Author Topic: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)  (Read 1277 times)

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Offline captain_carrot

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Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« on: April 14, 2018, 02:39:52 PM »
I love railguns.   I love their feel, I love their concept, I love massive kinetic slugs hurtling through space.   

The problem is, Aurora doesn't seem to love Railguns very much.   I get the feeling that anything a big railgun could do, a slightly smaller laser could do better.  While I'm having a great time putting the BRRRT on some incoming missiles, it's not enough for me.

Is there any practical application for main-weapon railguns besides RP purposes and personal challenges? For example, I thought I was unlocking their potential by shooting down some of the Spoiler's meson FAC,  but even then, I was just sand papering their armor, which a similarly sized laser would have been able to cut through in one shot.
 

Offline misanthropope

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 07:55:08 PM »
i don't think any beam weapon is really good for anything but PD and niche applications, personally.   Having maybe discredited myself as a judge in some eyes, i think RG stack up pretty well against lasers.   

you lose the important standoff-flawless-victory application, but if you're fast enough for rail guns to count for point defense, you are probably fast enough to wade in to knife-fighting range.   I personally subscribe to the minority view that a couple cheap internals don't turn a fight (especially when you're already at beam ranges!); i want the killing power of pure DPS more than superior penetration/ shock.   Or, you know, against a shield-heavy enemy, i want DPS more than less DPS :)
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2018, 08:45:51 PM »
I prefer them over lasers on beam fighters (though I might be one of the only people to actually use beam fighters :p). There's a number of reasons for this:

1: Range matters less. Fighters are almost always going to be faster then what they're fighting (short of other fighters) but shorter range, so they generally want to get in close anyways. Also saves on bulky long range fire controls.
2: More damage. Railguns do 33% more total damage than the equivalent size laser.
3: Armor penetration doesn't matter. The disadvantage of 4 small shots over one big one is armor penetration, but a 3 damage laser isn't going to penetrate much armor anyways. 10-15cm weapons almost always have to sandpaper armor (or hit an existing hole) anyways, so the penetration difference between 4x1 damage and 1x3 damage is negligible.
4: Don't use corundium. I like cheap fighters that I can spam/use as defenses on colonies, and corundium (used for lasers and mesons) is always in short supply since it's also used in mines. Railguns use less in demand minerals, and weapons are often a larger portion of a fighter's cost than for warships.
5: I know you said "not point defense" but also point defense. The biggest threat to beam fighters is enemy missiles, and a bunch of fighters with 10cm railguns can weather missiles a lot better than ones with mesons or lasers.

Honestly, ignoring point 5 mesons are probably better against capital ships because they ignore armor. And if you want fighters that take out other fighters, lasers are probably the way to go. But railgun fighters are almost as good at both while also being able to defend themselves from missiles.

I do tend to agree that railguns are probably a sub-optimal choice on heavy warship combatants, though.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 12:02:21 AM by Bremen »
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 04:34:43 AM »
Railguns are 'technologically' cheaper.

You don't need to research turrets, because railguns don't use them, and you don't need to research a second energy weapon for point defence. Railguns are as effective as PD lasers/mesons because of the 4 shots.

All railguns can be used for both offensive fire and point defence, giving you effective dual purpose weapons, while offensive lasers are terrible at point defence. You don't need specialized defence ships so you also gain more flexibility.

If I wanted to go down an energy-only route, I would personally choose railguns.
 

Offline captain_carrot

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2018, 11:48:05 AM »
Well I guess I should learn at the feet of the master and "Git Gud" as they say.     I'll keep slugging (pun intended) away at it and see what I can do.   

Spinal Railguns when!?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 11:50:57 AM by captain_carrot »
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2018, 01:29:00 PM »
I actually think railguns will get a bit of a boost in the C# version where the weapon failure chance reduces the viability of kiting and efficiency of firing at the outer edge of your fire control range.

As Steve notes, railguns are powerful and function as a sort of jack of all trades weapon; the only reason I wouldn't use them exclusively in the current version is that kiting from the edge of beam range is such a potent tactic.
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2018, 01:36:36 PM »
On any given RP/BP budget, I'd rather have a mix of lasers and 10cm railguns (which don't even require range tech in the pure PD role).
The problem with large railguns as offensive weapons is that they need capacitor tech well in advance of railgun calibre tech to be competitive.

Offensive lasers aren't necessarily bad at point defence. "Biggest we can reasonably build" may be, but "largest that can fire every increment" or "smallest that can meet maximum BFC range" are worth considering. With sufficient capacitor tech, railguns surpass small to midsize lasers in some ways, but many games are over before then.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2018, 03:22:15 PM »
Spinal railguns will make an appearance in C#. I just haven't decided how to implement them. Leaning toward similar rules for lasers, with higher calibre available. However, I am also considering some form of weapon that has a higher chance of shock damage.

In terms of kiting, I might look at some form of engine modification that allows temporary higher output but with a high risk of engine failure (using up spares) and a small risk of explosion. This is because the Orcs in Battlefleet Gothic Armada can be really annoying with their engine boosts :)  This would be intended as an emergency rather than standard tactic.
 

Offline Erik Luken

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2018, 04:07:15 PM »
Spinal railguns will make an appearance in C#. I just haven't decided how to implement them. Leaning toward similar rules for lasers, with higher calibre available. However, I am also considering some form of weapon that has a higher chance of shock damage.

In terms of kiting, I might look at some form of engine modification that allows temporary higher output but with a high risk of engine failure (using up spares) and a small risk of explosion. This is because the Orcs in Battlefleet Gothic Armada can be really annoying with their engine boosts :)  This would be intended as an emergency rather than standard tactic.

Played a bit of Predestination recently, and in there the railguns are shield-piercing. Maybe something similar?
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2018, 05:06:58 PM »
Spinal railguns will make an appearance in C#. I just haven't decided how to implement them. Leaning toward similar rules for lasers, with higher calibre available. However, I am also considering some form of weapon that has a higher chance of shock damage.

In terms of kiting, I might look at some form of engine modification that allows temporary higher output but with a high risk of engine failure (using up spares) and a small risk of explosion. This is because the Orcs in Battlefleet Gothic Armada can be really annoying with their engine boosts :)  This would be intended as an emergency rather than standard tactic.

Personally I'm hoping that just the failure chance alone might be enough to address kiting. Though I guess it wouldn't apply to NPRs.

As for a particle lance equivalent of a railgun... what about a weapon that lost accuracy instead of damage based on range? After all, those railgun shots aren't likely to be slowing down, but they're harder to lead a target with than a laser.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 05:08:31 PM by Bremen »
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2018, 08:15:20 PM »
Played a bit of Predestination recently, and in there the railguns are shield-piercing. Maybe something similar?
We already have Mesons and Microwaves that "penetrate" shields. I think Spinal Railguns would be enough to improve RG standing vis-a-vis other beams. I don't use them really that often because I like to keep my MK scientist busy with missile tech while my EW scientist does laser stuff.
 

Offline Scandinavian

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2018, 06:18:01 AM »
In terms of kiting, I might look at some form of engine modification that allows temporary higher output but with a high risk of engine failure (using up spares) and a small risk of explosion. This is because the Orcs in Battlefleet Gothic Armada can be really annoying with their engine boosts :)  This would be intended as an emergency rather than standard tactic.
Gonna shamelessly plug the suggestion of a slow-steaming mechanic here, so people have an incentive to only move at combat speed when they are actually in combat.
 
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Offline misanthropope

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2018, 11:52:51 AM »
the future or railguns is IMO highly uncertain.   ISTR that the tracking time bonus is supposed to be implemented in C#, and that represents such a huge boost to railguns in many common circumstances that the entire tree is probably going to need a top-to-bottom review.
 

Offline JacenHan

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2018, 07:05:04 PM »
Gonna shamelessly plug the suggestion of a slow-steaming mechanic here, so people have an incentive to only move at combat speed when they are actually in combat.
I really like this idea, personally. If you could set a specified "cruising" and "combat" speed for each ship design, you could potentially have two buttons in the fleet screen that change a group's speed to the fleet's slowest cruising speed or the highest combat speed, limiting the micromanagement increase to only two extra button presses.
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Practical Applications for Railguns (not Point Defense)
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2018, 07:33:12 PM »
If I were trying to add an anti-kiting mechanic to Aurora, I'd probably just make it so that ships couldn't fire on targets located behind them (with behind being based on a cone away from the direction they moved in the previous increment).

Combat speed is realistic, but not necessarily something that I think the game's model would handle that well.
 

 

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