Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Spacecrafts, buildings and other 3D asset creation
pbar1469
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Location: Australia

Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by pbar1469 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:05 am

Hello all.
I am starting a new design that incorporates features that have no real application in Pioneer (yet!), but that can point out new directions and ideas for future development!
This design is called Barracuda Long Range Tug.
I would love to get some comments and suggestions for this little pup!

The better way to start explaining the concept is by pointing out some possible uses for the design:
- Long Range Rescue missions
- Derelict ship or debris/cargo recovery
- Tug operations (Heavy Vessels and Stations, or clearing trade routes from asteroids)

Obviously this has no immediate application in Pioneer, but given that no ship design so far covers this idea, I thought it might be interesting to go down that path.
The ship has no landing gear, but a magnetic foot, that is used for attaching itself to either stations or ships to provide tugging. This means that the ship will not be able to enter atmosphere, but will be able to enter a space station or dock with other ships.
If the vessel being tugged is large enough, two similar tugs can attach to it in order to provide correct thrust vectors, with one of the tugs slaved to the other tug's computer and autopilot systems.
Additionally the ship has a front magnetic harpoon, for being able to deal with debris or other objects that are too dangerous to approach and use the magnetic foot.
The cargo bay contains a small EVA unit, that can connect the winch cables to other objects that are not possible to grapple via magnets. Like asteroids.

This design will obviously require a very powerful engine, with loads of fuel. It has HS capability, but limited, only to allow the crew to look for jobs in other nearby systems.
The RCS thrusters are small, only providing adequate thrust for the tug's own maneuvering, not for tugging.
The main engine thrusters can swivel 90 deg up, in order to provide more versatility when performing tugging operations.

The main (upper) Flight deck has large windows that span to the side in order to provide an excellent angle of view.
There is also a (lower) flight deck that has control stations on each side to control docking collar operations, and to use the RCS.
There are also two small control stations at the rear to control the cargo bay operations, and to use the RCS.
This ship will need to be crewed by at least 2 persons, to a maximum of 4.

The comms/sensor area will have retractable antennas and sensors, duplicated in the opposite side of the ship for redundancy purposes.

This design does not allow for shields (energy or atmo), but it already incorporates hull armor (tugs lead a bumpy life).
---
These are the main ideas for the tug design, which will not be possible to use by the player (at least for now), but the idea is to provide a modified version of this ship that can be bought by players, with the following changes:

- The front magnetic harpoon is removed, and in its place a Cargo scoop can be installed.
- One of the sensor /comms areas can be removed and a hardpoint installed in it's place. It can receive either a laser cannon or a mining laser.
- Part of the upper fuel tanks will be removed in order to augment the living space, and to allow to install better HS modules.
- The cargo bay will be stripped of the EVA unit and the winches, in order to be able to transport cargo.

Given the powerful main engines and thick hull, this design will probably excel in courier and passenger cargo missions.
It can also be a very capable mining ship.
As a fighter it's almost useless due to poor RCS and only one hardpoint, but will be pretty good at dodging a fight (by sheer speed alone).

Sooo, what do you think?
These are the very early stages of design, so I would love some feedback!!!
I'll try to update this with schematics of the interior area distribution soon.
Cheers!

http://s76.photobucket.com/user/pbar146 ... q.jpg.html

http://s76.photobucket.com/user/pbar146 ... c.jpg.html

http://s76.photobucket.com/user/pbar146 ... q.jpg.html

Image

Image

Image

nozmajner
Posts: 849
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Location: Budapest HU

Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by nozmajner » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:52 pm

Hi

Very nice idea. Even if we don't have most of the functionality for it, it can be used as a repurposed ship, like you said. And you thinked the whole thing through deeply, which is always good (until it becomes overthinking that is :D )
I like the overall shape, but there are some things where I think it's a bit strange, so here's my usual nitpicking:
  • The overall shape looks quite OPLI (one of our manufacturers from SolFed, except for the cockpit design, but that shouldn't be set into stone.) I could also imagine it as a Haber ship (like the Lunar Shuttle, and the DSMiner partially. The later needs some redesigning.)
  • The engines feel very very tiny relative to practically all of the other ships, which makes it seem weak.
  • The RCS units feel quite odd, sticking out that much, and being relatively large compared to the main engines, or to other ships. Their placement doesn't seem too logical for me. Like most of them seem to induce rotation, since it's not on the corresponding axis, and there are no one on the other side of the given axis to counter it. For most ships I tend to use recessed RCS thrusters, akin to what the Space Shuttle had on it's nose for example. And that way you can cluster up a bunch of them for each direction, to provide adequate maneuvering capabilities.
  • The alleged rotation of the engine doesn't seem too useful, since it will become off-axis if rotated 90 degree in any direction, so it will induce rotation.
  • The docking collar on the side looks odd to me. I tend to use circular collars, so the ship isn't limited to a given orientation (even if the hull limits it somewhat on some ships).
  • The cockpit on the front feel a bit strange, because if the pilot is sitting so he can look out front, then his head will be too high to look out on the side window, and vice-versa.
  • Apart from this, the cockpit looks very nice, especially from the front and top. The triangular side windows looks a bit unnecessary though, for the above reason.
  • The rear flight deck seems unneeded too, and the placement of the window makes the hull feel quite thin on the edge where the window meets the side of the ship.
  • The front harpoon mount is undetailed right now since it's a sketch, but could you elaborate how it works? I'm not sure if it would be of any use in space, if it's a literal harpoon with cables, because you don't have gravity to make it useful. I'd think relatively large manipulator arms would be more useful for collecting smaller stuff. Same goes for the winches if you want to use them for towing.. You can't have any loose cable to tow something, since it will bump into you as soon as you fire your retros, and it will swivel insanely on any rotation.
  • Even if it's not designed for re-entry, it should have landing gear in my opinion, so it can land on small atmo-less planets, moons and planetoids.
  • The magnetic foot is quite cartoonish. It feels like a suction cup or something to me, and doesn't seem to be especially strong.
  • The placement of the magnetic foot only makes sense for me if you want to have at least two ships for towing, slaving one's controls to the other, as you said.
  • Instead of the magnetic foot, you could make a more complex structure, which fixes itself onto the other ships at several points, and could double as fixed landing leg.
    I'd approach it with putting the engines further apart from the hull, and made it adjustable (visually, since the game doesn't support thrust vectoring), so it can be angled outwards of the load is larger. It could even be rotatable in a way that would allow to use them to rotate the ship on it's longitudinal axis, when there's a larger load.
    Or make it a pusher, and never really rotate the engines much. The other setup in this image feels unnecessary if you ask me, since it looks like it wants to "lift" the load like a skycrane helicopter would:
    Image
    The puller setup could also double as a bulk cargo ship, towing a bunch of containers fixed to a mesh to keep them in place.
One other nitpicking. Why barracuda? For one that's a hunting carnivorous fish, which would fit a combat ship better in my opinion. Also we are using fish names for Kaluri ships (Mola Mola, Pumpkinseed), but they are more curvy and rounded.
OPLI ships are named after snakes (latin names for all of them right now, all from the Natricinae family). Haber doesn't have any naming scheme right now, apart from a clear statement of the function of the ship (Lunar Shuttle, Deep Space Mines)

Also, come to IRC if you want some real-time discussion. :) (same goes for the others who started making ships, I forgot to write this to them :) )

pbar1469
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:44 am
Location: Australia

Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by pbar1469 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:44 pm

Hi nozmajner.
First of all, BIG THANKS for having a look and sharing such good comments!!
I have to tell you that this is great, because as soon as I posted the topic and reviewed it, I immediately started nitpicking on it myself, on the sames issues that you've nitpicked in your post!
That's great because it means that I am on the same page as you are when it comes to design! (humble bow to master noz) :-)
Starting with the last question, the name of the ship, here's why:


Image Image


The cockpit is the mouth :-D

Actually the idea of creating a ship came from looking at the shape of the barracuda head, and after some 3Ding, it seemed to me that the purpose of the design should be of a Tug, given the angled, sturdy compact design. All other functions and ideas came after that.
But that doesn't mean that it should stay like that.
I'm quite happy for the design to belong to either shipyard, either as a "Heavy Tug" from Haber, or, for example, the "Balanophis" from OPLI.

Regarding Engines...

I have to agree there, and I liked one of your sketches, or better yet, a mix of them.
How does this look? (just a rough sketch, engine attached to the same hull plate):

http://s76.photobucket.com/user/pbar146 ... c.jpg.html

Image

I would keep the rotation of the engines because, like you say, better used in a twin ship configuration with slaved computers. In this case, It could rotate a full 180 on the Y axis.
It closely ties in with the magnetic foot idea. The magnetic foot rotates 360 degrees, allowing for the ship to point to different directions without having to detach-move-reattach to the object it's already connected to in order to thrust in a different direction.
Let me explain with some sketches:

Image

Image

Image

Image


Sorry if you already understood this, just wanted to make sure!

Regarding Landing Gear...

The "foot" does look a bit too cartoonish, and it does look a bit like a suction cup, so, using the suggestion of the traditional landing gear, and the need for a rotational magnetic device I came up with this, that kind of takes from both perspectives:


http://s76.photobucket.com/user/pbar146 ... f.jpg.html

Image

This is a fixed landing structure that swivels in a steel arc, like on rails, allowing for the sketches above.
It's much bigger than the foot, almost covering the full width of the ship. What do you think?

Regarding RCS...

As for the RCS units, you are right. As I looked and looked more into them, it became quite clear that they were a bit off axis, specially because they would not provide any pitch movement!!!
Is there a "proper" way of determining their locations based of ship's centre of mass, or is it just an "eyeballed" method?
The reason for them being visible is because being an armoured tug, the maintenance would be easier if the RCS assembly was on the outside of the ship (and giving it a more "rugged" industrial type of look), but thinking a bit more about it, if they are recessed, they can also be serviced from the inside of the ship. And it would also solve the issue of their placement, given that it would not be an issue for the "look" of the ship. I will work on that!


Regarding Docking Collar...

Makes sense. Circular it is. And given that I will recess the RCS units, that will be even better, for the reason you provided.


Regarding Pilot View...

The idea is for the pilot to be seated on a swiveling seat like this:

Image

And as for the triangular, angled windows in the lower control station, only one simple reason:
- To keep to the "Barracuda" look. Ehhehe.

Regarding Front Harpoon...

The main idea is to only use thrusters that are in line with the axis of the cable being deployed, and to be used VERY VERY SLOWLY. Means that the pilot cannot employ any other thrusters while deploying or retracting the harpoon. The harpoon isn't really "shot", but more likely, slowly deployed by winches. This system is located behind a sliding hatch, so as to protect it from "space debris".
The head of the harpoon is a diamond shaped electromagnetic tip.

But you do have a point regarding the issue of the towed object bumping into the ship once retro thrusters are applied.
I came up with the following technology development ;-) :
The cables are made of a combination of highly flexible polymers and a metallic alloy. The cable is initially wrapped around a cylinder drum (reel) and is pulled out by a gear system in front of it. That gear system also applies electricity to the cable, making it hard and inflexible. The electricity would not affect the cable still inside the reel because it also has inbuilt diodes that would only allow electricity to flow to the extended part of the cable.
This is obviously based on the Battletech technology of Myomers!!!

From Battletech wiki:
"Myomer are microscopical poly-acetylene tubes filled with an acti-strandular fiber. These fibers are created by mixing biologically engineered bacteria with specific polymers within the tubes. An electric current is sent through these tube, causing the fibers to arrange themselves into a complex nano-structure similar to the proteins myosin and actin that allow biological muscles their movement. "

Kinda like that, but with metal and polymers instead. Let's call it Polysteel TM, ehhe!
But if it seems a bit too far fetched, I can go with manipulator arms! Let me know your views on this.

Regarding Rear Window...

I placed a window there for the idea of having someone controlling the RCS and the winch cables from the back, and also to keep to the "tug" concept of having great visibility all around.
But you are right about the flimsiness of the hull because of the window shape, I hesitated on that same issue, so I'll fix that.
By the way, the technology of the winches and cables at the back could be the same as for the "harpoon" at the front, except that they are manually deployed by the EVA Unit. (Kinda like the Mule in Firefly)

I think that's about it.
I really appreciate your feedback, and as soon as possible I will post the updated model (the .blend file itself), with all that is mentioned above and other suggestions you might have.

Cheers!!!

pbar1469
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:44 am
Location: Australia

Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by pbar1469 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:39 am

Hi all.

Made some modifications to the design, as per suggestions:

- Engines. Bigger, and detached from the main hull. Can now swivel a full 180
- Docking Collar. Moved to the top so it doesn't interfere with the engines. Connects to the cargo bay.
- Reverse thrusters. Moved to the main engines structure, trying to maintain the look of Haber Corp ships.
- Removed cartoonish magnetic foot, and implemented a fixed landing gear, that rotates 360
- Removed all RCS units, and will create them in the black strips around the ship.(Not done yet)
- Fixed the rear windows

Still have to do the comms and sensors...


Image

Here is the .blend.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6f1KA ... sp=sharing

Thanks, and feel free to give some comments and suggestions!!!

nozmajner
Posts: 849
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:25 pm
Location: Budapest HU

Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by nozmajner » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:55 pm

Wow, I'm slow with response. :)
Yeah, the nacelled one looks better in my opinion.

Maybe you could play with the nacelle shape a bit, like make it less tall on the front.
The RCS placement looks good to me, but I'd also put some onto the nacelle too.
I can see the Barracuda analogue for the windshield, but it still bugs me anyway.
The rear porthole seems even more unnecessary with this nacelle configuration. Not much to see from there.
The leg-clamp looks good to me.
The engines feel a bit tiny for me, but that could be justified with the role of the ship, so no problem I think.

About the naming, since you took it to the Haber direction, it should state it's function in the name (Haber are unimaginative people :D ). Long Range Tug would do it for example. Or we come up with some kind of corporate naming scheme, and rename Lunar Shuttle and DeepSpaceMiner retrospectively. Although I like the unimaginativeness of it, since Haber is a faction which is one company, with monopoly on everything in their space. And they are the epitome of bureaucratic rigidity, so that naming scheme fits them well.

pbar1469
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:44 am
Location: Australia

Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by pbar1469 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:32 am

nozmajner wrote:Wow, I'm slow with response. :)
Yeah, the nacelled one looks better in my opinion.
Maybe you could play with the nacelle shape a bit, like make it less tall on the front.
I agree, the nacelles are still work in progress, so anything goes!
nozmajner wrote: The RCS placement looks good to me, but I'd also put some onto the nacelle too.
I'm a bit unsure about that, because if I keep to the idea of the nacelles rotating, that would mess up with the alignment of the RCS.
They would either be pointing somewhere else (in case of the rear RCS), or be thrown off-axis (if lateral RCS).
I might try to add a lateral RCS in the centre or rotation of the nacelles...
nozmajner wrote: I can see the Barracuda analogue for the windshield, but it still bugs me anyway.
I'll try to fix that, because the namesake is no longer an issue if indeed this design should be select by Haber corp!
nozmajner wrote: The rear porthole seems even more unnecessary with this nacelle configuration. Not much to see from there.
That's a funny thing! When I started working on the changes, the first one I did was actually the porthole. Them as the changes to the landing gear and the engines came, I totally forgot about them! Of course they cannot be there, unless someone wants to have a good look at the nacelle's mount!
So, yes, they will disapear!
nozmajner wrote: The engines feel a bit tiny for me, but that could be justified with the role of the ship, so no problem I think.
Actually I will try to upscale them a bit, given that per definition, a tug as really powerful engines.
nozmajner wrote: About the naming, since you took it to the Haber direction, it should state it's function in the name (Haber are unimaginative people :D ). Long Range Tug would do it for example. Or we come up with some kind of corporate naming scheme, and rename Lunar Shuttle and DeepSpaceMiner retrospectively. Although I like the unimaginativeness of it, since Haber is a faction which is one company, with monopoly on everything in their space. And they are the epitome of bureaucratic rigidity, so that naming scheme fits them well.
I thing this design fits better with Haber, because of what you said. The utilitarian, functional look of things.
Either Long Range Tug or Heavy Tug will do nicely.
As for naming the designs other than their function, and given that Haber Corp seems to be a "soviet" style bureaucracy, maybe name them like they did to their naval designs:

- Project 1155 Tug
- Project 2133.5 Shuttle
- Project 2551 Miner

Just an idea.

Will post changes soon.
Cheers!!

FluffyFreak
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Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by FluffyFreak » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:23 pm

We don't currently have the ability to rotate engines - although we would accept a patch if a coder wanted to add that feature!

pbar1469
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Location: Australia

Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by pbar1469 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:35 am

FluffyFreak wrote:We don't currently have the ability to rotate engines - although we would accept a patch if a coder wanted to add that feature!
I know, but in order for the design to make sense, i cannot place them there.

pbar1469
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:44 am
Location: Australia

Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by pbar1469 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:46 am

Hi again.

Here are the most recent changes:

- Nacelles are a bit bigger, and shape has changed at the front
- RCS placed, they should keep the axis correct now.
- Triangular windshield removed
- Rear porthole removed
- Landing gear smoothed
- Dual comms and sensors elements added
- Headlights added
- Side EVA door added, along with steps and an external cargo area for mining/tug tools and supplies (those Haber people don't know the first thing about streamlining!)

To be done:

- Heat sinks
- More detail in the docking collar, EVA port,
- Probably enlarge and detail the "harpoon" port, in order to function better as the optional Cargo scoop.

Image

And the blender file:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6f1KA ... sp=sharing

Thanks all, and most specially nozmajner for all the good suggestions!

nozmajner
Posts: 849
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:25 pm
Location: Budapest HU

Re: Ship Design - Barracuda Long Range Tug

Post by nozmajner » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:36 pm

Looks rather good. :)

Some other feedback (I know, I know, nitpicking :) )
  • The proportion of the nacelles look good. They complement with the size of the ship nicely.
  • Haber ships should have engine nozzles more like the Lunar Shuttle's, instead of bell shaped thrusters. (I'm saving those for Kaluri, and for M-CS partially.)
  • The shape hole around the retro thruster looks odd. Like if it's an afterthought, and not in an industrial way, but grpahically.
  • I like the handrails and that little standing area next to the door. Same for the ladders.
  • I'm not fan of that door frame sticking out that much. Feels tacked on.
  • Those antennas and stuff on the top/side are bugging me a bit. On one side they are nice detail, and not much overdone. On the other hand the area for them feels a bit strange. It was bugging me earlier, but I was curious what do you make out of it. Ant they aren't contributing much to the silhouette of the ship.
    I just tried covering up the whole area, to see how it looks, and I think it might go better with the shape of the Lunar Shuttle.
    Image
  • The RCS blocks are very nice. They feel a bit few, but that should be my snob-ism. :) Some of them (in the back) seem to be unbalanced.
  • An idea: a docking collar placed in the magnet ring-s center could make access and boarding tasks easier for the crew.

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