Author Topic: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons  (Read 2419 times)

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Offline Rod-Serling

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Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« on: March 03, 2015, 03:28:16 AM »
So, we've run into a small problem for Pulsar.

We would like to run the game in 1-second increments, instead of Aurora's default 5 seconds.

Problem is, Beam Weapons are currently range limited by the speed of light for 5 seconds. Allowing a 1 second increment would effectively "nerf" the range of beam weapons unless we decide to handle them differently.

We've discussed several options, but we wanted to look to the community, to see if any of you guys could think of a good way to handle both a 1-second increment, and not completely destroy beam weapon range. Please let us know if you can think of something!
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Offline sloanjh

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 07:02:46 AM »
Technobabble:  Pretend the speed of light is infinite, or at least 5x what it is.  From a gameplay point of view, I doubt it makes a significant difference in tactical combat compared to the cost of managing it.  In fact, I think the important effect in tactical combat would be the command decision loop time, i.e. how long it takes the captain or admiral to process new input and decide on a changed course of action - I suspect that's a lot *longer* than 5 seconds.

John
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2015, 06:14:18 AM »
From a game-play point of view the actual range is irrelevant due to the vastness of space. The only important thing is the range in relation to other weapon systems.

This is even easier if most other weapon systems haven't been completely implemented yet, just cut their ranges by 5 as well and it will have identical balance with Aurora ( if that is what you are striving for ).

Note that this also impacts the minimum range increment you need for the same resolution in combat. So you also need to have 5 times as small minimum distance so 2000 is minimum instead of 10000. But for simplicity and consistency 1000 might be even better.
 

Offline iceball3

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2015, 04:43:19 PM »
I would personally vouch for instantaneous beams. Best explanation would be firing lasers into miniscule wormholes which lead to proximity of their targets.
 

Offline Witty

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2015, 01:52:32 PM »
I agree with iceball, instantaneous beams would be for the best.
 

Offline hubgbf

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2015, 03:47:16 AM »
Hi,

Another solution is to consider laser fire like some sort of missile on a program point of view. They do not appear on the log but for the attacker which could have a log indicating fire.
This way you can have surprise attack with beam weapon when launching a war.

Another interesting point is that on a program point of view, you have only one type of weapon, which can be easier to code, debug and maintain. Sole difference, pattern for impact and fixed speed.

Other solution, once a laser tech allow a range of more than 300 kkm, use a new tech level named tachyon beam. better to use faster than light particles than micro-wormholes IMHO.

 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2015, 06:16:59 AM »
Other solution, once a laser tech allow a range of more than 300 kkm, use a new tech level named tachyon beam. better to use faster than light particles than micro-wormholes IMHO.

I like the "tachyon beam" techno-babble - it gives an excuse to make the long-range beam fire accuracy drop off more slowly with range (since the fire control wouldn't have to "lead the target" as much).

OTOH, if tachyons were to exist that would mean that the Universe wasn't in its ground state, leading to a sudden phase transition of the vacuum and the end of life as we know it.  So maybe tachyons aren't such a good idea after all.

John
 

Offline Rod-Serling

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2015, 11:28:35 PM »
OTOH, if tachyons were to exist that would mean that the Universe wasn't in its ground state, leading to a sudden phase transition of the vacuum and the end of life as we know it.  So maybe tachyons aren't such a good idea after all.

John

Says the guy trying to get us to increase the speed of light :P
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Offline sloanjh

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2015, 09:47:27 AM »
Says the guy trying to get us to increase the speed of light :P

Oh increasing it is just fine - it's going faster that's a problem :)

John
 

Offline exdeathbr

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2015, 07:25:51 PM »
Quote from: Rod-Serling link=topic=7729. msg78670#msg78670 date=1425374896
Beam Weapons are currently range limited by the speed of light for 5 seconds.  Allowing a 1 second increment would effectively "nerf" the range of beam weapons

I dont see a problem with nerfing it.
 

Offline Rod-Serling

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2015, 07:54:58 PM »
I dont see a problem with nerfing it.

Don't you think beam weapons have been through enough?

Almost every AAR I read uses exclusively missiles. They might use beams for Anti-Missile defense, but beams aren't generally used in an offensive manner. Further shortening the range of beams, while doing nothing else will make missiles even more powerful. Beam Ships will have to get much closer to fire, while the defensive beams have less time to intercept incoming missiles.
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Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2015, 02:41:27 AM »
I was also wondering why you wouldn't just track the energy weapon fire in the same fashion as missiles out to its maximum range or 5 light seconds, whichever comes first. To me, that makes more sense then hand-waving it through micro-wormholes. If you can make those at base tech level and still using an infrared laser, you're doing something wrong with your technological base.
 

Offline Rod-Serling

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2015, 04:13:29 AM »
I was also wondering why you wouldn't just track the energy weapon fire in the same fashion as missiles out to its maximum range or 5 light seconds, whichever comes first. To me, that makes more sense then hand-waving it through micro-wormholes. If you can make those at base tech level and still using an infrared laser, you're doing something wrong with your technological base.

The problem with tracking "Laser Packets" is that our ships move in a Trans-Newton manner, meaning we have infinite accelerate up to our top speed. We can instantly turn to a new direction at any time.

Should the "Laser Packets" track the target as it changes course? At the speeds we're going, even a tiny change in direction would mean that even a close laser would miss. How do the Laser Packets track the targets?
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Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2015, 07:32:29 AM »
In my opinion try to make it as "realistic" within the games own technological framework as possible. I see no direct need to make one weapon system more or less powerful than another but all system obviously need to have a place or they would never be used which is realistic.

In my opinion Missiles in Aurora is too effective from a realism standpoint or rather to hard to engage with beam weapons if you consider the fact that you could make these beam weapons to specifically engage small targets such as missiles for a very cheap price in material.

There should basically be a better balance between the effectiveness between point defenses and electronic warfare in a game such as Aurora or Pulsar.

In my opinion even suggesting that a real world laser weapon would be very effective after about even a second of travel is rather stretching it, given how jitter and tracking would work at such huge distances.

Missiles are a completely different beast but should be the primary weapon in space for the sole reason it is the only secure weapon. With that I mean you can attack someone without being attacked back or even revealing yourself. You really need to expand on the electronics and the whole passive/active kind of engagement and approach missile warfare more with torpedo duels between modern submarines. At least that is my opinion on the matter. Ships in space would be more like submarines and reveal themselves by providing gravitational ripples in space or emanating heat waves, but heat only travel at light speed and should only be viable method for understand the general location of ships. The gravitational waves on the other hand could be picked up by newtonian technology in a different way and also introducing stealth technology to reduce this more gradually would make space combat more interesting. Missiles would still be you primary weapon but communication and electronics are usually that ends up being the most important factor in reality.

I don't think it is realistic for an intelligent space faring race to be so dumb as to use shorter ranged weapons as their primary offensive weapons. Self preservation rules are most likely to be ingrained in any species that manage to reach into the stars. I can't really see many exceptions. The only exception might be a space dwelling race such as the Hive in Aurora that has developed through natural selection and not actually constructed their weapons but are biological in nature and more animal than really sentient in a level that we understand.

In any way I also don't see a reason for why you could have newtonian weapons that can guide themselves like small plasma torpedoes the size of very large howitzer ammunition or even rail gun accelerated projectile with the ability to warp space so they can to some extent track a moving target. But anything that moves at sublight speed should be susceptible to point defenses in some way.

But anything that can only move in one direction MUST be a very short range weapon and the size of the target should have a big impact on the distance in which you hit something with such a weapon.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 10:25:15 AM by Jorgen_CAB »
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Speed of Light and Beam Weapons
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2015, 09:16:30 AM »
Missiles are a completely different beast but should be the primary weapon in space for the sole reason it is the only secure weapon. With that I mean you can attack someone without being attacked back or even revealing yourself. You really need to expand on the electronics and the whole passive/active kind of engagement and approach missile warfare more with torpedo duels between modern submarines. At least that is my opinion on the matter. Ships in space would be more like submarines and reveal themselves by providing gravitational ripples in space or emanating heat waves, but heat only travel at light speed and should only be viable method for understand the general location of ships. The gravitational waves on the other hand could be picked up by newtonian technology in a different way and also introducing stealth technology to reduce this more gradually would make space combat more interesting. Missiles would still be you primary weapon but communication and electronics are usually that ends up being the most important factor in reality.

Agreed. I really would love to see some more complexity here like holding position for an ambush with reduced heat / no active sensors and relying on the enemy revealing them-self. The launch platform would be firing on the enemy heat signature with onboard sensors on the missile or, dropping active sensor bouy's / drones that work as decoys and to relay targeting information about your enemy.

These are real war examples of what long range combat looks like when you either can't or don't want to achieve active lock to target the enemy from your launching platform.

Perhaps even the heat and proximity of the sun could play a role like someone suggested so that if you position your ship between the enemy ship and a bright start it will be very hard to tell apart from the massive background heat radiation.

But anything that can only move in one direction MUST be a very short range weapon and the size of the target should have a big impact on the distance in which you hit something with such a weapon.

Yes, A big balancing problem with Aurora combat is that it's equally easy to hit a 70000 ton behemoth and a 70 ton fighter if they move at the same speed.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 09:19:43 AM by alex_brunius »
 

 

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