Author Topic: STO Operations  (Read 3224 times)

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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2018, 12:16:22 PM »
With a missile PDC, you can manually target the ship you want to. With automatic targeting, it gets tricky.

Let's say automatic targeting picks a target at random. An attacker could use 20 1000 ton blocks of armor (or perhaps shields) and 1 30,000 ton battleship to bombard; the result is that 20/21 STO shots are wasted. If instead automated targeting picks the largest ship, then a fleet could have a single large armor brick and a bunch of smaller bombardment ships, and again avoid fire.

The solution Steve seemed to be proposing was that the defender could set their own targeting priorities, whether it was biggest ship, slowest ship, etc, but I really don't think there's a user friendly way to do this; it would either have to be a limited set of options (which could be gamed) or basically end up as a pseudo coding system.

Having STO weapons be something you can target but also have an autofire setting where they pick targets at random seems a good compromise.
Again, I don't think "gaming the system" is really a concern. Nothing stop a player currently from shooting 10000 cheap Size 1 missiles at an NPR planet, thereby exhausting all their AMMs. Or building one or two 10k ton shield/armour brick that just tanks everything the NPR PDCs can throw at it, preferably by leaping back and forth over maximum missile range. Any system can eventually be analysed and gamed. Going even further, the SM mode means that players can "cheat" as much as they want. The various game features and options should function in "good faith", ie assume that the player is playing "straight" or "legit", not on purpose trying to exploit stuff.

Thus an automatic system similar to PD/AMM where the player can, beforehand, select from 3-5 targeting options, would be IMHO quite sufficient. Like you select whether to use 1 or 5 AMMs per enemy missile, and the range for Area Defence beams, and whether PD is self-defence or TG defence. Similarly, STO could have the options for largest, smallest, fastest, slowest and if you have four different STOs on the planet, each could have a different priority if the player so chooses.

Thus STO ground units could use the same System Combat window as ships do and Steve only needs to add the options to the PD menu-bar/thingy, where the old options already exist.

The main question is, if CIWS works, why can't you use the other beam weapons like it. Why should you need to mount a laser in orbit for it to be able to intercept missiles, when the same laser works identical on ground against anything but missiles?
While I understand the need to keep everything working functionally the same across the board, and I do agree with that goal, making CIWS more useful just kills the need for purpose-built PD ships. And if ground units CIWS are as limited as ship CIWS, then they could only defend their own formation instead of the planet, which kinda defeats the purpose of having them in the first place, ie to protect the civilian population and ground-based facilities in addition to the military units.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 12:18:48 PM by Garfunkel »
 

Online Whitecold

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2018, 12:31:17 PM »
The main question is, if CIWS works, why can't you use the other beam weapons like it. Why should you need to mount a laser in orbit for it to be able to intercept missiles, when the same laser works identical on ground against anything but missiles?
While I understand the need to keep everything working functionally the same across the board, and I do agree with that goal, making CIWS more useful just kills the need for purpose-built PD ships. And if ground units CIWS are as limited as ship CIWS, then they could only defend their own formation instead of the planet, which kinda defeats the purpose of having them in the first place, ie to protect the civilian population and ground-based facilities in addition to the military units.
I don't want to change anything on CIWS. What I would like to change is the functionality of STO weapons to make them work as PD. This would make ground force CIWS redundant, as you can simply build Gauss STOs, but then again CIWS is a fix to allow PD on civilian ships.
There is no such thing as civilian ground forces, so there is no special need for a civilian, purely defensive version. STO already include their own fire control and sensor, meaning even less need for a special integrated CIWS unit, instead of allowing turrets as STOs, because every unit is essentially an integrated weapon system already unlike ship mounted beams.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2018, 04:42:21 PM »
I've read through the above posts and I will give STO vs CIWS more thought.

My original thinking for excluding turret-based weapons on planets was the intended 'static' STOs would be well-fortified and therefore not ideal for tracking fast targets such as missiles. Turrets would need room to 'manoeuvre' and therefore didn't match the well-fortified concept. CIWS on the other hand were very short-range and intended to hit targets coming directly at them.

Another reason for not having turrets was that I didn't necessarily want planets to have defences that were so strong you couldn't penetrate them, because those turrets would be as effective as orbital bases but much harder to kill.

However, some good arguments have been made against those concepts. Firstly, CIWS in this context are effectively covering the whole planet, which doesn't really match the CIWS on ships. Secondly, the new STO units are really the same type of integrated weapon as CIWS, making CIWS less 'special' in this context. It probably does make more sense (and is more consistent) to remove planetary CIWS and allow STO to include fast tracking weapons, as CIWS is really just an integrated gauss turret anyway. This also makes it clear that planetary defences can protect ships that are in orbit or close to the planet. If I made this change, I would add point defence modes to the other automated options for STOs, which would also mean that 'normal' STO could be used for point defence in an emergency.

The 'downside' is that some planets/bases may become very hard to defeat, although that is not necessarily a bad thing. It also restricts the potential use of small, fast craft for dropping troops and the best option is probably large, heavily-armoured assault ships. Again, not necessarily a bad thing.

I think I decided early on to go with non-turreted STO plus CIWS and then stayed on that track. At this point I am just stepping back and questioning my own assumptions :)
 
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Offline Bremen

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2018, 05:17:02 PM »
The 'downside' is that some planets/bases may become very hard to defeat, although that is not necessarily a bad thing. It also restricts the potential use of small, fast craft for dropping troops and the best option is probably large, heavily-armoured assault ships. Again, not necessarily a bad thing.

I admit, my first thought was picturing entire corps of fast tracking STO weapons making the planet an absolute deathtrap for any orbiting ships and also nearly impervious to missiles.

On the other hand... there's no rule that says orbital bombardment has to be done while in orbit. If the STO weapons are gauss based (I assume railguns still wont be able to be turreted), the orbiting ships can easily conduct some bombardment while staying out of gauss range, and if the STO weapons reveal themselves they'll be vulnerable to being bombarded from out of range (and if they choose not to reveal, the attacker could try launching a few missiles or land ground forces in stages). If they're laser based, they'll have considerably longer range against ships but at the cost of being much less effective against missiles. And a mixture of gauss weapons vs heavy lasers would still mean the ships could engage the lasers from outside the gauss range.

I think in practice it will still be extremely difficult to make a planet immune or prohibitively expensive to attack. What it might do is turn the invasion of a heavily fortified planet into a multi-stage siege affair (first engaging any heavy STO weapons from long range, gradually working one's way inward as they're reduced, then forcing the short ranged PD weapons to reveal themselves with successive attacks so they can be picked off). Which... actually sounds pretty fun to me.

Mind you, I'm not opposed to the dedicated CIWS vs anti-ship weapons either. I think they both sound like workable concepts.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 05:20:10 PM by Bremen »
 

Online jonw

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2018, 05:42:23 PM »
Steve, thanks for reconsidering. I think Whitecold has made some really good points. I don't necessarily think a turret needs room to maneouvre - I have always envisaged eneergy weapon turrets being fast-moving MIRRORS anyway, you're just moving optics not the weapon. A fortified, agile STO weapon could be a laser buried 5 miles under the surface, but with multiple redundant subterranean beamlines and surface optical assemblies

It also makes sense to me that if a planet has energy weapons, approaching it should indeed be hell, and trying to force a hostile landing with small, lightly armoured craft would only be possible if you're willing to except massive losses. I think my amphibious forces are going to want shielding...

On the other hand... there's no rule that says orbital bombardment has to be done while in orbit. If the STO weapons are gauss based (I assume railguns still wont be able to be turreted), the orbiting ships can easily conduct some bombardment while staying out of gauss range, and if the STO weapons reveal themselves they'll be vulnerable to being bombarded from out of range (and if they choose not to reveal, the attacker could try launching a few missiles or land ground forces in stages). If they're laser based, they'll have considerably longer range against ships but at the cost of being much less effective against missiles. And a mixture of gauss weapons vs heavy lasers would still mean the ships could engage the lasers from outside the gauss range.

Question - if I have laser based on the Moon with sufficient range/FC to hit targets on earth, shouldn't the lunar laser be able to assist if Earth is invaded?
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2018, 05:49:49 PM »
I think it is quite interesting that assaulting anything decently defended actually will require some effort and not just a side show.

Unless you intend to glass the planet with nuclear missiles and bombardment it should take some planning and effort.

You should be able to build proper assault ships, heavily shielded and armored to rush in and launch a swarm of heavily armored assault shuttles to land on the planet from a relatively short distance. Such shuttles should be able to take shots from most turreted weapons and be numerous enough so most of them survive.

Of course any attack should be preceded with proper bombardment before the assault much like the island hopping in WWII. These Islands were shelled by the navy and attacked by the air-force before assaulted for some time.

If an attack is well coordinated there should be so many targets that it will be impossible to do that much damage unless the world being invaded are like a fortress world, in which case you might be better of just siege it and starve it for resources and move on.

The more dynamic the space to planet interaction is the more fun I think it will be. Ground defense might actually change navy doctrine as well since it could potentially protect navy forces. It obviously will be dangerous to just bypass a well defended military installation which could potentially launch attacks at any logistical ships trailing your fleets.

There are many interesting role-play aspects to draw from these more dynamic ground combat rules. Especially in multi empire play throughs.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 01:41:18 AM by Jorgen_CAB »
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2018, 07:32:49 PM »
I think I decided early on to go with non-turreted STO plus CIWS and then stayed on that track. At this point I am just stepping back and questioning my own assumptions :)

While you're questioning your assumptions :)

I think this is where I was trying to go with my post upstream about "why are weapons systems on the ground special".  There was a post you made later that confused me (although I didn't press it) that you'd have to write a whole bunch of new code to manage manual targeting for ground unit.  My confusion was that if ground unit weapons systems are really acting as those on ships, then you should be able to abstract out a "Naval Weapons Platform" interface and have ground unit fire go through the same code paths (and possibly even dialogs), so you shouldn't need to do a bunch of extra coding.

Let me push again on a previous suggestion:  I suspect that if you have a special kind of HQ (that looks a lot like a naval bridge in terms of officer assignments etc.) then for combat purposes a ground unit under that HQ can be considered a ship with zero speed (in C# terms, the HQ object implements INavalWeaponsPlatform).  For example (I think) this solves the CIWS problem - the CIWS is associated with the HQ, not the planet. 

The reason I keep going down this road is because it feels like you're starting to hit logical problems with having two different weapons systems (naval vs. ground-based) that are supposed to be the same but have different rules.  I think this is going to present you with both the PDC conundrum (lots and lots of special case code to manage "is the firing system on a ship or a ground unit") and the issues with early fighters and missiles (completely different rules for things that are essentially tiny ships).  I think if you introduce the INavalWeaponsPlatform concept and a ground HQ unit that implements it, then the special-casing that you're forced into will be a natural extension of the differences between weapons on the ground and weapons on ships, as opposed to trying to mesh two fundamentally different implementations of the same mechanics.

That being said, one of those differences that might be hard to code up is that ground units can be reorganized on the fly, so the weapons and sensors attached to the ground HQ could change.  If you've hard-wired a concrete "ShipClass" class into the combat mechanics, then I could see a lot of rewriting involved.  I'm sure there are other spots I haven't thought of too.  So even if you agree in principle about the HQ idea above, it still might be a lot of refactoring to get there.  I'm sure there are other such things as well that I haven't thought of.

Hope the above helps....

John
 

Offline Father Tim

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2018, 02:00:48 AM »
As long a Spinal Mount beams are a thing, ships are going to have a (theoretical) range advantage over StO ground forces.

Although that did lead me to a thought.  Could a sufficiently long-ranged StO battery on Luna be used against ground forces on Earth?
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2018, 02:59:03 AM »
As long a Spinal Mount beams are a thing, ships are going to have a (theoretical) range advantage over StO ground forces.

Although that did lead me to a thought.  Could a sufficiently long-ranged StO battery on Luna be used against ground forces on Earth?

You can use 'spinal' mounts on the ground (lots of room) and ground-based have a 25% fire control range advantage.

It depends how I implement it, but by intention is that Luna can shoot at Earth,
 
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Offline King-Salomon

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2018, 03:03:29 AM »
I've read through the above posts and I will give STO vs CIWS more thought.

My original thinking for excluding turret-based weapons on planets was the intended 'static' STOs would be well-fortified and therefore not ideal for tracking fast targets such as missiles. Turrets would need room to 'manoeuvre' and therefore didn't match the well-fortified concept. CIWS on the other hand were very short-range and intended to hit targets coming directly at them.

Another reason for not having turrets was that I didn't necessarily want planets to have defences that were so strong you couldn't penetrate them, because those turrets would be as effective as orbital bases but much harder to kill.

However, some good arguments have been made against those concepts. Firstly, CIWS in this context are effectively covering the whole planet, which doesn't really match the CIWS on ships. Secondly, the new STO units are really the same type of integrated weapon as CIWS, making CIWS less 'special' in this context. It probably does make more sense (and is more consistent) to remove planetary CIWS and allow STO to include fast tracking weapons, as CIWS is really just an integrated gauss turret anyway. This also makes it clear that planetary defences can protect ships that are in orbit or close to the planet. If I made this change, I would add point defence modes to the other automated options for STOs, which would also mean that 'normal' STO could be used for point defence in an emergency.

The 'downside' is that some planets/bases may become very hard to defeat, although that is not necessarily a bad thing. It also restricts the potential use of small, fast craft for dropping troops and the best option is probably large, heavily-armoured assault ships. Again, not necessarily a bad thing.

I think I decided early on to go with non-turreted STO plus CIWS and then stayed on that track. At this point I am just stepping back and questioning my own assumptions :)

hmm... not sure..

I understand the point about CIWS being able to defend the whole planet - but that might me solved by saying that 1 CIWS is only able to "defend" only the area of a planet it can reach because of the curvature of the planet/body ...
let's say a CIWS mounted on the highest mountain/hill in the region has a "field of view" of 10-25% of the Body max ...
which would lead to a 10-25% chance for a CIWS to get a shot.. the defender would have to build a lot of CIWS to make sure they can defend a planet without the planet being hit....

which would make sense... the defender in ground-air-combat is in RL at a disadvantage every time.. the attacker can mass his attack at 1 point while the defender has to defend the whole area...
not every German FLAK all over the Reich was shooting at incoming bombers - only these in range...

for turret based STO units... I am afraid that this would be the end of "defence platforms" in space near a planet...

the main line of defence for a planet should be a mobile fleet, the second line of defence should be the defence bases in orbit and any ground based defence line should just be "last ressort" - not the main (and cheapest) solution to go...

there would be no point to build orbital defences at all if you could just build ground based ones which are cheaper (as without all the other things you need for a defence platform) and less easy to destroy themself... (we have this in VB6 as (nearly) nobody would build a orbital defence platform because the ground based "bunker" was the better/cheaper solution)

for me, planet based weapons should assist the orbital defence to some kind but that would be all... if the orbital defences are destroyed, the planet should be "doomed" - the army able to defend from an invasion but not to repulse an bombardment..

---

if it is the main problem to make sure that "all weapons work same in orbit and on ground" - I cannot say I like this argument ... it is not wrong but thinking this through it would mean (for me) to just don't use the same weapons in ground units and add new weapon types for them instead...
nobody wants this so I am OK with the "same" weapons work differently... they are just "modified ground based types of the same principle"
 

Offline space dwarf

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #40 on: October 16, 2018, 05:26:13 AM »
On the other hand, planetary bombardment presumably targets the centers of population/defense/production, not an even spread across the whole planet, allowing defenders to concentrate a lot.

Additionally, I feel that the effect of flak in the Second World War might have been different if the flak-88 timed-fuse gun batteries were replaced with rapid-firing computer-guided laser beams that could deal comparative damage to nuclear detonations at a range of 200,000 kilometers (half the distance between the earth and the moon).
 

Online Whitecold

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #41 on: October 16, 2018, 05:39:38 AM »
for turret based STO units... I am afraid that this would be the end of "defence platforms" in space near a planet...

the main line of defence for a planet should be a mobile fleet, the second line of defence should be the defence bases in orbit and any ground based defence line should just be "last ressort" - not the main (and cheapest) solution to go...

there would be no point to build orbital defences at all if you could just build ground based ones which are cheaper (as without all the other things you need for a defence platform) and less easy to destroy themself... (we have this in VB6 as (nearly) nobody would build a orbital defence platform because the ground based "bunker" was the better/cheaper solution)

for me, planet based weapons should assist the orbital defence to some kind but that would be all... if the orbital defences are destroyed, the planet should be "doomed" - the army able to defend from an invasion but not to repulse an bombardment..

---

if it is the main problem to make sure that "all weapons work same in orbit and on ground" - I cannot say I like this argument ... it is not wrong but thinking this through it would mean (for me) to just don't use the same weapons in ground units and add new weapon types for them instead...
nobody wants this so I am OK with the "same" weapons work differently... they are just "modified ground based types of the same principle"

I can't exactly follow this reasoning. For one, we still don't have missile platforms in space, so those need to be space based. For beams however there is not enough room for two kinds of systems accomplishing the same thing.
One of them will be better, and will be used over the other, and as for assisting orbital defense, that was exactly what STO can now provide, they can defend ships in orbit, and the precious shipyards, and if destroying the orbital defenses already dooms a planet, why bother putting on any ground units or STOs?
Having multiple lines of defense usually requires that you can retreat most of your forces from one line to another, whittling the attacker down. If each line means you loose everything, you'd be better off putting every bit of resource into the first line to win it there.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #42 on: October 16, 2018, 05:57:19 AM »
I don't see any particular problem with ground assets being more efficient that space assets at defense in general. The planet have almost infinite space and power in comparison with a station in orbit anyway. Sure a space cannon on the ground will have some more limitation on what it can shoot at but that would be an abstraction we should not deal with.

As Whitecold said... it make no sense to even have STO based cannons of a planet without space defenses are doomed anyway.

It really does not matter if er build them in space or not, but one of them will be the better choice and always used anyway. Having the on the ground introduce the fact that they are cheaper and more effective which is important from a game play balance perspective so it actually is interesting to defend it in the first place.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #43 on: October 16, 2018, 06:02:50 AM »
I don't see any particular problem with ground assets being more efficient that space assets at defense in general. The planet have almost infinite space and power in comparison with a station in orbit anyway. Sure a space cannon on the ground will have some more limitation on what it can shoot at but that would be an abstraction we should not deal with.

As Whitecold said... it make no sense to even have STO based cannons of a planet without space defenses are doomed anyway.

It really does not matter if er build them in space or not, but one of them will be the better choice and always used anyway. Having the on the ground introduce the fact that they are cheaper and more effective which is important from a game play balance perspective so it actually is interesting to defend it in the first place.

Thinking further on this, having ground-based anti-missile defences makes it far easier to defend any planet, not just heavily populated ones. Currently, I don't think many players send ground or naval forces to small outposts because they are just too vulnerable. This adds a lot more options for defending mining colonies, listening posts, terraforming operations, etc. You could even establish a base on a close-in moon to defend harvesters. It just makes the game more interesting.
 
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Offline Hazard

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #44 on: October 16, 2018, 07:02:39 AM »
Also, there's no way that harvesters wouldn't be defended properly wherever possible. I mean, you can't mine the Sorium there for jump engine construction, so you might as well reserve your planetary Sorium production for that and get all the fuel you can from gas giants.
 

 

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