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Module-Based large grid ships

Discussion in 'General' started by TenshouYoku, Apr 21, 2018.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

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    100
    Yes, I know this sounded silly, but no it's not your regular swap module for function ships.

    In modern ship building (especially for really large battleships), because of the massive sizes involved, ships are not built in one piece but are manufactured section-by-section, then welded together afterwards in a ship bay to become one.

    In SE, weight will not cause ships to bend and we got magical merge blocks that essentially is a cold welder that merges parts together, so it's easy to build an extremely large ship especially in creative.

    But what if survival (or actual combat) is considered? With ultra-powerful PMW railguns and rockets, it's suprisingly easy to gut a decently sized ship if the pilot is not careful enough. Assuming your ship isn't wrecked and your faction won the battle, and decided to counterattack either due to revenge or hound them before they got back on their feet, you will need to immediately repair your ship, at least to functional levels. This will not be easy if the ship is complicated or the damage is extensive.

    This is what I was thinking in mind - a modern-style built ship which is essentially parts of a ship manufactured and welded together with a merge block.

    The idea of the design is not making it a ship that could swap out modules (it's possible, however), so it's not going to be hold by full merge blocks, but is basically one-piece with the ship with merge blocks "wielding" them for you. With this design, you can easily "paste" a functioning part of the ship after you grinded out the damaged part, and have the modules be printed by a relatively small printer instead of a tailor-made or excessively large printer.

    Is this a good idea? Or it is not very useful in SE? Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  2. Sentinel-Ghost Apprentice Engineer

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    108
    Perfectly viable. Would need to group each module's merge blocks & connectors and unbind the Y key (or equivalent power on/off hotkey) to avoid accidents.
     
  3. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    At some point after its built, you may be better off just using a projection of itself to rebuild, it'd probably be cheaper, faster and depending on how complex the ship is, it would probably be easier

    I also see a slight issue of how do you want to manufacture these replacement parts? The logistics of module building is not the easiest task, if you want to have the ship be self repairing and not relying on support vessels you add a large requirement of cargo and the actual production system/area, it doesn't have to be anything too complex, or a single press a button and go system, but you just need to consider the "how am I going to do this?" as well
     
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  4. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

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    100
    That is a problem that has to be dealt with. I am currently stripping down and rebuilding my ship for this purpose but not much has been accomplished so far.

    You probably mistook what I said, I did not intend the ship to be self-repairing, but more like easing the production of the factory on a base or a super large vessel by making blueprints that holds different sections of the ship, such that there is no need for a massive printer.
    The concept is like "drop this part asap and slap a new one if it is too damaged to fix on-site" and "print it out part by part and slap em together". The design has to put this in mind which certainly isn't the easiest thing to do in the world, but I thought it could be an interesting idea in production and logistics.

    What I was thinking:
    1. A ship that has its mid-section/thruster section badly damaged while the others suffered minor damage. Instead of trashing the whole ship or send it back to repairs, just cut out the whatever that got destroyed and replace it with a factory new one etc and you are good to go.
    2. The shell is smashed and deformed quite badly but the interiors are fine. Detach the outer casing and slap a new piece of armor on it.
     
  5. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    I totally understand where you're coming from but to me the process is essentially the same regardless of how you go about it, Looking at it from a single player perspective, lets say you have a base thats handling the manufacturing of modules, your vessel is say 100 km away. Assuming you haven't set up a antenna network to access the base, you've already got to travel the 100 km to the base, start the production, build the module, and then transport it back and install. wheras i feel that it'd be just as easy at that point to limp the other ship back to the dockyard and replace the module in the general vicinity and if any other repairs need to be made (minor damage) you have full access to the rest of your production system and storage.

    To ask the silly question about your comment 2:

    is that outer casing a single piece, or is it split by module, so each module has an interior and exterior component, because frankly it seems like a hassle to pull off a whole casing just to replace a single module.

    I guess i'd like to see a proof of concept before i really get into this convo
     
  6. dispair Apprentice Engineer

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    252
    I would never have enough supplies on hand in a combat ship to repair that much damage. To me, seems better to fly back to base and use the main shipyard.
    Smaller parts can be printed easier in automated shipyards, so there us merit in your thinking from that point of view. Your ship design would require careful planning , but no reason you could not make it work.
     
  7. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

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    100
    I wasn't really thinking very clearly about the armor part, but If I were to make it it probably will be directly adhered to the module itself, and only be used if there isn't a need for turrets on that part. The logistics otherwise could be outright insane to build (although possible).

    This idea came up from when I was observing Captain Jack's fleet battle during the end of month of their survival game (before everything will be reset), Although they managed to force a retreat on the enemy, as well as trying to launch a counterattack and raid the enemy's base before they get to repairs, their ship is also wrecked to the point they can only fix certain parts like reactors and some thrusters and is basically flying half a ship during that time.

    So yeah it's more like a PvP-orientated combat vessel concept more than single-player exploration vessel. In single-player, the only thing that would try and kill you are pirate AIs which are basically a joke after you have enough ammo to greet them, and you can do everything in leisure, but in multiplayer, you'd want to get a vessel repaired completely or get them produced as soon as you can to prepare for whatever the enemy is trying to throw at you.

    The modular idea isn't made for like throwing parts on the battlefield, then use other member's ship or carried by a carrier to reequip on site, but more like easing the time needed to hotfix it after you get back to a shipyard to get the ship back on its feet ASAP.

    I will get a prototype running as soon as I can get it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  8. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    907
    Maybe modular as in Iron mans suit in Iron man 3- where each module is remote controllable, detachable, and able to self navigate to a waypoint- modules can be added/detached to help when "things go south"- even detached and clamped onto a wrecked teammate to provide thrust/power/jumpdrive...

    ....wait.. waiiiit. nevermind! I just had a nightmare vision of:
    a- all the antenna HUD markers covering your entire modular ship
    b- trying to find a certain module to control in the antenna list
    c- trying to identify the correct antenna/remote/mergeblock in the control panel list while everything is attached

    I guess some concepts are a bit too complicated.

    So then, a simple modular concept- like the (older ver)Red ship with detachable engine pods. If each pod has but a few added components (gyro, cockpit, etc) and was merge block/connector-ed to the hull instead of hard piped, it could serve as a lifeboat, a power pack, a thruster pack.. slip a jump drive in front of the reactor and its even a jump pack.

    After a nasty fleet battle at least one of the pods will still have power/thrust.. or enough to limp itself back home, and I can see "loan me a pod" team efforts being very handy.
     
  9. Burstar Apprentice Engineer

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    459
    I like the modular building idea. Realistic and immersive, but has it's pros and cons. Modular building in SE would necessitate higher component costs and build complexity. These costs could be offset by reducing repair time and need to bring spare parts with the ship (weight). This 'replace instead of repair' concept fits well with the games current bugs where repairs mysteriously undo themselves randomly. Unfortunately, as others have already stated, the benefits are underwhelming when compared to simply repairing using projectors.

    Where this would really shine is in builds where it's too compact to easily repair damage in the middle of the grid. An example would be modular plating that can be removed to allow easier access to the guts. Additionally, roleplay scenarios or multiplay server limits on tool blocks could also be great reasons to make modular building feasible.

    Modular ship designs would clearly have purposes behind the subsections, and it would create design similarities amongst a fleet of ships. Sensor blister, thruster pod, fuel compartments etc..., whether this is a good or bad thing is up to personal tastes.
     
  10. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    907
    aah fleet standardization, that is another good benefit of modular design.

    The one facet that projectors wont help with is "assisting a crippled sister ship" by donating a module or 3.. but if the sister ship has its own projector, a weld ship assist would do just as well.

    But then, dedicated warships dont haul around their replacement parts- thats just too much mass... in that case an in the field module swap would be a solution for [dramatic movie trailer voice] two cruisers! -and their trusty little salvager tug that simply refuses to die- TRAPPED behind enemy lines... with only one hope to escape and return to the base they left behind!"

    Granted, this is getting into mythical levels of multiplayerism... but is a great thought experiment for those of us #Bored@work

    [Sensor Blister] ships antenna and a battery, on a merge block- a "CryBabyCry" (Make your mama sigh) detachable decoy-
    [​IMG]
    making the enemy think you are still coasting thataway at max speed, when really you detached it, left it coasting, and jumped away
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  11. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

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    100
    What you are suggesting isn't Iron man suit since Mark 41.
    What you are suggesting is practically the Japanese Sentai series (Power Rangers) combining robot.

    Yeah I am not trying to build something like that. I was trying to build something like Earth Defense Corp's Dai Guard robot which all parts do not just move on their own and combine magically, but needs a simple construction site to assemble the whole thing on-site instead.
    The idea really is just take the ship back to the shipyard and replace some parts instead, so projector welding/repairing if you are too far away from a shipyard isn't polar opposites nor being mutually exclusives with each other.

    Still working on the prototype but think I will get one completed after I finished with my new cruiser. Still wondering if I should have a hangar or two inside the cruiser......
     
  12. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    uhh ohh... someone is thinking about an old game of "Star Control II Ur-Quan Masters"

    [​IMG]

    I can actually visualize this in my head for SE and it would work fine.... Now I have the urge to make this. :(
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
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  13. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    4,800
    The purpose you're describing is a bit moot. The problem is battle damage and returning to the fight. Where are these pre-built modules stored? How will you mount them? I don't think the idea is practical.

    To solve the problem of being able to fight after heavy damage there are a couple of better solution. The first would be redundant system planning. Having more reactors than you need is a basic example. Planning conveyors so there's more than one route to all major systems is another.

    It would probably be more practical to use a projector and a series of strategically placed welders to rebuild a ship automatically. I'm not sure where we are on welder range... it's seems to be the dirty glass of functional blocks.
     
  14. boromir Apprentice Engineer

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    199
    Better yet, add a Hull Subsystems block that the engineer can control the amount of hull plate reinforcing to apply to the structure. More hull plate reinforcing costs more power. This would allow a ship to withstand levels of hull stress before failing based on the amount of applied [electro-magnetic] reinforcing. With enough reinforcing, no need to rebuild - no damaged blocks, except in most extreme barrage of missile fire. :woot:
    --- Automerge ---
    On the other hand, I think modular replacement could only be realistically done during ship refitting - in dry dock. Modular subsystems could be built as needed and then inserted.
     
  15. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    In keeping with the previous picture I provided...
    • The main modules would slot in from the top down onto the central frame.
    • Each module would have one merge block to attach to the main frame/corridor.
    • I would set up each modular bock to have about 7 piston connectors each. All connectors and merge blocks are to be turned off during installation to hand wave Clang away. 3 for the top; one to connect to the frame, and the other two to connect to adjacent modules. 2 more connectors at each bottom side of the module to connect to adjacent modules.
    • Each module will have one PB on it with a run once script to auto identify itself to the main script and rename its modules according to its slot number (identified by the merge block name it connected to).
    • Both the main bridge and backup bridge would have the required number of screens that could display information from each individual module.
    • Between each module will be two different battery driven quadruple piston landing gear locking mechanisms. One way powered by power transmission mod so that incidental loss of power and unintended disconnects can NOT happen easily. They will require manual button activation or remote signal to deactivate and retract one side (preferred method to be done with automation).
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  16. Calaban Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    907
    wow if youre going to go that macro with modules might as well add a gyro and single ion thruster in all 6 directions as well. Its too bad antennas are 1 by 2 by freaking 6.. otherwise you could add a remote control system as well. (I often wish that a large grid remote control came included with a 1km range mini antenna)

    :) I imagine a home base somewhere with all kinds of modules floating around- the mothership returns from a mission, offloads the modules, then hand picks particular ones to meet a specific requirement for the next excursion. In such a setup it would benefit by greatly reducing time on re-configuring a ship in a fundamental way- what wasa minute ago a mining ship/cargo hauler is quickly converted to a warship- armor, weapons, G-drive and all. -something that would take considerable amounts of time to accomplish the original way
     
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  17. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

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    100
    This probably will be what I should be going for at this point.
     
  18. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    Sorry I thought it was implied else putting them on would require a base or tug boat ship.

    Small grid antenna attached via rotor. :p
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

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    3,073
    When it comes to spacecraft design, modular is the only idea I've ever had. I've built essentially one ship with parts that detach and go do their thing. Most of the things that detach would be considered "large" ships in their own right. In my case it has little to do with surviving a battle and more to do with efficiency with respect to the purpose of the fleet.

    The concepts works well, but there are some SE specific issues that make some operations... challenging. Most specifically is the issue of parts losing their identity when they merge/unmerge. Remotes becoming unsure who's in charge. Merge process resulting in... interesting behavior between the two grids. Things working fine one day and not at all the next, and not because of an update. These things and more are being addressed, but today they exist and you should be prepared :)
     
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  20. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    Things like a detached grid still receives commands/supplies from the main grid? That... would be infuriating.
     
  21. Levits Senior Engineer

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    2,122
    Made one a LONG time ago...
    It was designed to be expandable up to any size you want. And if a shingle ship/piece was destroyed or damaged, simply swapped out for another. OR could be merged together like the above picture.

    Kinda awkward walking around as each ship had to have its own gravity drive and layout and I couldn't get a sealed doorway to each individual part (not that I mattered, Oxygen was still iffy back then). But it allowed several design and use options.

    Below you can see the central hub (basically a general purpose supply ship/whatever you want), the two independent frigates/cruisers (aka Lotta Dakka), and at the ends small carrier/hangars/launch tubes (roughly 3 or 5 fighters/bombers or just large enough for something (PMW?) about 2high, 5wide).


    Each one is its own ship, but they are also particularly small. I've not actually deisgned a ship with parts that can simply be detached when/if repairs are needed.

    If I did, the main things I would focus on would be armor. Having Modular armor layers that can be detached and replaced at will, along with cargo modules + oxygen, hydrogen, etc (for easy resupply/rearming). Perhaps modular power systems (I'm more often than not designing battery banks that can be replaced on the fly), and... that's about it. Maybe, and more than likely, PMW launchers for the same reason as modular cargo (simple, swift rearming).

    Main systems, such as Reactors are more than likely going to be defaulted to the frame. Losing them is a huge loss regardless and they should be well protected. If they are destroyed, then that means that my ship has a massive hole in the center of it. Command and control would be hardwired too. I suppose, different/modular bridges and cockpits would be worth looking into if you have various purposes for your ships.

    A more open cockpit with more glass than armor for atmospheric landing ships or ships that do a lot of docking/trade would be good and being able to interchange it with a more heavily armored bridge or cockpit during times of war swiftly would be useful.

    I've not played that much lately but it might be interesting to try to build something like that.
     
  22. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

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    3,073
    This is not a new idea. Here's what we said when the merge block was released June 5, 2014. At the time I personally thought modular ship building was going to be a thing, but it never caught on. Probably because you have to be careful how you build modules if you want to be able to un-merge them. If any block other than the merge blocks themselves touch, the merge is permanent. There are few vanilla blocks that will allow close but no touch. I solved most of my issues with modded blocks which even today I doubt would become vanilla. If the only issue is removing all of whatever is left of the old module and then popping in a new module not designed to be disconnected, you should be fine.

    I suppose what could be interesting is having modules pre-built so that when the damaged ship returns to base all that has to happen is the actual mod-swapping without the wait for the module to be built. Kind of like getting new tires. This works well when you operate from a fixed base. Since my fleet does not have a fixed based, we just repair on the fly.
     
  23. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    Grinding down large sections of the ship to expose the complex, inaccessible bits is also very efficicient. Open up the hull and then just extrusion weld everything back via BP.

    IMO the hardest thing to deal with when repairing damage is the crazy hitboxes and collision boxes of highly deformed armor blocks.
     
  24. boromir Apprentice Engineer

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    199
    Supposing you have an edge of a module, I can see a few ways to connect in to the ship. I welcome, suggestions/correction on this.

    It depends on a few things. Is the module fully enclosed or is it open to the interior of the ship? Are you planning on pressurizing the interior? If it's fully enclosed before merging then pressurizing can be achieved off the ship. But if you intend to join the module in then pressurize the summation of the entire space, you have some challenges.

    There's a couple ways to do this and there's one that won't work. The one that won't work: take an edge of the module, if it has one merge block and the rest are standard blocks on both sides of the merging edge then it'll clang and never seal. However if you have merge blocks along that entire edge it'll probably seal fine. One other way you could do it would be to use a merge block and standard blocks on one side of the edge and then blast doors along the other side of that edge. That would also seal.

    Joining the module into the ship and pressurizing the interior is a challenge but doable. Alternately, you could just disable air pressure in the game. Also most ship spaces don't need to be pressurized, for example, cargo, and weapons. Living spaces obviously would but you could even fully enclose those spaces before merging.
     
  25. Elfi Wolfe Apprentice Engineer

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  26. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    I got something pretty similar to your stuff only mine is a bunch of cubes.
    Mine also have a projector built into each connection point that can project out a module of your choosing. The starting hub has a mini nanobot repair module in it that will build out the base for you as long as you have the parts and the base doesn't get crazy long.
    Too bad I never revisited them to make them more aesthetically pleasing. Makes the base look like a borg cube.
     
  27. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

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    100
    So I am having some fun in Multiplayer, after an unfortunate raiding incident battleships are more than necessary at the moment.

    This really solidified my concept of having a modular-built ship - The building time needed to manufacture a ship as large as the red ship is painfully long and difficult as you will basically have to burrow into projections just to weld a certain part. If we got to have a tug ship and a printer this would make building ships a lot more easier than building the whole thing by hand.

    Will figure out how to accomplish that.
     
  28. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    I design all of my ships either to just mostly self-print themselves, or to print via extrusion where you just drag a large welding ship backwards through the bp.

    It's pretty easy to make extrusion-friendly ships, you just have to be sure that things with single mount points(gyros especially, but also tubes) can be build at the same block layer as whatever retains them.
     
  29. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    Self welding ships could be great too. Imagine a ship you just can't kill unless you wear it down in the parts/ammo departments. Someone posted a BP of a battleship that self welded itself into existence from a projector, large cargo box, a battery, and a welder.
     
  30. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

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    100
    Can I get a doze of that dopeness?

    That said, something like an unkillable self-repairing ship needs quite an amount of dedication in design, and is extremely costly to build and operate. You will need all the space to store parts and an assembly system to hold everything.....but I guess in the long run it should be easier to maintain than a non-self repairing ship.
     
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