Author Topic: STO Operations  (Read 3225 times)

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Offline chrislocke2000

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2018, 07:17:27 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?


Ooh that reminds me of one of the original battle star galactica episodes where they had to go and destroy some very large planet based weapons to be able to get the Galactica away.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2018, 01:11:42 PM »
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.

Yes, you make an interesting point. I started with the relatively simply idea of a weapon on the ground that could shoot into space. Then I added reactors, then fire control, then active sensors and I will probably need ECCM too. It is is becoming more detailed.

However, a lot of things are already setup to deal with different options. For example, I have a combat result object that accepts a chance to hit, a weapon, a target, etc. and then resolves the combat and allocates the damage (which is the more complex challenge). This can deal with any type of weapon against any type of target. The main issue for the STO weapons was deciding what to fire at and how the player should interact with the UI (so I could generate the combat result object).

One option I considered was to design a 'weapon mount' using the ship class design interface and make that an option for mounting on STO units. The formation element could then be a single ship with multiple weapons and fire controls, or a ground unit, depending on the context. That could then appear on the naval combat window. However, I am heading back down the PDC route then and would face the question of why other ship systems can't be in ground units. Currently STO is similar to CIWS in that it is an integrated system where design is automated. Also, it isn't completely straightforward in terms of integration with the naval combat window. BTW I know that isn't quite what you are suggesting - just a different way I could utilise existing code and mechanics.

The automated route I am currently heading down presents the player with a list of his STO elements and requests targeting type and the number of weapons per target. This will be acted upon in normal naval combat to generate the combat results. It should not be difficult to code and maintain the distinction between ground and ship in this scenario. I already have PD code which picks up the ground-based CIWS and could be easily adapted to STO-PD weapons. The STO vs ships is also straightforward with the automated targeting. This keeps the ground units distinct and relatively simple while giving them a real role in naval combat.

I think the area where your solution creates the greatest benefit is for manual targeting. I am bouncing back and forth on whether to implement this in addition to the automated targeting. In that case, I probably could add an interface to the ground unit that effectively creates a 'fire control' object that can display on the naval combat window.
 

Offline DEEPenergy

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2018, 10:49:08 PM »
Steve have you considered having places where STO weapons are located show up as a 'ship' in the naval combat screens? Have them appear below the ships, and have them follow similar rules for assigning targets and firing.
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #48 on: October 17, 2018, 08:07:53 AM »
Two comments:

Yes, you make an interesting point. I started with the relatively simply idea of a weapon on the ground that could shoot into space. Then I added reactors, then fire control, then active sensors and I will probably need ECCM too. It is is becoming more detailed.

[SNIP]

One option I considered was to design a 'weapon mount' using the ship class design interface and make that an option for mounting on STO units. The formation element could then be a single ship with multiple weapons and fire controls, or a ground unit, depending on the context. That could then appear on the naval combat window. However, I am heading back down the PDC route then and would face the question of why other ship systems can't be in ground units. Currently STO is similar to CIWS in that it is an integrated system where design is automated. Also, it isn't completely straightforward in terms of integration with the naval combat window. BTW I know that isn't quite what you are suggesting - just a different way I could utilise existing code and mechanics.

I know you know that isn't quite what I'm suggesting, but for avoidance of doubt (to much contract-reading lately :) ):

I think the difference here is "why do all the systems need to be on a single vehicle"?  If you just have the concept of how many tons a vehicle can carry, then the components can be distributed.  In fact that could be a tech line - vehicle payload - that would have to be incorporated into mobile ground versions of naval components.  I would recommend the size/cost of the vehicle scale non-linearly with payload (e.g. payload^1.5) to represent the fact that (probably) a single 100 ton dumptruck is more than 10x the size/cost of ten 10 ton dumptrucks.  Or maybe the techline simply has a maximum size.  This dovetails nicely with your "weapons mount" idea - it morphs into "static ground fitting" (which might have zero cost/mass, since it's already built into the component) and "mobile ground fitting" which is the vehicle chassis.  This also fits well with modern AA missile units - I believe theirs typically a launcher vehicle, separate radar/fire control vehicle, separate command truck, reload truck etc., some/most of which are specially designed units.

As for "why can't other ship systems be in ground units" - let them (by default)!  You can restrict which system types have ground versions through the tech design window, and from a technobabble point of view if they want to put something on a truck or on the ground they can do so - if it doesn't make sense then it just gives them no value in gameplay.  In particular, I think ground-based missile launchers should be allowed, and let the chips fall where they will (in terms of balance).  I'm putting this in the same category as fighter weapons - this is a core physics consistency issue, and once the door is open to forbidding ground systems because of balance then it opens up a host of other decisions about every other component.

Quote
The automated route I am currently heading down presents the player with a list of his STO elements and requests targeting type and the number of weapons per target. This will be acted upon in normal naval combat to generate the combat results. It should not be difficult to code and maintain the distinction between ground and ship in this scenario. I already have PD code which picks up the ground-based CIWS and could be easily adapted to STO-PD weapons. The STO vs ships is also straightforward with the automated targeting. This keeps the ground units distinct and relatively simple while giving them a real role in naval combat.

I think the area where your solution creates the greatest benefit is for manual targeting. I am bouncing back and forth on whether to implement this in addition to the automated targeting. In that case, I probably could add an interface to the ground unit that effectively creates a 'fire control' object that can display on the naval combat window.

I'm also advocating that if there's an automated mode for ground units, there should be one for ships.  If they're following the same mechanics this should be easy.

Gotta run to work :)

John
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #49 on: October 17, 2018, 08:42:24 AM »
In fact that could be a tech line - vehicle payload - that would have to be incorporated into mobile ground versions of naval components.  I would recommend the size/cost of the vehicle scale non-linearly with payload (e.g. payload^1.5) to represent the fact that (probably) a single 100 ton dumptruck is more than 10x the size/cost of ten 10 ton dumptrucks.

This would be inconsistent with how size efficiency works for all other purposes. We wouldn't have larger Trucks, Container Ships or Airplanes IRL if there was no benefit in doing so, like increased payload per investment or reduced running cost per payload.

A truck/ship/plane that's twice as long in all directions have 4 times the surface area ( resistance from air/sea/ground ) and 8 times as much volume. ( Very simplified but basic physics go in this direction ).

The formulas in Aurora are similar, larger engines or ships are more efficient than smaller ones on a per ton basis.
 

Offline Whitecold

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #50 on: October 17, 2018, 09:20:17 AM »
In fact that could be a tech line - vehicle payload - that would have to be incorporated into mobile ground versions of naval components.  I would recommend the size/cost of the vehicle scale non-linearly with payload (e.g. payload^1.5) to represent the fact that (probably) a single 100 ton dumptruck is more than 10x the size/cost of ten 10 ton dumptrucks.

This would be inconsistent with how size efficiency works for all other purposes. We wouldn't have larger Trucks, Container Ships or Airplanes IRL if there was no benefit in doing so, like increased payload per investment or reduced running cost per payload.

A truck/ship/plane that's twice as long in all directions have 4 times the surface area ( resistance from air/sea/ground ) and 8 times as much volume. ( Very simplified but basic physics go in this direction ).

The formulas in Aurora are similar, larger engines or ships are more efficient than smaller ones on a per ton basis.
The real limit on ground vehicles is usually the weight limit of bridges, as well as the size of tunnels, roads and railcars. Also, STO are all static mounts, so for transport they are broken down into parts which would likely be either their own specialty vehicles or fit onto standard trucks. You would have a fire control vehicle, generators fitting into containers that power a laser in a container, which then feeds the mirror turrets on their own platforms.
There is no need to build everything into a monolithic platform on the ground, especially when you want to set it up in cramped underground bunkers.
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #51 on: October 17, 2018, 01:04:29 PM »
Modern AAA/SAM systems are mobile and, as others pointed out, mounted on multiple vehicles. Generally there are 1-3 weapon platforms, 1-3 loader platforms (for missile systems, for cannon systems there are 1-2 ammunition vehicles), a fire control vehicle, and a support/mechanic vehicle. These systems rely on external other units to provide up-to-date area surveillance information, which can also be mobile, so you could add a search radar vehicle to the total count. Similarly, for Theatre Ballistic Missiles and Artillery Missiles, the systems are roughly similar: you have multiple launch vehicles, equal number of loader vehicles, and a command & control vehicle, plus supply/support vehicles.

I don't know how feasible it would be to code something like this in C# Aurora. Once you design an ground-based STO weapon, the game automatically creates a unit that includes reactor vehicle, gauss cannon vehicle, beam fire control vehicle, and then the player can adjust their numbers for that unit? Or just design each vehicle separately and group them together, like any other ground unit? How would that fit together with static units, do they need separate components as well? Can the game easily check that all necessary components/vehicles are in a unit, without creating undue memory/CPU usage?

On one hand, being able to put ship component to vehicles would neatly sidestep any special rules issues like we had with PDCs. But I don't know how "bad" it would be under the hood, and I've understood that Steve's one priority for C# has been to streamline the code and make it more uniform, ie as few special cases as possible.
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #52 on: October 17, 2018, 01:45:00 PM »
I'm comfortable with the STO ground units being one unit just for simplicity purposes. My main concern is if you start adding things like ECCM and active sensors they might get too big to be practical, but that will have to be seen I think.
 
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Offline space dwarf

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #53 on: October 17, 2018, 01:47:36 PM »
One unit doesnt neccesarily mean "one object" though, right? Like a brigade HQ is 500 tons, but that doesnt mean its a 500-ton vehicle?
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #54 on: October 17, 2018, 02:19:25 PM »
I'm comfortable with the STO ground units being one unit just for simplicity purposes. My main concern is if you start adding things like ECCM and active sensors they might get too big to be practical, but that will have to be seen I think.

The active sensor is tiny. The STO design for the Commonwealth (from the Colonial Wars campaign) for a 25cm spinal laser is 507 tons. Of that, the active sensor is 5 tons, the static mount is 12 tons, the reactor is 40 tons, the fire control is 50 tons and the weapon is 400 tons.

Given the relatively small size of the non-weapon components, it is easier and simpler for this to be a CIWS-style integrated unit.
 

Offline Tuna-Fish

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #55 on: October 17, 2018, 02:57:15 PM »
The active sensor is tiny. The STO design for the Commonwealth (from the Colonial Wars campaign) for a 25cm spinal laser is 507 tons. Of that, the active sensor is 5 tons, the static mount is 12 tons, the reactor is 40 tons, the fire control is 50 tons and the weapon is 400 tons.

The one big question I have is how does the cost (not size) scale when you extend the fire controls up to the maximum allowed in the late game. In VB, late game sniper laser ships tend to have most of their cost in the FC, even when they pack a lot of lasers per single FC. Does only using integrated FC make STO defences cost-prohibitive when your enemy can shoot at you from a million km away?
 

Offline conquer4

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #56 on: October 17, 2018, 10:13:11 PM »
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10187. msg110488#msg110488 date=1539803965
The active sensor is tiny.  The STO design for the Commonwealth (from the Colonial Wars campaign) for a 25cm spinal laser is 507 tons.  Of that, the active sensor is 5 tons, the static mount is 12 tons, the reactor is 40 tons, the fire control is 50 tons and the weapon is 400 tons.

Wait, a 12tn mount is holding up a 400tn weapon?
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #57 on: October 17, 2018, 10:21:06 PM »
In fact that could be a tech line - vehicle payload - that would have to be incorporated into mobile ground versions of naval components.  I would recommend the size/cost of the vehicle scale non-linearly with payload (e.g. payload^1.5) to represent the fact that (probably) a single 100 ton dumptruck is more than 10x the size/cost of ten 10 ton dumptrucks.

This would be inconsistent with how size efficiency works for all other purposes. We wouldn't have larger Trucks, Container Ships or Airplanes IRL if there was no benefit in doing so, like increased payload per investment or reduced running cost per payload.

A truck/ship/plane that's twice as long in all directions have 4 times the surface area ( resistance from air/sea/ground ) and 8 times as much volume. ( Very simplified but basic physics go in this direction ).

The formulas in Aurora are similar, larger engines or ships are more efficient than smaller ones on a per ton basis.

Don't want to rathole/hijack thread on this, but the square-cube law is why I suspect that for ground vehicles bigger might make things worse - twice as tall means that the suspension system needs to be twice as strong, which changes materials properties and all sorts of other stuff.  If you also assume only having wheels on the outside (one row on each side) then you've also got to strength issues for as you make the width larger.  So I suspect that the chassis cost for 4 10-ton turrets is cheaper than the chassis cost for one 80 ton turret (twice as big in all directions) or even one 40 ton turret (same turret mass, but twice the weight per axle and axles that are twice as long).  I expect you're correct at the low end of the payload range (that bigger vehicles give economies of scale), but at the high end (e.g. huge mining dump trucks) it seems that there's something that's cutting things off and I suspect it's the above discussion.  If Steve were to go down this road (which it sounds like he's not, hence my desire not to hijack the thread), there should probably be a mechanism to cut off the size of the bigger systems.  Increasing cost faster than linearly was simply a kludge way to manage that abstraction.

But what I really wanted to say was:

Just did a bunch of googling on dump trucks and military vehicles.  Appears that typical dump trucks are rated for 20-40 tons, monster mining dump trucks are rated as much as 300-450 tons.  Tank transporters are > 70 tons.  Soviet (it looked like) mobile ballistic missile launcher carried a 50 ton missile.  Seems like axle loads for the bigger military transporters are 10-15 tons per axle.  So I suspect with current tech, you can have fairly mobile (tank transporter) vehicles with ~100 ton payload or slow (big mining truck) vehicles with ~400 ton payload.  Above that, and I suspect you're into "crawlers" which move at walking speed or slower and probably should simply be considered static.  Note that I'm thinking in terms of "ready to fire" weapons systems in the above, which can't be broken down into smaller pieces and reassembled.

This says to me that Steve's 25cm spinal laser could be conceivably be vehicle mounted, especially with TN tech, whether components are individually mounted or unified into a CIWS-like system.

John
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #58 on: October 17, 2018, 11:50:17 PM »
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10187. msg110488#msg110488 date=1539803965
The active sensor is tiny.  The STO design for the Commonwealth (from the Colonial Wars campaign) for a 25cm spinal laser is 507 tons.  Of that, the active sensor is 5 tons, the static mount is 12 tons, the reactor is 40 tons, the fire control is 50 tons and the weapon is 400 tons.

Wait, a 12tn mount is holding up a 400tn weapon?

I think the 400 tons includes the mount. When you put a 400 ton weapon on a ship, it only gets 400 tons bigger, which implies that weight includes all the structure and aiming apparatus.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: STO Operations
« Reply #59 on: October 19, 2018, 07:56:17 AM »
I've decided to remove ground-based CIWS and allow any weapon, including turrets, to be a surface-to-orbit weapon. You will be able to set STO weapons to point defence modes. If set to defend others, they will try to shoot down missiles attacking nearby targets (such as ships, orbital shipyards, etc.).
 
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