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Re: Fixed weapons

#16
JabbleWok wrote:
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.
True, but that implies that the enemy caps somehow get that close.
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: 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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.

JabbleWok wrote:
I'm not sure why you need counter weights in space. But I'm not very familiar with space physics.
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.
Thanks for explaining!
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. :D
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Post

Re: Fixed weapons

#17
JabbleWok wrote: A cap could be built around a massive gun; putting the same gun into a turret would significantly increase the mass of the ship.

I cannot think of a useful scenario for turrets other than for smaller weapons at close range, where high transverse velocity is an issue. You don't use artillery to shoot down a jet.
A Capital ship with a single massive gun is not a capital ship, it's a movable siege platform or it's called a turret with auxiliary engines :)

With a single gun the entire ship becomes a turret, trying to put a turret on a turret doesn't make any sense.

There are plenty of very useful scenarios for bigger weapons in turrets. If your massive capital ships is ambushed by a single cruisers 10 times smaller that can circle faster then your capital ship can turn it doesn't matter how big your guns are if they are fixed they are 100% useless.

If the turret can turn 10 times faster then your ship can you can engage enemy ships 10 times closer without having to worry, the AI is already programmed to use maximum angular velocity to avoid getting hit if I understand Josh right...

Since the game will have drag you also have the problem of direction of movement. What if you want to increase distance to target while still firing?
That is impossible to do with fixed weapons, fixed weapons can only be used when moving dead ahead towards your target. Want to go 10 degree offset to race to that jumppoint/planet/miningcolony under attack? Sorry not while firing!

To be able to using superior range to kite targets you must have turrets.

IMHO a capital ship without turrets would be extremely situation and inflexible.
Last edited by Ixos on Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post

Re: Fixed weapons

#18
Ixos wrote:A Capital ship with a single massive gun is not a capital ship, it's a movable siege platform or it's called a turret with auxiliary engines :)
Aha! There's the nub! We're arguing about definitions. I'm going to disagree with you on that point.

Just what is meant by "cap"? To me it's a large, slow, unmanoeuvrable, high-value military asset that carries out some important role, and that you want to protect as much as possible. This contrasts with lower value assets which you'd regard as more expendable. I envisage a cap as a ship that you'll try to keep out of direct (short range) combat, but gives major support to the ships you do choose to put in harm's way.

Because of its high value, you'd normally screen it with smaller ships - cruisers, fire-support gunboats, and swarms of fighters. You'd try to keep such a screen between your cap and the enemy. In the worst case where the screen gets destroyed or badly breached, a sensible commander would withdraw his caps rather than risk losing them. However, they'd still need to defend themselves while withdrawing, and that means sufficient short-range weapons to kill anything that gets close. Point defence. Bristling turrets with short-range weaons.

Now, what roles would caps fulfil? An obvious answer is a carrier - something that supports a swarm of fighters or small craft. These small craft have limited armaments and systems so need replenished after use as well as repaired, probably have no jump drive, so need a carrier to transport and support them. An EW cap may have large extensive antennae for jamming enemy comms and sensors, and would make a good command ship because of its own comms abilities. A replenishment cap would act as a stockpile for the fleet. Doubtless quite a few other uses we could think up.

But what about taking the fight to the enemy? What about long-range combat? Wouldn't that be one of the roles of a cap?

I'll put it a different way - in space, you could usefully field a gun so large that it's bigger than most ships. Imagine a 2km-long rail gun, or some more esoteric technology. How would you most usefully field such a gun? The straight-forward answer is to build a ship around it. Engine, power, fuel, habs, systems, etc. You also need to protect it from anything that gets close - that means having turretted weapons (& missiles, etc), for defence purposes. Hence the turrets would be for smaller weapons, not for the main weapon itself.

I have no doubt such a ship should be classified as a "cap". Similarly for a giant "Katyusha", or bombardment missile platform.

How would you use it? Well, you'd get it close enough to the enemy to kill their installations and stations, plus any enemy ships you can usefully hit. That's still a much longer range than smaller weapons are capable of. However, as the gun would likely have a slow rate of fire, and maybe time-to-target is non-trivial, it would only be useful against large slow-moving or stationary targets. But against those targets it would likely be the most devastating weapon in the game. If you own a system with lots of stations and installations, and such an enemy railgun appears, be very afraid! :o

OK, how would you defend against such a cap? The obvious answer is to have one yourself, and fire back. If the enemy has several, have more. Railgun duels! Apart from that, you'd have to send your smaller ships in to kill it at closer range. That means a railgun cap owner will try to prevent that by having their own screen of smaller ships. That would likely result in extensive small ship actions, while the railguns stay well out of that and continue to bombard the installations and each other.
There are plenty of very useful scenarios for bigger weapons in turrets. If your massive capital ships is ambushed by a single cruisers 10 times smaller that can circle faster then your capital ship can turn it doesn't matter how big your guns are if they are fixed they are 100% useless.
OK, what sort of turret would you need for a 2km long gun? What sort of ship would mount it? You're talking about a giant super-cap. A Death Star! However unmanoeuvrable a single railgun cap would be, this would be far worse. It would also present a much larger cross section to enemy railguns. Plus, you have the problems of turret rotation and conservation of angular momentum as mentioned above, requiring huge counterwieghts or else sacrificing the ability to aim and steer reliably. You still wouldn't be able to use it to kill fast ships that ambush you. It would be a mess! For the same money and engineering effort, you'd be much better off with several single-railgun caps and some escorts.

In any case, you should field your caps in a way where they don't get ambushed, and where your smaller ships screen them. If the enemy gets close, then things have already gone badly wrong and you're in trouble. I would argue that game balance should mean caps are vulnerable to close-in enemies, not just the because of the demands of realism.

Now you could build a cap with lots of smaller turreted weapons, designed for close quarters combat. Effectively a large gunboat. Would this be valuable? Maybe. However, as it's a cap, it's not particularly manoeuvrable and presents a large target. Wouldn't the same firepower be better used if distributed amongst several smaller gunboats which can monoeuvre more effectively? For that argument I'd argue that cap gunboats are not a good idea compared to the alternatives. The size of caps should be a benefit, allowing some function that couldn't be done with a smaller ship; in the case of a gunboat, size would not be beneficial.
If the turret can turn 10 times faster then your ship can you can engage enemy ships 10 times closer without having to worry, the AI is already programmed to use maximum angular velocity to avoid getting hit if I understand Josh right...
Almost certainly a single-railgun cap could rotate more rapidly than the same railgun in a turret, assuming it's designed properly. Because you don't have to worry about the bicycle wheel effect, you could use powerful central gyros to assist rotation. You just can't do that with turrets without badly affecting the ship's manoeuvrability and hence use of other turrets.
Since the game will have drag you also have the problem of direction of movement. What if you want to increase distance to target while still firing?
That is impossible to do with fixed weapons, fixed weapons can only be used when moving dead ahead towards your target. Want to go 10 degree offset to race to that jumppoint/planet/miningcolony under attack? Sorry not while firing!
You're correct - that's not an option. The point about a bombardment cap is to take up a position at long range, and fire. If you have to move, you can't fire until you reach your next position. That's where the parallel of artillery applies, and that's just the down side oif having such a large piece of ordnance. Don't forget, a cap is not just something you park and expect to fight, it's something that has to be used effectively. Tactics matter. If you have a team of, say, 6 railgun caps, you could be moving 3 while the other 3 are firing. When the moved 3 get to position they start firing, and the others then move. Move and cover. Useful for assaults or withdrawals.
To be able to using superior range to kite targets you must have turrets.
Why? You lure the enemy closer, firing at them while you have the range advantage, and when they get too close you withdraw. Perfect for teamwork move and cover.
IMHO a capital ship without turrets would be extremely situation and inflexible.
? ;)

It seems to me you're arguing that a cap must do it all, i.e. be effective at both long-range bombardment and short-range combat, and I'm disagreeing. I see those as two separate specialisations, and no one ship should specialise on everything.
Post

Re: Fixed weapons

#19
(I replied to this separately as the posts are getting big! :D )
Katorone wrote: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.
If you use a single cap to do everything, it won't be as effective as part of a move-and-cover team. With such a team, ships can alternate firing and moving. Tactics!
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.
Such long-range weapons will not be useful against fast-moving targets, and will likely have a low rate of fire. Or limited ammo for a single mass barrage.
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.
Larger ships are more likely to be hit, and if having turrets doubles (or more) your size, then that's not good. Without turrets, while you fire you're mostly stationary (though could still have engines for transverse dodging), so you're easier to hit in that sense. However, as such caps would be kept far from the enemy, the main danger is from their enemy counterparts. Railgun duels. Turrets are of no advantage there, and just make you a bigger target that is harder to manoeuvre when you do have to move. n x 1-railgun caps > 1 x n-railgun cap.

Actually, you could build the cap so that the engines are mounted amidships on swivels (assuming a long, thin layout). That way they could travel 'sideways' (or any other orientation) just as quickly as 'forwards'. However, depending on how the Newtonian/inertia/friction physics pans out, forwards may be the most manoeuvrable. This is where the physics will determine the optimal layout, and that's still not entirely known. Well, maybe to Josh! :) Also, side-mounted engines increases the cross-section and makes shielding harder. Plus, the engines would be more likely to be damaged by frontal fire.
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.
Yes, moreso than frontal. So your tactics should prevent that from happening. In any case, a thin pencil sideways on is still harder to hit than a large, say, spherical target or ony thicker shape. However, if you're referring to short-range ships, then you're already in deep trouble if you've let them get that close. That's where your smaller short-range weapons in turrets (!) come in useful for protection while you withdraw. I'm not proposing a cap without turrets, only a cap where the capital weapon is not turreted.
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.
OK, I think we're talking about different things. You could mount a 1-ton weapon in a turret in a gunboat, or as a fixed weapon in a smaller craft. I'm talking about 2km-long railguns and the like. Capital weapons. Above I've argued that gunboat roles are better fulfilled with smaller manoeuvrable craft than large unmanoeuvrable ones, but capital weapons would be limited to capital ships.
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.
Well, a cap specialising in close combat will survive better than a cap specialising in bombardment. However, a cap designed for close combat will die if confronted with several smaller, manoeuvrable craft with the same total firepower. The cap will miss more often. Close combat favours smaller craft (assuming same total mass & firepower). Bombardment requires larger craft. You use size only when you have to, and a giant gun requires a sizeable craft. Being small is not an option there! :D
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. :D
Yep, teamwork and tactics. Caps would fulfill various roles, all of them requiring size, command ship and replenishment very much included. I would say, though, that caps would generally be the soft ships, as their role means they're large and hence harder to shield. However, a large heavily-shielded "turtle" ship might be an interesting option, used as part of a screen to draw fire.

There's a reason we don't use B-52 sized aircraft for aerial combat; if you don't have to be large and slow for your role, don't be. If you are, stay away from anything that can kill you.
Post

Re: Fixed weapons

#20
JabbleWok wrote:Aha! There's the nub! We're arguing about definitions. I'm going to disagree with you on that point.

Just what is meant by "cap"? To me it's a large, slow, unmanoeuvrable, high-value military asset that carries out some important role,
My definition of what a big gun Capital Ship is derives from the last 100 years of Naval combat development, that's also what I think most players will expect.

In accordance with this a capital ship is something that while is massive and a high value target can still move fairly quickly (33knot for Iowa) and does use the advantage by opening fire from longer range, but still is expected and armored to be able to survive closer range engagements and use it's mainguns to effect in these. They are also expected to move in a line parallel or away from the enemy while firing to maintain the range advantage for as long as possible.

My battleships will want a turret for the same reason the real battleships had them.

* It gives them the flexibility to travel in pretty much any direction while still firing at the enemy.
* It gives them the flexibility to fire at multiple different targets at once.
* It gives them the ability to switch to a new target significantly faster.
JabbleWok wrote:I'll put it a different way - in space, you could usefully field a gun so large that it's bigger than most ships. Imagine a 2km-long rail gun, or some more esoteric technology.
Why are we debating about 2km long guns? I really really doubt anything like that will be present in LT, as far as I can see it's not consistent with Josh's vision of a Freelancer inspired action space game where you can also build and own larger fleets or empires. It's not consistent with a game universe where there is drag to slow ships and projectiles down and where you have standardazied "slots" to mount your weaponry on.



The reasons why a single big capital ships with turreted guns is often preferable compared to many smaller ones are many.
JabbleWok wrote:I would say, though, that caps would generally be the soft ships, as their role means they're large and hence harder to shield.
That's where your wrong, one advantage of capital ships is that they are easier to shield and armor thanks to Area versus Volume scale.
A ship twice as long (in all directions) will provide 4 times as big hit area and experience 4 times as much drag.
But it will also be able to carry 8 times as much tonnage/payload/space ( so twice as much armor, shields and weapons per area to defend compared to the half as long ships).

If I win a close battle with a single big ship I only have to repair my crippled ship, If you win a close battle fielding 8 smaller ships you probably lost half of them...

A big capital ship into close combat together with the supporting fleet can also fulfill the role of a tank, soaking enemy fire that would tear smaller ships, fighters/destroyers/cruisers appart. Tactics matter ;)

In the real world bigger engines/powerplants are also more efficient then smaller ones, if that is the case in LT aswell remains to be seen however.
Post

Re: Fixed weapons

#21
Ixos wrote:My definition of what a big gun Capital Ship is derives from the last 100 years of Naval combat development, that's also what I think most players will expect.
OK, as this is a space game, I'd prefer if they were based on what (hypothetical) spaceships are capable of, rather than limited to the physics of the ocean. Hence my suggestions are based on that. Maybe some people prefer space-based "galleons" with ocean-like physics, but I'm here too and so argue for space-like physics and vessels that make best use of it. If I want to play a naval game, then I'll buy one of those, not a space one. Mind you, we could do with a new naval game too! :D
Why are we debating about 2km long guns? I really really doubt anything like that will be present in LT, as far as I can see it's not consistent with Josh's vision of a Freelancer inspired action space game where you can also build and own larger fleets or empires. It's not consistent with a game universe where there is drag to slow ships and projectiles down and where you have standardazied "slots" to mount your weaponry on.
If we're going to have large ships then such weapons will have an effective role, out-competing alternatives. I'll turn that around on you: if you could have them, why wouldnt you? I'd like to think that Josh will look at good ideas and consider them, rather than slavishly copy any earlier game, including its failings. Take the good ideas of the past and combine them with the good ideas of now. A big gun in a draggy universe will still out-shoot a smaller one, just like artillery will out-shoot a tank gun. A tank is more useful at close range, while artillery would have to withdraw. Plus, what about other esoteric technologies, such as linear accelerators and the like? If you're trying to project some effect, the dimensions of the projector will likely be significant. We are allowed such ideas - this is sci-fi, after all ;)
JabbleWok wrote:I would say, though, that caps would generally be the soft ships, as their role means they're large and hence harder to shield.
That's where your wrong, one advantage of capital ships is that they are easier to shield and armor thanks to Area versus Volume scale.
A ship twice as long (in all directions) will provide 4 times as big hit area and experience 4 times as much drag.
But it will also be able to carry 8 times as much tonnage/payload/space ( so twice as much armor, shields and weapons per area to defend compared to the half as long ships).
Ah, but the more shield generators you have, the less other stuff you can have. The point about a cap is that it has to be large for some reason, such as containing fighters, bombardment weapons or some major asset, so it won't have any more shields than a minimum. Hence it's a good design to minimise and shield one cross section, such as a frontal shield of a linear ship. You could also arrange your carriers, replenishers and other caps to be linear. The one exception would have to be EW, as antenna arrays may be large, but you're still going to want to keep those well out of harm's way so the shape is pretty irrelevant. With close combat ships, that's just not an option. I agree that drag introduces a factor that's very different from space, but AFAIK it will be low and configurable, no blade element physics is used, and so 'space physics' will still be the major factor for any design. At least I'm advocating such space-based design ideas for a space game.
If I win a close battle with a single big ship I only have to repair my crippled ship, If you win a close battle fielding 8 smaller ships you probably lost half of them...
True, if I lose. If I win, you lose 100% of your ships. However, for the same firepower, I have more manoeuvrability and smaller cross section so will have a higher hit ratio. I can surround you (or at least partially flank you), so you have no cross-section advantage unlike me. I can use teamwork to fire and cover. The statistics are in my favour.
A big capital ship into close combat together with the supporting fleet can also fulfill the role of a tank, soaking enemy fire that would tear smaller ships, fighters/destroyers/cruisers appart. Tactics matter ;)
True, if it's a "turtle" cap. That's maybe a valid use too. However, if I realise what it is, I just ignore it and shoot at everything else. Finish it off afterwards. If we have the same firepower but mine's more distributed into smaller, manoeuvrable ships, I still have the statisitical advantage. A gun-bristling B-52 would still lose to the same firepower split amongst fighters.
In the real world bigger engines/powerplants are also more efficient then smaller ones, if that is the case in LT aswell remains to be seen however.
True, and I'd advocate that they are, especially for jumps.
Post

Re: Fixed weapons

#22
JabbleWok wrote:I'd prefer if they were based on what (hypothetical) spaceships are capable of, rather than limited to the physics of the ocean.
What you need to understand is the following:

This game IS NOT going to be based on space physics, Josh has made that very clear.

It's going to be based on physics much more similar to the ocean with drag slowing your ship down if engines are turned off and ship speeds (in combat) more similar to ocean ships or airplanes.
If you don't like it there are other games out there for you.
Last edited by Ixos on Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
Post

Re: Fixed weapons

#23
Ixos wrote:
What you need to understand is the following:

This game IS NOT going to be based on space physics, Josh has made that very clear.

It's going to be based on physics much more similar to the ocean with drag slowing your ship down if engines are turned off and ship speeds/size more similar to ocean ships.
If you don't like it there are other games out there for you.
Ah, perhaps you are right.

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