Space Engineers Tutorial: Large Ship Design Part 1 (Survival design tutorial series)


G’day and welcome to another space
engineer survival tutorial. This time we’re going to be building a large ship.
This tutorial is going to run a little differently to my previous videos. It
will be a bit of a warts-and-all look at how I go about designing a ship in order
to avoid the dreaded brick. I’ll show you every mistake, revision and
step along the way to getting something that is functional and looks at
least passable. To do this the lesson will run across a few videos. In this
first video we’ll look at building the core of the ship in a way that helps
avoid the brick look and in the following tutorial we’ll do some of the
revision of the armor, adding some extra functionality and also coloring the ship.
To start out I added a large platform to the side of the base so we have a nice
area on which to build. As usual we’ll clear out the G menu and add a few
necessary blocks. The blocks to add to the start of this build are the hydrogen
tank, refinery, assembler, small cargo container, reactor, landing gear and the
basic light armor block. I like to start with these blocks due to their size and
function. If you place your core blocks in an interesting layout you’ll probably
find that your finish ship will have a unique design as well. We can use the
base for stability of the build by first extending a column of blocks three high
then one block across. This will allow us to attach a landing gear directly to the
station and if we leave that first column attached to the base throughout
then the ship will draw power from the base until it has its own. This can be
super handy if you need conveyors to be able to get uranium into your reactors.
With this ship design I was thinking that if I make it ‘U’ shaped it’s
definitely not going to look like a brick. So the front of the base ie the
hanger entrance is going to be the front of the ship. Now to make it easy to place
both sides of the front level I’m going to build a bridge of about nine blocks
across and then place down another landing gear on that
and that will constitute the front of the ship. This bridge is temporary it’s
just to help me guide where I’m going to place things. Use scaffolding whenever
you think it’s going to help you. Building in survival does add its own
challenges, particularly when you’re trying to design.
So take scaffolding and things like that whenever you need to.
This ship is sort of going to have an axis of symmetry and that axis of
symmetry is going to divide a block in two. That means I need an odd number
between the two landing gears. This is why I actually counted out the blocks
instead of just going yeah ten that’ll work. When designing a large
ship I like to put down the largest blocks first, these are the things that
guide how much space you’re going to need and in survival you can’t really
just delete, copy, paste and all those other things that you can do in creative.
So if you’re designing in survival this can be really helpful. The largest blocks
on this ship are going to be the hydrogen tanks. These are 3x3x3 cubes and we’re going to need a lot of them. We’ll build two rows of
three each extending from directly above where the two landing gear are. The idea
being that those landing gear are going to support the weight of the tanks and
imagining that space engineers have some degree of structural integrity I find it
helps with my designs for survival ships. With how big these are and placing three
of them in a row on each side you can get an idea of how this ship is going to
take shape. The cockpit and all of the refinery section will be towards the
rear we’ll have the two sets of tanks leading on either side. With the tanks
laid out as we need them we’re going to need some way to fill them and we can’t
just put ice directly in them we need to fill them with hydrogen from an oxygen
generator, so rather than trying to fill three enormous tanks with just one
generator let’s put one on each side. Let’s grab it out of the G menu and
attach one to the back of each set. While we’re in the G menu let’s quickly grab
the conveyor blocks as well as we’re about to need them too. I’d like to place
a conveyor tube between the hydrogen tanks and the generators just in case I
want to add something in there later but unfortunately I’ve forgotten interior
plates so we’ll be back in a second. Pop those conveyor tubes in place and then
attach the oxygen generators to the back of them to avoid the back of the ship
looking completely square. Why don’t we taper it a little bit. A way to do this
is to use the conveyer tubes to gradually move in a couple of blocks
before we start putting the rest of the refinery and assembler complex into
place. A convenient upside of using conveyer blocks in this way is that it
allows you flexibility later to add extra functionality into the design. You
may find that you want to add extra oxygen tanks, extra cargo storage, heck,
you may even want to move your bridge later when you want to do other
iterations of the design and having more conveyor blocks put in place gives you
that flexibility without having to start everything from scratch.
Designing new ships in survival uses a lot of hydrogen what I like to do is
place down a few blocks come back out get an overall view of the ship go back
in place a few more. As you can see that’s how I’m going to build these
conveyor tubes to get a feel of where they should be. My idea for this ship is
for it to be a sort of staging post not to be a cargo carrier or anything in
particular but just something to replace the lander in a more grandiose fashion,
so that you can do everything a little bit with it so we don’t need huge
amounts of cargo. What we’re going to do is place just a couple of small cargo
containers on it. If at a later stage you find you need a lot more add on to it,
build an extra section, see if you can continue the design in a new or more
interesting way. And now for the next challenging part,
how on earth are we going to fit a refinery into an oddly symmetrical ship
since this is a 2 by 4 by 2 sized block? It’s not going to line up neatly along
our lines of symmetry if we only have one of them but I only plan to have one
of them. So one of the things I like to do in designs is have the rough overall
thing seem symmetrical but much like the Millennium Falcon, have a little bit
extra on one side, have a little bit different on the other side. This creates
extra interest and further helps you avoid the brick. Having built the
conveyor tubes in from both sides the refinery no longer fits so I will have
to remove one of the conveyor tubes from one side and I don’t want this ship to
be extra tall at the back so I’ll need to make sure that the refinery is at
most the level of the current conveyor blocks. The scaffolding came in
handy to measure how many blocks wide I actually had and then it’s just a matter
of rotating the refinery until it fits like I want it to. Flying around with the ghost form I can
have a look at it from each side and just reassure myself that I’ve got the
refinery how I want it. Building these things up and tearing them down is
doable but it is a bit of a pain in the butt so I’d rather avoid it.
So taking another step back looking at all the conveyor tubes there’s an
opportunity here for where we could sneak in the assembler without having to
change any of our current design in any large way. With the shape of the
conveyors at the right hand side of the refinery we could actually put an
assembler in there, that’s what we’ll do. We’ll skip through the next bit of
glancing around as I decide how I’m going to put on the rear landing gear.
It’s going to go underneath the refinery in the dead center of the ship. To do
this I’m going to need to place some light armor blocks underneath the
refinery so that they’re two blocks above the landing pad. It’s really
important that I left that initial bridge intact because if I’d ground it
down by now I wouldn’t be able to place the landing gear. Space engineers would
start treating the two as separate grids and therefore the landing gear would not
fit even though it visually appears to. Like with the points where I go and have
a brief overview of the whole ship there are often points like this where because
these components are in the center and will be very difficult to weld later, as
well as my brain just finding it easier to design around fully completed blocks
I go away I weld all these components and then I come back and I do the next
phase. That’s what we’ll do. This video is already going to be a little bit longer
than I’d like, so I’ll skip through most of the welding – you guys know what it’s
all like anyway but I’ll make sure I show the end result before we go on to
any further design steps. And now you can see the internals of the
ship in their muted grey, matte, boring, glory! Right, well now we can remove the
bridge – as in the bridge of scaffolding that’s connecting the two front parts of
the ship. As a side note I probably shouldn’t have done this yet although my
plans allow for access to the reactor directly it still makes it a
little more difficult to manage things later as I lose power to the ship and it
was something I mentioned earlier that we shouldn’t do… so yeah, that happened.
But as I said, this was a warts-and-all look and you’ll see the mistakes as well as
the design process as we go along. Now it’s time for thrusters. I quickly
placed a couple of conveyer tubes on the front of each of the pairs of tanks and
then we’re going to place some hydrogen thrusters on the front of those. The
purpose of the conveyor tubes is to add space to allow armored blocks to go on
later so that we can do a bit of styling. For the upward thrusters there’s not
really much room so we’ll just connect these straight to the tanks and we’ll
work with what styling we can manage in that space. At a rough guess four of them
is not going to be adequate to lift this thing off the ground on a full gravity
world so we’ll add an extra two at the rear and that should do the trick. These
ones are going to be a bit more difficult to place because we’re going
to need conveyors coming down on one side to create a conveyor tube that
matches the port on the refinery at this height. Neither of the available nearby
conveyor ports look like they’re in the best position to figure this thing out.
Either way we do it we’re going to end up with a large snake of conveyor tubes
but we’ll just pick one for now, if we have to change it later – so be it, we’ll
do that. It’s a lot easier to pick what’s going to work best once a few more
pieces of the ship are in place. With the final upward thrusters in place at the
end of its conveyor snake. We’ll go on and we’ll place the left and right as well
as the downward thrust. It’s a good idea as we go along to check
how much hydrogen you’ve got left in your tanks as falling from this height can be
dangerous (this might come up later). For the remaining directional thrusters
we’ll attach these directly to the hydrogen tanks. I think at this stage the
armor will look better if everything’s directly connected rather than having
just the downward left and right ones separated from the tank by a block. What
I said with the reverse thrusters was that having the extra space would help
with armor. I think with the circumferential thrusters it’ll be more
helpful this way but if it doesn’t work out we can always change it later right?
That’s why I always end up doing iterative design because it’d be boring
if I got it right the first time! There’s a final remaining thrust direction that
we haven’t dealt with yet and that’s forward thrust. This will be managed with
a large thruster. I’m not going to place this yet as I want to get a bit of an
idea of whether I’m going to need more space for the cockpit area so that’s
what we’re going to build next. This will need to be pressurized because this ship
should be able to make it all the way up into space so that we can go start
exploring asteroids with more than just our little orbital ship we built earlier.
Starting from our landing gear at the rear we’ll move up a block and then
we’ll extend the row of blocks out to where the hydrogen tanks on each side
finish and then we’ll extend out to each side. This area will be the basis for our
cockpit and will probably end up being the floor of the cockpit area. This needs
to include things like the medbay and access to cargo reactors etc it
should also include an airlock – if we can manage to fit one in
to match the external design of the ship. I want the actual cockpit position to be
sort of recessed a little bit, so the center of this cockpit base floor
– whatever you want to call it – needs to be back a block further than the front of
it. We’ll need a door if we’re planning on pressurizing this so we’ll use the
sliding door as that’s my preferred one from the vanilla set of doors. To me it
looks a bit weird having it directly next to the tanks so we’ll move it out a
block further. In front of the door we’re going to need a ramp leading down to the
ground, this way on gravity if we run out of hydrogen we’ll still be able to get
back on board the ship without having to wrangle some form of scaffolding thing
when we really should have just had a ramp that reached the ground. The base
pieces of this ramp should be made out of heavy armor. Light armor is pretty
soft and sometimes your landing won’t be as smooth as you’d like it to be.
Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to place these pieces yet.
We’ll need to lift the ship off the ground to get some clearance between the
ship and the base and then we’ll be able to put those in at that stage. Using some
light armor slopes we’ll build that inset part for the cockpit that I was talking
about earlier. At this stage I don’t worry too much about exactly whether
I’ve got the right slope or anything like that I just try and put a general
idea down so then I can come back and I can fine-tune it and adjust it later. As
you may have guessed from my previous tutorials I like to have a functional
ship first and a pretty ship later. Stepping back for another view of the
ship from a bit further out I’m reasonably happy with our progress so
far. The next things I’d like to do is to flesh out the shape of the cockpit a
little bit more. First things first, build a front wall so we can get an idea of
where the cockpit glass will need to go and how much room we’ve got for the
other components that we want to put inside this space.
Keeping things relatively simple for now we’ll just replicate the row of blocks
immediately beneath that one. When you’re thinking about your overall shift design
it helps to have a concept in your mind of exactly what you want to have in a
space and on grander designs how many spaces you want to fit and how they’re
going to be arranged so that you don’t end up with a block that doesn’t look
right. In this case I’m trying to think about
how to include in the cockpit everything I want and also make it airtight. I’ll
probably get this wrong the first time or maybe even the first few times. There
are a few blocks that I’m never quite certain about and sometimes you just
forget a bit, if like me, you like having air tightness on and you like the
challenge of designing around that, it’s worth having those rebuilds a few times
until you get it right, just so that you can see that depressurization happen
when something goes bad or just messing with your friends because they forget to
depressurize a room and then go flying off into space – always entertaining. So in
this space that surrounds the cockpit I want to have a med bay and I want to
have access to a few important components. I want to have access to the
cargo system so that we can get ice into the oxygen generators to be able to
refill our hydrogen tanks, I want to have access to a reactor so that I can put
fuel in even if I can’t get access to the conveyor system because we’ve run
out of power and I want to have a med bay that is actually connected to the
conveyor system so that it’s oxygen and hydrogen can be piped into your suit
whenever you use it. All of this has to be fitted into a place that’s pretty
cozy and is about to become even more cozy by me having to place blocks to
make it airtight. So that’s what I’m going to do now. I’m going to go around
the edges and find any blocks that I don’t think you’re airtight and make
sure that there are armored blocks surrounding those areas and being
contiguous with one another so that everything is airtight. As I said before
I’ll probably get this wrong the first time and have to do a few adjustments
later but that’s okay that’s to be expected. I liked the
idea of having armored slopes leading to each of the access points on the cargo
system however the position of the oxygen generators means that this is
impossible because I would have a hole in my front of my ship so I don’t want
that. Instead we’ll have to build blocks straight across and maybe even cover up
this port altogether if that’s what works better down the line. In addition
to looking at your ship from further back it can be useful to walk through
your ship like you would once it’s complete. This can give you a bit of a concept
of where things are located and where things might look good. There are certain
things that probably shouldn’t be together like reactors and living
quarters – at least in very large ships that should probably be the case or a
consideration that might help you design in a way that’s interesting and varied. A
convenient use for the two ports on the oxygen generators is a vent. We’re going
to need to pressurize this area so why don’t we put a couple on here. One for
each oxygen generator. And now that we’ve got a rough layout of our cockpit area
let’s try and work out how to build an airlock. These can be a little bit
difficult, particularly when you’ve got space constraints but I think if we
offset the two doors by just one block the vents that we’ve attached to the
oxygen generator on this side of the ship should be able to pressurize and
depressurize this airlock and the angled light armor block that’s on the exit of
the door should sit nicely and allow us to still
pass while maintaining the air tightness of the space that our actual cockpit
seat is in. Viewing the airlock from above, that corner piece doesn’t look so
great and I don’t think it’ll look so great once it’s finished, so let’s remove
it and replace it with a full block. One of the last remaining major ship
systems that we haven’t put in yet is power, I’m normally a big fan of making a
flamboyant stylized reactor room on large ships but I don’t think this build
is really going to fit that so I might just go for practical instead. For most
uses that we’re going to have for this ship having a single reactor is probably
going to be enough but just in case, I’m going to put two on and I think the top
of each of the small cargo containers might be the best. One downside of
these reactors is I’m not sure that they’re airtight, in fact I’m pretty sure
they’re not and that may create some problems with our build down the line.
There are two features we’ve yet to include in our cockpit area, one of them
is the cockpit. We need a way to actually control the vessel, the other is a med
bay. If we’re taking a large ship up into space and something goes wrong – like I
don’t know, forgetting to put on your inertial dampeners and flying straight
into an asteroid and going smoosh against the side of it… You probably want
somewhere to respawn where you can find your ship easily and where is easier
than actually respawning on the ship itself? So for me any large ship worth
its salt should try and fit a med bay somewhere on board. We already had a spot
pre marked for the cockpit so we’ll plop that there and then the med bay, we’ll
place it near the rear so that we have access to the conveyor ports that are on
the refinery. We want to connect the med bay up to the conveyor system so that we
get both oxygen and hydrogen whenever we recharge at the medbay. For the two
pieces of conveyor that we need above the refinery we’ll use conveyor junctions.
These are airtight so that will help us maintain our air tightness within our
cockpit area. The final piece we need to fit into our cockpit area is the piece
of glass that’s going to sit in front of the control station. Since we’ve got two
slopes leading up to where we want to place the glass we’re not going to be
able to attach any glass directly where we need it. The edges of blocks don’t
allow you to connect to so we’re going to need to figure out
another way to support it. Conveniently we’ve seen a solution to this problem
already. If we use a light armor 2 by 1 by 1 slope tip we’ll be able to create a
support for the glass above it. You can see that this is exactly what’s used to
create the support for the large piece of glass on the front of the atmospheric
lander we came down on. When you’re placing glass my personal preference is
to always have the dark side facing outward – kind of makes sense because you
want to be able to see from the inside out and less so from the outside in and
you can normally work out which way this is from the preview window. Unfortunately
I’m not carrying any girders so we’ll be back in a second once we’ve got them and
then I’ll be able to place that piece of glass. With that placed we’re up to a
stage where I like to weld everything to see where I’m at and get a better idea
of what to build next. We’ll take a look at some more of this build in the next
video. See you then!

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