Author Topic: Beam Fire Controls  (Read 7508 times)

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Offline Charlie Beeler

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Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2013, 09:17:37 AM »
That is not making much sense for me. Either the change is simple or it's not. It can't be both of them at once.

If it was a basic fundamental of the coding it normally would be either impossible or very complex to change.

As usual, you've taken things out of context. 

The first has to do with beam fire being resolved in one and only one game impulse.  As noted, it is a fundiment function of the code.

The second has to do with at what range that beam fire may be resolved.  As noted, this is a database table item that the code references governing range.
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Offline byron

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« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2013, 09:38:14 AM »
Gentlemen,  the beam fire control limits have nothing to do, functionally, with Relativity.  For all intents and purposes it is nothing more than an arbitrary limit that can be described as a carryover from board/tabletop games (fiction as well) that describe ranges in relation to light seconds/minutes.
They do in that it's assumed that the beam can't travel faster than c.

Quote
The decision was made early in development that beams either struck during the smallest game impulse or missed and would not be tracked into later impulses.  I highly doubt that Steve will change this since it is a basic fundamental of of the coding.
A problem which can be solved by removing the assumption mentioned above.  If the beam could propagate at 10c, then the maximum range would be 15 mkm. 
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Offline alex_brunius

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« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2013, 10:11:23 AM »
As usual, you've taken things out of context.

The first has to do with beam fire being resolved in one and only one game impulse.  As noted, it is a fundiment function of the code.

The second has to do with at what range that beam fire may be resolved.  As noted, this is a database table item that the code references governing range.
So the first has to do with what range beam fire is being resolved, and the second has to with... what range beam fire may be resolved.

Thanks for that clarification. :)

Edit: No one here has asked that beam fire should take several rounds to resolve either as far as I can see, so I can't see why that is brought up for discussion at all.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 10:17:51 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline Charlie Beeler

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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2013, 10:18:56 AM »
So the first has to do with what range beam fire is being resolved, and the second has to with... what range beam fire may be resolved.

Thanks for that clarification. :)

Incorrect
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Offline Charlie Beeler

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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2013, 10:21:09 AM »
Edit: No one here has asked that beam fire should take several rounds to resolve either as far as I can see, so I can't see why that is brought up for discussion at all.

Also incorrect.

This is a game where gravity and momentum, to say nothing of relativistic effects or the third dimension, don't exist for spaceships. Getting exercised about the speed of light is, to be perfectly blunt, an unusual intrusion of physical reality into space combat. Aurora almost never lets that sort of thing get in the way of the sort of game it wants to be. I cannot at present think of any other instance of allowing physics to limit decisions made about game balance.

Even if Steve chooses to make an exception for and respect c, making weapon and fire control ranges match better can be done in at least two ways:

A. Reduce the ranges of beam weapons at all tech levels. I don't recommend this; the ratio of the distance ships can travel in a game tick and the range of beam weapons is already low.

B. Allow arbitrary beam ranges. Just have the beam pulse (a firing event) impact in following ticks. If we want to do this simply, we just save the beam pulse data, calculate its arrival time, and apply it then - don't worry about ship movement in the meantime. Later feature polishing could include adjustment of arrival time if ships move relative to each other. Dodging would not be allowed, or only allowed through a abstracted process.


Frankly, what this game *really* needs - perhaps in an Aurora II - is to get rid of the 5-second game pulse . However, this would pretty much require a complete coding overall, so this is pie in the sky for anyone other than a very determined Steve.
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Offline alex_brunius

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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2013, 10:24:53 AM »
Also incorrect.
Out of context, as you can see it was brought up only as a workaround to get around your claim that the speed of light is absolute in Aurora, and that it must be respected for beam ranges (even though no other physical or Newtonian laws are in Aurora).

It's the same with the first statement. By your logic of having speed of light as an absolute you do tie beam ranges and them being resolved in the same pulse together.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 10:26:34 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline Charlie Beeler

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« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2013, 11:27:10 AM »
Out of context, as you can see it was brought up only as a workaround to get around your claim that the speed of light is absolute in Aurora, and that it must be respected for beam ranges (even though no other physical or Newtonian laws are in Aurora).

Please read the full topic again, carefully, you like to infer statements that have not been made.  The only place I've stated that there is a hardcoded limit related to Speed of Light is in relation to movement not beam weapons.  You're inferring that I've stated that beams are restricted to sub-luminal speeds when infact I have not.

It's the same with the first statement. By your logic of having speed of light as an absolute you do tie beam ranges and them being resolved in the same pulse together.

The basis of the single impulse actually has to do with avoiding course prediction in a universe that has ships/missiles with the ability to completely change course from one impulse to the next. 

The range of 5 Light Seconds, while implying a Light Speed limit, was actually a moderately arbitrary mark.  The limit has more to do with assumed error prediction not Relativity limitations.  Since the range assignment is a table entry and not hardcoded Light Speed is not an absolute in relation to beam weapons.  (unless Steve has added this as a hardcode since v4 which is the last version where I played with the BFC ranges changed to allow maximum range lasers)
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Offline Bgreman

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« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2013, 12:32:38 PM »
You two are always so damn snippy with each other.  It's off-putting.
 

Offline Beersatron

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« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2013, 12:44:36 PM »
I imagine that Steve went with the speed of light times 5 seconds (1,498,962,290 meters??) as the maximum possible range for 'beams' since it seemed the most logical thing to do at the time.

Possibly for a few reasons:
1. Weapon balance
2. Trying to keep some semblance to real world physics (TN materials not withstanding)
3. Complexity of tracking a beam over multiple increments - ignoring any diffusion (how/would a beam of high energy dissipate over distance in space/vacuum?)
4. Because it is his game and he felt like it :)

I am sure you could come up with some TN based techobabble to explain how the laser is sent as a pulse contained in a bubble of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff.

Or, you could explain it as ... your beam fire control range is actually the maximum range that you can open a micro-wormhole to shoot the laser through. A nanosecond wormhole just big enough to fire the laser through is generate in the laser's 'barrel' with a terminus in a direct line to the target. You can obviously still miss.
 

Offline alex_brunius

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« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2013, 02:05:56 PM »
You two are always so damn snippy with each other.  It's off-putting.
Yeah, I agree. Ill try to stop.

But it's just too fun to see that he's so childish that he rather rate med down x6 times instead of admitting he might be mistaken once, so I have a hard time stopping :)

Please read the full topic again, carefully, you like to infer statements that have not been made.  The only place I've stated that there is a hardcoded limit related to Speed of Light is in relation to movement not beam weapons.  You're inferring that I've stated that beams are restricted to sub-luminal speeds when infact I have not.
I didn't actually state that the limit was hardcoded, even though it's hard to understand this is any other way:
The decision was made early in development that beams either struck during the smallest game impulse or missed and would not be tracked into later impulses.  I highly doubt that Steve will change this since it is a basic fundamental of of the coding.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 02:14:33 PM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline byron

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« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2013, 02:14:24 PM »
I imagine that Steve went with the speed of light times 5 seconds (1,498,962,290 meters??) as the maximum possible range for 'beams' since it seemed the most logical thing to do at the time.
Be that as it may, game balance has changed significantly since then.

Possibly for a few reasons:
Quote
1. Weapon balance
Not any more.  Beam ranges are negligible compared to missile ranges, and even to theoretical beam weapon ranges.

Quote
3. Complexity of tracking a beam over multiple increments - ignoring any diffusion (how/would a beam of high energy dissipate over distance in space/vacuum?)
That should be modeled by the falloff in laser damage, not by anything to do with the fire control.  If we're speaking of lasers, a beam slowly spreads out due to diffraction.  For a given laser with a fixed focus, it's like a pair of truncated cones with the focal point at the smallest diameter.  Sort of like ><.  If the laser is variable-focus, then the focal point can move.  The size of the beam at the focal point is directly proportional to range, and nothing else.  The laser can be thought of as being a cone, with the size set by the mirror and wavelength.  The power of the laser has nothing to do with it.  I hope that's clear enough for you.
As for other weapons, it's more complicated.  Particle beams spread out as they travel, so their path is actually a cone.

Quote
I am sure you could come up with some TN based techobabble to explain how the laser is sent as a pulse contained in a bubble of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff.
Sensor packets come in that way.

Quote
Or, you could explain it as ... your beam fire control range is actually the maximum range that you can open a micro-wormhole to shoot the laser through. A nanosecond wormhole just big enough to fire the laser through is generate in the laser's 'barrel' with a terminus in a direct line to the target. You can obviously still miss.
Interesting.  That's actually quite good, although it does leave the question of why lasers theoretical range is so much longer than their practical range.
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Offline Beersatron

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« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2013, 04:21:15 PM »

Interesting.  That's actually quite good, although it does leave the question of why lasers theoretical range is so much longer than their practical range.

This was actually a suggestion for explaining why a laser can hit out to more than 1.5million KMs - if Steve was to remove that cap.
 

Offline Erik Luken

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #42 on: May 03, 2013, 04:53:06 PM »
I split this topic off of the main 6.3 change discussion. I think I grabbed all of the appropriate posts.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #43 on: May 04, 2013, 07:24:08 AM »
Beside the 5 second light-speed limit, another reason for restricting beam range is that beam weapons have unlimited ammunition and have no counter. Currently, if you out-range your opponents in beam combat it is generally not by a huge amount and they don't have to be much faster to close the range in a reasonable time. If beam weapons had significantly longer ranges then one side could be at huge disadvantage. If you outrange an opponent with missiles, he can still shoot them down and you have to build and transport those missiles.

I could make the range increments cheaper so you have a slightly longer range earlier, but I want to avoid huge beam weapon ranges.

Another option I am considering however is to remove the atmospheric restrictions on beam weapons and give planetary-based beam weapons a similar type of enhancement to spinal weapons. Longer range is less of an issue when you can't move. Beam-armed PDCs on the same planet wouldn't be able to fire at once another (except for mesons). If I did this though, that raises the issue of using beams to cleanly wipe out planetary populations (which is why the restriction was added in the first place). To avoid that I can see two options:

1) Make ground-based installations and populations immune to beam weapon fire - each one is spread over a large area and beam weapons are precision weapons. Allow beam weapons to act as fire support for ground combat - adding to combat strength up to perhaps an amount equal to the ground combat attack strength.
2) Allow beam weapons a chance to fail with each shot. Not as keen on this as it removes one of the main advantages over missiles.

Steve
 

Offline byron

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2013, 11:30:34 AM »
Steve, that makes a lot of sense.  I'm not wholly in agreement, but it's easier to accept this going forwards.  For planetary bombardment, I'd go with option 1.  Although I might suggest restricting the frequencies of lasers that can fire through the atmosphere.  In reality, nothing too far about the visible band can make it through.  Near UV might, but I'd have to check.  Railguns and gauss cannons should be OK, while plasma carronades and particle beams wouldn't work at all.
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