Ship Size Classes

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utilae
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Ship Size Classes

#1 Post by utilae »

Ship size classes are like this:
Battleship
Titan
Doomstar
They represent the name given to a ship of a specific size.

So, how many ships size classes should we have and what theme should we name our ship classes around? eg a bird theme, mythology theme, etc.

What are standard Navy ship size classes?

And should players be able to name their own set of size classes, to replace the default ones?

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Ship Size Classes

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio »

utilae wrote:So, how many ships size classes should we have
The number of sizes is somewhat arbitrary right now. I'd suggest 6 sizes is probably a good minimum to start with, and more could be added if deemed necessary.
and what theme should we name our ship classes around? eg a bird theme, mythology theme, etc.
Are you referring to ship class names, or ship size names? Ship classes would traditionally be the name for a particular ship design (whatever that entails), whereas size is just that... a size. One component of a ship design would likely be a size.
What are standard Navy ship size classes?
Right now, or historically?

Since the end of WWII, there can be said to be a rough sizing along the lines of (smallest to largest):
-Patrol Boats / Corvettes (1-2 kiloton)
-Frigates (3-5 kiloton)
-Destroyers (5-10 kiloton)
-Cruisers, Other Cruisers (10-25 kiloton)
-Battleships (40-65 kiloton)
-Supercarriers (>80 kiloton displacement)

This only works because after WWII, people stopped building battleships as the main capital ship, and started building carriers instead. Historically, the various sizes of the above are not fixed... one generation's "battleship" was the size of the next's "cruiser". Or, one generation "destroyer" is the previous generation's cruiser. Since the the always-bigger battleship race has ended, the "battleship" size no longer exists really, and the smaller sizes have remained fairly constant for quite a while (though modern cruisers, destroyers and supercarriers are still getting bigger, though somewhat more slowly than pre WWII growth).

Also, these names are misleading even when they correspond to a particular size. Really, the names are ship roles, which happen to work out to often being a particular size... but there are exceptions. Carriers exist today that are the size of a "battleship". Carriers in WWII were the size of contemporary cruisers. There's also been some recent disagreement about class naming vs. ship sizes between different navies.

This is relevant because presumably in FO, we WON'T be in a modern-Earth type situation most of the time. Rather, we'll be more like the historical situation in which the biggest ship buildable at the time is the bar from which all other ship sizes are measured. During the age of sail, Men of War were rated in size mainly by the number of long-guns they carried. So, you'd have First Rate ships with over 100 guns, Third Rates with 64-80, etc. However, the size of a Ship of the Line varied over time as the larger ships got bigger. At any given time, the largest ship buildable would be "big" or "huge" presumably, but this would be superceded by later developments, or made irrelivant by the later introduction of Ironclads, which were in turn replaced by Pre-Dreadnoughts, which were obviously replaced by successive iterations of Dreadnoughts. All of these could have been called a "battleship" at the time, however.

Going back a bit further, ancient war gallies were generally rated by number of rows of oars. So you'd have Monormes aka Penteconters, Triremes, and higher. In this case, size wasn't always better though, as attacks were often by ramming, which required manoeuverability more so than... bigness. And one advantage of bigger was that more rowers of less skill could be employed to the same effect as fewer skilled rowers. Later, the Romans used boarding more than ramming.

So... rather than having size names in the style of "Battleship", "Cruiser", "Destroyer", etc. which are really ship roles, not ship sizes, I suggest we have ship sizes be described by size-appropraite term, such as "Tiny", "Small", "Medium", "Large", "Huge", "Colossal". The last, "Colossal" is for lack of a better word... it has to be something clearly bigger than "huge", but not too stupid sounding. Suggestions welcome. "Doomstar" is probably not appropriate.

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Re: Ship Size Classes

#3 Post by utilae »

Geoff the Medio wrote: Are you referring to ship class names, or ship size names? Ship classes would traditionally be the name for a particular ship design (whatever that entails), whereas size is just that... a size. One component of a ship design would likely be a size.
I mean size, not roles.
Geoff the Medio wrote: Also, these names are misleading even when they correspond to a particular size. Really, the names are ship roles, which happen to work out to often being a particular size.
This is what I do not like about some games, eg Moo3. They have destroyer, battlecruiser, superbattlecruiser, leviathan, behemoth, etc. There is no consitancy, going from Navy Size Names to Mythological Sizes.
Geoff the Medio wrote: This is relevant because presumably in FO, we WON'T be in a modern-Earth type situation most of the time. Rather, we'll be more like the historical situation in which the biggest ship buildable at the time is the bar from which all other ship sizes are measured.
Maybe we should view this as how we would judge ship sizes from where we are sitting, at the end of the tech tree, as gods of the universe. If we were a super ancient race at the end of the tech tree, we would have all the sizes set out. As game designers we can take that point of view.
Geoff the Medio wrote: So... rather than having size names in the style of "Battleship", "Cruiser", "Destroyer", etc. which are really ship roles, not ship sizes, I suggest we have ship sizes be described by size-appropraite term, such as "Tiny", "Small", "Medium", "Large", "Huge", "Colossal". The last, "Colossal" is for lack of a better word... it has to be something clearly bigger than "huge", but not too stupid sounding. Suggestions welcome. "Doomstar" is probably not appropriate.
I think a theme would be better. Each size name must be an object, eg cat, cow, elephant. Though obviously animal names are not the coolest. I think the best way to do it would be to have a theme base around space, eg Star, Nebula, Galaxy.

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Re: Ship Size Classes

#4 Post by Geoff the Medio »

utilae wrote:I think a theme would be better. Each size name must be an object, eg cat, cow, elephant. Though obviously animal names are not the coolest. I think the best way to do it would be to have a theme base around space, eg Star, Nebula, Galaxy.
Those are appropriate for ship class names, not size names. If you want to have a "Galaxy Class Starship" or an "Elephant Class Troopship", then you can design a ship class and call it that. There's no reason nor benefit to confuse the meaning and terminology of "ship size" with non-size-related terminology like animal names.

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Re: Ship Size Classes

#5 Post by Sapphire Wyvern »

Geoff makes a good case for separating ship size and role descriptors. That said, I'm inclined to think that having a "displacement mass" categories (eg 50kilotons to 500 kilotons) is slightly more flavorsome than a D&D-style size category (Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Gargantuan, Collosal etc). But that's entirely a stylistic issue and has no impact on actual game design.

Alternatively, we could ditch the idea of size categories entirely and calculate a ship's mass/volume from its other statistics (eg number of slots, number of weapons etc). Under this system, you would choose a ship role (eg cruiser, battleship, carrier) and that defines the slot ratios. For instance, a battleship would carry relatively more weapons and armour, while a carrier would carry relatively more parasite craft, and a "U Ship" would have many extra slots for stealth equipment. Then you add equipment according to the role-dictated ratios till you're satisfied, and FO calculates the size of the craft. This fact combined with your engine tech determines the vessel's speed and maneuverability.

This does have the possibly-unfortunate consequence of restricting ship design to the roles/templates that the game designers thought of, though.

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Re: Ship Size Classes

#6 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Sapphire Wyvern wrote:...I'm inclined to think that having a "displacement mass" categories (eg 50kilotons to 500 kilotons) is slightly more flavorsome than a D&D-style size category (Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Gargantuan, Collosal etc). But that's entirely a stylistic issue and has no impact on actual game design.
A case can be made, in my mind, to favour labels rather than numbers in a situation like this. The actual mass / size / whatever of things, measured in kilotons, Gigagrams or micro-Jupiter-masses is rather arbitrary in practice. We can decide that a "big" ship is 5000 units of mass, or 50 billion. As such, telling the player, particularly a new player, than a ship can hold up to 50 kilotons of stuff is somewhat meaningless. There's no context to establish whether this should sound impressive or not. As such, to me it makes more sense to use labels such as as "Tiny", "Medium", "Huge", etc, which give some useful idea how big the ship is. These labels might have a particular mass / volume / whatever limit associated with them, but it's good to have names to go with the numbers as well, to keep the game fun, and not so spreadsheet like (ie. "oh noes! 5 enemy 500 kiloton ships are approching!" vs "egad! 5 huge enemy ships doth approacheth!")

As well, as touched upon already, giving ship sizes in some number of some unit presupposes that numerical ship mass / volume /whatever of that sort will be important to ship design and used prominently in the game in some way. Ship designs might be limited by mass / etc... or the might not... A "big" ship might be big in volume or some other measure of size, and have no limits on mass specifically. Alternatively, the various ship hull sizes could determine how many ship component slots are available for designs, or what the various types or sizes of slots that are available are... which may not be justified in terms of mass or volume numbers.
Alternatively, we could ditch the idea of size categories entirely and calculate a ship's mass/volume from its other statistics (eg number of slots, number of weapons etc).
If size is not used as a significant limitor on the usefulness of ships, in combat or otherwise, then some other readily obvious measure of the relative worth of a ship will need to be found to replace it. A big huge spaceship being powerful and scary is a well-established space opera convention that is useful to exploit for game interface and desing purposes. I'm generally displeased when people invoke "immersion" to justify their non-immersion related design suggestion, but in this case, it might actually apply.

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size and class

#7 Post by guiguibaah »

Why not go with a numerical system, say "Mark1"?

Your fighters are Mark1's.
Bombers Mark3's

Corvettes Mark 50's
Frigates Mark 100's
Cruiser Mark 500

Space Monster Mark 80,000
DoomStar Mark 100,000

Unknown Derelict Anomaly Mark 400,000


So whatever the ship name / class / etc.. we have a numerical number to go as a base. Doesn't have to be "Mark 1" - could be "Hippopotamus Cerulean Dweebles 40 Gugigreats"
There are three kinds of people in this world - those who can count, and those who can't.

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#8 Post by utilae »

I don't like the idea of labeling ship sizes as numbers. I'd rather have tiny, small, big, etc.

If we did go with themes, what themes would we go with?

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#9 Post by skdiw »

I would go for mark I, II, III for testing. Then for the final versions, use names related to race. So a Klackon might have bug, beetle, scarab... then do a light color code so ppl know a bug is the same as a human fighter.
:mrgreen:

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#10 Post by Magus »

Well, I'd stick with a scale like this.
Stuff too small to use the name ship-> Corvette-> Frigate-> Destroyer-> Cruiser-> Warship-> Dreadnought-> Something that's so big it's not really a ship.

However, in there I would also have a mass value attached to it. This mass value would steadily increase as you advanced in construction technologies. So in looking at a fleet's detailed specs, you'd see something like this:

Hunter-Class Missile Destroyer (50kT)
[Detailed specs as needed]

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#11 Post by utilae »

Magus wrote: Well, I'd stick with a scale like this.
Stuff too small to use the name ship-> Corvette-> Frigate-> Destroyer-> Cruiser-> Warship-> Dreadnought-> Something that's so big it's not really a ship.
These are really roles. Plus you think of a corvette and a frigate and think what are those? What objects do they refer to that are comparable in size? If they were Cow and Mammoth, then you can no instantly which is bigger.
skdiw wrote:I would go for mark I, II, III for testing. Then for the final versions, use names related to race. So a Klackon might have bug, beetle, scarab... then do a light color code so ppl know a bug is the same as a human fighter.
I think I'd rather go with A, B, C, D, E, F, etc. And we can still use custom size names so that players get to give a bit of custom feel to their ships. So yeah, based on the race it could be different, eg insect theme, rock theme, etc.
Magus wrote: However, in there I would also have a mass value attached to it. This mass value would steadily increase as you advanced in construction technologies. So in looking at a fleet's detailed specs, you'd see something like this:

Hunter-Class Missile Destroyer (50kT)
[Detailed specs as needed]
With the letter system, you could go:
Scarab Class "WhiteStar" Carrier (C)

where Scarab is the custom size name, "Whitestar" is the ship name, Carrier the role and C is the size.

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#12 Post by Geoff the Medio »

With the letter system, you could go:
Scarab Class "WhiteStar" Carrier (C)

where Scarab is the custom size name, "Whitestar" is the ship name, Carrier the role and C is the size.
If you have to indicate twice what the size is, then the suggestion is broken. If you need to indicate in brackets after a themed name what it means, then that suggests you should be just using the meaning of the term directly.

Why is "A", "B", "C", etc. better than "Small", "Medium", "Large" etc.? (Which is clearer...?) Using letters or themed names to indicate a size is rather silly, IMO. Themed names are appropriate for design class names. Sizes need to be compared between empires, so should use race-neutral terminology.

Colour shading is a rather limiting and non-obvious indicator.

Putting meaningful numbers for sizes (50 kT, etc.) isn't necessarily bad idea, but still suffers from the poblem that the numbers are somewhat meaningless in isolation as in this case, and that it presupposes significance for those numbers.

Also, utilae: You seem to be mixing up the concepts of ship design class and ship size: If something was called "Scarab Class", that would mean it was of a particular design that is called "Scarab Class". Ship size is only one property that would be part of a design; so would weapons, engines, and other ship components.

Sticking a role in a full-length ship title/name is fine, though probably would be a bit lengthy / wordy for general use. A better arrangement would be:

(Class) (Size) (Role) (Name)
eg.

Scarab Class Large Carrier Whitestar

(Names of vessels are often written italicized... looks all fancy and such.)

A more modern-Earth style might be:

(Class) (Empire-Initials) (Name) (Role-Initials)

eg.

Scarab Class BES Whitestar (CA-24)

where "BES" is "Bug Empire Ship" and (CA-24) means the Whitestar is the 24th carrier made by the Bug Empire; the number and class of a ship would uniquely identify it for an empire.

The size could be put before or after all of that, if necessary... so

Large Scarab Class BES Whitestar (CA-24)

or

Scarab Class BES Whitestar (CA-24) (Large)

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#13 Post by Magus »

utilae:
Um, they refer to a Corvette and a Frigate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvette
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frigate

These are conventional naval classes. Its no more alien than Destroyer and Cruiser, and you all understand those I trust. I fail to see a problem.

I think we don't see eye to eye on what makes a role. Here's a list of what I see as sample roles: Artillery, Battle, Carrier, Close Combat, Torpedo, Missile, Strike, Escort, Special Weapon, Bombardment, etc.
You can have a Missile Corvette just as easy as a Missile Destroyer. As a matter of fact, Homeworld one has both.

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#14 Post by Dreamer »

Geoff the Medio wrote:Why is "A", "B", "C", etc. better than "Small", "Medium", "Large" etc.? (Which is clearer...?) Using letters or themed names to indicate a size is rather silly, IMO...
Colour shading is a rather limiting and non-obvious indicator.
Lets use capitalization: so for a ship named "White Star":

White star - small
WHITe star - not so small
WHITE STAR - very huge

:lol: Just kidding... :lol:

Geoff the Medio wrote:Putting meaningful numbers for sizes (50 kT, etc.) isn't necessarily bad idea, but still suffers from the poblem that the numbers are somewhat meaningless in isolation as in this case, and that it presupposes significance for those numbers.
Mm, I remember playing Mechwarrion and wondering what the hell a 25 Tons mech differed from a 50 ton mech. Luckily, I found out in a single mission :D. From there on the significance was crearer than water.

In this case more or less the same principle is present. Mass determines how much stuff a ship has, an indirect meassure of size (if we assume ship density to be more or less constant) and how it behaved on combat (as ship mass will affect speed and turning). So I'd go for numbers.

Another thing: I would use enought size categories to make them clearly different. About one order of magnitude appart from each other. So a doom star is no less than 10 average battlecruisers.

As a bonus, a nice reference to look at, take especial note of the "zoom factors" on the page.
http://www.merzo.net/

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#15 Post by utilae »

Geoff the Medio wrote: If you have to indicate twice what the size is, then the suggestion is broken. If you need to indicate in brackets after a themed name what it means, then that suggests you should be just using the meaning of the term directly.
Yes, I did not mean to include the size twice. I was just using Magus' naming convention. Brackets are just to make the Size Label stand out.
Geoff the Medio wrote: Why is "A", "B", "C", etc. better than "Small", "Medium", "Large" etc.? (Which is clearer...?) Using letters or themed names to indicate a size is rather silly, IMO. Themed names are appropriate for design class names. Sizes need to be compared between empires, so should use race-neutral terminology.
It's easier to think of the next size up, eg C is bigger than B. With "Small", "Medium", "Large" you might get to the sixth size and you will find it hard for a name to describe that size, eg Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Giant, Collosal, Titanic, etc. The size labels start to become very interchangeable, ie you don't know whether Titanic is bigger than Giant or vice versa. With A, B, C, you are certain.

As for race neutral terminology, well if we had to worry about that, then imagine how much of a pain diplomacy would be.
Geoff the Medio wrote: Also, utilae: You seem to be mixing up the concepts of ship design class and ship size: If something was called "Scarab Class", that would mean it was of a particular design that is called "Scarab Class". Ship size is only one property that would be part of a design; so would weapons, engines, and other ship components.
I am not mixing the concepts. Just using Magus' naming convention. 'Class' is just another word for category, ie Size category, Role category. In this thread I am strictly interested in sizes of ships and how to label each size. Right now I most like the A, B, C method of labeling each size.
Magus wrote: utilae:
Um, they refer to a Corvette and a Frigate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvette
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frigate
When I said "what is a corvette and what is a frigate" I was refering to what is 'a ship called a corvette or frigate' named after. So when the Mammoth tank (from Red Alert) was named, it was named after an actual real object, ie a Mammoth.
Magus wrote: These are conventional naval classes. Its no more alien than Destroyer and Cruiser, and you all understand those I trust. I fail to see a problem.

I think we don't see eye to eye on what makes a role. Here's a list of what I see as sample roles: Artillery, Battle, Carrier, Close Combat, Torpedo, Missile, Strike, Escort, Special Weapon, Bombardment, etc.
You can have a Missile Corvette just as easy as a Missile Destroyer. As a matter of fact, Homeworld one has both.
Conventional naval classes are named according to their roles. While a Cruiser might be said to be bigger than a Destroyer, it may not always be the case. So these names do not refer to the size, but to the role. A role is what the ship does, eg a Carrier carries. I am interested in sizes, labels for sizes in this thread.

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