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Old 10-19-2019, 07:01 PM   #8
ericthered
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Default Re: Spaceship Weapons and Gravity Layout

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Originally Posted by Aldric View Post
What kind of force do those disks provide? And what about your engines?
And skyscraper is your only option really, unless you want ppl slamming against the walls every time your ship accelerated.
And if your disks provide a fixed 1G, you still have problems
Those are some really good questions. I haven't figured out what kind of acceleration I'm expecting out of the ship, and I probably need to. The disks can put out at least 1 G of force, and should be able to do more. I can see individual disks being incapable of going past 1 G, but it would be odd if the technology petered out at exactly 1 earth gravity. Varying their strength with time should be doable. I don't want to give the artificial gravity some real limitations, but varying its strength (and possibly even switching between being an attracting and a repelling disk) seems to make for fun nuances without handwaving away problems.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
For gravity backups, having attractor-repulsor pairs at opposite sides of the ship could work. With the naval orientation, for example, you could have an array of attractor disks in the ventral portion of the ship, with a corresponding array of repulsor disks in the dorsal portion. For the crew, the attractive and repulsive forces would be in the same direction (“down”) and would probably be indistinguishable from each other. Up to you if you want both to generally be “on” (and thus loss of one cuts gravity in half, potentially adjustable back up to full) or if you want to have one always on and the other to turn on only when needed (so loss of one either has no effect or causes a brief few moments of zero G before the backup turns on). You should be able to manage a similar scheme with the rocket orientation as well.
Thanks, that's a good idea. And you're right, you don't have to run one as the main and the other as "backup": you just have two generators that can be stepped up or down.

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Also, unless loss of gravity is unlikely without leading shortly to the destruction of the ship, the crew should be well-trained for zero G, and SOP should be to secure any loose tools/etc as soon as one is done using them (built-in electromagnets to let you stick it to any nearby metal surface when not in use would be useful). The skills are too important in space to neglect, and training isn’t exactly difficult when you’re already in space (just shut off the gravity to train).
"Gravity Drills" are certainly easy to run. It can be used both as training and as a precaution to keep people from leaving things unsecured. (sometime between 01800 and 1900 we're turning off gravity and accelerating for 3 seconds). I'm thinking of running the scenario in wartime conditions, with reasonably green hands, but you're right: its simple to run rudimentary drills, and there is no reason not to.

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Maneuvering in space battles is grossly overrated. Speed needs to be very high relative to weapon's range for it to be much use at all.
That's the thing that makes me wonder if thrust aligning with gravity is that big of a deal. It seems that absolute speed doesn't matter, but altering course and changing facing does. I don't know how much skyscraper is going to help when you need most of your acceleration to be in a direction you were not previously headed.

Come to think of it, ideally you want to point a small surface towards your target and then have your main thrust come orthogonal to that. I'm not sure how that effects the structural stress on the craft. It also gets weird if you want to close with your target.

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This. Call it "christmas tree plan" if that helps. Each "ornament" on the "christmas tree" can be a turret. All turrets will fire straight ahead and even converge on a single point directly ahead. The bottom row of turrets can fire backwards and half of any turrets can fire to one side.
The armor needed in this situation is a little worrisome to me: you're exposing most of your surface area to your target. On the other hand, you naturally get the benefits of sloping your armor, and armor really isn't main line of defense for this craft. It requires precision to focus all of your fire at one ship, but that should be doable.

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
If you give the gravity generators sensors (or connect them to the engine controls; either way gives you more stuff to break and thus have to fix to get the gravity under control), you can automatically reduce the gravity as the thrust increases, or even flip the orientation of the gravity vector (if the tech allows) to counter thrust over 1G.
That's a really cool idea. I think it even works in naval configuration if you use a separate disk to cancel thrust than to provide artificial gravity, though if that gets out of wack people will complain.

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Note that on Earth, "naval ship orientation" is really the same as "skyscraper orientation". Both are aligned so that the decks / floors are perpendicular to the predominant direction of gravity ("down"). If you have high thrust that's often used, then the predominant direction is the direction of thrust. So it only makes sense to align the ship to take that into account, even if you have artificial gravity as a supplement.
eh, "orientation" here refers to which direction gravity pulls in respect to a long cylinder. The decks are always aligned down, but are the decks aligned with the length of the cylinder or do they break it up?

Lining up gravity and thrust is probably the best thing to do, I'm just trying to look at other knock-on effects.

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If the ship uses thrust only briefly and spends most of its time coasting, like a modern-day space probe, or has very low thrust, then you might ignore that direction as irrelevant during the mission.
That may be the case. When I envision this thing in my head its not a high performance craft: its a beefy ship that slugs it out with the enemy.

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Neither of those factors are relevant in space. You might want a long, pointy ship just for the sake of tradition, but that's not really dictated by the environment. The fact that you have to travel more against gravity in a skyscraper (hence elevators), while you can walk horizontally over more of a ship, is a practical advantage for the ship layout, but it's not a dominant factor. (Besides, elevators are just another fun thing to break, right?)

A sphere gives you the most volume for the area of the hull, and minimizes the travel distance between points inside the ship. (Not that travel is normally random; the architects will no doubt take into account where people have to get to in their jobs when choosing a layout.) Spheres also minimize the moment of inertia, so they can likely more easily change direction than a long, thin object. You don't have to have spherical ships, but other shapes will have a reason for their existence.
I think I want a long, pointy craft to minimize target area. orient yourself toward the enemy as a christmas tree or ship and you have half the profile or less than a sphere. On the other hand, if I make the shields a sphere, it may not matter what the physical shape of the ship is.

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You might want a long, pointy ship just for the sake of tradition, but that's not really dictated by the environment.
Tradition certainly has its place, especially in space opera. Often ships have a cool design as well, but even though I'm beginning to notice they're often laid out like an airplane/boat/space shuttle rather than like a rocket.
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