Last week I was commenting on a sketch about how I hadn’t really worked out the interiors on most of the ships. One part that (until this sketch) hadn’t gotten worked out was “what do the engines look like?” After all, one of the critical parts of a ship’s engine rooms is, well, the engines. They’re generally the dominant part of the compartment regardless if we’re talking about a steam driven design (with boilers, nuclear reactor, reciprocating engines or turbines) or a turboelectric or diesel drive. But sci-fi engines are a little more flexible in how they look. And how they’re oriented.
As it happened, the rough design idea actually came out of a joke. I had made a comment in passing about a Drive Donut, and the idea stuck in my mind. So after a little doodling I literally did a drive donut. And the hilarious thing is, it honestly works pretty well!
So, this view is from the forward bulkhead of the engine compartment looking dead aft. Square center is the drive torus, the part of the drive system that actually generates the drive field that moves the ship. Depending on the nature of the drive and the ship, the torus can be fatter and longer fore-and-aft (a commercial engine), have multiple torii stacked fore and aft (an engine room with more engines), or be deformed like a funnel (which gives you tactical engines). At present the room looks rather empty, but in actual service, the corners on the outside of the torus would have other engineering equipment fitted like workshops, control stations, and other engineering systems for the ship’s functions.