Spacecraft Design

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Imbox notice.png This page is about the new spacecraft.

To read about the old spacecraft, go to Spacecraft Design/OldSpacecraft.

Imbox notice.png This section is in need of revision.

Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

The reason given is: The new spacecraft designer (See Spacecraft Update) is already functional. Rewriting of this page has slowly begun, but could still use some help.
The old Spacecraft Design page has been archived on a separated page.

Design Studio

Spacecraft are designed inside a Design Studio. Each story of a Design Studio enables a separate studio for players to design spacecraft.

Note: This designer will be used for buildings and other objects in the future.

Players may work together in the same studio to develop a spacecraft design. In this case, the first player to enter the vacant studio is registered as the architect and owner of the design.

To enter a studio, display the Labor (F10) window and click on the "Enter" button of a studio. When a studio is "Vacant", you may leave the password box blank or you may enter a password of your choice. The password you enter establishes that studio's password until the studio becomes vacant. To join an "Occupied" design studio, you must enter the password that was established by the first person to enter the studio.

Once inside a studio, display the Spacecraft Design (F6) window. Nearly every function and button has a usage tip that appears once clicked which describes what the function does. Use the exit button to return to the game environment.

Spacecraft Designer Interface

An image of the new designer interface.

The new designer interface is accessible through both the offline launcher and in-game while online. Upon entering, you are inside a bounding box (yellow lines) that define the design area, with a grid underneath you that is split with two axis.

The interface is heavily based on menus as seen at the top of the screenshot. This means there are a lot less buttons immediately visible. The F6 hotkey or the designer button on the left toggles both the Parts list on the right of the image and the black bar with all the buttons seen at the top of the screenshot. However, it does not toggle the white menu buttons seen at the top above the black bar.

Note that the black bar is able to be moved by clicking the dots on the left edge of the bar, while the Parts list seen on the right can be docked and re-positioned normally.

The Parts list

The parts list contains every single part that is within the current spacecraft design. This includes hull objects, imported meshes, rooms, berths, etc. This allows you to easily see everything within the design at once, and also provides buttons for toggling the visibility of each part, the lock state (whether or not you can make changes to the part), whether or not the part is included within the final design, and a seal (which allows other users to modify the design afterwards). The Parts list is also useful for deleting equipment and objects.

Visibility Toggle Lock Toggle Omit Toggle Seal Toggle
On ScShow.png ScLock.png ScOmit.png ScSeal.png
Off ScHide.png ScUnlock.png ScInclude.png ScUnseal.png

The menu buttons

This section describes what each of the menu buttons generally contain at the top of the interface. Note that all of the buttons under these by default give a usage tip on click.

Menu Buttons
File contains a bunch of options related to the management and saving of the entire design. Includes options such as creating a new spacecraft design, saving the current design, importing .3ds objects, and quitting.
Edit contains options related to basic object manipulation. This includes functions such as copy and paste, select all, grab, and rotate. This also includes the settings menu.
Design includes options related to the creation and overall manipulation of objects within a design. This includes the ability to create rooms, hull pieces, jigs, and convert objects to other types. Also allows for viewing ::of design properties and finalising designs, which checks for errors.
Object includes everything related to detailed object manipulation. This is often used for singular parts at a time. This allows the modification, cutting, joining and shaping of individual faces, vertices, and edges.
Surface contains options related to face aesthetics. This includes options such as painting, glow, transparency, polish, and some effects which can be applied. This also normally is used on individual faces within Object ::Mode.
Stations contains options related to Spacecraft Consoles and troop posts. This allows for the placement and sizing of console screens or old swivel style consoles, for all different console types.
Panels contains options for placement of screens that allow for management of a ship. This includes service panels for repairs/upgrades and status panels and world maps.
Vehicles contains options for placement of different vehicle types. This includes vehicles like boats and motorbikes, while also allowing for space vehicle launch and recovery slot creation.
Details contains equipment which is placed around a spacecraft. This includes headlights, game tables, berths of all types, and decals such as empire name and empire flag.
Paths allow you to manage in-designer gravity and collision, alongside placement of hull voids, room voids, ladders and paths.
Helpers contains options for manipulating the grid and overall designer. This includes options such as changing the grid position, the designer bounding box size, etc.
View allows you to individually select what elements of the designer interface to see. Options such as back faces, and the Texture Wrapper are found here.
Help contains information about the designer, including a general guideline of what to do and links to the Wiki.

The buttons on the black bar are also very useful. Note that hovering over any of these buttons gives a tooltip for usage.

Black Bar buttons
The "Design Properties" button shows you properties of the design, and allows you to change module types. The one to the right refreshes collision data, while the collision and gravity buttons to the right of it are for ::toggling collision and gravity within the designer respectively.
The box next to these buttons is for entering co-ordinates. This moves objects/faces if one is selected, otherwise sets co-ordinates of points when designing shapes.
The next 4 buttons are for enabling object mode, and the view of vertices, edge lines, and faces. Object Mode is useful for modifying individual objects in detail, with each element being toggle-able if needed.
The next 3 buttons are for enabling the view of edge lines, front faces, and back-faces of objects. These are visible even when not in Object Mode.
The "Move Grid" button to the right of these allows for positioning of the grid. The co-ordinate box can be used for this.
The next 3 grid buttons are for setting the grid direction. XZ sets the grid to face vertically, while YZ switches the X and Y axis around on the vertical grid.
The "Position Grid" button is used for setting grid position and rotation.
The drop-down which has a distance unit on it is used for setting the spacing of the grid lines.
The "Show Grid" button is for toggling grid visibility.
The "Grid Follows Work" button to the right of this is for making the grid follow any new co-ordinate entered.
The next 3 buttons are for adjusting snapping of the cursor.

General Design Process

There are several steps to creating a ship that can be finalised. In general, from the in-designer Usage Tip, the order is like this;

  • Create an exterior hull.
  • Create one or more rooms inside the hull.
  • Cut out doors and windows.
  • Create finer model details.
  • Apply textures and other effects to finish the surfaces.
  • Add details: control stations, berths, lights, display screens, etc.
  • Add room voids.

Design -> Finalise Design performs checks to ensure that the ship has valid paths, rooms, hulls, and that specific elements are reachable. This is what is used to prepare a spacecraft design for manufacturing. This will list errors such as no fuel, no capacitor, no doors, missing hull, etc.

Most equipment from the old designer has been removed, however, elements such as lighting and console stations remain. This equipment is found under "Vehicles", "Details", "Paths", alongside "Stations". This equipment mostly functions the same, and is still required for a functioning spacecraft. A table below shows what each unit does.


Jigs are found underneath the Design Menu button. There are many different types of Jigs, such as Door Jigs, Window Jigs, Launch Tube Jigs, Cutting Jigs, and Decal Jigs. They are created like any other hull or room objects, by selecting the Shape type (Extrusion, Sphere, Tubing, Spindle) and drawing the shape wanted. A physical object is then created and added to the Parts list as a Jig of the type selected.

Jigs are used by positioning the created Jig object between two rooms, or between a hull and room, ensuring that the Jig penetrates both walls. Once this is positioned correctly, select all 3 objects at once using the Parts panel, and then select "Jig Cut" under the Design Menu button. The jig then cuts the walls in the shape of the jig, allowing you to create tube hallways as an example. The cut walls are then converted to the object type of the jig, such as the walls being converted into transparent glass if using a Window Jig, or door objects if using a Door Jig.

Jigs can be used in order to create different types of objects, exits or walls between two rooms or the interior and exterior of a design. For example, the Door Jig creates a door between whatever rooms the Jig is placed between. The Window Jig creates a Window between the rooms, while the Launch Tube and Cutting jigs just create holes between the hull and room and cut the faces of each side, respectively.

All jigs create faces between the two walls that they penetrate, in order to give walls thickness and prevent you from seeing any back-faces.


Module Function Module Function
Berth Personal respawn location for two people. Stateroom berths can accomodate two colonists instead of people. Can choose what type of berth is provided, such as Captain, Officer, Crew, Troops, or Civilians. Sensor Station Operates Sensors.
Engineer Station Tunes maneuver drive performance.
Required to operate FTL drive.
Space Vehicle Recovery System The recovery system displays an approach lighting system that guides the pilot toward the recovery system. When the vehicle enters the recovery system, it is captured and moved instantly to a vacant parking spot, if one is available.
Fire Control Station Required in each weapon bay to operate the weapon. Only one permitted per bay. Shield Station Operates energy shields. Only one permitted per room.
Maneuver Drive Provides thrust for maneuvering. Enables a station to hold its position. Provides artificial gravity inside spacecraft. Required for all spacecraft. Water Vehicle Parking Spot A water vehicle parking spot indicates a place to park a water vehicle. Ship policies determine which specific water vehicle will be stored. These are 12m x 17m in size and require this space to be available.
Helm Station Controls attitude and velocity of ship. Required for all spacecraft. Only one permitted per bridge. Ground Vehicle Parking Spot Ground Vehicle Parking Spot. Indicates where a ground vehicle should be parked, and ship policies determine what type of vehicle is spawned here. These are 6m x 12m in size and require this space to be available.
Surgery Unit Performs complex anatomical operations. Space Vehicle Parking Spot A space vehicle parking spot indicates a place to park a space vehicle. Ship policies determine which specific space vehicle will be stored. These are 12m x 17m in size and require this space to be available.
Transporter Pad One pad is required per person transported simultaneously. Total pads in room determines maximum object size Pod Bay A pod bay indicates a place to store a drop pod. Drop pods can be used as life boats. They can also be used to deploy troops. These are 5m x 5m in size and require this space to be available.
Medic Station Required in each sickbay to operate surgery unit. Place only one in each sickbay. Transporter Station Operates matter transmission equipment. Place only one in each transporter room.
Navigator Station Displays solar system and wormhole information. Plots courses to travel among the stars. Only one permitted per bridge. Turret (Side) Provides a standard mount for various weapons on hull walls.
Turret (Top/Bottom) Provides a standard mount for various weapons on hull top and bottom surfaces. Space Vehicle Launcher A space vehicle launcher is a place to position a space vehicle for launch. It also determines the direction in which the vehicle is launched. These are 12m x 17m in size and require this space to be available. The launch pad requires direct access to the outside through a door or opening.
Power Relay Station Distributes power between ship systems. Displays status of ship systems.

Valid Design

A valid spacecraft design must define a Station, Spaceship, or Starship with one contiguous hull. When your design is complete and valid, do the following things.

(Unknown as of yet)

Space stations automatically spawn in orbit with crew. The space station will not spawn if there is one already of equal or higher TL design.
A spacecraft that fits on or inside a box 21x21 squares and 5 ? will spawn on the road slabs directly bordering the spacecraft factory. As long as they are empty of vehicles and spaceships.
A spacecraft over 21x21 squares and 5 ? will spawn outside the space station of the planet it was built on (as long as it is empire owned). The space station has room for upto 4 craft to spawn this way. Removing a space station will not reset the spaces. You'll have to hunt down the old spaceships and move them to free up room.
A Privately bought ship will always spawn in orbit directly above the city it was bought at.


The maximum size for a spaceship to be manufactured on a slab on a planet is 21x21 tiles and 5 ? high. Purchased ships always spawn in space, without any fuel, and do not necessarily spawn near space stations (at least if the space station is also privately owned). It may be wise to have hydrogen in your inventory when you buy your ship, so that you can put some into its fuel tanks. Having a large number of power plants also helps the ship keep power longer initially, since its capacitors will not go empty as fast.

It should be noted that resources must be above a certain Quality to be harvested/produced at each TL, and that each TL spaceship or space station requires that all the components and materials that it is constructed from be at least that TL. The relationship is 8 levels of Quality per Tech level from base zero. E.g. Resources with a Quality of 0-7 are limited to TL1, resources with a Quality of 8-15 are limited to TL2, and so on. You need resource Q248 or above to produce TL32 resources.

A spaceship can be constructed one of two ways. Either it can be manufactured or purchased. If it's manufactured, then it is labelled as a 'fleet' ship and is owned by the empire where it was built, although people from that empire will be able to claim berths in it and fly it. A fleet ship receives free repairs and refuelling at all cities and space stations owned by the same empire as where it was built. Lastly, when a fleet ship is destroyed, it must be rebuilt and all cargo and funds on board are lost.

A purchased ship is owned by the player who purchases it, but must be purchased with that player's personal funds. These are known as Company Ships. These ships do not receive free repairs or refuelling, but if they have an officer or captain (player, not AI!), they will respawn above the city they are spawn-tied to when they are destroyed instead of being destroyed forever. The cargo and money they carry is also saved when they respawn. A single person may buy any number of private ships, but may only captain one of them. It can be wise to use a privately purchased ship as an automated trading vessel, due to the rather high rate at which those disintegrate in atmospheres, stars, wormholes, and whatever else the AI crew decides to plow into. Bear in mind that they do not respawn in pristine condition, and that (theoretically) if your officer manages to get killed and you are not the captain, the ship may fail to respawn due to lack of an officer or captain.

Notes on designing a ship

When designing a ship, keep in mind, that:

1. You should always place a Captain Berth so that other berths are not used for a Captain. If you do not have a Captain Berth on your ship, one of the other berths are reserved. The order of precedence for reserving a captain's berth:

Officer > Passenger > Crew > Troop berth.

2. If you want your ship to fly, instead of bounce around aimlessly, you need an Engineer console, and an engineer to operate it.

3. If you want your ship to leave a planet's orbit and reach for other planets, and stars, you need a Navigation console.