Carrier Conundrum

The problem with long ships is that when they start to rotate, the tips accelerate faster than the center.

Start rotating too fast and Sonic gets turned into mashed Sonic. Rotate slow enough that sonic survives and the carrier might not be too fun to play.

With the magical technology of inertial dampeners the mashing can be stopped, but still that’s a pretty powerful inertial dampener. It could be made to feel better by creating a stumpy carrier.

Personally, long I find long carrier and stumpy carrier to feel equally cool :sunglasses: Also, I have no issues with magical inertial dampening technology.

So, vote for what you want. Some examples:

  • Longy
  • Stumpy

0 voters


There aren’t enough stumpy capital ships in space sims out there, i vote stumpy!

If this were a bigger game i might like both, one stumpy fast rotating ship with an emphasis on forward facing armament and the longer one with bigger turret focus but less pinpoint damage. Them being carriers raises more questions, as we dont have the full picture of what carrier gameplay is supposed to be like yet.


I’m going with Stumpy, but it’s a bit hard to judge without knowing where all the things the carrier is carrying are going to come out

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If it were purely a carrier, I might be tempted to vote for the longer design; but this thing’s a support/supply ship too, even for other capitals, isn’t it? Stumpy would be a good fit for that.

That said, I’d vote for the stumpy one anyway, Stumpy is different, and different is good in the space sim genera at the moment imho. :wink:

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They all have a larger docking area in the back for corvettes. Smaller ships launch from the front/sides. Landing maybe both front and back. Larger ships will probably externally dock, but for the game caps might get resupplied just by being in proximity to keep things manageable for the team.

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Sorry, but this is like asking “It is pretty cold outside. Do you want red boots or blue boots?”

The ONLY correct answer is to NOT decide it based on speculation what might happen and/or a visual concept of the Carrier. This needs to be tested in a QUICK AND DIRTY prototype fashion. We need a Test Carrier ingame that on the outside is nothing but a box, and on the inside nothing but the rough hangar layout - with the minimum possible work put in by the artists.

Then we need to run test landings and starts with both small craft pilots and carrier pilots participating in benevolent/cooperative manouvers and in omgomgomgimgettingattackedby3destroyersturnturnturnpanic! carrier + omgomgomgihave5fightersonmelandlandlandpanic! small craft manouvers.

I also strongly advocate prototyping alternative rough hangar layouts, and especially hangar entry and exit positions. I remember trying to land in the ICP’s Battleship’s hangar, and it was very unfun. For once, the distant silhouette of it was not so distinct from all directions that you knew what side the hangar actually was at. And the entance was on the side, aka the axis with fastest turn speed. AND somewhat near the rear i think, so with the most rotation induced motion.

So this is not a single factor balancing/design problem, where you turn inertial dampeners up or down to solve it. There are at least the following phases to consider:

  • Small craft approach: In addition to the usual speed matching challenge, the pilot needs to be able to tell the orientation of the carrier so he can align with the/one hangar entrance.
  • Aligning with entrance: An obstacle free aproach and possible alignment orientation helpers could be good. Weapon placement on the carrier will be a factor too.
  • Aproaching entrance and compensating for carrier movment: Here, the inertia dampeners and how far/strong the effect goes will be most vital, but also hangar entrance position against all rotation axes and rotation speeds of the carrier.
  • Passing the most narrow part of the hangar: This should be the entrance. Again, obstacle placement and also possible traffic flow are to consider. ( Seperate hangar entry and exit lanes might make sense? On different axes of the carrier most likely? ) Some sort of runway extending between hangar interior and exterior hangar landing approach area might be helpful in narrow margin landings, allowing you to “scrape” into the inside.
  • Internal hangar navigation. The small ship could potentially enter at any orientation, and in pretty bad shape. Again, orientation points and obstacle positions will play a role.

Once a working hangar layout is established, it will be much easyer to say if it fits a longer or shorter design.

The bigger the gameplay impact of a single entity is, the more important it is that form follows function. The carrier will be the center piece of small ship combat. This can not be handwaved, it needs to be prototyped in a way that requires the least developer resources while producing relyable results. Having to relayout the Carrier later during development would be really bad.

So i vote not to vote but to test!


There is almost certainly going to need to be some kind of ‘sphere of influence’ close to capital ships for smaller craft. In my opinion, it’s largely irrelevant what shape the carrier is (i.e. what looks cool). This is about game mechanics to avoid the situation where panicking fighters try to land on a carrier that’s turning, resulting in them getting smacked by a very large section of hull plating!

It’s conceivable that smaller, more manoeuvrable ships would be able to automatically adjust to the movements of larger, slower ships. Yet, perhaps it only works when the capital ship is targeted, so you don’t get random disruption from happening to fly too close.

Target friendly carrier -> get close enough to enter SOI (so capital ship gradually becomes stationary relative to you) -> fly to hangar and land.


Target enemy carrier -> get close enough to be inside its defences (also entering SOI) -> start strafing at close range (of course, this now puts you at the mercy of enemy fighters because you’re almost stationary relative to the enemy carrier)

I’m sure it will be thought through in lots of detail, but I see no reason why these couldn’t be the basics, especially as it’s very similar to how the ICP worked!

Also, we don’t yet know how capital ships will be controlled. I have a feeling it will not be FPS style mouse-dragging!


Longy. The stumpy ships look too much like space stations.
I think stumpy doesn’t make sense design wise either, for example:

  • the front is now huge, a big surface for attacks and when the ship is traveling at high speeds trough space the big front has to be protected from rocks and other debris
  • the somewhat shorter lenght really does not make much of a difference in g-forces I would believe
  • you can dock more longer slender ships at a space station then shorter bulkier ones
  • the recognisability is much better, the slender ships just look like carriers, the shorter ships could also be space stations
  • you can protect the slender ships better, with less gunspoints you can protect more ship
  • traveling trough a planetary ring would be so much more dangerous with a bulky ship
  • should be easier to repair
  • I think capital ships should be really sluggish, it would be cool if they were only somewhat passively steerable

I prefer long. Not just for the carrier but all ships. I’m fine with magic dampeners.

Plus I kinda like the design of that long carrier.


Even though I do love me a good, long carrier, I think stunty would be really neat.

That said, I wish the pictures would tell a bit more about it; I couldn’t really make out relevant things like berthing or hangar bays. :confused:

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Verry WIP, simple block-outs only.

I completely agree with @Wargrim. This is something that needs to be designed based on gameplay, not picked based on aesthetics.

However, that would require putting some thought into gameplay and it’s been stated that isn’t going to happen any time soon… A conundrum indeed!


I agree with @hrobertson, @Wargrim, and @Sab1e.

I think we’ve discussed this before. A large ship in motion is still going to present a problem for smaller ships trying to dock with it, especially if that ship is not fully cooperating with the small ship.

In real life, carriers have to maintain course and speed for aircraft to land. Imagine if the captain just started turning wherever he please while the aircraft was trying to come in. When it comes to gameplay, this is exactly what will happen when a lot of casual players come in and try to play with each other. They’re not going to magically organize themselves and it will be a pain for everyone involved.

A solution is best found through evolution because it’s just going to have to feel right. Full realism in this case doesn’t play well with a casual crowd.


Very well put. I can imagine a first step would be a prompt for the carrier player that alerts them whenever a fighter is coming in to dock (if anyone thinks homeworld from those worlds he gets a high-five from me), and perhaps some kind of reward if he holds course and speed, aside from the obvious not-having-an-oversized-mass-torpedo-crash-into-your-beloved-behemoth reward?

On that note, how much damage would a speeding strikecraft inflict on a carrier? probably quite a bit, yes?

One more thing: Even if the carrier and strikecraft pilot don’t match up too well, there would still probably be some kind of catch mechanism for combat landings, like a cable on a conventional carrier - a net, perhaps? magnetic guide rails that slow and orient the craft? Could these modules be damaged from enemy fire, forcing a fully manual landing?

I’m getting carrier away, so I’ll stop there.


It doesn’t matter because carriers don’t turn, they drift as they accelerate. And not in combat.

that depends entirely on how gameplay turns out to be. If you can perform intense maneuvers, making a turn in combat may be a viable thing to do (to minimise profile towards enemy reinforcements, for example)

We’ll just have to wait and see.

For me long looks more sexy.
Thinking of Chimera in EVE.

I can think of several reasons to have a longer, less agile carrier: greater launch volume/hangar count from the sides, potential to include long beam-oriented runways for increasing small craft accelerations before they exit (imagine “firing” a torpedo boat at enemy capitals), ability to act as scaffolding for larger vessels in need of repairs/construction, ability to act as scaffolding for greater numbers of ships to large to dock without impeding self defense gun arcs as much.

I think a long, narrow carrier offers greater practicality at the cost of survivability, which means increasing reliance on external defenders. This could be good or bad, depending on design wishes.

Do we even know if anyone is ever going to come back to a carrier with a fighter? I’m getting the feeling that carriers are just mobile spawn points where players can get a small ship to battle on with. When that one blows up, they respawn back at the carrier and get another one. If the current fight is ended and they want to move on to the next one, they just drive over there on their unlimited fuel. Or if the fight is far away, they rely on the carrier’s jump capability because that’s faster, even after waiting for all the fighters to return to the carrier. Assuming that fighters don’t have jump capability. Or it’s too limited.

In short, without knowing what the gameplay is going to be, there’s no point at all in discussing what carriers do. Without knowing what carriers do, there’s no point in talking about how they should be designed.


That is a good point! Rearming would be the most likely possibility, I would guess. Missiles/bombs/finite armament…

Edit: And perhaps carriers might be able to plot in-system jumps (rather than taking longer warping). But yes, it’ll depend on the gameplay design.