September 29, 2016
I have finally been able to get back into Starmade after a significant time away from it. Mostly due to other games, and learning about video creation and Youtube posting. That’s all great, but I love building space ships too.
After building some train cars in Starmade, I have built up a torpedo-launching “skeleton” into a boarding shuttle, complete with anti-missile “winglets” (turrets in the shape of tiny wings) as well as an anti-missile “fin” (a turret in the shape of an oversized fin on top of the shuttle. This was a fun little build, but I found the original skeleton very limiting. It was built with hull, so it was hardly protected at all. It did not deploy the torpedo very far below the belly at all, so I had to leave the belly largely unprotected. Furthermore, the skeleton maker placed a camera below the belly, to give a clear view of the torpedo when it was extended and ready for launch.
I was able to do some neat stuff with the shuttle, but it was beyond my normal style, so while I did do something with it, it wasn’t what I’d normally build. That’s probably for the best. I am able to reach out beyond my comfort zone and build on someone else’s skeleton design. That’s a growth project for me and very good for my building skill.
I was able to add a serviceable teleporter room, complete with dockable access doors on either side. Then there is a door in front of the teleporter room that leads directly to the cockpit, which is better armored. Originally, I put some crystal armor to see through, but I found it much, much more convenient to replace the crystal armor with glass door, for easier access directly to the ship core. Even so, it’s still better-armored than with plain hull. I also added some basic necessities, such as a faction block. For what it’s worth, I even added a little laser weapon, so that the pilot doesn’t feel completely defenseless. To further improve durability, the main hull on top of the skeleton is armor, not just plain hull, lined with shield blocks to give the shuttle about 30k in shielding. Not much, but it might take a single turret hit.
I added docking points to the nose, right behind the torpedo launch camera, and at the mid-level top of the hull. So it’s not at the top of the hull, where the top fin AMS is located; it’s on a lower level. It’s there for maximum flexibility. The bottom camera docking point will probably be more useful. I probably should have set up some plex door “landing gear” to accommodate the torpedo camera. Since the Radar Jammer is relatively useless on such a low-power design, I could easily replace it with a control block to activate the landing gear.
I gave it three basic, large-looking thruster ports with red forcefield cover to give it “life”. (Forcefields tend to pulsate.) The thrusters are a rather large expenditure of space, mass, and block use for such a small ship. However, I felt I needed to give it something for thrust. At the end of the day, the thrust/mass ratio is only 0.5, and there is not even any anti-grav (passive stop) to allow it to hover, so it’s not even really useful at all for a planetary shuttle. It’s mostly for space.
At the end, I added an extra white stripe around the top of the hull to break up the monotony of the grey hull.
It won’t win any awards, but it’s something, and more importantly, it was a fun little project.