Added ship data for 'meteor' light courier #1219

merged 6 commits into from Apr 28, 2012


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The Meteor is intended to be a small, low-cost transorbital craft that can carry smaller payloads with decent speed.

It still needs some statting, as I basically cribbed stats directly from the talon.

It also needs a gear model and some definition. I'll probably take care of this later.

The texture still needs some refinement. I need to add texture, weathering and detail to the heatshielded parts of the hull. I may add a 3d 'dark' cockpit interior later on.

I based the design on the various SCRAMJET prototypes. hence the duckbill nose and thin intakes. Maybe if we ever improve flight models and equipment I'll implement a rocket/jet engine pair so the Meteor can perform efficient atmospheric flight. That's far future, though.

robn commented Apr 23, 2012

I'm a terrible judge of what looks good visually so I won't try other than to say I like the shape and the texture. It seems like a nice little ship. I'll leave it to others to provide some more specific feedback on the appearance.

Technically its not bad. A few points:

  • You've defined a model called "gear", but we already have one of those. Call it "meteor_gear". Of course, you're not up to gear yet so it'll sort itself out.
  • The collision mesh looks a little large. I wonder if it should have more definition across the top and bottom where the fins are?
  • The landing lights are floating in space.
  • The top thrusters are not parallel.

I've not looked at the ship defs yet. @Brianetta, @AaronSenese specifically asked fuel balance. Could you offer some advice based on your experience balancing the other ships?


When I was balancing ships, I looked at a number of variables:

  • The name of the ship
  • The author's stated purpose for the ship, if any
  • The cargo space
  • The hull mass
  • The thruster power
  • The hull shape

The name and stated purpose would provide the general idea. Eagle Long Range Fighter became a ship plenty of delta-V, while the Viper became a high consumer of propellant.

Cargo and hull mass also give a clue as to the purpose of the vessel. It's important that a ship with a large cargo hold has the range to fly a standard distance (about 11AU) with a full cargo and have a little something left over. Players with these ships will be using autopilot for long trade runs.

Fighters with huge engines get to use up their fuel rapidly. They can be used as a trade ship, but you're forcing them out of their role then, and should fly appropriately (learn to coast, etc).

Finally, the hull shape made me think about how the fuel got used up. I was working with existing ships, removing hull mass and replacing it with the same amount of fuel tank mass. A ship with a very high tank to hull mass ratio gets an exaggerated efficiency boost when the tank is nearly empty, and I did this for the spherical ships. A little arbitrary, but I figured what the heck, there's probably some fictitious engineering reason for that.

Do play with the values. A big tank is heavy to start with. A smaller tank (with the same burn rate) gives exactly the same duration of thrust, but the decrease in mass over time is smaller. It's a more efficient engine. The burn rate can be configured independently of all the other values to get the required range.

Luomu commented Apr 23, 2012

I haven't tried this in the game, but lighting looks a bit rough in the screenshots. Is this how you intended it? Otherwise, set smooth + edge split modifier is your friend in Blender.

Also, as I every now and then say, can we drop one of the shittier ship models if this goes in? I vote Walrus. If not, replace the Eagle since this looks like a single-person fighter craft (The Eagle is not the worst model but this is 100% custom).

Luomu commented Apr 24, 2012

Having looked at this in more detail, I like the model, it's simple and clean. However, the bounding radius is way off:

The bounding radius will affect lod calculations and also the minimum distance to external cameras. After you have fixed this the lod_pixels values need to be re-tweaked.

AaronSenese added some commits Apr 24, 2012
@AaronSenese AaronSenese Adjusted Meteor mesh with an initial smoth-face pass. Next pass will …
…be more selective. Increased Meteor's fuel tank mass and thrust. Increased fuel burn rate to fit the ship's short range role.

Fixed nav lights to fit the ship's layout.
Further inset thrusters so they don't float above the nozzles, making their position apepar nebulous.
Scaled model by a factor of 1.2
Refined thruster positions.
@AaronSenese AaronSenese Adjusted the Meteor's bounding radius to be less insano. c493c0e

Hey everybody, updated the model with a smoother look (thanks Luomu, I'm still a newbie at 3d modelling.) I've also balanced some of the stats so they make some more sense. The ship has less range and higher thrust more comparable to the eagle/starting ship with about the same mass.

I also fixed the navlights and the bounding box.

robn commented Apr 24, 2012

Looking much better. I'm still not sure about the top/bottom thrusters though: I would have expected them to need to be straight, not angled:


Rule of Cool applies, I think.

robn commented Apr 24, 2012

Good enough for me!

So its just gear now, yes?


As far as I know, assuming the net force on the front and rear are balanced through throttle calibration, nonparallel thrusters would work assuming they're at opposing angular offsets. Some force would just be lost to opposing sideways translation forces but the net force of the opposite thrusters should even out just as easily as if they were parallel. There would be some extra structural strain but I'm assuming that that would be accounted for in the ship's design.

You can see the effect in action with SpaceX's Dragon landing capsule, which has eight stabilizer thrusters facing slightly outward from around the fuselage of the capsule. Any thruster configuration where angular and translational forces are neutralized by setting thrusters in opposing configuration is feasable, but potentially inefficient. I think the Meteor's configuration should be fine for its hull weight and the limitted time it spends in atmosphere.

Robn: I think that's it, yes. I'm floating some ideas for the gear. I take it skids are acceptable? I'm thinking of extending some short shock absorbers from the lower wings and a single skid from the center of the craft. I could do wheeled undercarriages but it'll look a bit funny.

robn commented Apr 24, 2012

Acceptable? Skids are awesome! Wheels don't make much sense at all, and its a bit silly that so many ships have them.


I know, right? Until we've got an aerodynamic lift model (even if it was just stat-defined) there's no need or support for horizontal landings so skids work :). I'll get to work modelling and texturing the gear this evening, hopefully.


Added the landing gear. I'm finally satisfied with the animation. No doors, but maybe I'll add one at some point.

Also for those who haven't had a gander at the smooth mesh, check it out here:

So I more or less feel this ship's done. Maybe I'll add a higher LOD and do some texture improvements sometime in the future but I've done what I can for now. If you guys feel it's ready, pull away :)

@robn robn added a commit to robn/pioneer that referenced this pull request Apr 28, 2012
@robn robn remove walrus. #1219 bbc5aa2
@robn robn merged commit 8631686 into pioneerspacesim:master Apr 28, 2012
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