Creating starships in M-SPACE is fairly straightforward. It’s a fast enough system to allow a GM to make new ships quite often. But stats aside – what do they actually look like? Today I have collected a few resources to help not only with deckplans, but also with exterior and interior looks.
The first three links are mainly for mythic sci-fi (or space opera as some would call it) and the last two can be used as present day inspiration for hard sci-fi.
Shapewright is a webpage that produces random starship models in 3d. By typing the name of the vessel at the top and hitting Generate, a new ship is assembled with various ready-made modules. The models are low-poly but has a nice tessellated graphic style against a black backdrop. And if you know how to use a 3d program (SketchUp or Modo for example), you can export the model and continue work on it. I have, among other things, removed specific parts that felt unnecessary and added a few details. Or by slicing the model, outlines for a deckplan is easy to export.
For ready-made deckplans in the style of the Third Imperium, The Traveller Deckplan Page is a goldmine. Many of the classic starship types are covered. Detailed deckplans, created with Campaign Cartographer, are presented along with stats. To view them, ProFantasy (the maker of Campaign Cartographer) provides a free viewer that can be downloaded from their webpage (www.profantasy.com).
Random dungeon generators are quite common these days, but finding the equivalent for deckplans is not as easy. The Random Ship Generator, however, will give you a head start. The plans don't have much in the way of details and no interior objects, but for general layouts of large ships or space stations this is a very handy tool.
The starting page is a bit intimidating but you just need to click one of the numbers to view a previously generated ship. If you want a completely new design, hit Generate a new ship in the upper left corner and fine tune the options to your liking. And there are several different graphic styles to chose from. The letter-based ascii style might not be very practical, but it has a nice retro feel to it.
Did you know that Google Streetview is available for the International Space Station, ISS? With the same controls used to navigate the streets of many cities, you can now take a zero G stroll inside the ISS. The complexity of the interior is astonishing and can easily be used as inspiration for near-future settings.
The model is a bit slow to load in the browser, but with a bit of patience you will be rewarded with a detailed interior – complete with switches and straps.