Author Topic: Dropping Troops from Orbit  (Read 3523 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Star Marshal
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 7739
  • Thanked: 3771 times
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2018, 06:16:48 AM »
I am ok with planets being very hard to conquer. I do however have a question. I apologize if it's already been written somewhere and I missed it / forgot about it. In my defense, there's a lot of topics and posts in this forum by now :)

How likely are we to actually have a workable idea of what we are going to face during an invasion? Will espionage tell us more or less in detail in Aurora #? Will a lot of espionage be needed for that?
I assume that's the case, I just want to be sure. Because a blind invasion sounds like a really, really bad idea ;D

ELINT can theoretically tell you about all the installations on the planet and you will know the total size of ground forces, modified by fortification level (so at the moment you will have to estimate how fortified they will be to determine the likely size). However, I will be adding some more intel options to give information about hostile ground forces (probably additional ELINT capabilities).
 
The following users thanked this post: Zincat, DIT_grue, The Forbidden

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Star Marshal
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 7739
  • Thanked: 3771 times
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #46 on: December 27, 2018, 06:21:47 AM »
BTW the NPR in my test game is currently defending its home world with 48x turret-mounted twin 10cm lasers and 84x 25cm lasers, plus 24,000 infantry (plus supporting CAP, AT, etc.), 800 medium tanks, 800 Light AA Teams, 200 AA tanks, 360 towed artillery, etc.. The total transport size of the current home world ground forces is 555,000 (111 large transport bays). It has deployed formations each with 14x 25cm lasers and 8x twin turrets to two minor colony worlds, plus more supporting ground forces. It is also currently building more STO units than it has already deployed.

looking at this the question for me is not to make assaults even more dangerous but if an assault is really worth the trouble at all...

would all STO's be able to shoot at the attacking craft Steve? or only a % of them because of the planetary curvature? if - this early in your game - the NPR is still increasing the STO's I don't want to think about what numbers they have when you could attack them.. that's what? the equivalent of 20-30 "old" PDC's and much harder to kill as "old" PDC's too?

I still say that it should benefit to go with the trouble to assault a planet at all... hmm...

looking at the numbers, I would guess size 1 missiles will be the weapon of choice to overhelm the planetary defenders point defence at the beginning... hmm.. back to the planing board...

All the STOs will be able to shoot at you.

In terms of whether it is worth assaulting the planet, you could try to destroy it instead but these ground defences are backed up by orbital bases (with AMM and more laser turrets) and those bases are also protected by the ground-based point defence, plus any mobile forces. Some form of siege is another option, but the NPR will continue to build while resources last. As I mentioned early in development, it is going to be a LOT harder to conquer a major planet.

If you do go in, you can send numerous large, well-armoured transports, plus warships and missile strikes to occupy the ground defences. You will take losses though.
 
The following users thanked this post: The Forbidden

Offline Scandinavian

  • Warrant Officer, Class 1
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 82
  • Thanked: 24 times
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #47 on: December 27, 2018, 08:25:28 AM »
I really don't want to go down that route due to potential complexities. Given the large differences in sizes of different units (5 tons to 500+ tons) and the possible combinations of different landing craft sizes in the main fleet, the code would need to figure out the best way to load them all, then keep track of the split (using a new type of sub-formation) and display that on the UI. Plus what happens if the fleet splits (either voluntarily or due to damage)? Do those sub-formations in the split-off fleets become new formations?
My understanding was that fleets can already do this with their sub-fleets, as long as the player pre-designates the sub-fleets. (I may be rusty on this; I've always just doomstacked my fleets for greater PD synergy.)

Given that the ground forces also use a command structure hierarchy, wouldn't it be possible to let the player define sub-formations and provide a set of orders to "assemble all sub-formations (and their sub-formations) on this HQ," "break into sub-formations," or "break into sub-formations and keep breaking into sub-formations until you run out of pre-defined sub-formations or your current formation is no larger than [user defined at time of order] ton."

This would both give the player a way to flesh out their OOB, and remove much of the tedium of rearranging ground force formations to fit the scale of the operation you are planning. When back on the homeworld, your formations may be consolidated into corps or even armies to make it easy to view their deployment at a glance; while during active operations you probably want to break down below the brigade level to ensure that each element is in the correct operational stance.

As a bonus, it would provide scaffolding for possible future implementation of more granular "reinforce to template" or equipment upgrade operations.
 
The following users thanked this post: DIT_grue

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Star Marshal
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 7739
  • Thanked: 3771 times
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #48 on: December 27, 2018, 09:06:10 AM »
You can't really break down into sub-formations and then reassemble, because there are no fixed templates. The formation template is for building purposes. Once built, you can add and remove units from formations without restriction. Plus, morale can be very varied formations with the same original template type.

Ground combat is going to be complex in terms of organisation even without sub-formations. You can still create very detailed OOBs though (see my German OOB below) and as long as your individual transports in a fleet have bays sufficient for the small formations, you can load the whole hierarchy with a single order.

 
The following users thanked this post: DIT_grue

Offline Whitecold

  • Commander
  • *********
  • W
  • Posts: 324
  • Thanked: 75 times
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2018, 09:43:00 AM »
Finally, a large commercial-engined ship (which needs no maintenance and can be built in commercial shipyards), which carries 125x more troops than the small ship and 10x more than the medium. It has 3390 armour (which is 140x more than the small ship and 22x more than the medium). It could theoretically take 200 hits at point-blank range from 25cm lasers (assuming even distribution). It costs 44x the small and 10x the medium. Plus, every small or medium ship lost means troops lost as well, whereas you have to penetrate all the armour on the large ship before any troops are lost.

Haruna II class Troop Transport      127,890 tons       726 Crew       7,003.6 BP       TCS 2,558    TH 6,144    EM 0
2402 km/s      Armour 15-226       Shields 0-0       HTK 296      Sensors 8/8/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 34    Max Repair 200 MSP
Troop Capacity 50,000 tons     Drop Capable    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG 
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

Commercial Magneto-plasma Drive  EP256 (24)    Power 6144    Fuel Use 3.54%    Signature 256    Explosion 4%
Fuel Capacity 350,000 Litres    Range 13.9 billion km   (67 days at full power)

CIWS-160 (2x2)    Range 1000 km     TS: 16,000 km/s     ROF 5       Base 50% to hit
Thermal Sensor TH1-8 (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km
EM Sensor EM1-8 (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km

A small, fast ship would be harder to hit for the large lasers (although not for the point defences), although any hit may be fatal and it is unlikely to be so much harder to hit that it compensates for the difference in overall armour and the incremental losses.

Mesons would be a problem for the large. In fact, TBH mesons are so dangerous in general I am considering either making them ruins-only or adding some restrictions (cue new thread :) )

Anyway, my point is that small ships are unlikely to have any major advantages over large ships (probably the reverse) once you take the comparative capacity, protection and cost into consideration, so I don't want to spend a lot of time coding something that probably isn't a good idea anyway.

The commercial classified ship seems to strain the rules on military maintenance vs commercial. It is clearly a military design, and a drop ship would likely benefit a lot from shields, which classify it as military, but the heavy armor does not.
That seems like a very artificial distinction that goes against the spirit of the military vs commercial. If the issue is that you cannot build large enough drop ships otherwise, increasing the capacity of military shipyards seems the better option.
It seems exploity, like the old PDC hangars which somehow magically let you avoid maintenance.

EDIT: Were commercial designs not limited to 1 layer of armor, or am I now confusing something?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 09:48:48 AM by Whitecold »
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Star Marshal
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 7739
  • Thanked: 3771 times
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2018, 10:27:50 AM »
The commercial classified ship seems to strain the rules on military maintenance vs commercial. It is clearly a military design, and a drop ship would likely benefit a lot from shields, which classify it as military, but the heavy armor does not.
That seems like a very artificial distinction that goes against the spirit of the military vs commercial. If the issue is that you cannot build large enough drop ships otherwise, increasing the capacity of military shipyards seems the better option.
It seems exploity, like the old PDC hangars which somehow magically let you avoid maintenance.

EDIT: Were commercial designs not limited to 1 layer of armor, or am I now confusing something?

Commercial has always been able to mount any amount of armour. Also, troop transport bays have always been commercial. In VB6, the much more compact combat drop modules are military, as they allow you to put the same ground forces in a much smaller space, with the downside that holding troops for more than one week caused morale problems.

In C#, the drop bays are the same as the normal transport bays in terms of capacity and ability to hold troops indefinitely. The only difference is that the 'drop bays' have the ability to open up and release all the troops at once, compared to unloading via cargo shuttles. I don't believe, given how similar drop bays are to transport bays, that having them commercial is "a very artificial distinction that goes against the spirit of the military vs commercial". Especially considering that CIWS, thick armour and even military jump drives are all 'commercial' systems.

'Commercial' in the Aurora sense was created to distinguish between those ships you need to maintain vs those you don't. In early versions of the game, you needed to maintain and overhaul everything, including freighters, colony ships, harvesters, troop transports, etc.. Eventually, the commercial vs military distinction was added so that you only had to maintain warships, scouts, gravitational survey ships and any other ships with military engines. It was assumed anything built without offensive weapons, capable sensors or naval engines was a 'commercial' vessel that did not require management of maintenance and could be built in commercial shipyards. The shields vs armour distinction was necessary so that commercial ships could operate in nebulae, but giving a ship armour does not really increase its maintenance requirement (whereas shields probably do) so it fit within the commercial side of the split anyway.

Making the new drop bays 'military' would mean they had to be maintained by maintenance facilities and built by naval shipyards, which is a far greater impact on the overall game. Changing the way naval shipyards work would affect even more. Of course, players can still build naval versions of troop transports with military engines and shields if desired. However, shields are better for long-drawn out combat where they have time to generate. Armour is probably superior in bang-for-buck terms for short-period, high intensity combat.
 
The following users thanked this post: King-Salomon

Offline Whitecold

  • Commander
  • *********
  • W
  • Posts: 324
  • Thanked: 75 times
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #51 on: December 27, 2018, 11:04:39 AM »
I understand that commercial/military is mostly a convenience feature, for me the line just goes down "If it ever comes intentionally into harms way, it should be a military design anyway," which is clearly the case for a drop ship.
(In contrast to a non-drop troop ship which may load troops onto drop ships for a second run, which would be a good use for shields, since they can regenerate between runs)
It is a personal opinion, but when designing a drop ship, I don't want to think about if it qualifies for the very artificial commercial/military classification. For any other ship role, it is basically already given what it will end up as, which is the best way to "hide" such a convenience feature without breaking suspension of disbelief. The only exception that comes to mind is the geosurvey ship, which may end up commercial or military.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Star Marshal
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 7739
  • Thanked: 3771 times
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #52 on: December 27, 2018, 11:51:35 AM »
I understand that commercial/military is mostly a convenience feature, for me the line just goes down "If it ever comes intentionally into harms way, it should be a military design anyway," which is clearly the case for a drop ship.
(In contrast to a non-drop troop ship which may load troops onto drop ships for a second run, which would be a good use for shields, since they can regenerate between runs)
It is a personal opinion, but when designing a drop ship, I don't want to think about if it qualifies for the very artificial commercial/military classification. For any other ship role, it is basically already given what it will end up as, which is the best way to "hide" such a convenience feature without breaking suspension of disbelief. The only exception that comes to mind is the geosurvey ship, which may end up commercial or military.

It's not a convenience feature. It was the result of a lot of debate on the forums about maintenance micromanagement vs game play. The only game play effect of 'commercial' is flagging whether a ship needs maintenance facilities and naval shipyards. This cannot be done on an overall class design level, because you don't know what systems may go together or what purpose a player may intended for a design. There are also plenty of situations where unarmed 'commercial' ships are put to military use, including picketing, scouting, decoying, etc. and there are many times that 'commercial' troop transports are used to deliver troops direct to the battlefield.

BTW the same debate re maintenance also covered the differences between relatively small warships and large ships intended for industry, transportation or logistics. The decision was to have two different types of shipyard. In early versions there used to only be one shipyard type and freighters were the same size as warships. That was hard to accept, so as long as something had only commercial (easy to maintain) systems and had less powerful engines (commercial engines), it had less rigorous construction requirements and could be built in the new 'commercial' shipyards. This debate was about ten years ago and also moved shipyards from the surface into orbit.

If the flag was called 'Requires Maintenance & Naval Shipyard' vs 'Doesn't Require Maintenance & Naval Shipyard', would that be easier to accept without suspension of disbelief?
 

Offline Whitecold

  • Commander
  • *********
  • W
  • Posts: 324
  • Thanked: 75 times
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #53 on: December 27, 2018, 12:55:40 PM »
If the flag was called 'Requires Maintenance & Naval Shipyard' vs 'Doesn't Require Maintenance & Naval Shipyard', would that be easier to accept without suspension of disbelief?
Calling it a convenience feature is not exactly the best wording on my part. What I meant was that it is exactly as you said a choice about gameplay and micromanagement, and anchored entirely on game mechanic. The only in-world justification is high-maintenance vs low-maintenance, and for simplicity's sake there is no further graduation.

I very welcome the addition of commercial magazines and maintenance supply storage, which had been a weird point of "Why does a magazine cause my engine to fail" Similarly I very much like the new structural hull, that offers a clear choice between orbital platform and ship, not needing an orbital habitat for the completely different purpose of building it by construction factories.
What I meant for the most part, once you define a role, you automatically define military or commercial flag. Any decent sensors, any weapons, any high powered engine triggers it.

My suspension of disbelief is not threatened by the exact wording, but specifically by heavily armored commercial-flagged drop ships, since there are many systems I might reasonably add which suddenly make it military flagged.
Classifying drop modules as military modules would resolve the issue, but might require some other adjustment to not make landings impossibly hard. Limiting the armor to 1 layer would also do it.

I am very worried that the benefits of no maintenance will completely outclass any other possible drop ship design. There is every incentive not to experiment with adding weapons, adding shields, better sensors, because it would all make it a lot more expensive by breaking commercial status. That feels just sad. Yes, pure armor+drop module designs will preform good, and likely better than many of the complicated designs, but they at least won't be much worse, and thus people will experiment with them, but the expense of the shipyards and maintenance will block most of that off.
 
The following users thanked this post: Scandinavian

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Star Marshal
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 7739
  • Thanked: 3771 times
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #54 on: December 27, 2018, 01:22:34 PM »
I am very worried that the benefits of no maintenance will completely outclass any other possible drop ship design. There is every incentive not to experiment with adding weapons, adding shields, better sensors, because it would all make it a lot more expensive by breaking commercial status. That feels just sad. Yes, pure armor+drop module designs will preform good, and likely better than many of the complicated designs, but they at least won't be much worse, and thus people will experiment with them, but the expense of the shipyards and maintenance will block most of that off.

OK, I can understand that concern. I think the underlying problem is two-fold. The new ground forces (and their logistics) are likely to take up a lot of space and planetary defences are going to be much more formidable.

You could still design some large military drop ships and the changes to maintenance actually make that easier in C# than in VB6 (easier to create the facilities - cost is the same). I could also look at making it easier to create very large military shipyards, probably by adjusting the bonus given to large shipyards (so no changes early on but accelerating benefits later). However, having said that, I think the opportunities for ingenuity in overcoming planetary defences will be a combined approach from supporting warships of different types, fighter missions, suppression by missiles, etc. rather than the design of the drop ships themselves. The mission is escorting/supporting those transport ships to the drop point, rather than necessarily having complex transport ship designs.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

  • Vice Admiral
  • **********
  • J
  • Posts: 1009
  • Thanked: 77 times
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #55 on: December 27, 2018, 05:26:19 PM »
I must say that I don't like how commercial designs cost nothing to maintain. I agree that you should not need maintenance supplies and do overhaul on them but you could very well add a wealth cost to them, one you have to pay each 5 day cycle no matter where they are. But this is not the main discussion soo...

I do think that having this sort of "artificial" rather big difference in cost/maintenance will make the choice of design very hard and in favor of commercial drop ships only. The cost of military ships are astronomically more expensive. There are no military equipment you could not put on an escort ship to follow the drop ships that would make it worth using military drop ships.

I'm not saying this is a problem, but it will make invasions from an economic standpoint allot easier.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Star Marshal
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 7739
  • Thanked: 3771 times
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #56 on: December 27, 2018, 06:10:40 PM »
I'm not saying this is a problem, but it will make invasions from an economic standpoint allot easier.

I agree on this point. However, if the transport ships were military, the economic impact of building the type of ground forces lift capacity you will need to invade a home world would be prohibitive. Even with commercial ships, easier is certainly not easy. The military investment will be in the forces required to beat back the defences, rather than the transport assets. That isn't to say that having a few specialised, large military assault ships is not a good idea, but they are probably not viable on the scale required when you need to land a million+ tons of troops.
 

Offline Kurt

  • Global Moderator
  • Vice Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1095
  • Thanked: 366 times
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #57 on: December 27, 2018, 07:08:21 PM »
You can't really break down into sub-formations and then reassemble, because there are no fixed templates. The formation template is for building purposes. Once built, you can add and remove units from formations without restriction. Plus, morale can be very varied formations with the same original template type.

Ground combat is going to be complex in terms of organisation even without sub-formations. You can still create very detailed OOBs though (see my German OOB below) and as long as your individual transports in a fleet have bays sufficient for the small formations, you can load the whole hierarchy with a single order.


I edited out the picture for brevity. 

Steve - I have to say, I'm impressed as hell with this new ground combat system.  I am very eager to get my hands on it, and equally and concerned that I, as the Imperial Overload, will be making decisions involving individual soldiers.  In the picture you had granularity down to individual soldiers, right?  I'm very curious as to how that is working out, from a game-play overhead perspective?

Kurt
 

Offline alex_brunius

  • Vice Admiral
  • **********
  • Posts: 1009
  • Thanked: 43 times
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #58 on: December 27, 2018, 07:41:39 PM »
I must say that I don't like how commercial designs cost nothing to maintain. I agree that you should not need maintenance supplies and do overhaul on them but you could very well add a wealth cost to them, one you have to pay each 5 day cycle no matter where they are. But this is not the main discussion soo...

I think this is an interesting point, and it's not a far stretch seeing how you already pay fuel for them and upkeep for alot of other things not military.

It could well be used as a balance to add some cost to large civilians fleets be that freighters/colony ships running stretched out supply lines, geo survey ships or large commercial invasion/troop transport/logistics fleets.

I like it.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Star Marshal
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 7739
  • Thanked: 3771 times
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Re: Dropping Troops from Orbit
« Reply #59 on: December 27, 2018, 07:55:15 PM »
I edited out the picture for brevity. 

Steve - I have to say, I'm impressed as hell with this new ground combat system.  I am very eager to get my hands on it, and equally and concerned that I, as the Imperial Overload, will be making decisions involving individual soldiers.  In the picture you had granularity down to individual soldiers, right?  I'm very curious as to how that is working out, from a game-play overhead perspective?

Yes, individual soldiers and vehicles :)

Game play is relatively straightforward as you move around larger formations (there are a lot of ground-combat-related posts in the changes log that go into detail). You can set their position on the battlefield (front line attack, front line defence, support, rear echelon) and decide which formations are supported by other formations, orbiting ships and atmospheric fighters. Shots and casualties are at the individual level while morale is for all units of the same type in one formation.
 

 

Sitemap 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55