One of the encounters the PCs have while investigating the murder at the mining facility near Rosegard is a run-in with a new Sathar bio-construct, the Sathar Poison Squirrel. Based on a native Pale species, this bio-construct is new in the Frontier, having only been released in the last year or so. The PCs will be one of the first to encounter it. Here is the description and stats for both the native Pale Tailless Squirrel and the Sathar Poison Squirrel.
Pale Tailless Squirrel
The Pale Tailless Squirrel is a small rodent, native to Pale remarkably similar to squirrels of the human homeworld but lacking the signature big bushy tail. They can be found all over Pale in any temperate, tropical, and even some arctic climates.
Pale Tailless Squirrels range in color from light tans and greys to nearly snow white depending on their environment. They are generally skittish and shy away from members of the Frontier races although may approach if there is a chance of free food. If cornered these creatures will fight but their small mouths and jaws, primarily designed for eating vegetation and nuts, do not do much damage (1d5 pts).
Pale Tailless Squirrel
Sathar Poison Squirrel
This is a sathar bio-construct based on the native Pale Tailless Squirrel. This is a new creature in the Frontier that has just been released in the last year or so and is starting to invade the ecosystem. It was engineered in sathar biolab somewhere on Pale. Although first seen near the village of Rosegard, the bio-lab in question is not near that village.
The Sathar version is more gregarious and will be much more likely to approach members of the Frontiers species. It is more playful than the native version but will inevitably try to bite, typically fingers or toes. While the bite only does 1d5 points worth of damage like the native creature, unlike the native squirrel, the bite is highly poisonous. The Sathar Poison Squirrel’s bite contains a S4/T20 poison. A successful STA check results in half damage. Standard Anti-Tox will treat the poison if properly administered.
Physically, they are nearly identical to the native species. The most noticeable difference is that the bio-construct has a stripe of fur down its back that is slightly paler than the rest of the fur. The native species does not have this stripe. If examined closely there are other small details that set it apart from the native version such as stronger jaws, sharper teeth, slightly more hook like claws on its toes, and a stronger musculature.
Sathar Poison Squirrel
poisonous bite, S4/T20, current STA check for half damage.
Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy!
Han Solo, Star Wars
While a little out of context (Han was actually referring to astrogation calculations), the quote still applies – faster than light (FTL) travel is not just a walk in the park.
In this post, I want to look at a mechanic for FTL induced illness, which I’ll be calling Void Sickness. The name comes because I created this mechanic for my Star Frontiers games where FTL travel is accomplished by traveling through “The Void” or “Void Jumping”. In that game, you accelerate up to speed (1% the speed of light) and then make a nearly instantaneous transition into and out of the Void to cross many light years. The rules are a little vague on the actual duration but I’ve always used 1 second per light year. When you re-emerge you are in a new star system (hopefully your destination if you got the astrogation correct).
But what happens physiologically when you make the transition? You are entering, even if it is briefly, a dimension your body wasn’t designed for. It’s natural that your body may have an adverse reaction to the transition.
During the Jump
First there is the physical manifestations during the brief time in the Void. I always describe this as a confusion of the senses. You can feel colors, hear tastes, see sound, etc. And it could be different for different species or even individuals within a species. I often use this picture to describe the visual sensations.
But what I want to talk about today is what happens after you exit the Void.
Many games don’t worry about this. They just assume that the PCs and others can experience FTL travel with no worries or side effects. And that is absolutely fine. If having potentially negative consequences of FTL travel is not something you want in your game, then you don’t have to have it. But if you do, this is a possible mechanic you can use.
In my case, I wanted to add a potential downside to FTL travel that starts out fairly benign and uncommon but becomes worse the more and more you travel. Until it possibly reaches a point that you simply don’t want to make any more interstellar trips unless you absolutely have to. Here’s what I came up with.
Void Sickness is not an uncommon effect of FTL travel and some people are more susceptible to it than others. But even if you are susceptible to it, it doesn’t affect you on every trip. It is also a condition that worsens, with both increased susceptibility and symptoms, the more times you engage in FTL travel.
I’ll present this as a percentage based system (since that is what Star Frontiers, which I originally developed it for, uses) but you can easily convert this to a d20 or other system if you want.
This is the original version of Void Sickness I developed. It’s actually pretty harsh, I’ll present a much milder version below.
To see if you are susceptible to Void Sickness you need to make a check against your Stamina (or CON or the equivalent from your system). Since STA in Star Frontiers typically ranges from 30-70, you make a STA+20 check the first time you make a Void Jump. If you make the roll, you do not suffer from Void Sickness on this trip and your base chance to avoid Void Sickness on all other jumps starts at 95% (i.e. if you roll a 95 or lower on d100 you are not sick).
If you fail this roll, you are susceptible to Void Sickness. You suffer from the sickness on this trip and your base chance to avoid it on future trips is equal to your STA score. Thus you are much more likely to succumb to it in the future.
On all future FTL trips, you make a roll against your resistance score. If you succeed, you do not suffer from Void Sickness for that trip. If you fail, you do suffer and your resistance score is reduced by one.
The impact of the Void Sickness is determined by the amount you failed your roll. The difference between your roll and your resistance score determines both the strength of the effect and its duration. This value becomes the penalty you suffer on all skill and ability checks and it lasts for that many hours.
For example: Drod, a dralasite, has a STA of 50 and is making his first interstellar trip. He checks for his susceptibility to Void sickness by rolling a d100 and rolls an 76 which is 6 points higher than this initial check (50+20 = 70). He is susceptible to Void Sickness and going forward his resistance score is only 50. For this trip he suffers a relatively mild case and only has a -6 modifier to his skills and abilities for the next 6 hours. If on a future trip,if he were to fail the resistance roll again, his resistance would drop to 49.
A Milder Form
In its original form, the Void Sickness is something that everyone will succumb to eventually if they take enough interstellar trips and if you have a string of bad luck, you could succumb to it fairly quickly. If you want the effect to be fairly rare, and slower acting when someone does have it, you can use the following variation. With this form, it is probably something the PCs will never have to deal with but you could have Void Sickness in your campaign as setting material to use on NPCs.
In this form, the base chance the first time you make a jump is a flat 95% on a d100. If you roll less than that you don’t have the sickness and never will. You never have to roll again. If you do fail the roll, you have a mild case this time (you are not going to fail by more than 5 points) and your resistance roll going forward is equal to whatever you rolled this time. (i.e. if you rolled a 98, your resistance chance for all future trips starts at 98). The effects and increase in susceptibility are as before.
If the occurrence of this illness is common, there will probably be a number of ways to deal with it from drugs that boost your immunity to other drugs that mitigate the effects. If the occurrence is more rare, there may only be drugs to mitigate symptoms and there may not be anything specifically for Void Sickness but only the use of regular drugs to treat the symptoms. Here are some that I use in my game. All these are required to be administered by someone with the Medic skill.
Cost: 25 credits
VoidBoost is designed to improve a being’s immunity and resistance to Void Sickness. If administered prior to the Void Jump, VoidBoost raises the recipient’s resistance to Void Sickness by 20 to a maximum of 95%. Only a single dose of VoidBoost can be administered for any given trip. Additional doses have no effect.
Most starliners stock this medication for their passengers. It is either provided for free as part of the passage fare or at a discounted cost.
Cost: 40 credits
VoidBlock is a broad spectrum medicine designed to reduce the effects of the symptoms of Void Sickness. It has no effect on the duration. It works by reducing the penalty to ability and skill checks due to Void Sickness. VoidBlock reduces the negative modifier associated with Void Sickness by 1d10+10 for 20 hours. No more than one dose can be taken in a 20 hour period. Any doses taken beyond the first in that time automatically have no effect. VoidBlock cannot be taken in conjunction with VoidReduce. If it is, neither drug has any effect.
Most starliners stock this medication for their passengers. It is either provided for free as part of the passage fare or at a discounted cost.
Cost: 35 Credits
Void Reduce is designed to reduce the duration of the effects of Void Sickness. It has no effect on they actual impact of the symptoms. A dose of VoidReduce decreases the duration of Void Sickness by 1d10+10 hours. Only one dose of VoidReduce can be taken for any given occurrence of Void Sickness. Any additional doses automatically have no effect. VoidReduce cannot be take in conjunction with VoidBlock. If it is, neither drug has any effect.
Most starliners stock this medication for their passengers. It is either provided for free as part of the passage fare or at a discounted cost.
Depending on your game system there may be other medications already in the game that can mitigate some of the effects of Void Sickness. You can make a judgement based on the effects of the drugs in your game. For Star Frontiers, I allow the following:
Biocort – one dose of Biocort reduces the duration of Void Sickness by 1d5+5 hours. Only one dose of Biocort can be applied for a given occurrence of Void Sickness. If administered with VoidBlock or VoidReduce, Biocort has no effect.
Stimdose – one dose of Stimdose reduces the effects of Void sickness by 1d5+5 for 10 hours. Only one dose of Stimdose can be administered in a 20 hour period as per the standard rules. If administered with VoidBlock or VoidReduce, Stimdose has no effect.
Neutrad (from Zeb’s Guide) – one dose of Neutrad reduces the effects of Void Sickness by 1d5 points and its duration by 1d5 hours. Only one dose of Neutrad can be administered for any given case of Void Sickness. However, if administered with any other medication, none of the other medications have any effect.
Side note: Due to the way Neutrad affects Void Sickness, scientists believe that Void Sickness is some form of temporary radiation poisoning but the exact form of radiation is unknown and not reproducible outside of a Void jump. Many companies contract with ships to carry small micro experiments that run during the Void jump in an attempt to understand the cause of this illness.
Converting to Other Systems
Adapting this to another system is fairly straightforward.
If you want to use this in a d20 or 3d6 based system, You could simply multiply the relevant ability score by 3, 4, or 5 to get the initial base percentage for Void Sickness resistance if you wanted to keep with the d100 percentage system outlined. The multiplier would depend on how likely you want the occurrence to be but by default I’d use 4 as that maps the closest to the ability score range that I designed against. In any other system just use a suitable modifier.
If you don’t want to use the percentage based system but use the core mechanic from your system, simply reduce the percentage by the appropriate multiplier. e.g. for a d20 based system simply divide the resistance chance by five (and subtract that from 20 for a roll-over success system like D&D to get the target number.) Penalties can still be just the difference between the roll and the target and the duration becomes the difference times the modifier used. If you are using a 3d6 system the percentages don’t map as closely but it still works. The net effect would be for a slower initial deterioration followed by a very rapid final decline. If you are using a game with a dice pool system, a little more work would be required to convert the mechanic.
The hardest part to adapt would be the slow deterioration of the resistance chance. Instead of a reduction on every failure, you could implement a reduction after every N failures, where N is probably the multiplier used elsewhere. Or you could require a CON (or equivalent) check each time they suffer from Void Sickness. If they fail, their resistance weakens. If they succeed, their resistance doesn’t change.
I created this illness primarily as background flavor for my setting. It’s not something I ever expect the PCs to suffer from. Unless they want to. If the PC’s background is such that they would have taken interstellar trips before the game starts, I give them the option to automatically select susceptibility if they want or to just roll. It was more designed as something that NPCs could suffer from and that the PCs would have to deal with in that manner. I also intended to use in some of the stories I was writing at the time (and that I may someday get back to).
Have you ever done anything similar in your games? Does this sound like something you might use in the future? Share your ideas, suggestions, and thoughts in the comments below.
In part 2, we ended with the final version of the hull model for the Scavenger Transport and all that was left was to add in some of the details, most notably the doors and other bits that extended through the hull. After that, it is just “decorations” to add a little character.
Finishing the Physical Model
Adding in the bay doors was straightforward. They are just basically rectangles after all. For the smaller shuttle and workpod bay doors toward the back on the lower level, I added a split vertically down the middle for the doors to open and swing outward on the sides. For the larger cargo and runabout bay doors, I decided that they would open top and bottom so the seam detail runs horizontally. In the case of the cargo bay doors, the lower portion of the door can double as a loading ramp if necessary.
Next I wanted to break up the hull a bit so it wasn’t so plain and I created a little triangular design that I placed on the lower and middle decks for and aft of the ion cannon as well as on the wings. I then added a cylindrical structure on either side of the second level. Next, I added a bit of a domed structure on top of the runabout bay. Finally I created some large (2m diameter) portholes and placed them on the back of the ship on deck two between the cargo bay and runabout bay. These are positions to be in the rec room at the back of that level and the two cabins back there as well.
At this point I was looking at the model and thinking it was looking pretty good and then I realized: I forgot to add in all the bits and pieces that stick out through the hull! Again these were fairly straightforward as they are fairly simple shapes. I tweaked the block that was the sensor array extension as it was sticking too far out. The rocket launcher (deck 1, starboard side) may get some tubes added to it for the missiles to launch out of in the future, but for now, I just left it as a solid block. I also rounded the edges of the airlock a bit.
Speaking of the airlock, after adding it in, I realized it was really poorly placed. It’s right up against the wing and behind the front part of the engine. Luckily the wing didn’t overlap it at all. I didn’t even consider it’s placement when I made the wing so I was lucky I didn’t have to go back and tweak that. It probably would have been better to put it on the lower level toward the front of the ship. I guess the engineers weren’t thinking too hard about how the engines were going to be placed when they designed the fuselage :-). However, its poor placement gives a bit of flavor and something to hassle the crew with (and for them to grumble about). It truth, it’s more of a backup measure anyway since the ship isn’t designed to actually dock at stations but rather pull up next to them and transfer via the shuttles and open cargo bay doors. So in practice it’s only a minor annoyance.
Once I had these last structures added, the ship was all done.
With the physical model done, it was time to start testing out 3D prints. I started with a simple small, low resolution print. This was done at 0.2mm/layer and at the native scale of the model (1/1000 scale). It only took about 50 minutes.
You can definitely see the print layers on the model. There are also hints of the details on the body, wings and engines although the size of the features are such that they just don’t show up at at this scale. This particular print was done with the bottom of the ship on the build plate. That may not be the best way to print as we’ll see in a minute.
Since it look good enough small, it was time to scale it up. The next print was a 1/500th scale print, double the size of this one. Again I printed at 0.2mm/layer and with the bottom of the ship on the build plate. Although this time I switched to white plastic. Here’s a picture of that print, together with the smaller black print, our trusty quarter, and a Star Frontiers Assault Scout model at the same scale as the larger print. This print took about 5 and a half hours
If you look closely at the larger print, you can still see the layer lines although since the print is bigger, they are not as pronounced. You can also see the turrets on the laser battery print at this scale. They were just too tiny to print on the smaller scale. You’ll also notice that the assault scout model in the back looks super smooth. That is because it was printed at 0.1mm/layer and was printed standing up.
So that’s the next thing to try. My 7-year-old son really liked the ship and wanted an orange one (that’s his favorite color). Since I have a spool of orange filament for my printer just to print things for him, I swapped out the white for orange, flipped the model on it’s back, and started a 0.1mm/layer print. Here is the result, five and quarter hours later:
The surface on this one is much cleaner. That is partially due to the smaller print layers and partially due to the orientation of the layers relative to the model, but more of the latter. A 0.2mm print in this orientation would look pretty good too. The bigger difference, however, is the backs and undersides of the models. Let’s take a look at those. Here are the undersides:
The lighting could be better but you’ll notice that the bottoms of the wings and engines on the white model are really rough. That is partially due to the fact that I didn’t completely clean them up but also due to the nature of 3D printing. Since each layer has to be placed on the layer below, if you have a floating bit of your model with nothing under it, the printer prints support material to get up to that that point where it can start printing the model. So in the white model, a bunch of support material had to be printed to support the engines and wings. Most of that will clean off with some effort using an sharp knife and sandpaper (and my Dremel) but it’s not completely clean. On the orange model, we don’t have that problem and the engines and wings look really good and there was nothing to remove. However …
the back of the orange print has some issues. Granted the back of the white one isn’t the best, as you can see some issues with the layers of the print being slightly misaligned (I need to re-tighten the belts that drive the print head or slow down the print). However, you can see the detail of the bay doors and the portholes (barely, they should probably have been a bit thicker for printing).
On the orange print, this was the side toward the build plate and so had to have supports to the parts of the model that were suspended. In this case that is the back of the engine and wing as well as parts of the back of the ship. The bits on the engine and wings again are not completely cleaned up but they are flat surfaces in is orientation and much smaller surfaces as well. They will be much easier to clean up than the rough sections on the white print.
The back of the ship is a different matter. The surfaces of the cargo and runabout bay doors were the only parts actually touching the build plate. The rest of the back of the ship and the portholes were raised slightly. Because of that the printer had to lay down support material. However, because they were only slightly raised (like one or two 0.1mm layers), there really wasn’t that much room to print support material and it is all fused together. It could probably be cleaned up with some work but it would be pretty tough.
Finally I did a last print at the higher 0.1mm/layer resolution with the ship on it’s bottom (same orientation as the white print) just so see how that higher resolution affected the look.
As you can see, the to surfaces are much cleaner in this print. In fact, I would be very satisfied with that print surface on the model. Here’s the bottoms and backs:
Those bottom surfaces are still fairly rough although I think they are better on the higher resolution print. The back of the higher resolution print is definitely cleaner.
I think the print with the ship on it’s back is still the better way to go, but barely. It’s a tough call and I could be convinced otherwise. To address the problem with the support material on the back of the ship, I have a couple of options. One is to just remove all the surface features on the back of the ship completely. That would give a flat surface to print and would eliminate the problem but you would lose the details on that part of the unpainted model (you could always paint them back on). Another option would be to just eliminate the portholes. There is enough relief to the doors that you could trim the support material from around them. The rest of the back of the ship might be a bit rough but it is an easily accessible area to sand and clean up. The final option would be to increase the relief on everything, both the doors and the portholes, so that there is a bit more space there making the support material easier to clean off. I haven’t decided which route I’ll take yet but I’ll probably do some experimenting to try out the different options.
My Patreon supporters have already received a copy of the model file as it currently exists (that’s one of the perks of being a supporter). At some point I’ll put the model up for purchase for those that would like to get a copy (That will be on DrivethruRPG and either here or my New Frontier Games website). I’ll also make 3D printed models available. That will come once I’m comfortable with the way the prints are coming out.
The next step for the model is to back to the digital model and paint it so it can be used in 3D renders. I need to add textures and materials to the model to give it color and life. However, I’m going to put that bit on hold for bit as it’s not really needed for the module (and I want to go over the Blender tutorial on how to do all of that stuff. I have some experience from the assault scout but it was very trial and error). So this project will probably go on hold for a few weeks while I work on some other bits and pieces.
Bill is also working on the final versions of the deck plans and I’ll post a copy of those once they are available.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions below.
More progress on the ship model. If you haven’t read part one of this series, that describes how I laid out a model of the interior of the ship as a skeleton to build the hull around. In this post, I’ll actually start building the ship out. Let’s dive right in.
I started by pulling the skeleton model I exported from OpenSCAD into Blender. The first thing I noticed is that Blender likes to work on really small scales. The model isn’t that big, only about 50mm long, half that wide and tall but it was was huge in the default view port. I had to zoom way back.
(If the text on that image looks a little small, that’s because its a screen capture of my entire 4k monitor’s screen. It’s a 43″ screen so I work at full resolution for maximum screen space.)
With that loaded, I can start forming the hull around it. It all starts with a cube. I created a cube the height of the cargo bay and then stretched, extruded, and molded it to fit around all the rooms and sections of the lowest level. Once that was done, I extruded part of the top of that level up to form the basis of the hull around the middle deck and then stretched and molded it to properly fit. Finally I did the same thing for the uppermost layer.
In modeling the hull, I had it extending out beyond the bay doors on the sides and back so that they were inset from the hull slightly. The circular bridge area on the upper deck was modeled as a separate piece.
With the hull done, I created a model for the ion cannon and the laser battery and placed them in their appropriate positions on the model. When I was done, it looked like this.
It looks pretty good. But for some reason, I just didn’t like it. I think a big part of it was that it felt too smooth. I could have turned that down a bit but I still didn’t like the shape. There were bits of the hull that just looked weird up close and had somewhat strange geometries. One was the the bit of hull on the left and right side of the bridge “window” area. If you look closely at the image, you can see that it dips back down between the outer edge of the hull and the bridge proper. There were some other areas like that on the back of the ship and around the hanger bay doors as well.
So like all good prototypes, I threw it out and started over. The only thing I kept was the bridge, the laser battery, and the ion cannon.
With a little more experience under my belt, I decided to start over and try again. I kept the original version around in case try 2 was worse but I didn’t expect it to be. This time around I decided that instead of trying to do the hull as a single piece of geometry, that I would break it up in to connecting pieces. While I had originally planed to do five pieces (one for each deck and two for the spaces between decks), I ended up only doing two overlapping pieces as you’ll see below.
This time around I decided to make the outer hull on the back and side be flush with the cargo, shuttle, workpod, and runabout bay doors. I’ll probably add a bit of overhang to those but that detail will be added to the exterior instead of built into the basic hull shape.
Again I started with the bottom of the ship. The process was the same but I made some different design decisions. I also was much more careful about coordinates when pushing, squeezing, extruding, and scaling parts of the hull. There were a number of times that I realized I had done something wrong and destroyed my symmetry. Each time that happened, I went back and fixed it. This is something that I didn’t do on the first attempt. I probably should have worked on just half the ship and mirrored it but it seemed to make more sense at the time to do it the way I did. (I also should have taken more screenshots as I was working on the model to show the stages but I didn’t. I’ll try to be better next time.)
Regardless, I created a lower deck model that I was much happier with than the first one. Once that was done, I started a second section of the hull and modeled everything on the second level except raising it to the full four meter height of the room containing the machinery for the ion cannon or the area that would connect the engineering spaces to the engines proper. The former would be done as part of the connection between deck 2 and 3 and the latter when I actually modeled the engines.
Once I was happy with the second deck it was time to connect the two. My original plan had been to created a completely separate piece of geometry to make the connection but sitting here with the two pieces in front of me, I decided to just extend the top of the lower deck and form it into the shape I wanted. So I extruded the bits under the second deck up and got to shaping the hull. In the end I didn’t just stop this modeling at the bottom of deck 2 but because of some of the feature that I wanted to continue extending, parts were modeled all the way up to the top of the second deck. Satisfied with that, it was time to move on to deck 3.
Again, the original plan was a separate piece of geometry but since this level was fairly simple, I decided to just extend the top of level 2 upward. I was several hours into the project at this point and feeling comfortable with the tools so it went fairly quickly.
Since the bridge area, laser battery, and ion cannon were already done, I just had to turn them on. Doing so made me realize that the area where the cannon was attached felt a little two boxy so I tweaked the design a bit there. I also needed to tweak the geometry around the bridge to expose a bit more of it. With that done, I ended up with this model for my second attempt.
You’ll notice that this one is much blockier than that first one. In that first attempt I had already applied some smoothing filters before exporting the image. I had not yet done so on this one and had first planned on leaving this one as is. I thought this looked pretty good so I even exported this as a 3D model and did a small test print.
I was quite happy how the print turned out. The barrels on the laser battery were too small to print at this scale (1/1000) but otherwise it looked pretty good.
However, looking at the actual model some more I decided I didn’t like it so faceted. Plus if you look at the back of the ship, there is that little bit of contouring that is pushing in a bit. That section fills the space between the doors for the shuttle and workpod bays. I decided that I wanted that to be a feature that ran all the way up the ship.
So I went back into the model and started tweaking. First I modified bottom part of the upper deck geometry to continue running that feature all the way up the aft portion of the ship. This was actually fairly easy as at this point in the ship, the outer edge of the hull is well beyond the interior walls. After that was added, I started smoothing out the surface and adding edges and features in where I wanted the model to have sharp edges. I ended up with the following model.
The one thing that adding the smoothing did was somewhat highlight the fact that it is two different pieces of geometry. You can see a slight seam between the two pieces in the area under the ion cannon. It runs around the front of the ship and back to the point just in front of the bulge mid-ship on the lower deck (that bulge is the location of the reflec screen on this side of the ship) where it turns upward to the top of the second deck.
This seam is not visible in the unsmoothed version as it is an artifact of the extra facets added to the geometry to make it smooth. It’s something I’ll need to clean up. I haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to do it but I have two options. One is to go in and tweak the geometry so that the two pieces (with the smoothing) line up better. That is actually what I did on the back half of the ship. You can’t see the seam back there. The other is to put surface details, such as pipes, equipment, etc. that run over that area of the ship to mask the region affected. It will probably end up being a combination of those options in the end but that is for later.
The other thing you can’t see in this image is that there is a bit of hull under the lower deck. It actually extends about a half a meter below the deck but it is beveled inward so it doesn’t really show up in the angle of this view. And the bit that is visible (just below the front of the bow and below the parts jutting out a little on the side) are in shadow from the lighting. This extension allows for some machinery and piping beneath the hull and the addition of landing pads as well.
Now that the outer hull is done, it’s time to add the engines.
I didn’t really have any ideas for a design on the engines, I just knew they needed to be big and were going to be outboard on either side of the ship. So what I decided to do was use the engines depicted on that map at the end of the last post as a model. I imported that image into Blender to use as a reference and got to work. Here it is again.
I’m going to match the silhouette of those engines at the top and bottom. In this case, I am only going to model one engine and then mirror it to the other side of the ship.
The engine design is fairly simple. It’s mainly a cylinder with a spherical cap at the front and an exhaust cone at the back. Plus some decorations along the side. I made a couple of variations on this image for the model. First, the exhaust cone at the back is symmetrical on my model I might go back and add that curve to it later but for now I left it alone. I also added some tori around the exhaust cone section of the ship reminiscent of the ribbing on current day rocket engines.
I also added one around the connection point between the cylinder and the sphere at the front of the engine (to mask the seam that shows up there when I applied the smoothing 🙂 ).
For those bits of geometry sticking out on the sides, I modeled them as extensions that ran a little more than half way around the engine instead of all the way around.
To connect the engines to the ship, I created some simple swept forward “wings”. All of these pieces were then smoothed and added to the model. With that done, I had the final model of the base hull ready to go.
Now that the base hull is done, it’s time to add the details. That will be the subject of the next post. First up will be those bits of the interior rooms that actually extend beyond the hull. On the side face in these images, the grapple launcher extends a bit out of the bow of the ship. On the other side we have the rocket battery launcher on deck 1 and the sensor array and airlock on deck two.
After that, I need to add in all the bay doors on decks one and three. That will complete the full basic structure of the ship. At this point I’m going to do another 3D print. At the small scale that I used for the first test print, that is all the detail that might show up. Any other smaller details would only show up on a larger print.
Once those final necessary features are added on, I’ll go through and add some other details and features to break up the completely smooth surfaces just a little as well as some recessed landing gear on the bottom of the ship. While the ship doesn’t normally dock or land on planets, it is capable of landing on smaller, very low gravity objects so I need to add that feature in.
So what do you think about the design? Any additional features you think should be included? Let me know in the comments below.