Author Topic: Comparing tech trees, missiles, lasers, shields, armor  (Read 1319 times)

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Offline Michael Sandy

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Comparing tech trees, missiles, lasers, shields, armor
« on: October 26, 2006, 01:47:34 AM »
What should be the tech priorities for various fleet building ideas?

For example, lasers has:
Tracking speed, Beam fire control range, Focal size and Beam Frequency (range mod), Capacitor Recharge
similar to Particle Accelerator.
With advances costing 2,000 4,000 then 8,000 then 15,000 my presumption is that you would get all the 2,000 cost ones before a 15,000 one.  And focal size can generally wait longer.
Reactor research is kind of important too, but won't necessarily consume that much research points

For missiles:
Missile Launcher Size, Missile Speed (which requires ship speed and reactor research), missile fire control, Missile reload rate, Warhead size, Missile ECCM (requires Electronic Counter-CounterMeasures 1 and Electronic Warfare which start at 5,000), missile endurance, onboard missile guidance and individual missile research.  Wow, that is a lot of categories.

Speed and Missile ECCM are needed to boost missile penetration, and they are spendy.
Getting to 20,000 km/s missile speed requires a reactor costing 12,000 Magneto-plasma drive for 20,000 and missile speed for 8,000.
Missile ECCM requires Electronic Warfare 5,000, Electronic CCM -1 for 5,000 and then missile ECCM for 2,000

So which route is more important for improving missiles?  Missile ECCM-2 would cost 14,000, effectively.  Improving missile speed to 20,000 would cost 40,000

Those kind of expenses would allow Capacitor 5 and Far Ultraviolet laser and beam fire control range 100,000 so potentially effective fire out to 400,000 km.

How does Ceramic armor 10,000 and then Laminate Composite Armor 20,000 stack up against Delta Shields 10,000 and shield regeneration rate 4 and then the 4,000 or so for the shield research project?

So when do you invest in fighters?

First, I think you have to have robust missile tech.  And bumping up against the 30,000 cost for going to 180 second drive endurance it makes sense to look at another way of extending the range.

But fighter tech has so many components and fighters don't become effective until you spend a huge number of research points on them.

Lets see:
1 rail per fighter, allowing missiles of size 1 5,000
2 rails                                                     15,000
3 rails                                                     40,000
Fighter speed 6,000                                   5,000
fighter speed 8,000 requires M-P drive       10,000
Fighter design                                          10,000
Hangar deck                                            10,000 (although fighter bases become effective before this)
fighter endurance 1 hour                            5,000
Fighter EW -1                                            1,000
Onboard missile guidance to 750,000   500 + 1000 + 2000 + 4000

At a guess, fighter missiles simply will not be effective at size 2 unless they are very short ranged and barely maneuverable.

Here is a missile that just might be able to penetrate point defense:
Missile Size: 3     Warhead: 1
Speed: 20,000 km/s    Endurance: 20 seconds   Range: 400k km
Manoeuvre Rating: 12    Onboard Guidance: 750k km    ECCM Level: 1
Cost Per Missile: 4.55
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 240%   3k km/s 72%   5k km/s 48%   10k km/s 24%
Materials Required:   0.6375x Duranium  0.25x Corbomite  1.9125x Tritanium  0.75x Uridium  1x Gallicite

Development Cost for Project: 775RP

And those to hit numbers aren't great.  With Magneto Plasma drive, warships will be doing between 3k km/s and 5k km/s

So for close to 100,000 research points just for fighters, not including individual missile or fighter tech, you get fighters who can launch missiles that either can't penetrate point defense, can't hit, can't do damage or have to be launched so close in the fighter is hosed.

I figure that high levels of Missile ECCM can substitute for missile speed in getting the missile through point defense.  Or compact Missile ECCM.

So if Missile ECCM is required for a slow missile to get through point defense, and since fighter missiles can't afford full speed and long endurance, effective fighter missiles have to wait until several generations of ECCM have been available.

Dogfight capable fighters appear to be much smaller and cheaper in cost and research, but it doesn't seem worth spending huge amounts of research on fighters just to get fighters bases capable of training something.

One way to make fighters work a bit better is with such short ranged missiles that the fighters are exposed.  But then you need fighter ECM in a big way to protect them.

So I figure that in most campaigns, people will have ECCM-3 and possibly ECCM-4 before developing fighters, just going by the research costs.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Michael Sandy »

Offline Michael Sandy

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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2006, 10:26:21 AM »
Another 'tech tree' to consider for warship building is 'big ships'.

For big ships you need to develop Improved Shipbuilding Rate.  That way they spend more of their time out doing missions and less doing refits.  Also, a ship that takes several years to build we see important technological improvements just while it is being built.

An option might be to have the bulky parts of the ship built, while researching stuff that doesn't take up as much room.  Say, fire control.  Then refit your behemoth once the new fire control systems are available.

Big ships also need better Jump Drive Efficiency.
Improved armor isn't necessary for big ships, but if you are going to have big ships you should consider armored designs since it would take a smaller percentage of the ship's mass to get good armor.  Big ships have an advantage in huge concentrations of shields as well.

So what order do people do their tech research?
Do you spend 15,000 on fire control first or on improving lasers first?  Since Capacitor Recharge rate 5 would cost 8,000 +15,000, for a +60% rate of fire, that probably trumps Far Ultraviolet for 16,000, which gives a +25% to range.

There are also interesting break points.  20 cm becomes a lot more attractive with Capacitor Recharge rate 5, as that allows fire every 10 seconds.  However, 25 cm with Capacitor Recharge rate 4 is decent with fire every 20 seconds.  One could aim for Capacitor 6 and 15 cm weapons, if one really likes fast firing designs.  That is a bit of a power hog, of course.

Would someone stick with 15 cm weapons for a while, not bothering to even research 20 cm tech, increasing the rate of fire and range mod instead?

I also note that researching a new capacitor rate or focal length does not make all the current ships obsolete.  15 cm with a 3 recharge don't become obsolete when 4 recharge becomes available.  But when you increase the range mod you need to upgrade your laser weapons designs.

Can you refit to better armor?  If no, perhaps that is a reason for developing armor early.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Michael Sandy »

Offline Michael Sandy

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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2006, 02:32:50 PM »
Technological rate of change in the Aurora game system changes quite a bit.

Consider the Nemesis campaign.  At the start, there are several technologies that can be researched in under a year.  That means that ships could be behind the tech curve by the time they are built, and have to be refit by the time they can be overhauled.

However, the human powers probably won't build more research labs for a while as their economies are declining.  With research rates at a plateau, they will slowly master the cheaper technologies to the point that new technologies only come every year, or even every three years.

Figure that it will take at least ten years before even the Commonwealth can contemplate building more research labs, let alone the others, and the time between technology advances will steadily increase.

This means that ships that take longer to build won't fall as much behind on technology.

I wonder what the spread between tech levels will end up.  A power might have some technologies that took 3-5 years to research, but have some gaps with technologies that would take less than 6 months to research untouched.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Michael Sandy »


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