The true physics of Space Battles. - Warhammer 40K Fantasy
 

Welcome to Librarium Online!

Join our community of 80,000+ members and take part in the number one resource for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K discussion!

Registering gives you full access to take part in discussions, upload pictures, contact other members and search everything!


Register Now!

User Tag List

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27
  1. #1
    Mal
    Mal is offline
    Member Mal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Hibernia (Eire/ or the Republic of Ireland if I must)
    Age
    33
    Posts
    242
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    ReputationReputation
    30 (x1)

    The true physics of Space Battles.

    The Physics of Space Battles - Space battle - Gizmodo

    Just thought this may be as interesting/facinating to other Battlefleet players as I found it. Enjoy.


  2. Remove Advertisements
    Librarium-Online.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    resident iconoclast Left of West's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    791
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    ReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputation
    159 (x3)

    Honestly, this is one of the things which is holding me back from BFG. The ships aren't designed well, the physics don't work right, the crews are sort of generally incompetent (only about a 60% chance of a well-crewed carrier getting its second wave of fighters ready to go in a timely fashion? Please...).

    It just isn't, really, a space combat game. It's like a WWI naval combat game with carriers.

    It does seem cool, but I'm having a hard time accepting it. Of course, I played Aerotech for a while, and, while it was considerably more accurate, it was also really dull. I begin to think that it's really just unfeasible to produce a space combat table-top game which is both reasonable and fun.
    Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!

  4. #3
    Mal
    Mal is offline
    Member Mal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Hibernia (Eire/ or the Republic of Ireland if I must)
    Age
    33
    Posts
    242
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    ReputationReputation
    30 (x1)

    Well we could always design one....

    I am fascinated by space combat and generally realistic space travel. I don;t think it would be too hard to do up some rules which are quick and easy, focusing more on the movement choices one makes than weapon or numerical superiority.

  5. #4
    resident iconoclast Left of West's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    791
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    ReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputation
    159 (x3)

    Yeah, we could. I've fiddled around with it.

    One thing you have to do is decide what sort of technology you've got available to you, though. The article was written about space combat as if we had pretty much exactly the technology we have right now.

    That means, as the article said, that chemical rockets, ion engines, or solar sails are pretty much the only forms of propulsion (though I'm pretty sure we've never actually tried solar sails.)

    Once you introduce, for instance, artificial gravity, you have a reasonable explanation for 'shields' and a new form of propulsion with potential effects on your maneuverability about which we would basically have to speculate. A good example is the space combat in David Weber's Honor Harrington novels, in which tactical doctrine is based almost entirely on the capabilities of their 'gravitic wedge' method of propulsion and strategic doctrine is based almost entirely around their two forms of FTL travel: hyperspace and worm-holes.

    And, of course, without FTL, you're really just talking about combat within a solar-system--the United Earth Nations vs. the Federation of Martian Colonies, or whatnot. There's just no feasible interstellar war without faster than light travel.

    Of course, no matter what technology you assume, you don't end up with anything that even resembles BFG, which is a failing of BFG, but before you set about to design an alternative, you'd really have to decide what tech you're looking to represent, and come up with a fairly thorough grasp of how that technology works--cause nothing will have a bigger effect on your mechanics and tactics than the technology you're using.
    Last edited by Left of West; December 17th, 2009 at 19:20.
    Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!

  6. #5
    Mal
    Mal is offline
    Member Mal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Hibernia (Eire/ or the Republic of Ireland if I must)
    Age
    33
    Posts
    242
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    ReputationReputation
    30 (x1)

    I loved those Honor Harrington novels.

    I'd aim for current technology plus about 5-10 years (with no massive break through) . Secret space warfare between Europe, Russia, China and the USA. An arms race to the first Luna Colony? Small ships only?

  7. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    104
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Reputation
    21 (x1)

    Seems like one of the hardest aspects of a realistic space combat to simulate would be the nature of 3D warfare with no preferred spatial orientation. Despite movies and all that, there's no particular reason to assume that any and all ships would always be oriented with their "up" directions pointed the same way, or that space capital ships would be designed like 18th century warships or modern battleships, with all their guns oriented to mostly fire along a plane. It seems like a realistic ship would need to ability to fire just as easily in pretty much any direction along its axis. We could still assume that it'd be harder to fire forward or rearward, but there's no reason an enemy might not be "up" just as likely as "starboard."

    But that would necessitate a spaceship design that would seem totally out of place to people who, more often that not, would picture Star Destroyers when thinking about space battles.

    On top of that, it seems very difficult to have any reasonable way to represent "vertical" motion on a tabletop game without a series of shelf-like levels. Perhaps a bunch of interchangeable stems the ship can be mounted on to make it higher or lower than other ships? But that also could get impractical if taken to an extreme.

    A final issue in a realistic design would be that a real space battleship would likely be much more maneuverable that we would expect, leading to things that don't seem real. After all, moving through space isn't like moving through water. A real ship would have to have maneuvering thrusters all over it to be able to slow down or turn. It may still have main rockets to the back, but a ship in space can't throttle down to slow down, or turn by using a rudder. It would have to have forward-firing thrusters to slow and stoop, and sideways-mounted thrusters (probably adjustable) to make any deviations from a straight line path. This would actually mean that a ship could do sidestep or dodge-type maneuvers, or get some lateral speed going to sweep across in odd patterns. For that matter, a better fighting ship may be one with main thrusters pointing both directions along 3 different axes, making for maximum maneuverability, with guns mounted to point in pretty much any direction (and assumably turret-mounted for maximum efficiency).

    But it's hard to imagine any kind of board or table-based game able to even remotely take some of those factors into account. Typically even movies ignore that kind of stuff.

  8. #7
    resident iconoclast Left of West's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    791
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    ReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputation
    159 (x3)

    I could see that, Mal. I suspect, though, that we won't end up with anything resembling combat in space until space elevators become practical--getting stuff into space with chemical rockets is simply too expensive to make it worth hauling up combat space craft. So, that would be my one major breakthrough--the material necessary to make a space elevator.

    Once you have a space elevator, though, it changes things pretty drastically. You can easily get lots of little combat ships up into orbit, where they don't take that much fuel to maneuver around. It still takes a lot of fuel to fly to the moon, though, since earth's gravity does keep decelerating you all the way to the Lagrange point. Current space shuttles actually don't have the fuel capacity to make it. The only ships that have made it have had very minimal crew and cargo capacity, which means that you're really looking at having large ships manufactured or assembled in orbit if you want to travel to the moon in force.

    So, I would be inclined to say that these are not clandestine efforts--everyone is going to know about your space elevator. You're going to have one or two or a handful of elevators, topped by large installations which are armored and armed mainly for point defense against missiles and the like. You'll have little ships--fighters, essentially--based on your elevator forts, running patrols and generally staying in orbit around the earth. Then, you'll have big transport ships running back and forth to the moon, accompanied by cruiser-equivalents or escort carriers carrying more of your fighters for protection.

    The problem with this scenario is lasers. Your elevator forts would basically be big, stationary targets. They could be thoroughly hardened, but, no matter how much armor you stack on, someone's always going to be able to put together a laser which will punch it, and power isn't a concern once you're in space. You have, almost literally, an infinite amount of space into which you can deploy solar collectors, and radio waves let you get your power back to a space station from virtually anywhere, if you have relays in the right places (distance isn't really an issue, but line of sight is--your radio waves won't penetrate the planet, and will be thrown off by its atmosphere).

    With lasers of virtually unlimited power and targets that can't possibly be missed, we'd have to come up with a reason for rival countries not to simply laser each other's elevator forts out of the sky, or, really, for the first country to build one not to win entirely by lasering everyone else's forts out of the sky. Getting line of sight wouldn't even be a huge issue, since you could maneuver the laser around in orbit fairly easily once it was built.

    Really, though, it's difficult to imagine countries coming to blows over the exploitation of the moon. The infrastructure and investment involved would be astronomical (no pun intended) and it's difficult to imagine anyone deciding to risk starting a war in space.

    Actually, along those lines, we also need to imagine that we've got good missile defense. We not only have to be able to shoot down guided missiles which might be aimed at our elevator forts, we'd have to shoot down the nuclear missiles that basically keep us from fighting other super powers these days. Mutually Assured Destruction can't be possible if we want these super-powers to get back to fighting each other, and that takes a damn-near perfect ballistic missile defense system. Note that damn-near-perfect ballistic-missile-defense doesn't translate into damn-near-perfect guided missile defense, but it does imply that we would have something in the way of guided missile defense. Point defense lasers and machine guns for the latter, most likely, and an array of laser-wielding satellites for the former.


    edit:

    Sirisaacnuton. You're basically right on most of those counts. The article in the OP offers a few contradictory positions, which I generally agree with, but the basic difficulties you assert are serious concerns. On to those differences in opinion, for the sake of discussion:

    Turrets (or gimbals, as the article puts it) might not be desirable. They make the armor of the ship weaker, and make the weapons more vulnerable. They're necessary on wet-navy ships, because you can't maneuver wet-navy ships with sufficient precision to aim your guns by turning your ship. You can with a space-ship, though. With a sufficiently massive gyroscope, you can pretty much spin the exterior of a spherical ship to face any direction with remarkable speed and precision. Given this, you probably wouldn't need multiple engines, except for the sake of redundancy. You could spin your one engine around to face any direction. Alternatively, you could make do with a single gun-cluster, with weapons all pointing in parallel, which you brought to bear on an enemy by spinning the ship.

    It would be a trick to manage spinning the ship for both maneuvering and fire control, but it wouldn't be out of the question, and that's what the author suggests for smaller ships like one-man fighters. He suggests multiple fixed weapon emplacements sticking out of the ship in all directions for larger ships, and suggests that they would use one larger engine, which would be aimed by gyroscope, and several smaller engines for more minor maneuvers. On this end, I tend to agree with you. Fixed weapon emplacements pointing in slightly different directions is something of a waste, unless they're all lasers. Only one or two would be pointing at an enemy at once, so the rest would be wasted (again, unless they were all lasers, in which case you could easily have a situation where the ship's capacitors and generators could only fire one or two of the weapons at once, anyway). Either way, this seems inefficient. I'm inclined to suppose that large ships would follow the same model he suggested for smaller ships--one main engine, one main weapons cluster--with probably nothing more than small point defense turrets and small maneuvering thrusters in addition to the "forward" facing main battery and the "rear" facing main thruster.
    Last edited by Left of West; December 17th, 2009 at 20:43.
    Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!

  9. #8
    Mal
    Mal is offline
    Member Mal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Hibernia (Eire/ or the Republic of Ireland if I must)
    Age
    33
    Posts
    242
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    ReputationReputation
    30 (x1)

    Left of West: Thank you for your well thought out and laid out arguments. I am a massive fan of Azmanof and Clarke as well!

    This discussion has given me a hunger for developing a "realistic" potential game. I'd like to discuss this further with you at some point. I reckon we have strayed from the Forum section heading as it is and do not wish to bring to bear the wrath of Moderators or Admins, so perhaps we can discuss it via PM or in somewhere for non GW related games?

    sirisaacnuton: Did you read the link? I can't find a smilie to convey that I am asking that in a friendly tone, not in an arrogant or annoyed one! It pretty much lays out the reality of what what current level technology would be capable of, supporting some of your statements. But we are discussing "in system" (as in star system) combat. Which has to take into account gravitational bodies and fields (unless fighting in the void/gulf sections, which would be improbable due to vastness, encounters would be unlikely)

  10. #9
    Benevolent Dictator CaptainSarathai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    inside your head
    Posts
    9,221
    Mentioned
    77 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Reputation
    ReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputationReputation
    1480 (x8)

    Such a game already exists, but it is incredibly, incredibly difficult to play without a very high level of mathematical reasoning. BFG was intended to be a 'space opera' game like Starwars and the original Battlestar Galactica. Now, with our more modern views on warfare outside of an atmosphere, we are looking for much more complex systems.

    Places to look would be to find AdAstra Games. They make 3 great games that will certainly satisfy your needs. Some of them may be temporarily or permanently OOP right now, as the company is moving office space this year. However, there are some PDF files available for some of the games which explain their mechanics far better than I can, and allow for introductory demos.
    The games are:

    Attack Vector: Tactical
    Squadron Strike
    Saganami Island Tactical Simulator (SITS)

    Basically, they use hexagonal spaces for your ships, providing 360o's of lateral motion, and an intersecting hex for 360o's of vertical pitch. From there, the ships move. To properly represent empty space (combat in orbit involves brain-frying-mechanics) you need a sphere, so the board is assumed to be a 2d plane wrapped around a 3d ball (wrap your head around that please).

    It's far easier to show you than to explain it. So here are some useful links (all the games are based on one another to some degree)

    AV:T tutorial PDF
    AV:T Delux Ship Control Cards (needed for the Tutorial)
    AV:T play-aids (paper stands and minis required for the tutorial)

    And here is SITS 2page (yes, TWO PAGES) walkthrough of a single firing solution, to show just how the 2d -> sphere conversion works.

    >HERE<

    I hope that this clears up some of what you've been pondering, and explains why I'm plenty happy to use the basic rules for BFG, or to play it on a horizontal plane with added levels of vertical movement (I can give info on that if you want, but it's not as 'technically accurate' as these programs).
    Pts Values for AoS here!

    Nippon Armybook: Isuu, Scribd, and free at Google Docs

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    104
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Reputation
    21 (x1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post

    sirisaacnuton: Did you read the link? I can't find a smilie to convey that I am asking that in a friendly tone, not in an arrogant or annoyed one! It pretty much lays out the reality of what what current level technology would be capable of, supporting some of your statements. But we are discussing "in system" (as in star system) combat. Which has to take into account gravitational bodies and fields (unless fighting in the void/gulf sections, which would be improbable due to vastness, encounters would be unlikely)

    No, I didn't read the article. I was more responding to the thread, which seemed to be more talking about the realism (or lack thereof) of BFG and similar type games. I was just tossing in my 2 cents on the topic of "The true physics of space battles." Sorry about the threadjack.

    I think I had a different idea of the concept of "current technology level." I wouldn't really consider most of the things mentioned here current technology level. We have the technology to build them in a theoretical sense, but nowhere near the capability to manufacture and put into use with even the slightest bit of practicality. We'd need some pretty big advances in materials science and manufacturing, I'd think. More practical production and application of things like carbon nanotubes or super-lightweight alloys of some type, perhaps.

    Probably would need a very advanced targetting computer too... trying to have a dogfight-style battle at orbital speeds with the issues of maneuverability unique to that environment would be almost impossible to actually hit something manually, especially with a laser weapon.

    As a side note, those games sounds incredible. I will absolutely check them out.

    But again, didn't mean to derail this by talking out my ass without reading the initial thread. I just think the general topic of realistic space battles is very cool. Just rambling about it.
    Last edited by sirisaacnuton; December 18th, 2009 at 17:16.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts