61 ratings
Smarter Ship Design [3.2]
File Size
0.237 MB
May 12, 2020 @ 1:48pm
Nov 23, 2021 @ 7:17am
9 Change Notes ( view )

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Smarter Ship Design [3.2]

In 1 collection by Dragatus
Dragatus' Vanilla-ish Mods
9 items
This mod aims to guide the AI empires to design its ship designs more effectively. Additionally it adds several ship sections I felt were lacking, mainly for guided weapons. If you use auto-generated ship designs those will also be improved.

The mod works fine on its own, but for an even better effect it can be combined with my other mod Signature Weapons.

The mod only has English localization. If you play in another language you might prefer the "International Edition" variant of the mod, which alters existing sections instead of providing new ones. You can find it here


The section selection weights have been rewritten and the AI will now pick them based on what technologies it has and what kind of weapons it prefers based on its personality[]:
  • Sections with M slots are the default. This is because M slots are the most universal and decent against everything (before they get outclassed by advanced heavy guns).
  • Empires that prefer energy or kinetic weapons will favor sections with L slots over sections with S, M, or G slots if they have kinetic artillery or particle launchers researched.
  • Empires that prefer strike craft or kinetic weapons will favor sections with G slots over sections with M slots if their missiles are more advanced than their guns.
  • Empires that prefer missiles will almost always choose to use missile sections.
  • Empires that prefer energy weapons will almost never use missile sections.
  • Empires that prefer strike craft will almost always use the ship section with the most hangars.
  • Empires that have more advanced autocannons than they do lasers, mass drivers, or plasma will favor sections with S slots over sections with M slots.
  • Empires that have more advanced PD than they do normal weapons will favor sections with PD slots over sections with S or M slots.
  • Empires that prefer energy weapons will favor sections with PD slots already if their PD is of equivalent tech level to their lasers and plasma.
  • All battleships will switch over to Spinal Mount Bows after an X sized weapon is researched.
  • After battleships are researched Corvettes and Destroyers will more commonly use PD weapons.
  • Empires that research Scourge Missiles will learn to love missile sections.


  • All standard stern sectionsnow have 2 small utility slots for armor/shields
  • Picket Ship Bow: replaced 6 S utility slots with 3 M utility slots (resulting in about 25% more armor/shields).


  • Missile Escort (1G 1P)

  • Missile Bow (1G 2S)
  • Missile Stern (1G)

  • Missile Stern (1G)
  • Picket Ship Stern (2P)

  • Missile Bow (4G)
  • Missile Core (2L 2G)
  • Missile Stern (2G)


  • Torpedo Barrage (3G; no utility slots for armor/shields)
  • Trigun (3M; no utility slots for armor/shields)

  • Torpedo Barrage Bow (3G; -2 utility slots)
  • Trigun Bow (3M; -2 utility slots)
  • Artillery Stern (1L; -2 utility slots)
  • Torpedo Barrage Stern (2G; -2 utility slots)


Menacing Corvette:
  • Brawler: (1G 1M; -2S defense)
  • Interceptor (1G 1S)
  • Marauder: (1G 1M; -2S defense)
  • Skirmisher (1G 1S)

Menacing Destroyer:
  • Default utility slots for armor/shields increased from 6S to 8S
  • Brawler (1L 1M 1S; -2S defense)
  • Marauder (2G 2M; -4S defense)
  • Skirmisher (2G 2S)

Menacing Cruiser:
  • Default utility slots for armor/shields increased from 6M to 10M
  • Brawler (1L 2M 2S)
  • Marauder (1L 2G 2M; -2M defense)
  • Multirole (1L 1G 1M 1S 1P)
  • Skirmisher (1L 2G 2S)

  • Star-Eater Mothership (1W 16H)
  • Star-Devourer (1W 5x 4H)


  • Broadside Bow (1L 1M 2S)
  • Broadside Core (2L 2M)

Menacing Destroyer:
  • Artillery (1L 2S)

The disabled sections are no longer available for use in new designs, but any old designs that use them will not be invalidated. This should allow you to safely add the mod in the middle of an ongoing game.


This is a gameplay altering mod and as such it will prevent you from getting achievements.

The mod replaces four files:
1) .../Stellaris/common/section_templates/battleship.txt
2) .../Stellaris/common/section_templates/corvette.txt
3) .../Stellaris/common/section_templates/cruiser.txt
4) .../Stellaris/common/section_templates/destroyer.txt

It will be incompatible with any mod that also edits these same files, but should be compatible with all the mods that don't. It may also be technically compatible but effectively incompatible with a mod that dramatically alters ship design in some other way.

The mod only has English localization. If you play in another language you might prefer the "International Edition" variant of the mod, which alters existing sections instead of providing new ones. You can find it here.

Not compatible with NSC.


I would be grateful if you could rate the mod with either thumbs up or thumbs down. If you rate it with a thumbs up and you really enjoy it, please consider also marking it as a favorite. If you like this mod you might also like one of my other mods.

I also created a Discord server[]
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Dragatus  [author] Dec 15, 2021 @ 8:35am 
I'm unsure, I don't know what files Zenith of Fallen Empires edits. But try putting the mod at the top of the load order instead and see if that fixes the problem.
Jy crois pas Dec 15, 2021 @ 4:26am 
I placed next to the bottom of the load order, but it doesn't seem to work sadly, I picked the Armored perk but haven't access to any new slots, so far the only change I see is the perk. I use Zenith of Fallen Empire that might collude with the mod. I do have a mod that alters Titans but since your mod doesn't alter Titans design, shouldn't it work together ? Since your mod is loading after that mod I thought it'd overwrite it if it was an issue.
Dragatus  [author] Oct 26, 2021 @ 12:16pm 
Suicide Bomber section for Corvettes was also renamed into Torpedo Barrage both for consistency with the Destroyer sections and because I felt the old name wasn't perhaps in the best of taste.

Also added the Trigun Corvette and Trigun Bow for Destroyers. As you can guess from the name they carry 3 medium guns.
Dragatus  [author] Oct 26, 2021 @ 11:49am 
- fixed bug that made Torpedo Barrage Stern available to everyone
- revised section selection logic
- added support for crisis ships
- added many new crisis ship sections
Dragatus  [author] Oct 3, 2021 @ 1:40am 
Another thing I'm considering is switching the Picket Bow for Destroyers from 2S 1P to 1M 2P weapon slots and giving it normal utility slots. This would cause a graphical bug in existing games, but any existing Picket Bow Destroyers you've built should theoretically be fine. They'll have their guns and defenses in the wrong size slots, but I expect that functionally they would be unaffected.
Dragatus  [author] Oct 3, 2021 @ 1:40am 
I spotted a bug that will need fixing (Torpedo Barrage Stern for Destroyers is available without Armored in Firepower) and wile I'm at it that's an opportunity to tweak the mod. I'm mainly curious what you all think of the buffed up Destroyers because I'm weighing whether to reduce the base number of utility slots on the bow to 4, so we go back to 6 slots total. I'm unsure how that would affect existing ships, but most likely excess armor and shields with no slot to go in would simply disappear. This is problematic, but would affect all Destroyers in the galaxy equally, so hopefully it's fine.

If I do keep 8 slots for Destroyers I'll have to also update crisis ships.
Dragatus  [author] Sep 19, 2021 @ 7:11am 
The problem is that the AI improvements are in the section data itself and the two can't be separated.

Every ship section has a part of the code which controls how likely a section is to be used by the AI compared to other sections and how specific conditions can change that chance. My mod fundamentally consists out of fiddling with that part of the files.
SBlack Sep 19, 2021 @ 5:35am 
What would be cool is a "light" version of this with just the AI improvements. Then it would be somewhat compatible with other mods that add a few new ship sections, such as "At War: Advanced Ship Sections" (which also adds carrier cruisers and titans I really like). Rather than an overhaul like NSC

Maybe the AI wouldn't use the stuff added by the mods, but having an improved selection of vanilla options would already be a great improvement.
Dragatus  [author] Sep 17, 2021 @ 12:29pm 
Yes, the two mods are fully compatible.
Peter34 Sep 17, 2021 @ 12:19pm 
I presume that this mod is compatible with your Perked Up Perks?