Author Topic: External Hangars/Docking Ports  (Read 3244 times)

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Offline Adseria (OP)

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External Hangars/Docking Ports
« on: October 06, 2018, 06:57:15 AM »
A hangar component, which is much smaller than the normal hangars, but it can't be used to repair parasites or reload box launchers. It still allows crews and survivors from parasites to use the mothership's crew quarters, though. Basically, I'm thinking the same genre as a box launcher, in that it's a much smaller component, but a much more limited one.

Of course, since it's external, the max size limit would be much higher per size of "hangar." I'm effectively thinking of a docking port that allows fighters to dock with the ship and then enter the ship via a hatch. It would still have a size limit (after all, a big parasite would break away from a docking port if the mothership tried to move while they were docked), but it would be a much bigger limit (since it doesn't have to fit in the physical confines of the hangar bay itself).
 

Offline Rich.h

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2018, 05:06:06 AM »
Struggling to grasp the use of such a compenent, it seems as though the only thing a mothership is then offering a parasite craft is the ability to make use of the crew berths (since any craft in the same task group location can swap fuel/supplies/ordinance). Since if you ever build larger vessels that make use of recreational facilities then I can only think of one possible ship design for this. A craft that has an incredibly short deployment time, but does not need to concern itself about rearming or repairs., not sure ho useful such a ship is in any situation.
 

Offline Adseria (OP)

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 06:00:59 AM »
Struggling to grasp the use of such a compenent, it seems as though the only thing a mothership is then offering a parasite craft is the ability to make use of the crew berths (since any craft in the same task group location can swap fuel/supplies/ordinance). Since if you ever build larger vessels that make use of recreational facilities then I can only think of one possible ship design for this. A craft that has an incredibly short deployment time, but does not need to concern itself about rearming or repairs., not sure ho useful such a ship is in any situation.

True. Maybe a small survey command ship? Then you can fit lots of survey "fighters" on a single mothership, and they need very limited crew space on board, so they can be extremely small, and with the small size of both the docking port and the "fighters", you could fit a huge number of "fighters" on each mothership.

And don't forget that box launchers can only be reloaded inside a hangar or at a maintenance facility. It would allow a fleet carrier to carry a large, single use strike that hits all at once, rather than multiple smaller strikes with the strike craft rearming in between. A sort of "first strike" weapon, with huge alpha damage, but only one attack.

Maybe also have one (or more) ship with docking ports operate alongside one (or more) regular carrier(s). The docking-port carrier launches it's strike craft first. Then, as those fighters are returning, the regular carrier launches it's own strike group, and the first wave lands in the carrier. They reload while the second wave is attacking, then launch as the second wave returns. Presumably, the docking-port carrier would also have fuel (and ammo, if needed) for the fighters it carries (or separate tankers/colliers), and transfers it to the fighters or the regular carrier as needed. Of course, you wouldn't need a second ship; just put the docking ports on the regular carrier. It would be kind of like a real life "deck park," where planes are kept on the flight deck long-term, adding aircraft capacity without increasing the size of the carrier (much). And, using this system, there's nothing stopping you from launching all fighters, from both the docking-port carrier and the regular carrier, all at once, for the alpha strike I was talking about earlier. Then, some of them refuel/rearm, while others wait, either on docking ports or just staying nearby, and reloading when the first group is done. It would increase the reload time of the full strike group, but it would also increase the size of the group. And, if you need the fighters in the air now more than you need one big strike, you can go back to the rolling waves system. It just adds more fighters to the group, improving flexibility while increasing the size of the ships far less than the same system would need using the hangars alone.

I'm only very early in my first game, so I don't know how effective this technique would be (rolling waves vs first strike), but I imagine it would work quite well, based on what I've seen. In particular, it would allow you to maintain a larger CAP, because you can have a full group in the air at all times (instead of half airborne and half refuelling). Again, not sure about the usefulness of CAP vs interception, but surely it's useful in some scenarios, like increasing the range of the sensor net?

And if you have a carrier that has, say, 20 fighters with missiles, and they go and strike the enemy carrier (possibly coordinating with ship-launched missiles, to overwhelm point-defences), and then return, rearm-refuel, and then do it again, imagine if, while they were refuelling, another group of twenty is launching their attack. And, if you want, you can just have forty fighters attack all at once, just with a bigger turnaround. Or start with a wave of forty, and then go back to waves of twenty. And, normally, a carrier of a similar size might only have 22 or 24 fighters (less than with docking ports, but because you don't have docking ports, you have room for a little bit more hangar space, so more than the twenty-fighter capacity of the hangar on the hybrid docking/hangar carrier).

I'm not saying it would be better than regular carriers in the late game, but in the early/mid game, when you don't have the shipyard capacity or jump drive tech to operate larger carriers, it would allow larger strike groups at the expense of only being able to rearm part of it at a time. And we can build docking ports IRL, and we've been able to for years (after all, a docking port was a vital part of the Apollo moon landings, and stations like the ISS are built and resupplied using docking ports), so it wouldn't be much of a leap to allow ships with parasites carried externally. In fact, I'd say it's almost less of a leap than internal hangars, because we already do it IRL. Therefore, it would be a pretty early tech (maybe 5000 RP or less, as a benchmark?), but it would slowly become obsolete as your shipyards got bigger and your jump drives more efficient, allowing you to have larger ships using large numbers of regular hangars. It would never be completely obsolete (after all, more fighters in the same space is never a bad thing, right?), but as ships get bigger, the space saving becomes less important.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 06:03:16 AM by Adseria »
 

Offline TMaekler

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 07:42:04 AM »
ATM wheight for ship speed calculations is based on total tonnage, independent of if a hangar or whatever is full. Such a docking System would break that calculation system.
 

Offline Adseria (OP)

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2018, 09:31:01 AM »
ATM wheight for ship speed calculations is based on total tonnage, independent of if a hangar or whatever is full. Such a docking System would break that calculation system.

So change the system. It's stupid anyway.
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2018, 10:58:22 AM »
This functionality is already fulfilled by Tractor Beam systems anyway, except that they use the combined weight and engine power to calculate speed.
 

Offline Adseria (OP)

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2018, 11:10:02 AM »
This functionality is already fulfilled by Tractor Beam systems anyway, except that they use the combined weight and engine power to calculate speed.

Do tractor beams allow crew from the towed ship to use the tug's crew berths? Also, the tractor beam projector is still 500t. I was imagining the docking port as being maybe 50t, max. Probably smaller; even including an airlock system, I don't imagine it would take more than that do build a docking port, even with real-life materials. With something like duranium, even strengthening it enough to take ships a significant fraction of the size of the mothership would probably fit comfortably under the 100t limit.

Incidentally, if anyone from NASA happens to be reading this, I'm not a material scientist. Don't make things out of duranium. They won't exist if you do.
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2018, 12:59:51 PM »
...

You want to Steve to create a part that provides better results than a tractor beam for barely a tenth of the weight and cost? Or even less?

I'm not seeing that happening. Why use a tractor beam based tug in the first place if that's possible? Especially since tugs can't pull more than 1 object at a time, but would if I read it correctly be stackable without limit.
 

Offline Adseria (OP)

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2018, 06:54:08 AM »
...

You want to Steve to create a part that provides better results than a tractor beam for barely a tenth of the weight and cost? Or even less?

I'm not seeing that happening. Why use a tractor beam based tug in the first place if that's possible? Especially since tugs can't pull more than 1 object at a time, but would if I read it correctly be stackable without limit.
[/quote]

It would still have a size limit (after all, a big parasite would break away from a docking port if the mothership tried to move while they were docked), but it would be a much bigger limit (since it doesn't have to fit in the physical confines of the hangar bay itself).

By this, I meant that it would be a much bigger limit per ton of "hangar space." The actual limit would be maybe 250-500t (similar to the boat bay), but since the size of the docking port is only 50-100t, it's much more space efficient than the existing hangars. In return, you lose the ability to rearm box launchers. Obviously, it would be useful for ships that don't need to rearm fighters, but do need to carry them (like survey command ships), but it would also be useful for military carriers in the early/mid game, as I was saying earlier.
 

Offline Rich.h

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2018, 11:16:56 AM »
There is also the issue that this would require a rewite of how damage occurs on motherships, obviously is craft are docked outside then they cannot be protected by ship armour. It means a lot of code for something that already has it's role generally fulfilled by existing components.

The first strike idea is a nice one, but why not just have a couple of ships that are essentially a bucket load of box launchers with a couple of engines in place, then simply have them followed by a tanker to ensure fuel to reach a destination.

The other issue then brings the speed limitations in play, if you have a giant first strike carrier using external ports, this vessel is limited in speed by the material stress on the ports. This means either it cannot keep up with a suitably balanced fleet, or it cannot make a run for it if things go badly. Or worse you have to make decisions such as "let's just cut and run and leave all the parasite craft to their doom.
 

Offline Adseria (OP)

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2018, 07:07:53 AM »
There is also the issue that this would require a rewite of how damage occurs on motherships, obviously is craft are docked outside then they cannot be protected by ship armour. It means a lot of code for something that already has it's role generally fulfilled by existing components.

This is true. Obviously, I wasn't expecting it to be added overnight. It was a suggestion, not a demand.

The first strike idea is a nice one, but why not just have a couple of ships that are essentially a bucket load of box launchers with a couple of engines in place, then simply have them followed by a tanker to ensure fuel to reach a destination.

You know, I'm quite impressed that you managed to take pretty much the exact idea I already described and make it sound brand new.

Unless you meant full-size ships? If so, then yes, this would work just as well, but my idea has the added bonus that, after their first strike, they can rearm in a smaller regular carrier. Again, it's not a late-game tech. If you don't have big carriers, then a fleet of large ships with box launchers would have to go back to a colony with maintenance facilities to rearm. Even a hangar with a capacity of, say, 6kt, needs a carrier of maybe 30kt, right? And you'd need a few 6kt ships to match a squadron of 30-40 fighters, and the fighters could take turns rearming in a 1kt hangar just as easily as frigates in a 6kt one. It just gives you that little bit more flexibility that you can't get from small ships with tons of box launchers.

And sure, if you're fighting in a system where you already have a colony with maintenance facilities to rearm, then using larger warships would probably be the better option. But I'm willing to bet that combat away from your colonies (or near ones without maintenance facilities) is just as common as combat near them (if not more so).

The other issue then brings the speed limitations in play, if you have a giant first strike carrier using external ports, this vessel is limited in speed by the material stress on the ports. This means either it cannot keep up with a suitably balanced fleet, or it cannot make a run for it if things go badly. Or worse you have to make decisions such as "let's just cut and run and leave all the parasite craft to their doom.

This latter part is true, but I was imagining that the speed limit would be imposed on the class design screen. The only limit on what would happen to the ships while the carrier was in motion would be limited to the size, not how fast the carrier could go. If she could do 5k km/s unloaded, she could do 5k km/s with a full air group on board. And don't forget, the idea is a "hangar" component with less mass. Yes, you can stick lots of them on one ship and have a carrier the same size as one with regular hangars, but with much more fighter capacity. Or, you could sacrifice that capacity to have a carrier much smaller (and therefore faster) than existing carriers. Does that not fit in with Aurora's style of letting you design the fleet to fit your playstyle?

There's another thing; We've been focusing on the idea of box launchers. It would be possible to give a docking-port carrier a bunch of beam-armed fighters, to help defend the fleet. And, because they don't need rearming, it wouldn't be necessary to operate it alongside a regular carrier, or send it to rearm at a colony after each battle. You could even use it to operate a handful of fighters from other ships (what would, in modern-day parlance, be called "surface ships;" the destroyers and cruisers and such).

I know what you're thinking:

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This is OP. It would mean that you can have a lot more beam fighters in the same amount of space, and there would be no penalties compared to regular hangars.

Yes, it would. And no, there wouldn't. So, let's go back to what we were saying earlier.

There is also the issue that this would require a rewite of how damage occurs on motherships, obviously is craft are docked outside then they cannot be protected by ship armour. It means a lot of code for something that already has it's role generally fulfilled by existing components.

Quote
This is true. Obviously, I wasn't expecting it to be added overnight. It was a suggestion, not a demand.

It's not going to happen any time soon. So, if it does happen, it will probably be for C# Aurora. And in C# Aurora, refuelling is being changed; now only ships with special components will be able to refuel other ships. I'm assuming that a hangar bay would allow refuelling. Let's say that a docking port also allows refuelling, but at a reduced rate. Or even prevents it altogether. Now, there's a limit on how often beam fighters can sortie from a docking port carrier.

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But why not just take along a full-size tanker and refuel fighters from that?

Prevent fighters from refuelling from tankers with refuelling components. Maybe add a fighter-only refuelling component, to maintain fighter/tanker capability. Now, they can only refuel from full-size ships with either docking ports or hangars.

I think I've covered everything, but then, I thought that the last four times, too. Maybe I'm just bad at explaining things! :D
 

Offline Father Tim

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2018, 12:31:31 PM »
It sounds like what you are asking for is a way-better-version of something that's already in the game.  To which I will automatically vote "No," unless and until you can demonstrate to me that what we already have is significantly under-powered.

So. . . how would your 'Docking Ports' make the game more fun?
 

Offline Rich.h

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2018, 02:38:35 PM »
Quote
Unless you meant full-size ships? If so, then yes, this would work just as well, but my idea has the added bonus that, after their first strike, they can rearm in a smaller regular carrier. Again, it's not a late-game tech. If you don't have big carriers, then a fleet of large ships with box launchers would have to go back to a colony with maintenance facilities to rearm. Even a hangar with a capacity of, say, 6kt, needs a carrier of maybe 30kt, right? And you'd need a few 6kt ships to match a squadron of 30-40 fighters, and the fighters could take turns rearming in a 1kt hangar just as easily as frigates in a 6kt one. It just gives you that little bit more flexibility that you can't get from small ships with tons of box launchers.

Not sure if I am missing something with this, but it seems to suffer hugely compared to current design methods.If I understand it correctly, then you have a smallish carrier with external docking ports than can carry a fairly larger group of parasite craft with box launhers. After a first strike these craft return to a ship with standard internal hangers to refule and rearm for a second run.

If we were to make a guess that these external docking ports can hold say 50% more vessel tonnage than standard internal ones, then you now need a normal carrier of at least 50% or more larger total size. Or go with a smaller standard carrier than rearms etc in two or more batches. Either way you now have a totally redundant initial carrier in the battlespace, this means a shipyard and materials that could of gone into a standard form carrier to do both jobs itself.

The only way I could see this being of practical use in the current format would be if it was able to do things hangers an already do, thus making the concept now vastly OP compared to standard hangers. At this point you have to then wonder should it be perhaps an advanced tech thing to give it some balance, in which case why not just have a new advanced internal hanger that has a greater than standard capacity?
 

Offline Adseria (OP)

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2018, 03:34:26 PM »
It sounds like what you are asking for is a way-better-version of something that's already in the game.  To which I will automatically vote "No," unless and until you can demonstrate to me that what we already have is significantly under-powered.

So. . . how would your 'Docking Ports' make the game more fun?

Quote
Unless you meant full-size ships? If so, then yes, this would work just as well, but my idea has the added bonus that, after their first strike, they can rearm in a smaller regular carrier. Again, it's not a late-game tech. If you don't have big carriers, then a fleet of large ships with box launchers would have to go back to a colony with maintenance facilities to rearm. Even a hangar with a capacity of, say, 6kt, needs a carrier of maybe 30kt, right? And you'd need a few 6kt ships to match a squadron of 30-40 fighters, and the fighters could take turns rearming in a 1kt hangar just as easily as frigates in a 6kt one. It just gives you that little bit more flexibility that you can't get from small ships with tons of box launchers.

Not sure if I am missing something with this, but it seems to suffer hugely compared to current design methods.If I understand it correctly, then you have a smallish carrier with external docking ports than can carry a fairly larger group of parasite craft with box launhers. After a first strike these craft return to a ship with standard internal hangers to refule and rearm for a second run.

If we were to make a guess that these external docking ports can hold say 50% more vessel tonnage than standard internal ones, then you now need a normal carrier of at least 50% or more larger total size. Or go with a smaller standard carrier than rearms etc in two or more batches. Either way you now have a totally redundant initial carrier in the battlespace, this means a shipyard and materials that could of gone into a standard form carrier to do both jobs itself.

The only way I could see this being of practical use in the current format would be if it was able to do things hangers an already do, thus making the concept now vastly OP compared to standard hangers. At this point you have to then wonder should it be perhaps an advanced tech thing to give it some balance, in which case why not just have a new advanced internal hanger that has a greater than standard capacity?

I'm pretty sure I already answered both of these questions. I see no reason to repeat everything.
 

Offline Father Tim

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Re: External Hangars/Docking Ports
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2018, 04:26:21 PM »
Well then. . .  It sounds like you are asking for twice the Hangar Bay capacity in the same amount of hull space, at the cost of all the other stuff Hangar Bays do that isn't "hold ships."  I fail to see how that would make Aurora more fun.  All I can see that it would do is unbalance the game further in favour of fighters/small craft -- something I think the game already suffers from.

In short, I think it is a terrible suggestion and I am opposed to it.
 
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