Welcome to Keen Software House Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the KSH community.
  1. You are currently browsing our forum as a guest. Create your own forum account to access all forum functionality.

Building - Should one start with the exterior, or the interior?

Discussion in 'Community Creations' started by Crusader, Apr 12, 2017.

Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Crusader Apprentice Engineer

    What do you think?
  2. May Rears Apprentice Engineer

    There are pros and cons to both ways. I have tried building the interior of capital vessels first but ended up with a ship that was way too large and built the exterior first and ended up with not enough space inside. That is probablt my fault though, I tend to have a rough idea of what I want but my imagination tends to wander off-plan :)
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Crusader Apprentice Engineer

    Same here hahaha.
  4. odizzido Junior Engineer

    As someone who builds ships for function, always the interior
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. AutoMcD Senior Engineer

    Both. A lot of back and forth.. but I usually start with interior to make sure I get a comfortably sized space.
    Starting with exterior is a good way to end up with a cramped submarine interior or WAAAY TOO MUCH SPACE.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. carnivore Apprentice Engineer

    Think about the systems and larger interior features like hangars you'd like your ship to contain. Try building them first and you'll have a good basis to build the rest of your ship from.
    Build out from one of these features and you should almost be able to build the interior and exterior around each other.
  7. Crusader Apprentice Engineer

    Noted, thanks.
  8. Xanthyn Trainee Engineer

    I always recommend starting with the features that are the most important to you/your build, and going from there. I tend to add armor last. I also recommend that you avoid mounting gyroscopes to pieces that are likely to take damage early in a fight, such as exposed thrusters. Having a loose gyro under a layer of armor, rubbing elbows with your cargo or production blocks is not a good look.
  9. carnivore Apprentice Engineer

    Preach it brotha. Gyros can soak up some damage, but make sure they're connected to a substantial piece of heavy armor. I even try to stick my fighters gyros straight to the actual cockpit. If the cockpit goes, you don't have much use for the rest of it anyway.
  10. May Rears Apprentice Engineer

    This ^^^ the results are...spectacular and painful if you happen to be close by and grind away the block supporting the gyro :p
  11. damoran Junior Engineer

    If you build for looks and function like I do, it has always been exterior first.

    Firstly, because interiors in SE can be massively simplified. No need for large corridors and thousands of rooms and corridors like in real ships. So you can usually fit what you need in the space provided unless you are building extremely small. In which case the solution is simple, scale up your exterior design.

    Secondly, because it's easier to edit the exterior when there's nothing inside that will be affected by your edits.

    That said, if you build purely for function then who cares what it looks like, but I don't think that is why you are here, is it?
  12. The Churrosaur Junior Engineer

    I'm going to actually disagree with you on this one. I do my best to build for a synthesis of form and function and personally I start by building the interior 'modules'- reactor, cargo, dorsal gun, locations for rooms, etc- before building the hull around it. I find I get a lot more leeway to deal with 'critical' early design issues without having to work around/compromise on an existing armor layout/aesthetic.

    Edit: actually you're totally right- because I usually start with a sketch and a crude diagram of how everything is going to be laid out. In that phase of design I usually start with the silhouette of the hull and work inwards- using the lines of the ship as a guide for the interior.
  13. SaturaxCZ Senior Engineer

    Best way is start with rooms connecting hull of ship with interior like: hangars, rockets silos, escape pods, etc... that will prety much give you basic size of ship and you can start build interior from it and when you have like 20% interior from this parts ---> create exteriour and place free space with rooms. I never had problem with TOO MUCH SPACE on my 2km long ships :p, but when you missing space... its a problem.
  14. oleando Apprentice Engineer

    Depends on the size, if you plan doing a replica, start from the exterior, if you plan from scratch, do the interior and the bone structure first.
  15. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    I'm going to assume you're building an original ship and it's of a decent size.

    Start with neither. It's better to create a frame of blocks that is in or near the shape you want your ship to be. This frame would look like a wire-frame drawing with just the key outline of the ship built as you're putting in your systems. It's okay to add some temporary blocks to hold things in place like large reactors and other subsystems as you figure out how they will flow. If you have to make a change to the ship to accommodate something, altering your wire-frame is a lot easier than deconstructing an entire hull.

    In really large ships I try to build different sections and then place them accordingly. I might build the very front of the ship, I might build the bridge, etc. Then I make sure the frame is large enough to accommodate them and to plumb up everything with the appropriate conveyors.

    I also run calculations on mass vs. thrust, especially for ships that are operating in gravitational atmospheres. Will the ship have enough thrusters when fully built AND loaded with cargo? It's better to know ahead of time then have a completed ship that just won't cut it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Gth Trainee Engineer

    The way I approach it is for small ships go interior first, large ships go exterior first. Reason being is that for the way I tend to build, small ships don't end up with enough interior space if I only consider the exterior (and it becomes a pain to try and scale up if I've already gotten to the details on the exterior), but for large ships it becomes harder to not only wrap a decent exterior look around the interior but also to organize it. Its easier to organize a large ship interior when you already have boundaries set, and on the flip side for small ships I can efficiently cram what I need into the ship and then build the exterior from there using the cockpit as a starting point.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Xanthyn Trainee Engineer

    Just to add onto my previous comments, as I keep learning the hard way, try not to start in with the scripting and terminal organization until you are completely married to the physical shape of the ship. I just had to reorganize the guts on my project and now my perfectly grouped and organized terminal needs to be re-done, and I have to re-do all the PB arguments linked to my various sensors and cockpit hotbars for the N'th time.
  18. Ronin1973 Master Engineer


    Yep. It's best to save block naming, organizing, grouping, and basically the "wiring" aspect until dead last. You'll probably spend the same amount of time programming toolbars, scripting, naming OR MORE TIME as you did actually building the thing.
  19. Timberwolf Apprentice Engineer

    Cramped submarine interiors with small rooms and plenty of bulkheads are the best!
  20. Crusader Apprentice Engineer

    Or, just make a warhammer inspired ship, like me. And have the inside of it be comparable to a fortress with huge open areas. For the Emperor!
  21. Graewerld Trainee Engineer

    I wish I had read this earlier, as I am trying my hand at crafting a larger ship. I began with the entry door/airlock and expanded from there. What a mess!

    I am ready to scrap that one and start over. Think smarter, not harder.

    Thanks Ronin1973.
  22. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    No problem. Just talking from experience. Something I'm currently trying out is building key sections of the ship like a missile launch bay, storage areas, etc. OUTSIDE of the ship to get them to where I want them. Then I'll create a proxy for them using a rectangle of light armor. I'll copy the proxy into my ship to see if I've left enough room, etc.

    It also allows me to work on the different areas without them being connected. So I can program the block names in and make duplicates... which is helpful for areas that are replicated throughout the ship.
    • Like Like x 2
  23. MrGreyTheta Trainee Engineer

    i like to build a skeleton of my ship first in the shape it should get on the outside. then i do the interior and if i need more space i can change the building skeleton before finishing the hull completely. it also helps with connectors and storage.

    of course praying to the maschine gods might work too...
  24. Helaton Apprentice Engineer

    Step 1: Planning

    I always start with a simple planning list of what I want the ship to have from power/production/life support standpoint before the first block is set down.

    Introduction: Starter spawnship for space-only travel for me and a buddy to do survival.

    1 Refinery
    1 Assembler
    2 Batteries
    6 Solar Panels
    1 Reactor
    2 Small Cargo containers
    1 Gravity Generator
    1 Oxygen Tank
    1 Oxygen Farm
    1 Medbay
    2 Cryopod

    Then I take that and turn it into 'rooms'.

    Production: Refinery, Assembler
    Medical/Crew: Medbay, 2 Cryo, Oxygen Generator
    Bridge: Gravity Generator
    Engineering: Reactor/batteries, Gyros
    Cargo: Cargo Containers
    Empty Drone Hangar
    Drop off point​

    Step 2: Basic Design

    I make a very rough flowchart sketch to show how I want these rooms connected to each other. (Squares with names basically)

    I make simple design decisions.

    General Shape: Will it be a hiigaran style tall ship, or bentusi box, typical long ship.
    General Style: Organic vs Utilitarian
    Acceleration: 3 m/s
    Braking: 1 m/s

    Step 3: Layout rooms/corridors

    Now I'm finally in space engineers. I usually start with biggest rooms first, following my room connections diagram. I will also usually develop rooms stand alone (if in creative mode) and copy paste them into the structure later. Usually no ceilings or walls on the rooms. Just floor plan with functional blocks above in place and some clearance.

    Step 4: Conveyors, Framing & Propulsion

    Now I add conveyors, structural framing and then propulsion

    Step 5: Adding Ceiling & Walls to Rooms

    This about finishes the interior of the ship. Make it decently nice spending time on each room for fine tuning and decoration. Also do Terminal naming/organization for each room.

    Step 6: Exterior Plating

    Start decorating the outside. Usually start with a uniform outer appearance and then start adding irregularities and inconsistencies to break up something monotonous.

    Step 7: Performance Test & Adjustments

    Take it for a spin. Make sure it meets my generalized performance requirements or darn close. (if its not exact but close, I'll be happy with it.)

    Step 8: Blueprint it
  25. halipatsui Senior Engineer

    Start from outside for looks.
    Start from inside for function.
  26. UrbanLegend Apprentice Engineer

    Don't ask me. I always end up with a giant monstrosity of a ship with all sorts of spooky cavernous rooms. :(

    But generally, I like the "brick in space" designs of Homeworld and Halo, so I tend to build "modules" off of a central core. Then I provide an external layer of armor plating for protection or aesthetics, depending on the type of ship.

    Typically, I pick a defining feature of the ship, based off of its purpose. Is it a carrier? Passenger liner? Mining ship? Cargo ship? Once I figure that out, it sets the scale and design for the rest of the ship
  27. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    As far as workflows. I design the ship, station, etc. in an empty world with all spawning NPCs turned off. I might spawn a planet in for testing purposes.

    It's a good idea to be in creative mode and to turn off weapons OR turn off damage.

    When I build-up a ship, I will build it to a point where I have to make a major decision or revision. Then I copy and paste the ship before making my changes to the ship. It's not unusual to have several copies of the build right next to each other.

    When I have a big enough mess, I'll use the save-as function to create a copy of the game world. I'll then delete everything but the most current iteration of the ship/grid.

    Using this technique I can get back to any version of the ship I created. If it's a few game-saves back, I can just copy and blueprint what I need and take it to the most current game-save.

    For ships that work in natural gravity, I'll often use the Alien planet as a test-bed, since it's the highest gravity and least forgiving. I also run calculations on mass and force for different elevations above all three major planet types (at 120km diameters) via GoogleSheets. I punch in the number and types of thrusters, the unladen mass, and see how the ship will perform. I'll also add in arbitrary amounts of cargo mass and see what's the maximum theoretical mass that can be lifted against gravity and what I'm comfortable with.

    If your ship is big enough, you can definitely fit most systems inside if you have large enough empty areas. I don't go for complicated interior spaces since they add a lot of unnecessary mass. The lower you can keep your mass, the better the ship will perform; adding more thrusters, power sources, and gyros just piles on the mass, leading into a downward spiral of diminishing returns.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  28. Shabazza Junior Engineer

    First, I think about what purpose the ship will have.
    Not every ship must have a complete miner/assembly equipment or have to be able to operate in any environment.
    Then I make a really basic basic sketch of what shape I want the ship to be.
    Next, I draw a basic floor plan into that top-down shape scribble with the rooms and their purpose for each deck.
    Usually I then start at the front and work my way to the back with all conveyor and functional block stuff. So I know it will fit. Then I add nacelles, if there are some.
    My larger ships tend to have a main deck / main hallway that connects adjacent rooms.
    Smaller ships are submarine style.
    Then when I know the nearly exact empty mass of the ship, I go to my little power/thruster calculator I wrote and fiddle with the numbers until my acceleration/braking goals are met.
    And then I slap those thrusters onto the ship.
    Last step is to do the details inside and outside.
    So basically, I do interior and rough exterior in one go and after that, I do details in interior and plate the ship for it's final outer form.
    But I figured, that my ships tend to not be very appealing in outer shape, as I mostly do not add "unnecessary" armor blocks. Because it seems like a waste.
    But the most gorgeous ships out there have lots and lots of purely visual armor blocks for making a nice shape.
    So this is something I have to overcome to make my ships not only realitic, but appealing...
  29. russo_bolado Junior Engineer

    I start building from interior to exterior, but keeping a general shape in mind. My main Cargo Ship is more submarine style (oblong shape, cramped interior) with a single room (pressurized) and an airlock corridor, and resembles much like Keen's Mining Carriage, but with improved functionality. She does have 500-550 tons (can't recall exact weight, though) empty, and she's Survival-ready.

    I'm not a fan of huge ships/structures, so I keep my ships very cost-effective.
  30. UrbanLegend Apprentice Engineer

    Not me. I would love it if SE let us build miles long ships and stations with all the detailing with zero impact on performance. I don't think I'm alone in this either.
    • Agree Agree x 1
Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.