Author Topic: MRC's SE Fleet.  (Read 3122 times)


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MRC's SE Fleet.
« on: April 12, 2016, 03:02:30 pm »
Last weekend, trying to find something to do, I decided I would jump in Space Engineers and take some good pictures of the few ships I had built to preserve them and perhaps create some nice desktop wallpaper. After which I thought it would be a good idea to share them here, give some context to and analyze their design. I figured this could spark some interesting discussions on ship design, aesthetic, interior layout etc... And generally provide inspiration for upcoming ships as BR approach actual game development.

With each ships I will give a bit of lore and some insight and trivia about their design hopefully providing food for though on what goes into building a spaceship.
Also, grab a snack you're in for a long-ish read.

Small Ships
-Small Ships-
Given in no particular order, these are the ships made from Space Engineers' small block grid.
They are shown in two bulks, utilitarian and military, to save some space.

Utilitarian Ships
-Utilitarian Ships-

<Top image>From Left to right: Cigogne, Taupe, Fourmi

French for: Stork
Length:9,5m Weight:10,000kg

The Cigogne is a towing and supply delivery craft. It is lightweight and equipped with powerful thrusters and reaction wheels to drag heavy loads.
About the Design.
The connector is located under the craft<Bottom left image> to keep them away from the exhaust of the main rear thrusters during transport.
SE does not model off-center-of-mass thrust, allowing for this 'under' carrying. A more realistic supply runner would attach it's cargo at the front, inline with the CoM.

French for: Mole
Length:10,7m Weight:7,900kg

A simple, minimalist mining craft the Taupe has the bare minimum for safe and efficient mining to keep production simple and cost low.
About the design.
The thrusters bulk is built far back to keep a thin profile and allow the craft to fit easily into tunnels.
Despite striving for a low mass, pieces of heavy armor are positioned near sensitive parts to protect them from bumping into tunnel wall and debris.
The asymmetry eliminate any unnecessary cost but mean there is no redundancy. This is a trade off to keep in mind when building any craft, it's cost and simplicity vs resilience and reliability.

French for: Ant
Length:10,1m Weight:8,600kg

An Automated Mining drone designed for mass production and deployment on remote asteroids.
Just drop a few 'Ants' on a chosen asteroid and they'll take care of mining while you deal with more important business.
About the design
It might be surprising to note that that the Fourmi is heavier and more expensive than the Taupe despite being designed as a mass production drone, but really this is normal. When giving work to a dumb, fire-and-forget style of drone extra measures have to be put in place to ensure continued work, more armor, redundant systems etc.
They are driven by just about the simplest automated logic you could have, Spin -> Sense Rock -> Advance & Drill -> No more rock -> Stop and spin -> repeat, plus a breaking subroutine in case they sense another 'Ant' in front of them. This creates a dumb, chaotic but reliable tunneling behavior <Bottom right image>.

Military Ships
-Military Ships-

<Bottom Image>From left to right: Geolier, Enclume, Bardane MkII

French for: Warden
Length:20m Weight:63,000kg
Armament: 2xMissile, 4xGatling gun.

A heavy fighter, mainly designed for defense. Large sideways thruster allow for hairpin turns and quick strafing allowing a Geolier to easily keep chase of small, light fighters.
About the design.
Every thruster on the Geolier is deeply entrenched in armor to protect them from incoming fire, giving it it's bulky shape.
The prolonged 'spikes' around the cockpit act as a net to protect from incoming missiles without blocking too much view.

French for: Anvil
Length:23m Weight:122,000kg
Armament: 4xGatling gun.

Arguably a corvette, the Enclume was designed for a single purpose, survive hell. This ship will not outmaneuver nor outgun it's foes, it will outlast them.
About the design.
The long 'spikes' at the front and back acts as missile net. This is especially evident when looking at the rear of the craft<top left image> you can see that the many 'spikes' blocks the view of and therefore line of fire to the thrusters. Only a shot perfectly straight on from directly behind the craft will hit.
Notice that the sideways thrusters could not be entrenched like the other two fighters. To compensate for their lack of protection they where set apart rather than grouped so that they could not be taken out all at once by a single missile.

---Bardane MkII---
French for: Burdock
Length:10,7m Weight:15,100kg
Armament: 1xMissile, 2xGatling gun.

Second iteration of the Bardane, better in every way, the MkII is a light and nimble inteceptor designed to take down assault fighter in hit-and-run strikes. It's small size allow large numbers of them to be stored and deployed in combat.
About the design.
The name Bardane(Burdock) refer to a plant producing spiky seeds that stick to fur and clothes, the name came after thinking "Cross the wrong field and you'll inevitably have a dozen of them stuck to your ass"
You can see that the Bardane uses various design element of the other two crafts, only miniaturized and reduced to save weight.

Large Ships
-Large Ships-
Given by Weight, these are the ships built from Space Engineers' large block grid.
Most of them are quite old and by far obsolete in the current version.

S.S. Etoile-Du-Nord
-S.S. Etoile-Du-Nord-

More Images
French for: North Star
Length: 38m Weight: 212,000kg
Armament: 1xGatling turret.

This is a bare-minimum exploration corvette built to cover every needs, it's as small as it can be while still providing full enclosure of the cockpit... and some aesthetic.
About the design
Oddly enough this one kept getting smaller as I was building it. I started with a rough bunch of everything I needed and kept finding more efficient ways to pack them as I went along. Cut a bit there... Shave some weight there... Bypass this system by doing that... etc...
In the end every part was precisely considered and measured, this is a very interesting and satisfying way to build if you like optimizing like I do.
Finding a place to put the door was the hardest part of the build, requiring a dozen revision of the cockpit.

S.S. Masse-D'Arme
-S.S. Masse-D'Arme-

More images

French for: Arming Mace
Length: 70m Weight: 740,000kg
Armament: 4xMissile turret, 1xGatling turret.

A versatile combat frigate with attachment points around the 'neck' allowing it to mount a variety of augments to fit every situation. Be it extra armor, weapons, mine launcher, extra cargo etc...
About the design.
The smallest of the tower-style vertical ships that makes the bulk of my fleet, be prepared to see a lot of recurring element. These recurrences will be addressed all at once in the "The whole fleet" tab.
The base ship is very simplistic in design as it was intended to be augmented via attachments.
No attachments were ever created for it as they would have been way to tedious to manage at the time of this build. (before cross-world ship saves)(and still are)

S.S. Scrarabee
-S.S. Scarabee-

More Images

French for: Scarab
Length: 70m Weight: 1,100,000kg
Armament: 1xFixed rocket launcher, 2xGatling turret.

By far the most recent and advanced ship of the fleet. This prolonged exploration frigate is the Swiss army knife of space travel, with enough armor and armament to blur the line between military and utilitarian.
About the design.
This ship was built from the inside out to be as compact as possible while leaving all system accessible to the crew for maintenance. It contains nearly every system available at the time of construction.
This type of high density build offers excellent performances but it is nearly impossible to update, quickly making them obsolete. This is something to keep in mind when building in a developing game. Often it is best to keep some spare room to be able to integrate new features as the game's development progress.
It comes with a hologram projector at the front to communicate via emoji. The flip-off emoji is by far the most used.

S.S. Tribunal
-S.S. Tribunal-

More Images

French for: Tribunal...
Length: 100m Weight: 1,800,000kg
Armament: 4xMissile Turret, 8xGatling turret.

A heavy destroyer, it is surrounded with extended shields making the inner core nearly inaccessible to enemy fire.
About the design.
As stated the outer shields provide excellent protection to the inner core by keeping explosive hits far from fragile equipment. The shields are lined with holes to let thruster exhaust flow through.
The S.S. Tribunal and the S.S. Masse-D'Arme are sister ships, their design having many similarities. You might think that the Tribunal is a heavy-armor version of the small frigate, but it really is the other war around with the Tribunal coming first and the Masse-D'Arme being an armor-striped version.
The command deck shows ample room to implement new features as they are released.

S.S. Rose-Des-Vents
-S.S. Rose-Des-Vents-

More images

French for: Wind Rose
Length: 165m Weight: 2,400,000kg
Armament: 1xMissile Turret, 6xGatling turret.

A military-industrial support cruiser. This mobile factory is deployed alongside military fleets or alone in hostile environment to maintain and supply dedicated combat ships, it can also magnetically carry a mining or fighter squad.
About this design.
This ship was first design as a hostile environment prolonged exploration ship, giving it it's name, but quickly found it's place as a military supply and repair vessel. This is a good example of how a ship's name or class name might not be so fitting of it's role as a it was designed for another function but unexpectedly ends up filling a role gap in the military.

S.S. Prevoyant
-S.S. Prevoyant-

More images

The original doodle this ship was based on. Due to the blocky nature of the game, many feature were scrapped or modified but the overall silhouette is there.
French for: Forecasting
Length: 130m Weight: 3,250,000kg
Armament: None.

Faster than it looks, this scouting cruiser is equipped of long journeys away from the fleet. No armament is mounted by default, it relies on it's speed and sensors to keep itself out of trouble. It's job is mainly to search and mark valuable minerals for the supply fleets and seek out enemy fleets.
About the design.
My first completed large ship in SE. After many abandoned builds I decided to draw this one on paper first so I could figure out an appealing shape<in "More images">. This gave me a strong enough template to quickly complete the build without the headache of improvising constantly modifying a shape that killed so many project.
It seems surprisingly heavy for a scout, this can be blamed on the fact that it is the first ship built. None of my weight-shaving or compression techniques were applied to this ship in order to stick to the template, inflating it's weight dramatically though the sheer amount of thruster greatly compensate for this. This mainly serve as a building practice to find a aesthetic style to my liking.
Nearly all of the aesthetic features were kept and used on all of my ships going forward.

S.S. Menhire
-S.S. Menhire-

More images.

French for: Standing Stone
Length: 350m Weight: 25,000,000kg
Armament: 20xMissile Turret, 32xGatling turret.

Charged with holding the empire's border, the Menhire battleship is immovable in defense and unstoppable in offense.
About this design.
Designed for endurance first, every reactor and system on the Menhire is enclose in two layers of heavy armor. The outer layer contains corridors, living space, cargo and other non-essentials. The inner layer contains the reactors, command deck and reaction wheels etc...
The bottom thruster bank is deeply entrenched to reduce exposure to a minimum, unfortunately this offers a hiding place for enemy fighter to creep into. A more realistic thrust model would simply incinerate anything that enters the 'skirt' but otherwise fighters can be dealt with using a quick flip, smashing them on the sides.
The rear spike showed much more versatile than anticipated. It can be used to swat harassing fighters, impale unsuspecting ships or slash ships that felt brave and got too close.
The thinner cross sections at the waist looks weak but is deceptively strong, so much so that many attacking player choose to focus fire on it in hope to cut the ship in half, to no avail. It is in fact by far the strongest part of the ship and anyone focusing fire on will only waste time they could have spent attacking rooms that actually contain vital systems.

S.S. Obelisque
-S.S. Obelisque-

More images

This legend shows the layout of the various systems. You can see that critical system are kept deep at the back(or up since the image is sideways) of the ship and are ofter behind miltiple layers of armor. The horizontal(actually vertical) row of reaction wheels for example is protected by 3 layers of heavy armor plus an insulating empty pocket in between to prevent damage from being carried through.
The whole ship is also built entirely around the central spire to improve structural integrity.
French for: Obelisk
Length: 400m Weight: 38,000,000kg
Armament: 8xMissile Turret, 6xGatling turret.

The Obelisque is a frontline mothership designed to cover the supply needs of an entire combat fleet. They are most often dotted along the frontline to serve as command outposts but also see use as colonial ships, being able to build new civilizations around them.
About the design.
This build was a week long endeavor, it started as with a few prototype hangars to find what worked and what didn't. With the hangar style chosen a quick doodle was drawn that integrate it comfortably and to set the silhouette which was then built as a wireframe shell. After this the floorplan was laid down roughtly so that modification would be easy. Then came the thrusters, then the hardware, then the piping. Once content with the layout, the armor was built halfway, small revisions and addition were made as the armor revealed more or less space. After which the armor could finally be completed and painted.
The corridors warp and bent in a very M.C.Esher-esque way made possible by local gravity fields. SE only allow for poor system tweaking, so this ended up in a 2 day tweaking nightmare before all local field were seamlessly merged.

The whole fleet
--The whole fleet--

A nice family picture, with the military on the left and the utilitarian on the right, to compare scales.
From left to right(Large ships only):
S.S. Masse-D'Arme, S.S. Tribunal, S.S. Rose-Des-Vents, S.S. Menhire, S.S. Obelisque, S.S. Prevoyant, S.S. Scarabee, S.S. Etoile-Du-Nord.


The similarities become obvious once placed side to side, the tower-styles all share their anatomy. From top to bottom they constitute the crown, the head, the waist, the hip, the skirt and the spear.
The Spear, or 'spike', is intended as a landing anchor for orbital drops. It took a while before planets were implemented to test their effectiveness and while they do not impale the ground as intended, they do successfully crumple up and brake the fall, keeping all thrusters intact.
The main purpose of the skirt is to reduce the profile of the main thrusters in combat, but it also helps with stability in a crash-landing.

Something you might have notice in a few ship images it that they often have a two command chairs, one pointing forward, one pointing up. In truth every tower ship has them, this give them a dual nature, both vertical and horizontal. The horizontal stance is used for travel, taking advantage of the main thruster bank and the vertical stance is used for combat and docking maneuvers, being easier to turn and more precise in maneuvering.

Tower-style ships are nice in that they are easy to build The two axis symmetry greatly accelerate building and the verticality makes floor planning easy as every floor is rather small and can be entirely dedicated to a specific use, without having to cut and draw rooms.
The Mass-D'Arme, the Rose-Des-Vents, the Menhire, the Scarabee and the Etoile-Du-Nord were built from the inside out. The Tribunal, the Obelisque and the Prevoyant were built from the outside in.

Tower Ships can revolve in combat to keep exposing more weapons and spread damage evenly.

S.S. Menhire and S.S. Obelisque are known to cause server crash. The Menhire because of it's ridiculous amount of weapons firing all at once, the Obelisque because of it's mere existence.

The Menhire, the Prevoyant and The Obelisque all contain an experimental kinetic shield made from gravity generatore spread through the ship resulting in a roughly 400m radius bubble that eject any passing material. The Obelisk has an updated model producing a hollow bubble, every generator has a short range canceller which create a neutral inner field keeping unseated crewmen from being splattered against the walls at 20g. However the various tugging gravity fields create uneven ripples, causing the crew to stumble and walk around like drunkards, earning it the nicknames 'Drunkard Shield' and 'Booze Field'.

They are named by either their intended role, for example Wind Rose and North Star are exploring ships, or whatever their shape reminds me of, the Scarabee for example is reminiscent of a scarab with it's six solar panels and large back end.
None of the ships have a class name, mostly because I there's no real point in having multiples in Space Engineer. So they were all considered unique and given personal name.
Why are they named in french? You might ask. Well, because I am... And I really wanted to confuse english players online.

Grammar edit:
And feel free to ask question and provide criticism. I'll be glad to answer them.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 09:33:25 am by MRC »
With love.  ~MRC


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Re: MRC's SE Fleet.
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2016, 08:08:17 am »
I think Menhire is my Favourite.


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Re: MRC's SE Fleet.
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2016, 09:45:15 pm »
It is a favorite of the crowd. ^-^

Also, was this move or did I accidentally post in "Challenges and requests"?
Oh my... but this is neither a challenge nor a request! How embarrassing...
With love.  ~MRC