Cosmoteer Ultimate Ship Design and Part Guide!
(updated for game version 0.15.4)
Author - 0neye
Updater - 0neye
Co-Author - Fort Master Gustav (helped a lot with the ship types section)
And to all the other people on the discord thank you for the help, it would have taken a LOT longer without you.
1. Balance news
2. Ship design basics
3. Power theory
4. Logistics and damage control
5. Weapon guide
6. Ship type guide
7. Ship design advanced
8. Other peoples tips and guides
So, the Cosmoteer community has a bit of lingo that we use to make it easier to communicate ideas when talking. Here is a list if you don't already know them:
CR = control room
FE = fire extinguisher
PD = point defense
EB = electro bolt
HL = heavy laser
LC = large cannon
ROD = ring of death in MP
MP = multiplayer
Here I will be listing the major changes to ship types and strategies that each update brings, and what will most likely change in the future.
There are no major balance issues currently.
When building any ship your reactors should not be close to each other, generally, more than 4 squares away is recommended. This helps prevent chain reactions that will cripple your ship. If your ship seems explosive first space the reactors out and add armor in between them, then get rid of all the ones you don't need (covered more in the power theory section. Also, note that a reactor explosion can start fires so make sure you have enough FE in your ship.
Make sure your ship uses armor to protect its sensitive components (reactors and control rooms). Having an armor layer or few in front (not directly) of your reactors will help a lot to protect them. Note that different ship types require different module arrangements and you may have to give up armor for speed, or speed for armor.
You will want about 2-3 layers in front of your control rooms (CRs), as well as putting them in the most protected parts of your ship while still spreading them out. Putting an FE close may help against fires. A well placed CR can mean the difference between you winning or losing in MP.
Modules (or something like them) will help improve efficiency, are easy to copy and paste (makes building faster), and help create confusion in your opponent by increasing the order of a ship and making it hard for them to distinguish a more important part from the rest. With the addition of medium and large reactors, small reactors in modules tend to be replaced with power storages and connected to a larger reactor by conveyers, turning them more into sections. Small reactor modules are still very much viable though.
Interconnected ships that still have sections can still be good if done right (see Luke's ships).
- Don’t use too many corridors, corridor should only be used when it is necessary to increase efficiency, and not as a space filler. If you have extra space in your ship and all parts of your ships are attached leave the extra space as it is, or use it to put the dead-zones of internal thrusters.
- Don’t fill all door spaces with doors. Doors are actually very costly and are the only way fire can spread through different rooms, if you have extras that you don’t need (you can find that out by watching which routes the crew take) get rid of them, you could be using that money on armor, or crew etc. I would also recommend placing your doors manually as the game places them extremely inefficiently.
- Always protect your shield generators with at least one layer of armor, it will protect them from penetrating cannon shots and just give more general protection. 80% of the time you will want to put your shield generators behind your weapons, it saves space, and protects the shield (plus reactor behind the shield or shields if you have one) from damage. If you do this (which I hope you do) you should not put armor in front of your reactors, it is much better to have the much-improved shield regen speed, plus armor farther out can still protect your reactors just as well. Also, remember to make sure the shield is projected over the turret and not just the square area, weapon turrets also have hitboxes.
Internal thrusters are a great way to use up extra space in your ship and help protect the thrusters themselves. Structure lines can also fill this space and help keep your ship from being split by focused fire.
Don’t block point defense (PD), PD are like weapons, they also have a firing arc. So if you block that firing arc they won't be able to shoot down missiles, and you don’t want that.
Power and crew bars:
In the bottom right are the power and crew bars, don’t trust them. Crew should be around the recommended but not over, and power should be in the yellow (about ¾ to the recommended) but never over. Although this varies with the type of ship you are making. I go in-depth about this is the power theory section.
90% of the time they are useless, power storage is the most useful of them because it does not explode and is pretty cheap, good for shield modules.
For maximum cost efficiency, you always want to have as many of your thrusters as possible connected to engine rooms. There are a few different popular thruster module configurations but it depends on the purpose of the ship, 2 engine room per small reactor modules are best for side thrust/ ships that won't be moving in 1 direction for a long time. While 1 engine room modules are less cost efficient they are best for rammers or kiters etc. An example of some 1 engine room thruster modules:
With larger reactors, thruster sections can be added on to existing modules.
Try to beat both of these ships on AI normal using the same design and 600k credits or less:
This is to give an extra challenge and be a lesson in building with versatility in mind.
The basic theory:
The “theory” is that more under-powered weapons are better than less fully-powered weapons because more weapons = more weapons to destroy even if they aren’t always firing. More weapons also create a bigger alpha strike, and since battles are generally won within the first 30 seconds a good alpha strike contributes a fair amount (but not completely) to a winning battle. But be sure that an alpha strike is not all you have; your weapons should be able to still fire almost consistently.
Reactors are the most expensive parts for their size, and they are the most expensive mandatory parts. Building good ships centers heavily on balancing firepower for the cost, and a good way to cut down on cost is to reduce the number of reactors. The fewer reactors you have, and the more you use them means more money you can spend on weapons, armor, shields, crew, etc.
One small reactor can power a lot more than the power bar would lead you to believe. You can usually scale these applications up by 3-4 for each reactor size you go up. I will include a list of popular uses for 1 small reactor in a module below:
- One small reactor / 2-3 shields and some low-power parts + an optional EB
- One small reactor / 2 shields, 2 small lasers, and 1 EB
- One small reactor / 5 small lasers and 1 shield
- One small reactor / 1 ion and 1 shield
- One small reactor / 1 engine room and 7 connected large thrusters
- One small reactor / 1-2 shields and 2 heavy lasers
- One small reactor / 1 shield, 1 EB, and 2-3 small lasers
- One small reactor / 11-12 accelerators of a railgun and 1-2 shields
Try to beat this ship on AI normal with 1million credits or less:
Logistics and damage control
These are arguably the most important aspects of ship design, without either of these your ships will do very poorly. Logistics is the management of distance from the producers (missile factories, reactors, etc.) to the consumers (missile launchers, lasers, etc.), and of the travel of crew between these. While damage control is what the name suggests: the management of damage done to your ship.
Logistics: (long text block incoming)
What logistics comes down to at the most basic level is 1 crew member carrying something from one place to another. For example, you are making a laser module, you have 1 small reactor 5 squares (of corridor) away from a heavy laser blaster. Your 1 crew member takes a battery from the reactor and walks the 5 squares, it takes ~2.3 seconds to do so, the heavy laser blaster fires 1.78 times a second, this means the laser can only get off 10 shots before it runs out of power (assuming the quickest crew response). This time it’s the same experiment with a heavy laser blaster 2 squares away, it can get off 13 shots before it runs out of power (and 0 away is 25 shots). Now to get the blaster 5 squares away to get up to 13 shots (with a 1 corridor-wide path). Adding 1 extra crew gets it to 12 shots, and adding 2 gets it to 14, this means that on top of the extra 300 in corridors you had to spend 2k more in crew (plus the cost of the room) just because your laser blaster was 3 squares farther away than it needed to be.
This shows how important spacing is, you can end up wasting a lot of money on crew that isn’t needed, or worse, on reactors that you think you need but actually don’t. This also goes for crew quarters, the closer they are to the suppliers (reactors, ammo, missile and mine factories) the quicker they will start to supply the things that need supplying. That being said, there is a balance to this. Having your reactor too close to the edge of your ship and it might as well be 5 squares away cause it’s less useful to you destroyed. This is what I will be talking about next.
Using medium and large reactors
The update of 15.3 added two new reactor sizes: medium and large. Each one costs 2x more than the size below it and produces 3x more power in larger batteries that increase crew efficiency. Sounds like a great deal right? For medium reactors yes, but not so much for large ones.
The main drawbacks of larger reactor sizes are their ability to make your ship more vulnerable to focus fire and the lack of response time from being farther away from things. For large reactors spesifically, there is so much power contained within such a small comparable area that they are only useful for things with extreme power draw like ions. After a certain distance using smaller reactor sizes just becomes more efficient.
Medium reactors, however, are much more useful than large ones. They can be used for powering ions as well but also have their uses in powering thruster modules, cannon modules, missile modules, and laser modules. In this context, a module doesn't have to have a single use. One medium reactor can power 2 laser modules and a thruster module for example. Whereas previously a module was powered by one small reactor, different types of these can be combined into a bigger one that serves multiple purposes.
When using larger reactors it is recommended to use moving walkways to increase the reaction time and speed of your crew if you need to power things more than a few squares away. Also, try to keep everything your reactors power within ~10 squares even when using moving walkways, when the things you are powering get too far away it becomes better to use small reactors instead. Use power storages for powering shields more than ~2 squares away from your reactors, otherwise, they will have a hard time regening quickly.
Damage control is also a necessary part of ship design, you can have all your logistics right and still have a terrible ship because it can't stand up to damage. Minimizing damage is especially important when using medium and large reactors because they are a much more centralized form of energy production than small ones. Usually, ships will go down one of two paths when it comes to damage control:
These ships tend to be barges that use ions, railguns, or missiles due to their ability to be easily protected by large amounts of armor. Once their armor shell is broken they will die almost immediately because of how fragile the internals are.
This type of damage control is used on ships like walls, triangles, and Vs. Since turrets can't be buried behind armor like missiles, ions, or railguns they have to rely on redundancy. If one module of a cannon wall gets destroyed no problem, it still has 9 more to fight with. In order to use turreted weapons these kinds of ships tend to also be speedy, this allows them to dodge fire and engage when they want, retreating to recharge shields if needed. Speed can be a very valuable tool for minimizing damage.
Reactors are key weakpoints in your ships, they are the most important to protect.
Reactors generally should be put behind some amount of armor. It is important to note that the armor does not have to be directly in front of reactors (touching them), and much of the time shouldn't be for logistics reasons. Speed, a good pilot, and more firepower can make up for a lack of armor in front of reactors but it is not recommended against barge-types. Putting thruster modules, ion modules, and shield modules behind the armor caps of barges is a good way to protect them. Or on something like a wall 1-2 layers of armor above small reactors
and 1 or 2 more for mediums is usually good.
With the addition of larger reactors, walkways have become worth protecting. If a walkway gets shot through with a cannon shell it can heavily effect the power flow to the things that need it down the line. One layer of armor over vulnerable conveyers and corridors is recommended.
There are currently 12 weapons in the game (not including flak and PD), 2 of which are just larger versions of another weapon. Each weapon has its own unique feature/trait, which is what keeps the game interesting. Learning what these weapons do, and how to combine them effectively will help you plan your ships better. Also, remember that turrets (not including barrels) of weapons have hitboxes as well, so if they are sticking out of a shield they won't be protected.
The small laser is the cheapest and most widely used weapon. Its wide firing arc allows it to fire completely to the side and some behind it. This, along with the fact that it only requires power makes it very versatile and useful on almost all cost of ship under 2mill.
The heavy laser is a larger version of the small one, it requires slightly more energy than 3 small lasers but takes up 2 surface area instead of 3. This surface area saving comes at a price though, the projectile speed is slower, meaning it can have problems hitting a kiter. Also has an alternate fire mode for it's 2 barrels.
Also known as EB, the electro bolt is the only weapon that can penetrate shields without taking them down. It has the same firing arc as the small laser but the shortest range in the game. Good vs stacked shields due to its ability to penetrate 2 shields and hit the last, draining power from all of them.
Standard cannon: (The factory to cannon ratio for standard is 1:2.)
The standard cannon, also known as the small cannon is the, well, the smallest of the cannons. It is a good source of DPS and only requires ammo to run, although ammo factories need power it is such a small amount it isn’t necessary to account for when building. Cannons and railguns can penetrate into a ship after the initial hit doing more damage and starting fires (this is what fire extinguishers are for!). Good for ships that rely more on thrusters than raw firepower, since it aims and fires faster than the large cannon (LC).
Large cannon: (The factory to cannon ratio for Large is 1:1.)
The large cannon is a larger version the standard cannon (hence the name), its shots do more damage but are a fair bit slower. They both have the same firing arc. Usually the best alpha strike weapon.
The ion beam is currently the only continuous damage weapon in the game. It fires in a fixed direction and can be protected easily by “burying” it behind shields and armor to increase its lifetime. You can also put small armor triangles in the "shaft" for even more protection. It has a hard time getting through shields by itself so I usually group them in groups of 3-4. Also having EB to take down the shields is a good idea.
The ion prism is a weapon augment that allows the player to combine multiple ion beams together or to just add a turret ability to the existing ion beam. Combining beams gives drawbacks though, each beam firing into a prism will contribute 25% less power (as in damage) than the previous. And the second version, making ions turreted, generally requires exposing your prisms, which explode with more intensity based on the amount of power flowing through them. You can link prisms by selecting them out of the build menu and clicking the "link" button in the bottom left.
HE missile launcher: (The factory to launcher ratio is 1:2 or 1:3)
The HE missile launcher is a "setting" of the Missile and Mine launcher that fires HE missiles and requires a HE missile factory (obviously). These missiles are really easily taken down by flak but are good when spammed (although flak will always be its counter). HE and EMP missiles are the only actively tracking weapons in the game at the moment, which makes them able to be put on the sides or even back of a ship and still hit a target anywhere in range.
EMP missile launcher: (the factory to launcher ratio is 1:2)
The EMP missile launcher is a "setting" of the Missile and Mine launcher that fires EMP missiles and requires an EMP missile factory (obviously). It has great power drain when it hits but it slow to reload, vulnerable to flak, and expensive.
Nuke launcher: (the factory to launcher ratio is 1:2)
The Nuke launcher is a "setting" of the Missile and Mine launcher that fires EMP missiles and requires a Nuke Factory (obviously). It fires slow-moving but devastating torpedos that do great area of effect damage. The factories and launchers explode much more violently than reactors if they have nuke parts in them, this is what makes them so hard to protect (and nuke missile speed). They can also be shot down by enough flak fairly easily.
I'm not going to go in-depth about the mine launcher cause we haven't found any reliable use for it yet, it just doesn't do enough damage to be a good main weapon and fast ships can fly around them. here's a picture anyway:
Railgun: (The factory to rail ratio is 1:1)
Railguns are the only “modular” weapon in the game, meaning you build the weapon out of multiple pieces. Hovering over one part of the weapon will tell you how to make one. About 3 accelerators will get you through one shield (or 1 without extra damage), about 30 will get you through 2, this makes small railguns much more cost efficient than longer ones (in 14.7 long railguns damage was heavily nerfed in exchange for range). Railguns really throw off the power bar, it will try to tell you that one reactor can only power 6 accelerators when it can really power 12 if you use moving walkways to move the crew around fast, railguns are one of the only times when they are useful, but only on single rails. Railguns can be protected the same way as ions, except you may want to cut down on the triangle pieces in the shaft.
Tractor beam: (not necesarily a weapon)
The tractor beam is currently the only roof mounted "weapon", although it can't to damage the tractor beam can be quite annoying by making ships over-turn or go into a spin. They are too expensive to be used as a cost-efficient ramming/ anti-kiting tool as thrust is much better per credit. The amount of power depends on what you are going to use it for, but 1-2 reactors and a power storage should be fine for normal MP use.
The Flak battery, or flak, is both a weapon and defense (like PD), it is great at providing defense against focus fire and missile spam with a low energy cost due to using ammo and not power. The main challenge when using flak is placement, it has such a small firing arc it can almost be treated as having none, this forces you to put flak in very different spots than you would normally think to. A good flak placement is one that protects a wide area while still defending against missiles which can loop around your sides. Flak is also quite weak health-wise, you need to defend it well or it will die to stray shots even if it's not being targeted.
Now to talk about flak's use as a weapon, due to its very narrow firing arc it is extremely hard to focus-fire with, so even though it has 7200 DPS (LC has 2000) the fact that it does AOE damage and its small firing arc makes it a lacking weapon. (See the second-to-last challenge card for an example of a ship that uses flak as a weapon.)
Here is a list of many different weapon combos that are good together, and what ship types they are good on (see the ship type section for more info):
- EB and cannons are always a good combo, the EB helps take down the shields while the cannons do the
DPS. Good on walls and Vs.
- Ions and cannons are a less common combo, usually used on cannon walls that have a few ions in the
- Lasers and cannons are usually used on hybrid triangles or walls that want the fast projectile speed and
good focus fire of lasers and the DPS of cannons.
- EB and ions are used almost exclusively on ion rammers or ion frigates (similar) or in combo with other
weapons, usually lasers.
- Railguns are usually left alone but are sometimes found with missiles on large ships (3mill and over), they are also sometimes on spinners.
- Lasers and EB go together quite nicely on triangles but not much else.
- Mines are bad in general right now.
- Nukes (used to) go well with cannons on nuke bombers
- Nukes are good by themselves on spinners due to needing plenty of defense.
- EMP missiles can go good with HE missiles on missile barges, they can also be good with ion ships if you have enough of them
- Flak is mostly used for defense although when spammed it can be good as a weapon.
Try to beat both of these ships on AI normal using the same design and 1.6million credits or less:
There are MANY different ship types, the most common is the wall, but they each have their advantages and disadvantages. The first thing you should do when starting a new ship is chose what type you want it to be, this will help you pick what it should look like, what shape it should be, what weapons to use, and how much thrust it should have. Ship types aren't fixed though, there can be many combinations, for example, a diagonal wall, or a forward facing cannon V with missiles. Also don't be afraid to try a completely new type of ship, that is how all of the ones listed came to be, out of experimentation, so get creative!
Note: I have posted up-to-date examples of the following ship types (unless I can't find any), please use them to study. These are not being given to you to use in multiplayer, but to help improve your skill so that you can make your own good ships. If you want to try out flying some of them please credit where you got them from.
Walls are the most common ship type, they are versatile, semi-easy to build, and have a high piloting skill ceiling. A wall has all (or almost all) of its weapons on one side and is mostly flat, a wall can be slow or fast, but as long as it follows those criteria it is a wall. Walls with lots of thrusters will generally want them farther away from the center of mass to give more leverage when turning. Slow walls will want their thrusters spread out and lots of armor to withstand damage. Slow walls are hardly ever seen any more since the addition of the engine room made speed a very powerful “weapon” of its own. There are a few different sub-types of walls that open up different strategies, they will be listed below.
Similar to the wall designs, these special purpose walls are made to dodge the enemy’s shots by swinging from side to side, and catch any stray shots with their good shielding. They normally use laser blasters to take advantage of their focus fire capabilities and range. They also have great sideways + fowards/backwards thrust to be able to maneuver with ease. Weak to missiles, since they can home into their thruster system, railgun ships, since their rounds are too fast to dodge, and attacks to their backs.
They sometimes used explosive charges to blow off crew quarters and further reduce weight. Modern dodger walls use flak for fire suppression and missile defense and use large thruster modules for increased reaction time, they also use lasers due to the cannon range nerf.
Example (By Equalizer):
Another variation of the “Wall” meta, these walls are more general purpose then most ships, they are most of the time a normal wall with good (forward) thrust power, that can be split into 2, or even 3 completely self-independent wall ships for flanking.
Triangles are an interesting way to use the laser blaster's firing arc (although they can also use other weapons), they are usually built diagonally and have a good amount of armor on the front to prevent splitting and destruction of any center CRs or thrusters. Triangles benefit from diagonal shield stacking which increases durability. Sadly the diagonal nature of triangles decreases movement speed which means that triangles tend to be slower than other ship types, but increases maneuverability. Triangles tend to be connected by structure on the inside and are great ships for pivoting and focus-fire with lasers. Their greatest weakness is walls ramming their sides and rendering their focus-fire useless, but speed can counteract this.
Diagonal V Ships:
A development of the wall type of ship, they are diagonally built and focus on their greater surface area to be able to include more weaponry that can fire at the same time. Whilst they do benefit from the overlaying shields that diagonal ships render, a common problem is their sides being exposed due to their natural V shape which makes most of the ship vulnerable to flanking. Another problem commonly faced is the term called “Sandwiching”, which is when a V ship is broken near the junction point of its two arms, making the arms naturally gravitate towards each other, thus blocking each other’s firepower and rendering the whole ship useless. They also are weak to missiles, since the missiles naturally tend to strike the back of the ship, where it’s weakest.
- For Cannon Diagonal V ships, since they have the strongest alpha strike, one should almost always try and kill the enemy with its first volleys, if that doesn’t work, trying to use your long arms to arc the rounds into weak parts of the enemy ship or even pivoting with one of your arms is a good strat.
- For Laser Diagonal V ships, one should always try and focus fire at the enemy’s weaponry, reactors or CRs.
A variation of the V ships, they tend to have stronger armoring and focus mainly on forward thrust, the usual strategy is to do as their name indicates and cling to the side of a bigger ship, using your strong thrust power as a way to not let the enemy shake you off, whilst you use your weaponry, which is usually lasers, to drill into the enemy ship. They are prone to missiles, since they can attack their back, which generally isn’t very armored, and prone to heavy cannon alpha-strike on their weaponry. Keep in mind that walls are also good rammers.
Missile barges come in a few different flavors, some are one-sided, while others have flak to fend off other missiles and ram. A general layout includes a big section of armor on the front, missiles on the sides (as many as you can fit while still leaving $ for thrust), and thrust on the back. Some missile barges are diagonal which allows greater protection for the missiles and allows missiles to hit your enemy at an angle where PD is less effective, however, because it is diagonal it will lack speed for kiting.
Example (by nord):
These ships focus solely on ions for damage, usually having a layout with good thrust capabilities (although if you have enough armor you may not need to ram), and ions embedded in a heavily shielded “hole”, which usually goes in the middle of the ship, coupled together with heavy armoring on the sides to protect said shielding, also feature good flak/PD protection on the sides, may also have EBs and lasers together with the ions. The main strat is ramming the enemy’s ship and drilling a hole with your ions, while your armored sides protect from the enemy’s firepower. Its main weakness is anything with a great amount of EBs that can stay at range, since most of its defenses are energy-based. Another weakness is anything with an alpha-strike great enough to pass through your shielding, it’s also worth mentioning that, in most cases, if the enemy can get to your ions, you’re most likely dead. Newer ion rammers use prisms to combine into focused beams that can rip through other ships in seconds.
Example (By Equalizer):
An Ion orbiter uses great forward thrust and lots of ions to orbit a slower ship or cling to the side of rail barges or other ions ships, they are usually weak if you ram them though, or if you have missiles that can get around the back. Later versions can ram just as well as they orbit, there is usually no way to get one off once it rams you. Due to the method of control, these ships are hard to master and take many hours of practice. Newer ion orbiters use ion prism's ability to rotate to focus ions on single parts while orbiting.
Railgun barges: (not common)
A railgun barge is a ship that has almost exclusively railguns, a group of 2 is most common being easier to power, armor, and shield. They usually have a 2 square space in between the rails to put armor and reactors for powering the rails into. Good flak and thrust will allow your rail barge to kite-strafe (to not back into the ROD), and protect vs missiles. Later most rail ships were replaced by railfans due to their heavily increased focus-fire damage.
Example (by Saris, pre-14.4):
Spinners and their mobile versions MSFs are a ship type that focuses on great defense, although there are fast MSFs for nuke bombing runs their tanky counterparts are more common in normal mp games due to their much easier piloting and extra defense for arena mode. The 2 different types of MSFs are rail and nuke, rail ones use small ~1acc rails due to them being most cost efficient. MSFs work by having a circular section in the middle made as smooth as possible and a circular detachable "spinner core" with anti-rotational thrust and forward boost thrusters. MSFs and normal spinners have great defense due to damage being spread out over the whole surface area and they usually have many shields.
Example (by Duke):
Equipped with multiple railguns (the longer a railgun is, the less effective it is to put more accelerators on it), they use turn-and-shoot strategy to get multiple railguns hit the same place for better penetration. Normally they have a lot of thrusters to make them maneuverable and turns faster (for the strategy it uses), but also plenty of armor on the front between the rails for protection. Later versions are circular to prevent ramming and flanking.
There are a few different things you can do with small ships, I will list the different types of them below.
- Flankers are small support ships that ram the weak spot (or spots) of an enemy, normally has great
maneuverability and large cannons for good penetration.
- Swarmers are a group of small flankers or small ion ships that overwhelm an enemy on all sides if piloted
Try to beat both of these ships on AI normal using the same design and 1.5million credits:
There are a few advanced building tips that will help decrease your ships cost, increase its resistance to focused fire, and so on.
There are 3 main things that you can cut down on that aren’t reactors. One is crew, the others are doors and corridors.
First, auto-fire your modules to see if you can cut down on crew, all of your crew should be active when firing all weapons, even if you have shields.
Second, see if there are any single corridors that can be removed, doing so will save you 300 credits per corridor removed, that's enough for an armor block. Added up single corridors and extra doors can cost you a control room or a few needed PD.
If you’ve ever tried to build something with armor you must have noticed that there are two options on solid blocks, a 1x1 and a 1x2, though the 1x2 seems useless and makes ships a bit more time consuming to make, using them strategically can improve your ship’s armoring up to 50% against focus fire.
If you organize the 1x2 armor blocks in a similar way that bricks are organized in a wall (one’s middle goes on top of the edges of the two bricks below it) it’ll form what’s called an Interlaced Armor Design.
Using this type of armor layout will help a lot if a ship tries to focus fire with any weapon, aiming at something past the armor. The route that the enemy’s projectiles will go to have to pass through more armor, since they strike the edges of the 1x2 armor block (which essentially has two times more health than a 1x1). As such, the damage gets more distributed in its structure, and, theoretically, it can tank up to 50% more damage until the projectiles get past the armor. It’s greatest benefit is that it’s completely free from additional costs.
“Quality of life” improvements:
Adding a 1 square wide pillar of armor to your ion tunnel can help provide extra protection for your ions and help prevent EB from wrecking your shield layout.
When building diagonals keep in mind the angle at which your enemy will be focus-firing from and make sure
you have armor there to help prevent it.
You can put blocks of armor to the sides of heavy lasers, their firing arc won’t be affected enough to be
noticed and it gives extra protection for the turret.
Try to beat this ship on AI normal with 2million credits or less (remember to split it before fighting):
This section is for people to share their own views on competitive building, or provide you with their knowledge of aesthetic design or painting.
I think @Oneye 's ships are of the most interesting & efficient - I have learned so much from him - he is also the only player I requested ships to use in competitive MP games.
But of course, I disagree with a lot of rules here:
• You can clump reactors in small or large ships (maybe not so much in medium ones).
Just do not build long "reactor-chains" going all through your ship!
• You can use storage if you want to have a flyby ship that reloads while in the loop.
• Compartments I think are a matter of taste - they have some advantages but also disadvantages.
+ can be protected by armor well; fire does not spread; good for "spread out" ship designs and thus against splash damage.
- every compartment needs its own power source, fire extinguisher
AND Crew; sometimes get separated from control rooms early.
(Personally, I never built ships divided by compartments so far.)
The riskiest design choice from 0neye certainly is: Ships having too few control rooms!
Although this is also not always true I used to say:
One control room is never enough!
Cosmoteer is certainly already complex enough to always build a counter to any ship!
So if you think something is overpowered - think again! (all current miss-balances considered.)
Allround ships are the hardest to build - but still worth trying!
And lastly, try to be creative and bend rules as much as possible!
(credits to @Dalas120 who excels in the latter!)
Personal no go: Control room placed in reactors "explosion/fire-radius".
I usually place CRs on a place that, if the enemy actually ever gets to it, I'm dead anyways, and it's beneficial for some reasons:
It is considered that, a good strat to defeat a ship is usually targeting a ship's "weak angles", or be it, places that you'll do the most damage if you hit, they usually are places that have multiple reactors in sequence, split parts of the ship, or damage CRs, by placing the CRs on places that, if the enemy ever even gets to you're already dead, you're effectively eliminating potential "Weak angles", these places include:
-Middle of the thrusters for walls (do not that I usually built Ultralights, a good analogy would be a flying flamethrower surrounded in C4, it can kill a lot but if it gets hit it's kaput)
-Middle of the railguns for Railgun Barges (If the enemy gets there it means you lost your railguns, thus you're already dead)
-Extreme ends of the arms on V ships (killing both extremes means that you likely heavily damaged the center as well, or be it, just killed all the modules composing the V ship)
-Middle/back of Missile Barges (If an enemy flanked you it's likely they'll go for the CRs anyways, so placing them on the front only makes them more easy to be sniped by railguns)
-With the Ions on Ion Rammers (Usually these designs are particularly explosive around that part, and if that part is ever destroyed you're already dead)
Doing this, the enemy can't go for your CR, as "targeting" your CR will be as good as targeting anywhere else, making your ship overall stronger.
•Protect the control rooms and be sure to have enough of them on large ships that they aren't a vulnerability.
•Don't put ammo, missile factories, power plants far away from the things they supply. Crew are really slow, inefficient and costly at moving things any further than about 2 tiles.
•Do put turning thrusters as far from the center of the ships as possible so they have more leverage (faster turn with less thrust). This, of course, can conflict with ensuring they aren't really vulnerable.
•Do be aware how long a ship takes to 'power up'. A ship that is reliant on power storage can be vulnerable a long time in a multiplier game if the game is set to have them start empty.
•Design ships with a role/combat tactic in mind. A ship that tries to do everything will almost always do nothing well.
•Expendable parts (crew compartments cough) can be used as pseudo armor.
•Be aware of where the doors are. An important door that is missing can greatly weaken shields or slow cannon rate of fire. It is also easy to have unnecessary doors.
When making a ship out of your comfort range, take inspiration from Sci-Fi and Real-world Objects or creatures. Frankenstein them together and put your twist on it. This ship that uses the "Engine Wheel" was made from, no joke, having two wheels and bucket being used by a bird. I used that to create this, and put my own spin on it.