Common Shipbuilding Issues

7.1 Cross-Portfolio Information

7.1.1 Vessel Overview

• Engines

Retro thrusters, retro thrusters, retro thrusters, retro thrusters! (to the tune of “Developers, developers,


If your craft is: A) not Rlaan manufactured and B) more than 5 meters long it probably needs retro


Now, the retro thrusters and maneuvering thrusters don’t need to be necessarily as pronounced as

the rear engines (giving you some artistic license in defining a visual front/back) but they NEED TO

HAVE VISUAL INDICATORS OF THEIR EXISTENCE. For some ships this is mainly a texturing

question. For larger vessels, this will necessarily influence your model design.

• Radiators

One of the biggest problems in space is heat dissipation. VS spacecraft have a lot of heat to get rid

of, so they’re going to need radiators. While, as with retro and maneuvering engines, artistic license

is granted in how much of the ship’s surface area is going to be radiator dominated, the same need for

visual indicators of radiators exists. If you have fins, you should probably put a radiator texture on

them, because they’re almost certainly not for aerodynamic flight.

• Internals

VS ships aren’t, in general, intended to be very dense. This is more true for larger craft than strike

craft. In general, the idea for VS ships is that the surface-area to internals ratio should be pretty

high. The bigger ships in VS can be seen as big shells of armor and radiators around many, smaller,

internal components. Moreover, a lot of the internal components would actually be plumbing, of the

coolant (I always had a soft spot for gallium alloys, but no decisions are finalized on what exactly the

coolant is) circulating variety, running between the reactors/engines (the engines being fusion reactors

themselves) and other heat-generating components (e.g. weapons). The rest of the space being taken

up by insulation (vacuum is pretty good) and physical shielding to keep the crewed and other sensitive

parts of vessel safe from the engines/reactors, and other hazardous portions of the ship.

• Atmospheric flight

Most spaceships in the VS universe, even if capable of accelerating to escape velocity, are not designed

for atmospheric flight. Some are. If its role description mentions “Aerospace” or “lander”, “puddle

jumper”, “dropship”, “ground support”, or “orbital” then it’s a good bet it has an atmosphere-friendly

design. If not - build a spaceship, not an airplane.

That said, some smaller craft that are not atmosphere-friendly will still be atmosphere capable. The

more developed the infrastructure of the group using/designing the ship, the more likely they don’t

intend for it to ever see atmospheric use on an inhabited planet - this is what docking stations, spaceelevators,

orbital shuttles, and other infrastructure exists for. In fact, (once we get planetary structures

squared away a bit better), the really industrialized planets will probably start firing on you if you

attempt to land in anything larger than a pinnace/dispatch craft, and even then only with appropriate

permission. On the flip side, if it’s a Forsaken ship, or a Luddite craft, then it probably spends a

lot more time visiting places without well-developed orbital infrastructure and may need to land on

occasion. Also take into account the age of the design you’re considering. Much of the VS universe

as of 3276 is post-frontier, but a lot of places don’t have to think back too far to remember when they

weren’t. Use your better judgment.

If the ship is very large, even if it is atmosphere-capable, it is almost certainly not atmosphere friendly,

unless perhaps it’s something very esoteric (atmosphere skimmer for terraforming project or some

such). In general, if the ship is very large, it’s best to assume it’s not even atmosphere capable unless

there’s a very good reason for it. Large vessels will make use of shuttles and dispatch craft to take

care of business on the ground.