(this was a thread starter, but then i found this thread, so i moved it here)

this is my personal reasons for building cube ships. i realise that there are a lot of folks out there who dislike cube ships because they are perceived as lacking artistic creativity. i agree with that. they are cubes. cubes are cubes and cubes are dull. but you can dress up your cube with funky holographic graffiti to give it some individual flavour. for those who say they exploit the game mechanics and are cheaty: well, its math. math and physics. if you have a game that models physics where mass force and volume are considerations, you get spheres and cubes. the only way around that is to make the the game physics cheaty.

so into the mess of my complicated love affair with an aesthetically boring shape...

first off, the cube:square ratio. this basically means that in a sphere the volume of the shape increases with the cube of its radius, but the surface area increases with the square of its radius.

for example, a sphere with a radius of 10units has

a volume of 4188.79units, and

a surface area of 1256.64

a sphere with a radius of 20units (twice as big) has

a volume of 33510.32units, and

a surface area of 5026.55

in other words, making a sphere with twice the radius increases the volume by 8 times, whereas the surface area only increases 4 times.

that means that by using a sphere you can have more functional blocks, like generators, engines and thrusters protected by the smallest mass of armour possible.

unfortunatly, armour HP is calculated from the blocks volume, not the thickness taken at the angle of hit penetration. which is understandable considering the number of hits that need to be calculated in the average fight. armouring a sphere (or pseudo-sphere) requires the use of lots of small volume blocks which individually have low HP, and so are easily destroyed. so the most advantageous shape for armour is large homogeneous slabs in order to maximise the hp of each block.

cubes lend themselves well to this type of armour as they only require 6 slabs of armour for full coverage.

cubes work out a the same in the cube square ratio though

again, take a side length of ten

which gives a volume of 1000units and

a surface area of 600 units (10*10*6sides)

then double it to 20 units for

a volume of 8000 and

a surface area of 2400.

doubling the side length increases the volume by 8 times, but the surface area only increases 4 times. that means by making a cube twice as big, you can fit 8 times the functional volume behind only 4 times the armour. this tends to why bigger cubes are exponentially more powerful than smaller cubes. less of your volume is taken up by armour, which means your ship not only has less mass, but also has more space for other things inside it.

on to manoeuvrability. this involves three aspects, mass, distance from centre of mass, and the average distance the mass is from the centre of mass.

ill address the last one first: put the heavy stuff in the middle. this helps to reduce the rotational inertia of the cube. think of a gyroscope, its thin in the middle and fat around the rim. this is done to ensure that most of the mass is as far as possible from the centre of mass in order to increase its rotational inertia. this helps them to spin a long long time for very little energy input. it also makes it harder to start them spinning, some can take up to half an hour to get up to rotational speeds. i aim for the opposite effect. by concentrating the densest blocks as close to the centre as possible, it reduces the rotational inertia. this means it takes less force to start and stop a rotation, which means we can use smaller thrusters than if we concentrated the mass on the outside. so if im using a mix of material tiers, ill try to put the heaviest stuff in the middle (inertial dampers and gyros), and have the less dense, lighter material blocks toward the outside like cargo bays and crew quarters.

the next thing is your overall mass. you will have a lot of it, which means big thrusters and big engines. something worth noting is that engines don't need to be at the back of the cube. you can maintain even mass distribution simply by copy pasting each side to the other 5.

lastly is the distance of a thruster from the centre of mass. we all know that the further away from the COM the thruster is, the more effective it is. the corners of a cube are the furthest away you can get. all other mass in closer to COM than the thrusters. and you can make big, big thrusters. that leaves the wide open faces perfect for segmented panels of directional thrusters. its fairly easy to build a cube that can accelerate at 100m/s/s in

*any* direction. having a tiny thruster on a long stick will give you more force, but if you want to keep that stick, you need to armour it, which negates the mass savings of using a smaller thruster.

with all of that, the final layer is a simple slab of armour over each face. i prefer to have the front panel over lap the sides, then each side overlaps the back panel and one other side. then the rear panel fits snugly into the cavity left by the side panels. that way there are no low volume corner or edge blocks with low hp. adjust the thickness of the panels until you get a hp and manoeuvrability you are happy with.

as my cubes have gotten larger, ive found that i can dedicate more and more volume to manoeuvring. making for nimble cubes that can weave through wreckage and asteroids easily.

it should also be noted that a cube is more volumetrically efficient than other shapes because its dimensionally smaller for the same volume. meaning a million tons of cube fits into a smaller box than a million tons of fancy space jet fighter does.

cubes are not a bad thing. they are efficient. space demands efficiency, as does combat. we don't have to worry about systems that require large surface areas or large safety distances in this game like heat sinks, solar arrays, and radiation spewing drive systems. there is no reason to value having large surface area to volume ratios over smaller surface area to volume ratios. in fact, bump proof armouring your vital systems encourages less surface area protecting as much volume as possible. thus the cube.

now, to be clear: im not saying that everyone should stop building fancy fantasy star ships, those are cool and add variety to the game.

im just suggesting that cube ships have a bad rep for no reason other than the fact that so few people try to make them look good.

so, post pics of your holographicaly painted psychedelic cubes of tightly packed performance. (ill get some of mine up in the next few hours)

or if you prefer, tell me im a boring cheating cube-meta promoting enemy of artistic expression.

either way, discourse moves us forward