The Basics of Ship Combat

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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guiguibaah
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Ships

#46 Post by guiguibaah » Sat Jul 02, 2005 4:16 pm

Hmmm - well we know that the higher the mass of an object, the more force must be exerted on it to bring it at a certain velocity. I figured that you could have ships like the USS Enterprise, that are equally large yet very nimble... or have large ships such as in Freespace, which are slow but carry massive firepower.

The other thing is - the larger an object, the weaker its structure is compared to a smaller version. "If you keep building a chair larger and larger, eventually it will crumble from its own weight." So larger ships HAVE to accelerate slower compared to their smaller counterparts, otherwise they could shake themselves apart.
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Sandlapper
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#47 Post by Sandlapper » Sat Jul 02, 2005 8:10 pm

"If you keep building a chair larger and larger, eventually it will crumble from its own weight."
If it's in deep space it would be weightless. :wink: :P

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utilae
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#48 Post by utilae » Sat Jul 02, 2005 10:06 pm

OK, guys. Just want to reemphasize some of my ideas to get some opinions.
Impaler wrote: * Large ships are not inherently slow
I think a capital ship would still be faster than a fighter. The only reason I can see that the capital ships don't travel so fast is because they would hit other ships. A fighter could at least dodge all the obstacles in its path, but a capital ships would be too big to "try and fit between those two capital ships" like a fighter can. So really capital ships have to go slow.




I have revamped my detection stealth idea, so it now can use active and passive detection. It is alot simpler than Impalers idea.
================
My detection/stealth idea
================
Passive detection:
---------------------
Passive detection/stealth should be automatic. So by default passive detection is used. Basically each ship has a detection rating and a stealth rating. When two ships are within range their detection and stealth ratings are compared to see who is detected, eg
Ship A: Detection Rating=50 Stealth Rating=90
Ship B: Detection Rating=80 Stealth Rating=45

If ShipAs detection rating is >= than ShipBs stealth rating than ShipB is detected. So since ShipAs detection rating is higher than ShipBs stealth rating, ShipB is detected. Ship B cannot detect ShipA because ShipAs stealth rating is too high (by 10).

Activating engines gives away position:
---------------------------------------------
However if ShipA moved this would decrease its stealth rating, so 15 is subtracted, eg
Ship A: Detection Rating=50 Stealth Rating=75
Ship B: Detection Rating=80 Stealth Rating=45

Now ShipB can detect ShipA.

Active detection:
-------------------
You can set your ship to be in active detection mode. This method will have a better chance of detecting the enemy, but will more than likely give away your position.

In my system if ShipA switched to active detection this would increase the ships detection rating by 50% and decrease the ships stealth rating by 50%, eg
Ship A: Detection Rating=75 Stealth Rating=37.5
Ship B: Detection Rating=80 Stealth Rating=45

Now ShipA can detect ShipB much easier, but in the process has made itself easy to detect.

============
So what do you guys think? Very simple isn't it.

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#49 Post by METhomas » Sun Jul 03, 2005 1:18 am

Re: Guiguibaah's point — While the larger ship would have no weight in space to overcome, its inertia would still have to be overcome in order to accelerate, and its structure being less compact than a smaller would be subject to additional stresses, right?

Spherical structures are the strongest, right? Would starships best be designed as spheres, or would this have horrible effects on its "radar signature" making it easily detectable?

Utilae said: "I think a capital ship would still be faster than a fighter. The only reason I can see that the capital ships don't travel so fast is because they would hit other ships."

True, if the ships were engaged in extremely tight formations like in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith in that battle over the Republic's capital planet, or in the battles depicted in Star Trek: TNG so that all the combatant ships may appear on the screen at the same time. Otherwise I suspect there would be tens of thousands of kilometers between warships in the same squadron.

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#50 Post by trioted » Sun Jul 03, 2005 8:02 am

surface area to volume ratio's a sphere is rather bad at huge sizes,
A cilinder is much better as it has suface area for all those broad side weapons as well as internal volume for the support systems you weapons need.
A sphere well you wind up with too much volume, your waisting resources.

on inertial dampners you could use strenght of dampner/volume of crew space = extra acceleration.

also i think weapons should be very inacurate at long ranges but powerful,
big ship; many guns higher accuarcy at range.
small ship; smaller "easyer" to get into close range and clober the large ships.

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skdiw
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#51 Post by skdiw » Sun Jul 03, 2005 2:47 pm

The max speed in space is speed of light if you accelerate from a speed below c and you didn't somehow change epsilon and mu. Both small ships and large ship are capable of reaching the same max speed. The only difference is the amount of time reaching that speed, which is dependent on inertia and the amount of force you give. Large ships have more inertia so it takes more power to be as nimble as a small ship; this means that large ships can be as nimble as a small ship, provided that it has enough power and precision to manueveur. There is nothing wrong with large ships crashing and destroying smaller ships; that's how it was duked out in the old days in some countries.

I don't think it's necessary to have a detection/stealth mode. If there is, I think we should make stealth value dependent on the distance to the detector. So the close you are to the detector, the higher chance you will be spot. If you fire a weapon, you lose your stealth or the value drops significantly.
:mrgreen:

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#52 Post by trioted » Sun Jul 03, 2005 9:59 pm

as for lasers you can add this fluff,

lasers use highpowered aritfical gavity lenses to acheive the pinpoint focus necessary to hit their targets at long range, the lenses were developed from Einstien's work on unifying electromagnitism and gravity.


note: gravity does bend light so it can be used as a lense

guiguibaah
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Additional stresses

#53 Post by guiguibaah » Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:37 am

Guiguibaah's point — While the larger ship would have no weight in space to overcome, its inertia would still have to be overcome in order to accelerate, and its structure being less compact than a smaller would be subject to additional stresses, right?
I like to think of the bridge building contests many universities host for their engineering departments - Who can build the strongest bridge out of popsicle sticks. The little buggers are pretty strong considering they are only made out of small sticks of wood.

However if you made a similar bridge 30 times bigger out of popsicle sticks, the thing would crumble under its own weight, let alone not be able to withstand the weight of a 30x weight test. I forget what engineering factor it is called, but it is a universal constant to all construction materials.

As for a bridge in space - well yes, it wouldn't crumble, but that's because you don't have a force (N) applied to it. Unless you don't plan on moving your space bridge, you could build *very* big structures.


As for spherical ships... well, they would be the toughest kind of ship you could build for the materials you had, that's for sure. And as a sphere, they have the smallest surface area of any similar sized ship of the same volume.
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#54 Post by METhomas » Mon Jul 04, 2005 3:51 am

Tell me if I completely off base, but I've done a little bit of thinking about acceleration and size.

Acceleration starts with the engines, and so they overcome the inertia of the current velocity first, but then that energy is transfered to the engine struts, say, and then to the back of the hull, then to the middle, then to the front, a bit at a time, until the entire ship has overcome the inertia associated with its former velocity. As long as the ship is still accelerating this process of overcoming the immediate former velocity and inertia occurs. When the ship stops accelerating, the engines are moving at one velocity and the front of the ship is moving at the former velocity until their has been a complete transfer of energy, and inertial equilibrium has been achieved. This occurs very, very quickly, but this is what causes the stress. So, with a smaller ship, the transfer moves much more quickly, less stress, but the transfer moves more slowly with a larger ship.

I guess this is getting off subject, but I was just thinking about the points that have been brought up here.

Utilae and Impaler: I like both of your ideas. I think Utilae's idea of assigning a set value would be best with a space combat system that has more of a strategic feel, and Impaler's is best with a tactical combat system.

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#55 Post by Impaler » Mon Jul 04, 2005 4:26 pm

The problem I see with Utiales proposal is that range is not a critical factor in the equations. From what I can see ships are either IN range or OUT of range and no destinction exists beyond that. A ship that is right next too you and one that is near the edge of sensor range are both treated the same, either the sensors pick it up or they dont based on Detection vs Stealth ratings. This is reminisent of StarTrek inwhich clocking tecnology is able to make a ship totaly invisible (literaly) but if we were to alow this then we would likly need to prevent ships from firing when cloacked (of the act of firing would reveal a ship).

I have an improved idea that tries to adress an issue that has been naging me, that of fleets with multiple ships and multiple sensors. A fleet should be easier to detect vs a single ships so this should be reflected as a Fleet wide Signal value greater then that for any single ship and the whole fleet is detected or not based on this value. Conversly a Fleet of ships with a number of sensors should be more sensitive then a single ship, not only are they collecting more raw sensor data they can employ inferometry to cancel out noice from space. The Whole fleet should have a Detection value lower then any single ship in the fleet and the whole fleet acts as one Sensor. By merging Fleet Detection and Signal values we vastly reduce the number of calculations needed in combat (otherwise it would be everyship compared to every enemy ship, a clearly exponential function). We are planning most combat to be centered around TaskForces and other "chess piece" to keep complexity low. By resolving Signal and Detection at group level things would be simpler for the player and the CPU.

Ok now on to the details. First the Signal value, this is a rather simple equation, each raw signal value from each ship is squared, then the results are added up. That Sum is then SquareRooted. If their is only a single ship in the fleet this equation wont change its signal value but when multiple ships are present the effect will be to gradualy increese signal strength the more ships are added. For example lets say we had ships with values of

12 + 25 + 6 + 20 + 10 = ?
144 + 625 + 36 + 400 + 100 = 1305
sroot (1305) = 36.12

The fleets Signal value is 36.12 a reasonable value considering the number and size of the ships involved. This is the great value of the square root here, the growth in signal value is non linear. Lets say that that I now combined 100 of the fleets just calculated into a huge "Fleet O Doom" so their are 100 ships with 12 signal and 100 with 25 ect ect...

12 * 100 + 25 * 100 + 6 *100 + 20 * 100 + 10 *100 = ?
144 *100 + 25 *100 + 36 *100 + 400 * 100 + 100 * 100 = ?
(144 + 625 + 36 + 400 + 100 ) * 100 = 1305 * 100 = 130500
sroot(130500) = 361.24

A ten fold increese in Signal strength, much easier to detect but not unfairly so. Linear addition would make fleets far too easy to detect as the raw signal values for all these ships is a stagering 7300.


Now for Detection, first off I need to explain a change I made. Detection values are still in principle the same as I described earlier. If Signal is greater then or equal to Detection the ship/fleet is detected. This means that you want to have the LOWEST Detection value possible. The change is that Detection values are now expressed as the Denominotor of a Fraction, the numerator is always 1. So a 200 power sensor has a Detection value of 1 / 200. A 400 Sensor has a Detection value of 1/ 400 and is better. This kind of flips things over and you want to have the Highest sensor value. It also has the effect of making a perfect sensor impossible as you can always have a greater Denominator and hense a smaller fraction. The reason for this change is 2 fold, one its a bit more intuitive for the player to think of sensor as being BIG numbers and Utilaes propasal used this tecnice as well because we all by habit think of positive numbers as advantagus. Second it makes the mathematics much simpler for combining sensors.

Not suprizing we simply do the same thing with Sensor value that we do with Signal values square the individual values sum them and take the square root, the only difference is that the result formes the Denominator of the new fraction. So for example

1/200 = .005
1/400 = .0025
200 + 400 = ?
40000 + 160000 = 200000
sroot(200000) = 447.21
1/ 447.21 = .002236

Ofcorse we can hide the fractional results from the player and simple show them that their combined fleet has a Sensors power of 447.


Now lets compare our two Fleets, this will require Distance to come into the equation as it is a fundamental variable. The small task Force with a Signal of 36.12 would be detected by the Fleet with a Detection value of 447.21 at a distance of aproimatly 127 (the unit can be anything we want it to be Parsecs, light years, galactic mega feet so long as can be deduced from the map). This result is reached by multiplying Signal and raw Detection value (447.21) and then square rooting the result. Now lets compare to that Mega fleet of 361 Signal. That could be detected at a Distance of 401 slitly more then 3 times as far away. The rule to follow here is that for every 3/4 reduction in Signal strength will result in the Detection range being cut in half. Compounding that means the Signal must go down to 1/16 to get 1/4 the Detection range. Conversly Quadrupling Signal Values will Double the range a fleet can be detected at.
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utilae
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#56 Post by utilae » Mon Jul 04, 2005 9:22 pm

That's pretty complex Impaler. I figure I (or someone) can modify my idea to include distance pretty easily. I have included a section on distance at the bottom.

My detection stealth idea, added distance into it.
================
My detection/stealth idea
================
Passive detection:
---------------------
Passive detection/stealth should be automatic. So by default passive detection is used. Basically each ship has a detection rating and a stealth rating. When two ships are within range their detection and stealth ratings are compared to see who is detected, eg
Ship A: Detection Rating=50 Stealth Rating=90
Ship B: Detection Rating=80 Stealth Rating=45

If ShipAs detection rating is >= than ShipBs stealth rating than ShipB is detected. So since ShipAs detection rating is higher than ShipBs stealth rating, ShipB is detected. Ship B cannot detect ShipA because ShipAs stealth rating is too high (by 10).

Activating engines gives away position:
---------------------------------------------
However if ShipA moved this would decrease its stealth rating, so 15 is subtracted, eg
Ship A: Detection Rating=50 Stealth Rating=75
Ship B: Detection Rating=80 Stealth Rating=45

Now ShipB can detect ShipA.

Active detection:
-------------------
You can set your ship to be in active detection mode. This method will have a better chance of detecting the enemy, but will more than likely give away your position.

In my system if ShipA switched to active detection this would increase the ships detection rating by 50% and decrease the ships stealth rating by 50%, eg
Ship A: Detection Rating=75 Stealth Rating=37.5
Ship B: Detection Rating=80 Stealth Rating=45

Now ShipA can detect ShipB much easier, but in the process has made itself easy to detect.

Distance:
-----------
While two ships are within detection range, the distance between them affects their ability to detect each other. The size of the ship also affects their abilty to detect each other.
Distance between Ship A and Ship B=1000
Ship A Size=100, Ship B Size=1000

Formula: DetectionRating=(DetectionRating/Distance)*TargetShipSize

So using the Distance between the two ships and the ships sizes the detection ratings become:
Ship A: Detection Rating=75 Stealth Rating=37.5
Ship B: Detection Rating=8 Stealth Rating=45

Because ShipB is so big, ShipA can detect it, even over such a great distance. ShipB cannot detect ShipA over this distance because ShipA is so small. ShipB has to get closer. ShipB has to close in to a distance of 210.
=========

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Sandlapper
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#57 Post by Sandlapper » Tue Jul 05, 2005 2:04 am

@ Impaler
This is reminisent of StarTrek inwhich clocking tecnology is able to make a ship totaly invisible (literaly) but if we were to alow this then we would likly need to prevent ships from firing when cloacked (of the act of firing would reveal a ship).
One counter is the ST Tachyon Field Emmiter, to detect cloaked ships.

I like your idea of a combined fleet signature rating. Makes a lot of sense using your linear scale. I think Utilae's ship rating system can be imployed with yours. Instead of a single set rating for a ship(which, admittidly, is simpler), you have one for detection and one for stealth (plugged into your linear scale accordingly). Additionly, each rating changes depending on conditions.

Example of a typical ship:

Passive detection rating: Stationary-20, in motion-20
Active detection rating: Stationary-200, in motion-250

Passive detection-ship's stealth rating: Stationary-05, in motion-60
Active detection-ship's stealth rating: Stationary-200, in motion-250

So two things are needed for each ship: A) is ship passive or active? B) is ship in motion or stationary?

Example in use:

A fleet of 10 ships of the same design(above) are in motion, but passive. What is the fleet's detection rating and stealth rating?

The passive, in motion detection rating is 20(one ship). 20 squared = 400. 400 times 10(ships) = 4000. sroot of 4000 = 63.25 = detection rating.

The passive, in motion stealth rating is 60(one ship). 60 squared = 3600. 3600 times 10 = 36000. Sroot of 36000 = 189.74 = stealth rating.

Enemy fleet consists 10 equal ships, but are passive, stationary.

The passive, stationary detection rating is 20(one ship). 20 squared = 400. 400 times 10(ships) = 4000. sroot of 4000 = 63.25 = detection rating.


The passive, stationary stealth rating is 05(one ship). 05 squared = 25. 25 times 10 = 250. Sroot of 250 = 15.81 = stealth rating.

So using Impaler's formula, the first fleet will not detect the enemy fleet until it gets within 31.64 units, however the enemy fleet will detect the first fleet at 109.55 units away.

@ Utilae

I think you need to dramaticly increase your active detection. I would think passive would be no better than 10% of your active sensors at best.

Edit: Note that higher detection rate is good, and lower stealth rate is good.

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#58 Post by METhomas » Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:50 am

I like the idea of combining the sensor values of the ships in the fleet. However, in order for these ships to benefit from this in the first place, they will have to be in frequent communication with one another so that the data may be correlated, right? This communication would be detectable.

Part of this new problem might be solved by having a command ship that collects the data and then transmits it back to the others once the info has been updated. That much communication activity around a central location though would give away the location of the command ship, and indicate its function, I'd think.

A new factor, the detectability of communications, should then be added to the mix.

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#59 Post by Laccase » Tue Jul 05, 2005 4:20 am

This might be slightly off-tangent of the current discussion, so I'll apologize in advance. I like Utilae's Detection/Stealth idea. If this is implemented, it will open up some new possible tactical options if we could arrange our ships on the map prior to battle. Has anyone played the Total War series? I like the feature where the defending player could arrange their units before the battle. I envision something similar for FO, but maybe allow the pre-arrange option for the attacking player too. This would allow me to place a battlegroup somewhere on the edges of the battlemap with sensors powered down/stealth mode. I would then engage the enemy with my main fleet and lure them into the hidden battlegroup's firing range. My hidden battlegroup would detect the enemy ships earlier than they would be detected. By the time the first volleys of "The Great Equalizer" torpedoes hit the enemy ships, it will be too late. The Admiral of the enemy fleet would then exclaim "its a trap!" (sorry, can't resist) :D
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utilae
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#60 Post by utilae » Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:50 am

Sandlapper wrote: @ Utilae
I think you need to dramaticly increase your active detection. I would think passive would be no better than 10% of your active sensors at best.
Ok, that would just require increasing a ships detection rating by a larger %. It's a balance issue really, tweaking is all that is needed.

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