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Re: Real Space Combat Help:

From: Samuel Penn <sam@b...>
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 1997 16:23:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Real Space Combat Help:

In message <> Alex wrote:

[snipped lots on Renegade Legion]

> Most of the complexity seems to be in adhering to hexes.  Throwing it
> onto FT's Newtonian motion rules would alleviate a lot of that and
> make things a lot more fluid.

Especially true of Leviathan, which can't seem to decide whether
4-hex ship templates are really 4 hexes long, or just look big.
Give me proper vector movement, with no grid, any day.

> [One of these days I'll get around to converting RenLeg's games, from
> Centurion to Leviathan, to FMA-based systems.  I feel like a heretic
> myself, sometimes ... :)]

I'm sure we can find it in our hearts to forgive you :)

> > Each gauss cannon round is much less massive, and also a lot
> > cheaper (and lower tech) than any single missile. Stopping a
> > single missile is also a lot easier than stopping a thousand
> > lumps of depleted uranium.
> Taken as a whole, the technology to acquire a target at light-seconds'
> range to really-darn-close,

I'd only assume use of gauss cannons for short range weapons.
A few tens of thousands of klicks at most. For anything longer,
use missiles. At light second ranges, I'd say don't use anything
other than missiles.

> > I don't know what the cost difference between a smart KE missile
> > and a smart nuke missile would be, but it may not be worth going
> > just for a KE missile, when a nuke is more effective.
> Probably not significant at the scales we're talking about here.  You
> might split the difference and use a nuke that impells a large amount
> of material at the point of detonation.  Best of both worlds.

I prefer nukes because they don't have to hit. Even if the nuke
misses by a couple of hundred metres, the heat is going to hurt.
If a KE missile misses by 1 metre, it does no damage (though it
could do more damage than the nuke does if it does hit).

> > But if I'm protecting a planet, I can afford to have high thrust
> > low efficiency drives

> Not necessarily; I know you're there, you know I'm coming, but not
> necessarily where in orbit I'll do so.  Plus, with your high-thrust
> low-efficency drives you're going to have /much/ more limited dV than
> I am,

But I haven't just travelled half way across the solar system.
I might actually have more dV to play with than you do, since
you've used a good portion getting here, and may be wanting to
keep some in reserve to go back home in case you lose.

Further, I might even have as good, or better, acceleration (and
hence a larger manouevre sphere) than you do. A massive, well
armoured and bristling with point defences defence battleship,
with low mass ratio and very high thrust could dance rings
around your interplanetary assualt force.

Of course if the engagement drags out too long, then I fall
foul of my low delta-vee, and I'm buggered :(

> gravity well.  You'll be fighting the well to get up to me, further
> cutting your dV and /far/ cutting your endurance.  I can drop things
> down the well at you.

I really need to be at the bottom of the well though, in order
to intercept anything you might through at the planet. So
whatever force I've got, I have that disadvantage, unless I
split my forces to meet you much higher up.

> Spy sats /probably/ wouldn't last long enough in a high-orbit conflict
> to be meaningful, except for single-pass disposables you lob out as
> `recon' just before a thrust.  Any attacker worth the name will
> concentrate on wiping your sats from the sky on contact.  The missile
> and laser defenses based planetary have one /major/ flaw: once they
> fire, they're revealed.  Orbital bombardment will be swift and sure.

Doesn't matter for ground based missile silos - they're one shot
anyway. Laser implacements could be _very_ vulnerable though. Spy
sats could be low in orbit (which gives them a short horizon, so
I'd need lots of them), protected by planetary defences.

> Odds are every space vessel for the forseeable future will have at
> least /one/ vulnerable arc: the rear.  Anywhere you vent thrust from
> is going to be a very weak spot.

One word. Orion. :)

> > If you have the guts to continue fighting a guerilla war, hitting
> > soft targets, performing terrorist actions within cities etc, then
> > there's not much that orbital superiority can do (unless it's
> > _really_ good).
> One doesn't do that and still hold territory, though.

If you've got orbit, then I sort of take it for granted that
I've lost any territory I care to lay claim to by default.

If you're really keen to keep hold of the planet, and
especially if you're not too squeemish about punishing
the locals for any acts performed against you (one hundred
Narns killed for every Centauri killed sort of thing),
then I've lost.

> You'll only be able to win by making it logistically unfeasible to
> retain the planet.  This might be because your planet isn't considered
> too important and the attacking force is undersupplied for the fight
> you put up, or you just get lucky and kick serious booty early in the
> conflict.

Or of course, I'm the hero in a Hollywood movie, in which
case you don't stand a chance! :)

> > Guess what I'm going to be reading this afternoon? :)
> You'll be hooked by night.  :)

Been side tracked by umpteen billion other things. Story of
my life :(

> > The burn has to be for a period of time greater than zero though.
> > If it's long enough, I can plot the ships course. How long
> > 'long enough' is depends on available sensor systems.

> If you're close enough that a fast burst burn is more than a few
> angstroms wide, then you're probably far enough into my maneuver
> sphere that you know what my most probable target is and can either
> phone ahead or intercept.

> > Looking is easy if you know where to look. If you don't know
> > where the enemy is, or even if they're there, then looking is
> > hard.
> If you know where to look, you don't /need/ to look.	:)

Okay okay, I'll rephrase that! If your burn wasn't sufficient
for me to compute a vector, then I still know where you are now.
At now+1, you're not going to be more than a few seconds or
minutes away, which gives me a very narrow window to look in,
in order to find out *exactly* where you are. I do this again
at now+2, now+3 etc, until at now+x, when I've plotted your
vector and can track you at leisure.

Be seeing you,

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