The largest and most complete sci fi ship chart to date is finally finished, and it is awesome.
My friends and I spent over an hour simply pouring over the huge variety of ships that the chart has, geeking out about each of the universes, and comparing the size of the various capital ships.
While there have been many comparison charts for starships, but, to my knowledge, none come close to the sheer scope that this one has. To my knowledge, it has capital ships from nearly every single sci fi universe, including lesser known ones that I hadn’t even heard about like The Irresponsible Captain Taylor, or ones where their starships are only incidental, like Dune. Hell, it even has ships from less serious sci fi’s Wall-E, Monsters vs Aliens, and Spaceballs. In fact, the only ship from mainstream science fiction that I found to be missing was the Drakh Carrier from Babylon 5.
That’s not to say that the chart is completely encyclopedic. It’s missing the ships from Sins of a Solar Empire completely, for example, even though it has all the ships from Homeworld and Homeworld II. Granted, this is probably just because there are either a lack of credible resources for the ships in question, like with the Sins ships, or the creator of the chart simply has never encountered that particular work of fiction.
Anyway, despite its flaws, it was good enough to send me into a two day nostalgia fest that consisted of digging up old Babylon 5 ship statistics and even looking up some of the movies and video games of the ships that I didn’t recognize.
The greatest advantage that this chart has over others of its kind is that it has all of the ships in one simple sheet, which means that you can readily compare ships from across your favorite works. I mean, the Mass Effect ships just look so cute when lined up with massive behemoths like the UNSC Infinity. It also gives the reason why the Mass Effect universe always felt so small. Compared to nearly every other sci fi out there, its ships are downright tiny! To a ship, everything that’s not a Reaper or the Destiny Ascension is smaller than a kilometer long, and even those top out at 2 kilometers. You’re hard pressed to find a Warhammer 40K ship that is actually that small.
It also gives a great comparison for the visual design of the different universes. In one corner you have the gothic behemoths that are the Warhammer ships, in the lower middle you have the flying boxes of guns that are the UNSC ships right next to the elegant curves of the Covenant, and then straight down the center you have the knobby monocolored leviathans from EVE Online. I’m going to harp on Mass Effect again here, but compared to the veritable works of art that the majority of these universes boast, the ME ships look downright uninspired. Even Star Trek ships have a greater variety to them.
Of course, the fact that this chart has everything on the same sheet is also its biggest downfall too, as it makes individual ships difficult to find. It took me two days to find the Aurora class battleship from Stargate: Atlantis. I still haven’t found the starship from Spaceballs, despite having been assured that it’s on the chart.
The chart is also rather arbitrary on it’s size limits. To be on the chart a ship has to be at least 100 meters in length, and no larger than 24,000 meters in length, which is, conveniently, the presumed size of the Independence Day city killing flying saucers. To be fair, including ships that are below 100 meters in length would have easily doubled, if not tripled, the number of ships on the chart, and anything larger would have literally eclipsed everything else.
The coolest addition to the chart, though, is probably not a fictional space ship at all, but a modern one. Up in the upper left corner of the chart sits the International Space Station, outlined in yellow, a tacit reminder that not only is everything we think we know about space combat totally and completely wrong, but actual, real life space combat would be so mind bogglingly complex that it might not even be possible, let alone feasible. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to spend several hours playing Kerbal Space Program.
To that effect, I’ll leave you with something that Mass Effect series did do right.