Aurora 4x

VB6 Aurora => Advanced Tactical Command Academy => Topic started by: xenoscepter on July 10, 2019, 01:54:53 AM

Title: Tactical Questions Regarding Shields and Weapon Scale.
Post by: xenoscepter on July 10, 2019, 01:54:53 AM
 --- So I've noticed that shields are a little... underwhelming in my humble opinion. I've found that 1 HS [or 50 Tons for the looney bins like me out there.] is actually quite a bit of weight for the protection they provide. Alpha Shields are 1 point per 1 HS, while Theta shields provide 4 points per 1 HS. However, Theta Shields... hell even Epsilon Shields for that matter; these things take a lot of Tech. That isn't even taking into account the RPs needed to keep the regeneration rate techs at parity with the shield strength techs. Then there is the matter of fuel consumption, which adds in even MORE weight. Without Fuel Consumption techs, yet another RP sink in and of itself, you can get to the point where 27 points worth of Shielding with a regen rate of 300s can be eating a good 1-6k of fuel per day! My ships using said shields at Epsilon Tech, with 0.4 Fuel Consumption and Regen Rate to parity are consuming a little over 2,500 litres per day! That's 50 Tons [or 1 HS for you sane folk] of fuel per 5 day increment and 200 Tons per month! Wowza! Thirsty much?

 --- So the question part of this little... let's call it a rant despite the fact that I'm not mad, goes as such:

 -A- How practical would you consider the protection afforded by Shields on a point per point basis?

 -B- How economical would you consider Shields to be as a defense with respect to Speed and/or armor?

 -C- Do you feel that ECM / ECCM degrades the practicality of Shields?

 -D- What is your personal opinion on the uses for Shields? What roles do you see them filling well? What roles do they fill poorly? What kind of ships / doctrines could you see them working in?

 --- The part of this post is weapon scale. I've done some VERY light reading on naval guns by caliber as a result of Lasers, HPMs, Mesons, and Railguns being developed and fielded in "XX"cm increments. This has influenced my ship designs, as I've come to find out that 155m [that's American for 15cm, by the by] is a WHOLE lotta gun. Like, dass a HOOGE piece of arty right there. Yet in the game, and on the forums too, I see 30cm weapons. They're very practical in terms of Tech costs too [relatively speaking of course] I've fit ships as small as 7,500 Tons with a pair of 35cm Railguns, and am quickly becoming fond of 30cm HPMs for their sheer shield shredding, ship blinding goodness. I've managed to cram a 30cm HPM, a 15cm Railgun and a 15cm Laser into a 6,250 Ton Jump Capable Frigate even! 300mm to 350mm of death dealing goodness... and it comes in FUN SIZE!? Nuts tell you, raving mad.

 --- So my questions regarding these, erm, revelations... they are as follows:

 -A- What is your opinion on "big guns"? How big of a beam weapon do you need before you go, "yeah, that's a formidably sized weapon."?

 -B- Do your ships have secondaries? Have you ever found them useful?

 -C- What Size-Based tech level, if ever, do you find that Beam Weapons plateau at?

 -D- Are the diameters given a meaningful indication of the weapons general effectiveness? [NOTE: I'm assuming that Capacitor, B-FCS, and other relevant Technology is keeping up at a nominal pace.]

 --- I feel like Beam Weapon range starts to matter a bit less as technology marches on. almost as if it is a diminishing return on investment; I'd be interested to hear what veteran players think as I find the mechanics of Aurora fascinating...

 --- For those who want the designs; here's the Mjonir and the Sentinel: both WIPs. As always feedback is welcome, but I suspect I'll post them to the Bureau of Ship Design eventually...

Related Post:
Title: Re: Tactical Questions Regarding Shields and Weapon Scale.
Post by: Michael Sandy on July 10, 2019, 03:26:18 AM
Shields are somewhat problematic.  They work great if the enemy is inclined to split their fire.  They work great if the enemy is firing from long range and has a 5 minute rate of fire.  They work great if your ships are likely to survive a given round of fire.  And arguably, they work at lower tech levels where the dps is also lower.  But you need to have a LOT of them on a ship for them to really work.  And so they only really work on large ships.

They have a role on kiting warships.  Occasionally you don't have an advantage in fire controls, or only parity, so you have to engage at near your max fire control range, which is also within the enemy's max beam fire control range.  And a ship that has shields and a speed advantage can theoretically dance in and out of max range, and defeat a much larger group of enemy ships without taking permanent damage.

One thing to help make them work:  Pair them with an anti-missile sensor ship or sensor base that can detect missiles 5 minutes out. ;)  Unfortunately, missile speeds increase as fast as active sensor range.  I THINK that thermals get better for early warning as the game goes on, because those faster missiles put out more thermal emissions.  But for bases that have Deep Space Sensors that can provide more early warning for ships based there.  Also, make sure the subphase is pretty short too.

There are a couple of bases for evaluating shield effectiveness.  On a HS basis, shields pay for themselves after they have regenerated two or three times.  On a mineral effectiveness, you have Duranium and Neutronium shortages FAR more often than Boronide.
Title: Re: Tactical Questions Regarding Shields and Weapon Scale.
Post by: Iranon on July 10, 2019, 04:33:04 AM

A: Good enough. They have their uses in long-range beam duels, against overwhelming missile volleys, they allow one big ship to be nigh-invulnerable. Less good for brawlers that are expected to be roughed up even if everything goes to plan.

B: Related to A, fine per BP but RP may be an issue. I find shields very much optional, they need several lines, and in most cases I'd rather have mediocre armour than bad shields.

C: Quite the opposite, they work very well together. ECM allows one to take very little damage when coupled with high speed, beam range or both. If you build a craft to ideally not take return fire in beam combat, shields are a preferable safeguard to armour if that doesn't quite work out as damage taken should come in small trickle.

D: Good fit for kiting ships and ships expected to take all enemy fire (operating alone, or being larger with the largest EM signature).


A:  30cm lasers or carronades starts to feel like a big gun. 15cm lasers are my preferred offensive weapon, so large guns mostly have niche applications. I don't really see the point of large particle beams, and railguns never feel large: they essentially do the job of multiple small lasers,  worse if they fire slower than every 10s. This means railgun calibre is mostly limited by capacitor tech for me.

B: Many ships have dedicated point defence weapons, mostly 10cm railguns. Fast ships are usually expected to fight at range, so 15cm lasers, equivalent railguns if capacitor tech permits  or particle beam-2 is likely to be the main weapon. Shock damage and armour penetration are unlikely to be more meaningful than DPS at range. If controlling the range isn't possible, midsize lasers carving gashes and 10cm railguns exploiting them works well.
Slow ships may carry a mixed main battery: A few big guns for overwhelming single volleys at short range and carve holes into armour, fast-firing secondaries for sustained output and for reliably exploiting the gaps. Notable: large weapons with low range multipliers are cheap, efficient in a brawl, but have long maximum range when you need it.

C: Lasers 15cm; 30 or 40cm for niche use. Railguns: 10cm; 15-25cm can be ok with high capacitor tech. Carronades: Mostly inferior to infrared/visible light lasers; 30cm can serve as an early big gun if desired. Particle Beam: Smallest size is pretty much the only one I build. Mesons: 10cm, occasionally 15-20cm as an oddball choice for range on a budget, but doesn't mix well with other types. Microwaves: 10 or 15cm.

D: IMO, having the RIGHT weapon for the job is important, bigger certainly isn't better. Massive broadside to hopefully overwhelm the opponent is very different from a ship built for sustained output, and other design details will match that. Generally, I like small sophisticated weapons on fast ships (dual purpose, weight-efficiency is important as hauling stuff at speed is expensive) and large primitive weapons on slow ships.
Title: Re: Tactical Questions Regarding Shields and Weapon Scale.
Post by: Jorgen_CAB on July 10, 2019, 05:51:33 AM
Shields are really powerful in certain situation while armour is always useful and important.

If shields had close to similar number of hit points as armour then shields would be absurdly broken and over powered.

I think the above posts give a fair overview of the strengths of shields.

In my games I usually find the introduction of shields to be sort of a game changer in terms of staying power overall for the one that start using them in my multi-faction games. Since you generally need reduced sized or box launched launchers to penetrate any decent beam point defences then shields make ships very tough to knock out in comparison to a ship that does not use shields.

In beam combat you can also utilise shields to good effect to try and keep at range for as long as possible or to retreat damaged ships behind their none damaged ones to regenerate their shields in formations during beam combat.

In c# Aurora you will also be able to get more shield strength the bigger the shield module is. So the more RP you are able to divert into the shield the more powerful they will get. But it will always be a trade off between what you wan your RP to be used for in general.

Every form of defence is important in different ways be them speed, armour, shields, sensors (not just ECM mind you), weapons. Everything is important and in which combination you use them depends on doctrine, research priority and capabilities. In my mutli-faction games for example I don't allow research facilities to change between research fields without penalties... so each faction will have to make more long term decisions on how many facilities are used for say engines, sensors or certain weapons types. So the rules of your game will also affect the choices you will make and how efficient certain things might be. If you only have bad defence researcher you might not want to waste time on researching both armour and shields as one example.
Title: Re: Tactical Questions Regarding Shields and Weapon Scale.
Post by: Garfunkel on July 10, 2019, 11:37:09 AM
As for fuel consumption, you research that tech anyway because of engines, so it shouldn't really be calculated into the RP cost for shields. And you don't keep shields on 24/7 - you only turn them on just before battle begins. Generally that means that you turn them on before JP assault or as the enemy missiles are spotted (if your sensors are good enough) or as you close to the enemy colony.