and involved an at least hour long conversation with my step dad (he’s a mechanical engineer, and also know a lot about physics and is really into sci-fi stuff) about different criteria and demands for airborne ships and such. So some of this is kind of grounded in science… but I definitely took some artistic liberties.
Anyway, here is how I’ve set up the naming system for the various ships in this universe.
Type of Ship
Early on in ship production people realized that there were four major types of ships being made, each with a specific purpose in their build. They ended up taking the elements as a basis for how to differentiate, and these became standard terms across the universe. They started with the basic ones, and then grew into hybrid names based off the original elements:
Fire – fighting ships, made for warfare and law enforcement
Water – deep space ships, made to travel primarily in space, while they can be used within atmospheres, it is not efficient to do so
Air – lightweight ships, made for tasks and transport that don’t require moving cargo (other than people), a lot of envoy ships are Air vehicles
Earth – atmospheric ships, can only travel within planet atmospheres
Smoke (Fire/Air) – these are lightweight fighting ships, meant for close-range, kamikaze missions
Steam (Fire/Water) – deep space warships, ships made to fight and defend in deep space only
Lava (Fire/Earth) – ships designed to fight battles within the atmosphere of planets
Vapor (Water/Air) – lightweight ships that have more stamina and fuel capacity so they can make deep space travels (because of this they are slightly less lightweight than original Air ships)
Mud (Water/Earth) – a pretty unsuccessful hybrid attempt, has features of both the Water and Earth types in an attempt to combine the deep space and atmospheric flight abilities… these ships turned out to be pretty bad at flying in either. They’re used mostly on production planets as a means of transporting large amounts of cargo (in a very slow fashion)
Dust (Air/Earth) – lightweight ships that fly solely within planet atmospheres
Within each of these ship parameters, each ship is built with a certain criteria in mind. These are the various classifications based on the ship’s primary function:
Orca - power and weapons: these ships are built with enough power to take on ships bigger than themselves, their handling is not quite as precise, and they need fuel fairly often, various sizes of this kind (see below for ship sizes)
Cheetah - speed: these can out race almost any ship, of course more so when they’re smaller, but still great for speeding up long trips, sometimes they’re hard to handle because they’re so fast, many sizes of this kind, but rarely for anything larger than a B size
Camel - fuel efficiency: they can make very long trips on little fuel, the basic model for ships that are meant to be stationary in space, or large, slow moving ships. Poor speed and agility, but can be fairly powerful if there’s more fuel, mostly as a defense rather than offense, these are usually the larger sizes
Hummingbird - precision handling: these are excellent for lots of twists and turns, decent speed as well. They’re not really powerful ships, and have average fuel-efficiency. These ships are smaller sizes, and are rarely larger than a size E
Fox - stealth: originally made for recon missions in times of war, the designs have since been copied and used primarily for black market ships, as they’re basically perfect for smuggling, these are speedy and well handled ships, they have decent fuel efficiency (excellent if you know how to manipulate the mechanics), and some have capabilities for small exterior weaponry, these are only in small sizes and often made with scraps of older models, sizes E-G only
Tortoise - durability: these ships are built to withstand the bump and grind, can take a lot of wear and tear and carry heavy duty cargo, ships with a tortoise classification are usually Earth ships, and can be seen on production planets
Phoenix - well rounded: these ships are not the best in any one area, but they are an excellent combination of all essential criteria. They have good speed and power, the can take some damage but they’re also pretty fuel efficient, because of this they are wickedly expensive, and more often than not the people that use them don’t really have a need for them
Platypus - combination: these ships are few and far between. They have excellent handling in deep space but are horrible to handle in atmospheric areas (unless you have a pilot who really knows that they’re doing). This is because the ship actually has two flying systems: one for deep space and one for the atmosphere that works like a combustion engine, but since the combustion engine is considered to be old-fashioned, very few pilots know how to handle that part of the ship, and just use the main system, which does not fly well in the atmosphere. Some versions (male gender, see below) of this ship have a defense mechanism involved, called the spur. It is only to be used in times of dire need, as it drains a lot of the ships primary power but will effectively stop any attacking ships. These ships in general are designers getting carried away with dichotomy, and often these ships have strange things going on inside of them.
Original sizes are referred to as A – G: A is the original luxury size of housing 500 people (there are also AA - 750 and AAA – 1000 as time goes on)
B holds 250, C 100, D 50, E about 20 comfortably (varies on make), F at most 10, G is only for small transport over land, typically holding 2 or 3 people (about 5 max), and a G size ship is often the smaller envoy ship of a larger one
Note: I am using people here as a means of measurement to picture the size. An E size ship that is meant to just carry people (with housing for them) would hold about 20 people, but if the ship is meant to carry cargo too, it may only be able to house 10 or 15.
Envoys and Gender
Some ships can have envoy vehicles – smaller ships made for a short trip away from the main ship. These are usually size G and occasionally F or E depending on the size of the main ship (AA or AAA ships may even have D or C sizes for evacuation purposes)
Not every ship is built to carry envoys, but most major types have a version of each, whether or not a ship has envoys (or can carry envoys) is determined by their ‘gender’ (females have envoys, males do not)
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Envoys have their own classification separate from the main ship. A female Fire ship, Phoenix-A will probably have at least 10 envoys. They’ll probably be Steam or Vapor ships, if they’re fighting in deep space, and the specific classifications may vary from envoy to envoy. They’ll also probably range in size from E-G.
How to combine these terms
Ok so let’s say you have a ship. It’s a warship, it’s made to be super durable (maybe it’s like a battering ram kind of thing), and it only needs to be used in space. You’d say that its a Steam ship, Tortoise-D.
Or your character lives on a planet and has a lightweight ship that needs to handle well around rocky areas. That’s a Dust ship, Hummingbird-G.
Or you have this shifty smuggler guy who solely operates on land: Earth ship, Fox-G.
Or a crazy huge, practically stationary resort ship in space: Water ship, Camel-AA.
The gender thing doesn’t really come up in conversation unless someone wants to buy the ship or is oddly curious. The first ship could be either male or female, the Dust-Hummingbird and Earth-Fox are both male. The Water-Camel is definitely female.
I’m totally speculating on sizes here, but you get the idea.
So yeah, I got very carried away with this. As you can see there is still some room for expansion and creativity within this. I did not specify the aesthetic style of these ships at all, because I think that would depend on the manufacturer (and I didn’t want to sit here trying to design ships). These are my basic guidelines for how to categorize ships if you want to get technical :)
Also, if you couldn’t tell by the amount I spent talking about it, I’m planning on using a ship with a Platypus classification, cause I love weird things like that.
I hope this makes sense!