Author Topic: Beam Fire Controls  (Read 7753 times)

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Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #60 on: May 12, 2013, 04:11:49 AM »
ASMs can easily have ranges of 100 mkm with moderate tech levels so boosting lasers from 1.5 million (at max) to even 20 mkm (max range with far gamma 80 cm laser) wouldn't approach vastly inferior tech missile ranges, much less contemporary tech missile ranges even before considering damage drop-off and hit-rate drop-off at longer ranges for lasers and BFCs. Comparing the two and trying to find balance between ranges and their other advantages/disadvantages is not really relevant then. Even with changes missiles should still have their range advantage so there's no reason to take away the logistics advantages of lasers on that count.
The real question is how it affects beam vs. beam combat. If it's possible to have such a range advantage so that even a speed-focused group can't effectively close the range to bring their own weapons to bear for reasonably comparable tech levels then there's a problem.

The way that beam ranges do influence beam vs missile combat is in Point Defense range.

If you "average missile" (if there is something like that) got a speed of 25000km/s this means it travels 125000km per 5sec tick, so every time you increase the range of beam FCs by this range the beams get another shot in at them (as long as they got range to do at least 1 dmg that far out).

It's not that relevant for spinal mounts since PD is probably the last thing you want them for, but raising the base range of Fire Controls could potentially alter this balance drastically.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 05:09:29 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline Brian

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #61 on: May 12, 2013, 05:42:51 AM »
The way that beam ranges do influence beam vs missile combat is in Point Defense range.

If you "average missile" (if there is something like that) got a speed of 25000km/s this means it travels 125000km per 5sec tick, so every time you increase the range of beam FCs by this range the beams get another shot in at them (as long as they got range to do at least 1 dmg that far out).

It's not that relevant for spinal mounts since PD is probably the last thing you want them for, but raising the base range of Fire Controls could potentially alter this balance drastically.
This is good in theory, but long ago the beam ranges were like this.  I could typically get 2 to 3 shots with area point defense before the missiles were hitting.  The problem with the theory is that the extra shots are always going to be at poor chances to hit, Even with excellent crew grade bonuses they don't tend to take out more missiles than 1 salvo with final fire.  (sample chances to hit would be 10%, 35%, 60% before tracking speed penalties, vs 95% for the final fire option.)  The final difference isn't so much in what an individual ship can handle, but with the structure of a fleet.  If you have dedicated beam point defense ships deployed on the flank of the main fleet, and not being shot at then it does help as they get more shots off before the main fleet is being hit. 

If the beam ranges were raised more than three or four times current ranges then this would change my analysis.  I don't think anyone is proposing that sort of drastic change of range though.

Brian
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #62 on: May 12, 2013, 09:19:04 AM »
If the beam ranges were raised more than three or four times current ranges then this would change my analysis.  I don't think anyone is proposing that sort of drastic change of range though.

Yes, I don't think that either, just thought it was worth pointing out in response to that hypothetical situation as a response to why it would be unbalanced to have 20m km range beams.
 

Offline byron

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #63 on: May 12, 2013, 01:37:55 PM »
The way that beam ranges do influence beam vs missile combat is in Point Defense range.

If you "average missile" (if there is something like that) got a speed of 25000km/s this means it travels 125000km per 5sec tick, so every time you increase the range of beam FCs by this range the beams get another shot in at them (as long as they got range to do at least 1 dmg that far out).

It's not that relevant for spinal mounts since PD is probably the last thing you want them for, but raising the base range of Fire Controls could potentially alter this balance drastically.
The problem with this is that it doesn't hold up under the numbers.  Let's look at what happens if (in your scenario) we have three separate sets of beam weapons.  One has a range of 125,000 km, the next 250,000 km, the third 375,000 km, and the last 500,000 km.  The average hit chance for set one will be .5, but it will vary between ~0 and ~1.  For the second, the average for the first shot will be .25, and the average for the second shot .75 (for a total of 1), but the numbers vary between ~0/~.5 (.5) and ~.5/~1 (1.5).
We see the same on the third weapon.  Averages are .1667/.5/.8333 (1.5), but the numbers vary between ~0/~.3333/~.6667 (1) and ~.3333/~.6667/~1 (2). 
The lesson from this is interesting.  The average number of hits (before tracking speed is taken into account) is equal to the number of increments the missile is in range of the weapon divided by two, with variations of +- .5.  Unless you have the weapon in range for a long time, the variation from randomness in missile positioning will be a fairly large portion of the overall hit chance.  And that's only going to happen with an enemy who is vastly technologically inferior.
And with the current balance, you're likely to get more hits off of the same size/cost with final fire.  Unless laser ranges are also increased, you'll need big lasers.  That in turn means you can only have a few and they fire slowly.  Big firecons are also expensive.  All in all, it's just not going to work.
This is Excel-in-Space, not Wing Commander - Rastaman
 

Offline CheaterEater

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #64 on: May 12, 2013, 07:57:25 PM »
Right, let's check out some numbers on point-defense at max tech levels (which I assume we would have for 20mkm BFC ranges). Caveat: I have no real experience at high tech levels so I'm working off of my best guesses here.

An 80 cm laser with cap rate of 25 fires every 35 seconds with a maximum range of just a hair under 20.2 mkm. It consumes 25 HS on its own, the powerplant is less than 1 HS. Let's take a hypothetical missile: total size 1, engine size (max boost) 2, enough fuel for a range of 200 mkm and the rest in agility. It has a hit chance of over 2000% against a 10k km/s target which seems reasonably accurate. The final speed I get is 299,000 km/s.

Let's take a second to calculate the BFC size. We'll assume max size of x4 range and x4 tracking speed for a max range of 20.2 mkm (hypothetically speaking with increased BFC ranges) and a tracking speed of 100,000 km/s, still significantly below the missile speed but it's the best we can do. This BFC requires an additional 16 HS. We'll turret the laser at 100,000 km/s to get a total size for the laser and turret of 35 for a total of 51 HS.

At a speed of 299,000 km/s for the missile and if we assume the ship is going about 60,000 km/s (based off a quick ship I made) we have a closing speed of 239,000 km/s for the missile. It will cross the 20.2 mkm range of the laser in 85 seconds, meaning that the laser gets off 2 shots. That's at a cost of 51 HS and only 1/3 the required tracking speed meaning a lot of these shots would miss. Against only one missile too.

So, I think it's safe to say that 20 mkm BFC ranges at max tech levels will not be unbalanced from a PD perspective. I haven't looked at other tech levels, but my first impression is that the relationship would hold. Big lasers require big BFCs and take up lots of room in turrets to get good tracking speed against fast-moving missiles. They require larger powerplants and have high cycle times meaning that they will be getting off only a few shots that rarely hit. Overall, I think that from a pure PD perspective they're a terrible investment and from a dual-purpose perspective it won't unbalance things.

I'll end here with a quick note on BFCs. They could be expanded beyond their x4/x4 options for range and tracking speed to help balance out increased ranges. If getting to a very long range requires a x10 range option and hitting missiles reliably requires a x4 (maybe up to x10 as well) tracking speed BFC sizes quickly become cost-prohibitive. It would force most ships to trade off between short-range high-tracking speed BFCs for point defense/short-range DP lasers and long-range low-tracking speed BFCs for long-range lasers and especially spinal mounts. That could give smaller, faster ships some good opportunities to close distances past the big guns to get into range with their inferior or short-range lasers.
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #65 on: May 13, 2013, 06:10:44 AM »
Guess I never realized just how fast max tech missiles are or how slow max tech lasers fire!

Thanks for the lessons :)

My concern was that if range of 5sec firing beams was increased drastically, it would make PD overpowered. If you can today get two shots with most 5 sec PD fire it should mean 20+ shots if all ranges are increased over 10-times (max range goes from 1.5 mil km to 20mil km).

For that to happen range of both FCs and beams would have to be increased.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 06:45:17 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline CheaterEater

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #66 on: May 13, 2013, 04:01:54 PM »
For completeness I checked the longest-ranged laser, a 30 cm far gamma ray laser with cap rate 25. It has a range of about 2.9 mkm and fires every 5 seconds. Based on the previous numbers it will get 3 shots instead of 2, but that's very dependent on the closing speed of the missile; just a little bit in either direction could give it 4 or 2. The thing is that a laser's range is directly proportional to its damage which is directly proportional to its power consumption which, because of the fixed cap rates, is proportional to the cycle time. Having a long range doesn't help against missiles because your cycle time increases proportionally, meaning you're taking the same number of shots just at longer range. I found that pretty interesting. It does mean that large lasers aren't any worse than small lasers for PD , barring turreting and to-hit at range considerations, but they aren't any better either. I think there is room to play with cap rates to get something interesting out of it, but not with the current system.
 

Offline Brian

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #67 on: May 13, 2013, 05:59:23 PM »
For completeness I checked the longest-ranged laser, a 30 cm far gamma ray laser with cap rate 25. It has a range of about 2.9 mkm and fires every 5 seconds. Based on the previous numbers it will get 3 shots instead of 2, but that's very dependent on the closing speed of the missile; just a little bit in either direction could give it 4 or 2. The thing is that a laser's range is directly proportional to its damage which is directly proportional to its power consumption which, because of the fixed cap rates, is proportional to the cycle time. Having a long range doesn't help against missiles because your cycle time increases proportionally, meaning you're taking the same number of shots just at longer range. I found that pretty interesting. It does mean that large lasers aren't any worse than small lasers for PD , barring turreting and to-hit at range considerations, but they aren't any better either. I think there is room to play with cap rates to get something interesting out of it, but not with the current system.
There are also advantages for the heavier lasers when shooting at armored missiles.  The extra damage can make a big difference in the actual kill numbers that you will get beyond point blank range.  At point blank range the difference in damage is usually not as significant unless we are talking about very heavy armor designs (ie 5+ points of armor).

Brian
 

Offline Conscript Gary

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #68 on: May 15, 2013, 02:47:01 PM »
Talk of changing the maximum beam weapon range aside, I think the issue is with how tech-intensive it is to reach maximum range.

It literally takes maximum BFC range technology to get close to being able to hit things near 5ls away, and that's including the 4x size modifier. I think that expanding the range of allowable size modifiers as was mentioned could be a good course of action, as well as allowing the player to straight-up change the base size of the BFC in design. This would shift the design paradigm more towards that of active sensors/MFC/engines, where a technological deficiency can be made up to a point by specialized, size-compromised design.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #69 on: July 20, 2013, 07:35:29 AM »
Area PD beam armed ships is only worth it if you encounter someone that fire high armoured missiles (same tech levels) that usually are also much slower since they rely more on armour than speed. The missiles I have used in my multi-faction games have used rather big missiles with lots of armour and high yield explosives. These missiles are generally about 20-30% slower than regular small missiles but much more efficient in industrial terms and have huge range advantages. In these situation you can easily keep a small escort in front of your ships to get double their weapon range to intercept incoming missiles where the high damage and long range of the laser is far more destructive than PD gauss cannons or CIWS.

If you never is engaged by these kinds of missiles then there is no point in using any laser for PD duties other than for dual purpose as ship/FAC/figher killers.
 

Offline TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #70 on: October 01, 2013, 05:44:29 AM »
I've been thinking about beam range lately owing to a lot of Beam combat in my 3 faction start.

right now even the smallest advantage in speed + range equates to complete dominance in beam combat, against any odds.  Even one tech level is enough to accomplish that, generally.  Longer range BFC+ better ECM gives an absolute advantage in range, while higher tech engines give an absolute advantage in speed.  Anything that a lower tech faction can do to try and counter a fast beam combatant (other than missiles), a higher tech can do better.  It's not really a *problem* because missiles are the dominant weapon in the game but I don't think it's good for the game either. 

Here's my brainstorms on the topic:

Tactical-level options

Basically, that there are things you can choose to do in combat that will affect your combat range or speed. 

Sacrificing attack/range for speed: the "Afterburner/Hyperdrive" option.  If you sacrifice the ability to fire effectively in order to gain a massive boost to speed, you could close the range against a higher range opponent. The main problem with this is that the higher range/speed opponent could also immediately afterburner, resulting in a stalemate.  I understand the "Starfire solution" for this was to introduce engine failure chances. This could work with failure chances, but has the potential flaw of drastically reducing the hit chances of missiles - any intelligent TF commander would obviously afterburner before a salvo hits.  There's also potential for micromanagement hell.

Sacrificing speed for defence:  Reducing the enemy's chance to hit by going into 'evasive maneuvers' or some such.  So he has to get closer if he wants to hit. This has the same basic flaw as the afterburner option, namely the other guy can do it too.  He just has to mirror your actions.  It shouldn't cause problems for missile combat though. 

Sacrificing speed for range:  the "Steady Platform" option.  Basically the notion that a ship can sacrifice it's speed to gain a boost to beam/BFC range.  50-100% boost would enable ships equipped with long range weapons to at least fire back against reasonably close tech levels. One problem would be decreasing the importance of tracking speed against ships.  It also slightly decreases the relative viability of short range fast beam ships, since they will be exposed to incoming fire for a longer period of time.    I think this option has the least problems with mirroring, though theoretically a longer ranged attacker could get a range boost for one shot then disengage  the boost and continue accelerating away.

 All three of the above options might require 'cooldowns' on entering and existing range/speed/defence boosts to prevent mirroring problems. 

Game design options

Fiddling with weapon/BFC statistics.

Equality in range:  Essentially, that all BFCs and/or beam weapons can hit out to 5LS, though with wildly varying damage and hit chances.  I think this would work fine, but would be less interesting than other options.  You may not be able to effectively return fire, but at least you have a *chance* of
hitting.


Ship design options

Things you could do at the ship design level.  You could turn the earlier'tactical' options into components if one so desired. Other than that though:

Overbuilding:  If you had the option to drastically overbuild your beam range -  much like how you can get range from low tech missiles/MFCs - then you could potentially build 'sniper' or 'dreadnought' ships capable of countering an enemy's range, albeit at high cost.  Spinal mounts are an example of this from the weapon design perspective. The principal difficulty remains the same as in the status quo, the enemy can build the same ship but better. To work effectively, you'd have to have the option to overbuild out to max range from a relatively low tech level - say Ion or MP.  You'd need this for both weapons and BFCs. 

to get that kind of range though you'd need some pretty big modifiers. Two examples for 32kkm tech: 

Code: [Select]
Size 1 2 3 4 5 6
Mult 1 3 6 10 15 21
Cost 19 38 57 76 95 114

50% 32 96 192 320 480 672
Max 64 192 384 640 960 1344

Code: [Select]
Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Mult 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Cost 19 38 57 76 95 114 133 152 171 190 209 228 247 266 285

50% 32 64 96 128 160 192 224 256 288 320 352 384 416 448 480
Max 64 128 192 256 320 384 448 512 576 640 704 768 832 896 960

40kkm BFC version

Code: [Select]
Size 1 2 3 4 5 6
Mult 1 3 6 10 15 21
Cost 24 48 72 96 120 144

50% 40 120 240 400 600 840
Max 80 240 480 800 1200 1680

A potential problem would probably be the same one as now, that long range/ high speed boats may dominate beam combat.  Spinals / ultra long range weapons would dominate the metagame.

Speed Interference: Fast ship designs get penalties to their weapons range or chance to hit (effectively the same thing), essentially penalizing designs that attempt to pack both capabilities into the same design.  For example, you could get 5% penalty per 1000 kkm/s your ship is faster than your base tracking speed.  I think this idea could work, but I have yet to come up with numbers I like or a method of application I like.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 05:57:38 AM by TheDeadlyShoe »
 

Offline Ninetails

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #71 on: October 27, 2014, 03:36:26 AM »
The way I see the trans-newtonian part of aurora, is that it allow us to break Newtons 3 laws (of motion).  Most importantly, it means we can ignore effects of acceleration (2nd law), and that we need to keep pumping in fuel to keep going at a certain speed (1st and 2nd law).  However, this does not necessarily mean that we are breaking other physical laws, such as relativity, which are not actually laws of motion but laws of space (spacetime).  In light of this, it makes excelent sense to keep light limmits within the game, even jump points and wormholes are within the plausible region relativity (in fact their plausability comes from the curvature of spacetime introduced by general relativity).  There is just slight little problem: The way the trans-newtonian mechanics are implemented, is by fixing a certain reference frame as the one in which these mechanics work in.  You might ask "why is this a problem?", and the answer is actually quite short: Both the specific and general relativity is derived by mathematically extending the principle that light (special) and gravity (general) are indestinguishable in different reference frames (for those interested, it is actually the speed of light that is constant in special relativity and gravity and acceleration that are indistinguishable in general raltivity).  When one introduces a destinguashable universal reference frame, we lose the the principle of indestinguishable reference frames, and as such we cannot derive the relativity theory the same way.  This means that aurora does not actually need to conform to the relativity theory.  On the other hand it is only the derivation of the relativity theory we have broken, not the actual theory, and the effects of it could still exist in the aurora universe (atleast until other problems like the active sensors comes into play).  This means that aurora neither needs to not conform to the relativity theory.  As such it is a free choice of aurora whether it wants to conform with the relativity theory, and with either choice there will not be introduced (meta-)physical inconsistencies.

TL. DR. :
Only Newtonian mechanics are broken dirrectly by aurora, and relativity is not dirrectly affect.  It is however indirrectly affected by the implementation of this, in such a way that aurora no longer needs to be consistent with relativity, while it still can be.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Beam Fire Controls
« Reply #72 on: October 28, 2014, 05:01:06 AM »
I've been thinking about beam range lately owing to a lot of Beam combat in my 3 faction start.

right now even the smallest advantage in speed + range equates to complete dominance in beam combat, against any odds.  Even one tech level is enough to accomplish that, generally.  Longer range BFC+ better ECM gives an absolute advantage in range, while higher tech engines give an absolute advantage in speed.  Anything that a lower tech faction can do to try and counter a fast beam combatant (other than missiles), a higher tech can do better.  It's not really a *problem* because missiles are the dominant weapon in the game but I don't think it's good for the game either. 

Here's my brainstorms on the topic:

Tactical-level options

Basically, that there are things you can choose to do in combat that will affect your combat range or speed. 

Sacrificing attack/range for speed: the "Afterburner/Hyperdrive" option.  If you sacrifice the ability to fire effectively in order to gain a massive boost to speed, you could close the range against a higher range opponent. The main problem with this is that the higher range/speed opponent could also immediately afterburner, resulting in a stalemate.  I understand the "Starfire solution" for this was to introduce engine failure chances. This could work with failure chances, but has the potential flaw of drastically reducing the hit chances of missiles - any intelligent TF commander would obviously afterburner before a salvo hits.  There's also potential for micromanagement hell.

Sacrificing speed for defence:  Reducing the enemy's chance to hit by going into 'evasive maneuvers' or some such.  So he has to get closer if he wants to hit. This has the same basic flaw as the afterburner option, namely the other guy can do it too.  He just has to mirror your actions.  It shouldn't cause problems for missile combat though. 

Sacrificing speed for range:  the "Steady Platform" option.  Basically the notion that a ship can sacrifice it's speed to gain a boost to beam/BFC range.  50-100% boost would enable ships equipped with long range weapons to at least fire back against reasonably close tech levels. One problem would be decreasing the importance of tracking speed against ships.  It also slightly decreases the relative viability of short range fast beam ships, since they will be exposed to incoming fire for a longer period of time.    I think this option has the least problems with mirroring, though theoretically a longer ranged attacker could get a range boost for one shot then disengage  the boost and continue accelerating away.

 All three of the above options might require 'cooldowns' on entering and existing range/speed/defence boosts to prevent mirroring problems. 

Game design options

Fiddling with weapon/BFC statistics.

Equality in range:  Essentially, that all BFCs and/or beam weapons can hit out to 5LS, though with wildly varying damage and hit chances.  I think this would work fine, but would be less interesting than other options.  You may not be able to effectively return fire, but at least you have a *chance* of
hitting.


Ship design options

Things you could do at the ship design level.  You could turn the earlier'tactical' options into components if one so desired. Other than that though:

Overbuilding:  If you had the option to drastically overbuild your beam range -  much like how you can get range from low tech missiles/MFCs - then you could potentially build 'sniper' or 'dreadnought' ships capable of countering an enemy's range, albeit at high cost.  Spinal mounts are an example of this from the weapon design perspective. The principal difficulty remains the same as in the status quo, the enemy can build the same ship but better. To work effectively, you'd have to have the option to overbuild out to max range from a relatively low tech level - say Ion or MP.  You'd need this for both weapons and BFCs. 

to get that kind of range though you'd need some pretty big modifiers. Two examples for 32kkm tech: 

Code: [Select]
Size 1 2 3 4 5 6
Mult 1 3 6 10 15 21
Cost 19 38 57 76 95 114

50% 32 96 192 320 480 672
Max 64 192 384 640 960 1344

Code: [Select]
Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Mult 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Cost 19 38 57 76 95 114 133 152 171 190 209 228 247 266 285

50% 32 64 96 128 160 192 224 256 288 320 352 384 416 448 480
Max 64 128 192 256 320 384 448 512 576 640 704 768 832 896 960

40kkm BFC version

Code: [Select]
Size 1 2 3 4 5 6
Mult 1 3 6 10 15 21
Cost 24 48 72 96 120 144

50% 40 120 240 400 600 840
Max 80 240 480 800 1200 1680

A potential problem would probably be the same one as now, that long range/ high speed boats may dominate beam combat.  Spinals / ultra long range weapons would dominate the metagame.

Speed Interference: Fast ship designs get penalties to their weapons range or chance to hit (effectively the same thing), essentially penalizing designs that attempt to pack both capabilities into the same design.  For example, you could get 5% penalty per 1000 kkm/s your ship is faster than your base tracking speed.  I think this idea could work, but I have yet to come up with numbers I like or a method of application I like.

Have you actually tried combat formations rather than just keeping ships in one spot following each-other. This lead to the behavior that ships can not stay at distance to all ships at once and there will be opportunity for ships to fire at ships that are both faster and with better range. I also find it makes perfect sense for factions to make different types of ships for different roles so some ships are faster and others are slower which also make beam combat more complicated.

A faster beam combat ship might escort a slower ship but who has powerful long range particle beams. If they face someone with a better range and speed the escort will just slide further against the threat using the formation editor and the attacking ship must choose to stay and fight the slower ship rather than the escort. If you turn to engage the escort they fall back and you must enter into the particle beam range of the bigger cruisers. With targeting and ordering ships back and forth which ships you follow can seriously impact a ships position in combat and they can suddenly find themselves in very undesirable situations, especially initiative can also play a huge role in many cases.

In the battles I have previously done it quickly develops into huge fur-balls and volume is almost as important as technology if done right. Fleet training, high crew skill and commanding ability seem more dominating than technology in most cases so far.

I might also say it is very rare for any side to be completely dominating any one area and at the same time have all their ships upgraded and ready for battle, that almost never happens.
 

 

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