July 1st 2015
Part of our commitment to providing information during concept sales is doing followup community Q&A sessions! All future concept sales will include at least one ‘post launch’ Q&A post. This week, for the Genesis Starliner concept sale, we’re answering questions backers have posted to this thread. A special thank you to designer Randy Vasquez for answering your Starliner questions!
You will chart your own course here! We envision three ‘types’ of Starliners in the finished universe: those run by players to transport NPCs (player run businesses), those run by NPCs to transport both NPCs and players who need to go from place to place without a ship and then those run by players who adapt them for their own purposes. Which is a long way of saying that you’ll be able to either use your Starliner to run passenger missions… or you’ll be able to chart your own course with other players, like any other ship in the ‘Verse.
The Starliner is designed in compartments so that its interior can be very modular. The limits of the chassis mean it probably won’t be especially effective in some roles (such as offensive combat missions) but there’s plenty to build on for careers beyond just passenger runs. The role of the ship is primarily set to be a cargo ship (personnel cargo), but with the various variants planned it should support multiple roles.
As of right now defense for boarders will be handled by the crew, in much the same way as boarder defense on any other ship. With the customizability of the Starliner, there should be plenty of room to install additional defenses if they are so desired. The ship is pretty sturdy and heavy, so expect the ship to have decent armor to withstand an attack, but do not expect it to go toe to toe with a dedicated fighter ship. The ship’s weapons are designed to keep would be attackers at bay, not destroy them. Granted if you were to change out the stock Size 5 hardpoint weapon out and get an amazing gunner, there is no reason why you cannot take out a few ships with well-placed shots. The ship has large power plants for a reason, to feed the shields and redundant systems that on normal ships would not be present. This ship will most likely run cool with extra power in case there is a need.
The 890 is a yacht, with a variety of extra-fancy features such as observation lounges and a boat bay, whereas the Starliner is a more efficient transport ship meant for speed and comfort. You can outfit the Starliner with state rooms, which will have an impact on the type of passenger carried… but there’s not as much room as the 890 Jump. Ultimately, they serve similar roles, but differ in efficiency, speed, and modularity.
The variants mentioned in the post exist in our fiction, and we hope to build out all of them down the line. We likely will not have a ‘Starliner variant’ launch, but instead will premiere them as they are needed for the wider universe. We’re especially excited about the military variants, which were part of the inspiration for building a durable ship chassis. These variants are still under construction, and we hope as the ship continues to evolve that we can offer more and more variants and options.
We anticipate that the internal components will swap between multiple ship types, just like external components (like guns.) Sizing will prevent some combinations, but the goal is to allow any reasonable course of action: adding state rooms or individual NPC seats to another ship type is possible (in fact, it’s a necessary part of development: we don’t want to build unique parts for every ship… modularity allows us to swap between classes!)
We can’t speak to Caterpillar variants just yet, but we have some cool ideas in the works!
The Starliner would function both in atmosphere and space equally. As part of the concept design, we developed the method by which it lands at a spaceport, down to the VTOL ‘fans’ in the wings.
The Starliner is not a racing ship and would, at a cruising speed, be somewhere in the middle range. But with the amount of power and the number of main engines, the ship can get up and go when in trouble.
No promises yet, but we’re looking at this! In cases like this, we’re cautious of preventing every ship from becoming a tiny carrier… but it’s certainly tempting!
The Genesis as designed has long range travel in mind; with extensive backup systems oriented towards crew and passenger safety, it should be good at traveling the distant reaches of space. As for using it like the Firefly… that will be up to you!
This cargo is including personal cargo storage (overhead bins) as well as main storage (below decks.) It does not include the space used by the actual ‘people’ on the middeck. This ship is massive and has tons of space; if the seats and cabins and other equipment were removed, the cargo space would increase beyond the stated 403.
You are likely seeing the influence of concept artist Emmanuel Shiu, who did a considerable amount of work on both ships. The overhead silhouette is most similar, with the large swooping wings… but the details of the fuselage are significantly different (and in fact the internal structures couldn’t be farther apart.) The Starliner lacks the verticality of the Merchantman, and the external styling of the two ships is very different (with the Starliner having a standard armored hull compared with the Merchantman’s age-of-sail-inspired styling. Our thinking is that there should be some common shape language for transport ships, with additional starliners in the future having a similar style. Think of modern passenger jets: a Boeing fuselage is significantly similar to an Airbus, despite their being competitors. (The other comparison we’ve seen is to the S/A-43 Hammerhead of Space: Above and Beyond fame; there again, the overhead silhouette is similar but the scale and role are totally different!)
As for backstory connecting the Banu design with the Starliner in the Star Citizen world… consider the idea forwarded to our loremasters!
We intend for many ships to serve a “starliner” role if so desired; we will pursue this by making extra seats on existing spacecraft available for NPC travel. Passengers will likely be more interested in boarding a dedicated transport like the Starliner or a luxury ship like the 890 Jump than they would buy a ticket on the jump seat of a Freelancer… but we expect there’ll always be people to move around the galaxy!
The ship is designed to have redundant safety features. The shields are meant to help take the brunt of the attack along with the power of the main engines pushing to get away from would be attackers. If a part of the ship is damaged, then the secondary power plants kick in and it needs to run the ship. All the system drains on power are necessary for this ship as they need to focus on keeping those shields up and powered, the engines running at full power, life support systems pumping, and the guns firing if under attack.
The Starliner is intended to be viable for a single player. While we like the idea of getting together a group of organization-mates to crew a Starliner together, we also know that it’s a ship many people will want to fly on their own.