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Thread: Docking Ports

  1. #1
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    Talking Docking Ports

    This is more of a question than anything. I'm busy building a ship, i started now because i understand how long it takes and it'll maybe be close to done once the tools are avaliable but there is one thing that is really bothering me.

    DOCKING!!

    The docking ports on the FireArc match the stations we can dock with. I'm assuming this is a universal port of some sort right? Something we would slap onto a custom ship in a model manager or something?

    Part 2 of this question has to do with size. What is the average size of internal docking doors? If a ship is too big it would need to dock externally so I'm curious as to how big we can go.

    For anyone curious here is WIP1 http://i.imgur.com/MWCLllw.png

    She was a cargo vessel, hence the size but it's still early.

    And the retarded engine http://i.imgur.com/WEhZobt.png

    Again early wip.

    Anyway I'm really curious about size and the docking ports in particular. I can assume radiators are an assigned property of an object but docking ports are a specific size hence the question.

    Edit: Wip 2 I guess it looks less like a dongle or USB now

    http://i.imgur.com/Dqf2XHl.png
    http://i.imgur.com/9l1lQkI.png

    **UPDATED**

    Here are some new renders of the High Poly, looks a bit weird sure but it will normal out well and should look great with the texture work I've been doing.
    This is a rear view
    http://i.imgur.com/yqvAj5U.png

    This is from the front to the side a little bit
    http://i.imgur.com/ADAZ6RT.png

    The weird gap at the front and reason for no cockpit is that I'm waiting on Michael for some geo templates.

    Unwrapping next week and hopefully texturing the week after, glad to be working on this again after a long break, hope to be working on interior soon!

  2. #2
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    There will be three universal sizes of docking collars: utility (about 1 meter in radius), passenger-type (these would be used for larger ships to allow many people at once to flow through), and cargo (obviously very large collars to allow cargo to be transferred).

    I will provide some geo templates for these so modders can design to the basic connections. I'm working on the "final" utility design now with the Flying Fox model I'm working on.

    Yes, about a certain size (maybe 40 height/width) and external dockings, or landings on external pads, would be required...

    Edit: Nice work so far...
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Juliano View Post
    There will be three universal sizes of docking collars: utility (about 1 meter in radius), passenger-type (these would be used for larger ships to allow many people at once to flow through), and cargo (obviously very large collars to allow cargo to be transferred).

    I will provide some geo templates for these so modders can design to the basic connections. I'm working on the "final" utility design now with the Flying Fox model I'm working on.

    Yes, about a certain size (maybe 40 height/width) and external dockings, or landings on external pads, would be required...

    Edit: Nice work so far...
    I'm guessing the utility are the ones on the FireArc currently alright.

    Michael I understand there are some leadworks specific tools for MDL conversion and such and that you have rights to redistribute for modding purposes. Am I correct in assuming these with come alone with update 3, the flying fox and geometry templates?

    thanks in advance

  4. #4
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    Yes, the utility ports are what is on small ships such as the FireArc, etc.

    If you need them now, I can hook you up with the utilities (just PM me). Otherwise, yes, they will be included with update 3. If I can find time, I'll include a MAX file that will have common items in it (such as the external ports, gun mounts, etc), that I will update as these items become available.
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  5. #5
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    So how is the airlocks imagined to function. If you thinking realistically, it feels quite awkward to pressurize/depressurize a big hangar space. What is this the smartest way to design a hangar if the requirements are:

    * Cargo loading
    * Service and workshop
    * Standby, parking

    Idea 1------
    Hangarspace is only for parking and standby. The space is always unpressurized. Cargo-loading and services is done in a smaller pressurized space which may be accessed by landing-pad lifts.
    *Negatives - a much bigger mothership is needed. Maybe more complicated to implement.
    *Positives - Parking does not take any time, and does not disturb production.

    Idea 2------
    Hangarspace is pressurized, both for parking, service and cargo-loading. Though when a spacecraft needs to leave the hangar, whole the hangar needs to be depressurized before hangarbay-doors opens, and pressurized after when hangarbay-doors closing. Pressuring the hangar takes time, and all work stops.
    *Negatives - not effective, it feels unrealistic to be needed to pressurize a big area like this, or is it?
    *Positives - Mothership doesn't need to be as big.

    Idea 3----
    Hangarspace is isolated and pressurized both for parking, service and cargo-loading. Airlocks, 1 or more, is used for exiting and accessing the hangar.
    *Negatives - Ineffective if you want to release spacecraft fast.
    *Positives - Easy implementable

    Right night I'm quite narrow-minded, as I always think to much in terms of realism and makes it too complicated, also I'm filtering out cheating which makes things more easy.

    Edit question: How accurate should we be? Is there any things we can bypass and accept, i.e. is it ok to have a workshop or cargo loading in unpressurized space? How do you want it to be Michael?

  6. #6
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    It seems to me you'd have several different models for different types of spaceport/hangar:

    Medium/Large ships: you'd probably want to dock and load/unload through a (large) docking port -- probably with some additional tie-downs holding the ship in place. Refueling through attached umbilical. Minor service done through either a spacewalk or utility craft from unpressurized outside. More major servicing would require something like a "drydock". Probably not available at all locations, but a large pressurized space for major repairs/refit. This is closest to idea 1, except cargo-loading and normal services would be unpressurized.

    Small ships: docking at a utility port would be sufficient to allow a small crew in/out, and probably small cargo as well. For servicing and repairs, airlock in/out of hangar space. Very limited (small) spacecraft size due to airlock capacity. Obviously closest to idea 3.

    Military: Large ships would probably be treated much like cargo ships above.

    Fighters: I'm really not sure how "fighters" might work, but I could see some sort of mix of the three being the best: You'd definitely want to launch fast, so if you had airlocks you'd want fast-cycling small ones for launch, possibly don't bother pumping the air out but just vent it to space (assuming the sudden change in pressure wouldn't damage the airlock -- such a thing could probably be designed though). You'd need a whole bunch of airlocks to launch fighters en masse though.
    You could also have a large hangar that you'd vent to space and launch that way, but that would make for a long cycle time having to repressurize the large space.
    Recovery would probably have to be as with "small ships" above: airlock into hangar space. It'd probably be pretty slow to recover a bunch of fighters that way though, which makes the large hangar vent a little more attractive: Fly in all your fighters, park them however that's done -- maglock landing gear or whatever -- then re-pressurize that space and on to the next mass launch. Problem being that at this point the mothership is kind of a sitting duck, so you'd probably want at least two of these large hangars: while one is launching, the other is recovering.

    Heh, I think I just accidentally described Battlestar Galactica under the "space fighters" concept. Honestly you'd probably be better off with drones though anyway unless you're looking at significant lightspeed lag between the mothership and where-ever the fighters are going.

  7. #7
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    Fighters could be kept in a larger pressurized hanger. When needed to launch, they are shoved into Launch tubes which depressurize much quicker than the hanger would. The launch tube could then act as a mag rail and launch the fighter craft out. The fighters would be a standard so the design of the tube could be pretty tight.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NovusNecrontyr View Post
    Fighters could be kept in a larger pressurized hanger. When needed to launch, they are shoved into Launch tubes which depressurize much quicker than the hanger would.
    Yep, launch tubes are basically where I was going with that "fast-cycling small airlocks" -- you'd want them out of there ASAP so you could cycle the lock quicker.

    But still, recovery is the hard part and really depends on what the threat is and what options you have for getting the mothership out of dodge.

  9. #9
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    Okay, someone here went with "Battlestar Galactica", I am going with the Stargate SG-1 route: Having their "ships" in a place where they can be easily launched, either a big hangar that is already depressurized or connected to the outside like "emergency pods". In case of an emergency, you can just "push" the ships out of their respective slots, and then they're off. I have seen a lot of cases with "recovery pods" where they just "jump" in their respective pod, seal the door, and then get "ejected" by the mothership. I think that should also be possible with fighters. Have a couple of them with a small docking clamp that provides the necessary basics to keep the electronics going and provide transfer of the fighter pilot through a chute. When there is an issue, your ship gets put on "stand-by", you jump down the chute and wait for the signal. Then you are basically connected to the mothership with nothing more than a simple coupler that provides standby power and fuel, with pre-heated engines like a racing car getting ready for the race, and all you need to do is push the throttle. As soon as the "go" signal goes, the clamp disconnects in a very "disorderly" fashion (like an emergency eject on a refuel airplane), the fighter gets launched from the mothership, and within seconds the boom will disconnect, retract itself and the blastdoors close themselves while you fly off in space. Within seconds you are out of reach of damaging the ship.

  10. #10
    For anything designed to hold more than roughly... let's say four subships, I'd imagine practicality would require a design like this:
    • "Landed" ships are docked into a large depressurized bay and clamped down
    • Loading and unloading is done in this bay, with either pressurized "detachable airlocks" or extending umbilicals used to transfer anything vacuum-sensitive.
    • Most repairs are handled in vacuum in this bay, basically a internal spacewalk.
    • For repairs that require an atmosphere, there's one or more small repair bays that can be pressurized and accessed independently of the large bay.
    • Each landing pad would also have a service umbilical for passenger/pilot transfer, either of service (obviously) or passenger size.

    Potentially the repair bays could also be used for loading/unloading, but that would probably be based on either per-ship design or special cases. Setting the bays up like this would keep cycle times down and prevent one ship from blocking activities on another (mostly), and ships would still be relatively quick to access and deploy. Cargo loading will still take time, but probably not much longer than the actual time to move the objects around.

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