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Offline liveware (OP)

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Science Vessel Design
« on: July 29, 2020, 07:48:24 PM »
In my recent game, I have decided to go with a more ship-centric approach rather than a fighter-centric approach to ship design in order to reduce micromanagement. As a result, I developed the science vessel below:

Code: [Select]
Oxford class Science Vessel (P)      10,000 tons       264 Crew       1,202.8 BP       TCS 200    TH 250    EM 0
1250 km/s      Armour 1-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 61      Sensors 210/210/1/1      DCR 10      PPV 0
Maint Life 9.25 Years     MSP 3,591    AFR 80%    IFR 1.1%    1YR 76    5YR 1,133    Max Repair 210 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 72 months    Morale Check Required   

TMG EP125.00-40C Ionic Reaction Drive  (2)    Power 250    Fuel Use 4.48%    Signature 125    Explosion 4%
Fuel Capacity 500,000 Litres    Range 200.9 billion km (1860 days at full power)

TMG EM Sensor EM35-210 (1)     Sensitivity 210     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  114.6m km
TMG Thermal Sensor TH35-210 (1)     Sensitivity 210     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  114.6m km
TMG Jump Point Survey Sensor (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour
TMG Ground Survey Sensor (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour
ELINT Module (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

ECM 10

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Notable features of this ship:

1. Maximum size commercial engines available to my empire. These are used to allow for homogenization of design efforts between my cruiser-class ships, which have similar speed requirements but shorter ranger than my science vessels. These engines also have smaller thermal signatures than equivalent tonnage military engines, making them somewhat stealthier. Thermal reduction is not utilized as that would require a dedicated engine design and would reduce the cross-class engine compatibility I am striving towards.

2. Geo, grav, EM, and thermal sensors, but no active sensors. The passive sensors are large and are intended to provide early warning against potential hostiles. The ELINT module provides the potential for discerning alien ship designs. This ship is intended to operate independently or as part of a fleet which includes much stronger defensive elements. When operating as part of a larger fleet, it can provide valuable long-range detection capabilities and possibly ELINT capabilities if the fleet can remain undetected.

3. Range and speed. This class has fairly low speed, however this was chosen intentionally as low speed ships have relatively smaller thermal signatures, which reduces the chance of detection at long range. Additionally, with lower, speed, commercial engines become a viable option, which allows for improved range due to improved fuel efficiency.

4. Jack of all trades, master of none. This class was designed to replace smaller, dedicated passive scouts, geosurvey craft, and grav survey craft. A primary goal for this design was to reduce micromanagement of all of the aforementioned craft and some compromises were made to achieve this objective. For example the old designs could survey more systems faster, but the new Oxford class can accomplish an entire system survey with minimal intervention on my part.

What are some other people's survey/science vessel designs and how do you use them?
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Offline froggiest1982

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 08:06:23 PM »
In my recent game, I have decided to go with a more ship-centric approach rather than a fighter-centric approach to ship design in order to reduce micromanagement. As a result, I developed the science vessel below:

Code: [Select]
Oxford class Science Vessel (P)      10,000 tons       264 Crew       1,202.8 BP       TCS 200    TH 250    EM 0
1250 km/s      Armour 1-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 61      Sensors 210/210/1/1      DCR 10      PPV 0
Maint Life 9.25 Years     MSP 3,591    AFR 80%    IFR 1.1%    1YR 76    5YR 1,133    Max Repair 210 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 72 months    Morale Check Required   

TMG EP125.00-40C Ionic Reaction Drive  (2)    Power 250    Fuel Use 4.48%    Signature 125    Explosion 4%
Fuel Capacity 500,000 Litres    Range 200.9 billion km (1860 days at full power)

TMG EM Sensor EM35-210 (1)     Sensitivity 210     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  114.6m km
TMG Thermal Sensor TH35-210 (1)     Sensitivity 210     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  114.6m km
TMG Jump Point Survey Sensor (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour
TMG Ground Survey Sensor (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour
ELINT Module (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

ECM 10

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Notable features of this ship:

1. Maximum size commercial engines available to my empire. These are used to allow for homogenization of design efforts between my cruiser-class ships, which have similar speed requirements but shorter ranger than my science vessels. These engines also have smaller thermal signatures than equivalent tonnage military engines, making them somewhat stealthier. Thermal reduction is not utilized as that would require a dedicated engine design and would reduce the cross-class engine compatibility I am striving towards.

2. Geo, grav, EM, and thermal sensors, but no active sensors. The passive sensors are large and are intended to provide early warning against potential hostiles. The ELINT module provides the potential for discerning alien ship designs. This ship is intended to operate independently or as part of a fleet which includes much stronger defensive elements. When operating as part of a larger fleet, it can provide valuable long-range detection capabilities and possibly ELINT capabilities if the fleet can remain undetected.

3. Range and speed. This class has fairly low speed, however this was chosen intentionally as low speed ships have relatively smaller thermal signatures, which reduces the chance of detection at long range. Additionally, with lower, speed, commercial engines become a viable option, which allows for improved range due to improved fuel efficiency.

4. Jack of all trades, master of none. This class was designed to replace smaller, dedicated passive scouts, geosurvey craft, and grav survey craft. A primary goal for this design was to reduce micromanagement of all of the aforementioned craft and some compromises were made to achieve this objective. For example the old designs could survey more systems faster, but the new Oxford class can accomplish an entire system survey with minimal intervention on my part.

What are some other people's survey/science vessel designs and how do you use them?

I understand the purpose so I won't add any critique on that but I still prefer to have Geo and Grav separate.

I think overall it's a good design and gives me some ideas on how to improve my vessels, however as it stands I would get the rid of the Geo Sensor as this ship could be a good explorer and border patrol unit, with the amount of sensors you have there it's a bit of a waste to have them sitting on a rock for months looking for minerals. I say that because I play at 5% survey speed so that takes quite a while. But even at 100% I would still prefer them around than sitting on a system for too long. Once you'll find life also you can expect them to be sitting there for a while attempting contact, so I would probably add a Diplomatic component getting definetely rid of the Geosurvey capability

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 01:20:23 AM »
I would personally get rid of ELINT Module and add one more of each survey sensor instead for faster survey. Ideally you want Science Department as well, it is 100 tons component so not that big. Other than that I think the design is fine.

I think you want your spying on separate ship, from my experience it takes quite some time to gather any data. In my current game I have alien homeworld under siege and one of my spy ships is watching over it and new data from ELINT are sparse (I have two ELINTs on the ship). Based on that I believe that chance you will gather something during survey of the system is low. And you don't want to stay in the system to spy on them with survey ship.
 

Offline froggiest1982

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 05:30:30 AM »
I would personally get rid of ELINT Module and add one more of each survey sensor instead for faster survey. Ideally you want Science Department as well, it is 100 tons component so not that big. Other than that I think the design is fine.

I think you want your spying on separate ship, from my experience it takes quite some time to gather any data. In my current game I have alien homeworld under siege and one of my spy ships is watching over it and new data from ELINT are sparse (I have two ELINTs on the ship). Based on that I believe that chance you will gather something during survey of the system is low. And you don't want to stay in the system to spy on them with survey ship.

In 1.11 there is a bug affecting ELINT modules so it could also depend on that. You may be getting less reading than what u suppose to.

One thing though as I havent played with ELINT much: does adding an extra one actually make any difference?

EDIT: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8495.msg109678#msg109678 Yes it does
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 05:33:30 AM by froggiest1982 »
 

Offline skoormit

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 09:22:08 AM »
I'm a big fan of dual surveyors. It does mean that half of your surveying sensors are idle all the time, but it makes life so much easier that it is worth it.

I also like the idea of covering multiple similar roles with a single design.
I'm not sure the roles you are combining here are similar enough to be justified, but it really depends on play style.

The most important things I want from my surveying ships:
1) Fuel efficiency
2) Cost efficiency (measured by survey points gathered per year, accounting for maintenance cycle transits, divided by cost)
3) Micromanagement efficiency (this is why i like dual surveyors--I don't have to balance the ratio of survey types needed for each new system; just give the first surveyor geo orders, and the next few grav orders, and if one gets done before the others, switch it or move to the next system)

The most important things I want from my ELINT ships:
1) Stealth (to observe without being observed)
2) Speed (to be able to chase fast ships, and to evade hostilities if necessary)
3) Cost efficiency (measured by days on target per year, accounting for maintenance cycle transits, divided by cost)

As you can see, these roles are incompatible for me.
Cost efficiency is something we sacrifice when we make multi-purpose designs, obviously, but if my survey ship is fuel efficient, it can't also be stealthy and fast.

That said, I do like to add otherwise unneeded components to a good design in order to give it some flexibility, as long as those components don't significantly increase cost or weight.
This is why I put fuel tanks and a refueling system on my engineless orbital miners and terraformers. It allows me to have some fuel on hand for emergency use, while increasing the cost and weight of these designs by less than 1%.

So, I could see myself adding an ELINT module to a surveyor design, if my surveyor design was so large that a 500 ton, 100 BP component was not a significant addition.
My present design is 4,401 tons, 1100 BP.

Code: [Select]
SurvoD2 class Science Vessel      4,401 tons       136 Crew       1,099.6 BP       TCS 88    TH 125    EM 0
1420 km/s      Armour 1-23       Shields 0-0       HTK 31      Sensors 1/1/4/4      DCR 5      PPV 0
Maint Life 11.15 Years     MSP 933    AFR 26%    IFR 0.4%    1YR 14    5YR 206    Max Repair 100 MSP
Cryogenic Berths 200   
Knight    Control Rating 2   BRG   SCI   
Intended Deployment Time: 48 months    Morale Check Required   

ID-M 20s@50%--125EP--0.075LEPH (1)    Power 125    Fuel Use 7.50%    Signature 125    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 266,000 Litres    Range 145 billion km (1182 days at full power)

ASS16-8 5t--Res1--Str1.6 (70%) (1)     GPS 2     Range 2m km    MCR 181.7k km    Resolution 1
EM-Minimus v3 (1)     Sensitivity 1.6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  10m km
TH-Minimus v3 (1)     Sensitivity 1.6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  10m km
Geological Survey Sensors (4)   4 Survey Points Per Hour
Gravitational Survey Sensors (4)   4 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

An ELINT module adds roughly 10% in cost and weight.
That's more than I'm willing to pay for flexibility that only very rarely is useful.


 

Offline skoormit

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2020, 09:38:41 AM »
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Code: [Select]
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Maint Life 9.25 Years     MSP 3,591    AFR 80%    IFR 1.1%    1YR 76    5YR 1,133    Max Repair 210 MSP
...


That's an awful lot of MSP and a somewhat high AFR. I suspect you have a lot of maintenance storage?
For ships with very long planned deployments, it is usually more cost-effective in the long run to add engineering spaces rather than maintenance storage.

Try swapping out some MSP storage for more engineering spaces on a HS for HS basis, and note the change to your 5YR MSP estimate.
(If you really plan to deploy the ships for 6 years, add 1/3 to the 5YR cost to get the 6YR cost).
Compare the difference in MSP cost to the difference in ship cost.

I seem to usually end up with an AFR around 6% per 1,000 ship tons for non-combat ships with multi-year deployment times, but it will vary by how much more you are willing to pay up front to save costs over time.
 

Offline liveware (OP)

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2020, 07:12:43 PM »
I think overall it's a good design and gives me some ideas on how to improve my vessels, however as it stands I would get the rid of the Geo Sensor as this ship could be a good explorer and border patrol unit, with the amount of sensors you have there it's a bit of a waste to have them sitting on a rock for months looking for minerals. I say that because I play at 5% survey speed so that takes quite a while. But even at 100% I would still prefer them around than sitting on a system for too long. Once you'll find life also you can expect them to be sitting there for a while attempting contact, so I would probably add a Diplomatic component getting definetely rid of the Geosurvey capability

I'm playing at 10% survey speed but I also like to explore very slowly. So I'm willing to accept the longer survey times.
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Offline liveware (OP)

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2020, 07:13:34 PM »
That's an awful lot of MSP and a somewhat high AFR. I suspect you have a lot of maintenance storage?
For ships with very long planned deployments, it is usually more cost-effective in the long run to add engineering spaces rather than maintenance storage.

Try swapping out some MSP storage for more engineering spaces on a HS for HS basis, and note the change to your 5YR MSP estimate.
(If you really plan to deploy the ships for 6 years, add 1/3 to the 5YR cost to get the 6YR cost).
Compare the difference in MSP cost to the difference in ship cost.

I seem to usually end up with an AFR around 6% per 1,000 ship tons for non-combat ships with multi-year deployment times, but it will vary by how much more you are willing to pay up front to save costs over time.

You're probably right about this. I should spend some more time staring at the ES vs MS balance.
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Offline liveware (OP)

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2020, 07:19:07 PM »
I would personally get rid of ELINT Module and add one more of each survey sensor instead for faster survey. Ideally you want Science Department as well, it is 100 tons component so not that big. Other than that I think the design is fine.

I think you want your spying on separate ship, from my experience it takes quite some time to gather any data. In my current game I have alien homeworld under siege and one of my spy ships is watching over it and new data from ELINT are sparse (I have two ELINTs on the ship). Based on that I believe that chance you will gather something during survey of the system is low. And you don't want to stay in the system to spy on them with survey ship.

I haven't yet developed the science department component (my 10% research speed means a 10k project takes a loooong time to complete). That is on the list for future upgrades however.

I'm considering dropping the ELINT module. Originally I had 2x each of the geo and grav survey sensors instead of the ELINT. I haven't used ELINT much and just realized now that the ELINT range is only 17M km, which is very short for a ship this sized I think. So I will most likely replace the ELINT with larger EM and TH sensors, though the diplomacy module is another interesting option (but too large I think at size 1000? can't remember off the top of my head).

My primary motivation for equipping my geosurvey ship with large passive sensors is to keep it from blindly stumbling onto hostile NPRs, which happens regularly with my geosurvey ships UNLESS I first manually send a passive scout through each newly explored system. Manual scouting is a bit tedious once there are more than a handful of new systems available, hence my desire to combine that capability onto the geosurvey scout.

Traditionally I have used scout carriers with dedicated passive scouts, geo scouts, and grav scouts to explore new systems. This system works, but it becomes increasingly difficult to manage as the number of scout carriers grows and the number of potential new systems gets larger than about 100.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 07:21:33 PM by liveware »
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Offline froggiest1982

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2020, 07:55:49 PM »
I would personally get rid of ELINT Module and add one more of each survey sensor instead for faster survey. Ideally you want Science Department as well, it is 100 tons component so not that big. Other than that I think the design is fine.

I think you want your spying on separate ship, from my experience it takes quite some time to gather any data. In my current game I have alien homeworld under siege and one of my spy ships is watching over it and new data from ELINT are sparse (I have two ELINTs on the ship). Based on that I believe that chance you will gather something during survey of the system is low. And you don't want to stay in the system to spy on them with survey ship.

I haven't yet developed the science department component (my 10% research speed means a 10k project takes a loooong time to complete). That is on the list for future upgrades however.

I'm considering dropping the ELINT module. Originally I had 2x each of the geo and grav survey sensors instead of the ELINT. I haven't used ELINT much and just realized now that the ELINT range is only 17M km, which is very short for a ship this sized I think. So I will most likely replace the ELINT with larger EM and TH sensors, though the diplomacy module is another interesting option (but too large I think at size 1000? can't remember off the top of my head).

My primary motivation for equipping my geosurvey ship with large passive sensors is to keep it from blindly stumbling onto hostile NPRs, which happens regularly with my geosurvey ships UNLESS I first manually send a passive scout through each newly explored system. Manual scouting is a bit tedious once there are more than a handful of new systems available, hence my desire to combine that capability onto the geosurvey scout.

Traditionally I have used scout carriers with dedicated passive scouts, geo scouts, and grav scouts to explore new systems. This system works, but it becomes increasingly difficult to manage as the number of scout carriers grows and the number of potential new systems gets larger than about 100.

I see, well my approach is different and I guess it is influenced by the lack of micromanaging concern. In this meaning what is going to happen in 1.12 will help me a lot though.

I usually create an Admin called First Contact with the following structure:
ELINT ship x 4
Diplo Ship x 4
Explorers x 4
Another Admin called GEO Survey Operations within the First Contact Admin
Geosurvey Ships x 10 to 15 full auto survey mode
Another Admin called GRAV Survey Operations within the First Contact Admin
Gravsurvey Ships x 5 full auto survey mode

I proceed as per below:
Option A
Explorer Jumps in the system, deploys a sensor at JP (AS,EM and TH roughly 20/30mkm), I flag the new system as Alien Controlled regardless so no one flies in unauthorized
Explorer flies over most interesting planets and sit in the system for a few days/weeks
If system does not have any alien activity and marked as secure by flagging it out the Alien Occupied status and our survey ships will start flying in, if a new system is found rinse and repeat.
Option B
Explorer Jumps in the system, deploys a sensor at JP (AS,EM and TH roughly 20/30mkm), I flag the new system as Alien Controlled regardless so no one flies in unauthorized
Explorer flies over most interesting planets and sit in the system for a few days/weeks
If system does have any alien activity I maintain the Alien Occupied status and send out Diplomatic ships and ELINT if the aliens have shown no hostility towards our explorer

Couple of Tips
All these ships are better off with commercial engines as you don't want any military reading to mislead the NPR races. Exceptions could be made for Gravships and Geoships as you may want to keep these on a lower tonnage and out of aliens in general. Also all shall be designed with their own Jump Engines so that the automation will do the heavy lifting for you avoiding also to tug around tenders etc. You can then spare tenders for military operations where JGs are not available yet.

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2020, 02:05:05 AM »
I haven't yet developed the science department component (my 10% research speed means a 10k project takes a loooong time to complete). That is on the list for future upgrades however.

I'm considering dropping the ELINT module. Originally I had 2x each of the geo and grav survey sensors instead of the ELINT. I haven't used ELINT much and just realized now that the ELINT range is only 17M km, which is very short for a ship this sized I think. So I will most likely replace the ELINT with larger EM and TH sensors, though the diplomacy module is another interesting option (but too large I think at size 1000? can't remember off the top of my head).

My primary motivation for equipping my geosurvey ship with large passive sensors is to keep it from blindly stumbling onto hostile NPRs, which happens regularly with my geosurvey ships UNLESS I first manually send a passive scout through each newly explored system. Manual scouting is a bit tedious once there are more than a handful of new systems available, hence my desire to combine that capability onto the geosurvey scout.

Traditionally I have used scout carriers with dedicated passive scouts, geo scouts, and grav scouts to explore new systems. This system works, but it becomes increasingly difficult to manage as the number of scout carriers grows and the number of potential new systems gets larger than about 100.

I completely agree with having strong passives for survey ships. I do the same. But in your situation IMO, more survey sensors would be better. I consider 1 of each as insufficient for anything that goes beyond Sol.

I think diplo module has no place on survey ship. Diplomatic ships will give its position to aliens that it communicates with. So all your survey ships will be vulnerable in such situation. Another problem is aliens do not like your presence in their home system so continuing the survey of their homeworld is usually bad idea if you want positive relationship. So i would say for first contact you want to get your survey ships out of the system asap or stay hidden as much as possible to not get negative opinion. For both situations diplo module is useless.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2020, 04:59:07 AM »
My survey ships tend to evolve over time which also depend on what happens and what type of aliens that I meet. As most aliens tend to be a bit more advanced than me I always try to make as much good relations with them as possible so I don't want to upset them if I can avoid it.

When I start explore my surveyors almost always are specialised with a major focus on gravitational survey vessels so it requires me to maintain two yards to build them. My first few generations rarely even have any jump drives and relies on jump ships or stations to move around.

Later on I usually still have one dedicated geo survey ships with no jump engines who's main job is to complete survey of unfinished system connected to the gate network. My science ships usually grow to around 8000-10.000t and have dedicated passive sensors and powerful grav sensors and a 1000t hangar. The hangar can then have additional utility vessels which most often are geo survey crafts to survey the most interesting planets in any system they currently is scanning. It also makes then really useful in a military capacity as scouts or can even deploy small stealthy ELINT crafts.

Early surveyors usually carry commercial engines and jump drives and later on I use military engines and jump drives and perhaps give them better defences too, depending on the conditions they need to operate in. I want my ships to be useful in more than one situation which explorer ships really can be.
 

Offline liveware (OP)

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Re: Science Vessel Design
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2020, 06:48:18 PM »
I ended up dropping the ELINT and installing a similarly sized shield in order to provide some minimal amount of protection against missiles (this ship will also serve as my cruiser fleet's passive scout, so this might help it survive when used in defensive fleet actions). This might change later on as I develop better armor and engine tech. Mainly I don't want to spend another 10 years researching new passive sensors with only 10% greater range than my existing sensors. Larger passives will have to wait for the next design revision in a couple hundred years...

I also messed around with the ES vs MS ratio, so I now have a maintenance life of about 7.5 years and a 5 year MSP requirement of about 800 MSP. Might be a bit cheaper to operate now.

Also, I'm starting to appreciate the value added by small hangers. I will probably add a small (< size 1000) hangar next time around once engine tech improves.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 06:52:44 PM by liveware »
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