Ok, so this thread will be to discuss the methodology and the reasoning behind a proposed complete and utter rewrite of the fundamentals/guidelines? behind how ship specs are conceptualised, assembled and displayed. At the end of this process the overhaul will entirely replace The Milwalkee Plan, Modern Navy Plan and SSSF with a Unified Ship Creation Manual.
So why do we need to do this utterly massive undertaking?
SSSF and the subsequent design plans have a major flaw. They are based on specific elements of the TNG technical Manual, specifically the element which deteremines ship types, roles and capabilities by crew size. Bigger more powerful ships require larger crews to crew them in a proportional manner. The Modern Navy Plan, an extension to the New Navy Plan merely extended the technology limitations of subsystems beyond the Mark X hard limit set in the TNG Manual.
This is an issue, because it essentially leaves us unable to cope with the realities of all the later Star Trek franchises past TNG. Because those ships have incorporated Moore’s law into their conceptualisation, something which can’t be implimented in a single franchise based technical manual. (Moore’s law is the law which states that the amount of transistors in a IC doubles in density and/or speed approximately every 2 years)
The SSSF and both design guides do not have the capacity to adapt to an evolving trek timeline. They are weighed down by the design realities of 2364 and as such can’t be used to replicate or build subsequent franchise’s signature ships such as the Intrepid or Defiant class.
Plus there is a huge benefit to be gained by making the design process less of a haggle session and more modular and clear cut similar to say building a RPG character. To that end the USCM will be based around the following concepts
A space frame will fit roughly into a series of linear generation categories similar to how jet fighter’s are described. This allows a starship from any era of trek canon to immediately have an anchor basis.
The Four Horsemen
Spaceframes and systems will feature an interplay of four key attributes allowing the designer complete and utter flexibility of design. These values can be inherent constraints or resources which may be generated and spent.
The four values are :- Space, Mass. Power, Control
Space and Mass will be based on the physical dimensions and make up of the ship itself. Each generation will contain a limited range of Space and Mass and is calculated from the generations canonical flagship. (IE Usually the class of ship named Enterprise) While Power and Control are generated resources from systems installed into the spaceframe.
What has come before
The USCM will utilise the good ideas contained in Milwalkee and the values from MNP as there is no dispute with the math, only the implimentation. But it will reimagine how these good ideas are implimented to bring them into line with this more modular and straight forward design capability.
The aim here is design a flexible, extensible system that works irrelevant of what era/type/role ship is designed and displayed both in STF and on screen. The system we want is something easy to learn for the novice designer but a high degree of accessible depth for those designers who want to plum the waters as they grow in experience and confidence.
This design methodology overhaul will also allow for more sim ideas and usages for GM’s and crews. As it encapsulates not just what a ship has, but what it is capable of.
Part one of the USCM which aims at reforming and replacing The Milwalkee Plan will be posted following a two week discussion period of this thread.
– Brigadeer General Matt Bernardin
Assistant Engineering Director
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