How to Submit New Ship SpecificationsWhy are there standard specifications for the ships in a fleet? There are a lot of factors involved in this, but the first reason is to provide continuity for the players. If they are used to having the ship's lounge on deck 10, forward section on a Galaxy Class, then the lounge should be in the same place on all of the Galaxy Class ships.
The next thing to remember is that all the ships of a certain type were made from the same designs at the shipyards, these ships are made to be mass produced, and it's easier to use a standard design than changing it on a ship by ship basis. Adding a holodeck where there wasn't one before doesn't just affect the space that the holodeck takes up, it affects the power relay requirements, the computer capabilities of the ship and even the primary and secondary stores for materials that the holodeck replicates.
The next concern is when it comes time for the refits to the ship; A lot of the parts used in the refits are mass-produced, made to be easily swapped in for existing parts. The more custom work that is done, the more likely it is that come refit time, the shipyard engineers are going to have a hell of a time making the standard parts fit, all because an engineer thought they were being clever.
In 2 series in particular, we can see this being broken outright. In Voyager, they were in a difficult situation, and they didn't have access to shipyards or even starbases. They made modifications to the ship that would never have been considered by Star Fleet. In the end, Voyager would never see service again after reaching the Alpha Quadrant. She would be mothballed, made into a museum, or even reverse engineered into tiny little pieces to try to get every bit of alien technology that had been put into her into the technology base of the Federation and Star Fleet.
The other series that broke this also had good reason, DS9 wasn't a Star Fleet class to begin with, it was Cardassian technology, and the problems of integrating standard Federation technology into her was a weekly trial for Mr. O'brien. This clearly showed the problems of integrating standard tech with non-standard tech.
Breaking Down A Specification Sheet
Defining the Class Name
For canon ships or even ones modified from other sources this is an easy one. If it's something you are making from scratch, it's best to consider the role that the ship will play and name it after something that has to do with that.
Defining the Class CategoryThe ship category does a lot to describe what role the ship will fill. Below are the current Pegasus Fleet ship categories with explinations.
A Starbase is generally defined as a heavily armed, heavily defended facility used by spacefaring cultures where both military and civilian spacecraft may be repaired and resupplied. Starbases may be either a deep space structure like K-7 or DS9; an orbital facility such as Starbase 1 (aka Earth Spacedock); a planetary surface facility or a combination of both planetary surface and orbital structure(s) such as Starbase 11.
A Carrier is a Starfleet warship designed for the primary purpose of deploying and recovering fighter craft and shuttles. These large starships serve as mobile starbases. They are able to take on many types of military roles, including acting as a transport for a starfleet marine garrison. Although they are not necessarily the largest ships, they often play an important role during combat operations, both in fleet and ground combat.
A Federation Corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship. During Earth's Age of Sail, corvettes were one of many types of smaller warships. The role of the corvette consisted mostly of coastal patrol, fighting minor wars, supporting large fleets, or providing escort for the larger ships. Federation corvettes perform similar roles, including border patrols and minor peacekeeping. Corvettes are often attached to starbases as part of their garrison.
Cruisers are among the most powerful starships in the Federation arsenal. These powerful starships are usually more heavily armed than other similarly sized ships. Built for combat, they often carry marines and are less suited for scientific roles. Cruisers are often deployed on missions where a show of force is necessary, although destroyers and ships-of-the-line may also serve in this role as well.
A Destroyer is a small, maneuverable, long endurance warship. Destroyers are intended to work alongside larger ships during full scale engagements, defending them against small, short range attackers. Destroyers often operate on their own, especially during peacetime. They often take on missions suitable for corvettes or cruisers thanks to their smaller size and longer time between resupply.
Explorers are the backbone of the Federation's scientific endeavors. Explorers come in a wide range of sizes, from small short range research vessels operating in known space, to the larger long range exploration vessels on the edges of the Federation frontier. During wartime, explorers sometimes act as reconnaissance ships, using their powerful sensors to detect enemy movements.
A Ship-of-the-Line represents the pinnacle of Starfleet technology. The name sake referring to ancient line of battle ships from the Age of Sail. Ships-of-the-Line are among the largest Federation starships, designed to function in a variety of different roles. They are often used as flagships, and are well suited for both combat and exploration. The are often among the most luxurious of starships, and play host to various diplomatic functions. While cruisers are usually better in battle and explorers are more proficient in scientific endeavors, Ships-of-the-Line are unmatched in their versatility.
A Support starship is a type of starship mostly used in secondary roles. Usually poorly suited for both combat and exploration, these vessels still perform important functions for the fleet. Their roles are as varied as serving as large troop transports, medical ships, or even cargo haulers.
The Life of the ShipNothing lasts forever, even a massive, powerful Starship. Most ships last between 25 and 150 years (up to 225 in the case of Starbases), depending on the size and durability of the ship. Each ship also has an expected time between refits, and an expected time between resupply, which is usually quite short comparatively.
When gauging the Expected Duration for a new ship class, compare it to ships within it's Category. Find a nice medium based on size and purpose to figure out how long this ship will be in the stars before it's shipped off to the starship graveyard. For instance, within the "Destroyer" category, you have the Centaur, Miranda, and the Wildcat classes. They last between 90 and 150 years. A ship in this category should probably last in or near that range.
Next is the Time Between Refit. Refit schedules are between 3 and 10 years for Starships, while Starbases typically go 20 years or more. The time greatly depends on the mass of the ship. While minor refits and updates will happen all throughout the ships life, a major overhaul refit will only happen on these time intervals. Usually, a refit of this magnitude would require the ship to be in dry dock for an extended period. So you're probably not going to want to have that happen once a year.
Finally, Time Between Resupply is the time that the ship can go out on the stores of food, fuel, and other expendable supplies it has onboard. This is usually between 0 and 3 years. This is just a quick pit stop, so if you're dealing with a super small class, a 6 month interval wouldn't be out of line.