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Old September 23 2013, 04:54 PM   #14
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Location: The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
Don't mind at all, Praetor. The whole point of writing things like this is for cross-germination afterall.
Thank you kindly, sir.

I just finished re-reading both chapters. I really admire your style of writing - it has style without being superfluously stylized, which is something I end up being guilty of from time to time.

I like that you've positioned the Excelsior as over-equipped and Miranda as under-equipped, and used them both to rationalize the Centaur and Apollo as "middle" designs. One thing I think you should address more is the Miranda and just why it seems to have such longevity, although perhaps you've already planned this for a future chapter. I think the same goes for the Constellation. To my thinking, the Constellation is sort of the odd duck in the family... as you've said Excelsior and Miranda seem to be at the top and bottom of the cruiser class, but the Constellation almost seems lateral to them somehow, specialized in some way.

All that said, I hope you don't delve too deeply into detail on any one topic, as I think the approach you have so far is great.

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
I'm probably going to go into classification schemes in a later chapter (particularly the 24th century ones), but I do agree that Starfleet's much more likely use a classification system based on roles rather than sizes.
Just to put it out there, while I agree with Crazy Eddie and yourself that size =/= role, it might be worth exploring the notion that Starfleet might have dual classifications for peacetime and wartime operations.

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
I do think that the later Abramsverse ships gathering for the Vulcan expedition make a better baseline for comparisons than the licensed/fanon designs. I also think expanded secondary craft capability makes sense for something like a survey ship. Given that Starfleet's missions within Federation space are more likely to involve things like humanitarian assistance, infrastructure building and surveying existing star systems, ships that are of moderate size that can pack lots of auxiliary craft make sense.
Agreed wholeheartedly on these points.

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
That is to say, I'm torn. I think the realities of the mid-late 23rd century did force a lot of compromises on Starfleet that were later rectified by a combination of technological progress and the ability to plan. The SIF + modular interiors I think helped them focus on expanding capabilities rather than designing new hull frames, and the newer designs with their emphasis on greater surface area/volume seems to imply attempts to take advantage of those technological traits.
I think you may've actually solved your own problem here and not realized it. What you've depicted in the 23rd century is a fleet of hodgepodge ships and limited vessels designed with one or two main purposes in mind, but not really good at any thing else. Then you have the Constitution and Miranda which appear to be good at more things than anyone else, but for my money that's simply because they're cruisers and that's just inherent to the cruiser class.

You've already said that Starfleet is decommissioning classes that have limited functionality in favor of adaptable newbuilds of Excelsior, Miranda, and Constellation classes. It then stands to reason that these very same traits would also allow all new ships to be good at most things, with the only real variables be, as Crazy Eddie has indicated, power and payload. Specifically this:

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Starships, on the other hand, are the evolutionary descendents of real-world spacecraft. In space exploration, the capabilities of the craft depend almost entirely on the payload it can carry, and the limiting factor of payload is actually the launch vehicle itself. It really IS a case of "bigger is better" since starships -- unlike sailing ships or even modern naval vessels -- have a payload capacity directly proportional to their engine power. So if you want to carry more payload, you install a bigger engine. If you need a bigger engine, you need a bigger warp core. If you put in a bigger warp core you need more engineers and thus a slight increase in the habitable section of the ship (slightly bigger saucer). When you then add crew spaces for the technicians who maintain your enlarged payload, your saucer grows even larger to accomodate the increased crew size. If you think about it, that might explain why Starfleet builds ships with saucer-shaped hulls: it simplifies the design process, since the saucer's size can be increased arbitrarily (add or subtract rings to the perimeter) depending on the material needs for the ship's payload. The advent of SIF fields may change this so that larger starships fill the outer edges of the saucer first and then fill the interiors with essential equipment, followed by non-essential equipment, followed by amenities, followed by absurd luxuries.
Btw, very insightful, Eddie.

But to my thinking, this means that the SIF innovation would suddenly allow them to throw out pages of rules about how you can arrange starships, due to mass, structural members, etcetera. Maybe not all at once and immediately, but by the time the Ambassador class rolled around, certainly.

Can't wait for the next chapter!
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." - Q
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