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Space combat: No more turning battles?

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One thing endemic about space combat games is that fights often end up as two ships endlessly circling each other until one dies. Even the slow, stately capital ship combat in Orion Pirates mostly ends up being this way. This often happens because ships can''t shoot in 360 degree arcs. But if you get rid of turning battles in space, there''d be less positioning, and fights would be a lot less tactical. One solution I''ve been thinking about has 360'' firing arcs for some weapons with these rules: 1) Ships have 8 sides: 6 arcs from front to back (left, front, left-front, etc) and top and bottom 2) There''s a (sometimes different) hull rating for every arc, + maybe armor per arc 3) Weapons and systems cover every arc. Some cover multiple arcs. 4) Hits in any arc do damage to whatever''s in the arc, spreading across hull, weapons and systems. Damage is progressive, so the more hits to a single arc, the more damage is done. (This promotes turning, but not just to the rear) 5) Ships move pseudo Newtonian, and can face one way while moving another, even backwards. But slower ships turn more slowly, even while they do more damage. So course corrections are harder 6) Damage dissapates over range for beams, so closer passes hit harder. A good strategy, then, would be to close against a damaged arc and make a raking pass. 7) But ships collide if they share the same space, with damage based on relative speeds and size. 8) Damage to systems in a certain arc affect the function in that arc. Thrusters are less effective, sensors can flicker for that arc, and weapons can become locked in whatever direction they''re facing (say 90'' right forward instead of 360'') 9) Specific systems can be targetted and damaged the closer you are. So a good strategy is having longer ranged weapons, or ECM and counter-sensors if you''re trying to get inside the firing arc of an enemy. To really mix things up, alien ships would have different tech that made ships handle differently and have different strategies. One race might be able to perform a shield bash. Another might have a ramming probiscus which could fire plasma into a ship or board it with marines. Still another might have the engines in the nose, and be unable to fire forward. I think this would get rid of endless turning battles in space and make different races very interesting to play. Any thoughts or improvements? -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by alchemar
kinda sounds like Star Fleet Battles. I liked thier system


Yeah, I''m *ahem* "borrowing" concepts from them and Full Thrust.

cool, I got one vote!



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Just waiting for the mothership...

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Are you thinking about doing a game along that vain?

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quote:

5) Ships move pseudo Newtonian, and can face one way while moving another, even backwards. But slower ships turn more slowly, even while they do more damage. So course corrections are harder



a la Subspace? Sorry, I just got addicted to that game. Actually, though, it''s somewhat exaggerated physics model makes you actually try harder as you''re flying around, instead of stopping on a dime--when in space are you going to be able to get enough thrust to go from thousands of km/h one way to any other way instantaneously, without much friction to help the change?

Side note: wav, how do you always come up with stimulating topics?
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What about fighters that can spin on their axis instead of just turning? This leads to a more exciting action oriented dogfighting environment (even though there''s nothing wrong with more strategic games) and gets rid of the turning syndrome. If someone is on your tail just flip around with the mouse. Your thrusters could be controlled with a keyboard (you can can thurst in one direction and face another.) I think Indenpence War used a system like this, but I haven''t played it, so I couldn''t tell you for sure.

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Thats something i loved about the fighters in ''Babylon 5'' - they had thrusters facing forward and backward, but offset to the sides and so could spin on the spot (both pitch and yaw, but not roll) - even if they were moving (Well, obviously, the could keep moving due to momentum )

- Wyzfen

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Cool system, count my vote too.

I''d like more ways to influence the enemies maneuvers :

- torpedoes : slow and avoidable, with heavy damage (and minimum range). They can be fired to force the enemy to make a certain maneuver (expose damaged side, force him to ram one of his friends, etc.)

- mass accelerators (high tech cannons) : when they hit a ship, the ship moves from the impact. These can be aimed to cause a certain rotation effect. Obviously, the firing ships speed also changes when firing a particle, so the cannons can be used for extra maneuvrability.

- tractor beams : can be used to apply pulling / pushin force on certain points on an enemy ship.

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quote:
Original post by alchemar
Are you thinking about doing a game along that vain?



Yup. Or the space combat portion of it, anyway. I want to build a game that has RPG and empire game elements, with a solid space combat engine at its core. In fact, now that''ve seen the Dynaverse in Orion Pirates, I can say that I want something similar but more in depth to that as the campaign mode of the game.



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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by draqza
a la Subspace? Sorry, I just got addicted to that game. Actually, though, it''s somewhat exaggerated physics model makes you actually try harder as you''re flying around, instead of stopping on a dime--when in space are you going to be able to get enough thrust to go from thousands of km/h one way to any other way instantaneously, without much friction to help the change?



Yeah, this is what seems right, though I want to go nuts with different ship handling characteristics in the same way that Grand Theft Auto had lots of variety for their cars. It''s just a data file I''d be tweaking, after all, and it adds a lot for only a little effort. If you''ve ever played any of the Star Control games, you''ll know what I''m going for.

quote:

Side note: wav, how do you always come up with stimulating topics?



LOL!!! Thanks! At least I know I''m not boring some people!

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Impossible
What about fighters that can spin on their axis instead of just turning? This leads to a more exciting action oriented dogfighting environment (even though there''s nothing wrong with more strategic games) and gets rid of the turning syndrome.


This is exactly what I had in mind. If I can get this right I''ll do both action and strategic.

In theory, the smaller ships like light and heavy fighters and shuttles can spin fast and move fast. They just don''t have lots of punch alone. Versus fighters they''re good, but to hit larger ships they need to be numerous.

Once you move up to light transports and corvettes, you lose some manueverability but gain firepower. You can take fighters and even help attack cap ships.

Once you''re a cap ship, though, manuevering and strategy become vital because all of your actions, while powerful, are slow.

quote:
Original post by Wyzfen
Thats something i loved about the fighters in ''Babylon 5'' - they had thrusters facing forward and backward, but offset to the sides and so could spin on the spot (both pitch and yaw, but not roll) - even if they were moving



Yeah, there is a SWEET scene where Terran Furies are fighting a Terran capital ship. They thrust forward, firing at the ship, pass over it, rotate while firing down, and pass it completely, all while still firing! Awesome. I''d love to be able to get a bit of that kind of feel.



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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Diodor
Cool system, count my vote too.



Cool!

quote:

- torpedoes : slow and avoidable, with heavy damage (and minimum range). They can be fired to force the enemy to make a certain maneuver (expose damaged side, force him to ram one of his friends, etc.)


It''s in! I want to see if I can also do something like "have this torpedo explode after a certain time" so you can cause proximity damage on the OTHER side of the ship.

quote:

- mass accelerators (high tech cannons) : when they hit a ship, the ship moves from the impact. These can be aimed to cause a certain rotation effect. Obviously, the firing ships speed also changes when firing a particle, so the cannons can be used for extra maneuvrability.


Niiice! Okay, I''ll add that in. I like it!

quote:

- tractor beams : can be used to apply pulling / pushin force on certain points on an enemy ship.



Yeah, I want this too. Orion Pirates does this, with tractors catching enemy missiles and even having the ability to repel or catch and rotate and enemy ship.


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Just waiting for the mothership...

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I''d stick mainly to turrets. Also, because underwater you cannot flip over and continue in one direction, but that is another story

Gun-turret combat can be quite exciting. Okay, turrets on a capital ship are a bit limited in their firing range, but a small fighter-bomber with one turret on the top, and one on the bottom, can fire at anything within range, no matter the heading. So you''d have to be carefull with approaching these (perhaps send a decoy in first?).

Also, I don''t think manouvring would really help in space combat. Any decent targetting computer can easily keep track of what you are doing...

Hmmm... This reminds me of the good ol'' days of playing WingCommander... Hehe... Great tactic: fly your heavy bomber *into* teh enemy cruiser, so that its turrets can''t hit you :p

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One thing wich is often quite hard is to maneuver your ship and fire at the same time, perhaps you could have some presets attack or evasive trajectory, wich once engaged would allow you to choose your targets more freely.

For example, you could have a quick pass preset, once engaged this movement you could orientate your ship to keep firing at the adversary, the ship using different thrusters to keep the movement you engaged...

This would add more strategy without removing the action elements.

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My SFC fights usually never turn into circle fights. If you just bank and turn, one shield facing is going to get eaten up pretty quickly, not to mention that the attacker will lose some of his own attack potential by not bringing his weapons to bear. And the tricky commander knows how to use mines with great effect. And of course, there''s always the dreaded tractor beam.

I liked Full Thrust alot too (all of Mr. Tuffley''s games are EXCELLENT) so I think you might like an old game that Games Design Workshop put out about 12-13 years ago. Although for the life of me I can''t remember the title right now (Star Cruiser?), it was the starship combat system for their role-playing game Twilight: 2300 (boy I miss GDW). But it was a fairly realistic system that included things like signature facings for both detection and ability to hit.

In a realistic vein, I think that Naval combat in the future would more than likely take place at very long ranges. While newtonian movement may be possible in space, when you think about the G-forces that can occur, I think speed will need to be kept very slow (forward thrust creates its own g-force, like when a car accelerates very quickly....assuming you are constantly accelerating, you will have this g-force. Now imagine translating your movement along a rotation vector still with constant acceleration, and you''ll see where g-forces come in). I don''t know if that answers question 5 or not though.

I don''t think torpedoes (missles) would be feasible. The only exceptions would be via sheer volume (overwhelm the opponents Point Defense Systems) or jam his targeting systems via EW.

As for someone saying that targeting systems could easily track targets, this isn''t fighter style combat but capital ship combat. Capital Ships can''t turn on a dime, so you wouldn''t even NEED fancy targeting systems Not to mention that most futuristic weapons would probably travel at the speed of light, and therefore if you can see the enemy, you hit ''em (no "leading the target")

I think Wavinator''s idea that the more damage you take in one arc the more sever succesive hits are would make players more likely to steer that side away...avoiding dance fights. Another option that you could borrow from the age of sail (and Star Cruiser) is that MOST ships are essentially long rectangles. In the old days, most of your weapons were on your port and starboard sides, and only a few could be mounted to the aft or stern. Strategy was being able to fire your broadsides and then turn your aspect to him, so that when he returned fire, he would have as his target profile your fore or aft. Get it?

It''s harder to hit the narrow end of a rectangle than its long side. Even in WWII this was a tactic of utmost importance. You had to bring the maximum amount of guns to bear all while having the most advantageous target profile (ie, shoot the most guns you can at the biggest presentable target....of course, this usually meant he had the most amount of guns to hit your biggest profile)). In turn, you want to force your opponent to shoot at your smallest target profile with the least amount of weapons he can bear.

So maybe 360 degree arc weapons really AREN''T the way to go. Just a suggestion borrowed from history. So, if you have a hex shape, with 1 being the fore and going clockwise (2 is fore starboard, 3 is aft starboard, 4 is aft, 5 is aft port and 6 is fore port), if the defending ship is being attacked INTO it''s #1 or #4 hex side, it should be harder to hit.

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sweet blissful mother of entropy, when the hell do we get to work together, wavi?

Realistic RELATIVISTIC spacewar, without the lame ass physics. I''m soooo sick of playing spacewars that use atmospheric techniques like banking to change acceleration and so forth.

I even have some killer ideas on the instrumentation...
codegeek@dork.com is where to find me

-----------
-WarMage
...hi-diddle-de-dee, a porn star''s life for me!

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Here''s a thought for your Capital Ship combat. I''ve never really liked the idea of huge Mecha for land battles (I mean, why create something 30'' tall that you could see for miles around?), but I think it makes a whole lot of sense for Naval battles. In fact, I think that they would be superior to fighter craft. How so?

If you are given that the Mecha could wear booster packs to match the speed of fighter craft, then you have a vehicle that is the match for speed and maneuverability of the fightercraft with one huge advantage....boarding actions.

Have these Mecha units attach themselves to the hull of a capital ship and burrow inside. Once inside, it''s pretty much game over for that vessel, as I doubt even powered armor Marines would have firepower sufficient to defeat the Mecha''s armor. Granted, it may be exceedingly diffucult to actually board a capital ship with Mecha (the losses will probably be staggeringly high), but as I said, all it takes is one to get through and whether it''s a corvette or Dreadnought, that ship is pretty much toast.

I can even imagine that capital ships will have Marine Mech pilots onboard to prevent such a thing. They will be stationed in armored barracks along the ships hull at various locations. As soon as a Mech''s detected as reaching, or nearly breaching the hull, these Fleet Marine Force Mechs will try to prevent the boarding party from getting in. Just think of it, giant mecha duking it out on a huge 1000'' long battleship, all while explosions and detonations are exploding around them. In comparison, that 30'' tall mech will seem pretty puny to the cap. ship.

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The use of Hunter/Killer drones (like those from the matrix) would make for an intresting battle. They would beable to annialte a un-defened Cap ship. The best way i can think to implement them would be with a drone ship, it could have a certin range before it loses contact with the drone (possible implment a self distruct if a dron loses contact with it''s control ship).

You could also implment diffrent sizes:
A small hit and run version little shields, and some good anti-fighter weapons, and a low count (60-100?) of drones.

A large version for front line assualts, Massive sheilds and no weapons. put a few hundred(200-300?) drones in it.

Perhaps make the small version, could have dronescould be based against small to medium ships and the large vesion be aimed at Cap ships.

------------------
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." - Carl Sagan

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For my military simulation I plane to use this system for 3 vehicules:

- big aeroplane: slow, not easy to move, but he can shoot dangerous missile forward. He can also use a little gun in four direction: forward, backward, left, right. The player move it with keyboard and shoot with mouse.

- helico: fast, easy to move, but he can shoot only forward with guided (à tête chercheuse in french) missiles.

- tank: he can move in 8 directions very quickly, he can shoot in every direction. His missiles have big explosions...

Because of this particularity, two players can use only one vehicule (one pilot plus one shooter).

I''m currently thinking about new vehicules, but my problem is how to find 3d textured models of this (I''ve lost my graphist in the forest...)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by WarMage
Realistic RELATIVISTIC spacewar, without the lame ass physics. I''m soooo sick of playing spacewars that use atmospheric techniques like banking to change acceleration and so forth.




my god, that would be a dream come true. Altho it is far more difficult to handle a ship that way. But you can do soooo much more intresting manevurs then I think it''s done in JumpGate. WEll that''s what my freind said

Dauntless: W00t another huge mekton/heavygear/jovianchronicles/etc fan . I love mekton combat. Altho coming up wit

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Actually banking has it''s place in a space combat simulation, mostly due to G-forces. If you rotate your ship so that the top is always facing towards the middle of the circle you are going to turn around (assuming you don''t just want to rotate on your axis, which if you do leaves you a stationary sitting duck for your enemies) then pull up and through the turn you will have your g-forces going down, however if you just turn sideways while still accelerating your crew is going to be thrown all over the place, or if you are in a fighter it will be very disorienting, much like pulling a hard turn in your car.

Anyways, my point is, though they may not be necessary in space many of the "atmospheric methods" do have an important place in space combat due to human physiology.

What I would really love to see are more space combat simulators like those found in Homeworld, perhaps with more of the characterstics similar to those that have been discussed here. The homeworld engine was a very easy to control way of doing space combat and I am really surprised no-one else has made another decent game using something similar. I''ve been thinking about starting a MMO space sim with a similar engine using a Trade Wars 2002 type of story, but with multiple races that interact with each other, perhaps go to war with each other and trade and whatnot, while the players play as merchants/pirate/mercenaries and thus can make a big impact, but can''t dominate the entire galaxy.

Just a thought.

Dusto

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Page 2 Firsties!

Anyway, as I understand zero-g physics (and Graham, I hope you weigh in on this one), the only thing you're vectoring is the moment of interia. The reason banking is usually employed is not one of inertia-delta but one of getting the most powerful thrusters faced in the direction where they are most effective.

Any human can be made sufficiently rigid within the craft with a little ingenuity. However, the pilot needs to be very near the C/G of the spacecraft. The idea of a pilot sitting in the forward space is ludicrous, because when he IS well-fixed, he's got the delta-vector of the craft and additionally whatever moment exists between him and the C/G. If I recall, moments are not additive, but multiplicative (F=.5mv2).

Regardless, even if he experiences a moment derived from and dampened by the spaceframe's tonnage, it would rapidly overwhelm him either by blacking/redding out or just vibrating into goo. We're talking TONS of energy and mass against squishy wet human cargo. All the banking you could do does not change the acceleration or the inertia.

-----------
-WarMage
...and I could really use a hand making sure what I just said is in fact correct (intuition and all, y'know)

Edited by - WarMage on July 23, 2001 8:43:26 PM

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