Positronium Minefield

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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:02 pm

bananenwurst wrote:Interesting (and ridiculously extensive :clap: ) proposal.
I did not read everything in detail, since it is too late already, but I think you miscalculated the explosive force of your payload:

Using the famous E=mc^2 and a mass of 1 µg (microgram) for the payload I get a total amount of 90 MJ, not 90 GJ, which would be equivalent to 20 kg TNT - nothing more than a little poooof at those large spaceships.
Maybe just scale everthing up by a factor of x1000 to fix this?

Have a good night


Just scale it up to gramms and the problem is solved :lol:
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby CutterJohn » Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:15 pm

ThymineC wrote:You've gone to a lot of trouble to impose limitations that don't necessarily exist just because they don't exist using today's technology. Everything I've said still seems to be in accordance with our present understanding of the laws of physics, even the stuff on Heisenberg fields.
The difference between us is that you take a pessimistic outlook on the technological capabilities within Limit Theory, but I take an optimistic stance.


No, the difference between us is I'm happy calling a spade a spade. Problem: Mines in space need range to function, else they would need to be used by the trillions, which is not feasible in reality or gameplay. The simple solution is simply saying the mines have a rocket of some sort tucked inside in order to gain mobility. You recognize this too. You've developed a system that uses missiles. But for some reason you don't want to admit they are missiles, so you created a system that uses many handwaves and shortcuts to try to maintain the ability to call them mines.

I do not understand the point of doing that. The missile is the tool for this job. We've already developed mines that perform exactly this function. With torpedos, not missiles, but the concept is the same.

Next you'll be telling Josh that interstellar jump-gates are infeasible because they don't exist today.


Some things are required for gameplay.

I do like trying to tie my ideas as close to established science as possible, with that being said, the closer the better, but I prefer to not rule out anything that hasn't been contradicted by established science, since you get more interesting things happening that way.


If that were true then you'd accept that the concept of the CAPTOR mine already does precisely what you want in a far less complex package. But you have your heart set on a very old fashioned dumb mine concept that simply can not work in the 3d volume of space.
Last edited by CutterJohn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby ThymineC » Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:24 pm

CutterJohn wrote:
ThymineC wrote:You've gone to a lot of trouble to impose limitations that don't necessarily exist just because they don't exist using today's technology. Everything I've said still seems to be in accordance with our present understanding of the laws of physics, even the stuff on Heisenberg fields.
The difference between us is that you take a pessimistic outlook on the technological capabilities within Limit Theory, but I take an optimistic stance. Next you'll be telling Josh that interstellar jump-gates are infeasible because they don't exist today.

It is useful feedback though! Between constructive criticism and refinements from Cornflakes, it's already altered significantly from the original proposal.

I do like trying to tie my ideas as close to established science as possible, with that being said, the closer the better, but I prefer to not rule out anything that hasn't been contradicted by established science, since you get more interesting things happening that way.



All I want you to do is not reinvent the wheel. You are, for some inexplicable reason, adamantly against the idea of missiles, to the point where you recreated all the functionality of a missile in a very roundabout and unorthodox fashion so you can avoid saying it is a missile.

I see no purpose to that. Just use missiles. It would be so much simpler and less prone to failure.

Well you might call them missiles I guess, it's up for debate whether they're closer to mines or missiles, but whatever they are they have several advantages over conventional missiles that I've listed which is why I've opted for them.

It does bug me a bit that a Heisenberg field will have to extend over 500 km stretches, though. That's a bit of a pickle. I suppose it could be possible since they could be exceptionally weak over that distance and remain adequate for the purpose of expelling atoms and dust particles.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby CutterJohn » Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:28 pm

ThymineC wrote:Well you might call them missiles I guess, it's up for debate whether they're closer to mines or missiles, but whatever they are they have several advantages over conventional missiles that I've listed which is why I've opted for them.


No they don't. They only have an advantage over self contained missiles if you don't put the technology you are using for this mine concept into traditional missiles. You were comparing your super fancy high tech mines to missiles using 20th century technology, and only coming out ahead in the reuse department.

Instead of beaming the power, put the power source inside, along with the seeker heads. Every problem solved. Reusable. Autonomous. No single point of failure.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby ThymineC » Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:47 pm

CutterJohn wrote:
ThymineC wrote:Well you might call them missiles I guess, it's up for debate whether they're closer to mines or missiles, but whatever they are they have several advantages over conventional missiles that I've listed which is why I've opted for them.


No they don't. They only have an advantage over self contained missiles if you don't put the technology you are using for this mine concept into traditional missiles. You were comparing your super fancy high tech mines to missiles using 20th century technology, and only coming out ahead in the reuse department.

Instead of beaming the power, put the power source inside, along with the seeker heads. Every problem solved. Reusable. Autonomous. No single point of failure.

I'm not comparing fancy high tech mines to missiles using 20th century technology - I'm comparing fancy high tech mines/missiles that rely on a centralised intelligence to fancy high tech mines/missiles that operate independently.
The entirely self-contained missile/mine idea is inferior in the following respects:
  • Without a centralised intelligence, each missile/mine would only behave as intelligently as its on-board microprocessors would allow. These mines/missiles would be pretty dense compared to mines/missiles controlled by a centralised intelligence.
    • The exception to this would be to have mines/missiles communicate with each other and form some kind of swarm intelligence. But even if you had every mine/missile combining their processing power in a swarm fashion, this would still not equal the processing power of a dedicated array of computers used by a centralised controller.
    • Additionally, each missile/mine would need to know the location of other missile/mines about it, and to do that would require broadcasting that would give away their location and require power (see below).
  • One of the main points is not to have the power source inside the missiles and mines, because this would make them more easily detectable. By having power beamed to mines and missiles remotely, you don't give away their position as easily.
  • If you don't include an internal power supply to avoid the above problem, the mines/missiles are not reusable.
  • How can you change the behaviour of missiles/mines on the fly without some central intelligence to do so?
  • Independent missiles/mines will not co-ordinate their behaviour as well as missiles/mines controlled by a central intelligence.
  • Independent missiles/mines cannot have their payload modified and ramped up on the fly.

(Edit) One last one I forgot:
  • To have a minefield react like an intelligent entity to you by having a central caretaker that beams power and information to each of the mines inside the field is just way cooler. Rule of Cool. This is the weakest advantage and isn't really necessary as it doesn't contribute to the plausibility of the concept and therefore why anyone would opt for this approach over a more conventional approach. But the points listed above cover that.

(Edit 2)
  • You can equip a centralised intelligence with more advanced and sensitive sensors than you could on a missile/mine. The caretaker would be able to detect signatures that no individual missile/mine would have the capability to do so individually.
  • By making the central intelligence beam power/information to mines/missiles, mines and missiles can make do without a power supply, with no sensors, and with less sophisticated microprocessors. This makes them cheaper and more expendable, which is what you want of mines/missiles.

(Edit 3)
But yeah, you have a point that the main limitation of a centralised approach is that if you take down the central intelligence, you conquer the whole minefield. That's the trade-off for all of the advantages given above.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby CutterJohn » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:06 pm

ThymineC wrote:You can equip a centralised intelligence with more advanced and sensitive sensors than you could on a missile/mine. The caretaker would be able to detect signatures that no individual missile/mine would have the capability to do so individually.


Sure, but at that point, why aren't you just assigning a ship to this area? All you're missing are the engines, which eliminate the primary weakness of a minefield and the caretaker in particular. You're giving this thing all the benefits of the presence of strong command and control a ship would provide, but saddling it with all of the drawbacks of mines with their immobility and distributed damage in the vague hope that 'stealth' will keep it safe from harm.

Just slap some engines on the caretaker, as well as the warheads, and fly the whole package towards the enemy. You don't even need to distribute power to the warheads, you can simply shoot them from a gun, simplifying things even further. All the eggs are in one basket either way, you may as well put all the firepower in the same basket so it can be more effectively directed at the target.


By making the central intelligence beam power/information to mines/missiles, mines and missiles can make do without a power supply, with no sensors, and with less sophisticated microprocessors. This makes them cheaper and more expendable, which is what you want of mines/missiles.


Command and control is not only not necessary, it is detrimental. These are mines. They are not a system for fighting. Their purpose is area denial, not enemy destruction. They are there to temporarily keep the enemy from traversing some terrain, or using a strategic asset. That is why no mine system uses a central authority, because that makes it far too easy to disrupt.

Cost effectiveness is good until it comes at the cost of effectiveness.

I won't go through all your advantages, but this one stands out:

One of the main points is not to have the power source inside the missiles and mines, because this would make them more easily detectable. By having power beamed to mines and missiles remotely, you don't give away their position as easily.


I really, really, really do not understand how you can think that beaming megawatts of power into a tiny little object is not going to leave a significant trace. Not only can nothing absorb power at 100% efficiency, it also can't convert that power into motion with 100% efficiency. You can claim meta materials all day, but this is a 1kg object, that has a very, very strong laser hitting it on the outside.

Once it starts moving, the jig is up. Stealth time is over, its time to come in hard and fast.

Likewise, a missile sitting there with passive sensors sniffing is going to be consuming very little power. It certainly wouldn't be radiating the megawatts of an active drive. It can just be a thermal imaging sensor looking for spaceship engines.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby ThymineC » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:20 pm

CutterJohn wrote:
ThymineC wrote:You can equip a centralised intelligence with more advanced and sensitive sensors than you could on a missile/mine. The caretaker would be able to detect signatures that no individual missile/mine would have the capability to do so individually.


Sure, but at that point, why aren't you just assigning a ship to this area? All you're missing are the engines, which eliminate the primary weakness of a minefield and the caretaker in particular. You're giving this thing all the benefits of the presence of strong command and control a ship would provide, but saddling it with all of the drawbacks of mines with their immobility and distributed damage in the vague hope that 'stealth' will keep it safe from harm.

Two reasons:
  • The caretaker benefits from a large amount of damping and emission shielding that would not be practical on a ship because it would make it too slow and unmaneuverable. If a ship tried to generate the output that the caretaker did, it would leak a lot more of its emissions and be more easily detectable.
  • The caretaker is an artificial intelligence and wouldn't get bored protecting the same region of space for years or decades on end. A ship would either have to sit still for a very long time in the middle of the minefield, or you'd have to alternate between different ships occupying the region, with ships flying into or out of the minefield and potentially alerting hostiles and in any case leaving behind propulsion traces.

CutterJohn wrote:Just slap some engines on the caretaker, as well as the warheads, and fly the whole package towards the enemy. You don't even need to distribute power to the warheads, you can simply shoot them from a gun, simplifying things even further. All the eggs are in one basket either way, you may as well put all the firepower in the same basket so it can be more effectively directed at the target.

But that defeats the whole idea of having a minefield that guards one region of space. If you add engines to the caretaker, it will make it very easy to detect, and therefore easy to destroy which compromises the entire minefield. The caretaker should not be easy to detect under any circumstance.

CutterJohn wrote:
By making the central intelligence beam power/information to mines/missiles, mines and missiles can make do without a power supply, with no sensors, and with less sophisticated microprocessors. This makes them cheaper and more expendable, which is what you want of mines/missiles.


Command and control is not only not necessary, it is detrimental. These are mines. They are not a system for fighting. Their purpose is area denial, not enemy destruction. They are there to temporarily keep the enemy from traversing some terrain, or using a strategic asset. That is why no mine system uses a central authority, because that makes it far too easy to disrupt.

The conventional approach wouldn't work for area denial at all, because I could just use the tactics Commander McLane proposed about sending probes into the field one at a time to cause the missiles/mines to detonate prematurely. That wouldn't work if there was a centralised intelligence privy to those kind of tactics.

CutterJohn wrote:Cost effectiveness is good until it comes at the cost of effectiveness.

But the centralised approach would be more effective in every respect unless the central intelligence were taken down, which won't be the case if the enemy can't find the central intelligence, and which is unlikely to be the case if you equip it with heavy damping and keep it stationary.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby CutterJohn » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:01 am

ThymineC wrote:The conventional approach wouldn't work for area denial at all, because I could just use the tactics Commander McLane proposed about sending probes into the field one at a time to cause the missiles/mines to detonate prematurely. That wouldn't work if there was a centralised intelligence privy to those kind of tactics.


And I'd just fly some probes into your field emitting several tons of flourescent dust that absorbed strongly in whatever frequency those lasers use and follow the lights home.

They are mines. They are inherently vulnerable by default. Useless as an offensive weapon and only moderately useful as a defensive weapon once their presence is known. You can't make them not vulnerable. Its not something you can expect to last any significant amount of time, its something to delay an enemy with temporarily once they learn of its existence. If you want to control space, you need to have an actual ship there that can project power, because otherwise they can take all the time they need to sit back in safety and pick apart your carefully laid static defenses. Or just go around.

But the centralised approach would be more effective in every respect unless the central intelligence were taken down, which won't be the case if the enemy can't find the central intelligence, and which is unlikely to be the case if you equip it with heavy damping and keep it stationary.


It is inevitable that it will be quickly found. You cannot emit and maintain stealth. The only reason stealth works on earth is because the atmosphere is very opaque to IR.

Only way you're going to hide stuff in space is to make it look like it belongs there, which means an emission spectrum matching a natural body, and a temperature matching what an object in that particular region of space with that particular albedo would have. It must sit there and do its level best to pull a convincing imitation of a rock. Any more than a little bit of extra IR being emitted is going to show up as an anomalous reading and get closely scrutinized.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby ThymineC » Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:37 am

CutterJohn wrote:
ThymineC wrote:The conventional approach wouldn't work for area denial at all, because I could just use the tactics Commander McLane proposed about sending probes into the field one at a time to cause the missiles/mines to detonate prematurely. That wouldn't work if there was a centralised intelligence privy to those kind of tactics.


And I'd just fly some probes into your field emitting several tons of flourescent dust that absorbed strongly in whatever frequency those lasers use and follow the lights home.

They are mines. They are inherently vulnerable by default. Useless as an offensive weapon and only moderately useful as a defensive weapon once their presence is known. You can't make them not vulnerable. Its not something you can expect to last any significant amount of time, its something to delay an enemy with temporarily once they learn of its existence. If you want to control space, you need to have an actual ship there that can project power, because otherwise they can take all the time they need to sit back in safety and pick apart your carefully laid static defenses. Or just go around.

You'd drop tons of flourescent dust and that would be effective? There's one mine every 100km span in the minefield. You would need a lot of dust, and even if a beam did intercept dust, it would very likely be between two mines, which the caretaker would just re-arrange once it noticed that the beam had been detected, and adapt to your tactics. How would you know what frequency the lasers use, and what's to stop the caretaker changing the frequency of the light it emits on the fly? What's to stop the caretaker detecting your probes and the dust they're releasing and avoiding sending beams across that region of space in the first place?

CutterJohn wrote:
But the centralised approach would be more effective in every respect unless the central intelligence were taken down, which won't be the case if the enemy can't find the central intelligence, and which is unlikely to be the case if you equip it with heavy damping and keep it stationary.


It is inevitable that it will be quickly found. You cannot emit and maintain stealth. The only reason stealth works on earth is because the atmosphere is very opaque to IR.

Only way you're going to hide stuff in space is to make it look like it belongs there, which means an emission spectrum matching a natural body, and a temperature matching what an object in that particular region of space with that particular albedo would have. It must sit there and do its level best to pull a convincing imitation of a rock. Any more than a little bit of extra IR being emitted is going to show up as an anomalous reading and get closely scrutinized.

But I've already detailed that the caretaker contains a metamaterial exterior that can just guide any electromagnetic emissions including those in the infrared spectrum along a tight path between mines and out of the minefield. If it's only emitting IR across a single tight path that runs between mines and then outside of the minefield, it will be extremely difficult to detect.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:14 am

Necromancy!

i had an idea concerning minefields:

if every mine is an independent game object we cant have enough of them to generate convincing/useful minefields because any modern computer would just die trying to handle all those objects.


so: why handle them as full-blown objects?

as josh described a while back that he handles asteroid fields with density functions, minefields could be handled the same way.

the whole field could be handled as a field function with a total amount of mines distributed over the field, expressed as a density function.

the mines themself could then be handled as either particle effects or created as object on an "as needed" basis, to be abstracted again the second you dont need them anymore as objects.


creating a minefield would then be handled as a "streaming" action, the minelayer emits a cloud of mines that creates a density function of the minefield

and ships that destroy/trigger mines create a negative density function area around them, reducing the amount of mines in the area.

millions of mines get reduced to a few comparatively very lightweight formulas and a counter of how many mines are still present in the field (for management purposes)

a minefield wouldnt be a giant point cloud, but just a zone with a number attached to it.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:18 am

Pasting discussion between Cha0zz and me about the field-function minefield

Code: Select all
+Cha0zz:  echo
cho
ho
o
...
+Cornflakes:   hoo
+Cha0zz:   :D
+Cornflakes:   you've read my ramblings about field-function minefields?
+Cha0zz:   yep
+Cornflakes:   ideas/comments?
+Cha0zz:   I like the idea of density :)
how would you visually represent it?
+Cornflakes:   on the map or in the wordl?
world?
+Cha0zz:   world
+Cornflakes:   in the world it could juts be a cloud of mine shaped particle effects
which move/explode statistics based
+Cha0zz:   yeah that's what I was thinking
+Cornflakes:   or a cloud of particles which get transformed to actual objects as needed
+Cha0zz:   maybe a cloud when far away and objects when close
+Cornflakes:   exactly
active range + something they are objects
else they are particles
+Cha0zz:   yeah
+Cornflakes:   but i guess in sum it would be better to have them always be particles
because when 2 fleets engage in a minefield it could get out of hand fast
+Cha0zz:   hmm
maybe a quality slider :P
+Cornflakes:   maybe
it would albeit be a quite hard border performance wise between "always particle" and "sometimes object"
maybe just objectify in the range of the player?
and the rest statistics based?
+Cha0zz:   yeah
definitly
+Cornflakes:   i mean ONLY around the players ship
+Cha0zz:   I know
And I approve
+Cornflakes:   that a fleet combat doesnt generate more objects than the players ship alone
ok
+Cha0zz:   this would still allow the player to "dodge" mines
+Cornflakes:   mhm
could be a bit of a problem for active defences
the player has good pd he can avoid all the mines
*if
we'd have to come up with some metric for abstracting active defences
+Cha0zz:   hm
something with accuracy and rate of fire
+Cornflakes:   and other objects in range
which would also require attention of the pd
+Cha0zz:   yeah
and object priority maybe
that could be based on potential damage and distance to the player
+Cornflakes:   hm
maybe we could leave it abstracted all the timeß
"too small to hit on manual fire"
+Cha0zz:   hm
+Cornflakes:   with a billion fists of nuclear doom around you it doesnt really have an effect if you shoot a few down
even by chance
+Cha0zz:   true
+Cornflakes:   and that definitely sounds metal
+Cornflakes:   "fists of nuclear doom"
+Cha0zz:   although maybe the pd could make a difference in less dense fields
+Cornflakes:   i ment on manual shooting
+Cha0zz:   ah
+Cornflakes:   combined with "too small to hit manually"
+Cha0zz:   yeah in that case I agree
+Cornflakes:   we could abstract it always to particle effects
or maybe just flat out postulate that normal weaponry is to imprecise to hit mines?
and delegate mine defence to specialised pd turrets?
+Cha0zz:   nah, that would seem unlikely
+Cornflakes:   mhm
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby Flatfingers » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:41 am

The zone idea is a good one.

Basically, if there's anything you can describe as being a "field" of something, it seems reasonable to think it could be implemented as a type of zone with defined effects.

The notion of density is a funny one -- for that, you'd need some kind of mathematics, and that could get complicated pretty quickly beyond one equation for fall-off from a central point.

A zone of randomly-varied density seems like a nice idea, but if you can't define it with a simple equation, you're left with specifying it as an actual array of density values at particular 3D point locations and interpolating between them. That might work if you're OK with zones whose densities don't vary much, but for a highly variable field that could be a lot of values to have to store. Multiply that by the number of such zones per star system, times the number of star systems....

That said, I really like the idea of zones having densities! I'm thinking of things like "political power," where control starts to get fuzzy at the edges rather than magically changing from "total control" to "zero control" (or vice versa) the instant you cross an invisible line.

I guess we'll just have to see what the LTSL for zones looks like once LT becomes available.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:51 am

Well, if we really want to include minefields even a dotcloud of density values would be cheaper to store and calculate than a cloud of equally acting objects.

its an advancement ^^
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby Gazz » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:08 am

That's how I implemented the "Tracker mine fields" for X3.
They had no visual representation (no way to do that =) and mine objects were only created on demand - when some ship passed the threshold and the singular "mine field brain" decided that a mine was activated.

The mines "were heavily stealthed" so that you saw nothing was normal.

Only way to handle mine fields in 3D, which requires ungodly numbers to fill space with any density.
Also allows mine fields to auto-arrange.
You only dump more mines into the mine field object and the perfect sphere keeps growing. As mines are used up, the mine field sphere shrinks and eventually stops being a serious obstacle.
Auto arranging takes care of variable density, too. =)

Also easier for pathfinding because ships can fly around known mine fields and don't have to path around 1203123 individual mine objects.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:15 am

I think the homogenous sphere works well for small fields, but when we assume similar constructions as freelancers minefields which could span significant portions of systems and take minutes to traverse with cruise drive...

A homogenous sphere might not cut it in terms of believability.

I mean, why should the mine density of an area in 10 minutes distance decrease just because im triggering a few ones over here...

Over longer timespans it could equalize, yes.

But short term?


Maybe mine triggering could create an added "negative density" area in the trigger zone, which slowly fades out while the whole field's density goes down accordingly.

So you can "carve out" a temporary mine free zone (because they get depleted) while you dont have to store ridicolous amounts of density data permanently.
But just as a temporary measure.


Im also not sure if it would be wise to manifest mines as physical objects in any case.

Imagine a 30 ship fleet enters a minefield and every ship "manifests" 3 mines we already have a hundred mine objects active in addition to any other ship that is in the system.

Sounds like system crunch danger... better avoid it completely by not manifesting mine objects.


edit: i also suppose that we wont be limited to spherical arrangements in LT for doing that, as zone tech likely wont be limited to spheres.
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