ST NewHorizons/Ship Designer
The Ship Designer (Hotkey F9) is where players may create, update and customize ship templates and defense stations. All designs created or edited apply only to new shipbuilding orders, not to ships already under construction or in the fleet. However, a fleet can be ordered to upgrade at the nearest starbase with a shipyard in order to update its entire design. When it does so, each ship will upgrade to the latest existing design for its hull size that has a name identical to its current design name (e.g., a Victory-class cruiser will upgrade to the most recent "Victory" cruiser design). If there is no such identically-named design, it will upgrade to the most recent design for its hull size, whatever the name.
Many naval strategies advise that their empires deploy several types of warships to fill different tactical roles and face different opponents, and it is convenient for these to have different class names. Ships can be converted to and from such specialized designs and have different names by first making sure there is no design with an identical name and then saving the design the ship should upgrade to under the desired new class name, bumping it at the top of the ship design list for its size.
Clicking the Auto-Generate box on the lower left of the menu orders computer designers to continually update ship designs based on the latest technology research. Note that they do not take account of the enemies that the fleet is facing or may face, so it might choose components that an opponent can counter instead of a less up-to-date component that has proven successful. For example, the computer might auto-generate a design with an advanced laser that is statistically superior although the current enemy has heavily invested in shield technology that will heavily impair laser weapons but is vulnerable to attacks with the existing missile weapons.
Direct involvement in ship design is optional but recommended. An alert icon will appear if a ship design is obsolete, and a toggle enables automatic upgrading of components for player convenience.
Every ship design has an associated cost to build. This is the sum of the costs of its sections, utilities, weapons and components. All of them cost alloys, Crew and Dilithium and some advanced components also cost strategic resources, such as Trellium, Topaline and Magnesite.
Build time is determined by the ship type.
The hull of defense platform has no upkeep.
Power is generated by the ship's warp core, as well as any Generator utilities the ship might have. Many components and subsystems require power to operate. A ship design cannot be approved if it has a negative power balance.
Excess power above a 10% threshold will give a small (at most 20%) and diminishing bonus to the ship's evasion, speed, and weapon damage. Specifically:
Each ship is made up of 2 sections, and each section may have its own design. Ship section designs vary based on where they are in the ship (Main Hull or Secondary Hull). Main Hull Sections are exclusively for weapons and determine the appearance of the shp while Secondary Hull Sections are exclusively for utilities. For example, one main hull section may be designed to carry a single XL weapon while another may be designed to carry four Small weapons.
To add an weapon/utility to a slot, click on the slot to see what items can be added. Additionally each ship has a number of mandatory component slots which must be filled, clicking each slot shows a list of items that can be selected.
All stern sections of the same ship class have the same number of utility slots, with the slots being traded at a 1:1 ratio.