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Acerba Agikor
Posted - 2010.11.29 05:38:00 - [1]

While traveling through space, I have come across a number of vessels of Minmatar make. Upon viewing them, I found their design to be, quite simply, baffling. To be precise, the vessels appear to possess a number of structural weaknesses that should not be present. They have these great structures jutting off which I could only assume are meant to be radiators to get rid of waste heat; however, their placement would often require the excess heat to be routed from the engines through crew living quarters, and that is completely ignoring the fact that the things appear to be incredibly fragile and prone to breaking off in the midst of combat. The fact that the Minmatar utilize artillery weapons, the recoil from which potentially damaging the hastily put together frames, makes their ship design all the more baffling. However, the bewilderment does not end there! Having been slaves to the Amarr and enjoying close relations with the Gallente, one would think that the Minmatar would have vessels based on the more sound designs of other nations. Now, I understand that disproportionate elements within the republic may be greatly impoverished, and they have their origins in rebellion; however, this is no justification for the outright bizarre ship design employed by modern Minmatar shipwrights. Simply take a look at the Tempest battleship or Breacher frigate. Ultimately, all of this has left me with the conclusion that any skilled or sane Minmatar ship designers are either still within the Amarr empire, or they are employed in the construction of Gallente or Caldari vessels.

As such, I reach out to the Minmatar and ship builders in general with the hopes of being enlightened as to their design.

Posted - 2010.11.29 06:38:00 - [2]

Edited by: Stitcher on 29/11/2010 06:42:36

Oh look, it's an Amarrian being condescending. haven't seen that before.

look, I'm fully skilled in the construction and design theory behind Minmatar ships. I know their construction just as well as I know Caldari ships, and let me tell you something:

First up, the human body is itself exothermic. In fact, we produce quite a lot of heat. to the point where the living quarters are actually a stronger thermal signature on most ships than the engines and reactors are. You see, engines and reactors vent most of their heat in the ship's plasma exhaust. So, yes it WOULD be inefficient if they were shunting the heat through living quarters to get rid of it. Which is why they don't do that.

Meanwhile an Amarrian ship is basically a slab of tungsten carbide painted gold with a giant antimatter reactor assemblage at the core. That shiny surface is an inefficient radiator of heat, and those clean, smooth lines actually REDUCE the surface area to size ratio. some of your ships are so inefficient at radiating waste heat that I've heard stories of crew being cooked alive during extended combat when the emergency plasma venting systems fail. Your whole approach to temperature control is to use the armour as a heat sink and use long downtimes to give the ship time to return to equilibrium.

And YOU of all people are going to lecture the Minmatar on the correct placement and usage of a heat radiator? Half the time, I think they're the only other group of ship designers in the cluster besides the Caldari who have a firm grasp of thermodynamics as it relates to black-body radiation and the dissipation of heat in a vacuum.

Posted - 2010.11.29 06:46:00 - [3]

Do not confuse what you do not understand with what is incorrect.

Besides, perhaps our ships appear to have been cobbled together from spare parts in the fires of rebellion for the same reason that the Amarr print their holy book on paper and enslave others to do what they should do for themselves.


State Trade Consortium
Posted - 2010.11.29 08:00:00 - [4]

Now, Hakatain, let's not compound the errors of the original poster with our own. Remember, they did request enlightenment.

The true fact of the matter is that Matari ships are designed for different missions than the ships of other empires. Let us examine the design philosophy behind these differences.

The Minmatar:
Minmatar ships are primarily designed for speed and/or firepower. Their standard source of power generation is based on fission technology, which is more stable and less prone to failure than other power sources. In weaponry, they tend to focus on the tried and true over the experimental or hard to maintain.

The reason many Matari ships embrace a somewhat aesthetically "ugly" design is because that design is often most efficient. Complex systems, such as thermal radiation subsystems, require much maintenance, as do lasers or gravimetric reactors. While the other empires benefit from populations filled with experts in complex technical fields, the Matari did not at the time most of their designs were constructed. In addition, due to the nature of the war they waged against the empire, fast, hard-hitting vessels were more useful than heavily armored behemoths. An Armageddon is easy prey for a trio of Tempests, though on more even terms, the Amarrian hull would likely win out.

There is also the fact that many more advanced hulls are designed for shield tanking. After all, if one is protecting the ship from all physical harm, there is no need for needlessly complex and expensive technology. Why not put thermal "sails" on a Maelstrom? After all, if a Maelstrom is actually in a position where those would be vulnerable, it's time to abandon ship anyway. It should be noted that those hulls designed to go toe-to-toe with the enemy and possibly use armor - the Rupture, the Typhoon, and the Hurricane being notable examples - have much less in terms of exposed structure.

It should also be considered notable that the three Minmatar weapons choices - missiles, autocannons, and artillery - tend to be specialized to these tasks. Artillery is excellent for fast raiding, where you may have one or two shots to inflict massive damage, and autocannons are excellent skirmish weapons - short ranged but fast firing and flexible. Missiles are usually supplements to these, filling in for any shortcomings. Also note that their ammo can be selected for the particular mission being planned for.

In its own way, Matari tech illustrates a kind of engineering genius - they use only the technology and materials necessary to achieve an end result, thus keeping costs low, both in terms of personnel and materials.

The Amarr
Amarr ship design theory could be considered to be the antithesis of Minmatar tech. Where the Matari choose speed, the Amarr choose armor. Where the Minmatar choose flexibility, the Amarr choose brute force, and where the Minmatar use weapons adapted to the task at hand, the Amarr favor a single powerful type. Why?

Well, to understand this, one needs to consider the fact that the Amarr have a vast empire, an empire that must be defended on a daily basis. This is a giant logistics challenge, one which would strain any society. In addition, the Amarr Navy has often been tasked with crushing organized enemy resistance, rather than simple defense, and even when they are defending, because of the vast distances involved, refits can be few and far between.

So how do they solve this? First, by eliminating ammunition problems. Lasers, while a poor choice for ground combat, work wonderfully well when paired with the capacitor and antimatter reactor technology the Empire possesses. Nor do they suffer from thermal diffusion, and the laser lenses issued to a warship upon its launch may well perform until it is decommissioned.

State Trade Consortium
Posted - 2010.11.29 08:01:00 - [5]

Edited by: Vikarion on 29/11/2010 08:34:51

Furthermore, because lasers are such a tactically flexible choice (good tracking, good damage, good rate of fire) the Empire can usually count on their weapons being "good enough" to solve any altercations in their favor. And since lasers need less maintenance than other weapons systems (and more importantly, most of it can be done aboard ship), it also allows more of the fleet to be in service at any one time.

Amarr ships aren't merely known for their firepower, either. Their amazing ability to soak up damage is major plus for the empire as well. Considering the cost and difficulty of constructing new starships, it would be a major economic drain on the empire if a ship carefully staffed and provided with high-tech weapons were easily destroyed. On top of this, there is the consideration that if a shield-tanking ship is damaged, it must return to port for repairs, while primarily armor-based ships must only return if the armor is completely ablated. In addition, shields are harder to maintain, and generate more concentrated waste heat. Since lasers already generate heat, and suck up a lot of power, armor systems are usually the best choice on Amarr ships.

In short, the primary design philosophy behind Amarrian ship design is the longevity of the platform with a minimum of outside maintenance needed. They perform to these specifications admirably.

The Gallente:
The Gallente are much harder to pin down to any design choice. They do possess several ships of the line that can be very flexible (the venerable dominix comes to mind), but also possess a singular determination in other designs that frustrates any specific classification of the whole. Were I to be kind, I would say that the Gallente design philosophy is currently in a state of flux. If we are to be truthful, however, it would be more accurate to say that they possess a military handicapped by years of budget cuts and, design-wise, devastated by allocations of defense contracts to those who gave the most to certain politicians. But then, I'm biased. And then again, maybe not, because I personally enjoy flying Gallente ships, often against the Gallente themselves. Maybe it's the irony. But I digress...

Gallente ships are typically built around the concept of "damage first, protection second". The theory behind this seems to be the fact that the enemy cannot harm you if he is dead, and, indeed, Gallente ships are well known for their blistering offensive capabilities. Increased capacitors for cyclotrons, particle containment field optimizers, drone targeting computers, and other powerful systems intended to increase firepower are staples of Gallente ship design.

In addition, Gallente ships usually mount excellent armor protection. Although not quite up to Amarrian standards, most Federation vessels can take an impressive amount of punishment. The reasons for adapting an armor-based defensive system were self-evident for many years: the Amarr Empire, the main threat for much of the Gallente Federation's existence, used weapons weak against physical defenses (due to such factors as diffusion). In addition, shielding technology was much less reliable, and the fusion reactors aboard most Gallente starships don't produce power in line with the needs of shield systems. Lastly, the Caldari were largely using ragtag vessels constructed haphazardly, and the advantages of ships with staying power were obvious.

The typical weapon of the average Gallente ship consists of blasters, drones, or a combination of both. Most don't mount railguns - a Caldari innovation, and out of keeping with the high-damage philosophy of the Gallente Navy. The result is a ship that is highly armored and devastatingly powerful...right up until medium range.

Originally, this wasn't a problem, since the Gallente were and are avid users of microwarp technology.

State Trade Consortium
Posted - 2010.11.29 08:16:00 - [6]

Edited by: Vikarion on 29/11/2010 09:05:08
Microwarp provided the Gallente fleet with a means to close distances with their opponents rapidly. Later on, they also deployed sensor dampeners to prevent their opponents from locking on until the Gallente could do damage. In essence, they presented the enemy with a choice: fight on our terms, or not at all. Enemy counters, such as the Caldari possessed with their one-man fighters, would be destroyed by drones.

Unfortunately for the Federation, this is where they pretty much stopped, content in a belief that the sheer power of their forces made up for their tactical inflexibility. Sensor dampeners were soon reduced to near-uselessness by electronics upgrades, and the continuing technological advantage of the Caldari industrial machine soon began creating ships with equivalent protection to the best armored hulls. In short, the development of the Gallente Navy hasn't so much been a force tailored to real-world considerations as it has to certain ideals, ideals that have led to useful hulls such as the Taranis and Dominix, but also to blunders such as the Hyperion and Deimos.

The Caldari:
Again, I admit bias. With that out of the way...

The Caldari Navy has been shaped by two forces: the war with the Federation, and the smaller population of the State. With these in mind, their engineers have sought to produce a force that can defeat outright any other navy in New Eden. According to CONCORD, they have succeeded, and in recent events, as well, the wisdom of Caldari engineers has so far prevailed.

One of the unique characteristics of Caldari engineering is the prevalence of shielding. No other force in the cluster shield tanks its ships as heavily and as often. This preference springs out of two concerns. First, a highly complex ship is difficult and costly to replace. Second, shield tanks are more efficient than armor tanks. Such realities can be seen in the Alliance Tournaments - Tengus, Drakes, and other shield-equipped ships predominate. And Caldari graviton reactors are quite capable of powering shield systems, providing an even, powerful stream of energy (if not as high as that of antimatter reactors).

Of course, such complexities come with drawbacks, such as increased maintenance needs. However, the State can draw upon an extremely technically-oriented population, and the Navy fields a greater than average number of battleships, which need less regular maintenance (since they can maintain a large number of internal stores.

Another unique characteristic of Caldari ships is their tendency to rely on missiles. While the Minmatar may use them as auxiliary weapons, the Caldari tend to use them as primary weapons. Why?

Well, missiles have some major advantages. First, as many pilots have ruefully discovered, they have no tracking issues to speak of. Neither do they require capacitor, freeing more for shield systems. The industrial backbone of the State can produce them at a prodigious rate. Lastly, they have better base range than other weapons systems.

Range might be considered the primary tactic of the Caldari Navy. Against an opponent with powerful short-range weapons, the Caldari realized that they could try to beat the Federation at its own game, or simply shoot them to pieces as they closed. The continuing technology advantage of the State has furthered this tactic, since, thanks to ECM, many ships won't have the ability to shoot even if they close.

The downside of this design philosophy is that it requires dedicated ship types. The Scorpion does ECM, and not much else. Similarly with the Ferox, for long range fire support. There are exceptions - the Raven and Drake, for example, but while a Caldari ship is more powerful when supported than a similar ship from another fleet, it is weaker when alone.

Norse'Storm Battle Group
Intrepid Crossing
Posted - 2010.11.29 15:07:00 - [7]

I tell you what.

Let me enslave your entire race for a few centuries then give you a junkyard full of spare parts and see what you end up building, hmm?

*muttering to herself as the feed cuts out*
Stupid, thrice damned Amarrian....

One'Ocular Stranger
Posted - 2010.11.29 15:26:00 - [8]

I myself found their ship are quite "unique" to use with. Useful against "target of opportunity"

Sylux Raynes
Center for Advanced Studies
Posted - 2010.11.29 16:04:00 - [9]


I commend you for such an informed and explanatory answer regarding the various design tendencies and philosophies of the major nations' ships. I, myself, found your expository quite informative, so again I thank you.

Despite your "bias," you were quite factual on a number of points and that is something I can appreciate. I've been experimenting with the use of railguns on Gallente vessels and there are some surprisingly effective results, so perhaps there is something to be said for innovative design and breaking from tradition. (Or arrogant complacency in some cases.)

To the original topic, I find the Minmatar vessel design to be rudimentary but effective in nearly every instance. Each vessel seems catered to a very specific function and its design is to accomplish that function as cheaply, efficiently and effectively as possible. To that end, the Minmatar are design geniuses, at least in my opinion.

The same could be said of the Caldari design. To be quite honest, most of the Caldari ships are hideous, asymmetrical conglomerations. But, they are highly efficient, brilliantly balanced for their purpose and remarkably effective. Which again, makes the Caldari design geniuses in my opinion.

Acerba Agikor
Posted - 2010.11.29 17:31:00 - [10]

Vikarion, I thank you for the polite and informative response. Your explanation of the matter has provided the enlightenment for which I had asked, and, as such, I have gained a new appreciation for Minmatar ship design.

State Trade Consortium
Posted - 2010.11.29 18:39:00 - [11]

You are quite welcome.

Alica Wildfire
Federal Investigations Agency
Posted - 2010.11.29 18:43:00 - [12]

The big "sails" on Minmatar ships, I can assure you, are not heat sinks but Ladar Sensor arrays. For the Minmatar technology is not producing as much heat as the ships of Empires do due to effecient, easy and cheap to maintain nuclear reactor technology, laser array sensors and projectile as well as missile weaponry.

Where most of the recoil of the projetile weapons as artillery is caught by the gyro systems or additional gyro systems that you can fit to the design, some of that energy is put into the hull. And where the Amarr laser doesn't produce any recoil and can easily fire at will, the Minmatar design needs points of energy sucking in their structure. So there are flexibility points of the structures which are build to take some of the recoil as well the force that is produced by our superior drives.

The mass we can spare by leaving nice finishing and golden plating to the bulky Amarrian vessels, ours are faster in acceleration, easier to turn and get an overall higher attack speed in a tactical situation. As well as said ability to compensate some of the produced recoil.

Sahaquiel Faust
Mixed Metaphor
Posted - 2010.11.29 19:30:00 - [13]

Vikarion you provided an honest and relatively well rounded assessment of the design philosophies of all four empires.I'd like to venture my own opinion on Amarr and Gallente ship design:
the Amarr Empire suffers a bit from design stagnation because (in my opinion mind you) cultural and religious factors prevent certain types of innovation beyond refining and improving on their tried and true technology.
the Gallente on the other hand suffer a similar stagnation because of what I see as Governmental and military inertia. all naval funding for development has to be approved by the senate and then contractors have to compete for that funding and by the time a vessel sails out of a shipyard it will have been a considerable amount of time since the design was approved for production. The conditions that a given Gallente vessel was designed for may no longer be relevant by the time it finishes production and sees service.

there are of course exceptions for both empires. and the Khanid seem quite comitted to fusing the best that Amarr and Caldari technologies can offer into a very dangerous combination.

Thgil Goldcore
Posted - 2010.11.29 20:23:00 - [14]

I must say I personally prefer hybrid ship hulls myself. Mixing the strengths of several faction's hulls is perfect for a capsuleer pilot which gives desired results. I seem to recently been favoring Khanid hulls due to their mix of Amarr and Caldari tech, to fantastic end. I personally hope to see a Khanid Battleship in the near future, since I find most current Amarr battleship hulls to be lacking due in one aspect or another.

Posted - 2010.11.29 21:31:00 - [15]

A fast ship doesn't need to be beautiful or artistic. In the time it takes you too register that it is ugly, the ship has already shot and is now tearing you apart. Speed and power win over beauty and armor.

Ravede enDama
Federal Robotics
Posted - 2010.11.29 22:32:00 - [16]

I, for one, find starships built using Minmatar design philosophies to be ideal. As others have already said with more words, their simplicity makes them more flexible, adaptable, and reliable than most others. No other design lineage offers more options to match a dynamic operational environment than that of the Matari. Of course, I also have an appreciation for the experimental and high-tech. Perhaps someday Core Complexion and Ishukone will team up and design a true dream ship.

Twibb Hanther
Urist Mining LLC
Posted - 2010.11.30 00:27:00 - [17]

What an incredibly thorough response Vikarion

Math'ra Hiede
Trinity's Vanguard
Posted - 2010.11.30 12:29:00 - [18]

You know Vik, its not often I actually sit down and pore word for word over someones responses on the IGS.

I may just have to steal that little spiel for explanations for the lectures I seem to be handing out to newer pilots every other week.

Very impressive, if *ahem* as you admitted, a touch biased.

Oh and by the way, nice to see your still alive.

Aeo IV
Xomic OmniCorporation
Posted - 2010.11.30 13:44:00 - [19]

Originally by: Vikarion

What is the philosophy behind lesser factions' ships?

Posted - 2010.11.30 14:03:00 - [20]

The design of minmitar ships that some call crude is based not only on what is most efficenct... or the ships intended role... but also on the secret knowlage and born to skill of every minmitar child in the use of Duct-tape...
... .... ....
... .. . ... .... ..
*we apologise for the loss of comunications it apears your corespondents ship was destoyed by govermental police forces*
.... .... ...

Syn Callibri
21st Eridani Lighthorse
Posted - 2010.11.30 15:24:00 - [21]

Unlike some of the...superior looking (note I said "looking") designs from other races, the Minmatar design our ships for function and purpose. You might say that we would rather have the capability to blow our enemies to asteroid-dust than dazzle them with our pretty ships.


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