I've been thinking though the look of the game. I don't want to go for anything too crazy for the depiction of the future here, because I think that in the same way that fundamentally clothes, architecture and furniture aren't too different from 100 years ago, some things don't really change that much. I doubt that in a few hundred years we will all wear outfits with fins on the shoulder pads and everybody will universally wear lycra bodysuits. So to prevent things looking silly or gimmicky, I've tried to design the characters with a fairly timeless look. Simple jeans, shirts, suits, cargo pants, t-shirts etc. These have stood the test of time pretty well. Even though the game is set on a spaceship, I don't want the fact that it's on a space ship to overtake the importance of the murder mystery.
For the look of the ship, I want it to feel like a modern ferry or a 2-3 star hotel. It's not luxurious and the design isn't showy. It's simple, utilitarian, but not ugly. It's not dirty with exposed mechanical parts and grilles and unpainted metal everywhere, but it's not pristine and with all glowy surfaces and super cool curved minimalist design. It's minimalist, yes, but it's not inspired.
When I did a brief stint of work experience with an interior designer, I learned a lot about how public spaces are done out. Naturally as a beginner, I wanted to make the spaces look exciting, fashionable, cool and unique. That's actually what you really don't want to do, especially if the place will only be decorated every 10 or so years! You want something that's hard wearing and rather than strongly appealing to one kind of person, will be comfortable for a wide range, as well as a simple, classic look that won't date quickly.
So what I want to make is a ship interior that feels clean, a bit sterile and boring but without being uncomfortable. Rather like a student flat or the cabin on an overnight ferry or the room at a travel inn.
I think the ships in the Star Wars universe are a good start. I've always really liked the interiors of the Star Wars ships. They look really believable somehow. They're not cosy, not excessively cool looking, but they don't look really uncomfortable or grungey. It's great design. I'd like it to look like the Republic ship from the start of 'A New Hope', the one with the white interiors. I just think that's a really believable space ship interior myself.
Some futuristic ideas I'd like to use:
Picture frames in rooms. Digital frames are starting to become commonplace now, so doesn't it make sense that you'd be able to upload pictures of your choice via bluetooth to the picture frames in your room at a hotel or whatever? Also, when you get a phone call, the image of the speaker could appear in those frames for the duration of the call.
Lighting that mimicks a sense of daylight. No dark and dingy ships! That's unrealistic, especially for a passenger ship. In order to combat SAD, there would definitely be a source of artifical daylight, probably large light panels. This is another thing I like about Star Wars ships, they have a comfortable lighting scheme without being flashy.
Handprint activated doors. Perfectly feasible future tech. I don't think in the future we'll have physical currency. I think we'll more likely have either fingerprint/retina scanning OR we'll all have a chip inserted into the wrist or somewhere linked to electronic funds.