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AFT-DSA-11 (Ship Modification)

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AFT-DSA-11 (Ship Modification)

Post by Universe Overwatch on 06.11.11 17:32



Sometimes basic just doesn't quite cut it. Ships rolled off the assembly line at a shipyard come pretty generic and often without much in the way of equipment. At the end of the day, stock doesn't stand up to a well-engineered enemy. Luckily for you, anything's possible, and there's no telling what you're capable of turning that old junker you borrowed from an ignorant passerby into.

Suppose that old junker is an M6 Argon Centaur, a fairly well-rounded ship with a knack for killing things at a range. In order for you to do anything to that warship, you're going to need to do a little research. With Jury Rigging and Astronautic Dynamics out of the way you'll be able to tamper with the guts of such sub-capital corvette.

Now the real question is, what do you intend to make this ship really dang good at? We know its range is far superior over any other ship of its class and, when it comes to modification, your strengths become the foundation for improvement. To make things simple, let's try buffing its speed. Distance and agility decide the outcome of far more fights than brute force -- so much so that it would be irresponsible to reject the notion as a suitable candidate for ship modification. Speed it is.

Now, we have two ways of going about this. For starters, you could jury rig the corvette and improve it at the expense of another ship with very little additional investment or research; or you could take the ship to a laboratory and occupy an engineering slot for a few weeks while you fashion high-grade equipment for it after much development and planning, furthermore analyzing its capabilities in an artificial setting while constantly seeking new means of reducing its drawbacks. Yeah, we're going with option A for now.


Hmm, what can I rip off that thing...

The easiest means of modifying a ship's performance is to dock it with another spacecraft -- one that you can harvest parts from. This can be accomplished at almost any station, provided the hangars are internal, and even on carriers for this reason. In the case of our corvette, it would be wise to seek a ship with excellent engine output but still compact in size to host our upgrade. An M6 Split Dragon would make a suitable candidate; its hull and shipboard systems are about the same size as the Centaur, and we could easily make their propulsion interchangeable.

Irrevocably, removing items from a ship renders it no longer spaceworthy, so once we've stripped the Dragon of its engines it won't be good for much more than spare parts now anyway. Don't be afraid to go to town on it.

With the engines off, the Centaur can be opened up, gutted for superficial parts, and implanted with those of its Split counterpart. Naturally, this process won't be without flaws and an Argon warship was never designed to take a foreign drive base, so expect somewhat a loss in performance from that of the original Split spacecraft but enough of a bonus to the Centaur that it'll be worth it in the end.

We'll also see an increase in stress on the ship's reactor as it must now satisfy this energy-hungry propulsion. To compensate for that, we can take Split reactor components from the Dragon to supplement the Centaur's powerplant, thereby reducing the strain caused by incompatible parts.

Seeing as the specifications of a Split Dragon are nearly identical to those of the Centaur, after having removed its coveted engine technology, we have little use for the other corvette now. We can still make amateur improvements to the Centaur with its armor plating and armament, possibly improving damage potential at the expense of the Centaur's precise range instruments, but we're going to need a whole new ship to work from if we're to make further modifications that actually benefit the Centaur in combat without simply shuffling strengths and weaknesses. The rest is down to your own ingenuity, for logic and science are your only limits where turning ships Frankenstein is concerned.


I built this with SCIENCE

Laboratories turn ship modification into a brand new venue of engineering. While jury rigging in stations is quick and convenient, it's certainly not without wasteful drawback. The use of a laboratory almost completely removes the loss factor in ship upgrade and also allows you to fabricate ship components out of resources rather than simply stripping them from a donor.

Let's suppose you're done rigging your Centaur. We've equipped it with Split engine systems and an Argo-Split hybrid powerplant, and maybe even welded some more metal to its thick skin, but we can't do anything more to it without overloading its reactor or risking an amateur malfunction. Most factions are willing to supply laboratory space at certain stations, so we can easily charter an engineering slot for a few days while we get to work on making this Centaur a formidable foe on the battlefield. The exact location is irrelevant for this example, and I'll leave it up to you to find the best spots to do your greasy work.

Having docked the Centaur with the station you now have limited engineering rights at (unless you actually own a laboratory at this point), you'll now need to allocate research slots in your Research & Development panel. You're going to be experimenting for several days or even a week to get good results so you'd best plan ahead as to what you expect to accomplish over that time.

For the sake of our Centaur, let's be bold and see if we can fit it with a cloaking device. Thanks to the wonders of modern science, laboratories allow you to equip technology that is not designed to operate on a specific ship platform or would otherwise be impossible to integrate into the ship's network without too much hassle. In order to begin developing a Centaur-compatible Digital Mask Generator, however, you will need to have researched Stealth Technology at the very least. After all, there's no sense in trying to build what you know nothing about.

With your necessary advancements in order, work on fitting a cloaking device to the Centaur can now begin. You will be given a preliminary overview of the job you've commissioned whenever you assign a modification to a laboratory. This overview will detail two possible procedures, both including approximate job duration, necessary materials, and chance of success, thus allowing you to gauge your risk and investment accurately as opposed to jury rigging's "weld-and-hope" routine. The first procedure is optimally set to balance speed and success, whereas the latter is for absolute highest success at highest investment.

Regardless of the course you select, the ship, engineering slot, and one research slot will be allocated to ship modification until the job's completion. Much like basic research and development, multiple research slots can be allocated to one job to improve its speed but not chance of success. Nevertheless, there are no absolutes in ship modification and you won't know anything for sure until the very end of the job. Expect a lot of ore, silicon, and energy to go down the drain early on, and very large ships can take weeks of failure before they are truly mastered, but loss is an inevitable stepping stone to perfection.


Temporary Blueprints

If you've just completed a lengthy job at a laboratory and don't want to endure the process again, or simply don't have time to develop the same modifications for multiple identical ships, you can draft temporary blueprints to greatly reduce the time and resource investment required to duplicate upgrades on similar hull foundations. Such blueprints are drafted the same way as conventional ones; a research slot is assigned to the task under your Research & Development panel, which can be accelerated by allocating multiple slots to the same job.

Once drafted, a temporary blueprint will appear in your Blueprints tab. Unlike conventional prints, these cannot be traded to other participants or alliances and will be lost if not used regularly. Still, the use of temporary blueprints eliminates variable resource loss and potential development failure, for all jobs commissioned under a temporary blueprint will have identical parameters to that of the original job they were drafted after.

Note that temporary blueprints cannot be used at shipyards or while jury rigging, and are only valid at laboratories while undertaking jobs that require an engineering slot.

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Universe Overwatch
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