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Old 10-09-2018, 10:44 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Default [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

I'd like to have a little contest to build the best warship, or fleet of warships, possible on a $1 billion budget. Ships are built at TL10 with no superscience, using any options from Spaceships 1-7. Organic armor is off limits (treat as TL11 for "engineered or manufactured). All consumables must be paid for from this budget.

I’m going to try to run as many different matchups as I have time for with available submissions. I will not be doing this play-by-post. Other folks are welcome to run their own matchups and report the results. Unless otherwise specified, optional rules and design switches will be set to “off”.

Combat scale will be one of the following:
  • Close-scale, with 3-minute turns.
  • Standard-scale, with 10-minute turns.
  • Distant-scale, with 10-minute turns.

Which of these scales is used for a given matchup will be determined by the longest-ranged weapons in use on either side. If, after ten rounds, both sides are still able to fight, combat scale will be reduced one step. This represents the opposing fleets closing on slow approach.

Crews can be bioroids, AI, or a mix. AIs come free with a ship’s computer network, and are complexity 6 programs that function as crew of average quality (“Keeping it Simple: NPC Crew Actions”, Spaceships p. 54). Bioroids cost $200,000 and function as veteran crew. The rules for NPC crew actions generally apply, except that the exact number of bioroids available for damage control should be tracked, rather than basing the number of damage control parties on the number of engine rooms a ship has.

Ships must be designated capital ships or small craft. Capital ships must have the following:
  • At least one bioroid per workspace (or one bioroid for smaller capital ships with no workspaces).
  • Life support sufficient for all bioroid crew. Unless they have total life support, they must also have ⅓ ton of food per bioroid.
  • At least 10 mps delta-V, which is subtracted from their delta-V reserve before combat to represent the cost of travelling to the battle.

Small craft must:
  • Be carried in the hangar of a capital ship.
  • Have at least one bioroid crew per workspace (no minimum).

If a small craft has bioroid crew, those crew have the same life support and food requirements as the crew of capital ships, but those requirements may be fulfilled by the carrier or the small craft.

Sample Submission
Total Fleet Cost: $992.64M

Capital Ship: Cruiser

Built on an SM+10 unstreamlined hull.

Front Hull
[1-2] Nanocomposite Armor (Hardened; total dDR 100) ($200M)
[3-4] Advanced Metallic Laminate Armor (Hardened; total dDR 60). ($80M)
[5] Smaller Systems (three at SM+9): one Habitat (15 bunkrooms; 25 tons cargo); two Advanced Metallic Laminate Armor (Hardened; total dDR 20). ($27M)
[6!] Major Battery (fixed mount 3 GJ particle beam).* ($60M)
[core] Control Room (C9 computer, comm/sensor 9, 10 control stations).* ($20M)

Central Hull
[1-3] Advanced Metallic Laminate Armor (Hardened; dDR 90). ($120M)
[4!] Secondary Battery (10 turrets with 300 MJ lasers).* ($60M)
[5] Smaller Systems (three at SM+9): one Tertiary Battery (thirty turrets with 300KJ very rapid fire improved lasers); one Fuel Cell (provides one small Power Point for the tertiary battery); one Tactical Array (comm/sensor 10).
($22.5M)
[6] Hangar Bay (300 tons capacity).* ($1M)

Rear Hull
[1-2] Advanced Metallic Laminate Armor (Hardened; total dDR 60). ($80M)
[3-4] Fuel Tanks (each with 500 tons of fuel pellets with 10 mps delta-V). ($6M)
[5-6] Fusion Pulse Drive Engines (0.05G acceleration each).* ($200M)
[core] MHD Turbine (two Power Points).* [$7.5M]

Empty Cost: $884M
Fuel Cost: $50M
Food Cost: $20K
Crew: 60 bioroids ($12M)

dST/HP: 150
Hnd/SR: -3/5
HT: 13
Move: 0.1G/20 mps
LWt.: 10,000
SM: +10
Occ: 60ASV
dDR: 180/90/60 (Hardened)

Small Craft: Attack Drone (x30)

Built on a SM+4 Unstreamlined Hull

Front Hull
[1-5] Hardened Nanocomposite Armor (Hardened; total dDR 25). ($500k)
[6!] Major Battery (fixed mount 16cm launcher). ($100K)
[core] Control Room (C6 computer, comm/sensor 4, and no control stations). ($10K)

Central Hull System
[1-2] Hardened Nanocomposite Armor (Hardened; total dDR 10). ($200K)
[3-6, core] Fuel Tanks (0.5 tons of antimatter-catalyzed water with 0.84 mps delta-V each). ($15K)

Rear Hull System
[1-2] Hardened Nanocomposite Armor (Hardened; total dDR 10). ($200K)
[3-4] Fuel tanks (0.5 tons of antimatter-catalyzed water with 0.84 mps delta-V each). ($6K)
[5-6] Antimatter Thermal Rocket Engines (using water, 0.6G each). ($100K)

Empty Cost: $1.131M each
Ammo Cost: $333K each
Fuel Cost: $90K each

dST/HP: 15
Hnd/SR: 0/4
HT: 12
Move: 1.2G/5.88 mps
LWt.: 10
SM: +4
Occ: 0
dDR: 25/10/10 (Hardened)

Last edited by Michael Thayne; 10-17-2018 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Added 10 round rule for reducing scale, fixed omission of point-defense details in sample.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:49 PM   #2
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

Call the contest "Billion Credit Squadron".
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:15 PM   #3
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Call the contest "Billion Credit Squadron".
Yes. I was going to do that but wasn't sure how many people would get the reference.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:59 AM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

Your conditions appear to me to greatly favor long-range designs so we'll try that first.

Capital Ship:Cyclops-class Monitor

Unstreamlined SM+10

Front Hull

1-3 Nanocomposite Armor (Hardened) total DR 150 $300M
4 Control Room $20m
5 Enhanced Tactical Array $100m
6 Spinal Battery 10GI UV Laser $150m
(core) Spinal

Center Hull
1-3 Nanocompsite Armor total DR 150 $150m
4 Smaller systems 3 Tertiary Batteries 300 kj VRF UV Lasers $45m
5 Habitat 30 cabins w/total lifesupport $10m
6 Fusion Reactor 2 pp $50m
(core)Spinal

Rear Hull
1-3 Nanocomposite Armr total dDR 150
4 Fusion Reactor 2 pp $50m
5 Fuel 120 mps delta-v $3m
6 Antimatter Plasma Rocket .01 G $50m

Note that only the Front Armor is Hardened.

Then there's 60 bioroids $12m They share cabins. The total life support means no purchasefood is needed. Most of the crew are Gunners for the Teriatiary batteries at 2 guns per battery.

The only consumable required is the fuel which will be 10m. I get $967m for total expenses.

For general comments I will note that this is a brutally simple and spcialized design but you tend to get in these sorts of contests.

The Cyclops can't penetrate its' own armor at any range in Front and beyond 1/2D for the rest of the ship. You could pentrate the Front armor with a Particle Beam but the UV laser outranges that by a facor of 10.

You can of course also penetrate the armor with missiles but you'll need a large number of them to get past the Tertiary batteries of UV lasers.

If you look at the more detailed numbers in Spaceships 3 the Spinal UV also outranges the powered envelope of even 32cm missiles by a lot though a ballistic coasting phase is possible I suppose. You'd lose a lot of that stand-off distance if you went with the shorter ranged Particle beam.

As a final note I do not necessarily sdvocate this design but it's more of an experiment in a given direction.
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:10 PM   #5
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

Antimatter boosted hydrogen, required for antimatter plasma rockets, costs $12M per ton, so the 500 tons of required reaction mass costs $6B, meaning that it would cost around $7B. Antimatter is prohibitively expensive in any realistic setting, making it worthless for normal combat spacecraft, so I would suggest replacing it with fusion rockets instead (half the acceleration and half the delta-v, but it is a lot cheaper reaction mass cost).
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:37 AM   #6
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Antimatter boosted hydrogen, required for antimatter plasma rockets, costs $12M per ton, so the 500 tons of required reaction mass costs $6B, meaning that it would cost around $7B. Antimatter is prohibitively expensive in any realistic setting, making it worthless for normal combat spacecraft, so I would suggest replacing it with fusion rockets instead (half the acceleration and half the delta-v, but it is a lot cheaper reaction mass cost).
This is correct. Fred's design unfortunately doesn't work as written, but could be fixed with fusion rockets.

Unrelated, when adjusting combat range downward, I might just do that automatically after 10 rounds even if ships have managed to inflict *some* damage on each other. That way, having weapons with Extreme range is worthwhile, but you avoid the thing where it's literally impossible for ships with less than 0.5G acceleration to close on each other after well over an hour.
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Old 10-12-2018, 10:26 AM   #7
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

Whoops, re-reading my OP I just realized I inadvertently forgot to say anything about how ranged is determined, or reducing it. Originally, I had the idea of reducing range after reaching some ill-defined "appears stalemated" state, but I think a firm 10 round rule probably works better.
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Old 10-12-2018, 11:27 AM   #8
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Antimatter boosted hydrogen, required for antimatter plasma rockets, costs $12M per ton,).
Ah, overlooked the difference between "antimatter catalyzed" and antimatter boosted".
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Old 10-12-2018, 11:51 AM   #9
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
This is correct. Fred's design unfortunately doesn't work as written, but could be fixed with fusion rockets.
It can't be fixed by only replacing the antimatter plasma rocket with a fusion rocket. The Fusion rocket would be $50m more expensive but there's only $33m left over. Even taking in to consideration the $9m saved in fuel that's not enough.

We probably have to take it out of the armor. Either de-harden the Front or go to a cheaper variety for the Rear.

Please note that your range reduction rule is generally quite unrealistic with the sort of drives you want to use. If one ship accelerates towards another at 0.01G after an hour it will be only 392 miles closer. If the Cyclops clone with the PB replacing the UV Laser is the one trying to close the distance it neds to make up approximately 18,000 miles and would need c. 7 hours to do it.

Some times hard numbers will simply prove that some things just aren't practical.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:40 PM   #10
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Designing the best possible fleet on a billion-dollar budget

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Please note that your range reduction rule is generally quite unrealistic with the sort of drives you want to use. If one ship accelerates towards another at 0.01G after an hour it will be only 392 miles closer. If the Cyclops clone with the PB replacing the UV Laser is the one trying to close the distance it neds to make up approximately 18,000 miles and would need c. 7 hours to do it.

Some times hard numbers will simply prove that some things just aren't practical.
This is true only if you assume initial relative velocity is 0. The standard space combat rules, however, treat everything from 0 relative velocity to "just under the fast pass threshold" the same way. My 10 round rule isn't perfectly realistic, but no approach based on the standard (as opposed to tactical) space combat rules will be perfect.
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