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oddly shaped hulls

i'm sure this has been covered somewhere, and if so please point me there, but what do you do if you wish to have multiple hull shapes, such as a disk combined with a couple cylinders? i've seen artwork of otu ships combining hull types, but never seen any rules sets to cover it.
T20 has close and dispersed hull types. These are described as multiple arbitrary sub shapes either close together (partially streamlined, can be upgraded to full streamlining) or in a dispersed pattern (unstreamlined, cannot be upgraded)

I tend to go with a dominant shape basis. A disk with a couple of cylinders might be close, or it might be flattened sphere depending on the ratio between the sub-objects.
If the hull as a whole still conforms, even roughly, to one of the standard geometrics, you're probably fine using them. When it officially becomes "a mess", then Close or Dispersed may be more appropriate.

It depends to some extent on the edition, and the effects of hull configuration in that edition.
*signals left*

20.5m x 5.25m x 25m wedge shape
dimensions of the type s scout
leaves a tiny smidge over 100 dTons, but is close enough

or 14m x 10m x 19.275
which is a smidge under 100 dTons

*Signal off*
Uh, the Sulieman (the "classic" Type S) is 37.5m long, 24m wide, and 9m high, according to the deckplans and the most common illustrations of the exterior.

Calculated as a cone:
Base: 24m x 9m x 0.5 = 108m2
Volume: 108m2 x 37.5m x 0.33333 = 1350m3
DTons: 1350m3 / 13.5m3/dT = 100dT

It "shrinks" a bit if you assume 14m3/dT, but is generally the closest of the official deckplans to the design volume. It does technically lose a ton or two to the two little knockouts at the rear corners, but not enough to really worry about.

The Sulie is also the archetypical "Wedge/Needle" configuration.

The T20 Type S is a different critter.
I've once thought about a starship shaped after a cockroach - up to and including six folding landing legs (capable of walking after the landing) and two very long retractable antennas up front. As the legs and antennae would be collapsed/detracted when flying in high speeds in an atmopshere, would that be a Flattened Sphere (elipsoid, to be exact), a Cone or a Close Structure?
Flattened sphere after the 100 mega-ton imperial BOOTHEEL class dreadnaught lands on it.
IMHO it would be a Close Structure IMHO - it is composed of a few well-defined, closed shapes. Dispersed Structure would be the current International Space-Station, or the Raider's carrier from Babylon 5 (from the episode "Signs and Protents").
You have a fair case for Close Structure Employee 2-4601.

The thing about the Enterprise that makes it a Dispersed Structure in my mind is the degree of seperation of the warp nacelles and saucer from the main hull and the definition of Close Structure as "joined without significant projections".

Granted the Enterprise does not have the "several awkwardly shaped parts" of a Dispersed Structure being only 4 parts and not too awkwardly shaped except the main hull, but they are "connected by narrow accessways and struts".
To satiate my mechanical designer tendencies, I have purchased Fire, Fusion, & Steel for T4.

FF&S is precise to an equation about the implications of surface area and volume. I appreciate its commitment to mathematical logic. But, I also want to design ships with interesting shapes.

Specifically, I want to design a ship that looks like a bird.

I could:

A) Fudge it majorly, and pretend a bird is one of the basic shapes - like, a wedge, a cylinder, or, a closed structure. I'm open to debate on what shape y'all think a bird is closest to.

B) Fudge it, assume the body of the bird is a rounded cylinder, and invent my own rules for adding "wings" (i.e. - bumping up the surface area).

C) Do what old-school video game artists do - divide the bird-ship into several simple shapes, calculate their volume and surface areas, then add them together, thus creating a new hull template for "weird bird ship."

D) Something else.

Which of these do you think is the best way to handle this problem? And, if I do make it conform to a basic planar solid, should I modify the dimensions of said solid and calculate my own surface area?

Illogical? Yes...

And, yes, I realize that no sane engineer would aim to make a spaceship shaped like a bird. The only pragmatic use I could think of for huge wings would be as radiators. But, I don't think that traveller designs require huge radiators.
The approach that I have used (yes, I am a geek) is to build the shape out of sub-shapes, and determine what the "intersect" area on each shape is. As a simple example, something that looks like a rocket (a cone on top of a cylinder) would calculate the surface area of the cylinder, the surface area of the cone, and then subtract the area of overlap (two circles) from the surface area.

A simplification I'd suggest is to do your "wings" as (very thin) rectangular or triangular prisms, and then just reduce the contained volume and surface area about 10% to factor in the smoothing to make them aerodynamic. Inaccurate, yes, but the loss in accuracy is probably more than offest by the simplification in calculation.

And if you want to armour your "bird" may I humbly suggest component armour instead of hull armour ;)

Scott Martin
Athough it's taken me a while to get back to you, thanks for the input!

I have followed your suggestions and designed a "bird hull." I was surprised that its area multiplier wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

If anyone cares, its statistics are as follows:

Bird Hull

Area: x 2.10
Length: x 2.3
Width: x 2.6
Height: x .48

Price Multipliers:
USL x 1.2
SL x 1.2
AF x 1.0

Special Rule: As the bird hull is designed to be aerodynamic, when adding the "airframe" multiplier to the hull, add the additional surface area, but do not increase the width of the craft. The airframe multiplier thus represents "thinning" and lengthening the wings, rather than adding additional wings.

Meson Attacks: for purposes of being shot at by Meson beams, treat a bird-ship as a wedge.

Comments are welcome. No, it's not *exactly* bird shaped.
Enterprise configuration:

My way of reckoning configuration is to imagine an elastic membrane enclosing the ship (shrink-wrap).
If the enclosed volume is more ship than empty space, it is a Close structure, otherwise it is Dispersed. By this reckoning, Enterprise is Dispersed.