Mega Starship Size Comparison Adds Wing Commander Ships (September 29, 2013)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
An enormous science fiction collage has been making the rounds lately, and Wing Commander has just been added to the melee! This incredible graphic features hundred of different spaceships from dozens of different movies, books, games and television shows. It was made by DirkLoechel who has provided background info at his DeviantArt site.

The WC portion is pretty interesting. The gargantuan Kilrathi dreadnought and TCS Behemoth are fittingly present, although both are presented as smaller than they actually appear in Wing Commander. He nailed the correct Hvar'kann class name but pegs the ship at a seemingly arbitrary 6705 meters. Wing Commander 3 and the False Colors novel both show the ship as 22,000 meters. A laundry list of various Confed and Kilrathi vessels also pop up, and they're actually a rather good selection of famous names. The Confederation class dreadnought, Vesuvius class heavy carrier, Concordia class carrier, Midway class heavy carrier, Fralthi II cruiser, Bengal class strike carrier, Southampton destroyer, Shiraak type carrier, Gettysburg class cruiser, Sivar dreadnought, Fralthra cruiser, Durango heavy destroyer and Bhantkara carrier appear with just a few typos in spelling and class designation. With most of the 'main' game ships shown, this is obviously more than a random assortment - someone must be a Wingnut out there! It's also pretty neat to see that the Super Wing Commander variants of the Bengal and Sivar were used, as was the Arena style Midway (TCS Port Broughton). The shot below is a tiny crop of the corner. The ten-megabyte full-size 4500x4500 pixel original can be found here!







Newly featured:
Wall-E (Axiom, Zephyrus and Epiglottus city ships)
Dead Space (sizes mostly based on Dead Space Wikia and conjecture)
Star Citizen (Size based on the Star Citizen Wiki)
Galaxy Quest (Sizes taken from a Chart compiled by Dan Carlson, who inspired me for this chart)
Space: Above and Beyond (Sizes taken from a Chart compiled by Dan Carlson, who inspired me for this chart)
BattleTech (several Inner Sphere and Clan ships; based on www.sarna.net )
Wing Commander (Sizes mostly via wcnews.com )
StarCraft (Sizes and ship images taken from: i2.minus.com/idKJOHIciRf0E.jpg )
Homeworld (based on conjecture, the Homeworld wiki which has everything except sizes, and a few fanmade charts)
Close Encounter (image via Smithonian; size conjecture based on film clips)
District 9 (Image internet; size wikipedia)

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Original update published on September 29, 2013
 
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Kyle Maverick

Rear Admiral
Great! Now I can prove to my Trekkie nephew that the TCS Midway I have as my desktop background is larger than his beloved Constitution Class USS Enterprise and could probably carry the damned thing in it's hanger bay!
 

LeoCeballos

Chief Petty Officer
Great! Now I can prove to my Trekkie nephew that the TCS Midway I have as my desktop background is larger than his beloved Constitution Class USS Enterprise and could probably carry the damned thing in it's hanger bay!

Ugh, don't start that... Abrams already thinks that for Star Trek to be "cool enough" he has to make all the ships frickin' huge. The Connie is just shy of a modern Nimitz-class carrier and that's just fine in my book.
 

Dondragmer

Rear Admiral
He nailed the correct Hvar'kann class name but pegs the ship at a seemingly arbitrary 6705 meters.

Maybe the artist read (or made the same assumption) as this post, which treats the 22,000 meters as a typo, and prefers 22,000 feet, which converts back to 6705.6 meters.

That number has no grounding within either the game or its supporting fiction. If they don't like the 22,000 meter claim, the one other size I'd be content to see is the size of its model within the WC3 engine, as measured against other ships with accepted lengths. It would be "wrong" by the fiction, but "correct" in representing the relative scale of what you see in the game. However, if you start representing ships according to their in-engine appearance, the "700-meter Gettysburg-class cruiser" should be just a few pixels long, considering how WC1 shrinks its capital ships due to engine limitations. So maybe it's best to stick with the supporting fiction.

Meanwhile, for almost all big spaceships in movies, TV or games, E. E. "Doc" Smith dreamed bigger. Why shoot a planet with the Death Star or Behemoth when you could instead fit a couple of your own planets with interstellar drives, then use them to play solar system billiards?
 
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LeoCeballos

Chief Petty Officer
Meanwhile, for almost all big spaceships in movies, TV or games, E. E. "Doc" Smith dreamed bigger.

That may be so, but these are hardly the largest "rung" on the sci-fi ladder. The Independence Day mothership and Death Star are an order of magnitude larger than the largest of these, and beyond that we have objects like the Dyson Sphere shown in next-gen and the V'Ger energy cloud (each at about 2 AU in diameter!) to speak of TV. In books, there is Niven with his Fleet of Worlds (with planetary drives), and of course the Ringworld itself.

I love a good BDO in my sci-fi, but I'm not too fond of universes where everything exists at ridiculous scales. If everything is huge, it feels like, very quickly, nothing is. To follow up a bit on what I said about the Enterprise, I like its more or less 300m length. Its big enough to dwarf a person; its on the high end of the scale of what we can build today but its can cruise through the stars. And yet its still small enough that it can feel absolutely tiny when faced with something like V'Ger.
 

Dondragmer

Rear Admiral
That may be so, but these are hardly the largest "rung" on the sci-fi ladder. The Independence Day mothership and Death Star are an order of magnitude larger than the largest of these, and beyond that we have objects like the Dyson Sphere shown in next-gen and the V'Ger energy cloud (each at about 2 AU in diameter!) to speak of TV. In books, there is Niven with his Fleet of Worlds (with planetary drives), and of course the Ringworld itself.

I love a good BDO in my sci-fi, but I'm not too fond of universes where everything exists at ridiculous scales. If everything is huge, it feels like, very quickly, nothing is. To follow up a bit on what I said about the Enterprise, I like its more or less 300m length. Its big enough to dwarf a person; its on the high end of the scale of what we can build today but its can cruise through the stars. And yet its still small enough that it can feel absolutely tiny when faced with something like V'Ger.

Agreed. If the writer wants me to care about the characters, keep it small. I'm far more invested when something bad happens to 1 member of the Serenity's crew than 100 redshirts on the Enterprise or 1,000 rebels on Home One. The trouble comes when the writer claims that some object is amazingly big, fast or distant, and then gives measurements revealing, once again, that Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale. I hope to see some good, compelling stories come out of the small ships and small crews in Star Citizen.
 

Kyle Maverick

Rear Admiral
Just noticed this while browsing through it as well, the Bengal Class Carrier from Star Citizen is on here:
StarCit.jpg


Took me bloody ages to spot that one!
 
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st3lt3k

Rear Admiral
The Foreign Policy website has an article on this called "One Starship to Rule Them All" (with a link the Kilrathi Superdreadnought on wcnews no less). Here's what comparison chartmaker Dirk Loechel says about sizing

But let's get to the elephant in the room. How does Loachel even determine the size of fictional starships when Jane's Fighting Ships doesn't (yet) include the specifications for Romulan Birds of Prey? It's not easy, says Loechel, who first became interested in the project as a way to compare ships between the Star Wars and Warhammer 40K universes. He was forced to scour information from a variety of sources, notably the somewhat dusty Starship Dimensions site. "Generally, my sources for length, if at all possible, are from Wikipedia. Sometimes, like with [video game] Mass Effect, I have to guesstimate sizes of ships from comparison charts. Some of the sizings may be up to debate, especially Stargate, where official stats are highly contradictory. I also repeatedly ran into wikis confusing foot and meter measurements, like with the [Wing Commander] Kilrathi Superdreadnought. Some things I wanted to include, like the movie The Fifth Element, are on hold because I cannot get even guesstimates of the ships' size."

The article is at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/10/18/one_starship_to_rule_them_all_warship_chart
 
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Silent Hunter

Commodore
Meanwhile, for almost all big spaceships in movies, TV or games, E. E. "Doc" Smith dreamed bigger. Why shoot a planet with the Death Star or Behemoth when you could instead fit a couple of your own planets with interstellar drives, then use them to play solar system billiards?

Don't forget Douglas Adams, who had a planet that ate other planets.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
The Foreign Policy website has an article on this called "One Starship to Rule Them All" (with a link the Kilrathi Superdreadnought on wcnews no less). Here's what comparison chartmaker Dirk Loechel says about sizing
Uh... the Foreign Policy website published this? Am I missing something? :p
 

Richter_DL

Spaceman
Hello. I made this chart.

Wing Commander, specifically Wing Commander 2 and 3, are games I remember extremely fondly. Not only were they pleasantly challenging without making you insane (like seriously oldschool games - anyone here even heared of Psygnosis' Obliterator?), they also had a greatly scripted and executed story, an original, somewhat trashy feel (especially WC3!), and were just plain fun to play. Too bad that kind of game seems not to pass the producer test anymore. Well, Star Citizen might be kinda like space flight games of old, but I seriously dislike MMOs, and it looks like you get only a third out of it if you play the single player campaign, if that. Sigh.

The assortment was indeed to show most main ships - completist me. ^^ I'm quite happy I remembered most of them by name.

Anyway, to the controversy! The Hvar'kann is listed as 22 km in the wiki, but comparing ingame models, it doesn't really look like 72178 ft - more like 22000 ft. Hence the seemingly arbitrary lengthn - it's 22000 ft in meters. Guess though, and I don't remember anymore if the model was scaled up to 22000 meters in the game (I do remember it was really big, though). I took that guess based on this image: https://cdn.wcnews.com/newestshots/full/wc_llod18.jpg on CIC. the comment linked above further reinforced this. So yes, I did go that way. Feet and meters are confused all the time - hell, I did it on the chart too (with Red Dwarf). I've seen this mistake made many times, so it'd be no surprise if the supporting fiction did this, and I'm going with it for the time being. I'll replace the model in my next update with a better one (also from this site), by the way.

Oh, and does anyone here have a good orthogonal shot of the Behemoth, so I can replace my photoshopped abomination?

The current chart is limited to ships 24 km length, mostly because otherwise graphics turn out crappy on this scale. I mean, just LOOK at the ID4 ship. I ought to kick it but canot really bring myself to ... unfortunatly the guy who made a scale model for flightsim doesn't seem to reply to emails. Also, though, it would screw viewability and what little organization the chart has - the Halo keyship already is messing with things a lot.

Uh... the Foreign Policy website published this? Am I missing something? :p
Yup, the request surprised me too. Seems there're some SciFi fans among their journalists.
 
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