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Old 07-23-2018, 06:16 PM   #1
weevis
 
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Default [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

I'm trying to understand how the Basic Space Combat system in Spaceships works. I'm hoping someone on this excellent board has given this some thought and can tell me if my interpretations are right. I checked the errata and searched the forum already. I'm not really looking for discussion of good or badness of the rules in question (but knock yourself out). I'm just trying to understand them. These questions may be pretty basic, for all I know. I really appreciate any help. I have five confusions and I will title them with caps:

IS THERE “NON-BONUS” ACCELERATION THAT MATTERS?

(...in a setting where there is no reaction mass.)

p. SS54 says “All maneuvers except Drifts provide the option to accelerate.” This seems to mean that if you can’t get an acceleration bonus then you can’t accelerate at all? There is no “non-bonus” acceleration? I think the meaning would be that you can accelerate but it doesn’t matter, as acceleration is “enough acceleration for a long enough period to achieve a significant position change.” Maybe I should think of the word “acceleration” as “significant acceleration”? But if I do that leads to some other issues.

In my setting you could fire your engines for 40Gs during your 20-second turn but would you then have to describe what your ship is doing as a “controlled drift” because 40G is less than the 50G minimum for an acceleration bonus at that scale (p. SS55)? "Drift" seems like the wrong word for that. Or maybe that's wrong because Drifts don't “provide the option to accelerate,” thus ruling out non-bonus acceleration as well as bonus acceleration?

I see “The GM will need to keep track of the…acceleration a spacecraft used on its last turn.” (p. 55) and I see the brief combat examples are carefully tracking acceleration and speed via mps. But unless you have limited fuel -- in my setting there is not limited fuel -- tracking acceleration only seems to matter if it gets a “acceleration bonus.” Is that right? I think my confusion is with the word “bonus" since I don't understand the "non-bonus."

There do seem to be some minor gameplay implications. In the text for “Retreat” p. SS56 -- in that instance the wording is just “if you accelerated.” If I take that to mean did you accelerate *at* *all* this turn, and therefore I take it to mean both bonus and non-bonus acceleration, I should then always choose not to accelerate if I receive no bonus. The consequence of non-bonus acceleration is bad for me -- I don’t get to control my facing. So I should either go 50G for the bonus, or turn off the engines. Am I understanding the rules correctly?

Sorry that was so long. The other questions are simpler.

FAILED CLOSING MANEUVER?

What is your ship doing if you fail an attempt at closing (bottom of p. 55)? I think this is just a naming issue: at first I thought that the answer was “just flying around without a particular status.” All of the other statuses have names and this one doesn’t so it is puzzling me. I didn’t want to miss a status. But now after re-reading everything I think that for the purposes of the next turn (e.g., the Ambush rule) you would still count as “Closing” even though you failed. I'm guessing I should think about the word "Closing" in that case as “Tried for Closing but Couldn’t Close”? Or more generally think of the status as: “Attempted Closing But May or May Not Have Actually Closed On Anything”? Is that right?

I’M GOING SO FAST I HAVE TO TAKE EVASIVE ACTION

Since your acceleration bonus “may not exceed +3” to take a “Hold Course” maneuver (p. 56), if you really turn on those engines (above +3), it seems like the only maneuver you can choose is either Evasive Action or Closing. Since drifts don’t “provide the option to accelerate” p. SS54 you can’t choose those, and since Retreat requires you to take Evasive Action first you can’t choose that. I guess forcing quickly-accelerating ships to be Evading or Closing is OK but it seems counter-intuitive so I just want to be sure I have it right. If there is nothing I want to close with I guess I must take evasive action? Maybe it is simulating the fact that the acceleration alone gives you the Evasive Action bonuses even if you are trying to fly in a straight line? Again, just making sure I understand how the rules work here.

CLOSING ON NOTHING

Under the Ambush rules on p. 55, it states that you can use an Ambush closing strategy if your target performed “a Closing maneuver on its last turn, but only if your vessel was not yet Detected.” This can’t mean I can perform a closing maneuver on an undetected ship, can it? The rules for “Closing” don’t actually say that the target must be detected, but I still presume this text there means my target was CLOSING WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Right? But... The Maneuver Modifiers list says -6 if “in a quick contest of skill with a target that you have not detected.” I think you can only *be* in a quick contest if you are attempting a closing maneuver, so I guess it is OK to close on nothing? Really not sure about this one.

CRITICAL HITS DON’T AFFECT POINT DEFENSE?

From vanilla GURPS combat I’m used to critical hits doing something on an attack roll: “In all cases, the target gets no active defense against the attack.” says p. B556. But in spaceship combat under “Successful Attacks” in the “Ballistic Attack Roll” section on p. SS60 it says, “Critical success means the target cannot dodge.” I don't see other effects. Earlier in the “Beam” section it said “as usual, critical success means the target cannot dodge.” I’m confused by this, and the *as usual*: wouldn’t the usual behavior be no active defense at all? Why is the effect of a critical hit limited to preventing a dodge? I ask because if I’m attacking a space station with a missile, the rules say the defender has no dodge. The defense to beat is point defense. If I rolled a critical hit with my missile attack and the critical prevents dodge, who cares? Do I have the rules right here? The critical just does nothing?

I really appreciate your thoughts!
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:10 PM   #2
mlangsdorf
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by weevis View Post
I'm trying to understand how the Basic Space Combat system in Spaceships works.

IS THERE “NON-BONUS” ACCELERATION THAT MATTERS?

(...in a setting where there is no reaction mass.)

p. SS54 says “All maneuvers except Drifts provide the option to accelerate.” This seems to mean that if you can’t get an acceleration bonus then you can’t accelerate at all? There is no “non-bonus” acceleration? I think the meaning would be that you can accelerate but it doesn’t matter, as acceleration is “enough acceleration for a long enough period to achieve a significant position change.”
You imply below that you're using the Standard Combat scale with 20-second turns, so so the typical engagement range is 200 to 20,000 miles. If ships are 15,000 miles apart at no relative velocity, 40Gs for 20 seconds changes their position by not quite 50 miles - so it's not enough acceleration for long enough to achieve a significant position change.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
But unless you have limited fuel -- in my setting there is not limited fuel -- tracking acceleration only seems to matter if it gets a “acceleration bonus.” Is that right? I think my confusion is with the word “bonus" since I don't understand the "non-bonus."
If you don't provide enough acceleration for long enough, your position doesn't change enough to matter. You may be accelerating some, but compared to the vast distances and speeds of the encounter, your position change isn't noticeable. You're basically drifting.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
There do seem to be some minor gameplay implications. In the text for “Retreat” p. SS56 -- in that instance the wording is just “if you accelerated.” If I take that to mean did you accelerate *at* *all* this turn, and therefore I take it to mean both bonus and non-bonus acceleration, I should then always choose not to accelerate if I receive no bonus. The consequence of non-bonus acceleration is bad for me -- I don’t get to control my facing. So I should either go 50G for the bonus, or turn off the engines. Am I understanding the rules correctly?
There are two conditions that let you choose the Retreat maneuver: you accelerate out of an an Evasive maneuver, which necessarily puts your rear hull to anyone who isn't maneuvering for a different shot, or you retreated last turn and chose not to continue accelerating, in which case you're basically in a controlled drift away from the engagement and can turn back to face anyone who is still trying to Close with you and prevent you from escaping.

If you don't significantly accelerate away from the engagement by using enough acceleration to qualify for the acceleration bonus, then you're really in a controlled drift. Retreat is a hard burn to break contact; just changing your position by 50 miles - when your opponent can can trivially copy your maneuver and match your new velocity - is not sufficient.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
FAILED CLOSING MANEUVER?

What is your ship doing if you fail an attempt at closing (bottom of p. 55)? I think this is just a naming issue: at first I thought that the answer was “just flying around without a particular status.”
You're Neutral to everyone. See SS1 p 57. "Use this column to calculate range if your vessel failed to succeed with a Closing Maneuver this turn."

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I’M GOING SO FAST I HAVE TO TAKE EVASIVE ACTION

Since your acceleration bonus “may not exceed +3” to take a “Hold Course” maneuver (p. 56), if you really turn on those engines (above +3), it seems like the only maneuver you can choose is either Evasive Action or Closing. If there is nothing I want to close with I guess I must take evasive action? Maybe it is simulating the fact that the acceleration alone gives you the Evasive Action bonuses even if you are trying to fly in a straight line? Again, just making sure I understand how the rules work here.
You're adding velocity and changing position a lot. You're either moving into engagement (Closing) or you're moving away from it (Evasive Action). There isn't an option where you go really fast in place.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
CLOSING ON NOTHING

Under the Ambush rules on p. 55, it states that you can use an Ambush closing strategy if your target performed “a Closing maneuver on its last turn, but only if your vessel was not yet Detected.” This can’t mean I can perform a closing maneuver on an undetected ship, can it? The rules for “Closing” don’t actually say that the target must be detected, but I still presume this text there means my target was CLOSING WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Right?
Sure, what's the problem?

By way of example: A Jovian Pathfinder is desperately taking Evasive Actions as it tries to not to get overwhelmed by a CEGA Cerebrus' vastly superior firepower. The Cerebrus pilot is taking Closing maneuvers to try to set up an advantaged attack vector in order to hit the nimble spacecraft. As the two pass a nearby asteroid, the Jovian Vindicator that was hiding behind enters the combat by choosing a Closing Ambush maneuver. The Cerebrus is at -6 on the Quick Contest because the Vindicator was undetected; the Vindicator succeeds by 11 and chooses to achieve a collision course so it can deploy a plasma lance.

Does that make sense? The Vindicator could choose a Closing Ambush maneuver because the Cerebrus was Closing in on the Pathfinder.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
But... The Maneuver Modifiers list says -6 if “in a quick contest of skill with a target that you have not detected.” I think you can only *be* in a quick contest if you are attempting a closing maneuver, so I guess it is OK to close on nothing? Really not sure about this one.
If someone else ambushes you, you're probably at -6 on the quick contest of skill, because you haven't detected them. If you're trying to close with another vessel, you've obviously detected them.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
CRITICAL HITS DON’T AFFECT POINT DEFENSE?

From vanilla GURPS combat I’m used to critical hits doing something on an attack roll: “In all cases, the target gets no active defense against the attack.” says p. B556. But in spaceship combat under “Successful Attacks” in the “Ballistic Attack Roll” section on p. SS60 it says, “Critical success means the target cannot dodge.” I don't see other effects. Earlier in the “Beam” section it said “as usual, critical success means the target cannot dodge.” I’m confused by this, and the *as usual*: wouldn’t the usual behavior be no active defense at all?
Point Defense is actually a Wait maneuver performed by the target vessel, not a defense.

Critical hits sometimes get benefits that aren't really benefits. In melee combat, if you attack someone while you're invisible, they can't defend against your attack. If you critically hit them, they still can't defend against your attack. It's the same situation as getting a critical hit in spaceship combat against a space station.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

<sigh>I have to confess that even though I was a playtester for Spaceships I can help you with few of your questions. I was never actually able to set up a combat that fit the abstract "dogfight" the Basic rules seem to envision. Everything seemed to end up either as a Fast Pass situation or one where maneuvering made no difference.

You might also want to look at how hard it is for a ship to go undetected before you worry too much about what happens after that. ambushes are another thing I never manged to set up. Detecting ships was too easy for ambushes to happen.

Your last question though is simple and clear. Point Defense is not an Active Defense. Point Defense is an Attack action taken by a gunner against the missiles. Frequently in a Wait situation. Dodge is usually the only Active Defense a ship can take.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

Thanks for your fast replies! So fast! And so helpful.

IS THERE “NON-BONUS” ACCELERATION THAT MATTERS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
If you don't provide enough acceleration for long enough, your position doesn't change enough to matter.
I get that part, but I'm saying that in the book there are some passages that ask you to consider to whether your ship is "accelerating" or not. Then there are other passages that ask you to check whether it has earned an "acceleration bonus" or not. The latter (the bonus) I understand. But what are the former -- those "plain" acceleration passages -- doing? Are they trying to convey that non-significant (or what I called "non-bonus") acceleration counts for something?

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
There are two conditions that let you choose the Retreat maneuver: you accelerate out of an an Evasive maneuver,
Yay! This helps so much -- I missed the "accelerate out of" (acceleration bonus required) part. So it seems to me that maybe there is no "non-bonus" acceleration to consider? That use of the word "bonus" is what confused me.

FAILED CLOSING MANEUVER?

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
You're Neutral to everyone. See SS1 p 57. "Use this column to calculate range if your vessel failed to succeed with a Closing Maneuver this turn."
Ah, great. I obviously missed that. So the follow-up question would then be... when the rules ask you if a ship "performed Hold Course or a Closing maneuver on its last turn," (p. SS55) does that really mean "performed" and "Closing" or does it also mean to include "tried but failed to perform Closing" and therefore "neutral."

Since it has "Hold Course" in there I'd say it wants "neutral" too.

I’M GOING SO FAST I HAVE TO TAKE EVASIVE ACTION

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
You're adding velocity and changing position a lot. You're either moving into engagement (Closing) or you're moving away from it (Evasive Action). There isn't an option where you go really fast in place.
OK that's what I was thinking. I guess I was hung up on the names. When I imagine telling the PCs with their superfast ship which is accelerating a lot "you can either evade or close" it seems like too few options -- but I understand the need to remove options to make things simpler.

CLOSING ON NOTHING

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
Sure, what's the problem?
Just so I'm clear about the problem: This looks to me like it could be read to mean that you can close on nothing (an undetected ship). It could also be read to mean that the other ship is closing on a third party. So if closing on nothing makes no sense -- which sounds right -- I will put that reading out of my mind.

CRITICAL HITS DON’T AFFECT POINT DEFENSE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
Point Defense is actually a Wait maneuver performed by the target vessel, not a defense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Point Defense is not an Active Defense
OK. Looks like we can call that case closed. This ineffectiveness of criticals vs. point defense seems too bad, but I said I didn't need any commentary on the rules so I won't go there. The *as usual* threw me.

Really appreciate the help.

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
<sigh>
The posts on here about the Spaceships basic combat rules are so filled with wistfulness and disdain. I hope I am not learning this for nothing.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
I get that part, but I'm saying that in the book there are some passages that ask you to consider to whether your ship is "accelerating" or not. Then there are other passages that ask you to check whether it has earned an "acceleration bonus" or not. The latter (the bonus) I understand. But what are the former -- those "plain" acceleration passages -- doing? Are they trying to convey that non-significant (or what I called "non-bonus") acceleration counts for something?
Aside from being in a Fast Pass, the only maneuvers that don't specify that you must accelerate enough to get the acceleration bonus are the two Drift maneuvers, and Hold Course. Drifting is obviously not accelerating. Hold Course is ambiguous with "you must accelerate, but may not exceed a +3 acceleration bonus." I think the intent was for Hold Course to require an acceleration bonus, but I think it's also fine to say that you can Hold Course without accelerating enough for an acceleration bonus, though you have to be capable of maneuvering. If your ship's engines aren't working for some reason, you can't Hold Course, you must perform a Drift (Controlled if you still have a a Control Room and gyros/local thrusters, Uncontrolled otherwise).

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
So the follow-up question would then be... when the rules ask you if a ship "performed Hold Course or a Closing maneuver on its last turn," (p. SS55) does that really mean "performed" and "Closing" or does it also mean to include "tried but failed to perform Closing" and therefore "neutral."
I'd generally treat "performed" as "attempted" or perhaps "chose". Back to my example: the Cerebrus has been choosing Closing Maneuvers to set up an attack vector on the Pathfinder. The Pathfinder has more delta-V and reaction mass, and has been winning the contest, but the Cerebrus has still been performing the Closing maneuver.

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I’M GOING SO FAST I HAVE TO TAKE EVASIVE ACTION

OK that's what I was thinking. I guess I was hung up on the names. When I imagine telling the PCs with their superfast ship which is accelerating a lot "you can either evade or close" it seems like too few options -- but I understand the need to remove options to make things simpler.
In 3-D space, if your ship is moving relative to my ship, you're either approaching my ship or you're moving away from my ship. Because the third option, that you're stationary with respect to my ship, means that you're not moving relative to my ship.

I guess I'm just confused by your confusion. What third option should there be?

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
CLOSING ON NOTHING

Just so I'm clear about the problem: This looks to me like it could be read to mean that you can close on nothing (an undetected ship). It could also be read to mean that the other ship is closing on a third party.
You can't close on nothing, but you can close on a third party.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
The posts on here about the Spaceships basic combat rules are so filled with wistfulness and disdain. I hope I am not learning this for nothing.
FredBrackin has more issues with them than I do. I wrote up a fairly extensive series of sample combats on my blog (http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com...bel/Spaceships) and mostly liked it. I have some specific issues in the way that GURPS Spaceships isn't a good model for Jovian Chronicles, the particular game/setting I was trying to model, but a large part of my problem was that GURPS doesn't give large vehicles enough HP.

I really should rescale HP and go back to those combats sometime.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

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The posts on here about the Spaceships basic combat rules are so filled with wistfulness and disdain. I hope I am not learning this for nothing.
My issues are more with realistic space movement and attempts to match that up with adventure-worthy space combat. They don't go together IMHO.
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Old 07-25-2018, 08:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

I’M GOING SO FAST I HAVE TO TAKE EVASIVE ACTION

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
I guess I'm just confused by your confusion. What third option should there be?
I understand the gameplay aspect of "going fast, so you're harder to hit." I just mean that since I have PCs with a very fast ship they are going to want to have it go very fast all the time. (I know them.) Offering them "evasive action" or "closing" just seemed like too few options when I was reading these rules so I thought I was misunderstanding the rules. In GURPS basic combat using only the most abstracted rules, players get to say other things about where and how they move, even without a map. It's not a big deal, I just wanted to be sure I understood these rules.

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In 3-D space, if your ship is moving relative to my ship, you're either approaching my ship or you're moving away from my ship.
I'm not trying to be snide or arch or sarcastic -- I'm not seeing what you mean when you say you're not seeing what I mean! I think it is that you know these rules and so the conventions in them seem normal. I am reading them for the first time so I am not used to some of the decisions that were made to simplify things.

All I was thinking is: If I am moving and in a room with a chair, I have other options besides moving away from it or toward it. And: If I am moving away from it I have other options besides jinking from left to right eratically as though to dodge incoming lasers. In 3-D space the same is true but I have even more directions to move.

In my imagination if my ship has fantastic engines and no fuel requirements (like TL11^ reactionless engines), I can spend some of that thrust to turn or turn continuously. So I could, say, circle around something at a constant distance. The SS rules mention that my combat area can have "cover" so I thought that maybe I could do something with that. I don't know specifically *why* I would want to do these things in a particular combat situation with these rules because I am just learning these rules for the first time. I am also used to giving the players more options.

But I understand the need to simplify. Just trying to grasp the decisions that were made here.

Thanks again for your help on this thread.
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Old 07-25-2018, 08:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

As I was working out some test combats I drew a flowchart for Pilot Move. To me, this was the hardest part to grok and remember. Here is the flowchart:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y_3...ew?usp=sharing

Now I see from Fred Brackin that maneuvers may not be that important! But maybe this will help someone else in my position. Let me know if you notice any errors!
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Old 07-25-2018, 10:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
I’M GOING SO FAST I HAVE TO TAKE EVASIVE ACTION

All I was thinking is: If I am moving and in a room with a chair, I have other options besides moving away from it or toward it. And: If I am moving away from it I have other options besides jinking from left to right eratically as though to dodge incoming lasers. In 3-D space the same is true but I have even more directions to move.
Okay, let's try a mental model that is fairly inaccurate but closer to what might be happening in Spaceships: two jet aircraft high over an ocean. They're flying due north on parallel courses at 600 mph, with 10 miles separation, and are basically nose to nose with each other on the east-west axis. One of them then kicks in the afterburners, accelerating to 1500 mph. It has a couple of options here:
1. Turn to west west, moving horizontally towards the other aircraft.
2. stay on course, moving horizontally away from the other aircraft.
3. Turn to the east, moving horizontally away from the other aircraft.
4. Perform a loop or similar maneuver, using some of that extra change in position (ie, speed) to change it's vertical position without changing its horizontal position relative to the other aircraft.

Option 1 is a closing maneuver. Option 2 is effectively an evasive maneuver (making it harder to hit). Option 3 is effectively an evasive maneuver (making it harder to hit). Option 4 is obviously an evasive maneuver (it's doing aerobatics).

If the aircraft didn't want to be forced to take either an evasive maneuver or closing maneuver, it shouldn't have accelerated up to 1500 mph. If it had only accelerated to 700 mph, it could have Held Course and stayed roughly in the same relative position to the other aircraft.

Movement in Spaceships is abstract and relative to the other vehicles in the combat. Relative to some fixed object (say the Sun), all the ships involved in a combat could be moving really fast, say 1000 mps, but as long as they're not moving that fast relative to each other it doesn't matter.

Spaceships aren't "fast", they're "quick accelerators." This is important, because any spacecraft can get to any relative velocity to a distant fixed object, given enough time and reaction mass. In a combat between a solar sailor that accelerates at 0.0001gs and got to 1000 mps velocity relative to to the sun over a couple of weeks, and a super reactionless drive starcraft that accelerates at 100gs and got to 1000 mps velocity relative to the Sun over a couple of minutes, they're both moving at 1000 mps velocity relative to the Sun. And relative to each other, they're both moving at about 0 mps. If the starcraft decides to turn on that super reactionless drive to max ouput, it's going to change its velocity relative to the solar sailor somehow: either closing quickly, opening the distance quickly, or making astrobatic maneuvers to keep the same relative distance.

So if your super TL11^ spaceship wants to stay in the vicinity of an asteroid to use it as cover - well, remember, the asteroid is moving pretty fast relative to the sun already. But the important velocity is your ship's velocity relative to the asteroid. If you want to stay near the asteroid, you don't use all that awesome acceleration by performing a Controlled Drift or Hold Course maneuver. And if you decide to use all that awesome acceleration, then you need to go somewhere: closer to it or away from it or in a loop, and two of those options are evasive.
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Old 07-25-2018, 10:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

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Originally Posted by weevis View Post
As I was working out some test combats I drew a flowchart for Pilot Move. To me, this was the hardest part to grok and remember. Here is the flowchart:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y_3...ew?usp=sharing

Now I see from Fred Brackin that maneuvers may not be that important! But maybe this will help someone else in my position. Let me know if you notice any errors!
Okay, I would probably re-order the options slightly, because it took me a couple of tries to figure out your chart. From the top, I would do: Uncontrolled Drift, Controlled Drift, Hold Course, Retreat, Evasive Action, Closing. And then I would swap the order of conditions for Evasive/Closing and Retreat. Then the +s would still descend from left to right, but there wouldn't be that gap between Evasive and Closing.

Maneuvers don't matter as much as they could because:
1) Missiles are much too powerful.
2) Beam weapon damage is too high relative to the HP of large ships.
3) point defense is all or nothing

Based on my sample combats, Spaceship combats is an exchange of beam weapons until a ship loses point defense, and then a barrage of missiles destroys it. In theory, you can overwhelm a ship's PD with missiles, but that's a strict design and force structure question: does your fleet have more missile launchers than your target has PD shots? If you do, your target dies, and if not, you wasted all your missiles.

But the first two sample combats I did were between small spaceships (SM+5 to SM+6), primarily armed with beam weapons, with enough PD that PD couldn't be overwhelmed until the spaceship was damaged. At that point, maneuvering mattered a lot to get good range for their beam weapons.

But well-designed Spaceships are missile and PD batteries, and a fleet engagement involves single ships blowing up on each side until one fleet lacks enough launchers to blow up a ship on the other side, at which point that fleet is destroyed. Which is possibly realistic but not particularly fun.
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