Because I'm a Goat

Because the whimsy struck me, I decided to start a series on ship design. Some other people have offered similar thoughts, and I figured I could help with the area since I'm rather fond of space battles.

Rather than wall o' text (and because I should probably be doing dishes right now), I'm going to break this up into several parts.


Each different type of ship has its own innate role to fill and unique possibilities that should be explored. My hope in all of this, aside from teaching some new people how to design a ship, is to encourage more variety in ship design. Rather than loading a ship up with nothing but guns, maybe make its main focus something other than combat.

With that out of the way, let's move on to one more thing before diving into corvette design, and that is whether we look at a ship by itself or in a fleet.

My personal belief and observation is that most people look at ships by themselves, in a vacuum, whereas I design ships with the whole of a fleet in mind. Of course some ships are made to be alone, which is fine. But especially for ships whose affiliation rests solely with one faction or another, it helps to design ships from a fleet standpoint. This encourages fleet diversity (No two ships should fill the same role) and it encourages ship diversity (One ship might be vulnerable to starfighters, but that's why you pair it with ships who excel at shooting down starfighters).

So now the question of the blog post; how do you design a corvette?

Corvette Design: Roles

So first let's talk about what a corvette is. In Star Wars terms, a corvette is the smallest, lightest capital ship. Only a few hundred meters long at most, corvettes are never designed as workhorses for a fleet. Larger ships can field more weapons, more systems. They do better in a general setting than their diminutive cousin.

So why build a corvette?

Corvettes are small, but they are the kings (And queens. I'm not a ship sexist.) of speed. No ship can match corvettes for speed and maneuverability. It's the difference between a motorcycle and a big bulldozer. So one of the biggest reasons a faction would field corvettes in a fleet is their speed. A corvette can get in and out of places very quickly, and their small size can make it difficult to track them in systems with a lot of debris.

This lends to corvettes their second noteworthy feature, reconnaissance. A bigger ship might be able to get a larger picture, but corvettes can slip in and get that fine-detail shot so you can plan the fleet accordingly. You can't really miss a big hulking Star Destroyer showing up, but you can easily miss that tiny speck of a corvette drifting into orbit.

Lastly, and related to their high speed, corvettes tend to make the best anti-starfighter ships out there. They're often fast enough to keep up with enemy fighters long enough to do serious harm. And while a Star Destroyer might not be able to turn around to shield its engines from a starfighter attack, you can easily send in a pair of corvettes to do the job. Though larger ships will often have more quad lasers and flak cannons than a corvette, they'll never be able to chase starfighters for any length of time. So corvettes are uniquely capable of being an offensive anti-starfighter ship.

Size: Does it matter?

So speed, reconnaissance, and anti-starfighter work are the three most noteworthy reasons to build a corvette. Each role choice offers incentives for different dimensions. A reconnaissance corvette would want a very small area presented to enemy scanners to minimize the odds of detection, so long and thin is their preferred dimension (Not one comment. Perverts). Ships designed for speed will similarly want small areas as that allows them to more effectively navigate in fleet engagements and through the obligatory asteroid field chase.

Anti-starfighter corvettes enjoy less restrictions and would benefit from a wider profile. They're fast enough to keep from making themselves too big of a target, and a wider area means weapons can be spaced to better target the faster starfighters. This can also lend itself to corralling an enemy starfighter group and keeping them from escaping.

In The End (It Doesn't Even Matter!)

Corvettes will never be the mainstay of a fleet. They're too small. But they can be excellent specialty ships. Whether that's taking that illicit picture of a fleet bombing a planet or chasing down pesky TIE fighters, corvettes are best used with other ships rather than operating solo.

I could go into slightly more depth on role and size, talking about how a how corvette could take down a Star Destroyer, but that gets into more advanced ship design and runs contrary to the main themes and choices of corvettes. Perhaps later I'll come back and go over how to break certain molds of ships, but for now I'm keeping it simple.

So there you have it; basic corvette design. Note that with even a little work, it's absolutely possible to combine all three of those roles into one ship, which is another reason why this section will be smaller than later groups.

Right. To dishes before the wife wakes up.