Author Topic: [Answered] Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)  (Read 13028 times)

Me2005

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2014, 02:55:42 pm »
Large weapons are going to have a lot of mass and coincidentally the amount of power and control to aim them will become much larger.

Unless you're using a light-based weapon, in which case, the entire laser/etc. could be housed deep within the ship, and relatively small mirrors or lenses used to actually do the aiming and firing.

Along these same lines is the idea of follow/fire-and-forget missiles. These missiles will have to be nimble enough to chase down and hit a target that with a high delta-v capability. There is also the question of cost. If a missile with the advanced tracking and engine capabilities costs a large amount for what is a disposable object... who can afford them? Plus they can be jammed, hacked, decoyed, or even stopped with anti-missile chainguns or even just plain old chaf in some cases.

Some settings regard missiles as costing roughly the same as what we would consider a fighter. If your setting is using 'fighters' that are 747 sized, missiles might cost less. Fuel/propellant is the biggest problem - is it worth it to expend vast amounts of it to hit enemy ships? Is the extra mass worth carrying?
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SnowDragon

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2014, 07:12:07 pm »
Thanks to the space setting, a 'missile' might just even be something catapulted with a hydraulic ram into space, with a tiny final stage for last acceleration and steering. And for all my love of chaingun CIWS, the second we start using a laser as a point defence system is the day the fighter leaves business forever. Because the distance, travel time and agility of the craft mean nothing. The turret just rotates and holds the beam until the temperature makes the fighter melt, worse still if multiple positions hold their beams at the same time. Worse, they could be invisible to the human eye so fighter pilots aren't even going to know where they are being hit from or where to dodge or where the danger zones are.

SovietKoshka

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2014, 10:38:39 pm »
I think you guys/ladies/other, are missing a key point. no mater the thrust to mass ratio of a large ship, that ship will still have a great deal of inertia, no matter how much thrust you can produce, if you want that ship to not tokyo drift like crazy, you are gonna put the crew under a lot of stress in order to counter that momentum and inertia.

the smaller craft will be able to change direction more accurately and far quicker than a large ship will. In theory, a small fighter/bomber would be able to fly close enough to a large vessel to avoid AA fire. kind of like the trench run in starwars. If we then add some weapon that can penetrate certain armors/shields we have good roll combat. lets say lasers are blocked by shields, but wreck material armor, but bullets/rail-guns/coil-guns/missiles, pass through shields but are less effective against armor than lasers are. (since I am going to assume that we will be able to see lasers I am refering to star wars lasers, which are actually superheated bolts of ionized gas.

Cy83r

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2014, 07:04:12 am »
While inertia is its own beast, tracking is relative in space; inertia is constant instead of being abraded by local atmosphere, thus, any change in velocity will throw off aiming solutions and human gunners following a very fast moving object.  Tracking requires not only following current momentum of the object but also keeping a wide enough angle on the zoom to account for whatever level of manoeuvrability the target possesses.

If anyone has played the Tribes series, imagine that sort of tracking/targeting environment only in the technicolor third vector of apparent altitude as well as the traditional transverse and distance.
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Me2005

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2014, 11:52:00 am »
I think you guys/ladies/other, are missing a key point. no mater the thrust to mass ratio of a large ship, that ship will still have a great deal of inertia, no matter how much thrust you can produce, if you want that ship to not tokyo drift like crazy, you are gonna put the crew under a lot of stress in order to counter that momentum and inertia.

While this is true, it's irrelevant at ranges plausible in space combat.

the smaller craft will be able to change direction more accurately and far quicker than a large ship will. In theory, a small fighter/bomber would be able to fly close enough to a large vessel to avoid AA fire. ...

Changing direction quickly doesn't mean snot when you're within my 10,000 kilometer range. Or 300,000 Kilometer (1 Light-Second) range. You'd need to apply thousands of G's of thrust to meaningfully change your position on my scope, and my laser will cross that distance in less than 1 second. It'd be like trying to dodge bullets fired by a sniper at range; if he has aimed properly, you can't do it. You might not even know you're in range by the time you're dead, and the bigger problem is that larger weapons usually have the benefit of being longer range - so my destroyer mounts light-second weaponry, while your tiny fighter can only manage shots at a few thousand kilometers.

And since anything you can mount can probably be mounted as secondary or tertiary/PD weapons by my vessel, once you close to that range you'll have many times your own firepower focused on you; not to mention the similar fighters that I am no doubt carrying as mentioned earlier.
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Niwantaw

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2014, 12:31:20 pm »
I'm gonna say it.

"plausable combat ranges of 300000km" are probably going to be given a miss. Maybe 300000cm

Pixel sniping isn't a particularly fun game. (although strait used to love doing it with his AV turret)
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Me2005

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2014, 02:32:23 pm »
"plausable combat ranges of 300000km" are probably going to be given a miss. Maybe 300000cm

Pixel sniping isn't a particularly fun game. (although strait used to love doing it with his AV turret)

Plausible IRL. Probably not possible in-game, but this thread doesn't have much mention of in-game application.

In game though, fighters are likely less useful - they'd be mounting the same stuff as larger ships just in lower quantities. Unless you get super-severe diminishing returns, a ship 7,500x the size of a fighter should be able to one-shot (volley) it without a scratch. Even if it somehow can't, it can easily just mount several (hundred) fighter-sized counter-fighter ships.

One way to force them to be possible would be to try to copy Starmade's approach (at least, its approach when I was playing 5-6 months ago, it may have changed): Give fighters a system (shields, stealth, turning, something else) that gets so costly at larger scales that vessels beyond fighter/corvette sized can't use them. In Starmade, larger ships arbitrarily turn slower (not too big a deal though, you still have turrets and seeking missiles) and stealth systems take more energy per ship mass, up to the point where it's impossible to (perma-)stealth a ship larger than so many hundred blocks (Each reactor you add adds more to the power requirement than it provides power).

(You can use huge battery banks to stealth any sized ship IIRC, but those will run out)
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Holy Thunder

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2014, 03:02:59 pm »
Until/unless turrets are viable, fighters (or at least fighter-like small ships) will need more human pilots to function--that's their only advantage. Two pilots can use fighters to take down a larger ship, for a smaller investment of resources. It feels a bit cheap, but outnumbering the enemy will be the only way they can do it. And when turrets become functional enough to cover a large ship's blind spots, even that won't work so well.

IRL, a 300,000-km instant shot is viable with a laser, but a laser doesn't have the needed explosive properties to make an effective weapon.  If fighters specialize their shields to defeat (scatter) incoming laser-based weaponry, they could force larger ships to wield matter-based weapons that are far easier to dodge--while employing similar weapons that the larger ship simply cannot dodge.

In-game, "pixel sniping" could be avoided with zoom, sensors, etc, but that doesn't really seem to be the "feel" ZanMgt is going for. 
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SnowDragon

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2014, 06:37:17 am »
Assume the game is in a completed state. That means we have rotating turrets that can track and engage targets automatically with whatever armament they have on board. A laser doesn't need an explosion, it works by applying heat directly to the fighter in question. The fighter lacks the ability to vent this extra 3000 degrees of heat and melts/fries the pilot/detonates the fighter/bomber's weapons, shields and reactor. Coupled with a capital's armour designed to resist and absorb fire from a ship of it's own class, there's no way that fighter/bomber is sinking the capital before the capital sinks it. And it's squadron. And probably it's carrier as well.

So, uh, no, in short, the laser will still win. Even if the fighter is shielded, it doesn't have the shielding capacity to neutralize an AA volley from the Capital's hardpoints. It's going to get swatted, no questions asked. And while we're on the subject of numbers, the Arachnid Patrol frigate, one of my ships, was designed to have 80 anti-aircraft emplacements covering all 360 degrees on the vertical and horizontal planes. And that's on a hundred metre frigate. The number increases exponentially as the ship size increases. So, uh, no, my frigate is going to kill your wing/flight/squadron of fighters before they're even able to see the capital (Visually), possibly as soon as they leave the launch bay doors.

Remember guys, Star Wars Episode IV's trench run is not a legitimate argument in this conversation.

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2014, 08:42:58 am »
But then, there will be alot of fighters coming at you, an you cannot destroy 300 fighters at 300,000 km with one laser(and the fighters will probably be shielded against lasers too). When they get closer, you can start shooting at them, but they might be able to dodge the volley. Besides, I think ZanMgt wants ships to be really sturdy so that fights last longer. But What would the fighter/bombers be used for anyways? If they cannot pierce the armour of larger ships, they might as well be useless. Maybe as fast scouts?
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SnowDragon

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2014, 11:03:26 am »
Again Iago, any Capital ship is going to have dozens or more emplacements covering any single approach. You could bring one fighter or an entire flight, they're still all going to get swatted down. They're useful as death fodder, to screen the approach of bombers with heavier payloads, but you might as well just use missiles and cannons, they would be far more effective, not to mention cheaper and damn near impossible to shootdown. I'm a hell of a lot more scared of 50 ASMs than I am about 50 bombers or fifty fighters or 50 interceptors, combined.

Strait Raider

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2014, 12:11:46 pm »
You can make almost anything viable with the right mechanics.

Taking the real-life example of WWII torpedoes, for example. Ship could always launch torpedoes, but they weren't very effective because at the range they were fired enemy ships had plenty of time to maneuver out of the way, if they even lead the target properly in the first place. Despite this, torpedoes (and bombs) spelled the end of the battleship era. Once aircraft demonstrated the ability to drive home these devices with a degree of accuracy not possible from ships, the results were devastating. Taranto, Pearl Harbour, Midway. Bismarck, Yamato, Arizona. The most powerful ships and the most powerful fleets were destroyed by little tin cans.

If very powerful but slow dumb-fire-only weapons are made available, fighters could be very viable. Especially when you consider that not dozens, but hundreds of fighters or drones could be produced for the cost of one moderately-sized capital ship. PD isn't necessarily an instagib weapon either, it depends entirely on how the mechanics shake out. I'd expect lasers (if we get them) to be the least efficient weapon available by a considerable margin. If they weren't, who would use anything other than lasers, since they're a hitscan weapon, giving them effectively perfect accuracy?

Another advantage of fighters, (sort of touched on by the trench run example) is that because of their maneuverability, they may have the freedom to attack a ship from any angle, allowing them to hit your weakest points. Whether that's the rear of your ship which is mostly covered by engines, a blind spot for most of your point defence (or a place where most of them have been knocked out), or a place where your superstructure is exposed that you rolled away from the enemy capital ships to protect from fire.

Nothing is guaranteed, whatever makes for better gameplay will be used. I'm not saying it should be as clearcut in favor of aircraft as late-WWII was (I love battleships as much as the next guy (unless the next guy is Snowdragon)), but there's no reason fighters shouldn't be made viable.

Iago

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2014, 03:28:32 pm »
Again Iago, any Capital ship is going to have dozens or more emplacements covering any single approach. You could bring one fighter or an entire flight, they're still all going to get swatted down. They're useful as death fodder, to screen the approach of bombers with heavier payloads, but you might as well just use missiles and cannons, they would be far more effective, not to mention cheaper and damn near impossible to shootdown. I'm a hell of a lot more scared of 50 ASMs than I am about 50 bombers or fifty fighters or 50 interceptors, combined.

Whatever, I still want fighters :(
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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2014, 04:17:48 pm »
Well, in vanilla BR we're going to want fighters to be somewhat viable even if they are just used as a way to distract an enemy's fire.  If you'd ever played Tie Fighter than you have a general idea on what we're looking at for fighter capabilities (with the right anti-capital ship armaments), and as Strait Raider points out: it's all subject to gameplay mechanics.

Bare minimum: A lone fighter should not be able to take out a capital ship.  A full attack wing will be the goal.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 03:50:01 pm by Aaron »
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Me2005

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Re: Aerospace Craft (Fighters, bombers etc)
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2014, 04:44:48 pm »
Taking the real-life example of WWII torpedoes, for example. Ship could always launch torpedoes...Once aircraft demonstrated the ability to drive home these devices with a degree of accuracy not possible from ships, the results were devastating. Taranto, Pearl Harbour, Midway. Bismarck, Yamato, Arizona. The most powerful ships and the most powerful fleets were destroyed by little tin cans.

Aircraft launching torpedoes against warships =/= Starships launching torpedoes against other Starships. Sea combat has transitional craft - submarines under the water, warships on the surface of it, and aircraft above it. Aircraft take advantage of not having to deal with ocean-drag and are incredibly fast, but small and light because they must expend fuel to stay airborne. Submarines take advantage of being very hard to see or hit, but also have a hard time seeing and hitting things and are slower. Vessels on the surface don't combine those two, they do something else and have heavier armor and armament, meant to deal with all threats as there is little to keep them from doing so - floating is free and more mass doesn't really translate to slower ships.

A better comparison of fighter craft to space combat is that of a PT boat or motor boat engaging a super-battleship in the open ocean. Good luck with that, especially when there is nothing stopping that battleship launching PT boats/motor boats back at you if they're so effective.

If very powerful but slow dumb-fire-only weapons are made available, fighters could be very viable. Especially when you consider that not dozens, but hundreds of fighters or drones could be produced for the cost of one moderately-sized capital ship. PD isn't necessarily an instagib weapon either, it depends entirely on how the mechanics shake out.

If those hundreds of fighters are the same block-count as my one cruiser, and the blocks are all additive, I have hundreds of times the shield capacity as any one fighter. Now, we've got the same DPS, possibly relative acceleration, and armor, but my shots are more likely to punch through - any one of my volleys is hundreds of times more than any one fighter's volley. If I can't insta-gib any one fighter, hundreds of fighters would need to fire hundreds of times each to hope to damage me.

Now, it's also reasonable to assume that I can not only mount equivalent weapons, but also larger and more powerful ones, in addition to having a larger, more powerful reactor, giving me more DPS than any equivalent number of fighters.

Another advantage of fighters, (sort of touched on by the trench run example) is that because of their maneuverability, they may have the freedom to attack a ship from any angle, allowing them to hit your weakest points. Whether that's the rear of your ship which is mostly covered by engines, a blind spot for most of your point defence (or a place where most of them have been knocked out), or a place where your superstructure is exposed that you rolled away from the enemy capital ships to protect from fire.

I doubt you could do much to allow fighters to 'sneak up' and hit a weak spot if you're using anything like a space environment. I can roll faster than you can cover 10,000 kilometers; shoot, I can probably roll faster than you can cover 100 kilometers.

Fixing weapons' engagement ranges to some distance that fighter weapons can hit and making them slow might help the fighters' case. I'm a big target and dodging all those shots is going to be hard. The fighters could spread their attack out over a sphere, forcing me to fire in all directions and not concentrate in any one area, but then I can always rush one side of the sphere and punch through since their firepower isn't concentrated either and the fighters on one end of the sphere would not be able to catch me.

The result is that I escape having done more blocks of damage than any similar number of fighters.

I'd expect lasers (if we get them) to be the least efficient weapon available by a considerable margin. If they weren't, who would use anything other than lasers, since they're a hitscan weapon, giving them effectively perfect accuracy?

Even if they're inefficient, if they're anything like reality range-wise, they'd be killer. I'd consider using physical-based weapons if lasers were too inefficient, but engagement range for those is still higher than fighters could be comfortable at - consider the OP and beyond-horizon weapons we have today.

Nothing is guaranteed, whatever makes for better gameplay will be used. I'm not saying it should be as clearcut in favor of aircraft as late-WWII was (I love battleships as much as the next guy (unless the next guy is Snowdragon)), but there's no reason fighters shouldn't be made viable.

I'm for better gameplay; but I don't see how you can make fighters viable without doing something to make larger ships unviable. Fixing power generation per player, creating limited hyperspace/FTL capabilities for ship-systems, reducing efficiency as you get larger, etc. And I don't know that fighters have to be viable to make for good gameplay.



One thing that did occur to me is to create different 'spaces' and allow different sized ships (or ships expending different amounts of energy) to enter them. You'd maybe be turning sci-fantasy, but what if you had the following:

Real-space: What we know and love, favors super-large ships over anything else by nature (so far as we've discussed, anyway).

Sub-space: Has an energy cost associated with entry, but not necessarily with staying there as long as a ship has a blanced sub-space signature (perhaps lack of shielding, or a certain size-to-energy ratio). Ships within are difficult to detect, but also see the world as shadowy. Travel is much slower than in real-space, so all weapons are much less effective (slower, less damage dealt).  Explosives, however, are much more effective against ships in sub-space. Explosions are normally about the least-hazardous kind of weapon you could have, for a given energy output, since the whole force is distributed around the sphere of the blast. Here, explosions are many times more effective.

Super-space (Hyper-space): Ships within are much faster - FTL kinds of speeds. Most ships can only engage the drive for the briefest of seconds, to conserve the massive amounts of energy it takes to use. Small ships, however, can enter and stay within (with certain limits), provided they burn through fuel at an astonishing rate (you burn exponentially more fuel if you have more mass). The limits are that ships remaining within are visible to real-space ships, objects released will revert to real-space equivalent velocities, and actually being hit results in instant collapse of the hyper-field and complete destruction of the ship's reactor (you're dead).

Now, set the universe up so that lasers are crazy-inefficient, physical weapons are usually standard, and explosives aren't dangerous enough to warrant carrying most of the time. Suddenly, you have a setting where fighters aren't a terrible idea (they are the only ones that can use hyperspace constantly, and can drop explosives/high V projectiles onto other vessels), regular ships dominate the standard field and can defend against other threats if designed properly (to use PD lasers against fighters and explosives against subs), and stealth ships are not for just anybody but are useful (sub-space 'subs' getting exploded easily at close range, but are restricted to close-range fighting).

Edit:

Well, in vanilla BR we're going to want fighters to be somewhat viable even if they are just used as a way to distract an enemy's fire.  If you'd ever played Tie Fighter than you have a general idea on what we're looking at for fighter capabilities (with the right anti-capital ship armaments), and as Strait Raider points out: it's all subject to gameplay mechanics.

Bare minimum: A lone fighter should not be able to take out a capital ship.  A full attack wing will be the goal.

Seems that the best way to do this is to size your weapons/ships so that X fighters can take on the 'ideal' capital ship.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 04:52:07 pm by Me2005 »
But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern. Yours to manipulate, to create and rebuild.

I know who you are.

You are destiny.