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Old 08-25-2015, 09:38 PM   #21
safisher
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Which are completely irrelevant to the problem of stealth in space. At most, it gives options for reducing the reflected signature of a ship.
They aren't completely irrelevant then, are they? And that's what we understand about them right now. Imagine what we will know in the far future, you know, when we have spaceships -- in combat -- with adventurer's on board.

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We're assuming thermodynamics is true.
And smart folks were assuming all the things that were "science fiction" were impossible, until...every single time...innovations caused paradigm shifts which the average scientist has always thought was impossible. Then suddenly, those things that were impossible were possible. And everyone retroactively knew that, of course. You can cross your arms and say "but this is incontrovertible and you are a fool!" until you are blue in the face. But that doesn't make it so. What it means is that it's possible that TL^ has, and perhaps ultimately will, become TL. And that's all I have said here.
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:52 PM   #22
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by safisher View Post
Everyone now screaming that "there is no stealth in space" assumes that everything works in the far future as we now understand it. Fine. But that's probably not very realistic.
Of course we're assuming things will work the way we understand them. Do you expect us to base our assumptions off of what we don't understand? You're talking about known unknowns, and unknown unknowns, and that's certainly true... but it's equally true that nothing will happen that directly invalidates what we know to be true. For example:

Quote:
And while others are going to jump on this and rail about my poor understanding of science, remember that warp drives are now no longer strictly a superscience consideration, and recent tests in fusion power and may make reactionless powered spacecraft possible in the near term.
These are not things that violate our understanding of science, except probably the "reactionless drive" you're talking about, and I really wouldn't hold my breath on that. in fact, if you went back into the 1920s and presented these facts to people then, none of them would be surprised. All of them were already predicted, including your warp drive (the question of bending space has never been whether physics would allow it, but if it was practical... and that's still looking unlikely)

But "stealth in space" is not one of those things. But when we say "Stealth in space is impossible," of course we're slapping an unspoken asterisk of "Unless something happens that we don't know about." What if ships can float around in a lower dimension that makes them invisible to EM emissions? What if they can "translate into dark matter?" What if they can use advanced telepathy to paint their starship in "Ignore me!" telepathy-paint that makes people forget they ever saw it? If we discover something like this, then yeah, sure, stealth in space becomes possible, which is not something GURPS ignores (it's got cloaking devices right there in Spaceships). But until that's discovered:

Stealth in space is impossible*
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Old 08-25-2015, 11:13 PM   #23
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
But until that's discovered: Stealth in space is impossible*
There are so many other problems with spaceships as depicted in adventure games it never ceases to amaze me why people want to throw down the gauntlet on this one. But you did it anyway.
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Old 08-26-2015, 12:01 AM   #24
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by safisher View Post
There are so many other problems with spaceships as depicted in adventure games it never ceases to amaze me why people want to throw down the gauntlet on this one. But you did it anyway.
What really baffles me is that there's always someone who's willing to fight to the death to suggest that perhaps there's an element of truth to things like Star Trek (with its nadion beams and its psychic and surprisingly humanoid aliens), and the hill they want to die on is stealth in space.

Why does it matter? Real space combat will look nothing like what you see in "adventure games." It will feature radiators, it will not feature stealth, there won't be any gravity, they probably won't even happen on "ships" at all, and the cute bridge bunny certainly won't wear a skirt.

So? As you point out, lots of adventure games feature that sort of stuff. If we want that, we can play that. I do want that, so I do play it. But does it matter that it's not real? You know that elves aren't real either, right? Do you run into fantasy threads and argue that perhaps one of our cousin races actually managed to survive into the early dark ages and that's the origin of the "elf" myth? Does that even need to be said to justify a fantasy game featuring elves?

There are so many flavors of sci-fi that it's not even funny. I like hard sci-fi, so I spend a lot of time on places like Atomic Rockets and I read up on orbital mechanics and I watch things like Moon. I also like wild and wooly space opera: I love to play FTL or Master of Orion, and I think DS9 is the best Star Trek and I'm baffled and disappointed that Netflix managed to lose Farscape. But I don't need the first to justify the second. They're different genres and they both appeal to me, and I understand how and why they appeal.
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:25 AM   #25
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
AM Plasma Torch or Total Conversion Torch have +10 or +11 to detect respectively and the same accel as the hot reactionless, I'd pick whichever number you like the best.
I've always used +4 for a 'cold' (standard) reactionless - just enough to stop them being used whilst stealthy (and as you need power anyway, it's largely moot). For hot reactionless drives I use +6, to match a nuclear thermal rocket - I see the signature as being from waste heat, and thus nowhere near what an equivalent reaction engine would put out. One reason was that I'm running a Traveller game, and hot reactionless drives are the standard and I didn't want them so hot that a powered landing by a spaceship was a minor ecological disaster.

I think it's really very much up to the individual GM where they are set.

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
Stealth hulls, though, certainly aren't good enough.
Note that a -8 (TL-10 stealth) means you have to get about twenty times closer to the stealthed ship to detect it. If stealth needs help, I'd say it'd be by raising the threshold at which it stops working, so that low-powered thrusters and power supplies of some sort can be used without negating it.

For stealth that's really hard to spot, you need cloaking. I assume that this is intentional.
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:44 AM   #26
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by Humabout View Post
It's probably worth considering that there ain't no stealth in space. I think the best way to represent that is to always apply the In Plain Sight bonus, no matter what the ship is trying to do.
Looking over the definition of what In Plain Sight means in a Spaceships context:
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Originally Posted by SS1:44
+10 if object is in plain sight (in space, air, or
a worlds surface) rather than concealed, camouflaged, hidden
among debris, or using a Cloaking Device.
I wonder if a stealth hull counts as camouflage. Dynamic camo definitely should.
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:01 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
What really baffles me is that there's always someone who's willing to fight to the death to suggest that perhaps there's an element of truth to things like Star Trek (with its nadion beams and its psychic and surprisingly humanoid aliens), and the hill they want to die on is stealth in space.
Actually, I'm not fighting to the death. I'm simply suggesting that there is some justification for being a little optimistic about there being the possibility. And the reason for that is because scientists are often wrong. Dead wrong in fact. The future is indeterminate, and using 2015 as the metric for 2315 or 3715 is more than a little conceited, it's lacking in vision.

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Why does it matter? Real space combat will look nothing like what you see in "adventure games." It will feature radiators, it will not feature stealth, there won't be any gravity, they probably won't even happen on "ships" at all, and the cute bridge bunny certainly won't wear a skirt.
There is no way to know if that is true. In fact, if Alcubierre is right, it might look very different from that. Futurists are notoriously wrong. We need only look at past predictions of the future to realize that.

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But does it matter that it's not real? You know that elves aren't real either, right? Do you run into fantasy threads and argue that perhaps one of our cousin races actually managed to survive into the early dark ages and that's the origin of the "elf" myth? Does that even need to be said to justify a fantasy game featuring elves?
Please don't be patronizing. And the reason why it matters it because all the "experts" like to run into threads like this and act like they, and only they (with their special secret knowledge) can determine exactly what the future will be.

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I like hard sci-fi, so I spend a lot of time on places like Atomic Rockets and I read up on orbital mechanics and I watch things like Moon.
I think Atomic Rockets started out with the intent of trying to explain basic rocketry and such, which I enjoyed. There's plenty of use for education. It's now mostly the abode of small brains and fatbeards reciting their high school physic instructors.

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I also like wild and wooly space opera: I love to play FTL or Master of Orion, and I think DS9 is the best Star Trek and I'm baffled and disappointed that Netflix managed to lose Farscape. But I don't need the first to justify the second.
No one needs science fiction to justify hard sci fi, but we'd be foolish -- and in fact many people are -- to not realize that art inspires science. That is fact. In addition, the greater degree of confidence in such and law, the more likelihood that it will be proven erroneous in some way, or that exceptions exist. That's the operation of normal science. Why so-called science experts can;t understand that is beyond me. Really? You can't imagine how stealth in space could work? How droll. Thank God Einstein and Newton and Hawking had more imagination than that.
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:40 AM   #28
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by safisher View Post
Actually, I'm not fighting to the death. I'm simply suggesting that there is some justification for being a little optimistic about there being the possibility. And the reason for that is because scientists are often wrong. Dead wrong in fact. The future is indeterminate, and using 2015 as the metric for 2315 or 3715 is more than a little conceited, it's lacking in vision.
Why would you be "optimistic" about stealth in space? It's possible or it's not. It's not like its presence or absence would substantially improve our future, or make it grander or more beautiful. I can see the point of being optimistic about FTL travel, or fusion power, or blue-skinned space princesses in cyclopean citadels, pining to be rescued from their six-armed, chitinous captors, but stealth in space is a wash.

I think the word betrays a bias, but the real problem here is how you're arguing. It would be like if there was a flash in the night and a house was destroyed. And someone claimed a UFO did it. When countered that this is nonsense, the person might say "Well, you don't know, it could be." I could almost see that argument, it's the sort of argument we might make for humanoid aliens: We have no evidence that they couldn't be, so they could be.

But what if we found an arsonist who confessed to putting bombs inside the building, and we found further evidence that this was done by human hands, and the UFO-fan snorted and said "Well, police have been wrong before, and confessions can be coerced. It's all a cover-up!"

Well... okay, sure, but at this point you're making claims in the face of evidence, with nothing to actually back it up. What makes your version more likely than the official story? Our evidence points very strongly towards stealth in space being impossible, and for current practical purposes, it's impossible. Thus, for a near-term sci-fi game, the statement "stealth in space is impossible" is perfectly, and based on our current understanding of physics, that won't change when we get to TL 9+, so it remains a valid statement that you can apply to any hard sci-fi setting (as hard sci-fi means "based on our current understanding of science.")

Which brings me back to the "optimistic" slip. I can see no reason to conjecture that there could be stealth in space unless you were heavily invested, emotionally, in there being stealth in space, but that seems an odd thing to invest so heavily in. Why fight this particular fight?

Do you disagree that a realistic depiction of space combat in the near future shouldn't feature stealth? Do you disagree that modern stealth technology has no real application in space combat? Do you disagree that barring a "miracle," an unknown unknown suddenly popping out, that there's no real way to change this in the future? Do you disagree we currently have no practical model for how this would happen, so it must naturally come from something we don't know, our "one miracle" of science fiction?

If you don't, then why are you arguing here? What are you trying to achieve? If you do, could you please elucidate exactly where you disagree?

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Please don't be patronizing. And the reason why it matters it because all the "experts" like to run into threads like this and act like they, and only they (with their special secret knowledge) can determine exactly what the future will be.
I think this comment speaks strongly to how you feel about the situation. You feel that people who note physics (you complained about people criticizing your incomplete understanding of science earlier) are using "special secret knowledge" to prove you wrong, and when people try to connect, you feel "patronized." If an argument is made against your position, you dismiss it, rather than address it.


Quote:
I think Atomic Rockets started out with the intent of trying to explain basic rocketry and such, which I enjoyed. There's plenty of use for education. It's now mostly the abode of small brains and fatbeards reciting their high school physic instructors.
Just to highlight.

Quote:
No one needs science fiction to justify hard sci fi, but we'd be foolish -- and in fact many people are -- to not realize that art inspires science. That is fact. In addition, the greater degree of confidence in such and law, the more likelihood that it will be proven erroneous in some way, or that exceptions exist. That's the operation of normal science. Why so-called science experts can;t understand that is beyond me. Really? You can't imagine how stealth in space could work? How droll. Thank God Einstein and Newton and Hawking had more imagination than that.
Okay. You're right. Perhaps stealth in space is possible. Show us what it would look like. Explain how it would work.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:35 AM   #29
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
I think this comment speaks strongly to how you feel about the situation. You feel that people who note physics (you complained about people criticizing your incomplete understanding of science earlier) are using "special secret knowledge" to prove you wrong, and when people try to connect, you feel "patronized." If an argument is made against your position, you dismiss it, rather than address it.
This is more of the patronizing approach. It might surprise you to note that a) I have taken a physics course, b) I have read all of the Atomic Rockets arguments, ad nauseum, c) that I clearly understand the laws, as we now understand it, which prohibit the rather simplified issue as described by "there ain't no stealth in space." My purpose on the forums here is not to debate you about the laws of physics; I couldn't care less about what you think about the subject. My purpose is simply to remind the others posting and reading here that hard physics blowhards existed in the 1890s, and were not to happy when Einstein upended their apple carts. Of course 100% stealth in space viewed from all angles at all times is TL^. But there's a lot we don't know about the universe and we are on the cusp, perhaps, of some incredible re-interpretations. This is after all, the point of scientific research. That's why TL^ exists in GURPS. But really, we can already nip away at a total prohibition of stealth with discussions of disguise, drifting without engine power, emitting in one direction away from the enemy, using heat sinks such as ice, etc. Those are "stealth tactics" even if they have very very limited utility in certain very specific circumstances. I say all of this not because I think I have a clue as to how all of this will work out in the future, but rather as someone who has studied the philosophy and history of science, e.g., Kuhn and Popper. Your insistence that I must explain my tentative assertions to satisfy your demands, is well, predictable, and comical. I'll let science do that, perhaps, in due time.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:46 AM   #30
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Heat Signature, Cloaking Device, and Stealth Hull

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Originally Posted by safisher View Post
It might surprise you to note that a) I have taken a physics course, b) I have read all of the Atomic Rockets arguments, ad nauseum, c) that I clearly understand the laws, as we now understand it, which prohibit the rather simplified issue as described by "there ain't no stealth in space."
I believe you.

Quote:
My purpose on the forums here is not to debate you about the laws of physics; I couldn't care less about what you think about the subject.
Then focus on your purpose.

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My purpose is simply to remind the others posting and reading here that hard physics blowhards existed in the 1890s, and were not to happy when Einstein upended their apple carts. Of course 100% stealth in space viewed from all angles at all times is TL^.
Then we are in agreement.

Quote:
But there's a lot we don't know about the universe and we are on the cusp, perhaps, of some incredible re-interpretations. This is after all, the point of scientific research. That's why TL^ exists in GURPS.
Quite right.

Quote:
But really, we can already nip away at a total prohibition of stealth with discussions of disguise, drifting without engine power, emitting in one direction away from the enemy, using heat sinks such as ice, etc. Those are "stealth tactics" even if they have very very limited utility in certain very specific circumstances. I say all of this not because I think I have a clue as to how all of this will work out in the future, but rather as someone who has studied the philosophy and history of science, e.g., Kuhn and Popper. Your insistence that I must explain my tentative assertions to satisfy your demands, is well, predictable, and comical.
I'm glad I amuse you. But more to the point, you're not really arguing anything at all, as far as I can tell. In fact, it's not clear to me what you're doing at all, other that tut-tutting us for saying that stealth in space is impossible without putting an asterisk of "As far as we know," hurling insults at users of Atomic Rockets, and complaining that I'm patronizing you.

You don't disagree that stealth in space is TL^, or that it's effectively impossible with current understandings of technology. You don't disagree that the various minor tactics that maybe sort of might kind of work are extremely limited and usually impractical for all the reasons someone on Atomic Rockets might cite. And when asked to clarify your position, you refuse to explain, calling such requests "comical" and note your impressive resume (to prove, I presume, why you are above such questions)?

So what are you trying to do? What are the point of your posts? If you're not arguing against our point, what point are you trying to make?
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