Prev: Re: Modeling Honor Harrington Ships. Next: Re: Modeling Honor Harrington Ships.

Re: [OT] Ships & Spheres...or 3D representation

From: Phillip Atcliffe <Phillip.Atcliffe@u...>
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 13:17:12 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)
Subject: Re: [OT] Ships & Spheres...or 3D representation

On Thu, 2 Mar 2000 10:46:20 +0000 Ground Zero Games <> wrote:

>> A bit of discussion going on here on how to represent 3d. There have 
some suggestions of placing ships inside plastic spheres, like those 
found at craft stores. <<

> This was tried many years ago by a club over here, who actually 
published it as an article in Practical Wargamer magazine; they used 
two plastic hemispheres cut from the bases of large plastic Coke 
bottles, but this was because they couldn't get the neat plastic globes 
that you can now buy in craft shops! The game was a 3D Star Trek one, 
using a mix of FASA, SFB and Zocchi ships in the spheres, and IIRC they 
didn't worry about moving the models in the Z-axis - the whole point 
was to represent the different ORIENTATIONS of the ships in 3D, which 
is what makes space combat unique, so they mounted each sphere in a 
shallow "cup" so that you could rotate the ball (and hence the ship) to 
any angle or orientation you liked. Each sphere had various axes marked 
on it with fine lining tape. Seemed to work well, at least according to 
the article... <

Yes, I've got that issue, too. The system looked okay, but there was 
one big problem that the author(s?) didn't mention: they had "3-D" 
_movement_ okay, but they couldn't do 3-D weapons arcs very well -- or 
at all. As I remember, hit probability was rated according to which 
"quadrant" the target was in -- upper or lower, front or rear -- but at 
no time was it necessary to have the target located where the weapons 
could bear! Both phasers and torpedoes were given full spherical 
coverage, and the only difference between having a Klingon dead in 
front of you and tucked under your stern (where the original Enterprise 
couldn't fire!) was a lower probability of hitting!

It's possible to come up with some appropriate PSB/design 
rationalisation to explain this, but it's really a fudge to allow the 
authors to show off their nifty movement system. Which is why I stuck 
to 2-D games; "3-D" was okay in principle, but didn't work in practice. 
I haven't read the HH books, but I suspect, from reading this list, 
that arcs -- either weapons or incoming fire -- are an important 
consideration, in which case, this system isn't going to work.

"We gotta get out into Space / If it's the last thing we ever do!"  
   -- Return to the Forbidden Planet
A sentiment echoed by Phil Atcliffe (

Prev: Re: Modeling Honor Harrington Ships. Next: Re: Modeling Honor Harrington Ships.