Space Engineers

Space Engineers

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Universal Ship Classification Guide
By Incanatus
Welcome

In this guide you will find a simple way to classify your ships in SE. This is meant for players who want to build their own stuff but anyone can use it if they wish. This is the same system that I will be adopting to my fleets in the IRW Iron Wolves Empire once I finish the last preparations for the conversion. I will continue to modify and change things in the guide over time to further refine it and make things as clear as possible.
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Intro
Welcome

This guide is meant for new players but can accommodate for experienced/advanced players.
Keep in mind this guide is suggestive of what your fleet should look like if you do not know what you're doing.

The numbers involved are merely suggestive based upon data acquired from preexisting vessels on the steam workshop while also being brought down from 11 to about 5 because weapon spam does not always mean victory.

Classification involved is based upon data acquired from over 100 vessels on the workshop and some real-life counter parts from across many real world navies.

Last Updated: 9/26/22

READ THE LEGEND!



Legend:
Block Range = Total count of blocks on the grid. This does not define dimensions but includes mutli-grid constructs. This starts at 3,000 blocks minimum. The numbers you'll find down below are the approximate limit.

PCU Count = If you're worried about performance on your computer then you're going to want to stick to a lower PCU count. Some computers will not need to worry about this.

Dimensions = A general count of blocks wide/tall/long the craft should be. This is to be loosely followed. Its just here to give you some kind of an idea on how wide/tall/long your ships should be.

Multi-grid Constructs = Rotors/Pistons/Hinges are all considered multi-grid. Clang may or may not harvest your ship if you mess with these. Just make sure your ship is saved...

Skeleton Crew = As few crew as possible to run a ship in effort to spare personnel for other vessels or objectives.
Fleet Tier Basics & Crew Size

This list should give you an idea on tiers of ship types ranging from largest (top) to smallest (bottom). Not all fleets will have the same setup as some ship types are not recognized by independent nations/fleet contractors.

On the right of each vessel type is a practical in-game crew size using a population cap of 64 players. 64 players is what keen is currently pushing for in terms of population numbers per official server. If you can get more then good for you.

Vessel Types from Largest (top) to Smallest (bottom).

  • Super Carrier (1 - 64)
  • Super Dreadnought (1 - 64)
  • Dreadnought (1 - 64)
  • Carrier (1 - 36)
  • Battleship (1 - 36)
  • Battle-cruiser (1 - 12)
  • Cruiser (1 - 12)
  • Destroyer (1 - 6)
  • Corvette (1 - 6)
  • Frigate (1 - 6)
  • Gunship (1-4)

When a fleet is formed for combat or patrol you will want to have a good balance of every type of ship you can stick in it. For Example: If were forming a fleet I would want 5 destroyers escorting 2 or 3 cruisers in tandem with a battleship or carrier.

If you do not have any other friends to pilot ships in a fleet you can use a remote control to drone them where you need them. If you're stretched on available pilots then you can give each ship a skeleton crew.
Each fleet should be created with logistics and practicality in mind to some degree. You don't want a fleet of five carriers paired with one destroyer. Be mindful of your formations.
Classification: Size & Roles
This section will give an idea about the size and roles of your ships.
The numbers are estimates combined with guesses and some data from published ships on the workshop. They are merely suggestive and are not hard restrictions to the build process.

PCU count will be based upon the estimate block count range.

Pics are suggestive.


Super Carriers

Block Range: +90,000
PCU Range: +250,000

Realistically these ships won't appear in everyday games but I will still explain their role and size.

A super carrier is basically a mobile city so it would be around 100k blocks at least with a PCU reaching well over 350k. A ship that is self-sufficient and requires practically no escort but would be a traveling hub for the rest of the fleet. Vessels of smaller size, around gunships to destroyers would be able to dock inside a hangar since the vessel is so massive. Although a hangar for larger ships is not required for these behemoths as they would usually hold massive amounts of fighters and resources to support orbital bombardment and invasion logistic requirements.


Super Dreadnought

Block Range: +90,000
PCU Range: +250,000

These ships are as big as you would need them to be. They wouldn't show up in everyday games but someone may build one and post it on the workshop.

A super dreadnought is about as big as a super carrier but is known for being the primary command ship of any fleet and would be equipped with every weapon imaginable. These vessel you would not want to fight with any ship directly but, instead cut off its resupply convoys that are en-route. The sole purpose of these vessel, in my opinion, is domination over a certain area. They are too big to fight so either starve it of resources or attempt to take over the ship.


Dreadnought

Block Range: 30,000 to 90,000
PCU Range: 50,000 to 350,000

Unnecessarily large battleships with big boy guns. With armor easily up to ten meters thick these ships are a smaller variant of the super dreadnought. Same role as the super dreadnought, the standard dreadnought can be seen through out some everyday games. Since they are so big they end up being the star of the show and the biggest target. I personally see these ships as a show of force to the enemy's big space boat. Showing that I can match their tonnage capabilities. They still have their command capabilities with enough space to accommodate a rear admiral and their staff with their own quarters and workspace.



Carrier

Block Range: 15,000 to 75,000
PCU Range: 25,000 to 100,000

The carrier is the local fleet's command center with a bunch of fighters and support craft on station. These vessels will likely use their fighters more than head to head engagement. The fighters aboard are the weapon systems. If a carrier has no way to defend itself it should not be fired upon because it does not present a threat. Save the bullets will ya? Some carriers may participate in ground invasion with landing capabilities to deploy tanks, troops, and deliver supplies. Some carriers may even house drop-pods for rapid strike team deployment. Example: ODST, Orbital Drop Shock Troopers from the Halo game series.



Battleship

Block Range: 15,000 to 50,000
PCU Range: 28,000 to 80,000

A balance between defense and offense capabilities. Fast enough to keep up with the cruisers but heavy enough to prevent atmospheric invasion. These vessels are known for orbital bombardment, orbital defense, and a show of force to smaller fleets. Any vessel bigger than a Battleship should not meet each other on different sides as it would just result in a death battle where no one wins. These will most likely wield the big weapons you can't fit on your cruisers.



Battle-cruiser

Block Range: 5,000 to 25,000
PCU Range: 8,500 to 45,000

Glass cannons on thrusters. These vessel are designed for speed and firepower and not so much armor. These ships will chase down other ships and get rid of them or at least do as much damage as possible and run. The weapon systems onboard would be a balance between short range and long range using standard weaponry. No fancy weapons would be onboard here. These are likely seen in PVP battles across most servers.



Cruiser

Block Range: 5,000 to 18,500
PCU Range: 10,000 to 20,000

The standard vessel of the fleet. The multipurpose ship designed with practicality in mind. Any sub-type of this vessel would result in the same type of hull but with different armament. Easy to fix, reliable, a generally well rounded vessel for new captains. Not all cruisers will have atmospheric capabilities.



Destroyer

Block Range: 2,000 to 12,000
PCU Range: 4,000 to 17,000

A small annoyance. Lots of firepower, mass produced, weak armor but hard hitting, and generally used in PVP battles. You'll see a lot of these around no matter where you go. Don't expect nothing from these little vessels because they can bring down just about any ship smaller than a Dreadnought by itself. Destroyers can be seen escorting all ships large than it and protecting convoys. This vessel should have atmospheric capabilities for air support but is not required.



Corvette

Block Range: 1,000 to 7,000
PCU Range: 2,500 to 9,750

Its like a destroyer but it lacks weaponry. Its generally a deep space patrol boat but it can be seen in the main fleet on escort tasks. This vessel would be atmospheric in its design but it can also be space only.



Frigate

Block Range: 500 to 5,350
PCU Range: 750 to 8,000

The coast guard's finest. A relatively small ship meant to patrol around planets, moons, and areas of specified importance. This type of ship wouldn't have a jump drive but some iterations may have one if the Star Navy requires it. Minimal weaponry, most likely a gatling turret or auto cannon.



Gunship
(Large Grid)
Block Range: 125 to 2,250
PCU Range: 450 to 5,000
(Small Grid)
Block Range: 500 to 12,000
PCU Range: 3,575 to 24,000

A small atmospheric to orbit only vessel. These may be found in hangars on carriers along side fighters depending on size. These vessels would have a balance between speed and weapons capabilities. A hit and run style ship, for those who wish to avoid direct confrontation.

Ship Sub-types
Ship sub-types

This will only cover Battle-Cruisers and vessels smaller than it.
This will also give a good estimate on how many sub-types you should have at most in the fleet for each vessel type.
Battle-Cruisers
Sub-type Estimate: One should be fine unless you need variation.
  • Missile
  • Artillery
  • Laser (Mods as of Warfare 2)

Cruiser
Sub-type Estimate: Three at most should get the job done.
  • Offensive
  • Defensive
  • Missile
  • Artillery
  • Exploration
  • Command
  • Medical
  • Torpedo
  • Stealth
  • Police
  • Railgun
  • Sentinal

Destroyers
Sub-type Estimate: Five at most will get it done.
  • Attack
  • Fast-Attack
  • Missile
  • Torpedo
  • Artillery
  • Exploration
  • Stealth
  • Police
  • Railgun
  • Sentinal

Corvette
Sub-type Estimate: You only need one of these unless you use a lot of small ships then use three.
  • Atmospheric
  • Stealth
  • Torpedo
  • Missile
  • Railgun
  • Police
  • Sentinal

Frigate
Sub-type Estimate: One or two at the start. Later on you can have up to five.
  • Exploration
  • Sentinal
  • Stealth
  • Police
  • Atmospheric
  • Medical

There is a lot of different sub-types a ship can have. You most likely won't need these so stick to the main list for the time being.

All of these should be self-explanatory.
If not then leave a comment and I'll see what I can do about it.
General Construction & Dimensions
General Construction
Survival Numbers
If your fleet numbers do not match these numbers. You may need to think about your construction choices a little bit. At least do some math to find out if you're making ships quickly and effectively.



Super Carrier
You shouldn't have these at all. If you do then your pc is on fire.
Weapon Count: +50
Block Range: +90,000
PCU Range: +250,000
Dimensions:
X= 30 <-> 100
Y= 30 <-> 100
Z= 30 <-> 100


Super Dreadnought
You also shouldn't have these at all. If you do then your pc is on fire.
Weapon Count: +50
Block Range: +90,000
PCU Range: +250,000
Dimensions:
X= 30 <-> 100
Y= 30 <-> 100
Z= 30 <-> 100


Dreadnought
You can have only one of these because no one is going to attack a dreadnought. Unless they know what they are doing.
Weapon Count: +40
Block Range: 30,000 to 90,000
PCU Range: 50,000 to 350,000
Dimensions:
X= 30 <-> 100
Y= 30 <-> 100
Z= 30 <-> 100


Carrier
You can have two or three of these. Just make sure they are being used effectively and you'll be fine.
Weapon Count: 5-20 (Fighters)
Block Range: 15,000 to 75,000
PCU Range: 25,000 to 50,000
Dimensions:
X= 15 <-> 50
Y= 15 <-> 50
Z= 15 <-> 50


Battleship
You can have at most five of these. They big and expensive to operate most of the time.
Weapon Count: 15-25
Block Range: 15,000 to 50,000
PCU Range: 28,000 to 80,000
Dimensions:
X= 15 <-> 50
Y= 15 <-> 50
Z= 15 <-> 50


Battle-Cruiser
I'll take five please.
Weapon Count: 15-20
Block Range: 5,000 to 25,000
PCU Range: 8,500 to 45,000
Dimensions:
X= 7 <-> 25
Y= 7 <-> 25
Z= 7 <-> 25


Cruiser
Should I build a cruiser or a number of destroyers?
Yes.
Weapon Count: 10-15
Block Range: 5,000 to 18,500
PCU Range: 10,000 to 20,000
Dimensions:
X= 7 <-> 25
Y= 7 <-> 25
Z= 7 <-> 25


Destroyer
You're gonna have lots of these.
Weapon Count: 7-12
Block Range: 2,000 to 12,000
PCU Range: 4,000 to 17,000
Dimensions:
X= 4 <-> 15
Y= 4 <-> 15
Z= 4 <-> 15


Corvette
This is meant for a group of strike teams to use for their own individual assignments.
Weapon Count: 3-8
Block Range: 1,000 to 7,000
PCU Range: 2,500 to 9,750
Dimensions:
X= 3 <-> 10
Y= 3 <-> 10
Z= 3 <-> 10


Frigate
That thing is tiny! Does it even have a jump drive!?
Weapon Count: 1-3
Block Range: 500 to 5,350
PCU Range: 750 to 8,000
Dimensions:
X= 3 <-> 10
Y= 3 <-> 10
Z= 3 <-> 10


Gunship
Bringing guns to a knife fight since the dawn of war.
Weapon Count: Yes
(Large Grid)
Block Range: 125 to 2,250
PCU Range: 450 to 5,000
(Small Grid)
Block Range: 500 to 16,000
PCU Range: 3,575 to 24,000
Dimensions:
X= 12 <-> 40
Y= 12 <-> 40
Z= 12 <-> 40
General Q&A
General Q&A

Q: Who is in Command?
A: During fleet formation the largest ship with the highest ranking official will have command on the vessel they choose to board.

Q: What if its two ships with the exact same specs and ranking officials?
A: Combat Service Record. Whoever is more experienced will lead.

Q: What if I lose contact with command because either I am lost or they were destroyed?
A: The captain or highest ranking official is now in command but if the highest ranking official fails then a lower ranking member may take temporary command.

Q: How do I command a fleet?
A: You'll need to examine your position and use your assets wisely. That's all I can say, sorry.

Q: How do I apply this guide to my currently existing fleet?
A: You'll need to go through and check their specs and cross reference them to ensure they follow the guide specs.

Q: Where do you get this information?
A: Years of experience, data analysis, feedback from users, trial and error.

Q: How practical is this?
A: As practical as you make it. Space vessels don't grow on trees but they might soon. Until then you'll have to make do with what you got.

Theoretical Ship Types
The title states options

Below here you will find theoretical IRW Warship types. In the event you need something a little different to spice things up. They are not in size order because I don't have dedicated sizes for them. Its up to you on this one.


  • Arkadian - Generation ship (interstellar travel)
  • Juggernaut - (Over-sized dreadnought, requires boarding action)
  • Titan - (Over-sized command ship)
  • Brigantine (I have no clue)
  • Spearator (This I made up)
  • Solar-Sail (This is a real concept, it might be useful)
  • Battle-Barge (This is dumb)
  • Weapons-Platform Vessel (Stating the obvious)
  • Monitor (Orbital Defense)


These types never made it to the final list because they are either too massive or have no practical use in their nomenclature to be of any use. Or they are just straight up non-sense. Like I said, its up to you on this one.
30 Comments
hobbitmax Apr 10 @ 6:51am 
@KnightForEyes the only thing i have to say on that is a lot of those are more civilian and less "Warship" styled than the others. aside from maybe the shuttle. but in a standard fleet operation i suspect only shuttles and Troop Carriers would be the extras to add. as support ships (like carriers)
KnightForEyes Apr 2 @ 9:23am 
The ideas are pretty cool. Bit sad wont really classified under a actually lisenced Ship Engineer etc but still a good idea. For RP This guide is I'll say 10/10.

Forgotten class :
Shuttle : We gotta BOARD the ship somehow. You thought of everything but boarding...

Possibly sub-classes? :

Civilian Carrier : Gotta carry cargo somehow with higher efficiency against military vehicles due low armor and EXTREME Engine (EVERGREEN etc)

Marine Carrier[Bad Concept for SE, Could be useable? For SE2] : This might be a game that focuses on ship to ship combat but you gotta need More Marines sometimes.
Scav Ships : I mean these guys are barebone of the System. Somebody need to clean that big mess up right?
DaChronicRick Sep 10, 2023 @ 4:28am 
Dear Incanatus,
I have been searching for a SE friend to help me finish and make variations of a grid I'm working on, I absolutely love your work and Favorited many. I would be honored if you would take a look at my grid. even if I have to pay you and ultimately give you full ownership to publish I would so be down. imma post an older pic of it, if this post isn't allowed ill take it down. but I'd love to hear from you. https://prnt.sc/S3g3ve6If3nc
Incanatus  [author] Aug 27, 2023 @ 10:46am 
Having a lot of money, lindaflores78. I don't have a lot of money but I've seen those who do and they can get stuff done.
Ilik3turtles123 Aug 27, 2023 @ 10:12am 
how do you get this many ships, much less people, working together in an organized way in a public server, then also not having the space engineer servers and the computers of everyone involved spontaneously combust from the number of grids
Incanatus  [author] Aug 13, 2023 @ 6:12am 
Yea they could be called heavy cruisers. Been thinking about redoing the Class guide but more oriented to SE standards instead of reality standards.
jacklites Aug 12, 2023 @ 7:54pm 
This was helpful, I was under the impression that Frigates were a step up from Destroyers. So thank you. Although, I do have a question. Many of my ships are too heavily armed and/or armored to be a Cruiser, but to small to be a Battleship. Would I call these Heavy Cruisers, or something else?
NonsensicalHumanoid Jun 1, 2023 @ 8:09am 
Update the guide so we can know what a spearator is already
SevenofThr4wn Apr 23, 2023 @ 6:45pm 
the humor is funny, SE ran out of memory when i used this massive weapon from Aryx Weapons Enterprise, but i am going to ignore your advice and build the 2 largest ships, and i will tell you my pc is not going to be on fire lol
BlueBronco1 Jan 7, 2023 @ 7:35am 
I really like this guide! It helped me a lot actually. I like your ship designs very inspiring and close to my style :selike: