Author Topic: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies  (Read 2513 times)

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Offline dersavage (OP)

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New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« on: December 31, 2020, 02:06:18 PM »
Still learning this awesome game.   I have watched AAR videos and read a ton, but still learning.   This is my third game, very little experience about battles and tactics.   I'm still early in game about 20 years.   No aliens so far, but I'm pretty sure I find something very soon.   I've been expanding my Terran Federation fast and already have four colonies in different stars (max range about 10 bkm from Sol).   I have no idea how to prepare to defend my colonies.   So I'm looking for advice on that.   Still lacking good military techs, because I was focusing better engines and colonization stuff.   Just started to research missiles, sensors and beam weapons are pretty awful.   I have built small navy (8 Ferret-class FAC) just to get some experience for my crew and leaders, basic security and mainly for RPG purposes.   

My new design is probably the first decent military ship: the Viper-class fighter for defence of the colonies (just Sol before researching carriers).   My missile tech is still limited thought, so I designed smaller size 3 (WH4) shorter range Chaser ASM variant for Viper-class.   I have plans to use bigger size 6 Hammer ASM (WH4) and size 1 Firestorm AMM for bigger future ships.   

So the the question is how to prepare my colonies for the possible alien attacks? And here's my brand new Viper-class fighter design.   Actually my first fighter design in-game. 

Quote
Viper class Fighter      500 tons       11 Crew       89.  8 BP       TCS 10    TH 75    EM 0
7511 km/s      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 2      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 3.  6
Maint Life 4.  59 Years     MSP 31    AFR 20%    IFR 0.  3%    1YR 2    5YR 36    Max Repair 37.  50 MSP
Magazine 24   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 9 days    Morale Check Required   

Blackburn Ion Drive  EP75.  00 FPH542 150t (1)    Power 75.  0    Fuel Use 722.  96%    Signature 75.  00    Explosion 20%
Fuel Capacity 20,000 Litres    Range 1 billion km (36 hours at full power)

Charlton Armaments Size 6.  00 Box Launcher 45t (4)     Missile Size: 6.  00    Hangar Reload 122 minutes    MF Reload 20 hours
McCarthy Electronics Missile Fire Control FC25-R100 S16 R25M 15t (1)     Range 25.  7m km    Resolution 100

Dodd Electronics Active Search Sensor AS27-R100 S16 R27M 70t (1)     GPS 2240     Range 27.  7m km    Resolution 100

This design is classed as a Fighter for production, combat and planetary interaction

My Chaser ASM missile (size 3) range is 24,53m km wh:4 and Hammer ASM (size 6) is 70m km.   For the future there is Firestorm AMM (size 1, wh1) range 1,3M km, speed 21,600 m/s. 

Here is Chaser-missile for Viper. 

Quote
Missile Size: 3.  0000 MSP  (7.  50000 Tons)     Warhead: 4    Radiation Damage: 4    Manoeuvre Rating: 15
Speed: 20,000 km/s     Fuel: 1,096     Flight Time: 20 minutes     Range: 24.  53m km
Cost Per Missile: 2.  77024     Development Cost: 277
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 300%   3k km/s 100.  0%   5k km/s 60%   10k km/s 30%

Materials Required
Tritanium  1
Gallicite  1.  77024
Fuel:  1096
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 02:09:46 PM by dersavage »
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2020, 02:39:42 PM »
Defense in depth is the best approach.

Of course you always have your big battle fleet(s) but tying your big ships to colony defense is not cost-effective, plus you'd rather be using them to attack people.

The lowest level of colony defense is of course ground units. Any frontier colony should have a garrison large enough to at least delay an enemy or force them to commit a lot of ground troops. INF and STA formations work best here due to high fortification levels, for larger garrisons you can mix in a few armored vehicle formations for counter-attacking if you want to.

The next level up to actually keep the enemy from landing on your colony are STO weapons. These are usually difficult for an enemy to target and are cost-effective, but also are slow to train and do require additional research investment as you have to research the weapon, then research the STO with the weapon. Additionally if an STO is destroyed, it's dead - you can't repair it with MSP as it isn't on a ship, so you have to build it all over again. Overall an important investment though. Keep in mind that STOs cannot fire missiles, only beam weapons.

The next level up then would be orbital defenses, which can be a variety of military space stations with beam or missile weapons. The NPRs will usually have AMM and beam PD bases in orbit of their major planets, as a player you could also use ASM or anti-ship beam weapons on your orbital platforms to deter enemy forces more assertively. The big advantage of platforms/stations is that they can be built quite quickly using planetside construction facilities, and that they can be repaired from battle damage (make sure you have engineering modules for this!). Stations can also be tugged around and even deployed at non-body locations such as jump points, so they are quite flexible. The major downside will be maintenance costs.

Finally you can maintain a fleet of fighters/FACs based at the colony which can engage enemy ships on more of their own terms, particularly if you want to defend the outlying mining posts in a system and not just one major colony. For this your actual fighter design looks reasonable and a couple squadrons of these would hopefully help you wear down an enemy fleet on the approach to your colony. The main thing you will need here will be anti-missile defenses, for which you could use a beam fighter/FAC (Gauss or railguns for instance) or rely on your fighters' small size and speed to keep them from being shot at and an orbital defense station to shoot down missiles aimed at the colony itself.
 
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Offline dersavage (OP)

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2020, 03:31:48 PM »
Thanks for the reply.   So it seems I need prioritize to research some ground forces and troop ships for them.   This is the easy part.   Just researched ground troop transport bay and planning to get some ground forces.    Then STO and then orbital defence and finally fighters etc.   

STO weapons - I have to look more for designing there weapons.   

Planetary defence stations are totally brand new for me.   Any advices how big those should be? I have few tugs already, mainly for moving future sorium fuel or terraform stations.   Tug size size is 10k.   

Last question is should I add fighters/FAC to my outer colonies or just rely (first) on ground troops and later STO defence.   Probably good military fleet is more flexible solution, but I kind of like to make solid defence for my outer colonies even without fleet.   I do have plans to make cruiser fleet, but need some techs first to make good ships and some info about the possible enemy fleet.   
 

Offline RougeNPS

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2020, 03:42:30 PM »
10K seems too small to me for a sufficiently sized OWP but you are really early on. 10K is likely what would work for early game OWP.
 

Offline froggiest1982

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2020, 04:02:19 PM »
Along with what said, it seems silly but your best defense it's detection, early detection actually.

While as the offender your strategy is determined by your weapon of choice and or range of attack, as defender you know where your enemy is going to strike so you have to ensure you are prepared to "see" all strategies in advance.

Multiple layers of detection in multiple strategic points will give you a good idea of what is going on.

Enemies rarely attack en masse immediately. Usually you will have a rogue scout (you want to know when these sneaky bas*ards are sniffing around) or a small raiding party.

Ultimately, mobile platforms (stations) are good because as Nuclear said you can tow them around, however, to know where will help you in planning your defenses better, especially when later on you will have to deal with possible dormant jump points.

Again, you need to be able to pin down their location before it's too late.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 04:04:18 PM by froggiest1982 »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2020, 04:07:57 PM »
Planetary defence stations are totally brand new for me.   Any advices how big those should be? I have few tugs already, mainly for moving future sorium fuel or terraform stations.   Tug size size is 10k.   

The NPR tends to make stations that are about 16k tons in my current game, and I'm seeing 4x AMM and 4x beam PD bases defending home worlds - but of course you don't need to adhere to this. In general, a smaller station will be more modular - you'll need more of them, but you can tailor the amount you build to the specific needs you have. A larger station is a bit more tonnage-efficient due to less overhead for structural shell, bridges and other command modules, etc.

Any defense you build will inevitably not be perfectly matched against the threats you'll face because you don't know the NPR capabilities until you actually fight them, so probably the best guess you can make is to defend against your own fleet and tech. In other words, determine the loadout or size of a defense platform to defend against whatever size and speed of missile salvo your own ships use (or would use, if you're running with beam ships).

A couple examples I whipped up out of spare parts in my current campaign file; these are probably not optimal but give an idea what an orbital defense platform could look like:
Quote
Beam Defence class Orbital Defence Platform      13,303 tons       511 Crew       2,314.5 BP       TCS 266    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s      Armour 5-50       Shields 0-0       HTK 93      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 10      PPV 168
Maint Life 7.08 Years     MSP 1,087    AFR 142%    IFR 2.0%    1YR 38    5YR 570    Max Repair 80 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Morale Check Required   

Single 4-in Ultraviolet Quick-Firing Laser Turret (40x1)    Range 32,000km     TS: 16000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
AEDAR Point Defence Fire Director Mk II (4)     Max Range: 32,000 km   TS: 16,000 km/s     69 38 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
English Electric 6 TW Small Modular Reactor Mk II (20)     Total Power Output 124    Exp 5%

AEDAR High-Resolution Torpedo Detector Mk II (2)     GPS 80     Range 14.3m km    MCR 1.3m km    Resolution 1

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Quote
Missile Defence class Orbital Defence Platform      10,899 tons       365 Crew       1,749.9 BP       TCS 218    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s      Armour 5-43       Shields 0-0       HTK 105      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 10      PPV 60
Maint Life 11.00 Years     MSP 1,003    AFR 95%    IFR 1.3%    1YR 15    5YR 228    Max Repair 80 MSP
Magazine 1,260   
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Morale Check Required   

Size 1 Missile Launcher (60)     Missile Size: 1    Rate of Fire 10
AEDAR High-Resolution Rocket Controller Mk II (20)     Range 12.8m km    Resolution 1

AEDAR High-Resolution Torpedo Detector Mk II (2)     GPS 80     Range 14.3m km    MCR 1.3m km    Resolution 1

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

You could also combine the armaments into a single omnibus platform, and/or build additional types for long-range ASM or larger anti-ship beam weapons if you wanted to. These are just basic examples, and are really intended to be build in groups of 3-6x apiece although just 1-2 is probably okay for a small frontier colony where you just need to delay the enemy or dissuade raiders.

Quote
Last question is should I add fighters/FAC to my outer colonies or just rely (first) on ground troops and later STO defence.   Probably good military fleet is more flexible solution, but I kind of like to make solid defence for my outer colonies even without fleet.   I do have plans to make cruiser fleet, but need some techs first to make good ships and some info about the possible enemy fleet.

Fighter/FAC are great for frontier defense because they are cheap enough to just build a dozen of them and send them to places. However, you do need to have some kind of maintenance facilities at your colonies, otherwise your ships will blow up from maintenance failures. Even 5-10 maintenance facilities and sufficient MSP or minerals will be enough, just a logistical detail to remember. You can also use the maintenance module ship component but that could be more expensive than you want especially since you usually need those modules for deep space fleet bases or jump point defense auxiliary stations.
 
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Offline dersavage (OP)

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2020, 04:47:18 PM »
These are great help for my game.  This forum seems very helpful too.  i must say this game is the TRUE GEM, earlier version I tried just did't make the impact.  But C++ version and new interface.  Just awesome! I have no words how good this game is and how deep it is. 

Yes, still early in game for me.  And I'm looking forward what NPR can throw against me.  Great fun that I will not know it. 

I will start building some orbital defence platforms and ground forces.  Also tweak my exploration ships for better recon, maybe even make new class for better sneaky recon.  I might consider some early warning sensors of somekind for choke points.
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2020, 05:15:46 PM »
First off, I try to drop a colony (and only one) in every system with a decent planet. These colonies might not do much, but for logistics reasons I like having at least small colonies in as many systems as possible.

Each populated colony gets, at a minimum, 5 deep space tracking stations and a ground unit with both troops and STO weapons. Ground troops were already covered, but they're both cheap and don't require dedicated maintenance - they cost a little bit of wealth to maintain each year, but wealth is plentiful and renewable, and most importantly they don't cost minerals (which will eventually run out) or require special facilities for maintenance (so I can just drop ground troops on a planet and forget them unless I want to upgrade with new tech). They're also enough to keep the population from protesting about the lack of protection.

Then every few systems I'll have a "Navy Base" system that has maintenance facilities, Naval headquarters, and some ordinance factories that support at least a few warships in orbit. In my current game I'm just using my standard warships, though in the past I've experimented with "System Defense Ships" that are basically warships with the deployment, fuel, and engineering cut down to only last a few weeks. Fighters and orbital bases are both options but not ones I use, since I only heavily defend the bases and want the ships there not to be limited to the system/planet.

The way I figure it is if my jump points go like so:

Earth <> Colony <> Colony <> Navy Base <> Colony

Then each colony always has warships a minimum of one jump away.

My rationalization is that if a colony gets attacked by a small force, the STO weapons and troops can hopefully hold out, at least until reinforcements arrive. And if it gets attacked by a large force then a few OWPs or fighters probably wouldn't make a difference anyways.

Of course, if I know there's a possible threat out there, like another race that's been probing my territory, the colonies on the border get heavily reinforced. If I used OWPs and planetary fighters, this is probably where they'd come in. The ground forces alternating with navy bases is just my standard for areas I don't know are under specific threat, because you never know when a dormant jump point or new contact will drop enemies on your lap.

Another possibility is minefields, but I understand they're buggy in the current version.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 05:29:20 PM by Bremen »
 

Offline StarshipCactus

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2020, 07:49:16 PM »
The missile launchers on your Vipers are size 6, while the missiles are size 3. You should get some size 3 launchers, or some size 6 missiles.
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2020, 11:41:46 PM »
My rationalization is that if a colony gets attacked by a small force, the STO weapons and troops can hopefully hold out, at least until reinforcements arrive. And if it gets attacked by a large force then a few OWPs or fighters probably wouldn't make a difference anyways.

You'd actually be surprised how much weight a few ODPs can carry. A 10,000-ton ODP is probably equivalent to about 2 or 3 10,000-ton ships due to not needing propulsion, having shorter deployment times (you only need more than a day to avoid morale problems during tugging, which is a very minor concern and you can neglect that entirely at risk of readiness after transport), and needing much less engineering/MSP to repair components. A few missile platforms in particular can turn the dreaded AMM spam tactic against the AI to good effect, and works well in combination with anti-ship ODPs or STOs that can deal with the heavier ships once the escorts have been thinned out.

Obviously, sufficiently overwhelming force will defeat any fixed defense, but the more force you require your opponent to commit (and lose in the attack to boot), the more effectively you slow them down until your main fleet can counter-attack. Fixed defenses have their limitations, but they're very effective at forcing a disproportionate commitment of the enemy fleet which lets you turn the initiative around on them.

Granted, most of my experience with this is as the enemy here - NPR weapons platforms can be a challenge to take down if your fleet isn't geared to do so.
 

Offline dersavage (OP)

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2021, 03:21:26 AM »
Quote from: StarshipCactus link=topic=12227. msg145578#msg145578 date=1609465756
The missile launchers on your Vipers are size 6, while the missiles are size 3.  You should get some size 3 launchers, or some size 6 missiles.

Changed launcher to size 3.  Fighters are still using size 3 because I couldn't fit proper longer range fire control.  After research I will upgrade this, but for now I choose to half-the-size of missile and use 21M range not 70M like my proper fleet ASM missile.
 

Offline dersavage (OP)

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2021, 03:33:59 AM »
I'm following the advices here and got my first defences ready. 

22,219 tons guardian Orbital Defence Platform.  This uses ASM and AAM missiles and also PD 10 cm laser and ship killer 15 cm laser. 

Also first ground forces are trained.  Planetary Defence Regimet uses STO:

Quote
Gallagher Systems 18. 750cm C3 Near Ultraviolet Laser 300t
Range 270,000 km      Tracking 4,000 km/s      Damage 9 / 1     Shots 1     Rate of Fire 15
Maximum Fire Control Range 320,000km      Chance to Hit at Max Range 16%
Maximum Sensor Range 1,595,767km      Max Range vs Missile 143,619 km

and second PD STO
Quote
Quad Gallagher Systems 15. 0cm C3 Near Ultraviolet Laser Turret 1640t
Range 80,000 km      Tracking 10,000 km/s      Damage 6 / 2     Shots 4     Rate of Fire 10
Maximum Fire Control Range 80,000km      Chance to Hit at Max Range 0%
Maximum Sensor Range 1,595,767km      Max Range vs Missile 143,619 km
Non-Combat Class

and some infantry plus vehicles. 

I also made FIRST CONTACT.  Five jumps from Sol there was EQ Pegasi and alien home planet.  After few days of trying to communicate they blasted my survey ships.  From the intel reports they are using beam weapons:

Quote
Antillis-class 12,497t 3x Gauss Cannon DMG 1x8
Levinor-class 18,745t 11x Railgun DMG 4x4
Macharia-class 12,413t 10x Gauss Cannon DMG 1x8

Reported speed was 6,100 km/s so they are fast and this will be a problem.  Fortunately I have decent defence built.  Now it is time to start building bigger ships and plan how to defeat these ships.  So dmg 4 and 8 are the one I should focus? Gauss are PDF and short range so probably need to focus longer range weapons. 
 

Offline Black

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2021, 04:47:19 AM »
Lasers have range advantage over railguns, so if your lasers are same tech level as their railguns, you just need faster ships. The question is, if they have also missile ships.

If you have trouble matching their speed, maybe go for FACs equipped with lasers and boosted engines. And to get them to the enemy systems, you can transport them in carriers.
 
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Offline Neophyte

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2021, 08:59:52 AM »
The big advantage of platforms/stations is that they can be built quite quickly using planetside construction facilities, and that they can be repaired from battle damage (make sure you have engineering modules for this!).

Not trying to be pedantic, but since this is for a new player I want to correct this - any military system must be either on a fighter of 500 tons or less built in a fighter factory, or a ship built in a naval (military) shipyard.  You can build "space stations" in C# using planetside construction factories, but they cannot have engines, armor, or any system that would make it military (eg weapons, sensors > 50 tons, etc.).  When we players refer to "orbital weapon stations" or the like we are referring to armed military ships that don't have engines (which leaves more room for weapons, armor, etc.)

Otherwise pretty much everything everyone has said should cover it.  Do note that if you build ground STOs that, like every other ground unit, they won't be upgraded as you research better technology like armor or weapons - you have to build new replacement units. 1.12.0 introduced a Ground Forces Replacement Template that reduces the micromanagement a bit.

http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=11593.msg140370#msg140370
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: New player here wants to know how to defend colonies
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2021, 11:59:44 AM »
The big advantage of platforms/stations is that they can be built quite quickly using planetside construction facilities, and that they can be repaired from battle damage (make sure you have engineering modules for this!).

Not trying to be pedantic, but since this is for a new player I want to correct this - any military system must be either on a fighter of 500 tons or less built in a fighter factory, or a ship built in a naval (military) shipyard.  You can build "space stations" in C# using planetside construction factories, but they cannot have engines, armor, or any system that would make it military (eg weapons, sensors > 50 tons, etc.).  When we players refer to "orbital weapon stations" or the like we are referring to armed military ships that don't have engines (which leaves more room for weapons, armor, etc.)

Good catch, I got this wrong. I always forget that military space stations don't work like PDCs anymore until I start trying to build them (I really should stop reading old VB6 AARs...).
 

 

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