Author Topic: More Customization for Beam Weapons  (Read 1455 times)

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Offline BasileusMaximos

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More Customization for Beam Weapons
« on: October 05, 2018, 10:13:09 AM »
 I hate how we are limited in the creation of beam weapons. The only thing that dictates that size you can have in the caliber/lens size and you only get a few to choose from. You also can't customize the other parts of the weapon at all further than choosing which level of tech to use.

Beam weapon creation should be more like engine or missile creation, where new tech makes components more efficient relative to how large they are. That way you can make your beam weapon as small or as large as you want it.

Gunships should literally mean guns with ship engines strapped to them...
 

Offline Xkill

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 01:05:50 PM »
I wholeheartedly agree! In fact I was thinking the same thing for the last few days. There seems to be 3 important factors in beam weapon design: Caliber, Fire Rate, Range.
These seem to be very rigid, very dependent on caliber; creating a sort of linear weapon progression. You just use the biggest caliber you can, at the longest possible range. When comapred with missiles, the lack of flexibility is quite apparent.

Especially since beam weapons are quite small in general. A single 80cm laser masses 1250 tons, while a size 100 launcher is 5000 tons. You can load a lot of 80cm weapons on a reasonably sized ship, making smaller weapons much less attractive. Reactors do eat a lot of mass, but mostly at larger calibers (30cm and up).

The design philosophy of Aurora is heavily marked by a focus on diversity of playstyle. Having pros and cons to using smaller/bigger weapons in general would aid that objective.
 

Offline JacenHan

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 03:25:54 PM »
I think smaller beam weapons will be slightly more favorable in the new version with weapon failures. Currently, smaller weapons generally have a higher DPS, but because a longer-ranged weapon on a high-speed ship can just sit at extreme range and bombard the enemy for several hours there isn't much point to having anything but the largest and longest range laser. Even if you only hit 1% of the time, that is still infinitely more damage than the short-ranged ship can do. Weapon failures make it much more important to close the range, since you are only going to get a certain number of shots, depending on your maintenance situation. If you waste them all without closing range, you basically have no choice but to withdraw.

I don't know how much this will actually change anything in practice, but it might make it more worthwhile to exchange high-caliber weapons for more numerous medium-range ones with a higher total DPS.
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 04:52:56 PM »
In some ways, low-tech weapons become more favourable.  6 15cm/C1 lasers cost about as much as one 15cm/C6 laser of the same wavelength for similar firepower over time (more bulk to carry, but also more bulk to absorb hits at no additional cost... what is preferable may depend on our speed requirement). In combat, they will face the same number of breakdowns over time, but they will be much more expensive in the former case.

In a similar vein, if long weapon range can't be used decisively it is expensive in terms of wear-and-tear.

These are counteracted to some extent by maintenance changes; large cheap ships will be more difficult to maintain effectively.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 04:55:18 PM by Iranon »
 

Offline Whitecold

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 05:29:12 PM »
In some ways, low-tech weapons become more favourable.  6 15cm/C1 lasers cost about as much as one 15cm/C6 laser of the same wavelength for similar firepower over time (more bulk to carry, but also more bulk to absorb hits at no additional cost... what is preferable may depend on our speed requirement). In combat, they will face the same number of breakdowns over time, but they will be much more expensive in the former case.

In a similar vein, if long weapon range can't be used decisively it is expensive in terms of wear-and-tear.

These are counteracted to some extent by maintenance changes; large cheap ships will be more difficult to maintain effectively.

That is a very faulty calculation. Tonnage is by no means free. I would calculate about 20%-40% of tonnage is available for weapons. If your weapons is 6 times as bulky, you need 6 times more engines to move them.
If you assume the ships cost per ton is roughly constant, you pay 4 times more for the bulky weapons even if you assume 40% weapon tonnage. (0.4+6*0.6 tonnage overhead)
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2018, 06:38:07 PM »
Also, a Capacitor 6 weapon reloads considerably faster than a Capacitor 1 weapon. It'd be better to instead use the lowest Capacitor rating you can get away with to reload the weapon in 1 5 second tick. Sure, it's not as cheap per weapon, but it's considerably more mass efficient, which lets you squeeze more guns on the ship with faster firing rates.

With energy weapons, it really matters how much you can fire your guns and how fast.

Missiles are kinda different, but those depend more on salvo size, rather than how fast you can cycle the launchers.
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2018, 06:49:43 PM »
Especially since beam weapons are quite small in general. A single 80cm laser masses 1250 tons, while a size 100 launcher is 5000 tons.
Nobody uses a Size 100 launcher for anything, the comparison is moot. There is no need to go for larger missiles over time because missile capabilities get better with tech. Whereas a larger beam weapon does offer better performance over a smaller beam weapon.

In my current game, a 25cm C6 Far Ultraviolet Laser is the main weapon of my beam combatants and it's 10 HS. My main missile launcher is 8 HS and the box version is 1.2 HS. So I wouldn't say that, in actual use, beam weapons are smaller in general. Especially since for overwhelming PD, it's a pretty common strategy to favor box launchers over regular launchers.

Historically, there have never been (to my knowledge) cases where a military force went for "smaller guns" over "bigger guns". The only reasons to ever limit gun sizes have been cost and mobility. Hence why WW1 field guns were generally around 60-80 mm whereas WW2 field guns went to 100-120 mm and now 155 mm is a pretty standard size for field artillery and is no longer the sole function of special heavy artillery battalions. Ship guns increased in caliber as much as possible until airplanes and missiles surpassed them in killing power. So from that POV, I don't think there is a need to make smaller beam weapons a valid choice over larger beam weapons. Faster firing rate already has a quality of its own, but if you can get to 5-sec recharge rate, there is no reason and should be no reason to use a 10cm laser over a 30cm laser.

Or did I misunderstand you?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 06:54:58 PM by Garfunkel »
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2018, 08:33:45 PM »
In some ways, low-tech weapons become more favourable.  6 15cm/C1 lasers cost about as much as one 15cm/C6 laser of the same wavelength for similar firepower over time (more bulk to carry, but also more bulk to absorb hits at no additional cost... what is preferable may depend on our speed requirement). In combat, they will face the same number of breakdowns over time, but they will be much more expensive in the former case.

In a similar vein, if long weapon range can't be used decisively it is expensive in terms of wear-and-tear.

These are counteracted to some extent by maintenance changes; large cheap ships will be more difficult to maintain effectively.

That is a very faulty calculation. Tonnage is by no means free. I would calculate about 20%-40% of tonnage is available for weapons. If your weapons is 6 times as bulky, you need 6 times more engines to move them.
If you assume the ships cost per ton is roughly constant, you pay 4 times more for the bulky weapons even if you assume 40% weapon tonnage. (0.4+6*0.6 tonnage overhead)
Not at all.

Tonnage is expensive if you need to haul it at ludicrous speed; here you'd mostly use high-tech weaponry (although V1 railguns make sense for PD).

If performance doesn't matter, you have the option of making your ship cheaper per HTK than armour. Both engines and weapons can act as damage sponges, cheap bulk that isn't prone to explosions (higher-power engines, power plants as a proportion of the ship) may be an asset rather than a liability.

Or you may go for low-tech weapons because they are resource-efficient for peacekeeping and somewhat useful against an alien threat.
 

Offline BasileusMaximos

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2018, 03:27:01 AM »
I'm not trying to argue whether larger beam weapons are better than smaller beam weapons or vice-versa, just that more customizable beam weapons would be a good idea.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2018, 08:19:16 AM »
In some ways, low-tech weapons become more favourable.  6 15cm/C1 lasers cost about as much as one 15cm/C6 laser of the same wavelength for similar firepower over time (more bulk to carry, but also more bulk to absorb hits at no additional cost... what is preferable may depend on our speed requirement). In combat, they will face the same number of breakdowns over time, but they will be much more expensive in the former case.

In a similar vein, if long weapon range can't be used decisively it is expensive in terms of wear-and-tear.

These are counteracted to some extent by maintenance changes; large cheap ships will be more difficult to maintain effectively.

That is a very faulty calculation. Tonnage is by no means free. I would calculate about 20%-40% of tonnage is available for weapons. If your weapons is 6 times as bulky, you need 6 times more engines to move them.
If you assume the ships cost per ton is roughly constant, you pay 4 times more for the bulky weapons even if you assume 40% weapon tonnage. (0.4+6*0.6 tonnage overhead)
Not at all.

Tonnage is expensive if you need to haul it at ludicrous speed; here you'd mostly use high-tech weaponry (although V1 railguns make sense for PD).

If performance doesn't matter, you have the option of making your ship cheaper per HTK than armour. Both engines and weapons can act as damage sponges, cheap bulk that isn't prone to explosions (higher-power engines, power plants as a proportion of the ship) may be an asset rather than a liability.

Or you may go for low-tech weapons because they are resource-efficient for peacekeeping and somewhat useful against an alien threat.

Tonnage might not mean as much right now but will do much more in C# Aurora when facilities only can hold a specific amount of tonnage as opposed to a certain size ships.

I agree that you should consider the resistance of ships in general as important as well as you say, this is why I only have few dedicated beam ships and put main beam weapons on pretty much all capital ships. It is way more efficient to have 5 lasers in 10 ships rather than 10 lasers on 5 ships and then 5 with no lasers when it comes down to beam combat (even when you consider fire-control redundancy). These other 5 ships with no beam weapons can be ignored in combat those 10 with a few beam weapons each can't.

When it comes to if beam weapons need more options and diversity I'm not so sure... what other things more specific could you do as opposed to how it is now?

You can still build weapons of different sizes depending on what they are for. You don't need a 25cm against a fast small craft to defend yourself with, you might be better of with a few smaller turreted ones with higher tracking speeds. You also need some for dual purpose as PD and main defence which also can be smaller rather than larger so you can fit more of them. The large calibre ones are good for high damage at longer ranges and which is why you use them.

Since I rarely make specialist ships above a few thousand tons then there is a huge difference if a beam weapons weigh 100 or 500 tons, so it all depends on the type of ships you build if the size of a single weapon is a factor or not.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 08:26:45 AM by Jorgen_CAB »
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2018, 11:11:48 AM »
With the move towards total tonnage rather than tonnage limit for maintenance facilities, large ships are more viable in C# than in VB6. There's simply no longer a massive difference in hauling capacity required to get the maintenance facilities for a large ship in place compared to 5 ships of 1/5th the weight. It also means that you need the same amount of maintenance facilities for a fleet with a combined weight of 100 000 tons as you do for a single ship of 100 000 tons, so I'd expect that the total demand for maintenance facilities and shipping for maintenance facilities in far off corners of your empire will rise a little.
 

Offline Kurt

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2018, 01:00:38 PM »
I'm not trying to argue whether larger beam weapons are better than smaller beam weapons or vice-versa, just that more customizable beam weapons would be a good idea.

I like the idea of, instead of limiting by focal length, allowing any focal length and having an efficiency that gets better with tech.  In other words, at laser tech 1 you could have a 40 cm laser, but it would be a power hog and very large.  With better tech it would become more power and mass efficient, and have a better range, but you could still have a massive laser at lower tech levels, if that's what you wanted. 

Kurt
 

Offline Xkill

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2018, 01:12:02 PM »
Especially since beam weapons are quite small in general. A single 80cm laser masses 1250 tons, while a size 100 launcher is 5000 tons.
Nobody uses a Size 100 launcher for anything, the comparison is moot. There is no need to go for larger missiles over time because missile capabilities get better with tech. Whereas a larger beam weapon does offer better performance over a smaller beam weapon.

In my current game, a 25cm C6 Far Ultraviolet Laser is the main weapon of my beam combatants and it's 10 HS. My main missile launcher is 8 HS and the box version is 1.2 HS. So I wouldn't say that, in actual use, beam weapons are smaller in general. Especially since for overwhelming PD, it's a pretty common strategy to favor box launchers over regular launchers.

Historically, there have never been (to my knowledge) cases where a military force went for "smaller guns" over "bigger guns". The only reasons to ever limit gun sizes have been cost and mobility. Hence why WW1 field guns were generally around 60-80 mm whereas WW2 field guns went to 100-120 mm and now 155 mm is a pretty standard size for field artillery and is no longer the sole function of special heavy artillery battalions. Ship guns increased in caliber as much as possible until airplanes and missiles surpassed them in killing power. So from that POV, I don't think there is a need to make smaller beam weapons a valid choice over larger beam weapons. Faster firing rate already has a quality of its own, but if you can get to 5-sec recharge rate, there is no reason and should be no reason to use a 10cm laser over a 30cm laser.

Or did I misunderstand you?

No, you actually understood pretty well. I had not considered that when compared with the sizes of missile launchers that are used the most (1-6 HS), the size of beams is actually quite similar. They only start to get bigger somewhere above 20-25cm.

Your second point does illustrate something rather interesting however, and it's that missile combat capabilities are mostly determined by the stats of the missiles (the projectiles themselves), while for beams, only the weapon itself matters. More specifically, the size of the weapon. In missile designs, you have to make choices. Putting more MSP on warhead means lower range; no armor; slower/less accurate ... There is no such thing with beams.

I think you could add a lot of depth if a similar system for beams was in place. You might decide to sacrifice range for more damage; perhaps require more power to fire so you can get more range; adding special abilities like dealing more damage to shields or armor ...

I'm not trying to argue whether larger beam weapons are better than smaller beam weapons or vice-versa, just that more customizable beam weapons would be a good idea.

I guess I did hijack your thread a little bit, sorry about that...  :)
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2018, 03:35:47 PM »
You are mistaking what's the weapon with a missile based combat vessel.

It's not the launcher. All the launcher does is check how fast you can fire. Damage, range, hit chance, counter defense measure effectiveness? All part of the missile itself.
 

Online alex_brunius

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Re: More Customization for Beam Weapons
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2018, 03:48:40 PM »
I like the idea of, instead of limiting by focal length, allowing any focal length and having an efficiency that gets better with tech.  In other words, at laser tech 1 you could have a 40 cm laser, but it would be a power hog and very large.  With better tech it would become more power and mass efficient, and have a better range, but you could still have a massive laser at lower tech levels, if that's what you wanted. 

Yeah I think so too. Crude but huge low tech beam weapons would be cool, especially for stuff like railguns!

It would probably require a rework of most beam weapons though for consistency, and I think I would prefer to see any version of C# Aurora released before such a thing happens.
 

 

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