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Old 01-15-2023, 09:54 PM   #21
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
And obligatory reminder that as Agamegos says, "interesting human stories" and "combat between spacecraft in a universe like our universe" are a contradiction in terms.

Games like Attack Vector: Tactical and Children of a Dead Earth try but even then they have to move the decimal points in the direction of drama (and they are wargames, not stories about people).
Yeah, and one of the settings I'm working on is best described as 'Traveller and Transhuman Space had a baby'... and Traveller is somewhat well known for its ships.
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No, they might use DEWs. It depends on your tech assumptions (there's a threshold effect -- it takes a certain quantity of missiles to overwhelm energy weapon point defense. If that quantity is too small, beams just increase the cost of attacking. If it's large enough, you wind up with a beam-dominant paradigm and missiles fall out of use).

Incidentally, neither one produces remotely interesting combat. Space is about the most boring combat environment possible, and it's mostly complex environments that result in interesting tactics.
It's the 'onion' paradigm of sorts. While stealth is useless in space, AAMs are the first line of defense against missiles (and they tend to be around a ton for standard AAMs). If the missile barrage gets through that, it faces off against rapid-fire DEWs. If the missile barrage gets through the DEWs, it faces off against KEW CIWS. Space missiles in the settings can get through via a combination of armor, velocity (a 'light' anti-spaceship missile that I made in GVB has a velocity of around 25.5Gs and some armor), and penetration aids (decoys, jammers, and the like).
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Manned and unmanned aerial vehicles today do almost all their offense against targets that can defend themselves with guided projectiles. Even against targets that can't defend themselves such as insurgents without ground-to-air missiles, craft like the A-10 Warthog have the problem that strafing is not very precise so endangers friendlies and bystanders. I'm sure someone has tried mounting a machine gun on a drone and using it to shoot at another drone, but it does not seem as common as crashing a cheaper drone into it or dropping a ground-attack munition on it while it is hovering.

My understanding is that air-to-air combat has been dominated by guided or seeking missiles since at least the 1980s (to the extent that it happens at all). An early example was the Iraqi air force covering their invasion of Iran finding that its aircraft kept exploding with no sign of the enemy; Iranian fighters with the Shah's NATO kit were spotting and killing them with missiles before they could be detected. After a little of that, the Iraqi air force became cautious.
Good point...
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Old 01-15-2023, 11:10 PM   #22
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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Yeah, and one of the settings I'm working on is best described as 'Traveller and Transhuman Space had a baby'... and Traveller is somewhat well known for its ships.
And Traveller has magical technologies (reactionless drives, jump-drive, the black fields) and was inspired by fiction from the 1950s. I get the impression from your posts that you want your settings to be hard science fiction, but science this century says "combat between spaceships would not be an interesting focus for stories or wargames." If you want a game about space war, design the superscience to create the types of coflict you think would be fun.

Your post mentions armour. I don't think any GURPS books have addressed that real and realistic armour for spacecraft is Whipple shields not thick masses of hard dense stuff.
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Old 01-16-2023, 02:47 AM   #23
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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And Traveller has magical technologies (reactionless drives, jump-drive, the black fields) and was inspired by fiction from the 1950s. I get the impression from your posts that you want your settings to be hard science fiction, but science this century says "combat between spaceships would not be an interesting focus for stories or wargames." If you want a game about space war, design the superscience to create the types of coflict you think would be fun.
Please note that the various settings are more Traveller-style hard (i.e. works with real physics but isn't above bending things to make a good game/story), not diamond-hard which is all the rage these days. EDIT: I believe I wasn't clear with my statement. My settings aren't what are called 'diamond-hard' or 'follows RL physics practically all the way'. They're softer in general but still play nice with reality (for the most part).
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Your post mentions armour. I don't think any GURPS books have addressed that real and realistic armour for spacecraft is Whipple shields not thick masses of hard dense stuff.
Surprisingly enough, it appears that Battletech isn't wrong when it comes to armor, given that EndoSteel v0.1 (or Nanocomposite, GURPS terms) has been revealed back in 2016...

... and add to the above 'hard, but not diamond hard' statement...

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Old 01-16-2023, 03:11 AM   #24
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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Your post mentions armour. I don't think any GURPS books have addressed that real and realistic armour for spacecraft is Whipple shields not thick masses of hard dense stuff.
However, Spaceships doesn't discuss armour layout and armouring schemes at all. All it does is give armour type and it's DR and cost per system per hull size.
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Old 01-16-2023, 03:27 AM   #25
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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Your post mentions armour. I don't think any GURPS books have addressed that real and realistic armour for spacecraft is Whipple shields not thick masses of hard dense stuff.
However, Spaceships doesn't discuss armour layout and armouring schemes at all. All it does is give armour type and it's DR and cost per system per hull size.
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Old 01-16-2023, 03:31 AM   #26
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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Your post mentions armour. I don't think any GURPS books have addressed that real and realistic armour for spacecraft is Whipple shields not thick masses of hard dense stuff.
Depends extensively on what you're shielding against; plenty of plausible attack options have damage profiles significantly different from micrometeoroids.
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Old 01-16-2023, 09:05 AM   #27
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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Depends extensively on what you're shielding against; plenty of plausible attack options have damage profiles significantly different from micrometeoroids.
Yes, the link mentioned that Whipple plating was designed to handle velocities up to 18 km/s and sizes up tp 1 cm. Spaceships missiles start at 16 cm and even the hard science missiles can achieve relative velocities over 18 km/s with help from the launching vessel. The heavy missiles can do 32 km/s plus.

Spaced armor (of which Whipple plating is a sub-type) for one of those big missiles needs more spacing at a minimum and probably thicker/more massive outer layers.
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Old 01-16-2023, 10:55 AM   #28
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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However, Spaceships doesn't discuss armour layout and armouring schemes at all. All it does is give armour type and it's DR and cost per system per hull size.
I don't own GURPS Spaceships but people who have read it and talked to David Pulver see no sign that its basic way of thinking about armour works like armour against ultravelocity projectiles in a vacuum (where hard and massive just makes better fragmentation) rather than armour against sub/supersonic projectiles in an atmosphere. IIRC, GURPS Transhuman Space had ice armour although its been ten or fifteen years since I read that one.
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Old 01-16-2023, 11:14 AM   #29
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I IIRC, GURPS Transhuman Space had ice armour although its been ten or fifteen years since I read that one.
Spaceships 7 has ice armor too.
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Old 01-16-2023, 12:22 PM   #30
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Default Re: Making EM Guns Viable in Space Combat (3e)

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I don't own GURPS Spaceships but people who have read it and talked to David Pulver see no sign that its basic way of thinking about armour works like armour against ultravelocity projectiles in a vacuum (where hard and massive just makes better fragmentation) rather than armour against sub/supersonic projectiles in an atmosphere. IIRC, GURPS Transhuman Space had ice armour although its been ten or fifteen years since I read that one.
The point is, it doesn't discuss how the armour is laid out at all, and just lists it by type. I would assume that the in0universe designers of armoured spaceships would lay it out and use spacing, etc., as appropriate against the threats they expect to see. We don't need to worry about these details, but only about the final effect (dDR), mass, and price because that's the level of detail Sapceships works at.

By the way, the Whipple shields on the international space station are not exactly thin or light, with 100mm+ of kevlar in some places, plus several millimetres of steel and aluminium plating - and that's on top of a reasonably think inner air-tight hull.

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Spaceships 7 has ice armor too.
It's in the first book, first armour on the list.
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