medevilenemy

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About medevilenemy

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  1. I hope the Age of Empires series gets some love in a later part :)  I, for one, always preferred those.  Though in a way, you can sort of make the Age of Empires is to warcraft and particularly starcraft what battlefield is to CoD...  Good games for different types of players.
  2. @Frob:  The PS4 is going to have an Octo-core x86-64 based processor, probably less powerful than the cell processor if I had to guess, but way more practical (and cheaper).  The thing with the cell processor, at least in the PS3, was that actually writing code that can take advantage of such massive parallelism is incredibly difficult.  Heck, most common programs on a typical PC are only single-core because either there is no need to parallelize or even when there is because its incredibly difficult to write really good parallel code.  I don't know for certain, but I'd be comfortable making the bet that not a single mainstream game on the PS3 came anywhere near utilizing the proc's full capabilities... and I doubt any of them really needed to.   C++11 has, theoretically made multi-threading rather easier, and the .NET framework does provide some pretty good, simple parallelism tools for simple cases (ie:  Parallel.ForEach and a fairly effective automatic work stealing task architecture) but even then writing good parallel code for complex systems (like games) is still quite difficult.   What I'd love to see, one of these years, is some sort of automatic multithreading on the part of compilers or perhaps operating systems which would perhaps analyze the program code and automatically break up its instructions into discrete tasks/join them as appropriate without requiring the developer to basically explode trying to juggle it all (Elements of this are already possible, but it will likely be a long time before it is really mature for complex things, assuming progress marches in that particular direction)
  3. I think your first mistake is playing dance central
  4. Sorry, forgot to check this for a couple weeks. VASIMR isn't really meant for interstellar travel, I think, but certainly interplanetary travel. You either need to have a solution to help get you up to a good initial speed, or have a lot of patience. I figure a bunch of small rocket thrusters (of the most efficient sort available) should be manageable to pick up some speed without breaking the bank in terms of fuel size/mass. VASIMR should also have much greater thrust than the existing ion engine designs (though still only a small fraction of rocket levels). Note that the maximum propellant speed, and thus the theoretical maximum ship speed under VASIMR or other electric/electro-magnetic thrusters is significantly higher than rocket power (assuming you have the patience to let it accelerate)
  5. Wasn't talking about intra-system travel, was talking about inter-system travel... and moving at any velocity at which time dilation is significant is, I think, undesirable. Also, we don't currently have a form of propulsion capable of even 0.1c let alone 0.6. Probably the most promising thing in development right now is VASIMR (which is still pretty cool). Sure, its possible that in, say, the next hundred years or so we could have propulsion capable of conveniently high speeds, but unfortunately I doubt it. I don't know why people like the whole drop-nuke idea so much. Its a horrific idea. For one thing, The ship would need to be pretty massive to carry all the nukes, but ignoring that the back of the ship would still need to be very very robust so as to not simply get vaporized. Additionally, the ship would probably need a fairly robust internal structure to survive the force a nuclear explosion would impart. And lets not forget that most of the energy of that nuclear blast would not go to any particular useful purpose... it'll just spew tremendous amounts of radiation and tiny radioactive particles at high speed every which way. Sure, it could probably get us up to a nice high speed, but its a really crude brute-force approach to the problem. As for cooling: yeah, even if you can manage to keep the IR emissions from the ship relatively low, the exhaust from any forseeable propulsion system would give of lots of IR, possibly a noticeable magnetic field as well depending on the amount of exhaust/degree of polarization/energeticness/etc. The best you can probably do while actively propelling yourself is have a ship shaped in such a way so as to limit visiblity of the exhaust (via the ship blocking it). Though to be fair in space once you're at a desired speed and on the desired course, no further propulsion is necessary except for course adjustments/deceleration/etc. Lets say you are drifting... there is no insulating material in existance that would completely prevent all IR emissions... Best you could do is use liquid helium or something as a coolant, but it wouldn't last forever. Perhaps heat could be channeled to specific radiators in order to try to reduce IR emissions from other angles, depending on orientation/etc... but yeah, the best you could practically do is try to limit IR emissions... you'd still most definately be detectable, but perhaps not as easily. And of course having hypothetically 0 IR emissions wouldn't do the trick either, as then you'd be an IR hole in space where there would be at least some radiation expected from stars/other bodies/etc. Clearly, stealth in space will be rather complicated if even possible. (oh yeah, also, no windows in our hypothetical space warship... light would escape. better to have an array of cameras on the outside feeding to screens)
  6. Regarding the ABL: Take that thing and put it in space and it would be far more effective (which is not to say devastating)... Most of what makes lasers weak and troublesome in amosphere is the atmosphere itself -- The energy is absorbed by the molecules in the air (not to mention dust) itself, so only a relatively small amount of the initial energy makes it to the target. 1) Probably more trouble than they're worth... Wouldn't necessarily absorb all the energy, and there could potentially be energy types it couldn't reflect. 2) Not strictly absorb and diffuse the energy, but rather absorb the energy into the armor, which would itself take damage in order to protect structural components beneath. This could potentially have some use, though I am uncertain how effective it would be against a focused beam like a laser. 3) Depending on how much contact is necessary for damage, perhaps I imagine the goal would probably be to penetrate the hull of the target, thus venting its atmosphere and killing its crew (in addition to any necessary stuff like damanging sensors / engines). Of course, internal compartments would without a doubt be designed to be isolated and with a certain degree of redundency in life support systems... really though, not too sure. Depends on how effective the weapons would actually be. Cryogenic cooling is certainly an idea, though how effective that would be I don't know. That would also undoubtedly affect the magnetic characteristics of the material. Finally, a cryogenic material (say, liquid helium which is danged cold) would not instantaneously cool the projectile body which would likely be significantly heated in the process of being fired, and even as it cooled *some* of the heat energy would be radiated off as IR... So cryogenic cooling would probably help, but it wouldn't be perfect. Sensors: I've been operating on the assumption that we won't have FTL for a long time, if ever, and generally sticking to technology not terribly far advanced from what we have now -- so less Coruscant, more earth and perhaps lunar/martian/other moon colonies and outposts. Even then it shouldn't be particularly hard to filter out a reasonably steady background level or otherwise distinguish it from a radar type signal. Also remember that modern (and certainly future) RADAR and RADAR like sensors are highly directional, relatively low power, and pulsed/modulated. These things make it much harder to detect the incoming energy, or make anything meaningful out of it... Though I have expect that a method to isolate sensor signals could be devised given time, equipment, and sufficient knowledge of the technology (which is probably part of why they keep changing/improving radar tech!). LIDAR and other DAR type sensors would probably be desired because they would certainly have different benefits over eachother under the right circumstances... IE: Enemy using RADAR absorbing hull coating? Try LIDAR, IR, or whatever you have... I'll bet they don't have the same coverage across all convenient parts of the EM spectrum. IR is of course the most obvious thing, as even the most efficient propulsion technologies around or in development today emit significantly heated exhaust which, from the right angles, would appear as a big IR bloom (not to mention a big colored trail if you can *see* well enough with visible light)
  7. @Burning Hand I more or less agree, just a couple little points: If I recall, electromagnetic propulsion can actually cause some heating via secondary effects (ie: inductive heating... variable electromagnetic fields tend to induce currents in conductive materials, thus heating them through the material's internal electical resistance)... so they may not actually be "cold" though they can certainly be cooler than current prototypes. Optical circuitry would definately offer protection against direct EM effects, though EM would still interfere with sensor operation itself (since the basic principle isn't changing, only the hardware medium implementing it is)
  8. Re lasers/DEWs: Actually, its a lot easier than most people think. The biggest limitation we have right now is generating enough power to run these things -- and theoretically by the time we'd have space warships we'd have at least space rated fission generators if not fusion... which should provide more than enough power for a limited number of DEWs. Additionally, most of the range problems we think lasers have is due to the atmosphere absorbing a lot of the energy -- thereby causing massive attentuation over distance. In space there is no atmosphere to absorb the energy... a laser will just keep on going until something gets in the way. Assuming we can't build a *perfect* laser, yes the beam would spread very very slowly over distance (causing the energy to be spread out and do less damage), but the range it would take for a beam to spread enough to be harmless would be tremendous anyway. Heat dissipation in space is not simple... not at all simple. The only way to dissipate heat in space is via radiation, which to date has required large, fragile radiatiors (which could themselves be easily damaged). Heavy armor would help to resist something like a laser, but I imagine with enough power / the right type of beam it could be defeated given enough time. Heavy armor would also make a ship more expensive/more difficult to build and require bigger engines/RCS thrusters/etc to provide the same maneuverability (Size has no bearing on speed, but rather on acceleration). If I might reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_YAL-1: While the program was cancelled, it actually represents a proof of concept that a directed energy weapon could be built and used to effect. The problem is the current expense and particularly the limited range of the current system. Transplant that to space and you wouldn't have the range problem (The atmosphere is really quite problematic), so even at the same emitter power level you'd be able to focus more energy on target (and emitter power to recieved power would scale far better than in the atmosphere). Regarding Railguns: Well, first of all if you want a more or less frictionless environment then you need a more or less frictionless weapon -- and for that purpose a coilgun would probably serve rather better (and coilguns have their own problems - like electromagnetic saturation and such). Lets say hypothetically that you can build it so as to have no residual heat. You are limited somewhat in shaping your projectile so the electromagnetic fields in the launcher could have the greatest effect, but ignoring that RADAR shaping is usually only effective from certain angles... so there's a problem right there. Additionally, in space I'm not aware of any particular reason why other EM bands couldn't be used in a manner like RADAR. Stealth shaping is only effective against certain bands of RADAR, so if you have a bunch of different EM DAR devices covering a bunch of the radio and a couple other bits of the spectrum (chosen based on what typical construction materials would reflect, and what is practical to build). I'm guessing the difficulty in detecting objects in space will be more about processing all the data your sensors would return and filtering out all the junk and background EM. Once you detect an incoming projectile, its fair to assume that maneuvering a bit to avoid it should be more or less trivial. So yeah, its all about seeing it coming (on the other hand DEWs are more about putting enough energy into the beam). While I'm at it: Just firing a railgun or coilgun would likely create a sizeable bloom of EMR... you can certainly try to shield it (and in fact you'd have to so you don't fry your ship's computers) but there may be some leakage (which may be detectable). Yes, the atmosphere represents a speed limitation (and a source of heat bloom) for projectile weapons, but there are a couple more: 1) It takes *a lot* of energy to propel a projectile at any significant speed... and "significant" is far higher in space, 2) There are actually limitations to the power you can put into your EM field before you start facing diminishing returns. Unfortunately, the numbers I'm seeing regarding the power requirements of even the experimental railguns around now are not in the same units as the ones for experimental laser weapons -- so I can't directly compare them -- but both are easily very very large. Regarding sensors: That's a good point about active sensors, on the other hand modern RADARs are actually quite difficult to lock on to (since they're highly directional and they can actually operate on multiple bits of spectrum, etc)... Lets still say that we'll want to limit use of active sensors as much as practical (just like submarines usually avoid using active sonar when they can help it). Good point about hiding the emissions from your engines (maybe they can be baffled to at least limit the range of angles engine emissions are visible from... and even then the exhaust plumes would probably be detectable with the right methods). Also a good point about hiding behind asteroids and such, though I imagine engagement ranges won't be nearly *that* far, and just like land combat rarely occurs in the middle of mountain ranges we probably wouldn't want to fight much in asteroid fields (also, the asteroid field is *still* mostly empty space). Sensor returns between, say, earth and the asteroid field would be probably a couple hours old, and travel times to get out there would be big as well (unless someone invents FTL... come on physicists, give us something to work with )... so any info from that range would be tactically useless (and even a DEW beam would take far too long to travel that far)
  9. A certain degree of artistic license is, of course, acceptable... particularly because these things don't exist yet (though we can reasonably take hints from naval ships and airplanes and such so long a we account for the real things being shaped by hydrodynamic and aerodynamic concerns). Do yourself a favor and stop watching after the first couple eps of season 3, just goes downhill from there. I remember one ship in Gundam SEED Destiny which had a conventional bridge... but the whole darn thing would sink into the ship before a battle. That's an interesting (though convoluted) solution. A general rule of thumb is that detection range will probably be far greater than practical firing range, regardless of the weapon. However, the practical firing range for a projectile weapon will undoubtably be far shorter. Sure, a railgun will make the projectile travel much faster (thereby extending range). Lets say by the time we'd have space battleships railgun technology is capable of 4x the max they're shooting for today... that's still only 10km/s -- or about 0.003 [b]percent[/b] of lightspeed. Obviously this is just a wild guess. Anyway to hit anything with a projectile of that speed would require relatively close range or the expectation of minimal maneuvering at range. A directed energy weapon, however, relies on a more or less coherent beam of energy... its practical range would be limited mostly by your ability to aim it (since the energy travels at or near light speed your practical range is not infinite but it is certainly on the order of thousands of kilometers rather than dozens... for context it is only a few SECONDS distance from earth to the moon at lightspeed. Travel time of your typical naval shell is greater than that), and your sensors' detection range. Heck, my guess is that we'd actually design these things to be imperfect intentionally (perhaps focusable?) so that we don't risk damaging things if we miss (though we probably wouldn't hit anything due to the relative emptiness of space). As for sensors: Yeah, idk. My best guess is that we'd initially start with a bunch of RADAR-type devices (from which we filter cosmic an environmental background radiation). We'd need them to cover the most practical types of em -- so RADAR is a given. I'm not sure if it would be practical to build an infrared equivalent of RADAR, but I'm guessing it would be useful (unless we can't easily discern the signature of a distant star from a relatively near by ship). We'd also want telescopes (probably not useful for detection) both for navigation (even the apollo CSM had a telescope used for star fixes) and to try to see your target once you've actually detected it. One RADAR in the nose or whatever absolutely wouldn't do... any armored hull would probably block most of the signal, so you'd need to place these devices - probably on or near the outer hull - in multiple all around the ship to cover all arcs, and to account for potential battle damage and such. (so complicated shapes would actually represent a near distance sensor nightmare, since you'd either need way too many sensor devices to cover all arcs at close range, or just accept lots of big/little coverage holes. Sorry for going on so long. This is interesting stuff!
  10. I'm an engineer, so I approach these things from a somewhat different angle. There is always the "rule of cool" type stuff, but I also consider how much sense a given characteristic makes. Simply put "organic" shapes really don't make a huge amount of sense. Any time you see a tightly rounded surface or acute angle, you're seeing what is probably some wasted space. This is why most human structures don't have a lot in the way of roundness except for artistic or structural reasons (ie: Arches are used because they are both pretty and very strong). Realistically speaking, it makes far more sense to bury the bridge/CIC/command center as deep in the ship as practicable, as putting it on the edge just makes it easy to damage. Seeing the guns is cool and all, so long as the mechanisms supporting those weapons are sensible (There are a few different perspectives, but a lot of people - including myself - think that engagement ranges in space would probably be on the order of hundreds or even thousands of miles, not the couple dozen you typically see. Thus, projectile weapons make very little sense... Unless you can propel your giant space bullet to relativistic speeds, you probably won't manage to actually hit anything. Missiles aren't much better. Excepting the invention of some kind of super compact reactor thing and some kind of high thrust engine that uses next to no fuel, Missiles would never be able to move or maneuver fast enough to actually hit anything. Though its strange to think about, directed energy weapons make far more sense (since their energy or highly energetic particle output moves at approximately the speed of light, and requires power more than fuel so doesn't require a big giant magazine or other balance disturbing concentration of mass). I'm personally a huge fan of the RDM Battlestar designs -- they give you lots of meaningful hull detail (armor plates and structural ribs and such) while also letting you see things like guns and missile tubes and such, and also place critical spaces relatively deep in the ship where practical... Apparantly, they took a lot of the design concepts from real-world submarines and combined it with, clearly, some aircraft carrier stuff.
  11. Welcome back!