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Digital Shipbuilding an aircraft carrier

halkunhalkun Registered User regular
edited May 2016 in Social Entropy++
Well, didn't know quite where to put this as it's not really an art thing, more of a architectural thing, but I donno.

A few years ago I made this 1:1 scale mode of the Enterprise-D in Minecraft and posted a video here as a lark. While I slept Felecia Day tweeted about it and it went viral. Fun times.

A slight segue here, many moons ago when my head was fuzzier and I was less round, I was in the Navy. From time-to-time I deployed on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Independence (CV-62). It was a non-nuclear boat that ran on diesel (DFM) that was built during the Truman Administration (1953). It was a Forrestal-class carrier and had three other sister ships of it's type. The USS Forrestal, the USS Ranger, and the USS Saratoga. While in the Navy, I hated the "Indy" and wished nothing but to watch it break in half and sink into the ocean. Deployments on that boat were miserable and I don't miss them one bit.

But I digress...

In the late 90s due to the age of these boats, the navy decided to strike them and sell them for scrap. I've recently seen pictures of the Independence slowly rusting, waiting to be taken to the shipbreakers. (the one on the left)

For all the animosity I have the that dumb boat, it makes me sad to see it like that :(

Well, as the entire Forrestal-class fleet is in the process to be made into razor blades, the Navy decided to declassify the original deck plans from 1953 for the shipbreakers. This is for the Saratoga, but all of the Forrestal-class ships built the same on the inside. I've have now spent the greater part of a week going through these plans and reminiscing about all the nooks and crannies I used to hang out in.

Well, If I can do it for the Starship Enterprise, why not the Saratoga?

This time, how about something 1:1 in a little more realistic way. I mean, Minecraft is cool, but I need something with a little higher fidelity. Also, Minecraft uses metric, and the 'Toga was built with imperial measurements in mind.

First thing first was to to a little cleanup of the plans. The decks were scanned crooked so a little rotation and scaling finesse needed to be done. The ship is based off "frames" (ribs of the ship) which are 4 feet apart. Starting at the double hull at the bottom, I had to scale and align first in Gimp. (This is the grid set to every two feet, which marks out the half-frame that make up the double bottom).

After alignment was taken care of, it went into Blender, which is where I will build the ship in 3D. I set unites to Imperial, (Inches, Feet, Yards, Chains(?) and Hogsheads(??)). I have set the inital frame on the port side set to the 4 foot frame intervals that I'll be sculpting to the plan. (This will be mirrored on the other side). Each frame informs where the bulkheads go on the deck above. There are a few "firezone" frames that traverse the whole ship from top to bottom.

Who knows, this may make a cool game map when I'm done.

halkun on


  • halkunhalkun Registered User regular
    edited May 2016
    So I have progress. After developing a workflow, I have the first space completed. This is the forward peak tank, which is filled with water and used for ballast and trimming the ship. From what I'm gathering, it's the largest continuous space on the ship, almost six stories tall. There is another peak tank behind this one which I'm working on now, then after that is the chain lockers for the anchor chain.

    My progress can be seen here and here.

    I'm still wondering if this is the best place to be posting about this. It's not really an art thing, It's not really a matter of critique as I'm just following blueprints. Maybe the Crafty Asses thread? It's not really a "craft", unless you count it in a boat sense.

    At risk of getting the wrath of @Tube maybe he may know a better spot or if this is OK

    halkun on
  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    I think it's an interesting project but I can't think of anything to comment on which would keep the thread alive. If you decide you can't keep this thread going, you can probably post your progress in the interesting facts thread.

  • halkunhalkun Registered User regular
    So I've been pretty much obsessed about this project and have been working on it every day for a few hours. I still have an intense interest to share what I'm doing...
    I decided to start broadcasting building this on Twitch. I added a sig so I'm pimping on post. Feel free to drop by for sea stories and junk

    For the sake of adding final content to this thread. I have one last pic here. I have backface culling set up in such a way you can optionally transparently see the guts of the ship though the shell. Just to let you know, those smokestack looking things are the chain lockers where the anchor chains go when the anchor is raised. (They sit under the windlass).

    I'll let the thread die now :)

  • Raijin QuickfootRaijin Quickfoot I'm your Huckleberry YOU'RE NO DAISYRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    Can I get a list of all of the sea shanty's you'll be singing?

  • dporowskidporowski Registered User regular
    So just as a note, since you're making it in Blender, it should automatically import into Unity. (If you believe their docs; I've never used Unity.)

    So there's some proto-game-level right there if you go that way.

  • halkunhalkun Registered User regular
    edited May 2016
    Actually, one of the things I'm thinking ahead about is selling it as an asset. The model is modular, and I can sell bits an pieces. For example, I can export just the external "shell" and you can get a carrier asset without any of the innards. Or, if you want innards, I can select which spaces to export.

    If you want the whole thing... That's probably going to be a pit pricey for a unity asset, but I'm sure the shell will be pretty cheap.

    halkun on
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