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Topic Summary

Posted by: Aaron
« on: January 24, 2014, 03:47:32 pm »

How we see Fighters being used, in a nutshell:




- Fighters are essentially 'smart ordinance' that can avoid enemy fire better than missiles and can be given custom multi-role purposes after being deployed.

- Fighters are meant to be one of the 'special weapons' your ship is deploying.  The space required to house and support the fighters in a hangar bay could be used for other purposes, so it's a tradeoff of "Fighters as a special weapon vs. More Shields / More Cargo / More Laser Energy".

- A single fighter will not be intended to be able to take on a competent freighter on its own.

- Heat mechanics are intended to be a key role for fighters.  Radiators make Star Fox "shoot the blinky spots" make total sense and give targets of opportunity for the fighters without them having to dismantle the entire freighter to "win".


Quote
I'm using simulations from Space Engineers as "guessing" as to what the game mechanics of BR may be like - until we get updated to the newer version and try stuff out.

Trying out other voxel games' combat systems is a good idea.  Entirely destructible vehicles is a brand new frontier that needs many many experiments to get right.
Posted by: Me2005
« on: January 24, 2014, 02:08:29 pm »

*Snip*

Mostly only applicable IF heat mechanics are added. More heat still means you're capable of doing/absorbing more damage, but yes, it's a good trade off for large vs. small. For my above shield setup, generators might create loads of heat (easily dissipated by small ships) while capacitors generate almost none. Thus large ships wouldn't want many generators, but have the massive capacity to absorb anything a single fighter can hope to throw at them (and the generative capacity to simply brute-outpower the fighter's weapons anyway).
Posted by: Strait Raider
« on: January 24, 2014, 01:46:58 pm »

Don't forget either that the square-cube law cuts both ways.

The larger a ship gets, the lower the amount of surface area it has proportional to its volume. This means that the larger a vessel gets the more difficult it is going to be to manage the heat that is generated.

On a small fighter or bomber the huge surface area relative to volume means that it will probably be able to cool itself in combat through ambient radiation off the armor. (as a sidenote, this is good for newbie players as they aren't overwhelmed with mechanics on their first ships)

Larger ships would have to dedicate hull space to radiator systems (and internal space to heat pumps and coolant, and power for the pumps) which means that in addition to losing some efficiency (to the cost, space, mass, and power needed to manage heat) they also gain more weakpoints in the form of the fragile external radiators, without which the ship may be reduced to a fraction of its maximum power output to avoid cooking itself.

Still larger ships would reach the point where even covering their entire surface area in radiators would not be sufficient to get rid of the massive amount of heat generated by its systems. At this point the ship would have to rely at least partially on thermal energy storage systems, which would accumulate excess heat until the ship reduces heat output to below the level that the radiators can handle. Effectively, larger ships would have a natural endurance limit on how long they can operate at high output. (in addition to devoting still more internal space to thermal energy storage)



As a sidenote, this would have some other interesting effects on large-ship design as well.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this is that it encourages more aesthetically interesting ship design. Typically a spherical or near-cubical ship is the most efficient ship in terms of armor coverage, target profile size, and maneuverability. (thanks to the square-cube law) However, since heat efficiency decreases with the square-cube law, the most efficient of these ship designs are the least heat-efficient ship designs. This should encourage more interesting designs rather than everyone just building Borg Cubes.

A large ship would be something of a balancing act in terms of power output. Since operating at 100% power all the time might rapidly fill the thermal stores, a ship might try to run regularly at 60 or 70% power. In combat this may mean powering the shields and the weapons at max but having the engine shut off. Meanwhile a fighter or very small ship could run max weapons, shields, and engines at the same time.

Likewise, larger ships might prefer to carry more armor than shields. The extra mass of armor wouldn't be as big an issue for a ship that wouldn't generally be doing acrobatic maneuvers, but the ability to turn off the shields to let the heat system clear itself without getting instagibbed could be invaluable.
Posted by: Me2005
« on: January 24, 2014, 01:11:09 pm »

As of right now, it's difficult to predict the game mechanics of Blockade Runner, so all we can do is guess on what future updates will bring with them.

We've got some dev input to go off of, but at this point where there aren't any mechanics, it's easy to try to steer development toward adding some that might help balance different ships against each other out. I wouldn't want a fighter/bomber to be able to single-handedly rip up a sufficiently-advanced cap ship, but I'd also prefer that the fighter can survive an initial encounter against such a ship; and that fighters are a worthwhile endeavor against something (be it caps, enemy bombers which are useful against caps, support ships, or something else). I think we can figure out the mechanics that would approach that goal.

Quote
I'm using simulations from Space Engineers as "guessing" as to what the game mechanics of BR may be like - until we get updated to the newer version and try stuff out.
 BTW - I dislike the simplified game mechanics of StarMade .

And I don't know much about the mechanics of Space Engineers. I think I remember that the game has different sized blocks for different sized ships? If so, that could be a problem with your simulation, especially if the blocks have non-linearly scaled health.



Another thought about shields: In Escape Velocity (Classic), smaller ships's shields typically regenerated quickly while larger ones more slowly. Granted, there was a "sheild regen" number for each ship. Perhaps setting it up so a larger ship has a hard time mounting more shield generators but not capacitors would help with balance? For an example from EV: Most fighters were one-two shotted by large, expensive, weapons (missiles, torpedoes, rockets), but regenerated almost instantly from minor damage (blasters, some of which cost & massed as much as a single shot from a large expensive weapon but they got infinite rounds). The cap ships could take boatloads of damage (20+ of the large weapons before the shields drop), but their shields regenerated very slowly - never in a normal engagement without landing somewhere to repair. I think we could emulate this by making shield generators energy hogs (and have use scale exponentially) while shield capacitors just store the generated shield, and do it much more efficiently (i.e.: Generator makes 10 shield/sec for while capacitor stores 100). Then provide capital class weapons that can one-hit fighters but aren't great at doing so and regular weapons that don't one-shot anybody. Anyway, it's a thought.
Posted by: RLS0812
« on: January 24, 2014, 12:15:21 pm »

As of right now, it's difficult to predict the game mechanics of Blockade Runner, so all we can do is guess on what future updates will bring with them.
 I'm using simulations from Space Engineers as "guessing" as to what the game mechanics of BR may be like - until we get updated to the newer version and try stuff out.
 BTW - I dislike the simplified game mechanics of StarMade .
Posted by: Me2005
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:57:23 am »

Last round we tried in the other sim, we pitted a 650 block long destroyer with 5 crew manning the turrets, and 1 driver against 1 fighter that was 8 blocks long and 5 blocks wide.
 Take a wild guess which ship was disabled at the end of the fight ?
 ( The large ship was slow to maneuver, and required large amounts of energy  to function )

I'd guess the larger ship. Because it requires more energy to function, it should be able to do and absorb more damage; unless the energy per-player is artificially capped (which I've suggested should be done in the past, FYI).

If this mystery sim only had forward-facing weapons and large ships are automatically slower to turn (Starmade), then yes, a fighter with high maneuverability would eat that thing up. Once it got past the larger ship's gunports, the fight would be over, the larger ship would not get another chance to fire. But I'm pretty sure that's not the case in Starmade, since shields get stronger and stronger as they get larger (last I played, anyway); and you can certainly build turrets (each easily as large as and more heavily armed/armored than the fighter; since they don't need engines draining their power. If that's what you were doing, you may have done something wrong manning them, the AI is pretty competent IIRC).

I know that in Starmade they also have stealth that works only for smaller ships; equipping your fighter with that would make it more capable; but it should still be vulnerable to fire here and there; a single hit could take it out if you're using missiles.

I remember being in a medium ship in an early version of Pytheas and having trouble against fighters, but they were about the same mass as I was and there weren't really any damage mechanics in place (weapons just removed blocks).

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No one has been able to design a good practical combat vessel that is large in size.

In another game-engine. It's important to know which because then we can know whether or not it's a valid comparison. We have many examples of real-life situations where large ships dominate, especially in situations where there are no insta-kill weapons (a situation the dev's have repeatedly stated an interest in).

As another point of interest, what was your engagement range? We don't know much about how that will shake out in BR, but much of this discussion has revolved around ranges heading toward 'realistic-to-long'. Start with both ships well out of range of each other (Like 5-10x, if you didn't already) and see how that goes.
Posted by: RLS0812
« on: January 23, 2014, 07:35:16 pm »

  As of right now, folks have been having space "fights" in another simulator, and have found that small space ships can easily wreck havoc with slower moving large ships, even when the larger ship has a good sized crew.

 I predict in the future that large ships will mostly be support ships, while small ships do all the fighting and raiding missions.
Interested to know which other sim. In a block-based world, unless there are inverse-scales applied, bigger ships = more power. At the very least, the big ship should be able to launch fighters at the incoming fighters to fend them off.
Last round we tried in the other sim, we pitted a 650 block long destroyer with 5 crew manning the turrets, and 1 driver against 1 fighter that was 8 blocks long and 5 blocks wide.
 Take a wild guess which ship was disabled at the end of the fight ?
 ( The large ship was slow to maneuver, and required large amounts of energy  to function )

 Even when BR gets updated with all it's new features, I still do not see large ships being used for much more than simple support ships. No one has been able to design a good practical combat vessel that is large in size.
Posted by: Me2005
« on: January 22, 2014, 12:19:44 pm »

  As of right now, folks have been having space "fights" in another simulator, and have found that small space ships can easily wreck havoc with slower moving large ships, even when the larger ship has a good sized crew.

 I predict in the future that large ships will mostly be support ships, while small ships do all the fighting and raiding missions.

Interested to know which other sim. In a block-based world, unless there are inverse-scales applied, bigger ships = more power. At the very least, the big ship should be able to launch fighters at the incoming fighters to fend them off.

If you had some weapon that caused a ship to leak hyperspace stuff into its interior and that like... eroded everything?  Maybe then?

Sounds like a reactor or warp core leak.  I have trouble imagining fighter-scale weaponry that could do that.  Unless we're lobbing unstable warp cores at each other?

Or maybe torpedoes would carry nanites/a weaponized alien virus that feeds on metal.  Untreated hits slowly become huge, gaping holes.

I'd think it'd be possible. Make reactor blocks have low health and explode on death, require them to be exposed to vacuum in one way or another. Might be cool to require exposure to vacuum, but you could bury that exposure; ala the Death Star or the capitol ships in Firefox - that way fighters can try to fly down the ventilation shaft and blow the cap up. Of course, that might make them OP; it'd depend on how easy it is to KO them before they got to doing that.


Quote
...without any other interfering factors (Game mechanics to increase their effectiveness)...

Funny, I thought game mechanics were defining factors.  As in, we will design our ships to work with the mechanics.  Not the other way around.

Granted, I hope the devs don't do something silly like making weapons do less damage to small ships.

Game mechanics will define what types of ships are viable for sure. A limit to the number of blocks you could use could stop super-caps; a minimum number of blocks required for a ship to function (engine, reactor, cabin, weapon and you've got 4 blocks min.) could stomp out drones/tiny fighters. Weapons having different levels of accuracy; ammunition being a thing or not, heat dissipation, engagement ranges, block behavior when destroyed, terrain, physics setup; even preformance capabilities would all define what is useful or not. I'd like to see a setup where diverse strategies are possible, but that might require some wonky mechanics and good planning to make happen.
Posted by: Kane Loki
« on: January 21, 2014, 07:14:57 pm »

If you had some weapon that caused a ship to leak hyperspace stuff into its interior and that like... eroded everything?  Maybe then?

Sounds like a reactor or warp core leak.  I have trouble imagining fighter-scale weaponry that could do that.  Unless we're lobbing unstable warp cores at each other?

Or maybe torpedoes would carry nanites/a weaponized alien virus that feeds on metal.  Untreated hits slowly become huge, gaping holes.


I think you'll find we're not concerned with other space games in this discussion. Basically, this is your problem.

Whoa, dude.  Watch the teeth.
I, for one, find the way other games do things to be quite relevant.

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Fighter gets into range, does two damage using two guns. Frigate is in range, does ten damage with ten guns. Frigate is using capital scale armour, and as such, is barely scratched. Fighter has taken the equilent hits from five craft of it's own size, and is likely destroyed, if not completely crippled.

Are you expecting a 100% hit rate versus the lone, suicidal fighter?

A small group of fighters would have a much easier time of hitting you than you would them.  And if they had any brains at all, they wouldn't be trying to burrow through your armor.  They'd take out your weapons.

Quote
And at the point of buying fifty fighters, you would be better off just buying a goddamn frigate and saving yourself the trouble.

Fighters would be much faster to build, though.  That, coupled with the necessary size of their construction facilities, makes them easier to replace.

Quote
...without any other interfering factors (Game mechanics to increase their effectiveness)...

Funny, I thought game mechanics were defining factors.  As in, we will design our ships to work with the mechanics.  Not the other way around.

Granted, I hope the devs don't do something silly like making weapons do less damage to small ships.


What about using fighters to deliver bomb squads to diffuse invisible space minefields that are targeted to explode when a ship of sufficient gravitational presence is detected?

Those wouldn't be fighters, though.  They'd be minelayers.  Or utility craft.  Also probably pretty boring to fly.
Posted by: Hyperion
« on: January 21, 2014, 04:45:49 pm »

What about using fighters to deliver bomb squads to diffuse invisible space minefields that are targeted to explode when a ship of sufficient gravitational presence is detected?
Posted by: SnowDragon
« on: January 21, 2014, 03:07:31 pm »

I think you'll find we're not concerned with other space games in this discussion. Basically, this is your problem.

Capital ships carry five times the armament of the fighter/bomber in their CIWS/Secondary arrays. (If not more)
They also carry five times the armour. (If not more)
They are also large, which increases their effective health (Health in this case being how many holes I have to punch in you before I hit something important, like the main reactor)

Small craft (Bombers, fighters, etc) Carry a small load of armaments, mainly PD.
They don't have a lot of armour and primary speed over defences on the alignment graph(effectively, thanks to the requirement of speed/agility)
They're also small, which decreases their effective health.

A frigate (Such as the Arachnid shown before in the picture) in any one angle of attack, carries at least five times the armament, (more if the the fighter approaches from the exact lines of axis (Top, bottom, left right)) of the fighter, using the fighter's own primary armament. For the fighter to engage the frigate, it has to get into the frigate's CIWS range, at which point the massive difference in firepower becomes clear. Numbers used for effect. Fighter gets into range, does two damage using two guns. Frigate is in range, does ten damage with ten guns. Frigate is using capital scale armour, and as such, is barely scratched. Fighter has taken the equilent hits from five craft of it's own size, and is likely destroyed, if not completely crippled.

Now, yes, you could use fifty fighters to make the damage to craft ratio even in the fighter's favour but it doesn't fix the main problem, Capitals are too large, and too heavily armoured to give a damn. And at the point of buying fifty fighters, you would be better off just buying a goddamn frigate and saving yourself the trouble. A fighter's role, without any other interfering factors (Game mechanics to increase their effectiveness) will be limited to intercepting ordnance and destroying enemy fighters so the capital firepower doesn't get intercepted. Mine's a mechanics issue, because a larger ship will always win a certain engagement.
Posted by: RLS0812
« on: January 21, 2014, 02:50:38 pm »

  As of right now, folks have been having space "fights" in another simulator, and have found that small space ships can easily wreck havoc with slower moving large ships, even when the larger ship has a good sized crew.

 I predict in the future that large ships will mostly be support ships, while small ships do all the fighting and raiding missions.
Posted by: Me2005
« on: January 20, 2014, 11:08:21 am »

Dumbfire torpedoes with little or no acceleration coupled with fighter-permeable bubble shields.  Anti-capital fighters would be dive bombers relying on their own inertia and proximity to deliver payloads on target.  Pilots might need a little skill to do this reliably, but I don't see an issue with that.

To clarify:  The primary purpose of bombers would be shield penetration, followed by taking out a capital's surface mounts.  NOT "sinking" the capital.  Mission-killing it by removing its ability to fight or flee, sure.  But not outright destroying it.

As for survivability - I don't like the idea of flat out gimping small turrets, so something on the fighter's end of things.  A stealth system, maybe - think Babylon 5 Earthforce vs Minbari.  Or active ECM on the part of the fighter's base, or a Battlestar Galactica Raptor-equivalent.

Probably the best setup yet. Might need to be dumbfire rockets, but I'd take that. One risk though; Starmade does stealth this way and it still gets complaints (It doesn't do 'fighters armed with torpedoes penetrate shields' though, so maybe it'd work). The stealth might need to slowly fade in and out so that shots are harder to take, but it doesn't make the ship so equipped immune to fire or impossible to target.

(Not saying it's entirely pointless. I imagine a big ass rack of these would be great as a massive burst of doom weapon that if it hits is fantastic. Just not as a main weapon.)

It might be a glass cannon or support thing, but it could be possible. Fighters mounting such a weapon would need to be more effective at delivering it than a cap ship is mostly the point, otherwise a giant rack is going to be the favored use.

Actually, now that I recall, there was a thread on /tg/ last week or so about naval/space combat, the Anons got to discussing IIRC a team of Italians running PT boats that effectively sunk many times their number in large vessels.  However, this is also noting that torpedoes are effective in naval concerns only because watercraft sink when large flaming holes are punched in their hulls just below the waterline.

If you had some weapon that caused a ship to leak hyperspace stuff into its interior and that like... eroded everything?  Maybe then?

My issue with this isn't just that ships can sink (which could be replicated by having reactor/fuel/FTL/weapons explode spectacularly), but that you need to get those little ships close to the big ones to do damage, and that's easier to do in the cover of coastlines and islands than in the open ocean of space.

I think the main advantage of bomberbased weaponry is the fact that any potential for it to be shot down by PDS is minimal. If I fired 10 torps from my BC at your BC from 3km away, you'd have about 5-15 seconds (Depending on projectile velocity) to have your PDS shoot it down, rendering it useless. If I can get a fighter/bomber within 250m from your hull, it'd take maybe .5-1.5 seconds to have it reach your hull. That is an advantage enough imo.

But you need to get your fighter/bomber within 250m, so I've still got the 15+ seconds to fire on it. Small ships using stealth would be one way to deal with the issue.
Posted by: Czorio
« on: January 20, 2014, 09:23:44 am »

I think the main advantage of bomberbased weaponry is the fact that any potential for it to be shot down by PDS is minimal. If I fired 10 torps from my BC at your BC from 3km away, you'd have about 5-15 seconds (Depending on projectile velocity) to have your PDS shoot it down, rendering it useless. If I can get a fighter/bomber within 250m from your hull, it'd take maybe .5-1.5 seconds to have it reach your hull. That is an advantage enough imo.
Posted by: Cy83r
« on: January 19, 2014, 11:34:12 pm »

Actually, now that I recall, there was a thread on /tg/ last week or so about naval/space combat, the Anons got to discussing IIRC a team of Italians running PT boats that effectively sunk many times their number in large vessels.  However, this is also noting that torpedoes are effective in naval concerns only because watercraft sink when large flaming holes are punched in their hulls just below the waterline.

If you had some weapon that caused a ship to leak hyperspace stuff into its interior and that like... eroded everything?  Maybe then?