I've started to play with the idea of separating my ship into self contained sectors to fight fires. Only problem, now it's held together in some places by ugly, weak struts.
Would it be possible to make an empty room that can't be pathed into, but is also very hard for fire to spread to? Or at the very least, struts that can be covered up by paint and decals.
You need a sturdy, non-pathable module? Keels are the way to go. They’re heavy, but certainly meet your specs. If you need something to fill in the gaps keels can’t cover, fire-doors are your best bet. Sure, they’re pathable, but at the end of the day you’re going to need to connect up these self-contained sectors anyway for it to clear the ship editor standards, might as well do it with fire resistant corridors.
Personally, if you ask me though? The best module to stop fire from spreading is none at all. Just leave gaps in your design. It reduces weight (which increases service ceiling), reduces cost, and it’s impossible to spread fire to what isn’t there.
Airships is all about designing new and interesting ships, and this sectors idea sounds pretty interesting, but I don’t think it is the solution you’re looking for if you’re concerned about fires. Any solution that slows down fires also slows down your dousing crew, be it reduced walking speed through fire doors, or pathing around keels/gaps in the design.
Semi unrelated note: This sectors idea might be a useful idea for smaller craft, which doesn’t have the budget for fire points/the suspendium to hold it up(fire points are heavy!)/the extra crew to staff it. Of course, these ships wouldn’t have the budget/weight capacity for keels/excessive firedoors, either, so you’d have to go with the “design gaps” idea to sector it off.
Are you sure about leaving gaps in ship designs? My reason for using struts is to due to room HP being dependent on rooms completely surrounding it, which is explained in game as "structural integrity".
As for keels, what's your experience with them? I've used them on my larger, slower ships, but I've found that they either lower my service ceiling too much or my fleet would be better off with multiple smaller, faster ships instead. I will start using fire doors though, I'd been internally debating whether they'd be worth the (admittedly small) extra cost.
I should also add that I've so far only designed and tested one ship with this philosophy in mind, and they've become the backbone of my current campaign fleet. I haven't noticed any problems in response times, since the central "hub" which all the sectors connect to is also the fire point. Thanks for your input!
Indeed you are giving up a bit of module HP by leaving gaps, but for the purposes of keeping fire contained it is unrivaled. As a general ship design it sacrifices a bit much just for the sake of suriviving fire a bit longer (or surivivng with a ship fragment missing), but if you are REALLY concerned about fires while unwilling to shell out for a firepoint, gaps can't hurt too much. Not to mention- having struts isn't much better than having nothing, they give significantly less HP to neighboring modules than any other module. On the other hand, if you ARE using a firepoint, this isn't necessarily a great idea. The further away a firepoint is, pathing-wise, the more damage fire will do before it gets put out.
Also, since you're using firedoors, I must warn you to be sparing with them. They're heavy and slow down crew, stuffing your ship full of them is a good way to reduce the service ceiling and raise fire response time.
Structural Integrity is only made positive by the use of Keels. So if the editor issues you a Structural Integrity warning, you're suffering a HP Loss, and must use a Keel to alleviate the issue.
Surfaces that touch result in an HP Buff visible in the Editors HP Overlay. But this buff is still suffers the Structural Integrity Loss, as a whole.
As someone who's designed an obscene number of Airships, I will state there are certain thresholds where advantages exist without the use of keels and accepting the HP loss, varying circumstances - although I don't design this way as my designs have multi-versions (armor variations).
I think it's a reasonable idea to just have a 1x1 filler module, let's call it, uh, a bulkhead, that has reasonable HP, high fire resistance and is non-pathable. It won't contribute to structural strength like keels but it won't create weird gaps like struts.
Though IIRC we've been here before with struts, and people just covering their ships in a layer of struts, which was also weird and ugly. :/
If I may suggest, perhaps you should balance it differently, Like say... making it as expensive as corridors, and making them relatively heavy. If you don't want them to be used like struts, don't balance them like struts.