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Old 10-16-2013, 04:30 PM   #1
ericthered
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Default SpaceShips missiles attack rules

Forgive me, I know this has been asked before, but finding it seems to be beyond me:

In spaceships, is the targeting between missiles and guns the same? It seems to be, but that makes no sense. shouldn't missiles reduce range, ahem, relative velocity penalties? And is there a reason you don't use both range AND relative velocity? If I've matched vector with you, shooting you should still be harder if you're far away.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

"Bullets" are just missiles that get most of their delta-V in the barrel. They still have thrusters and attitude adjusters, which means they are effectively Homing/Guided, just like missiles. That's why you don't worry about range.

Of course, Spaceships then goes off and assumes you're taking -30 in range penalties to get the final sAcc... but I digress.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

The relative velocity penalty is not a range penalty, it's a penalty for the closing speed that your munition needs to cope with while pulling off an intercept.
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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Of course, Spaceships then goes off and assumes you're taking -30 in range penalties to get the final sAcc... but I digress.
Presumably that doesn't apply to projectile weapons.

Though without it, one must wonder how the guns can possibly manage to have negative sAcc.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
The relative velocity penalty is not a range penalty, it's a penalty for the closing speed that your munition needs to cope with while pulling off an intercept.

Presumably that doesn't apply to projectile weapons.

Though without it, one must wonder how the guns can possibly manage to have negative sAcc.
If we apply the "add 18 to sAcc to get real Acc," we get quite sensible numbers for the real Acc of guns and missiles. In order to get negative sAcc, either the weapons need to suffer Range penalties - which they shouldn't if they're homing/guided - or they have -21 targeting systems.

The penalty might just be due to the fact that it's really, really hard to hit something at space ranges with something that has fairly low delta-v (like a "bullet").
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

so when they say "bullet", they are describing a missile that doesn't pack enough fuel to dodge around, or do anything other than adjust for ship course changes. That could be a LOT clearer. Not to mention it makes bullets much less generic. So whats the big difference then? the size of the attack?
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
so when they say "bullet", they are describing a missile that doesn't pack enough fuel to dodge around, or do anything other than adjust for ship course changes. That could be a LOT clearer. Not to mention it makes bullets much less generic. So whats the big difference then? the size of the attack?
The initial acceleration in a gun is provided by external propellants, rails, coils or whatever.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
If we apply the "add 18 to sAcc to get real Acc," we get quite sensible numbers for the real Acc of guns and missiles. In order to get negative sAcc, either the weapons need to suffer Range penalties - which they shouldn't if they're homing/guided - or they have -21 targeting systems.

The penalty might just be due to the fact that it's really, really hard to hit something at space ranges with something that has fairly low delta-v (like a "bullet").
If we apply that. I wouldn't, because it makes little sense.
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so when they say "bullet", they are describing a missile that doesn't pack enough fuel to dodge around, or do anything other than adjust for ship course changes. That could be a LOT clearer. Not to mention it makes bullets much less generic. So whats the big difference then? the size of the attack?
Spaceships never uses the word bullet to describe ammunition.

At the earliest possible point (p28) it indicates: "guns fire shell packages with small thrusters and guidance systems for limited course correction."

On page 59: "Guns, missile launchers, and ramming spacecraft all use these rules. Since the attacker is steering or homing on the target, range modifiers are irrelevant – what matters is the relative velocity."

What more do you want it to say?


Unguided bullets are completely nonsensical at Spaceships ranges unless they're fired at ridiculously high speeds. Cosmic grav guns could maybe be used with dumb bullets, but only at short ranges.


The big difference: cannons are awful, missiles are really really good. Shells are much cheaper and lighter than missiles and not prone to unwantedly blowing up your entire ship (presumably because they don't need the main propulsion), and you can have RF and VRF mounts for guns, but none of those facts are all that useful because guns are terrible.
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

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What more do you want it to say?
I'd like it to use terms other than 'guns' and 'shells', which in this world I happen to live in, denote unguided ammo. 'guided shell' may work though.

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The big difference: cannons are awful, missiles are really really good.
And what makes the 'awful'? damage? range?
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
And what makes the 'awful'? damage? range?
Accuracy, and potentially damage. Also the inability to meaningfully manoeuvre. Really, given the minuscule difference in cost, missiles are just better.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: SpaceShips missiles attack rules

After sleeping on it, I'm fairly confident the low sAcc of guns and missiles is meant to represent the fact that, while GURPS Homing/Guided assumes infinite* delta-V, the "bullets" and missiles have far less than this. Applying GURPS Homing/Guided as-is would give guns and missiles sAcc that was much higher than that of lasers, which is rather nonsensical.

What might make some sense would be to still apply range penalties for guns, and halve them for missiles. This is consistent with Warp Missiles getting around +15 (assuming base TL 10) for instant travel to the target. So, a 20 cm conventional gun (sAcc -8) would get +20 (end modifier +12) at Zero range, +0 at Point Blank, -4 at Close. A TL 10 20 cm missile (sAcc +12) would get +10 at Zero, +0 at Point Blank, -2 at Close, -4 at Short, -6 at Long. In this case, the Range penalty isn't because it's difficult to line up the attack, but because it's hard to stay on-target when said target is accelerating. It may be appropriate to treat drifting targets as being 2 yards away (giving +30 for guns, +15 for missiles), regardless of their range.


*Infinite in terms of "delta-V is high enough that it doesn't limit maneuvering."
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