f = ma
You dont throw fuel out the back - you fire reaction mass. Fuel (i.e. energy) is used to accelerate this reaction mass. The more acceleration you apply to the mass the greater the acceleration of your ship. So by spending more energy you can get a larger reaction from a small mass to accelerate it to very high speeds. So energy is the key here, not reaction mass - and if you have a highly efficient energy source (such as, i dunno, matter/antimatter annihilation) then energy is practically free in terms of fuel mass.
Yes, that is true - although each reaction mass is different compare to the technology. NASA's conventional boosters uses fuel as it's reaction mass. The problem is, what happens when you run out of reaction mass?
Even if you took a tiny mass and accelerated it to near light speed, well, you've no longer created just a thruster, you've also created a mass driver / gauss cannon that may fire behind the ship (where friendly units are found).
Personally, I've always found it strange how in space strategy games (such as moo2) I had to turn my spaceship to fire at an enemy, make it do a 180 degree turn at the cost of movement points, move away, make another 180 degree turn and fire again. I think something more accurate would have been something like the Druuge Mauler - a ship you can fire at long ranges, have it moving AWAY from the enemy, and still fire at long range.
The problem with a complete physics model, is that it gives long-range and fast moving ships near invincibility. You can have 10000 medium range ships chasing one long range ship - all the long range ship has to do is match the speed of the medium ranges, while remaining in long-range firing distance, and the battle is won.
I do like the idea, though, of that if a ship is disabled, it keeps moving in the same direction. It could give retreating ships a bonus - while disabled ships heading in-system could crash into the sun, or other planets.
Then, perhaps in the future, you can get "inertial-less" ships, like the Arilooleelay skiff through technology.
Yes, and the Melnorme were the best. Anyone who disagrees can eat a pomme.
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