Author Topic: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?  (Read 4400 times)

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Offline byron

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2016, 09:50:56 AM »
Different situation. This is not a tabletop wargame. And, unless I'm mistaken, a majority of Aurora games involve a single player against computer NPRs.
I'm well aware of that.  The point was that it's a rule which enforces ramming as rare and memorable.

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Have you read all three pages of this thread/discussion? I ask because you seem to be overlooking some important points and counterpoints which were brought up.
This has been going around every year or so since I got here.
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  • Ramming has tremendous story potential for roleplaying. You can't deny that.
  • Ramming should not be something that you survive. It's a bold sacrifice.
  • There is historical precedent for naval ships and aircraft to ram an enemy out of desperation.
  • What prevents Steve from seriously gimping ship ramming so it's not very exploitable?
  • What would be wrong with making player ship ramming an SM Mode option?
I don't like ramming from an aesthetic POV, and I suspect that player ramming would become ludicrously overpowered or totally useless.  Yes, some people will exploit it from a good, solid roleplaying standpoint.  Others will just want to ram things.  I ran a multiplayer game with new players recently, and I believe two of the three asked for ramming.  As for historical precedent, ramming has been very rare for the past 150 years, with the exception of the Kamikazes, which are probably better modeled as merely fighters approaching within 5-second range of their target before firing.  The bomb was an important part of their damage, and they were much smaller and much faster than their targets.  Significantly more so than fighters are to most capitol ships in Aurora.

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Making ramming "memorable" is up to the players' imagination and/or ability to write a good story.
And for the players who just want to ram things? 
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However, I think we can all agree that it needs to be rare. That would help make it more memorable. Anyway, if a lot of ramming is going on, then it is obviously being exploited.
How do we make it rare, though?  If it's weak enough that it doesn't make sense to use it often, then how many times have you encountered a situation where it would be useful at all?  I've been playing for 6 years, and I can't think of a single case. 

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Tell the NPRs that, then, because they ram all the time. As I asked in my OP: Why do NPRs get to ram, while players can't? That's neither reasonable nor believable.
I'd agree, but I'd rather take away the NPRs ability to do so than give it to the players.  (For that matter, I think that the ability to ram is an interesting point in favor of the NPRs being very different from the players.  I believe it's only the spoiler races that do so, although I could be wrong.)

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Which math are you referring to? If you are referring to the difficulty of ships in the vastness of space, traveling at insane speeds, hitting another ship, consider: Missiles in Aurora do this all the time. Consider the difficulty of an AMM trying to impact (or approach within close proximity of) an enemy missile. Granted, missiles may be a lot more maneuverable than a ship. But they're a heck of a lot smaller, too.
Yes, that's pretty much it.  The ships are very fast and can turn on a dime.  That makes them really, really hard to hit.  I'd assume that missiles are specially designed to deal with this.  Ships aren't. 
Size doesn't really enter into it.  If we take AVT density (250 kg/m3), a 10,000 ton ship can be modeled as a sphere 42 meters across.  If I try to ram one ship of this size with another, I gain an extra 21 m of impact radius relative to a point missile.  (This leaves aside the nature of the missile's fusing, which I believe is a proximity fuse, giving the missile a greater 'impact' radius than this number would suggest.)  The target gets an extra 4.2 microseconds of breathing room to dodge while the missile is crossing that radius, but only if the missile is only capable of 5,000 km/s (or 5 kkm/s more than the target, if in a tail chase).  So far as we're concerned, ships are point targets relative to their ability to dodge.
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #46 on: October 06, 2016, 04:01:16 PM »
It's not only spoilers who ram. Any race can do it. I had a community game ruined by civilian ships who decided to ram the enemy ships, despite both factions being humans on Earth and non-NPR.

My opinion might be coloured by that experience but I wish that ramming went away completely or at least restricted to the spoilers only - perhaps a specific ship type, not all of their ships, either.
 

Online Erik Luken

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #47 on: October 06, 2016, 04:36:45 PM »
It's not only spoilers who ram. Any race can do it. I had a community game ruined by civilian ships who decided to ram the enemy ships, despite both factions being humans on Earth and non-NPR.

My opinion might be coloured by that experience but I wish that ramming went away completely or at least restricted to the spoilers only - perhaps a specific ship type, not all of their ships, either.
I believe civilian ships are still able to.
 

Offline TheRowan

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2016, 02:15:55 PM »
Thinking about the possibility of specialised ramships, I actually wouldn't mind if this were a potential tactic (presumably more common amongst hive-minded aliens etc... or a fleet of ramshackle Ork vessels  ;)) - but it would need some safeguards to prevent it being all-powerful.

Perhaps something like this:

Any ship wanting to ram another must be in the same position in space as its target
Ramming takes place at the end of the increment (so after the defender has fired all its weapons)
A ship attempting to ram cannot fire its own weapons and counts its speed as 1 km/s for targetting purposes (as it's not manoeuvring evasively at this point so is easy to track)
The ship attempting to ram rolls attack with its speed vs the target's speed (as per missiles)
The ramming ship is automatically destroyed by the attempt, whether it hits or not (could be handwaved away by saying that ramming is getting close enough to catch the other ship with the blast and then detonating your reactors, rather than hull-to-hull contact)

This would keep ramming available as a last-ditch attack, whilst making it too unreliable and expensive to use regularly. As for the ram-ships... a massive block of armour and engines is going to stand out like a donkey's danglies on both Active and Thermal sensors, and will have relatively few HP so will be vulnerable to shock damage. If that ship can make it through the ASM envelope, then the AMM envelope, then the Beam envelope... I think it's earned its attempt to ram!
 

Offline 83athom

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2016, 02:19:38 PM »
Maybe you would also need a Prow component weighing in like 2.5k/5k tons or so.
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Offline Thundercraft

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2016, 11:09:03 PM »
Maybe you would also need a Prow component weighing in like 2.5k/5k tons or so.

That means designing a ship to ram. Would you design all your ships with a Prow, just to have the option to ram? And what about NPRs and civilian ships that want to ram?

Also, the existence of a Prow component suggests that a ship utilizing it is expected to survive impact. But most voices here insist that ramming should destroy the ram ship, making it more difficult to be "exploited" as a strategy to make the game easier. They want to limit it to something rarely done out of desperation.

I ran a multiplayer game with new players recently, and I believe two of the three asked for ramming.

Easy. Just stipulate a "no ramming" rule for your multiplayer games. Community games often state some rules in the OP of their main/FAQ topic.

I don't like ramming from an aesthetic POV...

And you're not the only one who does not like ramming. But some of us greatly desire the option for a player ship to ram.

I understand that player ramming is a matter of personal preference. And I understand the concerns about balance, et al. What puzzles me is how some players are so against this. Even if it was added, how would it impact your games? This is not rhetorical: I'd really like to hear a response.

Aside from multiplayer games: How does the way other players play their single-player campaigns affect you? IMO, how they play and what they find fun is their own business.

There are some players who dislike certain types of strategies or weapons. Perhaps they don't like lasers or rainguns. But that is no reason to tell other players that they can't use them in their single-player games or the multiplayer games they run or participate in. And if you're running your own multiplayer game, you could stipulate a rule to forbid them.

And for those of you asking to remove ramming entirely, NPRs and all, consider: Why not post a suggestion in the Suggestion thread to have a "ramming" setup option to disable or enable it with a click? That way, ramming is still available to the rest of us.

...I suspect that player ramming would become ludicrously overpowered or totally useless.

How is player ramming so different from any number of other new features or suggestions made by players? It sounds like you lack confidence in Steve's ability to balance new features. Worst case scenario: It is unbalanced when initially added. But then, a patch or two later, it gets fixed.

So far as we're concerned, ships are point targets relative to their ability to dodge.

Not necessarily. Like TheRowan and others suggested, it may only require getting in close and then quote, "detonating your reactors, rather than hull-to-hull contact."

I'd assume that missiles are specially designed to deal with this {turning on a dime}.  Ships aren't.

Imagine two aircraft, with one trying to ram the other. And the rammer has superior speed and maneuverability. The ram target will try to destroy the rammer with weapons (assuming it has any), outmaneuver, or flee. Assuming the rammer isn't crippled or destroyed, the ram target won't be able to avoid it, due to having inferior speed and maneuverability. The rammer may miss the initial attempt, but the target can't outrun and it can't avoid forever.

The scenario would be similar if it was two naval ships instead of aircraft. Anyway, computer-controlled ships can ram, so the argument is moot.

...I think that the ability to ram is an interesting point in favor of the NPRs being very different from the players.

Computer opponents are able to utilize a basic strategy that human players can't. And the only plausible reason I hear is... because players could exploit it?

It bothers me when computer opponents have all sorts of major advantages heaped on them to make up for the AI. In my book, that at least suggests flawed game design. Granted, few games have AI which can match human players on an even playing field. And I can ignore AI advantages when they're done behind the scenes. It's a necessary evil. But this advantage is rather in-your-face and hard to ignore.

Also, I have yet to hear a good argument against making player ramming an SM option. If you don't like it, then just don't use it.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2016, 11:27:30 PM by Thundercraft »
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Offline 83athom

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #51 on: October 09, 2016, 02:13:40 AM »
Would you design all your ships with a Prow, just to have the option to ram?
Doesn't the Imperium of Man?
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Offline byron

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #52 on: October 10, 2016, 10:18:13 AM »
Easy. Just stipulate a "no ramming" rule for your multiplayer games. Community games often state some rules in the OP of their main/FAQ topic.
You miss the point.  It's a very obvious newbie trap, which will spawn innumerable threads here.  I'd rather not.
If Steve had infinite time, I wouldn't mind him adding ramming too much.  But it's way down the list of things I'd like him to work on, and I argue against it because of that.

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Not necessarily. Like TheRowan and others suggested, it may only require getting in close and then quote, "detonating your reactors, rather than hull-to-hull contact."
Why on any planet would someone design their reactors to be detonateable?  Also, the math on that doesn't work.  Ramming currently does much more damage to the target than exploding reactors do to a ship.

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Imagine two aircraft, with one trying to ram the other. And the rammer has superior speed and maneuverability. The ram target will try to destroy the rammer with weapons (assuming it has any), outmaneuver, or flee. Assuming the rammer isn't crippled or destroyed, the ram target won't be able to avoid it, due to having inferior speed and maneuverability. The rammer may miss the initial attempt, but the target can't outrun and it can't avoid forever.
"The target can't avoid forever" can be read as "well, if you have a 1% chance, and arbitrarily many chances, you'll eventually get a hit."  The chance is pretty low, depending on how your assumptions are structured.

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The scenario would be similar if it was two naval ships instead of aircraft. Anyway, computer-controlled ships can ram, so the argument is moot.
There are certain things that, as implemented, don't make much sense.  Ramming is one.

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Computer opponents are able to utilize a basic strategy that human players can't. And the only plausible reason I hear is... because players could exploit it?
The Japanese during WWII were able to use a basic strategy that the US didn't even believe was possible early in the war.  Clearly, history is implausible.
Also, note that I thought that only the spoiler NPRs could ram at the time.  I'd be in favor of restricting it to them.
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Offline 83athom

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2016, 10:35:42 AM »
Why on any planet would someone design their reactors to be detonateable?
To not let the enemy gain intelegence about your designs or acces to sensitive documents on board (similar to how German U-Boats sank themselves if they were about to be captured).
There are certain things that, as implemented, don't make much sense.  Ramming is one.
Or like how ships in space move at a constant speed with engines on, ships can accelerate many thousands of km/s within the span of a few seconds, the mass of additives (cargo, fuel, ordinance, etc) is not added or taken away as they are loaded/expended, etc. Just because they don't make sense doesn't mean it doesn't work.
Also, note that I thought that only the spoiler NPRs could ram at the time.  I'd be in favor of restricting it to them.
Or even restrict it to specific spoilers, like just the big bugs and the crazy robots, as the extra galactic, genocidal maniacs would love their lives too much.
Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 

Offline byron

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Re: Why can't player races use their ships to ram?
« Reply #54 on: October 10, 2016, 01:45:28 PM »
To not let the enemy gain intelegence about your designs or acces to sensitive documents on board (similar to how German U-Boats sank themselves if they were about to be captured).
Scuttling charges are generally sized to blow open the hull, not blow up violently enough to do damage to nearby ships.

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Or like how ships in space move at a constant speed with engines on, ships can accelerate many thousands of km/s within the span of a few seconds, the mass of additives (cargo, fuel, ordinance, etc) is not added or taken away as they are loaded/expended, etc. Just because they don't make sense doesn't mean it doesn't work.
The first two are taken care of by technobabble.  The fixed-mass thing is annoying, but can be justified with a bit more technobabble.  (The ship's displacement is fixed by the size of the trans-newtonian field generators, and they can't be adjusted outside of yard hands, so it effectively acts as if it was always at its maximum displacement.) 

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Or even restrict it to specific spoilers, like just the big bugs and the crazy robots, as the extra galactic, genocidal maniacs would love their lives too much.
That would be even better.
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