Author Topic: Bigger = Better?  (Read 1850 times)

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Offline BasileusMaximos

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Bigger = Better?
« on: April 02, 2017, 02:16:17 AM »
I while ago I started a thread discussing ships sizes and there was some interesting debate about whether larger ships are more efficient. Some say that larger ships are more efficient in terms of defense, build times, and crew requirements while others said that its smaller ships are better because they build faster, require smaller maintenance facilities and smaller jump tenders.

Now my play style is a rather slow one and I never expand into a system for anything other than exploration without a gate, so jump-engine size isn't really an issue for me. I also start the game with 7 billion population on Earth. With that in mind I decided on the sizes below.

My thinking is that the next class up should be at least three times bigger than the one below it.
3,000 ton corvette
10,000 ton frigates (rounding up)
30,000 ton destroyers
100,000 ton cruisers (decided to round up)
300,000 ton dreadnoughts
1,000,000 ton super dreadnoughts (again, rounding up)

Its large, I know, but I usually give my ships a lot of extra utilities like tractor beams, emergency cryo, and Gauss and missile point defense. I also have a rule of having an ECCM for every fire control and 1 fire control for every six weapons. I'm even thinking about giving cruisers and up hangars large enough for a small (relative to its size) wing of missile bombers once I figure out carrier mechanics a bit better. In addition, all ships destroyer and up get a marine contingent of some sort with a combat drop module that gets bigger as the class goes up.

I know that in Aurora specialization is better than generalization but this just feels right to me.

I might also have sub classes in between, like a battlecruisers at 150,000 tons or something. These large jumps give me some flexibility.
 

Offline AL

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2017, 02:59:11 AM »
I am quite a fan of the big ships myself, but usually by the time I can realistically afford a ship of that size my game has slowed down too much for me to enjoy it. That being said, I start with a much lower population usually so you might not run into that problem for a bit. I think one of the main attractions of the larger size is being able to incorporate a recreational module for infinite deployment time (or as long as maintenance/fuel allows), which is pretty nice. Definitely go with whatever feels best to you, arguments about efficiency be damned.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2017, 03:02:19 AM »
There are certain economies with larger ships:
defenses, fire controls, ECM, redundancy, more efficient engines.

There are certain areas where larger ships are more deficient:
They are easier to detect and target
require a LOT more maintenance modules
Require such large shipyards that maintaining multiple types of large ships is more difficult, and harder to keep them up to date.

Large systems in general cost more to research, but that is an independent consideration.

Strategically, larger ships are more useful in an assault, but are less flexible for patrolling or scouting.  It is a much bigger loss if a capital ship is lost to an ambush or unexpected political change than a smaller ship.

There is also the crew quality benefit of surviving taking damage, which larger ships are more likely to get.

IF you have the capability of cycling a damaged ship out of fire, so it can be repaired and shields regenerated, then larger ships are more likely to benefit from that.  So late game fast beam ships that can choose a range that they dominate at, and rotate out the damaged ships, bigger ships is better.

Barring golden BBs that cause those large boosted engines to blow up.

I am going with a somewhat different classification of sizes.

I started with commercial engines on everything, so I have the ability to use commercial jump drives strategically, if not for assaults.  I simply do not expect to engage in assaults in a conventional start for a LONG time.  So the first size classification is, "What is the minimum sized ship that has a commercial engine, up to what is the maximum sized ship with a minimum sized commercial engine?"

So that is 1900 tons up to about 3000 tons.

The next classification is based on the full sized, most fuel efficient commercial engine.  There is some overlap, as the survey design came out around 3200 tons or so.

There is also the category of "Designed to operate from a carrier".  So you could have 5000 ton box launcher cruisers or some such, but because they are subordinate to a carrier, their command structure and role within the fleet is tied to that.

Cruisers would have some number of sized 25-50 engines under this build classification scheme.  Because operating endurance is considered to be more important than engine redundancy under fire.

To me, a capital ship is anything designed with the expectation that it can take the full weight of concentrated enemy fire (at least at SOME range bracket) and either withdraw or force the enemy to waste a lot of firepower on overkill.

Now, the largest and toughest ships might not also be the most expensive or the deadliest.  You could have enormous ships with massive efficient engines and point defense and be a lot cheaper than a boosted ship with large magazines full of expensive missiles.

As far as expanding with or without a gate, in my latest game, I may really have no choice.  Mercassium shortage makes staying at home really unattractive.  It is either get into other systems early, or fall way behind on tech, because I won't be able to build both a colony fleet and a lot of tech labs.  I don't think that I can really afford to wait on jump gate technology.  But since I am using commercial engines for my military ships, I can still move my fleet around.

But later game, there are disadvantages to using jump gates for assaults.  First, you jump out on the jump point, which makes for easy close ranged energy ambush.  Second, your sensors are scrambled for longer.

And in another thread, I suggest that defending the jump point from the forward position has some advantages.  You can duck out of the way of massive missile waves, and the attacker can't.  And if the attacker relies on jump gates, they aren't going to be able to pursue quickly if they do manage to push the defender off the jump point, buying time for the defender to withdraw their forward supply base.
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 09:31:45 AM »
Basic offensive warships tend to be around 12000t for me, most of that engines. What they are rated as depends less on size and more on design priorities... corvettes are cheap and expendable, cruisers balanced designs capable of long independent operations, destroyers high-powered designs with shorter mission lives and more dependent on logistics/sensor support. A destroyer may be several times as expensive as a corvette of the same tonnage.

I tend to not build smaller warships between 1000 and 10000t. Scout and missile fighters tend to be as small as possible to take advantage of the small sensor footprint but may not be carrier-based, instead capable of independent action for years (don't need performance if nobody sees you).  FACs are rarer, mostly for logistics reasons as it's possible to maintain large numbers with minimal infrastructure in frontier worlds. With the logistics changes, I probably won't bother in the future.

Capital ships focus less on firepower by size, instead fielding things that wouldn't be efficient to have on every ship in a flotilla: ECM, ECCM, thicker armour, shields, flag bridge, a respectable own sensor suite, possibly CIWS. These start at about 30000t; battlecruisers hoping to destroy the enemy without coming under fire tend to stay under 50000t while battleships with some focus on defence grow over time. Carriers may go either way - large carriers don't gain much in efficiency, but smaller numbers are more convenient to administer imo.
At higher tech levels, relatively barebones 30000-50000t ships will replace smaller ones as all main combatants will want an electronic warfare suite, enough armour to maintain speed in a nebula and so on.
 

Online Bremen

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2017, 02:30:11 PM »
There are roles better suited to small ships (stealth, being maintained with few maintenance facilities, cheap shipyards), and there are roles better suited to large ships (mainly in combat efficiency; due to various factors, one 32,000 ton ship should have a considerable edge over 4 8,000 ton ships).

There are further disadvantages to very small or very large designs. Generally, I don't build standalone warships smaller than about 6,000, because engines get a very large efficiency boost by being 2,500 tons. So my destroyers or frigates are often built around a single 2,500 ton engine, which tends to put them in the 6,000-8,000 ton range. Very large designs also have problems; bigger shipyards, more maintenance facilities, and costlier jump drives (since they scale geometrically in both research and construction cost as they get larger). You also don't want all your tonnage in one ship, because it's much more efficient to have one jump warship and 3+ non-jump warships in the same group, and because you will likely want to be able to split up your fleet.

However, something interesting about very large designs: The inefficiencies are based on the largest ship in your fleet, not the average size. If you have a 100,000 ton dreadnought and 20,000 ton cruisers, then you still need a shipyard and maintenance facilities for a 100,000 ton ship, a jump drive that can jump the dreadnought, get detected by resolution 2000 sensors, etc. Hence why I've come around to the idea that while there's no ideal ship size, it's a bad idea to have different ship sizes. Basically, if your largest warship is going to be 20,000 tons, you want every other warship (at least in that task group) to also be 20,000 tons. Even if some of them are AMM escorts, or carriers, or whatever, it makes the most sense for them all to be 20,000 tons. This also has advantages with the jump drive system.

So, IMHO, your ideal warship size is going to be based on your industrial power and research ability, basically whatever ship you can produce in large enough quantity to adequately cover your empire, and then you want almost all of your ships to be that exact tonnage.

There is some value in having some warships of a much smaller size, that can function as scouts or guards for colonies with only a few maintenance facilities. But even then it basically works out to two sizes; a minimum size (for me, 6-8kt) and a large size (the biggest that makes economic sense).
 

Offline boggo2300

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2017, 04:49:09 PM »
your cruiser is larger than my entire fleet
The boggosity of the universe tends towards maximum.
 

Offline JOKER

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2017, 05:09:06 PM »
I have similar idea with Bremen. Typically my largest warship (carrier or battleship) will be 30-40kt, but most of my warships are 20kt size, since they could be fitted with a decent AMM array, enough anti-ship missile launcher, sensor and ecm equipment, and they have good operation time with size25 engine. Basically, a single 20kt warship could complete all kinds of mission.

The reason I don't use very large warships is that you can hardly build such a shipyard. Build a 40kt one from scratch may take 10 years.
 

Online Bremen

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2017, 05:59:07 PM »
I have similar idea with Bremen. Typically my largest warship (carrier or battleship) will be 30-40kt, but most of my warships are 20kt size, since they could be fitted with a decent AMM array, enough anti-ship missile launcher, sensor and ecm equipment, and they have good operation time with size25 engine. Basically, a single 20kt warship could complete all kinds of mission.

The reason I don't use very large warships is that you can hardly build such a shipyard. Build a 40kt one from scratch may take 10 years.

My suggestion there would be if your largest warship is 40kt, all your warships would be 40kt. But other than that, agreed; a 400kt warship will probably be able to defeat 10x 40kt warships with ease, but there's lots of extra costs (shipyard, jump engines, maintenance facilities, etc) in building a single ship that big that makes it not worth it.

Unless, like, your empire is so big that you have 50 400kt warships, then it starts to be efficient to build that big.
 

Offline Detros

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2017, 06:31:22 PM »
The reason I don't use very large warships is that you can hardly build such a shipyard. Build a 40kt one from scratch may take 10 years.
Plenty of time for that, just start conventionally.
I have managed to get to 100k t military shipyard before I noticed I am out of duranium and went on investigation to find the cause.

But I use just 5k frigates and 10k destroyers so far as front line ships. That's big enough for destroyer-sized carriers to have 5k hangars.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 06:33:56 PM by Detros »
 

Offline AL

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2017, 08:48:51 PM »
If you add an orbital habitat component to your ship design, you should be able to build it using construction factories instead of in a shipyard. You'll just be restricted to some quite large sizes if you want to have a decent proportion of military tonnage compared to the bulk from the habitat module.
 

Offline BasileusMaximos

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2017, 10:16:05 PM »
Speaking of bigger = better, is it true that bigger engines are more efficient? Should I make all engines military and commercial max size?
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2017, 10:47:59 PM »
Size 50 HS engines use half the fuel that size 1 HS use.  Also, some people build warships with commercial engines for added fuel efficiency and reduced cost.  It result in the size of the warships ballooning a bit, but for about the same cost for the weapon payload.  So you can have commercial jump ships for your large ships, giving you strategic mobility even if they suck at jump assault.  But you can build dedicated Jump Assault ships for that rare purpose.

If you are moving your fleet the length of your empire, you may really want that fuel efficiency.  Similarly, some people build what I call 'pocket battleships', which have boosted size 50 engines, low mission duration ships, designed to sit in hangars or orbit of a base until needed, with extremely high performance (and cost).  And when you have a large ship with a boosted engine, every little bit of fuel efficiency makes a big difference for its operational range.  This permits faster ships with more space for weapons.
 

Offline TheBawkHawk

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2017, 11:31:35 PM »
I really like standardization, so I use standard engine sizes and ship sizes.

2000 ton Corvettes/Escorts
4000 ton Frigates
8000 ton Destroyers
16000 ton Cruisers/Light Carriers
32000 ton Battleships/Carriers

I use size 12/24/48 engines, which is a bit odd, but it lets me standardize my fleet more.  2000 ton gets 1 size 12 engine, 4000 ton gets 2 size 12, 8000 ton gets 2 size 24, 16000 ton gets 2 size 48, and 32000 ton gets 4 size 48.  I use these sizes because then all my ships have 30% tonnage devoted to engines, so they all have a standard speed.  All military ships except carriers and fighters are given enough fuel for 45 billion km range, which is usually enough for any operations.

I can also then easily create classes in between the others, like a light cruiser at 12000 tons or a battlecruiser at 24000 tons.

 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 12:36:14 AM »
That's genious, I'll probably be doing that from now on because I'm always OCD about trying to get fleet speeds to match exactly.
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Offline JOKER

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Re: Bigger = Better?
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2017, 01:21:36 AM »
My suggestion there would be if your largest warship is 40kt, all your warships would be 40kt. But other than that, agreed; a 400kt warship will probably be able to defeat 10x 40kt warships with ease, but there's lots of extra costs (shipyard, jump engines, maintenance facilities, etc) in building a single ship that big that makes it not worth it.
My big ships are RP tools. Basically, the difference between my 20kt cruiser and 30kt battleship is several dozens of anti-ship missile box launcher, one flagship bridge and a bit more armor.

Also, my main fleet rely on jump gate for transit, only specially designed assault ship have jump engine. AI is not good at ambush.
 

 

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