If you're using Kroom's, Forge the lowest bar is this.
It really doesn't take much to launch fighters. Not quite twice as much as it takes to launch fighter.
I've done a lot of fiddling with Kroom's Forge carriers and not just at the comically small scale, though I am a standard build box guy so nothing too big.
- Use the old landing pad unless you absolutely must use the new pad for structural support because it screws with movement commands. You can give a click move order onto an old pad, but can only give drag orders onto a new pad. The pad without the wall alongside is useless except as a spacer. The old pad also has a smaller hitbox that it is actually possible to shield.
- Avoid through deck carriers or deep central (Venator-style) bays if you use formations to land fighters. Ships in formation get confused when movement orders take them too close to the center of the mothership. Hangars on the outside are easier to navigate to.
- Don't bother providing for shell loading for fighters to have factories if they need them since they and storages are both 2x2.
- Load missiles by teleporter rather than landing pad if the build is large enough to fit teleporters. The control to activate the landing pads for repair and reloading is shipwide and any landing pads that have missiles and no ship or a ship that doesn't require missiles will dump them into space. Teleporters don't do this if any ships are in range to reload. Use room linking to keep the missiles from being hauled to the landing pads. Landing pads are faster, but the wastage means you need a lot more haulers and possibly more factories per fighter unless you're using all missile fighters and have them all landed for reloading at the same time.
- Have dedicated crew manning the landing pads and either dedicated crew powering them or a small cockpit power sharing based supply. Otherwise they are likely to suffer power flicker while charging FTL, which is exactly when you most need them powered.
- Sometimes Krooms Forge landing pads will refuse to share FTL. This is in my experience always fixed by saving and loading the game while the mothership is charged for FTL.
- Full rooms actually project about a quarter tile beyond what they occupy in build mode. If you use a concave landing bay build your fighters slightly undersize so they fit.
- Make certain in designing fighters that they cover the center of the landing pad, otherwise they can not dock for FTL. In particular take care when considering internal shield or thruster cavities. They might be viable on 2 pad designs or larger but probably not on 1 pad designs. 2x2 pad or larger designs can run into problems if they're cross shaped.
- Yes, as that implies you can have larger parasite ships in Kroom's Forge. The largest dimension must fit on two pads if you want to use the repair functionality because the pad without a wall doesn't function and to fly out easily they need to be long rather than wide and the large hangars tend to be exactly the sort that cause trouble for formation docking orders, but they can be made to work.
- Fighters, even big 2x3s, can't tank against something near the value of the carrier that can haul them unless it's a comically minimalist carrier so you need a battle carrier if you want to move more than a couple single pad fighters or one double pad fighter.
General Kroom's Forge advice:
- Don't use pulsar turrets with control rooms unless you intend to use direct control: something broke their compatibility with them in one of the "recent" KF releases and they autotarget and fire as if unboosted. If you have a room targeted and autofire them the work, at extended range but if something comes in their unboosted range they'll autotarget that even if they have another target in their real range.
- Everything has a purpose. Non-vector thrusters are more efficient at providing linear thrust while vector thrusters provide better maneuvering. Huge thrusters and engine rooms are at certain scales (2 or more huge thrusters or boost thrusters to the engine room without requiring internal thrust cavities) near as efficient as modular thrusters and less crew intensive. Since they use engine rooms, vanilla thrusters of all sizes also pair better with boost thrusters which are unmatched at what they do. You can get near continuous uptime from boost thrusters with small cockpit power transfer (not continuous boost, but they only flicker briefly when boost ends). Vanilla cannons and electrobolts have unique side effects. Vanilla laser blasters have a substantial range advantage. Vanilla cockpits have more sensor range than small cockpits and are a lot less resource intensive than frigate bridges. Vanilla shields block large explosions (ie. nukes and large cannon shots) better than arc shields and can buffer extreme damage shots from long mass drivers. Vanilla PD are more effective against large missile volleys while Kroom's missile defense is better against leakers and nukes so as with shields an ideal defense is mixed. Even the 1x2 crew room which takes as many build credits and tiles as two 1x1 bunks will usually save you through your door budget.
- Except railguns. Railguns are completely overshadowed by mass drivers. If you're having trouble cramming enough batteries through the doors of a mass driver try small cockpit linking it to a medium or large reactor and it'll stay powered well enough when long enough to outrange the railgun cap and you can fit two or three or maybe even four in the same space because they're only a tile wide and don't require power anywhere but the back end.
- Be very careful with walk time for modular thrusters and use dedicated crew, otherwise they suffer power flicker and if any room loses power all upstream of it stop functioning. Small cockpit power transfer works well. A dedicated crewman that walks one tile from his bunk to the reactor or power storage and one tile from the reactor/storage tile next to his bunk to the engine works too if he is absolutely dedicated solely to moving batteries to that one engine module. Less focused power supply layouts I've had trouble with.
- Actually, be careful with crew management generally. Kroom's capital ship stuff tends to be crew intensive and failing to assign crew roles and room links properly will cause problems with operators wandering off to find batteries or bullets leaving up to 9 fellow operators idle or hauling jobs getting assigned to people who just can't get to their destination before the batteries or bullets run out. Vanilla sensor arrays also become a priority part for capital ships and power flicker problems you wouldn't notice in Vanilla are inflated. You can't just throw undifferentiated crew at the problem and hope things work out because the bottlenecks tend to be walk time related not crew supply related. You will probably be tempted to use small cockpit power transfer as a band-aid and I think sometimes it's genuinely the right choice, but it gets really expensive really quickly.
- The fighter missiles and torpedoes are control room boostable like the non-railgun vanilla weapons even though it seems like they should be counted as fighter weapons. Since they're independently controlled you can use them when they are most useful allowing long reload times to be tolerated so you you can undercrew them. Small missiles have low enough individual damage to have buggy interactions with linked arc shields when used in large numbers and their low damage per missile part makes them almost never viable as continuously operated weapons, but torpedoes can get through depleted shields reliably and do enough damage per missile part to be worth the hauling, though they're also useful in concentrated volleys controlled by the torpedo fire button. You can also slap on small missiles or torpedoes to soak excess missiles from the factories for reloading fighters or if you don't use the factory optimized modules from feeding Vanilla missile launchers.
- The plasma lances are also not actually fighter weapons and can be range boosted.
- Reassign the galaxy map key and the halt key if you want to use Kroom's missiles or torpedoes in direct control mode because otherwise the hotkeys conflict.
- The factory to weapon ratios I use are 1:3 for missile factories to small missile racks, 1:2 for missile factories to torpedoes, 1:1 for ammo factories to mass drivers or twin roof turrets, 2:1 for ammo factories to roof flak or large (8x8) roof turrets. Yes, the big turrets fire that slowly. I think the 2 factories need the adjacency bonus for the large roof turret but not the roof flak turret.