A place of building, the act of creation forging ect. A place where raw materials enter and exit as a finished product (or in a more modern sense a component for another "finished" product).Mobile
Ambulatory, the ability to move, requiring coordination, actors (such as muscles), power, and sometimes a direction.Combining the two creates a object that could do neither function very well, but does both just well enough to justify the cost. In fiction, at least; real-life seems a little slow on the uptake. Most often seen as military machines, they are also quite handy in colonization efforts, or really anything that needs stuff and is willing to put-up with a wandering stuff maker. Watch out, though; if Von Neumann is to believed, this would be a handy way to travel the stars without FTL, and in fiction this probably means very large concentrations of Grey Goo. This one particular vehicle is usually seen as a Military Mashup Machine or Mook Maker Starship. However other varieties exist.
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Anime and Manga
- Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence has a factory making gynoids based on a maritime ship for... legal reasons. It also turned out they were ghost-dubbing abducted children into their droids, which was enough to bring down Section 9 on them
- The Macross/Robotech franchise group featured a number of these. Some big enough to mass produce warships more than a mile long. The Macross itself recycles Humongous Mecha.
- The Raflessia in Mobile Suit Gundam F91 could make Bugs, which were tiny chainsaw drones.
- World Devastators from the Dark Empire series. They land on a planet and start ripping up the environment with tractor beams, processing the raw material into automated fighters and other collection craft, both destroying and building at the same time.
- In Albedo: Erma Felna EDF the EDF's biggest capital ships are factory-carriers, part of their function is providing industry to underdeveloped planets.
- Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, takes what appears to be Matter Replicator technology to its logical conclusion: anything that can both mount this ability and move becomes a mobile factory. Combine World Devastator-like weapon loads with energy-to-matter and you have one hell of a construction system. Large (multi-kilometer) versions of the Matter Replicator also exist in corporate service for producing ships.
- In Dune, harvester factories sucked up spice-laden sands, separated out the spice with a centrifuge and store it. It's also depicted in the film adaptation. There is a practical reason to justify this complexity though: spice is only found where the infamous Arrakis Sandworms travel, and any worm which senses motion in its territory will move to attack it. Hence, the harvesters need to be mobile so they can be lifted off to safety with their very valuable haul at the first indication of Wormsign.
- Steward Cowley's Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 A.D.. The PC1 191 Gourmet was a giant insect-like spaceship that melted asteroid ore and separated out the metal residue for storage. The AC3 Stag Beetle used a "disassembler" field to do the same thing.
- In the Culture novels the largest spacecraft, called General Systems Vehicles, are capable of building entire fleets of starships inside themselves if they're so inclined. In fact it's said that a single GSV would be able to rebuild the entire Culture by itself if necessary.
Live Action Television
- Battlestar Galactica: the Tylium refining ship
- A number of ships in this series qualify, either as a facet of being a Military Mashup Machine (Galactica has its own on-board munitions factory, while Pegasus goes one better and has the capacity to build entire Vipers), or in a more direct fashion (the mining ships presumably refining what they extract, the cylon resurrection ships and the Resurrection Hub presumably replenishing their stocks of the various models as required, etc.)
- The Sand Miner from the Doctor Who serial "The Robots of Death".
- Red Dwarf is a mining ship, although it's not usually seen doing any actual mining.
- The ramscoop at the front collects all the hydrogen it needs for fuel, and considering the disaster there's no real reason for them to care if they have a full load of ore or not.
- The Andromeda Ascendant is capable of harvesting raw resources from asteroids and rebuilding her supply of drones and missiles.
- Russia is developing Nuclear Power Station Barges for heat, power, and/or desalination. Assuming that electricity and fresh water count for factory production.
- Factory ships take fish from whole fleets of fishing boats and prepare it for sale.
- The U.S. Army is deploying mobile 3D printing labs to Afghanistan for fabricating equipment.
- German Type XIV U-boats were designed to function as mobile resupply depots for other U-boats, and carried a huge cargo hold of preserved foods, fuel, and munitions. The ships were also equipped with bakeries to give docked U-boats fresh bread made on-site; a great morale boost for crews stuck eating nothing but canned food for weeks or months at a time.
- In Palladium Games' Robotech II: The Sentinels RPG, the SDF-3 is noted to have a complete mecha factory located deep in it's bowels.
- One race in Twilight Imperium is able to move their shipyards, and in fact starts with three of them in their home system.
- BattleTech's yard-class WarShips are mobile shipyards to repair, refit, and build starships and inter-system craft. The two types, the Faslan and Newgrange, are both over a kilometer in length. The Newgrange performs a Mega-Maw Maneuver to expose the drydock, with its entire nose assembly splaying open like a modern ferry. Only a tiny handful of yard ships remain, as they were juicy targets during the 300 year long Succession Wars which also largely destroyed the means to produce them.
- In Traveller ships with fuel processors can refine raw gas giant atmosphere into usable fuel. While mining drones harvest and process ore from asteroids.
- In Hc Svnt Dracones any ship with omni-slots can be equipped with a lv. 1 manufacturing center. Big enough to craft most personal gear.
- The Space Empires series lets you build these eventually, though your mobile shipyards will never build as quickly as your planets (and especially your Dyson Spheres) do.
- Star Ruler allows for mobile shipyards to be built. By designing a ship with a mining laser, storage, refineries, and a construction bay, and they will be able to mine asteroids to produce the material for its ships. It's easy to create Von Neumann ships using this - order a ship to mine an asteroid, with 10 ships in its build queue. Keep repeating the order with every ship it builds, and after an hour there will be several hundred ships.
- The Recycler in both of the Battlezone RTS + FPS games is a floating (or tracked, in the sequel) mobile factory. In the first game, it will land on a geyser, and unfold its construction bay, allowing it to build units - the more advanced Factory and Armory mobile factories are built from the Recycler. If the base is attacked, the factories can pack up, lift off, and drive away. Battlezone 2's Recycler is less mobile, as once it deploys, it cannot be undeployed (in the vanilla game - some mods allow it to undeploy).
- The classic PC RPG Albion contains a partial example; the starship you start out on is a mining-ship, designed for strip-mining an entirely planet - but it's not as mobile as it seems. By design, it's supposed to simply fly to its destination, land, and then convert itself into a self-perpetuating factory-complex capable of turning an entire, resource-rich world into a dry ball of slag, while shipping the finished and refined resources home to Earth.
- The Mobile Construction Vehicle from Dune II was imported to the Command & Conquer series. The Expansion Pack for the second game also added a Mobile War Factory to both factions. This was finally taken to a conclusion in Command & Conquer IV, where the entire base became a mobile factory.
- The expansion pack to Red Alert 2 (which, due to the Red Alert series' origin as a prequel/spin-off to the Tiberian series, also had Mobile Construction Vehicles) brought in Mobile Refineries for the new faction.
- The expansion pack to Tiberium Wars also introduces the MARV (Mammoth Armed Reclamation Vehicle). Besides being a humongous tank that puts even the legendary Mammoth tank to shame, it can also instantly refine any tiberium it drives over into cash.
- Starcraft: most large Terran buildings are able to lift off and land elsewhere, though add-ons are immobile and detach if they do so (and can reattach). Protoss carriers are also capable to manufacturing interceptors.
- In Homeworld the Mothership was originally designed as a Colony Ship, so it actually made sense for it to be able to manufacture things, but when Kharak was destroyed it was repurposed to build warships for a guerrilla war. In later missions the Mothership builds carriers with their own factories to supplement its own. There are also mobile refineries, which extract usable elements from ore brought in by Asteroid Miners.
- In Homeworld II a new Mothership is built to defend their new homeworld from the Vaygr, Planet Looters who have their own motherships and carriers. In some missions the homeworld warps in shipyards that can build bigger ships than the Mothership can but are less mobile on the tactical map and less armed.
- In Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak carriers have production facilities that can construct new LA Vs and aircraft from salvage. Once might understand why the Northern Coalition would want a mobile airstrip for their desert expedition/military campaign, but why couldn't they just airdrop supplies and reinforcements to them?
- Sonic 3 & Knuckles: the Flying Battery Zone
- The United Earth Federation in the Supreme Commander series is big on this trope. While most experimental units are gigantic assault machines or gun platforms the UEF invests in flying, crawling or seaborne factories instead. There are non-UEF mobile factories as well but the UEF alone has more than other factions combined.
- Dawn of War has the Necron Monolith. It's slow, but well armed, very tough, and capable of building every other Necron unit in the game.
- The Xtended Terran Conflict mod for X3: Terran Conflict has the T0 Mobile Production Ship(s). There are 5 variants of it, each of which produces a different type of ware; energy cells, food, technology (microchips, drones, etc), ore / silicon refinement, and military tech production (weapons, shields, missiles). All the of the ships are highly modular and can be configured to make different types of wares in seconds. The M7C carrier frigates could mass-produce advanced Attack Drones on command; they were automatically repaired on-board and came pre-equipped with weapons, making them popular for patrols versus the logistical nightmare of full-sized carriers. They return as official ships in X3: Albion Prelude, albeit functioning as standard mini-carriers rather than as mobile Mook Makers
- The Mass Effect franchise has what is called "minifacturing", a generic term for all manner of miniaturized computer-driven manufacturing devices. They are similar in concept to a modern 3D printer, but capable of vastly more fine and complicated construction. These are relatively ubiquitous in the setting, the widespread technology making old factory construction models economically obsolete for making small, commonly used objects, leading to a distributed manufacturing economy instead. Most objects that are capable of being manufactured are sold as licenses with "Fabrication Rights Management" limitations on how many can be created from a given license purchase. Fitting with the "mobile" part of this trope, most interstellar ships will have mini-fabricators on board for producing replacement parts, or in the case of military vessels, weaponry and armor. Going even smaller and more mobile, Omni-tools are a variation on this, being Super Wrist Gadgets with built in mini-fabricators which can forge any number of small objects and shapes. This is primarily used for things like field repairing equipment, but with the right software it also makes an effective Emergency Weapon by flash-forging a one-use Blade Below the Shoulder.
- In Sins of a Solar Empire capital ships can produce strikecraft.
- From The Depths: Unless designed otherwise nearly all factory type designs are a type of moving vehicle. This also a common option for capturing territory in the campaign mode. Clear the area then send in a mobile factory to build up a base and some defenses.
- The Hand of Rhuk, the Beta's Epic Unit from Grey Goo is a vehicle that can produce any other land unit (including, inexplicably, Commando footsoldiers). This is useful for stocking up its hardpoints, and in one mission, supplying your cramped and teeny base with hardware.
- In Schlock Mercenary most large warships have "fabbers" capable of manufacturing anything from ammo to Drop Ships. Tagon's Toughs seem to alternate between ships that don't and do have fabbers. The Post-Dated Check Loan and Touch-And-Go had fabbers; the Kitesfear, Serial Peacemaker (originally one of Petey's dropships), and Cindercone didn't.