ARGH! Cant design worth <oopsie>


Hello, newcomer here, thanks to Steam’s totally-lost-it weekend sale. I’ve always been a huge fan of setting up ship designs and playing mock battles with them. Always had a soft spot for tinkering games like this one.

Also, big ship battles fan, sci fi fan, and totally into the gratuitous nature of this game :smiley:

Problem is, I cant design worth !

Sure I know how to set up properly-ranged craft, with a short, mid, and long range base of fire in the form of a cruiser armored and shielded to the gills, a fire support cruiser, and then missile/EMP frigates in the back. I’ve even beaten about 85-90% of the singleplayer challenges up to the last difficulty level.

Problem is, I won all of those with designs that, if brought online, would probably get their stuff handed back to them in a really small body bag. Let alone the fact that I won these challenges by the skin of my teeth, getting lucky by the roll of the dice, and oftentimes earning little to no honor in the process.

Obviously, someone like myself with some time to burn at work, decided to go forum searching on here on tips, tricks, and etc of good ship design. Yes I’ve read the manual, and I’m no idiot with math, so I know modules can fit in hardpoints and the like…

Instead, I found benchmarks that are near-impossible to match in the ship creator, leading me to think either you guys play modded games online, or I’m SOL due to lack of honor and thus, lack of modules.

I mean, seriously?!
-frigates at 400-600 creds with .4-.6 speed
-frigates with dual tractor/antifighter missile pods
-fighters with 2.5 speed
-cruisers that stay under 3k and yet pack 3x shield and armor, with weapons
-cruisers with two guidance scrambles and a pd, and consider that as normal
-cruisers with .3+ speed

How do you people manage this?! Is there some sort of unwritten rule not to speak of the tricks of the trade due to the nature of “multiplayer” in this game?


I’ve seen and made all of those things, they really aren’t that hard to achieve:
-frigates at 400-600 creds with .4-.6 speed: just don’t pack any armor with it, this is easier with the swarm because of their higher speed and lower cost.
-frigates with dual tractor/antifighter missile pods: All frigates have at least two hardpoints, so I don’t really understand why you think this is hard?
-fighters with 2.5 speed: a single II engine and a rocket launcher will get you a speed of 3.78 without any speed bonus. You just need a fighter with an inherent popwer production of atleast 2.20
-cruisers that stay under 3k and yet pack 3x shield and armor, with weapons:
-cruisers with two guidance scrambles and a pd, and consider that as normal: If your enemy is likely to use missiles than that is a very possible setup
-cruisers with .3+ speed I’ve got a functional cruiser armed with 5 lasers and two repair modules, which can go 0.42, just pack a lot of engines.

Also, have you unlocked the higher grade weapons engines? these usually allow you to fit more stuff in a smaller ship, but with a higher price tag.

As a proof of concept, I have just made a ship costing 2877, has a speed of 0.30 and has two guidance scramblers and a pd. It also has a plasma launcher and a multiple warhead missile launcher.
See image:

It;s not actually functional because of the needly expensive three pieces of cheap armor/shields, so it’s more of a proof of concept.


I was going to link you some old threads, but instead I’ll just give you some advice on various subjects as I think of things to say. I’ll probably keep my examples to the Core Four races. Also, I’ll be assuming all modules, hulls, and races having been unlocked, mostly because I don’t want to look up which were locked at the start. <_<

Fighters are the easiest. I’ll go through the design decision for a Federation Rocket Fighter design, then give example designs for other races (I’ll go into a bit more depth on Rebels, last, as they have the most powerful fighters of the 4 base races)
Federation Fighter Hulls:
-Falcon (44 cost, 3 power, 11 meters, 3/1 modules, 10%+hull and 12%+power)
-Hawk (30 cost, 2 power, 10 meters, 2/1 modules, 10%+hull)
-Leopard (35 cost, 3 power, 12 meters, 2/2 modules, 10%+hull and 12%+speed)

For my typical fighter designs, I would here rule out the Falcon and the Hawk - an engine 2 takes 2.00 power and rockets take 0.2, and when you compare the remaining hulls, the 9 cost reduction (that’s 144 less for a flight of 16) and the 12% speed bonus beat out the 1-meter-shorter-ness advantage. A 12% speed bonus and a 10% hull bonus is pretty decent. You then tack on one rocket launcher and one Engine 2.
Bam, 66 cost, 4.23 speed, 12.65 HP. You can get a second rocket launcher on the same setup for 82 cost, moving 2.93 speed.

Alliance: Tarantula with same setup: 65 cost, 4.04 speed. 11.50 HP. You can add some armor if you feel like it; Ablative makes it 93 cost, 3.67 speed (still good), and gives it some armor so it can actually take a hit (particularly since it has an armor bonus as alliance). Whether you feel the extra cost is worth it will be your call; you might even use each design in different places. You don’t get any reasonable 2-rocket options as Alliance.
Empire: Similar option is Javelin with the generic setup for 70 cost, 3.78 speed (OUCH). That’s no good! Instead, you should do Engine ONE and a rocket on a Phalanx, getting you 54 cost and 3.99 speed.

Rebels: So here are you options as Rebels…
-Achilles (38 cost, 4.8(!!) power, 11 meters, 2/2 modules, 10%+speed and 7%+hull)
-Icarus (38 cost, 4.0(!) power, 12 meters, 2/2 modules, 14%+speed(!!))
-Phoenix (34 cost, 4.0 power, 11 meters, 2/2 modules, 10% speed)
-Atlantis Bomber (55 cost, 4.0 power, 14 meters, 3/2 modules, 10%+speed and 9%+armor)
They have MANY design options and NO truly useless fighter hulls.

Achilles: 2 rockets and an engine 3 moves at 3.14 for 89 cost; it has 19.26 HP and is average length for a fighter. 1 Rocket and an Engine 3 goes 4.4 for 73c, with 13.38 health.
Phoenix: Generic Rocket/Eng2 for a 65-cost fighter moving at an impressive 4.16. By nature, the Phoenix is a slightly smaller, slightly slower Icarus hull. Don’t underestimate it - it’s 4 cheaper, making a flight of 16 cheaper by a full 64. Once you start adding more, the savings can become quite notable. 11.50 HP isn’t bad when you’re only getting hit if you’re painted or tractorbeam’d.
Icarus: The Rocket/Eng2 costs 69 and moves at 4.31 with the same 11.50 HP as the Phoenix generic. Put a second rocket on it, it costs 85, moves at 2.95 still.
Atlantis: Go nuts. Experiment. You have buckets of room.


“-frigates at 400-600 creds with .4-.6 speed”

This is fairly easy to do with swarm. My Laser Frigate sits at 576.6 credit with 0.62 speed. I can lower my cost more but I want to stack multiple engine 1 to bump up it’s HP.

“-cruisers that stay under 3k and yet pack 3x shield and armor, with weapons”

I think “armor” in cruiser just means above 8 to take laser fighter hits. Here’s an example with 3 shield, armor above 8, 0.3 speed, and 4 fast missiles.


I’m the one who said that one; to clarify, I was talking about several uses for frigates at the time. You won’t find many useful .4+ frigates for 400 credits, although it’s certainly possible.


Just for the record:
-Federation only. I dont have access to the other races (and the DLC races oddly are greyed out on my end. I’m planning to fix that with a Steam reverification, always fixes problems, haevnt had time to do so, too busy in the ship creator XD )
-Other than EMP missiles (which have found a permanent place on my frigates), I’ve got nothing of worth unlocked

@Green Glue
As I’ve obviously have no experience with the Swarm, and am stuck with the Federation (which I’m starting to really like their ship designs, more than the rebels, mainly because the rebels keep killing me with massed missile swarms >_<), I cannot pull off that 400-600 with 0.4+ speed frigates. In fact, dont you lose HP and create a weaker ship by not filling slots?

Also, your ship has components I dont recognize, and I have GSB open right beside here at home and can only assume these are unlocked with more honor, honor which I dont obviously have.

Fighter UGRL’s have a minimum range of 280, which places them outside the critical “get-inside-shield” sweet-spot my current fighter LC designs currently enjoy. Am I not mistaken as well that LC’s do far better in space superiority roles?

I meant, cruisers with 3x shield modules and 3x armor modules. This has turned into my standard cruiser requirement just to make them live long enough. Granted, I’ve had to sacrifice and reduce their speed to a measly 0.06.


Lol dude have you ever consider that you are wasting too much credits on armors?


Fighter weapons have different purposes:

Rockets: These will wreck frigates. Completely. The shields will implode and then the hull will collapse shortly thereafter. My 2-rocket designs don’t even need to do a second pass on most frigates.
Painters: These turn rockets into the most powerful air superiority weapon in the game because they (almost?) guarantee the rockets will hit.
Lasers: Any cruiser with armor less than 8 will implode under these. Even above 8 armor, once you have enough of them lucky hits will wreck shit.
Pulse Lasers: Ehhhhh…
Torpedoes: Derp


what about leaving empty slots? Dont you create a weaker ship by leaving them empty?


You can’t have everything with a limited budget. Focus on what you need rather than excess (be that armor, or scrambler, or whatever) is the best advise I can give you. The only thing you can’t have excess of is firepower.


yea, ships will be Slightly weaker without All the Slots full, as each module has a hit point value, but if you dont fill all the slots then the armor Dont have to cover the Modules making it more heavily armored


Since it sounds like the important first thing is building some honor, here’s what I’d do:

  1. Build a tank cruiser. Put one Reflective shield on it, and then three more shield generators. Check your total shields between 2 & 3; if you only get 50% value it’s not worth it (diminishing returns) next, add four weapons and a tractor beam - I like a mix of rockets and lasers. Finally, finish it with armour - the goal is an average armour of 18+. Of course, it’s easiest with a hull that has bonus shields or armour.

  2. Missile boat - a cruiser with one shield, 12.01+ armour, and all the missiles you can pack. Scrambler beam useful on some maps, but optional. The shield cruisers should be taking most of the hits.

  3. Cheap, fast rocket fighters

  4. A main battle cruiser - two or three shield generators, a mix of anti-shield weapons (cruiser lasers and rockets) and ant-armour/high-damage ones (beam laser), about as fast as your tank cruisers.

Deployment: put one missile cruiser in the corner, two shield cruisers in front, and then add a squad or two of fighters set to ESCORT one of the tank cruisers. Set the fighters to prefer frigates and vulture, the tanks to take out cruisers and co-op, and the missile cruiser to prefer cruisers. Also make sure you use optimum ranges.

The battle: enemy fighters rush in, get shredded by your fighters with cruiser support. Your missile cruiser brings down shields, while the tank cruisers ignore most of the hits they take. Frigates that get close are blown up by fighters, and when your tank cruiser finally goes down the fighters scramble and mop up. If you loose, adjust your deployment to compensate: a battle cruiser can make short work of frigates, more fighters to overwhelm the enemy, or another tank if you think the extra time will let the missle cruiser mop up. The corner deployment is CRITICAL - your fleet can focus on a portion of the enemy instead of taking them alll on at once. Once you get a few thousand honor from each battle you can buy the fun stuff. :smiley:


Managed to unlock most modules now, but none of the races. I’m still sticking to fed for now. I’ve put up a challenge in case anyone wants to try it.

As far as I can tell, I think I’m doing alright now :smiley:


EDIT: Thank you for thoroughly counter-challenging me. Wasted 9 attempts and the entire day trying to beat that fleet. I see that I’m not going to get anywhere with anything resembling a fleet. Giving up.