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Need help with spaceship design!

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Palimon, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. Palimon

    Palimon

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    Hey, building a game where you can perform the role of an engineer on a spaceship. I want to simulate working on the guts of the ship: replacing parts, repairing parts, performing mini-game based calibrations, etc. I have a list of the overall systems of the ship, and in most cases, they're implemented too (as in, functionally, the shield generators do generate shields). But I'm having trouble researching and developing the component-level of the various equipment. Can anyone suggest a good place to do so? I feel like I've Google'd the internet, and I've thought about asking around mechanical engineer forums, or perhaps sci-fi writing forums. I've even looked up Star Trek fan diagrams of spaceships and nuclear reactor diagrams. But I'm still stuck on a good source for what kind of components would, mechanically, make up ship-board systems. Any ideas?
     
  2. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    I've seen a couple large print star wars books that had a ton of exploded views and part break downs of the equipment and vehicles in star wars. Have you tried a book store?
     
  3. Palimon

    Palimon

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    Actually, I never even thought about a book store, and printed stuff not being available on the internet :D.


    ...looked it up. Those are almost entirely at the ship-design level, not equipment :(.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  4. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    Have you taken a look at ships? The floating kind. They might have something.
     
  5. HolBol

    HolBol

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    What about stuff like this? Why not just be creative and fill in the blanks yourself?


    It's science fantasy. It works because it works, not because it makes sense. :p
     
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  6. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  7. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Ryiah, theANMATOR2b and TonyLi like this.
  8. Palimon

    Palimon

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    Thanks guys! Some good ideas there!
     
  9. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Or submarines and tanks. They're probably even closer to spaceships because everything is within the hull. Taking inspiration from real things and adapting it probably would make for good and believable designs.
     
  10. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    If you have already designed the gameplay, I'd design the components around that. For example if you are dealing with power distribution in the ship or something, just google these terms on the internet, with a bit of imagination/greebles these could look good (googled 'power hub'):




    Almost always I've found that when I am lacking inspiration in scifi design, it is actually a lack of clarity about what it is that the design is supposed to serve.
     
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  11. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    At the component level you will have three basic types of item.
    • Structural - Stuff that holds the ship together, stuff that people walk on ect
    • Control system - Stuff that controls the ship
    • Functional doodads - Stuff that does stuff
    Structural stuff should be pretty easy to figure out. You'll need girders to hold things in place. You'll need catwalks to access stuff. You'll need at least an outer hull.

    Functional doodads is really up to you. So far noone has actually built a working shield generator, warp core or phaser cannon. So you can really do what you like with these things.

    The control system is already well defined. At the component level this will consist of
    • Sensors - Detect the current conditions
    • Processing unit - Does calculations based on the conditions
    • HMI - Gets input from the humans onboard
    • Actuators - Translates commands from the processing unit into actual changes on the doodads
    • Lots of cabling - Connects all of the bits together
    If I had to place bets, I would say the engineer on any space craft would spend most of their time dealing with control system glitches.

    Some specific tasks I could see needing to happen
    • Replace or repair structural components. This will only ever need to happen in extreme circumstances. After a fight, collision, or some idiot pilot manages to smash his craft into the side of the docking bay.
    • Replace wear parts on doodads. Some parts are designed to wear out with use. These would need to be replaced on a regular basis.
    • Perform preventative maintenance on doodads. Take them apart, clean them, top up the oil ect
    • Troubleshoot and repair broken doodads. This will be rare if the above two items are done properly. If not it might happen all the time.
    • Recalibrate sensors. Sensors drift over time. Most will need to be reset on a regular basis.
    • Replace actuators. High use actuators will fail over time and need to be replaced.
    • Troubleshoot control system. Occasionally the control system will have problems. Expect to spend a significant amount of time figuring out which part of the control system has failed, and replacing it.
    That's just the bare minimum to keep the ship running. One would also expect to be working on improvements to the ship.
     
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  12. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    I'd say, the best place to look, is in your imagination.:D

    The people, behind Star Wars, Star Trek etc. used their imagination
    to make the technology behind, spaceships, phasers and light sabers look futuristically and scientifically convincing.

    A good example of imaginative ideas, is like in the episode in the Star Wars cartoon, that showed how Jedi's create light sabers.
    They use a special rare gem crystal, found only on certain planets, that power up
    the light saber and even influence, the colour of the energy blade too.
    Blue gems = blue light saber energy blades
    Green gems = green light saber energy blades etc.

    In the case of so called, real life spaceships, some scientists and even
    native americans, who have unexpectedly seen UFO's, in real life, have seen
    some of them, suck up water, like a funnel.
    And they even believe, that the ufo's use, some sort of water vortex engine
    to power up their ships and travel around the Earth or universe. :eek:

    Maybe those ideas, or imaginative ideas could help.
    Or, mix imagination with science/or other science fiction sagas, and create your
    own thing, like the guys, behind the Star Wars sagas etc. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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  13. fetish

    fetish

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    The thing to remember, of course, is that there aren't especially any Spaceships. There's the shuttle, there's some manned sattelites. That's it.

    Sci-Fi writers, directors et al have to "make up" what's in a starship. MOST seem to depict them as evolutions of navy ships - I bet you could get some really detailed information, schematics, layouts, etc for decommissioned aircraft carriers, submarines, etc. Make some changes, change oil to Delethyrium Extract, change nuclear fuel to Warp Core, and bingo bongo, Bob's your uncle.
     
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  14. LeftyRighty

    LeftyRighty

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    biggest thing that is overlooked when it comes to space engineering is that heat is a HUGE issue. No atmosphere limits the options for removing it and everything electrical produces heat, not to mention solar radiation without an atmosphere to mitigate it is like operating in a cooker.
     
  15. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    As a Star Trek fan, I have something to add.

    While the more modern starships are rather impressive to look at...



    ...That's a lot of detail. Detail is expensive. Detail takes time. Detail is easy to get wrong.

    ...But you don't have to add detail to get an awesome design!



    See?
     
  16. DerrickMoore

    DerrickMoore

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  17. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Scott Manley youtube channel is something I stumble upon within this subjects
     
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  18. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    My approach to this design concept would be to take a game like WarioWare, find some proven mini game concepts, then re-imagine them as space themed.

    If you want to know what real mechanical engineers do, it's just replacing parts. If you want to know what a mechanical engineer in the future will do, it's sleep while the robots do all the work.

    I can't see how expanding the lore will result in emergent gameplay, though. Some activities are fun, whilst others are not so much. Fishing is fun. Troubleshooting components to determine what part has failed, and ordering a replacement and doing a plug and play swap is not so much.
     
  19. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    I know we chemical engineers are a smarter breed then mechanical engineers. But I wouldn't demean them that far.

    The mechanical engineers job also includes diagnosing the part that's failed, and working out what to do when no replacement part is available. Plus when nothing is broken, they work on making sure it stays that way. Mechanical engineers also design all of the parts to start with.

    Engineering is primarily mind work. Once you get to the actual replacement of parts, you've moved into technician territory.