Ship Creation Overhaul Proposal

Posted Sept. 9, 2019, 9:10 p.m. by Steve Johnson

Posted by Daniel Lerner in Ship Creation Overhaul Proposal

Posted by Brigadier General Matthew Bernardin (Assistant Engineering Director) in Ship Creation Overhaul Proposal

Posted by Daniel Lerner in Ship Creation Overhaul Proposal
Posted by… suppressed (1) by the Post Ghost! 👻
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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

Design Generation

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

So I’m a relative novice in the EDept, so it may help me to summarize the above to make sure I understand. Let me know if I misunderstand anything:

1) The current submission guidelines are very technical and have a lot of formalities, which makes it difficult especially for novices to the EDept.

2) Also, the current submission guidelines are based on the old TNG Tech Manual, is somewhat inflexible, and makes it difficult to have submissions for starships that reflect more recent developments in Star Trek that we want to RP with.

3) We need to create a new submission guideline that addresses both of those two points.

4) To do that, the first step is… (I’m not sure on this point - what is the ask here? Are we just brainstorming or is there something specific we should be looking at and commenting on?)


Ok so Dan,

1) Essentially Yes, spec submission reviews are very bizarre, arcane and filled with endless wrangling. Usually over the math with designers having to justify alot of their design choices rather then anything else. I’ve reviewed several designs and it’s mostly feel based and very subjective even with all the current guidelines.

2) Joe best sums up question 2.

3) Yes

4) So the first step is to change the foundation of how a ship functions from crew size as the main ship constraint on specs and capabilities to physical limitations as constraints.

Essentially this is what SMPC (Space, Mass Power and Control) is all about. If you can get your spec to line up to those physical constraints it would be a valid spec. Under the current system the Sovereign Class is a dark horse anomoly. When you calculate volume of the space frames seen up to the Galaxy they have a linear progression. IE they get bigger in a predictable pattern. But the Sovereign is even at the most wildest calculation values somewhere between two to four times leaner in volume then a galaxy class ship.

However it’s not even debateable that it’s a significantly stronger more advanced explorer. SSSF just can’t deal with that. But you can get it’s mass and volume from established specs and then work backwards with the other stated elements of the design to get a working viable spec.

Yes there is something specific that will be coming down the pipeline in a little bit, this post was just to debut the idea. Get people interested, asking questions so when the more fleshed out thing is presented you’ve got some idea of what’s going on.

– Matt

Got it. That help’s a lot. Thanks Matt and Joe.


I’m curious to see what your calculations/examples look like. In general I get what you are saying, but I’m also having a hard time visualizing. As someone who has written specs, and reviewed them here, one of the hardest things is getting people to understand our tricky system. So I’m curious to see how well your proposal flows for novices to get involved in making ships.

Also, is there a plan for how we’d go about handling all of the older specs? Because that is an awful lot of work to redo them, especially with as radical of a change as you are proposing to our design system.


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