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Friday, June 21, 2013

It Would Be a Mammoth Mistake

I've read with some amusement for the past day or so the growing discussion on industrial rebalancing. I never thought there would be such passion on the part of some players... for industrial ships. I mean, they serve a purpose that has nothing to do with how they look. Unlike combat pilots, I thought industrialists generally have little ego when it comes to what their ships look like. We just want to know two things: how much will it haul and can it reach it's destination intact.

But the debate over the looks of the Mammoth, that took me completely by surprise. I'm an industrialist and I'm like, "Who cares?" But people evidently do care. They care enough to have passionate opinions about it. Who knew?

And all this really begs a simple question. What should a space cargo ship look like? That's a good question. I'm pretty sure that's a matter of opinion and there are likely to be as many opinions as there are people willing to argue them. So to add a little context to the discussion, I decided to showcase some space cargo vessels from Science Fiction. That should at least give everyone an idea of what other's outside New Eden feel a space cargo vessel should look like.
Allied Spacecraft Corporation Firefly Class Cargo Transport Serenity
Of course I have to start with this one. Is it pretty? No. Frankly it looks like a goose with a rung wrung neck (that's a broken neck for those not familiar with the term.) Some of the lines are pleasing, but overall Serenity looks like she's undergoing gavage feeding. It is not what most would consider beautiful. That's just my opinion mind you but I'm not alone in that opinion. Here's what the scrapper boss had to say when Saffron betrayed Mal and almost got Serenity destroyed (emphasis mine,)
"This is why you'll never be in charge, Bree. You don't see the whole. The parts are crap, but you put it together you got a Firefly. Thing'll run forever they got a mechanic even half awake... Some people ain't lookin' for flash. She's a good catch."
Jupiter Mining Corporation Mining Ship Red Dwarf
Okay, technically this isn't strictly a cargo vessel. But it does haul things and as such I am including it. This is a ship I need say nothing about. It was said on the show far better than I could put it (emphasis mine,)
KRYTEN: Sirs, please, there's no advantage in finger-pointing. We didn't
lose Red Dwarf. Red Dwarf was stolen. By persons... or life forms
CAT: Who would steal a gigantic red trash can with no brakes and three
million years on the clock?
Corellian Engineering Corporation Light Freighter Millenium Falcon
Once again, what further evidence of ugly do you need than this scene from the script of Star Wars: A New Hope (emphasis mine,)
        Chewbacca leads the group into a giant dirt pit that is Docking
        Bay 94. Resting in the middle of the huge hole is a large,
        round, beat-up, pieced-together hunk of junk that could only
        loosely be called a starship.

LUKE: What a piece of junk.
        The tall figure of Han Solo comes down the boarding ramp.
HAN: She'll make point five beyond the speed of light. She may not
look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've added some
special modifications myself.
         Luke scratches his head. It's obvious he isn't sure about
        all this.
From these three examples of well known industrial ships, there are a few concepts that come through loud and clear: crap, trash and junk. Obviously that's what an industrial transport is supposed to be. And if that's what it is, that's what it should look like. Evidently ugly is in when you're a cargo ship. It would be a mammoth mistake to think otherwise. So what other examples of space cargo ships are there out on the interwebs?

Fly Careful


  1. I think cCCPS art team just prefers the Hoarder because it actually looks like it was designed by the same people who built the wreathe and for the same purpose. The Mammoth looks like a Terran battleship or something.

  2. The designs I'm personally a fan of are the central strut with cargo bolted onto it. No muss, no fuss, single engine pushing the core, cargo bolted on. Admittedly, it's also no armor, but what ISK watching Industrialist is going to waste propellant hauling armor?

    Which is one of the reasons I fly an Iteron V. Sure, it's also the biggest hold, but it's the most sensible space design.

  3. Awesome post and so true! shiny industrials are just wrong!

  4. Why spent profits on a bling transport when you need function? An industrial doesn't have to be crap, trash and junk. It just has to do it's job at the lowest possible price.
    Which usually means flying a piece of taped together secondhand refurbished parts.

    In real life when you make your money hauling shit the goal is to accomplish your objective (move shit from place A to place B) most efficiently.
    Who would you invest your money in? That startup of 3 guys working in their garage/basement with great ideas and enthusiasm or that startup in a shiny building, shiny car, bimbo secretary and no plans to actually generate profit to pay for it all.

  5. My favorite cargo ship from any game, the Galaxy from the original Privateer:

    Also, not sci-fi, but would anyone accuse this of having beautiful lines?

    1. I loved the Galaxy. I spent days upon days flying her from system to system and never once did I ever think about what she looked like.

  6. I haven't read any of the discussion on the boards, but I'll say the Mammoth fits perfectly for a Minmatar ship and I don't want it touched. As for other ships from movies, etc...I always thought the Mammoth had a very similar look to the deep space transport ship from the opening scene of Pitch Black.

    These were the best couple pics I could find.

    1. I'd forgotten this ship was shown in the beginning. You always think about what happened on the planet, not how they got there.

  7. Said this before in a couple of places but the Hoarder already looks like a bit like a space hauler from Battle Beyond the Stars. Well. It does to me.

  8. Famous Space Cargo Ships...

    "The USCSS Nostromo which operated as a tug, connecting to and pulling loads like a tractor truck rather than carrying those loads on board like a traditional freighter." -

    1. Oh yeah, that's an ugly ship that only got uglier as people died. *grin*

    2. The Nostromo, and the refinery it towed leaked liquids (I bet the toilets were backed up), had lockers at head height (probably used as vomit storage containers), and the reason the computer could not stop the self destruct at T-5 minutes was because that was when the computer ejected and left the meatbags to their fate.

  9. I find it kinda funny that you list a bunch of starships here that are all of them Iconic and loved by millions (or well maybe millions is a bit much for red dwarf, but you get the point) because of what they did and the narrative behind them. They may all be intended ugly, but they are loved too, and that includes their form, not just the function.

    Eve is a place of narratives. Every pilot has their own, and every person behind that pilot loves at least part of that narrative. These ships become iconic to those who fly them because in the world of eve they are our avatars. Sure we have this body that we can walk from bay to quarters with, that shows on out pilot's license, but it is the ship that is heart and soul of the characters. It defines us, weather that be small nimble, and hitting like a mack truck (assult frigs) slow bloated, and hitting like killotons of those mack trucks (Titans), all the flavors of combat inbetween, and even down to that lowly hauler, that most of us don't like to acknowledge, but makes the world work. Every narrative is important in eve because every narrative is an extension of someone.

    CCP failed in this one possibly just because they didn't look at the numbers. they didn't consider enough how many people loved the ship they were going to marginalize.

    I fly a badger II, and now an itty 5 too so this particular debate doesn't affect me much, but it is important in eve because it is important to players in eve. The Mammoth has become Iconic to those who fly it, just as i see myself in the Badger II.


  10. Beauty is subjective. I must be in the minority because I think the hoarder is so mind boggling ugly that I couldn't wait until I could fly a Mammoth. Of course I'd take a Firefly or Falcon any day of the week.

    Mostly a lot of the forum posters, or maybe it was just me, were upset at the seemingly capricious way the decision was made. We're going to take the ship you bought and rigged for max cargo and put something else in its place. Not because the needs of Eve ship rebalancing require it, but because the Art Dept said so. An unforced error on CCPs part.

  11. I am a big fan of the ugly Hoarder.

    I actually prefer its uglyness to the uglyness of the Mammoth, but seem to be in the minority on that one.

  12. One that you may not be old enough to remember is the Valley Forge from the movie Silent Running.

    This is a very depressing movie. Very. Very extremely depressing. DO NOT WATCH IT UNDER THE INFLUENCES OF ALCOHOL. Save the drinking until afterwards to wash away the misery.

    1. Oh hell, that's a CLASSIC! The first time I watched that movie was in 8th grade (I'm an oldster BTW.) The school had some sore of recreation day and movie watching was one of the options. I didn't want to wear myself out for football practice so I went to the movie! Okay, that was way too much personal crap.

      You are correct, the movie is depressing as hell, but Bruce Dern gives a great performance and that was an awesome transport ship.

  13. I argued to keep the Mammoth at the top over the Hoarder--neither is exactly pretty, but that wasn't the only variable.

    1) The Mammoth is a *Mammoth*. It makes no sense to not have it be huge. The model is huge, too.

    2) The skies were already full of cargo-rigged Mammoths precisely because that was the big model. Switching roles would cause a fair amount of pain for them, for industrialists buying new BPOs for T2 manufacturing, etc.

    I expect Amarr industrials to be at least somewhat pretty, because they like for every ship to project the glory of their undying empire, yadda yadda; it was more about the capriciousness of the change, and other factors (the name and in-game size of the ship, the existing use, the T2 models) that strongly favored the Mammoth.

    nb: It's a wrung neck, as in the past tense of "wring."


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