Not really... Even with long distance weapons this can be useful. The cap ship maneuvres away from the targets while firing on them. Avoiding incoming fire is a lot harder if you need to keep flying in a certain direction to be able to shoot.JabbleWok wrote:True, but that implies that the enemy caps somehow get that close.Katorone wrote:Don't forget that turrets are very useful for engaging multiple targets at once. A cap ship could fly between two others and engage them both using turreted weapons.
i'd love to be able to have fights over long distances... but not too long as to make fighters and bombers useless. Getting fired on from far away without being able to get into a position to retaliate is frustrating.JabbleWok wrote: There's a common idea to equate spaceships with naval vessels, but I don't think that parallel holds because of the different environmental physics. Naval battleships use turrets for main weaponry because their manoeuvre ability is important as range is still short (horizon or closer). Conversely spacecraft could engage at far greater distances, so a massive long-range weapon would be extremely useful. While you could build a single giant ship with many such weapons, it would make a massive target itself and be extremely unmanoeuvrable. If you take the same weapons and turn them into separate ships, then you have the same firepower but forming much smaller targets with far more manoeuvrability. Ideally you don't want your caps to ever be caught up in close-quarters fighting, but you'd use smaller ships to screen them. If you're sensible!
Your thin ship would still make a nice target when flanked. Where a turret would mean this ship could retaliate more easily, fixed weapons would be very hard to bring to bear in this situation.JabbleWok wrote:Not necessarily so. For a start, a long, a thin single-gun ship would have a very small cross section, so would present a small target. 99% of shielding could be at the front. A turreted equivalent would be much easier to hit and harder to shield. If there are powerful transverse engines, a thin ship pointing at the enemy could still dodge enough to avoid incoming fire and make enemy aiming more difficult. For a more massive, turreted ship, the transverse dodging would be much smaller so it would be easier to hit, as well as being a larger target anyway. The one downside would be the inability to simultaneously fire while flying quickly another location, but I suggest that is a much smaller downside than the alternative. It means that cap bombardment ships would use their main engines to get to a fire position, not to fly while firing. In that sense it's far more like artillery than a tank, and with the vast distances of space, having that long-range firepower would be critical long before close-in manoeuvring can take place.Ships without turrets are also more likely to get hit. If you need to point your ship to a target to be able to shoot it, that means you're flying in a predictable way. With turrets you can fly more randomly and let them do the tracking. Even at distances.
I don't think a turret would add a lot of mass to the ships. Suppose a gun weighs a metric ton. You only need a semi-powerful electric engine to be able to rotate this on a rail. Of course, the extra power usage and weight of these engines will account for some loss in efficiency, but not so much that a turreted ship will automatically lose against one with fixed weapons of the same total mass.
Thanks for explaining!JabbleWok wrote:Angular momentum is always conserved. On Earth, if you rotate a turret, you rotate the Earth in the oposite direction. As the Earth is a zillion times more massive than the turet, it only rotates a zillionth as much. In space if you rotate a mass, there has to be an equal and opposite effect to conserve that angular momentum. Gyroscopes could be useful for that, but they would make ship manoeuvring much more difficult and unpredictable as they're not at the ship's centre-of-mass - the bicycle wheel effect. Large counterweights may be better, but they add mass and bulk to your ship, making it a slower and larger target. Hence the smaller the turret, the better. If you have a single gun-ship, then central gyros and a reaction control system would give you full, predictable manoeuvrability. You have more fire-power per mass, which (assuming sensible use of mass) would be the statistical decider in space warfare. Physics-wise I see it as a much better option.I'm not sure why you need counter weights in space. But I'm not very familiar with space physics.
If I remember class correctly: suppose a gun weighs 10 tonnes and you want to move it at 1 meter/second, you need to apply 10.000Nm (10kW) of force.
A simple 3kg electric motor can do this. Suppose the circumference of the turret is 30m, you still need 30 seconds to turn the whole 360°.
I agree that multiple, more agile ships with fixed weapons can probably overpower a single ship with the same combined mass and firepower. However, I do think that bigger guns (should?) have larger range and bigger oomph.
Not only this, but compare 2 capital ships with the same mass. One has turrets the other one fixed weapons. The one with the fixed weapon is obviously more powerful in DPS. But which one of the two would survive longer against 10 fixed weapon or turret weapon smaller ships? My guess is that the turreted weapon survives longer, just because it's able to fire back.
As you say in your edit, this all is very situational. I don't think I would send capital ships out on solo missions anyway. Each ship should have a role. If you can devise a ship layout and tactics with fixed weapons, and someone else does it with turrets... Then I'm thinking Josh has made an awesome game.
For me, a capital ship would primarily be a command & control and reload centre. It would be the BSG positioning itself between attackers and soft targets as a last line of defence. In front of it would be some cruisers and a lot of fighters. As such I'd load the ship with a few medium range weapons to take out ships breaking through the line. And probably a whole lot of missiles.