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Ship Design - Discussion

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Potatocat, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. Sevio

    Sevio Back Into Space

    • Member
    My thoughts right now are that SoA should not try to be a Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous in the realm of space combat because just getting the immersion of the scale of space travel itself right, along with the focus on planetary survival, exploration, vehicles and building, means the developers have their work cut out for them for a long time to come. IMO space combat is something that can wait until space travel, space stations, and life support systems are well in place, which is something that can wait until sandbox and survival gameplay have been fleshed out well, at least on Aldrin. You've got to learn how to walk before you can learn how to run, and definitely learn how to run before you can learn how to fight. :p

    But fast forwarding to a happy future with a developed SoA, I do believe I prefer the Star Citizen stylistic choice of having space combat only within visible ranges. With regards to laser beam weapons, they need a clear disadvantage to stand out against the advantage of being undodgable and instant. For example, easily deflected or bent around smaller ships by energy shields but can tear through unshielded hull as well as asteroids (useful for mining!)
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
    Sevio, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited by Sevio; at Jul 14, 2015
    #21
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  2. Jpr

    Jpr Industrial Re-revolutionist

    • Member
    The disadvantage of lasers is that they DON'T tear through hull so much as gnaw slowly at it, and they need to be large and complex to even do that.
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  3. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Industrial Re-revolutionist

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    Well, a ship doesn't NEED to be streamlined, but some shapes are more efficient for construction. Spheres, for example, have more volume available internally for mass of hull used.

    And if your ship is combat oriented, you'll want to have your ship narrowest along the side most likely to face the enemy, so you can expect military vessels to be ellipse or wedge shaped.

    Fighter-class vessels are generally non-viable in general combat, but would be useful as far as serving as the spatial equivalent of Coast Guard or Revenue Cutters.

    But that speculation tends to move into areas better defined by the technology available, and the game mechanics in place.
  4. Blackbeard Teach

    Blackbeard Teach Crash Landed

    • Member
    For landing on planets I was thinking of a dropship that is meant for atmospheric re-entry and for cool effects, the heat shield.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
    Blackbeard Teach, Jul 18, 2015
    Last edited by Blackbeard Teach; at Jul 18, 2015
    #24
  5. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Industrial Re-revolutionist

    • Member
    Well, that depends on the technology. With shielding, shape is less of an issue.

    And if you're not using aerobraking, shape of the vessel becomes a complete non-issue. If you have enough fuel and engine power, or are just using a reactionless drive, you can reduce your velocity before entering atmosphere and land without getting your hull all hot and icky.
  6. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    Ah, now the thing with spacecraft is that they're lightning glass cannons; capable of dishing out punishment to anywhere around the globe, but unable to take very much. Space combat, in the early stages, would pretty much be instagib rocket tag, where the easy-to-hit-with but low-damage laser weapons would rule the skies; however, as shield and armor technology develops and it becomes viable to equip spacecraft with light armor so that it doesn't take an absurd amount of thrust to get the delta-V needed to move - or getting efficient engines that can bring the armor up there - space warfare would pretty much amount to throwing missiles at one another until the enemy dies. In space, there is no cover. Either you engage opponents head-on or you run the hell away from a battle you cannot win. With smaller ships, it would be very possible to change your orbit rapidly to avoid enemy contact. A bit of a chicken chase, but it's that or get blown to pieces almost instantly.

    In space, your aim is NOT to engage enemies. You do not go to space for the hell of it, you go to space for a reason; to transport units between planets, or to provide an orbital weapons system, or to run a colony to produce the above. Unlike on the ground, you cannot accidentally find yourself in space. We should balance for that; space is risky as hell, and an ASM can easily destroy your weapons satellites. Do not get hit. Even the heaviest armor will not protect from a space nuke.
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  7. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Industrial Re-revolutionist

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    Actually, nukes in space CAN be armored against! The entire concept of the Orion Drive revolves around nukes exploding in contact with a ship. Outside of atmosphere, a nuke loses the massive pressure wave that causes the majority of destruction, leaving as little more than a ball of really hot gas or plasma. If you've got a sturdy enough ship, I can see using nukes as point defense against missile spam, or using the plasma to degrade the beams of energy weapons.

    But I agree with you on other counts, most of space is very empty, and you won't always have a planet to hide behind. Most high-tech combat in 'realistic' sci-fi devolves into slugging matches with bigger and bigger kinetic weapons accelerating masses to relativistic speed, energy weapons doing much the same for charged particles, or good old-fashioned missile spam.
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  8. Snipecoolbunny

    Snipecoolbunny Back Into Space

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    i disagree, plasma weapons or teleportation weapons would be extremely effective!

    they would be equipped on large ships or as point ground defence. they cannot be used for space defence until your technological level allows for almost instant charge time. otherwise the charge time is 3-10 seconds depending on the power required.

    i disagree! almost all enemies in your galaxy(hopefully we'll have intergalactic travel) will not have weapons capable of destroying a ship to any noticable degree from across a half a solar system(consider fuel and tragectories) it simply is really f**kin hard to do. it would require a high tech lvl. which no enemies in the milky way will have.preferably.

    i agree that thats how it will be.

    railgun rounds are HUGE!!! they're like 3 inches for space railguns. you can put a small tactical nuke in them(per round!) and fire them at 6000 rpm. besides. they just are there to cause a vent in atmosphere. not to actually do dmg. i agree that missles can be cut down by point def easily.

    not true. if they're burst lasers yes. but if they're plasma mixed. they will blast through a ship like no tomorrow.

    i agree about military ships. but fighters can(and should!) be streamlined. should the occaision arise, terrorizing a planets surfare with fighters and bombers would be nice.

    NO! nonononono. astroid belts provide lots of cover and can be used as a weapon if you have a gravity weapon(a railgun round perhaps?) that is put on your enemy and all astroids are attacted to the ship. effective on low-medium lvl ships, fighters can weave around them though.

    radiatio0n is easy to protect against. but the em pulse that comes with it is a massive problem. you can protect against em but if the nuke is specifically designed to produce an em pulse instead of force or radiation, it can overpower your defences.
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  9. Snipecoolbunny

    Snipecoolbunny Back Into Space

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    also, fighters can be equipped for long-range travel if your technological lvl will allow it. and since weight doesnt matter. special purpose fighters can be equipped with A, i said A, small beam weapon. so fighters are an essential part for defence and attack.
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  10. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Industrial Re-revolutionist

    • Member
    ...

    Weight. Does. Matter. The more mass you have, the less maneuverable you are. The less maneuverable you are, the less capable you are of dodging point defense. Your fighter, in becoming large enough for a pilot and a beam weapon, just became larger. Which means it's more detectable. So it can be engaged at a greater distance, and with better accuracy than a missile.

    You could just put a weapon on a missile and pilot it as a drone and be more effective.

    Manned fighters are a dead-end technology when there's no ground to scatter radar returns and computers have infnitely better reflexes than an organic pilot.

    1. Regarding plasma weapons. In space combat ranges, you run into speed of light lag, in that beyond more than 1 light second of distance, you cannot accurately predict evasive action of a target. Missiles can correct their trajectory as they close. Also, instantly firing lasers needing to charge? Not a problem, even if you're lacking in capacitors. It's called a chemical laser. We have that tech currently.

    2. Railgun rounds don't have to be huge, and anything moving at a significant velocity is not going to just punch holes in target, but be turned into plasma as kinetic energy is converted to heat on impact.

    3. If...gravity weapon...? What? You do realize that asteroid belts aren't as crowded as they are in sci-fi movies, right?

    4. EMP is only a problem if you use integrated circuits. It stops being an issue if you use photonic or quantum computing. Or if you enclose your electronics in a metal shell like a farraday cage..or..a spaceship hull? Which would have to be shielded against EM in the first place due to charged particles in space. You understand solar wind, yeah?

    You seem to be confusing 'rule of cool' with practicality. Which would be fine if you were just giving your opinion, but when you start telling people they're wrong just because you think things could be so much MOAR AWSUM!!1!, your enthusiasm gets the better of you.
    Eviscerator, Jul 19, 2015
    Last edited by Eviscerator; at Jul 19, 2015
    #30
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  11. Snipecoolbunny

    Snipecoolbunny Back Into Space

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    weight doesnt matter. if you have inertial dampeners, a pilot doesnt have to worry about G-force. therefore, you can equip more powerful engines. because of g-force you are limited by the pilot capabilities, now it doesnt matter. and comp controlled? no. in space you want the majority of def and attack ships should be manned because people can think of different ways to aproach a problem. and then they can execute the mission or prioritize targets. like, persay, "destroy all the enemy comms arrays". they can proritize targets that are easy to get to and destroy to hard ones tht are heavily defended. true. comps have better reaction time, but pilots have consciousness.

    plasma cannons are very useful. most enemies would have them in our home galaxy(if intergalactic travel is there). and you can lead, but it would mainly be used on motherships and capships cause they require alot of dmg, and they will definitly wreck ur day.

    railguns should be huge in space. because of the kinetic force, it will be more likely to penetrate the armor. if the rounds are made from hi-tech materials, they wont turn to plasma on impact, they possibly will even retain their form.

    i know. but you can hardly repel a 3 mile wide astroid with any degree of success. when u destroy it with lasers. it splits. plasma cannons? turn it into plasma and you STILL get wrecked. can hardly do anything.

    yea. but think about a concentrated EM pulse onto the bow end of the ship. or even just the bridge. itll take out primary systems and cripple the ship. without a mark on it.
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  12. Jpr

    Jpr Industrial Re-revolutionist

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    Okay. Snipercoolbunny, I hate to do this, but you appear to have very limited knowledge of spaceflight. You are postulating some sort of "star wars" future, and it is unlikely that that's what the dev team is aiming for, or what everyone is hoping for.

    Point by point.

    Weight DOES matter. It's THE BIGGEST THING. Inertial dampeners do not exist, have no basis in theory, and have massive headaches of their own that come with them (power costs, area of effect, size of machinery, COMPLEXITY of machinery (one hit and your flying space cathedral dropped from pulling 100 g's to .035 g's, as that's all the engines can provide w/o the field...) For an in-depth treatment of the hideous drawbacks and side effects of a dampening field, read Alistair Reynold's Redemption Ark.

    Plasma cannons. What do you mean? That's just a cool buzzword with no science to back it up. Give me a description of what you want it to do and the effective range and I can probably give you a real thing that approximates it (Casaba-Howitzer), but... until then, I can't even tell what you're talking about.

    Railguns. Railguns, by default are things that use electromagnetic fields to launch inert pieces of magnetic metal at VERY high accelerations down a relatively short barrel to give relative velocity change of a few km/sec at most. They DO have to charge, unlike lasers, which can be pulsed or continuous beam weapons, they cannot change they're course once launched (which makes them effective at relatively close ranges, or against a non-manuvering target), and due to ridiculously high transient accelerations during launch, are completely unsuitable for putting warheads in, unless you design the fiddly bits to survive 100+ g accel.

    As for the asteroid idea... dodge it? You AREN'T putting any sort of real-time accel onto an asteroid, so maybe don't shoot at it? By the way, a laser won't split it, it'll just warm it up a little. Lasers aren't magic cutting beams, they just transfer a lot of heat to the target in one point.

    As for EM pulses, shielding against them, or using NON-em sensitive materials (optics) is easy, though I'll hand it off to someone else now. I have to go eat crab legs!
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  13. Snipecoolbunny

    Snipecoolbunny Back Into Space

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    ok. im just throwing out there what i know. sorry if its wrong guys
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  14. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    - There is no such thing as a plasma cannon. Furthermore, plasma is matter; unlike lasers, they do take time to travel to their location. Being essentially really, really hot gas with some special properties, it will dissipate.
    Let me put it this way: As a general rule of thumb, the hotter "Stuff" gets, the more easily it will dissipate. This depends on the type of "Stuff", but essentially, that's how things work. The matter has more energy, allowing the atoms to break their bonds more easily and move around more freely. Plasma is like gas, but, being even hotter as a prerequisite, will dissipate just as much if not more. Plasma is not a viable projectile, much like hydrogen or fire are not viable projectiles. A plasma cannon would wind up being, essentially, a really cool flamethrower. That certainly has niches, but bear in mind that this is the video game kind of flamethrower we're talking about here, and the thing would have a severely limited range, far too short to be a space-space weapon.

    - Like Jpr said, railguns are not huge. And even tungsten will prevent the projectile from being vaporized. It doesn't really matter anyway; as long as that force is dealt, it will do some serious damage. Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest sonuvabitch in space - that is to say, even if the shot failed to penetrate, it will throw the target wildly off course.

    - Also, asteroid belts are really, really, REALLY sparse. According to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
    TL;DR: Asteroids big enough for us to care have about 1.9 million miles between them.

    There is no such thing as a concentrated EM pulse, just as there is no such thing as a concentrated magnetic pulse; the two are literally identical. Furthermore, electromagnetism is a fundamental force of nature, one of four or possibly two (Electromagnetism, gravity, weak atomic force, strong atomic force) and cannot be "concentrated" into some kind of beam. Neither can gravity. Now, a weak atomic force beam, on the other hand...
    But, yeah, there is no such thing as an electromagnetic pulse "Beam" and the closest approximation one could get to such an effect would be some kind of EMP-bomb missile.
    I don't know much about physics, so if someone would kindly correct any misteaks eye hav maid, eye wood bee verry great full.

    Huh. Interesting.
    It would still knock the target back significantly, though, and still generate a lot of heat and radiation. That could end up doing something.
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  15. Snipecoolbunny

    Snipecoolbunny Back Into Space

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  16. Jpr

    Jpr Industrial Re-revolutionist

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    No problems I see, and you covered plasma weapons very well.
    As for nuke armoring, YES, you can build something stupidly massive and specialized, like the Orion shield, to absorb one at close range, but that's not something you'd just slap on as armor. That said, I can see a quarter-inch of armor being enough to deal with a blast more than a kilometer away, as fission/fusion weapons are not great outside of atmosphere. Good, but no !SHOCKWAVE OF DOOM! effect.
  17. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Industrial Re-revolutionist

    • Member
    Well, as I've stated, my primary desire for nukes is to use them to adjust orbits of asteroids to get rid of any pesky ground installations. Point defense THIS.
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