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Re: The Vector Dilema

From: Thomas Barclay <Thomas.Barclay@s...>
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 16:37:14 -0500
Subject: Re: The Vector Dilema

Daryl spake thusly upon matters weighty: 
> Full Thrust 2.5's vector system is still a little odd about turning.
> (assuming I'm reading everything right).  I can take a Thrust 4
> superdreadnought, and perform the following maneuver TP 6, Thrust 4,
> TP 6.  Which turns my ship 180 degrees thrusts 4, and turns my ship
> back to it's orignal facing.	Or I can just thrust 4 straight ahead.
> Either way I've changed my vector by 4.  The turns were completely
> in the first example (ie took 0 time).  I find this a little odd.

I didn't think (or at least we seem to have always ruled) that you 
could only rotate up to your thrust. So a thrust 8 ship could thrust 
8, rotate 8. A thrust 2 could thrust 2, rotate 2. Thus big ships are 
ponderous enough that the small ships can run rings around them and 
360 degree weapons are terrifying. 
> The other odd thing, I just spent most of my turn facing the wrong
> direction, yet when it comes time to fire, my forward arc is
> probably facing the enemy.  Fire should be occuring during that entire
> turn (in which I was facing away from the enemy) not just at the

> Two rules which I've been pondering using next time I get my brother
> play are:
> 1. A Rotation costs one point of Main Drive Thrust.
> This isn't so much the rotation taking power from the main drive, as
it is
> the rotation taking time from the main drive.  So a Thrust 2 ship
> can turn to any rotation and then Thrust 1.  Which using a turn of
> 20 minutes means the rotation takes about 10 minutes, while a thrust
> 8 ship takes about 2.5 minutes.  Still not 100% sure about it though,
> it still implies pretty poor thrusters on thrust 2 ships.

Even a huge ship should rotate in combat faster than that. But you 
can assume if someone bought a thrust 2 ship, that ponderous was what 
they sought. 

> 2. You can't perform a Rotation after using more than 1/2 your Main
> The assumption is that the acceleration vector provided by the main
> drive is the facing the ship is "usually" on.  And if the ship spends
> more than half it's "time" facing that direction, it should remain
> facing that direction for the firing phase, since the firing phase is
> really the sum total of all firing during the time the turn takes

Or not. I measure range bands from where I end up. Not from where I 
was throughout the turn. I'm not penalized for the fact that my guns 
are out of range most of the turn... it only matters where they are 
during firing. Maybe this represents the fact that no one has enough 
ammo or power to fire over the WHOLE turn in any case. Maybe it is 
just a simplification. But if you start penalizing people for facing 
like this, I want to see you penalize people who go from out of range 
to in range, or who change range bands during a turn too.... what 
about people who face away from the enemy for a goodly chunk of the 
turn, then turn into them near the end .... are they not allowed to 
shoot? Or do they shoot with a penalty? I think what you are speaking 
of introduces a whole can of worms.  

> Oh well, just some random thoughts,

And some back. 

You always get into a problem when you dilate time to have useful 
movement turns. Play harpoon (Larry Bond had to do with this one!) 
sometime - the board game. Watch what happens as you close ranges - 
time dilates and you go to shorter and shorter turns. When you are 
real close in, they are only seconds long (or something...pardon if 
my memory is inexact). What this means is, once you've reached that 
scale, manoevre by the ship is almost a non-entity. The missiles are 
closing far faster than your ship can manoevre, and consequently what 
comes into play is your point defence or countermissiles, not your 
manouvre. This is probably a somewhat real depiction as once you get 
inside a certain lethal radius, guns will just go to continous fire 
(rapid cycle) and it won't just be a pot shot here or there, but a 
wall of energy and missiles and railgun rounds. Which means that you 
would fire over the entire turn, but I also suspect this would lead 
to a game more like EFSB where ships go POP very easily.... and where 
(once you've closed to beam/gun range and you've got a firing 
solution) your enemy and you both die fast.  

If you are going to play in turns measured in the tens of minutes, 
and distances measured in the thousands of kilometers, you are 
sacrificing granularity for manoevre. Trying to get it back only 
introduces other issues. Instead, assume smaller time/distance scales 
and then rules based on such matters make more sense. Not being able 
to spin even my SDN around 1080 degrees in 20 minutes seems silly to 
me. In reality, rotation is a trivial component in a 20 minute turn 
where the space you travel through could be 20,000km easily. Rotating 
even a couple of kilometers is miniscule by comparison, even if done 
with smaller thrusters. FT is not a game for intimate cruiser duels 
normally. It allows fast paced resolution of small and large fleet 
engagements. It makes a number of rules to keep things simple. Does 
anyone want to figure out that you were in the longest range band for 
33% of your turn, the next shortest for a further 13% and then figure 
out what that does to your fire?  Or how all missiles happen to 
detonate as you arrive (since you've just moved... rather than some 
arriving where you will end up ahead of you?). Things happen in 
granular atomic time increments called turns, and that brings with it 
some 'flaws'. We can tinker with them, but really we won't solve the 
problem, just change it. 
Play FT for what it is. If you wish to fight cruiser duels with lots 
of the feel of big ship/small ship, using the proposed size 
targetting mods, use rules to control manoevre, and assume a shorter 
timescale and a smaller distance scale. 

Thomas Barclay		     
Voice: (613) 831-2018 x 4009
Fax: (613) 831-8255

 "C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot.  C++ makes
 it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg."
 -Bjarne Stroustrup

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