Author Topic: Replacing PDCs  (Read 17626 times)

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Offline ardem

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #465 on: December 06, 2017, 08:31:39 PM »
Why do we not make it easier like Battletech and build large transports that have the option to land (Landing Module % of the mass of the size of ship for landing and taking off).

You can build teh drop ships at various size and once they have landed then they become you furthest back line defence and still able to be attacked from defensive air cover and space, still able to use it defensive CIWS and shields to help itself. But not able to be attacked from other ground units until all front line troops removed.

On defensive front, since PDC is gone, the defending side has no access to ground fighters as the space stations would be wiped. I think you either have the ability to land space fighters, or make it only ground based fighters as another Ground based option.

I like the idea an engineer group needs to make a airstrip before, although I expect all TN ground fighter to be VTOL so it really only setting up facilities such as fuel and armaments. Or if we take my concept above in transports that have ground based landing option maybe on landing they are the facilities.

 

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #466 on: December 08, 2017, 01:10:35 AM »
A further question for the organization side of things. Given that the whole system is being overhauled, will there be more organization at the high level (such as Corps, Armies and Army Groups?) It'd give something for rank 4 generals to command.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #467 on: December 09, 2017, 09:38:02 AM »
A further question for the organization side of things. Given that the whole system is being overhauled, will there be more organization at the high level (such as Corps, Armies and Army Groups?) It'd give something for rank 4 generals to command.

I'm still debating about command. The variety of unit sizes makes it less straightforward than before so I think an HQ will be rated on the number of units it can command and the maximum size of those units. So a brigade HQ might be 25,000 tons and 10 units for example. A division HQ could be 100,000 tons and 40 units. If either limit is exceeded, the effectiveness of the HQ bonus will be reduced, with no bonus at double the limit. The limit on the number of units will be higher than before so some smaller, specialised units can be included in the command structure. I see no reason why a Corps or Army level HQ could not be added as well.
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #468 on: December 09, 2017, 10:05:53 AM »
I'm still debating about command. The variety of unit sizes makes it less straightforward than before so I think an HQ will be rated on the number of units it can command and the maximum size of those units. So a brigade HQ might be 25,000 tons and 10 units for example. A division HQ could be 100,000 tons and 40 units. If either limit is exceeded, the effectiveness of the HQ bonus will be reduced, with no bonus at double the limit. The limit on the number of units will be higher than before so some smaller, specialised units can be included in the command structure. I see no reason why a Corps or Army level HQ could not be added as well.

Consider letting players create even higher level commands as part of the administrative system similar to Naval commands. There's a point where higher level HQ units become implausible as combat units because they'd be shoved either off planet or under a kilometer of rock and behind the entire army.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #469 on: December 09, 2017, 12:13:28 PM »
Thanks for all the comments and feedback related to landing operations.

I haven't completely decided on the final numbers yet, but in principle I am going for the following options for landing on planets:

1) Troop Transport Bays will be similar to before, except there are now three sizes (small, standard, large), which are: 100 ton (2 HS), 1000 tons (20 HS) and 5000 tons (100 HS). This is a commercial system and functions in the same way as in VB6 Aurora.

2) Troop Transport Bays - Drop Ship Equipped is a new module which can function as a normal troop transport bay or quickly deliver troops from orbit using abstract drop ships. If the fast orbital delivery is chosen, there will be two options for the drop - Normal and Abandon. A normal drop will include waiting for the drop ships to return to the bays, which will require two minutes without additional research. A new tech line will reduce drop ship return times, starting with 90 seconds for 2000 RP and ending with 20 seconds for 64,000 RP. In an Abandon drop, the drop ships make a one way trip, allowing the ship to leave orbit immediately after the drop. In this case the bay is damaged (to simulate the loss of the drop ships) and can only be repaired at a shipyard. A ship with intact drop ships can also pick up troops from a planet, although this requires double the normal return trip time (as it is faster to unload than load). In all cases, the ship may only carry out landing or recovery operations if it starts the movement phase in the same location as the planet. For example, in an Abandon drop, the troop ship will arrive at the planet, take any fire for that turn, then launch drop ships and move away in the following turn. There are drop ship equivalents for the three normal bays. They have the same capacities but are 20% larger, 150% more expensive and a military system.

3) Troop Transport Bays - Boarding Equipped is a new type which can function as normal troop transport bays or launch infantry units in a boarding attack against a hostile ship (in a similar way to VB6 Aurora). There are equivalents for the Small and Standard normal bays. They have the same capacities but are 10% larger, 50% more expensive and a military system.

There are no longer any short-duration troop transport modules, as the 'landing craft' are now the abstract drop ships. This is partly to reduce micromanagement and the number of different ground-related orders, but also to create a real flavour of an opposed landing and to require investment in 'amphibious' operations. Any STO weapons on the surface will be able to target the landing ships on the way in and out of the drop zone. The player has a few options in terms of the troop ships. For example, large and heavily armoured dropping large formations, small and fast with small formations or raiding parties, or bare bones and expendable. Of course, additional ships can accompany the troop ships in an attempt to distract or suppress the defences.

In terms of orbital bombardment support from ground units, I will use a system where a ship is linked to a formation with Forward Fire Direction. Ships will function as bombardment units similar to artillery. I will probably use 20x the square root of the energy weapon damage for the bombardment value with half that as the AP value. So that would be (AP/Damage) 10/20 for a 10cm railgun round or gauss cannon, 17/35 for a 10cm laser, 40/80 for a 25cm laser, etc.. The smaller weapons would be more effective en masse against infantry or static weapons while the larger weapons would be more effective against vehicles. Each Forward Fire Direction component will be able to support one ship or a number of fighters (number TBD).

I haven't completely decided yet on fighters, but I at the moment I am leaning towards new, relatively small, ground-specific modules for 'normal' fighters. Anti-air units will have a ship-type damage value, rather than a ground-type value. For the moment, there will be no 'ground unit fighters', although in the future I might add some 'attack-helicopter' type units.

Of course, all of this has to be coded so I might run into something unexpected at that point which changes things. I think it will be obvious to everyone that this diversion into completely changing ground combat has put C# Aurora back a few months. This is probably the largest overall change so far in game mechanics so I have been giving it a lot of thought before diving into the programming. Also, things are going to be slow over the next few weeks due to the Xmas run-up, although I should have some time off work over the holidays and get some work done then.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 01:36:30 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 
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Offline Barkhorn

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #470 on: December 09, 2017, 12:39:02 PM »
1) Troop Transport Bays will be similar to before, except there are now three sizes (small, standard, large), which are: 100 ton (2 HS), 1000 tons (20 HS) and 5000 tons (100 HS). This is a commercial system and functions in the same way as in VB6 Aurora.
Thank you for including a transport bay small enough for a fighter to use!!
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #471 on: December 09, 2017, 12:44:11 PM »
Please allow Boarding Equipped Troop Transport Bays to be used as Drop Ship Equipped with only 'Abandon Drop Ship' invasion options.

With the new orbital bombardment mechanics the STO mechanics need to be reconsidered; it has become possible to make the attack bounce on the armour, so 'fortify or die' is no longer an absolute requirement to defend against orbital bombardment for Static units. While it certainly seems like ships will have the advantage in damage, especially as the calibers of the guns escalate, the relatively lower cost of the ground forces would give them the volume of fire advantage, and a dozen lasers at point blank range can be quite damaging against a ship.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #472 on: December 09, 2017, 01:00:44 PM »
Please allow Boarding Equipped Troop Transport Bays to be used as Drop Ship Equipped with only 'Abandon Drop Ship' invasion options.

With the new orbital bombardment mechanics the STO mechanics need to be reconsidered; it has become possible to make the attack bounce on the armour, so 'fortify or die' is no longer an absolute requirement to defend against orbital bombardment for Static units. While it certainly seems like ships will have the advantage in damage, especially as the calibers of the guns escalate, the relatively lower cost of the ground forces would give them the volume of fire advantage, and a dozen lasers at point blank range can be quite damaging against a ship.

Ships can still engage STO units using normal combat mechanics (if the STO units open fire). The orbital bombardment mechanics only apply to ground combat.
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #473 on: December 09, 2017, 01:17:17 PM »
Ships can still engage STO units using normal combat mechanics (if the STO units open fire). The orbital bombardment mechanics only apply to ground combat.

Sure, but now you've got actually translated damage and AP values to use in the engagement mechanics, rather than it being a binary question of does the shot hit at all. This makes it possible, and to my eye more consistent, if the STO combat mechanics are based on the orbital bombardment mechanics. Because those are based on the ground combat mechanics, which also acknowledge the fortification system.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #474 on: December 09, 2017, 01:34:03 PM »
Sure, but now you've got actually translated damage and AP values to use in the engagement mechanics, rather than it being a binary question of does the shot hit at all. This makes it possible, and to my eye more consistent, if the STO combat mechanics are based on the orbital bombardment mechanics. Because those are based on the ground combat mechanics, which also acknowledge the fortification system.

The fortification system is completely separate to the damage mechanics and is used for both ground combat and STO vs Ship combat. In both cases, it reduces the chance to hit.

However, I think you saying (correct me if wrong) that if a hit is achieved by a ship on an STO unit, then the hit should be resolved using the bombardment AP & Damage values laid out in my earlier post. That would actually be more consistent and remove the need for a special case. In effect, ships could directly bombard ground units firing at them, but require fire direction for general bombardment of specific ground formations engaged in ground combat.

I don't think it would make too much different in reality because of the very low value and hit points of static units but it might be possible for them to survive a low strength hit (10cm railgun round for example) if the STO units have a tech advantage. Even given that, it probably is better to make it consistent.

EDIT: In fact, now I consider further I should keep the anti-air units consistent with ground combat values, allow them to take part in ground combat as well (as many AA units did in reality) and translate those values into normal ship to ship damage using the opposite formula. For example:

An AA unit with values of AP 10 / Damage 20, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (20 / 20) ^ 2 = 1.
An AA unit with values of AP 20 / Damage 40, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (40 / 20) ^ 2 = 4.
An AA unit with values of AP 30 / Damage 60, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (60 / 20) ^ 2 = 9.

If a hit is scored against a ground unit, the ground unit values are used. Against a (low-flying) fighter, the anti-ship values are used. I just need to make sure the costs of the AA units are consistent with their capabilities (and ensure there is a balance between ground and air). I can see that AA suppression should be one of the fighter mission orders.

I know this means that some ground unit weapons seem powerful in ship to ship terms but the technobabble can be that ground unit weapons are designed for very close combat (a few kilometres) while ship-based weapons are used across tens or hundreds of thousands of kilometres. The AA units are only effective against low-flying fighters and would be useless against anything in orbit. The ground to space interactions are really starting to come together.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 02:07:22 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #475 on: December 09, 2017, 02:31:16 PM »
However, I think you saying (correct me if wrong) that if a hit is achieved by a ship on an STO unit, then the hit should be resolved using the bombardment AP & Damage values laid out in my earlier post. That would actually be more consistent and remove the need for a special case. In effect, ships could directly bombard ground units firing at them, but require fire direction for general bombardment of specific ground formations engaged in ground combat.

That is what I meant, yes.

I don't think it would make too much different in reality because of the very low value and hit points of static units but it might be possible for them to survive a low strength hit (10cm railgun round for example) if the STO units have a tech advantage. Even given that, it probably is better to make it consistent.

This is quite probable. However, it does mean that giving Static units access to better armour similar to other ground units can give you more options and answer the question of 'do I want to fortify a desert or barren world' with 'yes.' Because now you can armour the STO units effectively, if not necessarily cheaply. On the other hand, jungle/mountain STO units will remain cheap and effective, or more expensive and really, really annoying to try and bombard into submission due to not being locked to the lowest armour level.

It also means you can now actually create effective hardened defense positions instead of glass cannons a properly prepared enemy assault force can force relatively easily. And yes, a properly dug in, armoured Static defense unit is going to be horrible to dig out; that's something the various defensive positions the Japanese established in the Pacific as well as the Vietcong demonstrated very ably.

EDIT: In fact, now I consider further I should keep the anti-air units consistent with ground combat values, allow them to take part in ground combat as well (as many AA units did in reality) and translate those values into normal ship to ship damage using the opposite formula. For example:

An AA unit with values of AP 10 / Damage 20, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (20 / 20) ^ 2 = 1.
An AA unit with values of AP 20 / Damage 40, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (40 / 20) ^ 2 = 4.
An AA unit with values of AP 30 / Damage 60, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (60 / 20) ^ 2 = 9.

If a hit is scored against a ground unit, the ground unit values are used. Against a (low-flying) fighter, the anti-ship values are used. I just need to make sure the costs of the AA units are consistent with their capabilities (and ensure there is a balance between ground and air). I can see that AA suppression should be one of the fighter mission orders.

I know this means that some ground unit weapons seem powerful in ship to ship terms but the technobabble can be that ground unit weapons are designed for very close combat (a few kilometres) while ship-based weapons are used across tens or hundreds of thousands of kilometres. The AA units are only effective against low-flying fighters and would be useless against anything in orbit. The ground to space interactions are really starting to come together.

So long as that's only against ships and fighters that are registered as 'on planet' and not landed that's fine.
 

Online TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #476 on: December 09, 2017, 02:54:31 PM »
Do CIWS fit into this damage conversion dynamic at all?  Probably not, eh.

60-90 seconds seems like forever to sit at zero range for heavy beam weapons.  I can't  see myself ever using anything but Abandon for contested planets. I suppose the ground units are off the ship even at the start though? So they are safe, at least from the STO weapons.

i'd love to see it be a design-level consideration rather than a technology-level consideration. i.e., the number of drop modules you include in your design VS amount of troop bays determines its capabilities, ala Cargo Handling Systems.   You'd have a minimum number for doing Abandons - representing just piling troops into pods, shuttles etc and throwing them at the earth.  Then a threshold for doing return drops, representing that shuttles are loaded normally and have enough fuel to return to orbit.   After that additional modules would reduce the return time, representing lighter loads on shuttles and faster unloading, up to a minimum threshold.  In this context, improved tech would improve the performance per-module and reduce the minimum threshold.

Another possibilities in this design would be ships that could do sequential Abandons - an Abandon only need irreparably damage the minimum # of modules needed to conduct the Abandon.    So in an RP you could have a 'drop pod cruiser' that only does abandons, but can do them multiple times because of its redundant drop modules.

Not sure of the difficult code wise of that VS dedicated modules though.
 

Offline Arwyn

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #477 on: December 09, 2017, 07:34:03 PM »
Steve, one thing to consider would be if the troop type actually needs a drop module.

For example, Starship Troopers Mobile Infantry is power armor equipped, a drop ship was not needed as they deployed from drop pods from orbit. This same mechanism is used for a lot of sci-fi power armor troops. It is actually also used in Battletech, as Battlemechs were orbital dropped in drop pods instead of having drop ships going into contested spots.

The problem with the Battletech analogy is that the Dropships WERE ships. They ran from 200 tons to 50,000 tons and got insystem via a jumpship. Just like Aurora.

Another FASA game system, which would be more applicable to the Aurora discussion, was Renegade Legion. Infantry could deploy via drop pod from orbit, or ride down in a grav APC which dropped from orbit and rode down with a heat shield. There WERE drop ships, but they were usually used for large equipment and non-drop capable combat units like tracked tanks for non-bounce infantry (straight leg infantry).

So, perhaps the troop modules could be;

1) Standard troop transport bay- rated for size like you mention, and a stock commercial system.
2) Drop module- A module for storing and launching orbit drop pods. The module is sized to match the transport bay. Military system.
3) Dropship module- a small hanger module for dropships, once again rated to support the size of transport bay. This would be integral abstract dropships.
4) Hanger Bay- Purpose built multi-role dropships, just like we currently have. More flexibility, but more space/weight/cost.
5) Troop Landing module. Military system. This would be the actual bay, drop doors, equipment ready racks, ect for an actually assault landing. Sized to match the transport bays

Breaking it up like this would allow different combinations. Such as a dedicated troopship for power armor infantry that has the troop transport bays, drop modules for insertion, and a dropship bay for recovery or planetary loading. Something like;
4x Small troop transport bays
4x Small drop modules
1x Small dropship module (recovery boats) 

Something like a Battletech style Leopard dropship;
4x Heavy troop transport bays
4x Heavy troop landing module

But you could also build something like a large infantry transport for low intensity or non-combat areas, something like;
Infantry Troop Transport/Lander
6x Small troop transport bays
1x Troop Landing modules

So, something like the above could ferry troops around, and land on the surface (abstractly) but only deploy a single unit at a time.

Something like this system could give you the capability of doing an LCI/LHA style carrier with dropships, a Leopard style assault lander, a Starship Troopers style Troopship with drop modules, or an Orbital Assault carrier with dedicated multi-role troopships (hanger bay style).
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #478 on: December 09, 2017, 11:59:58 PM »
I agree that it sounds like what you're going for are closer to drop pods than drop ships. Might even want to give up on the recoverable drop ships after a delay idea if you want to keep things simple, though there's nothing wrong with it.

About the only suggestion I would have is merging the drop ship/drop pod modules and the boarding ones, instead of having separate modules. It's simpler, and makes sense that something that could drop troops from orbit could drop them onto a spacecraft.
 

Online TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #479 on: December 10, 2017, 12:29:09 AM »
It's simpler, but you lose on design level complexity.
 

 

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