Other than aesthetics, does hiding your components serve any purpose?
Some of the lasers *are* pretty ugly, and I'd never thought of hiding them before.
No, just aesthetic. As a suggestion for Brad, for Galciv III, I often thought they should dispense with 'functional' components entirely and just have jewellery and maybe points to attach effects. (e.g. emission points for guns, and lights for engines etc.)
They are spent money on buying art for ugly functional components. Instead they could have spent that money on offering a greater variety of jewellery with things like organic or crystalline components. They could have offered more animation options or texturing options like the ones in Spore.
With the present GCII system, if I want to design a ship like (say the Vorlons) I have to fit lots of tech-looking 'functional' parts, I cannot specify a single ray and I cannot do the 'petals' animation.