Technically, a vehicle only needs engines and a control panel to send anyone flying into space. However, not everyone is interested in sailing around on an ugly line of glowing thrusters. Basic Ship Design will teach you the basic steps required to build a successful and excellent spaceship.

1. Concept

To start, you'll need a concept when building your ship. This concept will guide and determine how your ship will perform and appear. Ship building takes a long time, so make sure you're set on a concept before you start building! The four primary concepts are as follows:

- Form: This ship starts with a design, and stays true to it regardless of functional problems. Replica ships fall under this concept.

- Form-Function: This ship starts with a design and then attempts to achieve a goal, even if it is inefficient. Most "cool" ships fall under this category. Function follows form.

- Function-Form: This ship starts with a goal and is reasonably designed to achieve that goal. Most "mining" ships fall under this category. Form follows function.

- Function: This ship starts with a goal and is designed to achieve that goal exclusively. The "ugly line of glowing thrusters" falls under this category and will not be discussed in this article.

1a. Form

Spaceships have been in pop culture for a long time and most people can tell the difference between a Sci-Fi ship and something that NASA has sent into space. Some considerations you should take into account are:

- How important is realism in your ship? A more realistic ship will have extra panels, heat sinks, crew compartments, and redundent systems.

- Is your ship designed for a purpose, such as a fighter or interceptor, or is it a generalist ship? Specialized ships tend to have guns/mission pods on one end, engines on the other. Generalist ships often have more flexible designs.

- Will there be area for crew/repairs or merely for accessing the ship interfaces? More room means more building time, but it makes the ship that much more impressive.

1b. Function

If a spaceship is going to fly, it needs to be able to do so within the constraints of the game engine.

2. Blueprint

Once you have a concept in mind, gather all the materials you will need to construct the very basics of your ship. If you've chosen a Function-Form ship, building the necessary thrusters and power systems is your priority. If you're going for a Form-Function ship, build a skeleton of what you want your ship to look like. Form ships likely already have a blueprint in the Form of a reference picture and you can simply jump to the next section.