit flying bricks, unlike the brightly lit, sleek and shiny ''Discovery'' built by the Americans.
* ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' seems to follow this school of design, with big blocky ships which launch transports by extending them out the sides on davits and releasing them. Interestingly, several models were built in different sizes (smaller, less detailed ones for background shots), including two different designs (a transport and a carrier), in three different tones to show it was a fleet of different ships, rather than a bunch of identical ones. Given that the film focuses almost exclusively on the ''Roger Young'', this would seem to be a case of DoingItForTheArt.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' has spacecraft starting off as an ElegantWeaponForAMoreCivilizedAge in the prequel trilogy, then evolving into the gray, straight-lined, utilitarian war machines of the original trilogy. Strangely, almost all the spacecraft in the SW universe, even thousands of years back, [[ContinuityPorn resemble in some way the ones from the original trilogy]].
** The elegant ships in the prequel trilogy could be explained by the fact that most of them come from a particular culture - Naboo. Indeed, most ships that aren't explicitly from Naboo tend to have the blockier appearance expected of the series.
** In ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', many of the Alliance starcruisers are more aquatic looking, with blisters all over the hull, in contrast to the angular Imperial Star Destroyers.
*** Those however are the [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mon_Cal_Cruiser Mon Calimari cruiser starships.]] They're transports and cruise liners with battleship guns bolted on. Other Rebel Alliance ships are largely "Flying tubes with guns" such as [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/CR90_corvette CR90 Corvette aka the Rebel Blockade Runner]] or ones that would fit this trope better such as [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nebulon-B_Escort_Frigate Nebulon-B Rebel Cruiser.]] Others are just blocks with guns for defense like [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Action_VI_Transport the Action VI Transport.]]
* The mile-long ''[=ISV=] Venture Star'' from ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' is designed to be realistic from a presently envisaged engineering standpoint, as a pure starship, never intended to enter an atmosphere. It's optimized for minimal mass, and thus has a wiry hollow look focused around the pair of giant front-mounted antimatter annihilation engines, with huge radiator panels glowing visibly to dissipate the engines' heat produced, and massive spherical fuel tanks carrying fuel and reaction mass for the relativistic ship. The relatively tiny habitation and cargo modules, pair of ''Valkyrie'' shuttles and even tinier artificial-gravity crew compartments are all dragged along behind. The Valkyries themselves are [=SSTO=]s, designed for atmospheric flight, and are thus fairly sleek winged designs. The background material claims that the original non-unobtainium-powered ship was 3-4 times the size, which was necessary for its supercooled superconductors (unobtainium is a room temperature superconductor). These starships can accelerate to 70% of light speed, resulting in time dilation shortening the crew's perceived time to about 6-7 years, as opposed to over 14 for the rest of the universe.
* Deliberately averted, avoided, hell, run away from in Darren Aronofsky's ''Film/TheFountain'', where the Astronaut's spaceship --carrying only him and the Tree of Life within it-- is a huge transparent bubble that moves easily across space in its long, long journey from Earth to the star Xibalba. WordOfGod says that they chose this simple, but appealing design because not all spaceships have to look like “trucks in space.”
* The Sulaco in ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' is extremely boxy looking except for the spiky bits at the front of the vessel. Heck, the ''Nostromo'' from ''Film/{{Alien}}'' was the hard, industrial equivalent of this... By the time we meet it, it's had some cobbled repairs done on it and been through the mill. Still very Wayland Industries Standard Issue, though. Most ships and shuttles from the franchise are, at heart, this.
* The [[http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/enders-game-trailer-0862013-101602.jpg human warships]] in the film version of ''Film/EndersGame'' definitely have this look. The [[spoiler:Little Doctor]], in particular, doesn't look completely finished.
* The ship that gives the film ''Film/EventHorizon'' its name is this. It's based on a modular design with clear, designated sections that make it look quite elegant from a distance; it has interchangeable, standardised components that can be easily switched for ones on the smaller and much more cheaply constructed ''Lewis and Clark''; its colour-scheme is all in greys, some whites, a lot of bright lights (when they actually work) and stainless steel... it meets this trope to a tee. Even with its pseudo-Gothic touches like the "vault" ceilings and batch-produced Romanesque support pillars (stranger things have been done to lines of trains). Then... you get to the bridge, engine room and engine core and it starts to hit MeatMoss, {{Bizarrchitecture}}, SpikesOfVillainy, DarkIsEvil and other, definitive EldritchStarship tropes with a vengeance. Which is quite a feat.

* Lampshaded in Creator/AnneMcCaffrey's ''Literature/AcornaSeries'', where the Linyaari are openly baffled as to why human spaceships only come in one color. Slightly subverted in that Linyaari ships are, to human eyes, painted in loud and garish colors.
* In Creator/DavidWeber's ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series it's mentioned that all of the major powers use reactive pigments to give their ships a primary color to distinguish them in visual inspections, but it's also noted how easy it is to change the paint-scheme. As for the shapes, given the physics of the universe, they tend towards a generally cylindrical design, with all warships having “hammerheads” on both ends to allow room for chase armament ([[SpaceIsAnOcean similar to those on old-fashioned sailing warships]]). Unfortunately, the creators of the comics and the mobile video game have opted to go for something more visually interesting and distinctive, so ships no longer have cylindrical shapes.
* Averted in Creator/DavidDrake's ''Reaches'' trilogy, where the main characters' ships have ceramic hulls to resist the corrosive atmosphere of their native Venus. Every other spacefaring culture uses metal hulls, and it's noted that when the stresses of [[SubspaceOrHyperspace Transit]] become too great, a ceramic ship falls apart all at once, with a total loss of life (one ship is seen to have come out of Transit looking like a cloud of gravel), while a metal ship's hull might hold together long enough for some of the crew to be rescued. Also, ''everybody's'' hulls tend to be rounded, usually more-or-less cigar-shaped, although they fly or land with the long axis parallel to the ground, unlike “rocketships.”
* In Charles Stross' ''[[Literature/TheEschatonSeries Singularity Sky]]'', most spacefaring civilizations use functional, cylindrical designs for their ships. The technologically backward [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny New Republic]] wanted their flagship to look like a ''proper'' warship instead, and so gave it a more attractive shape. It promptly gets destroyed by more functional, if less stylish, enemy craft.
* The ''Literature/ArkRoyal'' is noted repeatedly for its blocky, ugly appearance, presumably modern military starships are more streamlined or something. And there's a group dedicated to designing ships based on various sci-fi, most of which are just plain impractical.
* In the ''Literature/{{Nameless War}}'' setting Human ships are noted for their blocky appearance but given that they are neither designed for, nor capable of atmospheric flight, the additional difficulty of constructing rounded hull plates hardly seems worth the effort. Although most human warships are equipped with 'wings' to provide additional radiating surfaces and mountings for maneuvering engines which gain from the additional leverage. The author has also produced a number of separate books detailing the design and service histories of ships within the setting.
* In ''Literature/TheExpanse'' large spaceships that are never intended to land are described as looking like "office buildings", since they don't have to worry about aerodynamics and inertia is the main source of artificial gravity.
* ''Literature/TheInterdependency'' has ships designed as long needles with one or two spinning sections to provide rotational gravity. However, the rest of the ship isn't actually in zero-g, as [[ArtificialGravity push fields]] are employed to keep people secure against the "floor".

* ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'': Though the signature [[TheBattlestar battlestars]] and most of the Refugee Fleet followed this aesthetic, a few like Cloud 9, the garden ships, the Zephyr (the ring-shaped ship with the rotating section) stood apart. Cylon ships also tended to be much more exotic, with surreal, biomechanical designs.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'' : The primary Human warships seen fit squarely within this trope, with the minor exception of the ''Hyperion''-class heavy cruisers, which resemble blue-and-white submarines with a starship drive mounted at the end of an exposed superstructure. However, those (as mentioned in the fluff) were designed by a different military contractor than the ''Nova''e and the ''Omega''s.[[note]]Though most likely the difference was due to EarlyInstallmentWeirdness, as the Hyperions were the first human warship introduced.[[/note]] Humorously lampshaded in “Legend of the Rangers” with the human design of the ''[[http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Valen_(ship) Valen]]'' looking like “a flying brick.” ([[FlyingBrick No relation]].) The later ''[[http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Valen_class_cruiser Valen]]'' class was made by the Minbari, further reinforcing the trope.
-->'''Ranger Dulann''': ''If human military designers had their way, every colour of the spectrum would be removed except for grey, green and black and we would all live in windowless boxes.''
** Human civilian transports tend to either be large spheroid designs (allowing for a rotating section for the passengers) or spindly container ships, with a fair amount of modularity ([[PropRecycling which was an easy way for the designers to get in a wide variety of ship designs for the traffic around the station]]), or smaller blocky transports. Either way, expect gunmetal grey with patchwork paintjobs in various colors.
* Averted with ''Series/{{Crusade}}'''s ''[[http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Excalibur Excalibur,]]'' although it must be said it was a joint human/Minbari project, which obviously has both design philosophies incorporated in it. You have the Minbari traditional triple-fin hull structure, but it's also dark grey similar to the ''Omega''-class destroyers. For contrast, the same series also features the exclusively human designed ''Warlock'' destroyer, which is all matte black facets and aggressive angles.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' mostly averts this trope, with the majority of ships seen having either a large cylindrical design or a smaller, more agile (but still not blocky) design, such as with Serenity herself. However, the ships do tend to have very metallic appearances, and several of the ships briefly shown do fit the trope better than the larger Alliance vessels[[note]]which are intentionally designed in the most impractical "flying cityblock" design possible simply because ''they could''[[/note]] and Serenity.
* ''Series/RedDwarf''
** The eponymous ship is painted red, but that only serves to make it look ''more'' like a giant, flying brick. It was also stated at one point to be about 5 miles long and 3 miles wide - or 6 miles long, 4 miles wide and 3 miles high when reconstructed - and clearly had a roughly hexagonal cross-section. And apparently a crew of only 169 (or [[{{Retcon}} 1,169]]) - [[{{Retcon}} or possibly 11,169]]. It currently functions with a crew of ''four'' eclectic humanoids, a lackadaisical AI and a bunch of maintenance scutters.
** The Starbug shuttle averts this, with a much more streamlined design made almost entirely out of spheres, although it still feels very modular. The Blue Midget shuttle, on the other hand, seems like a compromise between the two designs, looking more like a flying brick with all the sharp edges sanded off and a pair of tank treads stuck on the bottom.
* Generally followed to a T in ''Series/{{Space 1999}}'', with the show's signature Eagles being entirely utilitarian shuttles designed to function in the absence of an atmosphere, in lunar gravity. They were mostly grey, although some had orange details. The alien spaceships, on the other hand, were often brightly-coloured, in the style of contemporary sci-fi artists such as Chris Foss and Peter Elson.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** The [[http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/File:F302.jpg F-302]] is essentially a forward-swept flying wing with jet and rocket engines. The [[http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/File:X-303.jpg X-303 class battlecruiser Prometheus]] and the [[http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/File:ApolloOverEarth.jpg BC-304 class deep-space carriers]] however, being built out of a naquadah/trinium alloy, fit this trope perfectly.
** In ''Series/StarGateUniverse'' The sublight [[http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/File:Novus_spaceship.jpg evacuation ships]] built by the Novus civilization (descended from alternate ''Destiny'' crew thrown back in time) also fit the trope. Destiny herself is very utilitarian and blockly too; having a blocky arrow-head shape with loads of greebles on it.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Even from the first series, this show defies this trope. The original starship ''Enterprise'' was an unprecedented design when it first debuted, being neither a RetroRocket, nor a ''true'' FlyingSaucer, as most spaceships in fiction had been up until that point. The ''Enterprise'' DOES fit the first "guideline" of this trope, being made of grey metal. It also makes little sense from an engineering standpoint, but that is true of most spaceships in anything but [[MohsScaleOfSciFiHardness diamond-hard sci-fi]]. Many (but not all) Starfleet ships involve a detachable flying saucer, connected to a larger non-saucer shaped hull, with large cylindrical propulsion nacelles. The saucers were there mostly because Roddenberry was a huge fan of ''Film/ForbiddenPlanet''.
** ST ships also tend to have smoother outlines in the later series. The ''Galaxy''-class is the last class to have a highly distinct saucer and engineering section—later designs such as the ''Intrepid''- (''Voyager''), ''Sovereign''- (''Enterprise''-E) and ''Prometheus''-classes have much more flowing lines where the join between the two sections is much less obvious, although most are still capable of separation, the ''Intrepid''-class being the only proven exception.
** In the original series, the interior of the ''Enterprise'' inverts this trope when it comes to color. Though the walls were mostly gray, they were often lit with ''incredibly'' garish shades of green or purple! (Color [=TVs=] [[ShootTheMoney were a new and expensive]] thing back then, you see…)
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' plays around with this a bit.
** Crichton's module is actually a fairly practical lifting body design, which makes sense because it ''is'' a SpacePlane designed to recover similarly to the Space Shuttle, and despite being ''vastly'' outclassed by Peacekeeper vessels in space, is actually superior when operating in an atmosphere.
** As ''Farscape One'' is the only human-built craft, the [[HumanAlien Sebacean]] Peacekeepers largely stand in instead, and often play with this. Everything is either black or very dark gray with red trim and highlights, and ships seldom have obvious means of eliminating waste heat. The black/dark gray/red color palette continues inside their ships as well, reflected not only in the interior decking and wall decorations, but the Peacekeeper flag. Which is ''everywhere''. As for some craft-specific designs:
*** Command Carriers are enormous tubes with engines on one end, and a large ring-shaped structure amidships mounting the craft's primary weapon batteries.
*** Peacekeeper Prowlers have some elements in common with terrestrial fighters, built around a cockpit and with an aerodynamic forward hull, however the aft end differs significantly. There's no identifiable airfoils, and the "wings" are long, forward-facing pointed structures mounting the ship's weaponry. These even appear to be able to move, as well, suggesting the Prowler may be able to fire its weaponry off its centerline.
*** Marauders are essentially a big box with three engines, which can rotate downward for landing
*** Vigilantes consist of a small, oval-shaped structure at the stern with a couple boxes attached that house most everything on the ship. And a ''really'' big gun on the front taking up better than half its length.

* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'''s faster-than-light vessels follow this because they're physically ''built'' around their massive jump drive core, which is basically a giant "antenna" running from one end of the ship to the other and on regular "civilian" [=JumpShips=] indeed takes up over 90% of their mass. (The much rarer [=WarShips=] are built around special compact cores which take up a smaller fraction, allowing them to also have multi-G maneuvering drives and of course a lot more guns.) They never land; shuttling people, cargo, and invading forces to and from space is the job of [[DropShip [=DropShips=]]] that come in both [[SpheroidDropship spheroid]] and aerodyne flavors, each with its own benefits and drawbacks, and attach limpet-style to their carriers by means of special docking collars that both hold them in position and properly link them up with the jump drive system so they don't get left behind or mangled when the [=JumpShip=] takes off. {{Space Fighter}}s also abound; these are more properly known as ''aerospace'' fighters because they're indeed meant to operate in both space and atmosphere (and would in fact be lost in deep space on their own due to their limited fuel reserves and poor long-term efficiency not giving them much of an operational range) and so have wings or at least some sort of halfway plausible aerodynamic outline.
** One model of [[DropShip [=DropShip=]]] in particular, the Leopard, was even called “the Brick” in the canon itself. Its slab-sided appearance, coupled with a small bridge, stubby wings and massive engines on what amounts to a nigh-rectangular chunk of steel means it falls squarely within this trope.
* ''d20 Future'' (ScienceFiction expansion to ''TabletopGame/D20Modern'') generally presents this as the “default” look for spaceships.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'':
** There is no standard for Traveller; it depends on function and aesthetic taste and there are myriads of possible ship designs(indeed some traveller fans mainly like designing ships). Ships made to actually land on and take off from a planet generally have a "needle/wedge" design which looks something like a space shuttle. However this requires sacrifice in payload and the heaviest ships are generally serviced in orbit.
** The Lightning-class ships a multipurpose merchant/scout/privateer built by the Terrans for viking like voyages into Vilani space is a handsome ship that looks like a long wedge with short stubby wings.
** One cool (but not unlikely in RealLife) gimmick on Traveller ships is a programmable surface that can be used to display a giant "screen-saver". These are available both inside and outside. Want your ship to have a different "paint job"? Just change the (enormous) image file. Another gimmick is the Shipboard Information System, which is sort of the ship's internet. This means that one can picture much of the dialogue of a given Traveller story taking place online from [=PCs=] and [=NPCs=] all over the ship, each talking into "thin air" in whatever room they happen to be, which can make for an interesting plot device and one not yet familiar to SpaceOpera.
* Subverted by the Imperium of Man from ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': their smaller spacecraft may look utilitarian, but when it comes to their larger vessels, they discard any sense of practicality in exchange for being Baroque Gothic Cathedrals... IN SPAAAAAAAAAACE!!!
** The trope is inverted in that the ships of the Tau fit this trope. The Tau have "only just" started traveling between worlds, compared to other races, so their ships have that same early utilitarian feel that a lot of current space vehicles and those from [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture 20 minutes into the future]] have.
** And due to unpopularity with the fans, the new Tau fleet follows a more graceful, anime-inspired design.
*** The first Tau spaceship was a cruiser actually designed for cutscenes in the game ''VideoGame/FireWarrior'', and was extrapolated from the design of the Tau's then-only vehicle chassis, the Devilfish/Hammerhead. The 2nd-party modelers of Forge World then made a model of that for BFG, and followed up with full line of Tau ships based on that design. When Games Workshop finally released an official Tau fleet, gamers almost unanimously decided they preferred the Fire Warrior/Forge World fleet by a large margin.
** SpaceMarine ships, on the other hand, fall somewhere in between. While they have elements of the regular Imperial design, they use more hard angles and less detailing. Also, while colour scheme varies by chapter, many of the promotional shots of the models are indeed rendered in mostly grey.
** The Imperium actually does have an in-universe standardization system (which happens to be the main LostTechnology of the setting). It's not an example of this trope, though (the STC land vehicles would be if they weren't land vehicles).
* Played very straight in ''TabletopGame/FirestormArmada'' with the human faction the [[TheAlliance Terran Alliance]], their ships are usually flat, and shaped in squares, and triangles, with most of their color being blue and grey.
** Really played doubly straight, since the other human faction, the Dindrenzi Federation, has ships that look a lot like the UNSC's from Halo.
* ''TabletopGame/HcSvntDracones'': Humanity may be extinct, but [[http://hcsvntdracones-game.tumblr.com/post/89910939431/much-of-the-character-flavor-and-differentiation MarsCo]] has been around since before the great war and their ships look like big grey hexagonal cylinders. Other {{Mega Corp}}s have designs varying from IRPF's boxy armor with protruding weapons arrays, to Pulse's sharp blade-like edges, to the almost organic curves of Progenitus and ASR, and the actually organic monstrosities out of TTI's labs.

* The ships in ''VideoGame/ArtemisSpaceshipBridgeSimulator,'' like those in the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' series the game emulates in many ways, generally avert the boxy shape while playing the riveted look straight.
* ''VideoGame/DarkstarOne''
* ''VideoGame/EveOnline'':
** Caldari ships are like this: Gunmetal gray, blinking signal lights and angular shapes. Conversely, the Minmatar designs are even more utilitarian, containing only the bare minimum, welded together in a junkyard shop and come in various shades of rust-brown and red. However, some of the more modern Minmatar ships such as capital ships and the Maelstrom have a more 'finished' look, with complete, symmetrical hulls, although still mostly falling within the category. Some of the Minmatar ships also have large 'sails' that look somewhat like modern satellites' solar panels.
** However, Gallente ships tend to have curvy organic-looking surfaces and Amarr ships are bright golden in colour and possibly most resemble the 'rocket ship' design in a few cases.
** {{Justified|Trope}} because each race's ships reflect their standardized personality.
-->Caldari: Corporate, efficient, with emphasis on shields and electronics. Designs keep out the unnecessary.
-->Amarr: 1[[superscript:st]] back into space. Large powerful empire. Golden to reflect the wealth and impress the natives.
-->Gallente: Freedom loving more artistic, this more flowing and free designs in ships.
-->Minmatar: Freed slaves. So all “older” ship designs should look like junk heaps as that's all they had to work with
-->Thus cap' ships look more finished because they actually have an empire to support a cap' fleet.
* Pretty much averted in the first ''VideoGame/EscapeVelocity'', which (in part due to the simple models) had ships with aerodynamic, rather anime-like shapes. Later games (especially humans and Voinians in ''Override'', Federation and Aurorans in ''Nova'') conformed more and more closely to this.
** Hilariously, Voinian ships conformed closer to this than the ''human'' ships -- the human ships tended to have more non-grey colours and smoother lines.
* ''VideoGame/{{Freespace}}'' does this with all Terran ships (and with the [[http://www.hard-light.net/wiki/images/Gtvacolossus.jpg Colossus]], which was a combination Terran and Vasudan ship). For the [[http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v423/kc1991/VasCruis2.png Vasudan]] and [[http://www.hard-light.net/wiki/images/Sjsathanas.jpg Shivan]] ships, tendencies are to have more curved and smooth designs instead of blocky ones--the ships still tend to be paint free, but colored differently to give them a more alien look.
* In ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'', the UNSC ships are boxy in shape, in contrast to the curvy purple flowing aesthetics of the Covenant. Acts as a visual reference for both how far advanced the Covenant ships are compared to the clumsy human vessels, as well as their ScaryDogmaticAliens status versus the more pragmatic human military.
* ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'': Every single [[HumanAliens Kushan]] craft with the exception of the Mothership and ''absolutely'' every single [[TheEmpire Taiidani]] ship, down to the grey-and-black paint job of the [[PraetorianGuard Taiidani High Guard]]. Less pronounced with Hiigaran vessels, but present for the [[SpacePirates Vaygr and Turanics]]. Utterly averted by the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien Progenitors, Bentusi]] and [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Kadeshi]]. Peter Elson of ''Literature/TerranTradeAuthority'' fame is acknowledged as a major influence on the art design.
* ''VideoGame/InfiniteSpace'': mostly averted, especially in Adis, where the ships are both extremely funky-looking and pink, but it does happen, primarily with Libertasian or Zenitonian designs. The ''Freedom'' and ''Nebula'' in particular are both grey, flying bricks.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** The ''Normandy'' SR-1 and SR-2, the main ships in the series, are non-conventionally shaped, though vaguely reminiscent of rocket ship designs, and always brightly painted white. This is sort of justified, however, by the fact that visual recognition in space is almost impossible, so it doesn't really matter what color the ship is painted. The wings and sleekness are also justified by both Normandys being designed for atmospheric flight, with other human ships tending to look a lot less aerodynamic. Other ships featured in the series tend to follow the same philosophy, and the ''Destiny's Ascension'' is essentially a [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/File:DestinyAscensionFlyby.png big flying cross]] [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/File:MassEffect_2008-08-13_12-37-43-71.png with an oval cut out of the middle.]]
** Turians have ship designs similar to humans, although they prefer more triangular/winged shapes (the shape of the ''Normandy'' is actually based on Turian design structures) and grey and orange-red to human white-and-blue. This might possibly be intentional to show that humans and turians are really very much alike. (Despite having started out with a rather violent war just a few decades ago, the two species seem to get along better than any others.)
** Other races' ships are shown to have their own standard shapes. Other Asari ships are shown to have the same Cross- or T-shape around an empty oval. The quarians, who claim to salvage any ship they come upon appear to have the exact same design (usually a ring, sphere or circle with extra bits trailing behind like straight lines) in the third game's cutscenes. The [[AIIsACrapshoot geth]] ships, for some reason, have an insectoid look, despite most geth platforms being humanoid in shape.
** Quarian vessels are mentioned as being a designed to resemble a stylised Mass Relay. Which is appropriate, considering that due to having lost their homeworld to the geth, the quarians have come to greatly rely on use of the Mass Relays to ensure their species survival, as their flotilla wanders throughout the galaxy.
** The Reapers themselves are massive ships which are almost uniformly of a cephalopod design, resembling squid or cuttlefish, and thus being very sleek and curved in their design. [[spoiler:They're actually designed to resemble their creators, the Leviathans]].
* ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire'': Played straight with the TEC, who modified their ships from cargo and civilian vessels, but averted with the Advent(who are also humans, just psychic ones with a different culture). Advent ships are sleek, [[ShinyLookingSpaceships shiny]], and definitely non-utilitarian in appearance.
* Terrans of ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft}}'' operate these kinds of spaceships and put very little effort, if any, into making them look pretty. This is in stark contrast to the whimsical [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas Protoss]] designs which seem to feature no straight lines or right angles whatsoever, and to the Zerg OrganicTechnology.
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'':
** Human ships are oblong and consists of blocks riveted to a central frame and are the most utilitarian-looking of all the species: The only off part is the very noticeable ring structure around the engines (it's their faster-than-light drive). Because of this engine, human ships also have poor turret coverage on the back and tend towards front-heavy ships with forward-and-side firing arcs. While paint schemes for different sides makes some of the colour variable, the default ship colour for humans tends towards the grey with some red and green mixed in (by contrast, Tarka's ships are mostly bright red and deep green, the Hivers use beige, the Liir use turquoise, the Zuul blood red and the Morrigi deep purple).
** Interestingly, the Zuul, while avoiding this trope, also avoid the ShinyLookingSpaceships look. Their ships consist of haphazardly-welded parts of ships they find in floating battlefield graveyards (due to game engine limitations, all ships of the same class still look identical). They tend to put many turrets on their ships, but the haphazard designs with little or no structural thought behind them mean that they are, frequently {{Glass Cannon}}s.
* In the ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' games, the human ships have varied between the utilitarian, blocky gray designs of ''Wing Commander III'' and onwards, and more curvy designs of the earlier games. (''Wing Commander III'' and ''IV'' used a primitive polygon GameEngine, as opposed to the first two installments' bitmap sprite graphics.) In all the games featuring the [[MegaNeko Kilrathi]], most of the designs have a base tan color with various “warm” colors used for markings, but [[AllThereInTheManual the manual notes that the color is the color of the metals used for their armor]], and their designs almost universally are shaped to suggest bladed weapons or claws.
* ''VideoGame/{{X}}-Universe'':
** The [[HumansByAnyOtherName Argon]] and [[PlanetTerra Terran]] ships all follow this. The Argon capital ships are flying gray boxes (albeit with very intricate, curved engine sections) with red stripes while their fighters are ''Star Wars''-esque. The Terran capital ships are flying (blindly) white boxes with red stripes and blue windows while their fighters are futuristic Space Shuttles. In particular the Terran '[[EliteArmy AGI Task Force]]', or ATF, seem to have taken this trope to heart with the Tyr Destroyer, and Odin Carrier, both gunmetal grey boxes with engines. Their capital ships also have [[SpaceIsAnOcean distinctive command bridges and prow-like nose sections like on a modern battleship]]. However, the ATF ships are much more ornate than most Standard Human spaceships, as they all feature large, buttress-esque hull pieces and ornate engine sections, making them look vaguely like Gothic cathedrals.
** Played with in ''Videogame/XRebirth''; most combat and trading capital ships used in Albion follow the ISO standards for human spaceships, being gunmetal gray boxes. The [[http://x-rebirth.wikia.com/wiki/File:Rahanas_Bulk.jpg Rahanas,]] Sul, and Heavy Sul in particular take it to heart, being flying gray trapezoids with engines on one end and a hangar on the other. Omicron Lyrae ships on the other hand, have [[ShinyLookingSpaceships chrome hulls]] and very odd hull designs which mix circles and straight edges. And on the gripping hand, [=DeVries=] uses ships with that are either [[ScavengerWorld pieced together from a dozen other ships]] and/or [[UsedFuture rusting]] or relatively well-maintained Earth State equipment with ornate wings and nose sections, albeit still painted gunmetal gray.
* ''VideoGame/XCOMUFODefense'': The enemy [=UFOs=] come with all sorts of amenities: automatic sliding doors, entertainment centers, cloning facilities, chairs with consoles, a [[TheBridge bridge]]. With some tinkering, your engineers can build a gunship with space capability and elerium chambers. But everything gets squeezed into a single cargo hold. (Not even a chair!)
** ''VideoGame/XCom Interceptor'' tends to avert this, with the human ships actually using functional, forward-swept-wing designs, or in the case of the second-tier ship, rounded wings. All ships are also painted, and in the case of the X-1A tier one ship, even whimsical, with shark teeth painted on the nose. However, the carrier ''[[http://lparchive.org/X-COM-Apocalypse/Update%2055/xcomi0747.png MacArthur,]]'' which you have to protect during the final 2-part mission partly plays this trope straight.
* ''VideoGame/TachyonTheFringe'' has this for the [[LaResistance Bora]], whose warships are hastily-converted cargo haulers and mining ships. Some of the designs aren't so functional, though, like the [[http://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/62028-tachyon-the-fringe-windows-screenshot-bora-battleaxes.jpg ''Battleaxe''-class fighters,]] which prominently feature a sharpened ''blade'' on the top. Mostly averted with other ships, although freighters still have an elongated, blocky look. [[MegaCorp GalSpan]], notably, has sleek-looking ships with wings (fighters) and the blue-and-white color scheme (one has [[http://media.moddb.com/images/mods/1/8/7967/orion_persp.jpg noticeably more mass on the left side,]] making one wonder why it doesn't constantly drift to the left, since the engines are still centrally-located). [[SpacePolice Star Patrol]] flies around in [[Series/BabylonFive Starfury]] [[{{Expy}} expies]], although their sometimes-shown (but never used) capital ships are more like [=GalSpan=] than Bora.
* The Terrans in ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations'' by default have a ship aesthetic midway between ''Franchise/StarTrek'' and ''Series/BabylonFive'', with mainly rectangular shapes and stuff taken from this trope's catalogue with bluntly triangular wings, chunky radar dishes, large and blocky externals. Unless you reset the colour scheme, Terran vehicles come painted white and blue. When [[DesignItYourselfEquipment building your own]], you can use far weirder-looking alien components to make them less blocky.
* ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}} III'', true to its fame of having everything dead realistic, lets you build an UN Unity spaceship that more or less looks like an extremely huge rocket. This has a practical reason though: the Unity requires an aerodynamic shape in order to cut through the Earth's atmosphere.
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'', the SpiritualSequel to ''Civilization'', has the ''Unity'', Earth's first and only starship. It has your typical grey color scheme, rotating sections, massive engines in the rear, cooling panels around the engine compartment, and cryo-pods (which are also designed as autonomous landing craft). The ship is clearly not meant to land. Its sole goal is to cross the vast interstellar distance between the Sun and Alpha Centauri. [[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ug0JSli5qFs/UDbvdYEiCmI/AAAAAAAACF4/yiGTQ-NpjvI/s1600/gsmac+6.jpg Compare]] with the much sleeker-looking Progenitor scoutships shown in the ''Alien Crossfire'' addon intro.
* The intro for the game's SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/CivilizationBeyondEarth'' briefly shows the SleeperStarship that brought your colonists to their new world. It looks like a sleeker, more modern ''Unity'', with a shiny shield cap (probably to deflect micrometeorites) at the front, a rotating ring in the middle, cooling fins on the reactor section, and four large engines at the back. Landing modules (that turn into first cities) look like blocky, hexagonal things with six thrusters to slow down descent. The satellites and space stations shown in the orbital layer all have a blocky, utilitarian feel.
* ''VideoGame/BattlestarGalacticaOnline'' plays with this. Colonials have some blocky designs like the Jotunn or Gungnir, and the former is even greyish. However, there are also Colonial designs that don't conform; the Rhino is more or less a rotorless helicopter gunship, the Scythe has a giant ventral fin/leg, the Glaive and Halberd have diamond-shaped bodies with the latter being brownish and having fins, even the Gungnir subverts the trope by being magenta. Cylons, on the other hand, tend to use more sleek lines and curves. However, they also have some blocky dull designs like the Wraith and Jormung. It is lampshaded with the Wraith, which is a MightyGlacier described InUniverse as resembling human design principles.
* ''VideoGame/EndlessSpace'' has the [[TheEmpire United Empire]], harsh corporate empire with mostly blocky ships, though some have very sweet curved bows in the manner of naval ships. The [[ProudWarriorRace Sheredyn]], bodyguards to the Emperor of the UE in the Praetorian tradition, have ships with the same structure but massive bling for massive win. The Pilgrims, who've had lots of interactions with the Sophon, have ships that are a mishmash of blocky and shiny curves aesthetics. The other races have every kind of design imaginable, from mechanical monstrosities to armored bacteria to sculpture to birdlike vessels to robot octopi. It's a pretty exciting galaxy you live in.
* The [[http://i.ytimg.com/vi/KRBqQ0NEmTw/0.jpg USS ''Lexington'']] in ''VideoGame/MissionCritical'' plays this fairly straight. It has a boxy, utilitarian feel to it. It's mostly battleship grey in color, except for the habitation sphere which is blue. The reactor/engine section takes up about a quarter of the size with large cooling fins extending in four directions. The only odd thing is a large boom extending far in front of the ship, which is the ''Lexington'''s [[FasterThanLightTravel Tal-Seto drive]]. The crew spaces are oriented with the floor being towards the engines, as the ship is never meant to land on a planet. All combat is done using AttackDrones, and without them ships are virtually PointDefenseless (the short-range lasers have a very low accuracy). It can launch nukes at the enemy, but a single drone tasked with protecting its mothership can easily intercept them before they hit. Other ships of different configurations are shown during battle simulations, but they're all wireframe models, so it's difficult to tell if their designs fit this trope.
** The [[http://legend-entertainment.wikia.com/wiki/File:Jericho.png USS ''Jericho'']] is a science ship not equipped for combat. She doesn't have any defensive or offensive weapons, which is why the ''Lexington'' was sent to escort her to Persephone.
** The [[http://legend-entertainment.wikia.com/wiki/File:Dharma.png UNS ''Dharma'']] is even darker in shade than the ''Lexington'' but has a [[StarWars Star Destroyer]] feel to it, except for the large turret below and the Tal-Seto boom in front.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'': The ''Avenger''-class battlecruiser merges this trope with the usual Starfleet "flying spoon" saucer-hull-nacelle arrangement. It's a compact, blocky, beefy riff on a ''Sovereign''-class or similar.
* The human ships shown in the ''VideoGame/{{Achron}}'' intro look mostly like cylinders with engines in the back and eight sections (possibly armor) around the core. The alien ships have winged designs.
* In VideoGame/{{Stellaris}}, mammalian (including human) and reptilian ships. Reptilian ships are heavily ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' influenced, with red stripes on tan, while the mammals get boxy, gunmetal gray ships with blue lights, and lots of greebles and right angles. Note that while by default ship design follows species category[[note]][[VestigialEmpire Fallen Empires]] aside, as they have their own aesthetic[[/note]], nothing keeps you from changing the visuals when making custom empires, so you ''can'' have humans flying around in the smooth flowing lines, glowing blue markings and silver hulls of the Avian designs, or vice versa (or both, if you force previously made custom empires to appear in-game). The ''Humanoids'' DLC actually changes the 3 human factions (United Nations of Earth, Commonwealth of Man, and Earth Custodianship) to the DLC-introduced humanoid ship visuals, which are smoother, sleeker and brighter grey, similar to ''Franchise/StarTrek''.
* Ship artwork in ''VideoGame/{{Ogame}}'' plays almost always straight this trope. The best example is the [[https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/57/a8/ef/57a8ef0c8b9dd72160ef26ecc6fbfaaa.jpg old one]] for the [[LightningBruiser battleship]], often known as the "Taser" for obvious reasons.

* Averted in ''Webcomic/QuentynQuinnSpaceRanger.'' Despite having forcefields, integrity fields, antigravity, and all the usual phlebotinum props of space opera, Quinn's ship the Thunderbird is deliberately designed to be a [[http://www.rhjunior.com/quentyn-quinn-space-ranger-0003/ sleek, airfoil wing]] in order to facilitate both atmospheric flight and glider-style emergency landings. Of course Quinn is hinted to be something of a traditionalist in this regard, still insisting on mechanical landing gear on his vessel rather than relying on repulsor beams.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Vexxarr}}'', hu-mon ships are a lot greyer and blockier than the Bleen ships they reverse-engineered the technology from. [[http://www.vexxarr.com/archive.php?seldate=090508 They're lot bigger too.]]

* Noticeable in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' where military spaceships are indeed mostly gray-white, but ''civilian'' ones come in all colors, the one used by the main characters being lime green and basically a short, fat version of a {{Zeerust}} RetroRocket (possibly justified in that the rocket shape is seen as a styling ideal but one that has been heavily compromised to maximize cargo space on a delivery vehicle).
* In ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad'' the [=ExoFleet=] plays it straight, most of their ships are grey and boxy, the best example is the Resolute.

* TruthInTelevision to an extent. Real spacecraft are extremely utilitarian, for obvious reasons. Pretty much all of them consist of bare grey pieces of metal riveted together (paint is extra weight and probably wouldn't survive the conditions anyway). The shape depends on the intended function, but most satellites and probes consist of either a cuboid or cylinder, with solar panels, radio dishes, and so on attached as required. There's not much reason to think this would change if interplanetary or interstellar travel became common. After all, ships and planes are still mainly designed to work first and look good a distant second.\\
On the other hand, larger structures such as Mir and the ISS tend to be a lot more intricate, albeit because they're made by bolting together a bunch of smaller cuboids and cylinders.\\
For thermal control reasons, real life spacecraft also feature shiny surfaces — the Apollo Lunar Modules were covered in gold foil — or thick quilted material, as with the Soyuz capsules and several of the ISS modules. Many spacecraft also have 'wings' that are extensible solar panels or radiators.