Welcome to Keen Software House Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the KSH community.
  1. You are currently browsing our forum as a guest. Create your own forum account to access all forum functionality.

Airships

Discussion in 'Suggestions and Feedback' started by Hellothere!, Nov 18, 2015.

Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    I'm pretty sure I am not the only one who had the idea of building a flying base/ mothership for planets. The problem is that atmospheric thrusters are kind of unsuited for this, as they require huge amounts of energy. Since uranium isn't very common, especially in the quantities required for a helicarrier, your ship has to spend the majority of it's time grounded to recharge it's batteries with solar cells.

    What's the solution? Airships obviously.
    So how do you implement airships into space engineers in a way that it realistic, balanced, and easy to implement? Well, here is my suggestion:

    Since cigar-shaped evelopes are hard to get right, why not go with something more sci-fy? I would propose spherical balloons with outside support structure.

    [​IMG]
    Here an example what a 9*9*9 large ship version might look like. The cardinal points act as both attachment points and conveyors.

    Altitude is controlled with a buoyancy option which can be increased and decreased with trigger actions. Increasing buoyancy makes the envelope draw hydrogen from hydrogen tanks or generators on board. Decreasing buoyancy let's some of the hydrogen in the envelope escape into the atmosphere.

    So how is this balanced / why would people still use atmospheric engines?
    • Altitude fine control with buoyancy is tricky. You'd have a hard time landing a large airship, so people might prefer using smaller transports to travel between the airship and the surface.
    • Since decreasing buoyancy lets hydrogen escape, altitude changes will cost you resources, creating the need to restock on ice from time to time.
    • Hydrogen is explosive. If your envelope gets damaged below the breaking point in any way it will explode. In order to grind an envelope safely you first have to empty it of hydrogen by setting the buoyancy to zero. This makes airships relatively unsuitable as warships.
    • If we get atmospheric effects (I'm pretty sure at least a simple drag calculation will be introduced at some point) the high drag of balloons will make airships slow and sluggish, just like they are supposed to be.
    • Envelopes apply force to their position, not to the ships centre of mass. Thus you have to balance things out, or you will end up tail heavy, or even capsize.
    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
    • Like Like x 32
    • Agree Agree x 19
  2. PsicoPato Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,097
    Really liked the idea.

    +1
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Drivenbydiamond Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    73
    [​IMG]
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Funny Funny x 2
  4. RoSothian Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    130
    Brilliant idea, you could use them as big aircraft carriers or to shoot at enemy ships in space.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Bipin Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    33
    This is an excellent idea. I can envision a lot of benefits to having a floating carrier/base, but at the same time, a lot of risk, which makes it all the more fun. I can just picture a massive carrier floating above a planet, only to have its balloons "popped" by a boarding party, so to speak. Watching that thing fall to the ground would be a spectacle! :woot:
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Tyrantissar Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    86
    1+ from me, yet another method of getting around and more blocks to play with.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    3,368
    Actually, airships have regular balloons inside and the cigar shape is an outer shell for aerodynamics. Since hydrogen is part of the game your gas-filled sphere is not out of the question. We'd need lighter blocks for structure (I'm liking carbon fiber) with enough variants to make aerodynamic shapes.

    I have to say, though, that what you would be building would be an aircraft and not likely to survive the rigors of space. We're still talking about a game called Space Engineers.



    I was hoping I could someday build an airship in Medieval Engineers.
     
  8. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    Firstly Space Engineers is currently branching out to also be planetary engineers and will need the tools for that, and secondly in hard science fiction there are some interesting concepts for spaceship/ airship hybrid crafts for atmospheric operation on planets with thick atmosphere such as Venus and Jupiter.
     
  9. transistor77777 Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    477
    The game may be called space engineers, but there's still rovers, atmospheric thrusters, and surface bases. Not everything has to go into space.

    I personally think airships would be an awesome addition to the game, but we would need a lighter form of blocks to keep it slightly realistic. Possibly oil to refine into plastic?
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    I had not thought of that before. Could you maybe leave Steel blocks un-welded? Or is the weight difference not big enough? Maybe aluminium blocks? They would be great for atmospheres anyway.
     
  11. RoSothian Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    130
    That would me amazing. I'd board ships just to make them fall.

    A use for the trees! You can grind them/extract them for resin that you cook into rubber and plastic.
     
  12. PlanetS1de Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    216
    you can fly into space, but you want a hot air ballon/zeppelin?
     
  13. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    3,368
    Maybe they should rename the game "Just Engineers".
     
  14. transistor77777 Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    477
    Yes.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    I agree.
     
  16. Xentor Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    869
    This is a really cool idea... I'd tweak it slightly, though, to make sure it complements thrusters instead of just being a "cool" thing...

    1) If you have hydrogen tanks anyway, you should be able to pull the hydrogen back into the tanks instead of releasing it into the atmosphere (With some electricity cost to pump).
    2) On the other hand, no airship is leak-proof, so it would constantly leak a small amount of gas
    3) Mass/bouyancy would have to be a function of atmospheric density, giving airships a natural ceiling based on hydrogen capacity vs. mass. This also means that if pushed above their natural cruise altitude, they would have positive mass (negative bouyancy) and drag the ship down.

    Advantages: Cheap to operate. Can stay aloft for long periods.
    Disadvantages: Slow to ascend/descend. Big target. Needs other types of propulsion (thrusters) for lateral movement, and is sluggish laterally too.

    This way it's no good for fast travel or combat, but would be great for, say, a communications network or surveillance drones...
     
  17. TuntematonSika Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    79
    another disadvantage:

    takes a lot of hydrogen to fill. Say 3-4 hydrogen tanks? I mean, the proposed size is 9 times bigger.
     
  18. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    On the other hand the hydrogen inside the envelope takes way more volume, since the one inside the tanks is kept in liquid state. They should just take the physically correct values.
    On a side note too sure about the size. It could very well be that the 9*9*9 size is still too small to effectively lift a decent amount of blocks, so it might very well be that 11*11*11, or even something like 15*15*15 might be a better size.
     
  19. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    3,368
    The Hindenburg, currently the largest airship ever built, was about 250 meters long and a volume of 200,000 cubic meters. It could carry about 150 people (passengers and crew). I don't know how much weight a cubic meter of hydrogen can lift but it's pretty impressive. I believe the Hindenburg fully loaded weighed in at about 500,000 lbs. It circled the globe, refueling just once, then made a trip to the north pole. On a good day with no headwind it could do 100 mph. No passenger ever got airsick.

    The size of the envelop doesn't matter as long as you have enough of them. These days, or perhaps by 2077, there might be a material for the envelope that doesn't leak.

    As a practical matter, an airship is not the whackiest thing someone could make in SE. If you need some sort of hovering facility, an airship will float without power as long as there's gas in the envelopes. They could be moved with atmospheric thrusters just like any other vehicle. They don't need to be cigar-shaped. They could be wide and flat, long and narrow, circular... whatever shape you need.

    I can tell that some of you are thinking of making an airship that can go out into space. I'll just say that when you start equipping an airship to operate in space it will get too heavy to be an airship any more. That argument won't stop anyone from trying so... good luck.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  20. PlanetS1de Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    216
  21. SoftcoreTrashtalk Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    space is space, but zeppelins, that's a whole new frontier of over engineering something
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  22. Levits Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    2,122
    This along with wing-blocks and rotors would make for some of the best airship models ever. Stealth was a personal favorite of mine and if anyone else recalls the floating refueling platform that the runaway jet torched, this idea would be fantastic :woot:

    I could even see certain situations where one might need to siphon some of the hydrogen from the balloon in order to power up some thrusters for an emergency situation. Or even better, build up a large store of these balloons, ride as high as you can into the atmosphere and then siphon all of the balloons hydrogen back into the hydrogen tank in order to power the hydrogen thrusters. <tons of options and ideas.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  23. zDeveloper10 Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    742
    when I get time I'm going to see if I can make a sub-shaped flier/airship(which I had thought of when they announced planets- though there are probably better ways)- whenever I get done with trying to find ore haha. though I guess balloons would take some of the need for thrust.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  24. The Inventor Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    29
    I think this is a great idea, and maybe to be able to move the airship you could put atmospheric thrusters on them, like a blimp in real life basically
     
  25. The Inventor Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    29
    Additionally maybe you should be able to drop weights to increase your altitude and like said earlier release hydrogen to decrease altitude.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  26. JustBurn Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    60
    You can already do this by making a mod.
    You already have the model, all you need now is a script that will apply force depending of the atmosphere height.
    If you want cargo to hold hydrogen then just make the block based of CargoContainer type.
     
  27. RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    140
    AA-defence aerostats.. Holy Omnissiah, it would've been brilliant!
     
  28. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    Since we already have a working physics engine in Space Engineers these things would be a given. The envelope block would just tie into the already existing physics properties.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  29. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    Thrusters are unsuited for a number of purposes like a low hanging laser antenna communication network, or flying base that you can just park over an ore despoit, take mining equipment down, mine what you need and leave again.
    Generally everything that is not supposed to fly from A to B, but to stay aloft for longer periods of time is completely impossible to do with thrusters. Why should the game limit us in that regard when there are real life examples of how it can be done?
     
  30. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    I agree. The only reason I'm worried about size is because if you have too many envelopes things will start to get weird. Building like four spheres in a row looks cool. Building two rows with four envelopes each next to each other also looks cool. As do a number of other designs. However, if you have to put a 6*4*3 matrix of envelopes above your ship to make it float things would start to look weird. This is why they should just take a size that works, or even better, offer several.
    I have not run any calculations yet. The proposed sizes were a complete shot in the blue.
     
Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.