Author Topic: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?  (Read 586 times)

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Offline vorpal+5 (OP)

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At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« on: November 20, 2020, 05:26:46 AM »
The big change from VB6 to C# in components size made the non-missile fighters completely subpar (except in flak role) compared to missile fighters. But is there a saving grace somewhere for them, at some point?
 

Offline BasileusMaximos

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 10:59:22 AM »
I was under the impression that beam fighters were meant to serve only in a flak (I assume you mean point defense) role. You wouldn't task an air superiority fighter to sink a carrier.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2020, 11:12:37 AM »
The big change from VB6 to C# in components size made the non-missile fighters completely subpar (except in flak role) compared to missile fighters. But is there a saving grace somewhere for them, at some point?

The only change was the removal of the exception rule for fighter beam fire controls.
 

Online Lord Solar

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2020, 01:23:40 PM »
The only reasons to use (other than ground support) fighters is mostly economic; they can use fighter factories, don't need a bridge, and use the lowest level officer.
 

Offline Polestar

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2020, 01:37:33 PM »
I confess I can't seem to design a competitive fighter using carronades, lasers, particle beams, or railguns at any tech level. Meson and microwave fighters, however, might be worth more of my attention.

Just one of the issues that fighters face include the requirement for decent-sized FCs to get acceptable accuracy at any but point-blank range. Carronade fighters don't have this issue so much, but they
a) require that you have superior Reaction (to move last and so choose their range in the sub-pulse), which means you need to devote chosen leaders, leaders that could instead be commanding bigger, more powerful ships, and
b) the small carronades that fighters can carry lack both armor penetration and shock damage capability.

And think of the play value here: Is there any point to a small carronade? The whole POINT of a carronade is to ram a bigger gun muzzle up in somebody's face and light him up, space pirate-style.

Speaking more holistically, Aurora has a number of game rules and interfaces that favor large - or in some cases medium-sized - ships, including how FCs work, how weapons other than missiles, mesons, and microwaves work, limited number of well-qualified commanders, how armor damage and (especially) shields work, the tedium of organizing and then commanding large number of ships in battle, and the outsized expense of fielding warcraft with meaningful dodge capability.

I, therefore, actually never build fighters. Missile fighters make it too easy to beat the AI (or, at least, make sure its fleets and orbital defences never get a chance to inflict return damage). Meson and microwave fighters want more of my attention, but I'm a knifefighter kinda guy, and I want my carronades, lasers, particle beams, and/or railguns to get a fair chance to win. And that requires hull sizes at and above ~1kton. Right now, I'm running a pack of fast carronade-armed, armored 2.5kton gunboats around, operating off of carriers. They're not particularly cost-effective, but they give the AI a chance to shoot back ... and make bad guys go boom in a heart-warming way.
 

Offline xenoscepter

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2020, 03:53:36 PM »
The only change was the removal of the exception rule for fighter beam fire controls.

 - This. I don't like this. I feel like it nerfs beam fighters into the ground because they just cannot mount the kind of FCS they need anymore. However, this is why they aren't really worth it anymore...

That said: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=11548.0
^To play Devil's advocate; these are not one, but three Magneto Plasma fighter designs that include beam armament.
 

Online Drakale

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2020, 04:03:00 PM »
Other than CAP energy fighters in my games are used to take down stragglers that have been damaged by the main fleet. I had some success with very fast FAC with spinal weapon with a range that exceed the enemy's main armament, but they are only usable if the enemy has expended all his missiles or has none. So situational that they probably aren't worth their cost, but I like em.
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2020, 04:06:22 PM »
The big change from VB6 to C# in components size made the non-missile fighters completely subpar (except in flak role) compared to missile fighters. But is there a saving grace somewhere for them, at some point?

The only change was the removal of the exception rule for fighter beam fire controls.

Not really? The size/efficiency changes to power plants, engines, and shields* are all nerfs to beam fighters relative to larger beam combatants, in addition to the fighter fire controls. That said, I haven't done enough playtesting to determine if they're still feasible.

*It's true that it would be rare to try to shield a beam fighter in either version, but making shields more effective on larger ships still makes fighter sized beam craft a less attractive option.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2020, 05:00:37 PM »
I've been building railgun fighters in almost every C# campaign I've played :)
 
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Offline Kristover

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2020, 06:49:53 PM »
I use rail and beam fighters in every game for system defense.  I tend to create a few fighter bases in my systems to supplement the main system starport and they are excellent in running down enemy survey ships and supports ships that may be trailing the enemy fleets - I have some notable good luck destroying troop ships.  During larger fleet engagements I either throw them up as a screen to occupy enemy fire while my main fleet closes or just before I launch missile volleys or I unleash them to run down stragglers that were damaged.  I get a lot of mileage from my fighters even at lower tech levels. 
 

Offline vorpal+5 (OP)

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2020, 05:25:45 AM »
I've been building railgun fighters in almost every C# campaign I've played :)

Yes, but are they used for anything but (1) anti-missile defense and (2) taking down stragglers, crippled ships and unarmed scouts?

This is still incredibly useful, but the days where they could pack enough punch to be used as your main kill weapon against capital ships are gone (for beam I least).
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2020, 06:17:03 AM »
In real life, fighters/bombers have always taken on capital ships with bombs, torpedoes or missiles and strafing has only been effective against small or lightly armoured craft. If you equate energy weapons with guns, it doesn't seem realistic that fighters could carry large enough weapons to damage capital ships. With missiles, fighters carry expendable ordnance that can inflict more damage but limits the number of times they can attack and has a logistical downside.

In fact, Aurora energy-armed fighters have an advantage vs real life in that their 'guns' can wear away armour over time.

However, it would be intriguing to try a campaign that uses energy fighters as the main weapon. I started a BSG-style campaign in the test phase for C# but didn't really get very far. I might start a new one to try out that strategy.
 
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Offline vorpal+5 (OP)

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2020, 06:27:52 AM »
Ok, no issue with that at all. I wanted to be sure of the intent behind the change. I did not doubt much you did that with a purpose in mind.

At least, it clarified for me what I can expect from fighters and stop trying to fit a square in a circle with a beam fighter as a capital ship-killer.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2020, 09:33:32 AM »
I'm going to make a couple of changes for the next version to make beam fighters a little easier, without making them overpowered.
 
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Offline Panopticon

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Re: At which point non-missile combat fighters become again worthy?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2020, 11:04:26 AM »
If you read Steve's current AAR you'll see that most of his engagements take place at extremely close range, I think gun armed fighters would work in that sort of situation, being launched under the cover of the fleet anti-missile defenses. They could then be tasked with shipping strikes and not have to worry about giant waves of missiles blowing them up before they get in range.

This might be dependent on the point defense ships of the enemy being targeted and weakened first, but it seems fairly viable to me.
 

 

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