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Deckplan Challenge - Contest

DISCLAIMER: This contest is proposed by me, Randy Tyler, independently, for fun and in an effort to provide new deckplans of starship types generally lacking on the internet. It is in no way sponsered by QLI (although it would be nice if they approved it) nor should it be construed that it or its presentation obligates QLI in any way.

Deckplan Challenge-CotI

In response to the fact that the "contests" are dead and the website is transforming into a challenge site I have an idea.

In the yahoo deckplan group there is one poll about what types of ships lack deckplans on the internet. The poll opened in 1998 and has a significant number of responses. The choice with the most responses is Exotic / Alien Ships followed by a virtual tie amongst Other, Medium Naval Vessels, and Medium Merchant Vessels. The definition of the minimum size for a 'Medium' size starship is not given. The 'Other' category is very wide open to definition.

After doing a quick check of the yahoo deckplan group and the web I have come to the conclusion that there are about twenty-five, maybe thirty, architects of deckplans (or potentially so). I offer this challenge to these architects: Let us work over the next four months to fill the voids on the web as defined by the yahoo poll.


First, select a category from the four listed above. I offer the definition of "Medium" to be at least 5000 dtons in size. I suggest that "Other" exclude small craft such as
cutters, etc. but would include orbital mining stations, spacestations, etc. "Exotic / Alien" is self explanatory but I suggest that small craft be excluded. Please post a message to this thread with a capsule description of your intended starship and category that you will do once you have made your selection.

Second, select a favored starship design sequence from Traveller. Use CT/HG, MT, T20, whichever you prefer and design the ship you intend to draft plans for. If you are not
comfortable designing your own starship then solict a friend to do so. Ask here for help if you need it.

EDIT: Changed the acceptable grids due to variations in rulesets.
Third, draft your plans using the standard 1.5m grid for CT, MT and T20. For TNE and T4 designs, submissions are acceptable in a 2m square grid. For G:T designs, submissions using a hexagonal grid are acceptable. Use the same software to draw the plans that you have used in the past or are most comfortable with.

Fourth, post your starship design parameters, name, drawing software utilized, and deckplans at the yahoo deckplan's files section into a seperate folder and/or your own website and/or on Gordon's deckplan challenge website (if he will permit it). If you do not post to the yahoo group's files section please provide us with a thread message noting the url where it is posted.

EDIT: Changed the contest deadline. Changed the poll/ voting location.
On August 1, 2005 polls will be set up here on the CotI boards with the challenge entries as recieved by July 31, 2005. The polls will be open for a month. Please vote for one of the entries as being the best overall and the most original. You may only vote for one entry per category. (Other categories of polls may also be used.) I am hoping that the yahoo deckplan group moderator will post the winners to the group's homepage (where the subbie is now) for a couple of months with a additional note in the group's homepage description as to what the pic is. (EDIT: There will be no polls conducted at the yahoo deckplan website.) I will also set up similar polls on the CotI boards. I have not finalized a prize for the winners of the polls on the CotI board yet but I am hoping that the winner of each category will get a $10 credit for use at QLI (even if I have to buy them myself).

Comments, suggestions?
I think that I'll take part in it and build my Space Station (designed in the "Book 2 Space Station Designs" thread) or the Jump Tug.

Is scanned, non-electronic drawings possible? I have the deck plans for a System Shock 2 (computer game) mod I never had the chance to build of a certain salvage ship, though components might not nescerily fit CT/HG (it has a med bay and science lab, not included in these rulesets). I could trasfare them to a fully electronic format, but it will take a little time.

EDIT: I think I'll construct my 4,000 dton Space Station (considered as "other" for this contest) in both deckplan and System Shock 2 formats (with screenshots!). 1.5m squares are an issue (System Shock 2's editor uses feet, but this could be worked around), but could be dealt with if I have time until June.
Originally posted by Randy Tyler:
Comments, suggestions?
Well aside from having flashbacks of the T20 Merc Unit Contest proposal (link) ^_^ posting links to the deckplan group site and the other deckplan site would be helpful. The deckplan group doesn't show up in a Yahoo group searches and I don't know where "Gordon's deckplan challenge website" is either. IMO if you want to gather more people for a "live" contest you can't assume potential contestants will know Gordon, his site, or the deckplans group.

While I think the idea for your contest is good (creating deckplans for ships that don't have them is a good thing) how long did the poll from 1998 run? A new poll might help gauge current deckplan availability.

Finally how many winners are there going to be: four or eight; will the votes be combined for one set of winners or will there be one for each category at both the Yahoo group and CotI?

[edit] slight rearranging; yes I can type sometimes
Originally posted by Employee 2-4601:
{snip}...and System Shock 2 formats (with screenshots!). 1.5m squares are an issue (System Shock 2's editor uses feet...
Waitaminute!! Did you say System Shock 2 editor? Level editor?! Ooh, me wantsss it! But where in blazes can it be found, I don't recall seeing a level editor on my SS2 disc. Hmm, I'll do a quick google on this...

P.S. Is it easy to use?
Found it. Downloading it as we speak. "Look at you hacker, running through my corridors..."

Sorry for this interruption.
Originally posted by TJP:
P.S. Is it easy to use?
Takes time to learn, but rewarding. Same engine as Thief, so most tutorials are interchangeable. ShockEd and most resources you need could be found here. Many tutorials for the (extremely similar) Thief engine could be found
here. A forum to discuss both games and editors could be found here.

But back to the subject of this thread - I'm really looking forward for this contest. Just post the Yahoo Groups page URL, please. Oh, and I'd probably do a rough draft (of the station's layout, not deck plans) this weekend.
On a practical level, doing a 5,000 ton deckplan is considerably more time consuming than doing a 500 or even a 1000 ton deckplan (unless we're talking a bulk freighter).

So, you're going to get more entries for smaller deckplans rather than larger ones.

Here is the yahoo deckplan group homepage:

Here is Gordon's deckplan challenge website:
He has yet to change it to a challenge site and you need to ask permission to post there.

Unfortunately scanned deckplans will not be accepted for the challenge/ contest. If you have software that uses feet instead of meters just use a 5 foot grid.

The poll I mentioned from the yahoo deckplan group is still an open poll but the results show a trend. A new poll here on CotI would probably produce similar results so I think it would be unnecessary.

As far as the variance between ship design parameters and submitted deckplans normally an allowance of 10% to 20% is acceptable. For this challenge-contest there will be an maximum allowance of 5%. Try to be as close to design parameteres as you can get. (If I accepted the normal 20% variance allowance, then a 5000 dton starship could end up having 6000 dtons of deckplans.)

The number of prizes awarded will depend on the number of entries. If by June 1 there is only five or six plans for all four categories (exotic/alien, other, medium naval and medium merchant) then there will be two prizes. One for best overall and one for most original. If there are four or five per category then there will be two prizes selected per category. You can submit deckplans for each category. You can submit more than one deckplan per category as long as the ships and plans are clearly different ships. The winners of the $10 prizes will be determined here on CotI in a poll I will create in June. The winners of the poll at the yahoo deckplan website will not recieve a cash prize (it has a more limited number of members). Of course the biggest prize for the Traveller community will be the addition of several new deckplans of ship categories that have been neglected in the past on the web.

Comments, questions, suggestions?
Originally posted by Ron Vutpakdi:
On a practical level, doing a 5,000 ton deckplan is considerably more time consuming than doing a 500 or even a 1000 ton deckplan (unless we're talking a bulk freighter).

So, you're going to get more entries for smaller deckplans rather than larger ones.

Too right. It took me about 16 hours total to make a set of deckplans for a 300dt ship. Anyone making a set of deckplans with a halfway decent drawing/CAD program is going to be at it for a while with a 5,000 dt ship.
I actually used the deck pan engine in GRIP to manufacture a reasonably good deckplan (not perfect, limited by the objects available in GRIP libraries) for the fast armed merchant that my players are using. I use painful cut and paste in sections to transfer from the GRIP editor over into a BMP, pasting and revising, etc. To do the 2-3 decks here, it still took quite a while, and that's for a 300-400 ton ship.

A 5000 ton ship, unless you are going to cookie-cutter your decks, is going to take some serious commitments of time.

I think 'medium size' would have been more productively defined as 1000 to 9000 tons.

Also, Alien ships might well use fairly different design strategies (ie K'Kree ships) which make the 2m high standard deck not terribly useful. Though mind you, 5000 tons for a K'Kree ship isn't bad.

I think 5% is too tight. I understand the concern, but if a piece of equipment of odd shape fills a fair portion of a 1.5m square (enough that it won't be usable for aught else), it still doesn't occupy (literally) the full square. Calculating exact tonnages giving variances in ceiling heights, variances in between deck spaces (who says I don't have 1m worth of fuel tankage sandwiched between each deck or 1m worth of computer stuff... of course that won't show up on a deck plan of human usable or accessible space...) will lead to 10% being far more reasonable.

My 0.02. I hope to submit some sort of design before June 1st.

You should also specify that all entries have to be convertible into gif, jpeg, or png. That might mean snapshots of your renders, it might mean clearly-readible scans (I can't see any good justification for banning the use of a clear scan as long as it has a grid on it!), it might mean exporting your AutoCAD DXF, CC2 file, or whatever into a rasterable format. I think that's the only sort of way that everyone will be gauranteed to view and vote on the entries.

I think the idea of this contest is a good one, even if I quibble over details. And I direly dislike Yahoo groups...
I would be more willing to delay the deadline until August 1, 2005 than to shrink the size of the definition of 'Medium Starships' below 5000 dtons. There are very, very few Traveller deckplans for ships above 2000 dtons on the web. One of my reasons, the primary reason, to have this challenge/ contest is to rectify this situation.

If your starship design has the fuel located in non-habitable space between two decks then the submission should have a note attached to it detailing this. If your starship has non-standard (3m) deck spacing then a note detailing this should be attached in the design parameters or on the deckplans itself where applicable. If I get a large number of submissions I will be unable to check each one and each sub-unit of each for dton allowances. It really is an honor issue as far as the dton variance goes. I will spot check each submission (and I would hope that poll voters would assist in checking also) but honestly I can't check them all and completely.

Thanks Kaladorn for bringing an oversight to my attention. All deckplan submissions should be in gif, jpeg, or png format. The idea is to have your submission viewable by all.

QLI has come forward and will sponsor the prizes to the CotI Deckplan Challenge - Contest! Each category will have two $10 QLI credit prizes, one for best of category and one for most original of category. The four categories are: Exotic/Alien, Other, Medium Size Naval Starships, and Medium Size Merchant Starships. There will an additional $25 QLI credit prize for the winner voted best of all categories. If there are less than three entries in a category then no category specific prizes will awarded for that category. However those entries will still be eligible for the $25 prize awarded for best of all categories.

In return QLI seeks permission from those who submit deckplans to host copies of them here for fans to download and use freely through the flibrary. The original artist will still hold the copyright on the deckplan.

After careful consideration concerning the time involvement needed to create deckplans for ships in the 5000 dton range I have decided to extend the deadline for submissions to July 31, 2005. The polls will be opened on August 1, 2005 and voting will extend for a month thereafter.
The only issue I see is that three iterations of Traveller don't use 1.5m grids. TNE and T4 use 2m grids, while G:T uses hexes...
Well, another wrinkle is doesn't at least one of the construction systems use 14 kl per dTon rather than 13.5kl?

I was planning to use (perhaps) Ships for Windows III to do some of the basic number crunching. I find MT, my chosen system, to be a bit of a numbers nightmare (due to the errata, etc) and that program seems to be fairly good (though possibly not perfect).

Since the point of this is producing deckplans, producing designs and getting others here to volunteer to vette them would be reasonable, would it not? The design isn't the issue, the deckplan is.

Additionally, I just wish to clarify one point: There is a medium merchant and a medium military category. Do the Other and Alien/Exotic have the same 5dTon+ limit?

And should one, if not using a known design which has no deckplan (or for which one wants to submit an alternative...), submit the full design stats and system it is designed under as a text document (or the like) at the same time? (I think SFW III will output nice PDFs in MT standard format).

Also, two related questions for QLI:

Now that I think of it, I guess submitting designs for a deckplan for an existing CT or T20 design that doesn't have deckplans might still be an IP issue? (I don't honestly know)
Originally posted by kaladorn:

Also, two related questions for QLI:

Now that I think of it, I guess submitting designs for a deckplan for an existing CT or T20 design that doesn't have deckplans might still be an IP issue? (I don't honestly know)
That would fall under the fair use policies of both FFE and QLI, so it is OK. You aren't making a product for sale, and the plans will be available to all fans. They also wouldn't be 'official'.

There are very, very few Traveller deckplans for ships above 2000 dtons on the web.
not to be a moody wet blanket, but is there much demand for them?

oh well. would the challenge/contest accept boats using house rules?
Originally posted by flykiller:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />They also wouldn't be 'official'.
an official standing would be a nice prize. </font>[/QUOTE]For it to be 'official' we'd have to own the rights to the work.

If it's good enough and I need a deckplan for that ship type for a product, I'll be in touch.

Right now this is kind of a spur of the moment thing kinda like Bryan's mercenary unit contest in December (our sponsoring the prizes I mean).

I'm considering an 'official' design contest though.