Human Station Design Philosophy

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JPThunda
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Human Station Design Philosophy

Post by JPThunda » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:21 pm

I'm not sure if this belongs here, as it's partly a lore based question, but I'll just roll with it.

Alright, so I am a ME(Mechanical Engineer) with a special interest in Aerospace structures, i.e. Space Ships and Space Stations. One of the things I really love to do is sit and look at a ship or station and analyze it for structural strengths and weaknesses(and then typically tell my ships to fire at -that- point). Buttresses open to space, narrow sections, etc. I typically play as Human, at least at first, because I am, first and foremost, a Human, and I've noticed and given some thought to the Human Space Station designs and was wondering if I could get some comments on their, at least presumed, design philosophy shift.

Let me elaborate. When I look at SotS I stations, like the well known Argos Naval Yard for example, that belies a certain design philosophy. It is seemingly made from modular block construction with a large central core and radial docking ports for ships of varrying size, and it seems to be a very efficient model. It follows closely with current port design doctrines, as well one might expect of a port. Comparatively, in SotS II, the human Naval Stations have a very drastic change in philosophy. The large central core is gone, in favor of a thin, yet vertically tall, central core with multiple primary radial arms and several smaller, secondary radial arms, with some of the primaries ending in large globular structures. This structure is a relatively large deviation from the previous standard. Facilities can no longer be centrally located in the core, presumably relegated to the globes. Additionally, without vastly superior construction materials and techniques, the smaller sections would be much more prone to catastrophic failure(i.e. catching a cutting beam and getting the lower half of your station cut off). While the station is not without benefit, specifically of a much larger volume of ships that can be serviced, as the design is multi-tiered vertically, indicating a more firm grasp of the fact that you're working in a full 3 dimensions, it would presumably lose efficiency because of the longer travel distances required for someone to get something from the globes. In the older design, because everything is centrally located, it takes the same amount of time to get anything to any of the docking arms, whereas now if the reflective coatings are stored in globe 3 on deck +74 and your ship is being constructed on arm 2, deck -25, + and - denoting above and below a given 0-plane, it will take you a lot longer.

Further, weapon coverage seems more problematic and less of a consideration in the design. In the old station model, it was a fully armed and operational battle station( 8) ) with a compliment of large, medium, and small mount weapons for full-range defence; now, however, we are relegated to large-mount anti-ship weapons from the combat module. Did the galaxy at large forget about Missiles and the importance of Point Defence weapons for static emplacements? :awesome:

The Civillian Stations, however, added to my befuddlement. They seem to consider defence much more than the military station. Though the new civillian stations (which is to say science, diplomatic, civillian, etc.) all maintain the new smaller central core structure, they all add large, almost shield-like arms to the structure, with a slightly angled plane facing outward and important structures on the inner surfaces. In my mind this is a far more efficient setting for defence of key military assets, i.e. ships under construction or repair. One could have ship docking on the inside of the shield arms, relatively centralized location of supplies within the large arms on which the ship docks, or in the central core, and increased defence by placing armor plating and gun emplacements embedded within the radial shield arms. The slight angling already increases the likelyhood of a direct fire weapon to bounce away (we learned that in the late middle ages and castle wall design), embedding weapons slightly within the walls would grant good coverage while reducing the likelyhood of the turrets being blown off of the surface, and mounting point defence ont the dorsal and ventral (top and bottom) sides of the arms would grant excellent point defence coverage. Conversely, the current Naval Station is seemingly a better candidate for trade with it's vast docking arms, or for diplomacy and science with the large globes held well away from the central core of the station, allowing for privacy and possibly extravagent enclosed environs in the case of diplomacy, or a relatively simple way to lock down an experiment gone awry for the scientists.

So, basically, I was wondering what lead to the design philosophy changes, and if there was something I was missing, or if the director of SolForce sent the memo's out to the wrong guys.

To be perfectly clear, I'm not bashing the stations or the game. I like both of the designs and I think they look wonderful in game, and the game itself has become a great deal of fun and very engaging with an intensely immersive story (being from the southern US I particularily liked the bit about the Mississippi Islands in the Consortia entries in the pedia). It just seems to me that a lot of what we today consider to be conventional wisdom, and some of which showed through in SotS I, got lost, and I was wondering what, if anything, lead to that.

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Mecron
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Re: Human Station Design Philosophy

Post by Mecron » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:43 pm

actually the size of a large naval station results in a MASSIVE defence fleet presence...which allows the station to function much more openly as a shipyard and supply point. What was learned from the sots prime era is that expecting any sort of large station to defend itself was folly unless you were working with a hollowed out asteroid. As for distended vs localized...simply put, there is more coming and going and needing done with a large naval station than you can keep completely cetralized and still get it all done. Civilian designs tend towards the tight design because a) they are not primarily a capitol class shipyard and b) their presence is no gaurantee of a corresponsdingly large defense fleet. So they live with the lack of maximized usefulness.

JPThunda
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:26 am

Re: Human Station Design Philosophy

Post by JPThunda » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:35 am

So they depend on the fleet for defenses almost exclusively, it still seems awkward that they would completely ignore point defense. I wouldn't put it in my proposal, but I guess in the grim dark of the SotSverse......wait, wrong universe. :blush:

With the kind of sheer volume I guess decentralizing the assets might be a boon, or at least having multiple locations and in the form of the globes. That makes a lot of sense, actually. I kept thinking they were Star Trek-esque dry docks, but it would make more sense if they were separate and independent hubs. And the Civilian bit makes sense, despite their lack of guns.

Thanks for the enlightening post, gave me some more things to think about.

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