Finally, another class of First Order warship

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Patroklos » 2016-05-11 08:08pm

I don't think that's how it works. If something is bilaterally symmetrical that is is how it is overall evaluated. If not the words have no meaning because everything is asymmetric unless its a sphere.

Also when talking about center of gravity its not the volume of space a part takes up, but rather the density. The engines and associated gear, reactors (as you said) and fuel sections of an ISD, just like a wet navy ship, are probably the most massive per unit volume. That's why my first post was to wonder what that bridge placement means to engine placement assuming the associated below deck support and equiplent that goes with that tower (if any) would seem to require a lopsided engine arrangemet. In an ISD not only is the tower centered allowing balanced engine placement, but it is raised pretty far above the line of the engines to where I wouldn't expect there to be any interference with the centerline engine.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Patroklos » 2016-05-11 08:13pm

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Galvatron » 2016-05-11 08:45pm

Patroklos wrote:Is this a consequence of the the original SW designs being conceptualized and physically built by model makers, them having extensive experience with models of all type of real vehicles?
If that's the case, I wonder how in the hell they came up with the Nebulon-B. I think that's, by far, the most bizarre ship design in the OT.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by MKSheppard » 2016-05-11 08:59pm

Galvatron wrote:Et tu, Shep? Am I the only one who likes the Falcon's design?
The original design back in 1976 was for the Falcon to be a cargo tug with a small amount of freight capacity. Hence why the cockpit was offset.

They did art for it for the TFA:ICS, but it arrived too late to make the cut.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-05-11 09:21pm

Patroklos wrote:I don't think that's how it works. If something is bilaterally symmetrical that is is how it is overall evaluated. If not the words have no meaning because everything is asymmetric unless its a sphere.
Thing is, in space the 'horizontal' and 'vertical' planes of a ship (both running along the axis of thrust) are equally important. A ship that is unbalanced 'up/down' is no better from an engineering standpoint than a ship that is balanced 'left/right.' Indeed, roll the ship ninety degrees and it's the same thing.

Thing is, to human aesthetics, up/down asymmetry is normal and sometimes makes things actively more pleasing to the eye. Human beings aren't symmetrical about a horizontal plane, nor are trees, mountains, buildings, or other things we see around us that we consider attractively designed.

So we instinctively think left/right asymmetry is 'awkward,' while instinctively ignoring up/down asymmetry and not seeing it as a problem with the appearance of the object. Thing is, in space, which side of a ship points "up" is arbitrary from the point of view of an outside observer. If the engines thrust in a fixed direction the ship has a well defined 'front' and 'back,' but the other four directions are functionally interchangeable.

But in TV and movie depictions of space, spacecraft almost always have a well defined 'top' and 'bottom' along with their 'front' and 'back.' Ships are hardly ever seen hanging upside down or at odd angles- so star destroyers' bridge towers always point "up" even though there is no obvious reason why if you happen upon a star destroyer in deep space, you should be positioned so that it will appear thus.

As a result, the star destroyers look big, menacing, and symmetric. Whereas if we rotated them on their sides, from an engineering point of view the design is just as good... but now it looks lopsided.
Also when talking about center of gravity its not the volume of space a part takes up, but rather the density. The engines and associated gear, reactors (as you said) and fuel sections of an ISD, just like a wet navy ship, are probably the most massive per unit volume. That's why my first post was to wonder what that bridge placement means to engine placement assuming the associated below deck support and equiplent that goes with that tower (if any) would seem to require a lopsided engine arrangemet. In an ISD not only is the tower centered allowing balanced engine placement, but it is raised pretty far above the line of the engines to where I wouldn't expect there to be any interference with the centerline engine.
This is a fair point.

Note that on the Maxima-A, the bridge tower is proportionately much smaller. There's no obvious reason NOT to put it on the centerline, though, unless there are correspondingly heavy weights somewhere in the ventral hull on the starboard side.

Hm. One speculative explanation for how they ended up with such a weird design- perhaps the Maxima-A is a variant on a narrower hull (say, the original Maxima-class), where they sawed the hull in half lengthwise and added an extra segment to contain extra troops and fighters. Then they have to either relocate the bridge tower to mate with the extra centerline segment, or to displace it over to one side. It might take less design work and retooling to do the latter.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Adam Reynolds » 2016-05-11 09:27pm

When it comes to engine asymmetry, the ship that really comes to mind is the Nebulon-B frigate(being a case of the top bottom asymmetry Simon mentions above). While the majority of the mass is clearly on the same axis as the engine, it has a notable section that sticks out below. What could that possibly be for?

Especially since it is all held to together by a fairly narrow central strut that can't possibly hold up to attack as well as a more conventional design. While that strut is only narrow relative to the size of the fairly massive ship, it doesn't seem a reasonable design overall.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-05-11 09:32pm

The Nebulon-B doesn't really make a lot of sense unless we assume some kind of thrust vectoring or gimbal-mounted engines, in my opinion. If the engines push in the direction they point, the center of mass is out of line with the engines.

Assuming that the thrust direction is adjustable...

...Perhaps the Nebulon is designed to maximize the available space for docking small craft, or to have its hull protrusions acting as anchor points for cables to secure extremely large cargoes that would just sit there. In which case the Nebulon-B, like the early concept for the Falcon, would essentially be a tug... and it would explain why the ship is useful to the rebellion. As a tug it would necessarily have disproportionately powerful engines.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Patroklos » 2016-05-11 09:37pm

Engine-on-boom designs are pretty standard fare in scifi, usually for radiation reasons.Its also often the case if you need to isolate a sensor from engine emissions or to have its placement avoid as much hull shadowing as possible.

who knows, but you can explain the Nebulon especially if you don't assume it's role is to slug it out with other ships.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Patroklos » 2016-05-11 09:39pm

In the end very little of its mass is off the thrust axis, so it's not really that hard to balance since rhe protruding parts don't affect engine placement. In the end that is key. What major equipment (ie high mass) has to be off axis based on the "wierd" bits.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Esquire » 2016-05-11 09:41pm

Gunboat tender, perhaps? Very heavy fighters or bombers too bulky to be conveniently contained within whatever the contemporary fleet carrier design was - say, with wings broader than a Venator's main hanger entrance - but able to simply strap a squadron of large small craft onto the central pylon and be a useful support frigate after releasing them.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by RogueIce » 2016-05-11 10:50pm

Simon_Jester wrote:I suspect that if the iconic star destroyer had been introduced in this way and with this (rather smoothed-out) art style, we'd be saying the same thing about it. There's no greebles, no texturing. And we see the ship alone in space, so there isn't the sense we get in the movies of the ship being this great menacing looming thing that overpowers our heroes' puny ships.
This is a good explanation, I think. Compare this to, say, the Dominator Star Destroyer from the X-Wing comics:

Image

Can you nitpick or question some of the design choices? Sure. But it gives a good impression of being massive, powerful, and has all those nice greebles and texturing we expect from our Star Destroyers.

The smoothed-out art style would be perfectly fine for a Star Trek ship, as an example - but for Star Wars I just don't think it works. TBH were it not for the asymmetrical bridge tower this would just get a resounding "meh" from most of us; it's just that tower is the only thing of note and it stands out (not in a necessarily good way) so we harp on it. Because otherwise there really is nothing else to really discuss about it. It's about as bland as it gets.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Galvatron » 2016-05-11 11:04pm

MKSheppard wrote:The original design back in 1976 was for the Falcon to be a cargo tug with a small amount of freight capacity. Hence why the cockpit was offset.

They did art for it for the TFA:ICS, but it arrived too late to make the cut.
I never saw that illustration, but I do recall Bob Brown suggesting something like that as a possible reason for the Falcon's design back in the 90s.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-05-11 11:24pm

Esquire wrote:Gunboat tender, perhaps? Very heavy fighters or bombers too bulky to be conveniently contained within whatever the contemporary fleet carrier design was - say, with wings broader than a Venator's main hanger entrance - but able to simply strap a squadron of large small craft onto the central pylon and be a useful support frigate after releasing them.
Any fighting ship large enough to need that much space, and that wouldn't fit in a Venator's bay, would make more sense as an independent hyper-capable craft. You're talking about a 'gunboat' bigger than the Millenium Falcon. Why would it even need a mothership, especially a mothership as relatively small as a Nebulon, which cannot possibly carry heavy machining and logistics facilities?

Also, as I understand it, the Rebellion routinely uses Nebulons for things other than straight-up warfare, which suggests they may be a converted civilian design, or at least a design with civilian applications.
Patroklos wrote:Engine-on-boom designs are pretty standard fare in scifi, usually for radiation reasons.Its also often the case if you need to isolate a sensor from engine emissions or to have its placement avoid as much hull shadowing as possible.
Yes, but you still need the axis of thrust to pass through the center of mass, or the ship tumbles.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Patroklos » 2016-05-11 11:35pm

I am not sure where you are getting the idea that it doesn't. If you look at the actual engine placement three of the five engines are along the top of the aft engine block, which is directly in line with the central spine and most of forward mass. So if there is something particularly high mass on that on some portion of the forward section the two lower engines might be there to compensate.

Its weird, I agree, but because most of the weirdness is forward of the engine block and doesn't readily force a rearrangement of the primary machinery I don't find it as odd as the Maxima. If we assume a uniform mass allocation with volume the Nebulon is only unstable in pitch, the Mazima will be unstable in pitch, roll and yaw (this one only if the engines are not even port to starboard).

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Galvatron » 2016-05-12 05:28pm

Oh, I forgot to mention: Tarkin's old personal corvette, the Carrion Spike, makes its first appearance in this issue as well.

Furthermore, Black Squadron includes what looks to be an OT-era A-wing as some point shortly before TFA.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by PhoenixKnig » 2017-10-13 12:10am

Is this subject still active?
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Patroklos » 2017-10-13 02:52am

PhoenixKnig wrote:
2017-10-13 12:10am
Is this subject still active?
Seriously? Did the date of the last post confuse you?

But since you decided to top this...
Simon_Jester wrote:
2016-05-11 09:21pm
Patroklos wrote:I don't think that's how it works. If something is bilaterally symmetrical that is is how it is overall evaluated. If not the words have no meaning because everything is asymmetric unless its a sphere.
Thing is, in space the 'horizontal' and 'vertical' planes of a ship (both running along the axis of thrust) are equally important. A ship that is unbalanced 'up/down' is no better from an engineering standpoint than a ship that is balanced 'left/right.' Indeed, roll the ship ninety degrees and it's the same thing.

Thing is, to human aesthetics, up/down asymmetry is normal and sometimes makes things actively more pleasing to the eye. Human beings aren't symmetrical about a horizontal plane, nor are trees, mountains, buildings, or other things we see around us that we consider attractively designed.

So we instinctively think left/right asymmetry is 'awkward,' while instinctively ignoring up/down asymmetry and not seeing it as a problem with the appearance of the object. Thing is, in space, which side of a ship points "up" is arbitrary from the point of view of an outside observer. If the engines thrust in a fixed direction the ship has a well defined 'front' and 'back,' but the other four directions are functionally interchangeable.

But in TV and movie depictions of space, spacecraft almost always have a well defined 'top' and 'bottom' along with their 'front' and 'back.' Ships are hardly ever seen hanging upside down or at odd angles- so star destroyers' bridge towers always point "up" even though there is no obvious reason why if you happen upon a star destroyer in deep space, you should be positioned so that it will appear thus.

As a result, the star destroyers look big, menacing, and symmetric. Whereas if we rotated them on their sides, from an engineering point of view the design is just as good... but now it looks lopsided.
I missed this originally and have no issues with any of it on its face.

I am, however, skeptical that future space craft will not have "up" and "down." As you go into humans live in a world where up and down exist. Its how we orient ourselves on a day to day and instinctual bases. And being able to give someone a quick, relevant location for something on a ship dictates that we will designate sides of the ship as something. Whether that's up or down, ventral or dorsal, or sector 1 and sector 2 is anyone's guess. But up and down work pretty well.

In universe, even though we feel its bad scifi design, presumably engineers feel there is a good reason to torture physics to replicate gravity in a planar fashion. I would assume they did this because of what you and now I just said, that its recognized that humans are designed for effectively flat gravity of a uniform and specific force, and that we work and fight better when this instinctual arrangement is maintained. But for whatever reason they do it, consequently SW ships most definitely DO have an up and a down, and thus the arrangement of some of the hull features make sense sorta.

As far as dorsal/ventral balance. the tower does make the ISD seem lopsided. I would point out, however, that the reactor bulge, assuming it is spherical within the hull, is also off center which depending on how massive it is may counterbalance the topside terracing and tower even though is volume is likely lower.

The toweris still asymmetric as you note and there is a lot of talk about stupid having it is. The tower makes a lot of sense outside of the exposed bridge, however, removing things like comms, sensors and shield projectors (depending on how they work) from the hull greatly reduces hull shadowing and cutouts. One might wonder why they don't have a tower on both sides but it may simply be a matter of cost and availability. Sensors and comms are the most expensive things on real world warships outside the engines. Real world warships do accept cutouts in sensor coverage quite often. My point being there is a reason to have asymmetry in some dimensions, and if you are all planes are not made equal. At the very least I would say to restricted it to one, as things like trimming and thrust vectoring get tricky very fast if you have random masses sticking out every which way.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-10-13 06:16am

Okay, my original core point here was that there is nothing external to the hull that makes a ship's "up" and "down" somehow better or more important than its "left" and "right." Up/down symmetry is no more important than left/right symmetry, and vice versa. There's no deep, external fundamental reason why a star destroyer hull works better with the tower sticking "up" off the hull and the reactor bulb sticking "down" off it than it would with the bridge tower sticking "left" and the reactor bulb sticking "right."

And yes, human designers will tend to automatically design ships that worry more about preserving left/right symmetry than up/down, because that's how people think... But in the context of starship design, that's a specific trait of humans who haven't been forced to make what they do rational. Aliens might feel differently, as might experienced starship engineers in a society that's internalized proper design principles

Will human beings retain a concept of what "up" and "down" mean? Obviously yes, but that wasn't really the issue I was addressing.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Q99 » 2017-10-13 08:44pm

NecronLord wrote:
2016-05-10 04:29pm
Ugly. Cam Kennedy shat better looking star destroyers.
I'll comment I'm not a fan of most Dark Empire designs, a lot of bulges and such but I don't find them very memorable for the most part.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by PhoenixKnig » 2017-10-13 09:06pm

Q99 wrote:
2017-10-13 08:44pm
NecronLord wrote:
2016-05-10 04:29pm
Ugly. Cam Kennedy shat better looking star destroyers.
I'll comment I'm not a fan of most Dark Empire designs, a lot of bulges and such but I don't find them very memorable for the most part.
But some fantastic models did come from it*nods respectfuly @FB*
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Q99 » 2017-10-14 09:28am

True, there were some good ones. But those were picked and chosen out of a whole lot of designs, it was sorta a shotgun of designs.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Patroklos » 2017-10-14 10:46pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-10-13 06:16am
Okay, my original core point here was that there is nothing external to the hull that makes a ship's "up" and "down" somehow better or more important than its "left" and "right." Up/down symmetry is no more important than left/right symmetry, and vice versa. There's no deep, external fundamental reason why a star destroyer hull works better with the tower sticking "up" off the hull and the reactor bulb sticking "down" off it than it would with the bridge tower sticking "left" and the reactor bulb sticking "right."
If we were talking about a ship with radial symmetry about about its thrust axis, or at the very least the engines having radial symmetry even if the rest of the hull doesn't, you may be right. However the ISD has neither, its engines are in a line with the hull flattened into that line. I would expect port/starboard asymmetry to have a far larger impact on an ISD than dorsal/ventral from a center of gravity and moment of inertia perspective.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Galvatron » 2017-10-15 09:12am

Here's another new ship for you to pick apart.

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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by KraytKing » 2017-10-15 10:43am

Don't read too far into it. A comic book artist drew a carrier and decided it would be cool if it looked like our carriers. It's stupid. Leave it at that.

Edit: Missed the original date. Seems I'm a bit late to the party.
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Re: Finally, another class of First Order warship

Post by Galvatron » 2017-10-15 11:31am

I doubt it'll show up in the films, but I wouldn't be surprised if it makes appearances in more EU material.

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