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Shipyards and Shipbuilding

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Shipyards and Shipbuilding

This is where your fleets are being built. You begin with only a small building capacity, so you should invest in building more shipyards and expanding their capacity. Keep in mind that a shipyard usually can only produce one class of ships at a time, and that retooling for a new class takes considerable time and money, so building more shipyards is a better way of quickly expanding a fleet with many different classes than adding slipways to existing yards.

Properly planning your fleet construction can save you time and costs, as sometimes similar classes can be build in the same yard without first retooling - see Assigned Class below.

Shipyard Complexes

All ships greater than 500 tons have to be built in Shipyard Complexes (everything of 500 tons and below, i.e. fighters, can be built in your factories; see the Industry tab). The cost of a Shipyard Complex is 2400 BP and it is built using industrial capacity (construction factories in v4.8). When completed, the Shipyard Complex has a single Slipway with a capacity of 1000 tons. Additional Slipways and extra capacity for existing Slipways are built by the Shipyard Complex itself (without affecting the building of ships).

Each Shipyard Complex is dedicated to building a specific class of ship and may build one of that class in each Slipway. The Shipyard may be retooled (see below) to build a different class of ship and this does not affect any ships currently under construction but once retooling is underway, no new tasks can be started. This simulates a shipyard getting ready for future construction while completing work on existing shipyard tasks.

In effect, a Shipyard Complex has two distinct levels. The Slipway level, where ships are built, refitted, repaired and scrapped at the Racial Shipbuilding Rate, and the Shipyard level, where extra slipways are constructed, extra capacity is added and retooling is carried out, also at the Racial Shipbuilding Rate. The manning requirement for a Shipyard Complex is equal to one million for each shipyard complex plus 100 per ton of total capacity. For example, a Shipyard with two 5000 ton slipways would be 1m + (10,000 x 100) = 2m.

The Manage Shipyard tab of the Economics window lists the Shipyard Complexes (hereafter referred to as Shipyards) in orbit of each colony. The columns provide the following information for each shipyard.

Name: A name for the Shipyard. You can change this by using the Rename SY button and typing in a new name or you can keep pressing the Auto Rename button until you see a name you like.

Ty (short for Type): Whether the Shipyard is Commercial (C) or Naval (N). A commercial shipyard can only build classes that are specified as Commercial Vessels in their class summary.

Total Slipways. Each shipyard has one or more slipways. Each slipway can be used to build one ship of the class(es) that the parent shipyard is tooled to build.

Capacity per Slipway. The maximum size ship that can be built in each slipway

Available Slipways. The total number of slipways minus the total number of ships that the shipyard is currently building. If this is zero, the Add Task button is greyed out when selecting this shipyard.

Assigned Class: The primary ship class that can be built in the slipways of this shipyard complex. It is possible that other ship classes can be built in the same shipyard without retooling. For a second class to qualify as eligible for construction, it must be possible to refit a ship of the primary class to that class for less than 20% of the primary ship class cost. See Refitting below.

Current Complex Activity: The activity in which this complex is currently engaged. This includes no activity, adding a slipway, adding extra capacity to all slipways or retooling for a different class. Shipbuilding by the Shipyard is not included as a current activity as it can take place concurrently with the above activities, with the exception that no new ship of the existing primary class can be laid down once retooling begins.

Progress: Percentage of the current complex activity that has been completed

Completion Date: When the current complex activity is estimated to be complete. Note that mineral shortages can prolong building time considerably.

Mod Rate: The rate at which this shipyard can be modified. This is dependent on the racial Shipbuilding Rate, the size of the Shipyard (you can work faster on a large shipyard than a small one), any racial Shipyard Operations Time/Cost Saving and the Shipbuilding Bonus of the Planetary Governor.

Modifying Shipyards

Below the grid control is a section entitled Shipyard Complex Activity. This is where the expansion or retooling of the shipyard is set in motion. The player selects a Shipyard and can then choose from a number of different activities. All the following rules apply to Military Shipyards. Commercial Shipyards are similar and the differences are covered later in this section

Add Extra Slipway: This costs 120 BP for every 500 tons of capacity per slipway at this shipyard complex. For example, if a shipyard had a capacity of 5000 tons per slipway then adding an extra slipway would cost 1200 BP. Mineral use is split between Duranium and Neutronium.

Add 500 ton Capacity per Slipway: This task adds 500 tons to the capacity of every slipway in the complex and costs 120 BP per slipway. So setting this activity for a shipyard complex with four slipways would cost 480 BP. Mineral use is split between Duranium and Neutronium.

Add 1000 ton Capacity per Slipway: As above except it costs 240 BP per slipway and adds 1000 tons instead of 500 tons

Add 2000 ton Capacity per Slipway: As above except it costs 480 BP per slipway and adds 2000 tons of capacity

Add 5000 ton Capacity per Slipway: As above except it costs 1200 BP per slipway and adds 5000 tons instead of 500 tons

Add 10000 ton Capacity per Slipway: As above except it costs 2400 BP per slipway and adds 10000 tons of capacity

Retool for Selected Class: The class selected for retooling is chosen from the adjacent ship class dropdown. Only classes that are small enough to fit within the shipyard's capacity can be selected. This task costs 0.5x of the ship class build cost plus 0.25x ship class build cost per slipway. So if a shipyard with two slipways wanted to start building a class that cost 800 BP, the cost to retool would be 800 x (0.5+0.25+0.25) = 800 BP. If there were four slipways, the cost would be 800 x (0.5+(0.25x4)) = 1200 BP. Mineral use is based on the minerals used in the class.

Continual Capacity Expansion. This is similar to the Add x tons Capacity per Slipway tasks, except that each 5-day increment an amount of capacity is added to the shipyard equal to the amount that can be built in that 5-day increment. This adds continual small amounts of capacity rather than an occasional large amount.

Shipyard Activity can be paused, to conserve wealth and minerals, or abandoned. If an Add Extra Slipway or Retool activity is abandoned then all work is lost. If an Add Extra Capacity activity is ended then the percentage of work done on the task will be added to the shipyard, rounded down to the nearest hundred tons. For example, if a shipyard has done 75% of an Add Extra 500 Capacity activity when it is abandoned, then the shipyard gains 300 capacity (500 x 0.75 = 375).


While all the above is happening, the shipyard can still build ships. A third section called Create Task is at the bottom of this tab. This includes the following controls:

Task Type dropdown: Tasks available are Construction, Refit, Repair and Scrap

New Class dropdown: Shows the class(es) that can be built in the currently selected complex

Refit From dropdown. Appears when a refit task is selected. Each Shipyard can refit any other class to their dedicated class(es). This dropdown and accompanying Ship Name dropdowns allow the user to select a ship to be refitted to the new class. This dropdown is also used (with a different label) for Repair and Scrap. Any Slipway can repair or scrap any ship of any class as long as the ship's size is within its capacity.

Ship Name box: Name of a new ship you are planning to build

Build Cost: Cost of the construction, refit, repair or scrap task.

Task Group: The fleet in which new construction will be placed. If you select a Task Group and then press Default Fleet, this Task Group will always be selected for this Shipyard.

Completion Date: Estimated date on which the task will be finished.

Required Materials: Shows list of minerals that will be consumed by this task.

Refitting and Scrapping ships

Refitting a ship means turning it into a ship of a different class. Whether that makes sense depends on the Refit cost, as shown in the field on the right. That cost depends on the actual components that have to be changed, plus an extra Refit overhead cost, plus 1/10th of size difference. For example, updating a 4,000-ton "Broadsword Mk II" destroyer to "Broadsword Mk II-B" by installing just a few modernized sensors and an additional fuel tank, for a total cost of 25% of original build points might be worth the effort, but turning it into a 7,000-ton light cruiser would cost more than scrapping the destroyer and building a new cruiser.

You can look up the actual refitting cost in the design window, under the "DAC/Rank/Info" tab. To estimate whether it is worth updating a ship class, look at the component breakdown in the Component summary tab.

Scrapping a ship might take a few months, but far less time than building it. No retooling is required. With the exception of Basic Systems (like bridge, fuel tanks etc.) you'll get all components back (see Stockpiles in the Industry tab of the Economics window) and can reuse or scrap them later. You also get a percentage of the minerals used in constructing these systems and the ship's armor back, which can be a valuable source of resources if you're lacking raw materials. Note that a ship can only be scrapped if it fits into the shipyard. Also note that the completion date shown is incorrect when scrapping ships (v5.60). You'll see the correct date in the Shipyards Tasks tab. Scrapping old military ships is a good way of keeping your Commercial shipyard busy

Commercial Shipyards

Commercial Shipyards differ from the above in the following respects.

  1. ) They can only build classes that are specified as Commercial Vessels in their class summary.
  2. ) Expansion of Commercial Shipyards costs only one tenth that of Military Shipyards. For example, adding 2000 tons of capacity to a Military Shipyard would cost 480 BP. For a Commercial Shipyard it would only cost 48 BP (and use 24 Duranium and 24 Neutronium). Retooling costs are the same as before.
  3. ) Commercial Shipyards require only one tenth of the manpower of Military Shipyards for their size. Note that as commercial ships will generally not be ten times larger than before, this actually makes building Commercial Shipyards easier in relative terms than Military Shipyards.
  4. ) The modification rate of commercial shipyards is based on one tenth their capacity, although as the cost of increase is also one tenth of normal, this will work out to a similar expansion rate in percentage terms as Military Shipyards. Without this restriction Commercial Shipyards would grow amazingly quickly due to the faster growth rates for larger shipyards.
  5. ) The Build Rate of Commercial Vessels is based on one quarter of their size (see Ship Construction Rates below)

Towing Shipyards

If you have a vessel equipped with a Ship to Ship Tractor, commonly referred to as a Tug, you can tow shipyards. On the Miscellaneous tab of the Ship window where you connect tractors, there will be a list of shipyards if you are in orbit of a planet (assuming you have a tractor beam of course). Once you connect to a shipyard it is removed from its current pop and is detected (and can be attacked) separately. It also shows up in the Fleet window on the list of ships. Connecting a tractor will stop any tasks or shipyard improvements. For the purposes of movement (and detection) a shipyard is twice the size of its capacity. So a shipyard with two 6000 ton capacity slipways will be 24,000 tons. If you break the tractor link while in orbit of a pop, the shipyard will then be added to the shipyard list for that population.

Ship Construction Rates

The length of time is takes to build a ship depends on several factors. The primary one is the cost in build points. If there are two ships of the same size and the first costs fifty percent more than the second, it will also take fifty percent longer to build. The rate of ship construction is also affected by the actual size of a ship. The basis of this is that while a supertanker costs perhaps 1000x more than a fishing boat, it doesn't take 1000x as long to build. The larger shipyard needed for the supertanker can work on many more things at once than the small shipyard needed for the fishing boat. However, the reason the change in construction rate is based on ship size and not shipyard size is that it would hardly be efficient to build fishing boats in the shipyard intended for the supertanker.

The base racial Shipbuilding Rate applies to ships of size 100 (5000 tons). If a ship is a different size, the rate of shipbuilding will be:

Normal shipbuilding rate x (1+(((Class Size / 100) - 1)/2))

This is less complex than it looks. What it means is that the class size is divided by 100 to get a multiple of the base class size of 100. So a class of size 150 (7500 tons) would have a multiple of 1.5. This multiple is then reduced (or increased if less than 1) to half the distance between the multiple and 1. So for the size 150 ship, the final multiple would be 1.25.

So if the shipbuilding rate for a size 100 ship was 1000 BP per annum, the annual shipbuilding rate for a size 150 ship (7500 tons) would be 1250, for a 10,000 ton ship it would be 1500 and for a 15,000 ton ship it will be double (2000 BP per annum). A 25,000 ton ship will be built at triple the normal rate and a huge 125,000 ton Star Destroyer will be built at 12.5x the normal rate. Bear in mind that these ships will still cost the same as before and require the same resources. The shipyard will just use up wealth and resources at a faster rate.

Smaller ships will take longer than the racial shipbuilding rate would suggest. Still assuming a Racial Shipbuilding Rate of 1000 BP, a 2000-ton ship is 0.4x the size of a 5000-ton ship. Half the difference takes it to 0.7, so its annual construction rate will be 700 BP. A 1000-ton ship will be built at 600 BP per annum.

The rate at which each ship is being constructed is shown on the list of shipyard tasks and the estimated completion dates reflect the build rates. This enables large ships and very large ships to be constructed in a reasonable time while still taking longer than small ships. Of course you still need to build the shipyards capable of constructing monster ships.

The same general principles apply to shipyard modifications so you can increase the size of large shipyards more quickly. So if you want to add extra capacity to a 10,000 ton shipyard, you can do it 50% faster than adding extra capacity to a 5000-ton shipyard. Adding extra capacity to a 15,000 ton shipyard can be done at twice the rate of a 5000-ton shipyard. This applies to adding capacity, adding slipways or retooling. This means that very large shipyards become possible as their rate of size increase will escalate. Modification costs remain the same, you can just make the modification more quickly.

Note that this is different from the Shipyard Operations tech, which reduces the overall cost of modifying Shipyards. A combination of the two, reducing cost and increasing modification rates, will allow very large shipyard complexes to be built in a reasonable amount of time.