Ship Design (MoO 1)

Say_my_name

Warlord
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Jun 8, 2007
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I'm a total beginner in regards to MoO, but I think I understood colonies/research/production/etc. pretty good by now. The only thing I get lost about is designing ships. Every ship I design seems to be either horribly expensive to produce, gets shoot down within seconds, or doesn't do enough damage. Are there any general rules about ship design, like "use X of your space for weapons/computers/etc. to get a nice ship"? What are generally useful types of ships? I've read some of Sullas reports, and he mentioned things like "Gunboats" or other such names. Are those general abbreviations that are used throughout the community to refer to specific types of ships? If yes, is there a list of those?
 

vmxa

Deity
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Well ships come in many flavors. To me it comes down to what the job is you need them to perform at the time.

Early in the game you have few good options. You can make a small ship with a beam and make lots of them or make a medium ship with missiles.

Missiles have an advantage early in that they can get by with nothing else added. Beams benefit from better computers and you may not have them.

A bit later in the game you have more choice and have to decide if it is better to make lots of fighter of small/med size or just a few huge ones. It depends on what you have and what you need it accomplish.

Many techs allow components to shrink in size and makes it so you can fit more into a given hull. This is one of the ways you get better ships. Of course shields and armor help as well as battle computers.

One more aspect on making ships and getting them build is the strength of the planet building them. The larger the pop the larger the number of factories and the more they can produce.

This means they can build a given design sooner and if they have any production bonus such as being rich or ultra rich, that is great.
 

Sullla

Patrician Roman Dictator
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Here's some further information for you, Say_my_name. There's a nearly infinite number of possible combinations, but certain template designs tend to perform well.

Fighter: Small hull, with one beam weapon. These are useful in the early game for chasing away colony ships, and sometimes later on if you don't have any up-to-date beam weapons. You'll need hundreds (if not thousands) of these to accomplish something significant, however.

Missle Boat: Medium hull, one 5-rack of your best missile weapon. Use the extra space to add good computers and manuverability. Missile weapons are too large to fit on Small hulls, and it's generally not a good idea to put them on Large or Huge designs (better to get more total missiles into the fight by using a Medium hull). Very useful for raiding and conducting hit-and-run attacks. On the lower difficulties, where the AIs don't have high numbers of bases/shields, you can conquer entire maps with these ships.

Gunboat: Large or Huge hull, packing as many of your best beam weapon as possible. These ships are intended to defend your colonies or recent conquests against AI fleets before you get the chance to stand up missile bases. These are usually too expensive to build in the early game, but increasingly come into their own in the mid- to late-game. Autorepair special is a huge plus for these ships.

Bomber: Small hull, equipped with a single bomb (Fusion in the early game, later Antimatter/Omega-V). Make sure to maximize combat speed, and any computers you can fit on. Build these by the thousands, and use them to punch through the AI defenses. Sometimes you can't fit a bomb on a Small hull, so I've had success with multiple Omega-Vs on a Medium hull as well (although this is less ideal). Late in the game, you can also often dispense with the speciality bomber by sticking a couple dozen bombs onto a Huge Gunboat design.

Speciality ship: A design created for one specific purpose, usually to counter an AI threat. A Repulsor ship with 2-space beam weapons, a Warp Dissipator ship to freeze unbeatable AI stacks, or an Ion Stream Projector design to counter a giant stack of Small ships would all be examples. There's no guidelines for this category, you'll just have to get a feel through experience. :)

That's essentially it. Virtually all of my ships are a modification of one of these five designs. Here's an example:



The Merculite and Pulson designs are both Missile Boats. You also see three different generations of my Gunboat ship, starting with lasers and ending with Fusion Beams. I didn't use a speciality bomber in this game because I had the Autorepair special, plus FIVE Rich worlds, and thus built a lot of Huge ships.

Another example:



The Huge and Huger designs are both lategame Gunboats. The Stinger design is a Missile Boat, and the Bomber design is a (what else?) Bomber, which had to be on a Medium hull because the Omega-V wouldn't fit on a Small.

Anyway, as you play around with this stuff you'll get better. Good luck! :D
 

Say_my_name

Warlord
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Jun 8, 2007
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Thanks for the replies, especially to Sulla, that was very helpful. I've tinkered around a bit in my last games, and I think I'm getting it, atleast somewhat.
 

neutrino

Warlord
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Oct 9, 2006
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Probably the most straightforward ship design is a missile boat with medium hull. Priority components for the missile boat: a) Missile, b) Propulsion, c) Battle Computer, d) Bomb (If there is a room to spare after factoring in a, b and c. In this way, you do not have to design a bomber, thus freeing up a ship slot for other needs.), e) ECM, f) Armor, g) Shield. All of these should become steadily easier to put together as you acquire better tech, thus allowing the miniaturization to take effect.

However, missile boats need to be paired up with fighters or gunboats for protection. Otherwise, the missile boat will become defenseless as soon as it has used up its ammo. (You would not want to squander missile boats as it takes a while to build a large enough stack of this type. Needlessly to say, missiles are at their best if they can be fired in massive volleys.)

If you have strong economy with Rich/U-Rich planets, then you can afford missile boats with large hull. Large hull becomes necessary if you want to install special devices that takes up a lot of space. But if you just want to concentrate on firepower-to-cost ratio with minimal bells & whistles, stick with medium hull.
 
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