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Old 01-10-2009, 06:14 PM   #41
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

If one side has ultra-long-range missiles but no fighters, then the other is given a very strong incentive to invest in fighters. A fighter group positioned near the flight path of the missiles is a very powerful defense for the carrier, and a spectacularly bad target for heavy long-ranged missiles.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:23 PM   #42
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

It doesn't matter what doodads missiles have - they still can't dodge point-defense fire on their final run. Nothing can in the default system. This makes fighters capable of living longer than missiles - especially if the fighters are given ECM units (which increase Dodge).

Why don't you think default fighters work? I see nothing in the system that makes them inherently useless. They're useful against anything below SM+11 or so, unless they're armed with 16cm missiles, in which case they can take on even larger ships.

Max range in the Spaceships system is roughly 50,000 miles - meaning you could leave your carrier 50,000 miles behind and send in your fighters significantly ahead of the carrier. If they're far enough ahead, then the carrier will be out of weapons range of the enemy ships when battle is joined. Boom, you've got your 'over the "horizon"' fighters.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:45 PM   #43
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Langy
It doesn't matter what doodads missiles have - they still can't dodge point-defense fire on their final run.
If this does not apply to the fighters as well, it can only be because they never make that attack run that the missiles attempt, and hence can never harm the target. It's actually pretty easy to arrange for a warship to survive if not harming the target is an acceptable trade. All you have to do is stay home.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:59 PM   #44
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

Malloyd: No, it's because fighters don't ram the ship they're attacking. Missiles and ramming ships get no dodge roll in the Spaceships system - but fighters can close to a few hundred to a few thousand miles and fire their relatively short-ranged weapons but still be far enough away that they can dodge if they're fired upon.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:09 PM   #45
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth
If one side has ultra-long-range missiles but no fighters, then the other is given a very strong incentive to invest in fighters. A fighter group positioned near the flight path of the missiles is a very powerful defense for the carrier, and a spectacularly bad target for heavy long-ranged missiles.
Assuming some of the missiles aren't smart enough to re-target to the intercepting fighters. Or the missile-launching ship doesn't target some of their missiles at any groups of light craft that are within interception range of the flight path of the heavy anti-capital ship missiles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Langy
It doesn't matter what doodads missiles have - they still can't dodge point-defense fire on their final run. Nothing can in the default system. This makes fighters capable of living longer than missiles - especially if the fighters are given ECM units (which increase Dodge).
Realistically, anything a fighter can do, a fighter with the cockpit replaced with a warhead can do. Neither may be able to dodge on final approach, but that doesn't mean much if the fighter can't scratch a capital ship without going kamikaze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Langy
Why don't you think default fighters work? I see nothing in the system that makes them inherently useless. They're useful against anything below SM+11 or so, unless they're armed with 16cm missiles, in which case they can take on even larger ships.
I get different figures: (TL 10) A SM+5 with a spinal mount does 6D, thats an average of 21 dDamage. Assuming Warships have at least 2 armor systems per section, this means a SM + 6 would have a dDR of 20. This is about the ratio of damage/defense that GURPS says an assault rifle v. tactical vest have. If the fighters instead have particle beams with their higher divisor, well, in the time that it takes those fighters to close to engagement distance they can be hit with missiles from the capital ship, not to mention beam weapons. The fighters can strap on more engines to be faster than the capital ship, but that reduces space for ECM and fuel. Meanwhile the capital ship can have large amounts of tertiary batteries that slice those fighters into bits.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Langy
Max range in the Spaceships system is roughly 50,000 miles - meaning you could leave your carrier 50,000 miles behind and send in your fighters significantly ahead of the carrier. If they're far enough ahead, then the carrier will be out of weapons range of the enemy ships when battle is joined. Boom, you've got your 'over the "horizon"' fighters.
The horizon should be significantly farther than 50k miles. Detection is fairly easy out to 100 ls - 1 AU for larger ships with tactical arrays (and assuming no effective stealth) and you have plenty of time to make the scans. I know
atomic rockets says that modern sensors can detect the shuttles main engines if thee shuttle was out near Pluto and a torchdrive from Alpha Centauri. If the fighters can reach the enemy ships, then missiles can also reach the enemy ships. There is no real difference between a human sitting on top on an engine and a warhead sitting on top of that engine, except that no one cares if one doesn't come back.

I mean really, first thing any warship does on entering hostile space is probably gonna be start pumping out itty bitty drones with sensors and comm relays. If it's a defending system then the sensor drones are already gonna be in place.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:13 PM   #46
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

In fact, in the Spaceships system, superheavy missiles can be conveniently countered by tasking a few tertiary missile tubes to point defense. Both dodge and PD defenses are forbidden, so one or two proximity missiles are just about certain to vaporize a fighter-sized projectile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk
Assuming some of the missiles aren't smart enough to re-target to the intercepting fighters. Or the missile-launching ship doesn't target some of their missiles at any groups of light craft that are within interception range of the flight path of the heavy anti-capital ship missiles.
Not assuming that at all. The anti-capital missiles can't win by attacking fighters...they may kill some, but the cost is too high and they're too easy to hit for it to be a good trade. If you include miniature long-range missiles tasked with protecting the big missiles from the fighters, that might work.

Game-mechanically speaking, though, reasonably-designed fighters can dodge. If you don't hit them with weapons that use ROF mechanics, kill rate will suffer. If you stretch the definition of fighter to include point defense weapons, your long-range missile is facing an unfriendly exchange rate with the fighter's short-range weapons.

Last edited by Ulzgoroth; 01-10-2009 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:22 PM   #47
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

You don't mount a beam weapon on fighters except in PD roles. Beam weapons suck against capital ships - their damage just isn't good enough.

Instead, you use a spinal mount electromagnetic cannon. A 12cm conventional warhead does 6dx3 damage. An EM cannon has a minimum relative velocity of 2 mps, meaning that conventional warhead actually does a minimum of 6dx6 damage. That's 126 damage - a hell of a lot better than that 6d particle beam gun your fighter was toting. EDIT: Oh, and the fighter can also target weak points in armor. That allows that SM+5 fighter to penetrate up to 252 dDR.



If a weapon system has a maximum effective range of 50,000 miles and the carrier is 150,000 miles away, it doesn't matter that the enemy can easily detect the carrier or not - it's far enough away that it isn't going to be engaged except by missiles, which can be neutralized by point defenses. Fighters are much less susceptible to point-defense weapons by virtue of their ability to dodge, plus those fighters you launched will be able to attack the enemy missiles as they pass. This makes fighters much more useful.

Mind you, kamakaziing drone fighters after they've expended all of their ammo is a valid tactic - it turns those drones into big honking missiles and fighters, but their much more expensive than either, and fighters you can re-use. There are arguments for and against that - personally, I think reusing the fighters is probably the more economically efficient strategy, but I haven't actually done any math to figure it out.

Last edited by Langy; 01-10-2009 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:23 PM   #48
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

However, you've made me question my assumptions. Tomorrow me and a friend are going to build TL 10 no Superscience fleets (one fighter heavy, one missile/beam) and go at it to see how a couple combats go. Let me know if there's any constraints you feel are appropriate. So far we're looking at a set amount of cash and no stealth, but also no radiators.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:41 PM   #49
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

I'm quite interested in the results of that play-test. Unfortunately, none of my games have yet delved into space, so I don't have much practical game experience with the system yet.

I'm curious which side will win - I have a feeling it will depend heavily upon the designs that you use. It's also very likely that fighters won't be too useful against big capital ships - some simply will have too much dDR for fighters to penetrate unless they use nukes. If the enemy ships are too big and they have no ships that have low enough armor for fighters to engage, then the enemy will definitely win - but if they have a few big ships, with a few smaller ships as escorts, then the fighters will be able to take on the escorts.

If you use sub-tertiary batteries, fighters might not be too useful, either - similarly, escorts won't be very useful. It'll be a race to build the biggest 'do-everything' ship. If you don't have sub-tertiary batteries, then fighters will be able to take on escorts, who would provide most of the point-defense for a fleet, and then turn on capital ships with 16cm nuke barrages. The use of sub-tertiary batteries or not is a very, very important factor determining if space fighters are useful or not in the Spaceships system. If sub-tertiaries exist, then almost any projectile weapon will be easily destroyed by big enough ships strapping on enough PD - both missiles and fighters won't have a place in space.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:56 PM   #50
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Under what tech assumptions Space Fighters make sense?

We won't be using sub-tertiary batteries, after all, the idea is to see what happens at default. But I agree, they're a big problem. Nukes will be allowed, (and are surprisingly cheap, now that I look at it).
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