Changes to Electronic Warfare

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Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby tmul4050 on Tue 26 Feb 2013 06:22

Hey all
This is an idea that I have been thinking about, so I thought I would see if people like it.
Electronic warfare in starfire is a very simple system as far as I can see. There are 3 different systems (ecm1 to ecm3) each of whch has a fairly specific function.
I think that these systems should be amalgamated into a single system instalation called electronic Warfare system (or Ew# on the ship sheet). The number of the system is the TL of the system.

The system works like this.
When two opposing vessels (or data groups) engage find the difference in the TL (take highest from lowest) and use this as a modifier to oppose attack rolls. This modifier can only result in a penalty (max range of modifier is 0 to -3). This applies to all attacks and to point defence fire by the inferior unit.

Multiple instalations can increase the Ew effect cancelling or increasing TL advantage by one per extra instalation. This is still subject to the above max modifier rule. In a battle group use the total number of Ew instalations to determine this. (use number of instalations minus one).

If a unit has no Ew instalations, then it automatically gains a minus 3 to fire and to it's point defence.

example one - a TL 3 cruiser fires at a TL 4 cruiser. Both have Ew instalations. Due to its inferior TL the TL 3 vessel suffers a minus 1 to its fire and its point defence.

example Two - A battle group of three battleships with one Ew instalation, all TL10 are being fired upon by a battlestaion (TL 7). The Battle station has two instalations of Ew, so its penalty is 7 (BS TL) - 10 (BB TL) + 1(extra Ew instalation on BS) = -2 penalty to the battle station's fire and point defence.

Example three - A battle group of six Dreadnoughts, with a total of 6 Ew instalations and a TL of 15 is attacking a superdreadnought in a six vessel battlegroup with eight Ew instalations ans a TL of 12.
12 (SD TL) - 15( DN TL) + 7 (extra SD instalations) - 5 (extra DN instalations) = -1 (SD penalty to its fire and point defence).

Example four - Two TL 8 Battlecuisers engage. unit 1 has two EW instaltions and unit 2 has one.
8 (unit 1) - 8 (unit 2) + 1 (unit 1's extra instalation) - 0 (unit 2 with no extra instalation) = -1 (unit 2's penalty to fire and point defence.

An electronic warfare instalation is availaible at TL ind2 and onward. It is 2HS in size. Each new tech level must be researched as a normal tech system. Cloak and deception (and other stuff) would be tech branches that require breakthroughs to attain, Once attained it would be automatically be installed on all ships.

I haven't given the instalation a cost (nor have I costed the upgrades for TL increase or cloak addition) as I am not certain what cost it should be.

Whew! ;)
Well what do you think?
My basic ideas were
- Tech level should influence effect
- Instalation size should influence effect
- max penalty should be -3 (as per Ecm1)
- point defence should be effected
- I like the idea of electronic warfare ships in a battle group
- As the max effect is -3, like Ecm1, and like TLs cancel out it shouldn't effect canon history much at all. Just some ship modification and thats being done before.
- Its a smaller change than the point defence rules when they were changed.
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby Crucis on Tue 26 Feb 2013 07:00

Tmul, this is not too dissimilar from an idea that I've had before, though you have combined ECM and ECCM into a single system (interesting thought). The idea of comparing the TL (or generation number) of the ECM (or EW) systems to determine the ECM to-hit penalty is one I've had before, though merging ECM and ECCM is new to me...

This ECM penalty really shouldn't apply to one's point defense rolls, since the missiles the enemy fires aren't protected by the firing ship's EW systems.

I'm not sure that having an EW system every single TL is a good idea. I suppose in theory one could argue that EW would be constantly changing, but I think that that could be argued about almost every bit of technology in the game to one degree or other. And I'm not so sure that starting EW at IND2 is a good idea either. For one thing, the ships are so small at that point that 2 hs for EW is enormous. Generally speaking, I'm thinking that this would be better if the EW system got a generational upgrade every 2nd or 3rd TL, rather than every TL (though you would still have to develop each generation...)

As for mounting multiple EW systems on the same unit, I'm wary of allowing it for the reason that I'm afraid that we'd see space stations and Asteroid forts mounting lots of them and making themselves extremely difficult to hit by mobile units. The alternative to this that I've considered is that idea of having a standard size basic unit and a a "capital" sized unit that would be considerably more capable. (Obviously, the capital-sized unit would be rather larger than the standard sized unit, but alto rather more capable.)

I don't want to go into much more detail in my reply because it's been a while since I've thought about ECM systems and I don't really remember much more off the top of my head. I will say this though ... it's more than likely that I'm going to change ECM-3 considerably, perhaps splitting off cloaking ECM and deception mode ECM into separate systems, or keeping cloak and deception in the same system, but leaving ECM and ECCM for other systems. I also intend on making the cloaking rules considerably simpler. A problem I have with the ECM3 installation is that its so large that it makes mounting it terribly costly in terms of HS for smaller units. Those smaller units probably aren't worried about a swiss army knife of ECM. They'd be happy just being able to cloak themselves (which argues in favor of splitting cloak and deception ECM into separate units).

Another cloaking thought that's just occurred to me is that given that cloaking is strongly related to the DF, perhaps the size of a cloaking unit could be scaled to the size of the mounting ship's engines, i.e. have it equal the size of a single engine room. (Of course, this could be a problem for non-mobile units, but I suppose that they could just compare their size to a comparably sized starship, and use matching engine room size.) Or alternatively, Cloaking ECM could just be size to something like 1 HS per 30 hs (FRU), or something similar. This would make calculating the size for bases a lot simpler.

Anyways, that's all I have for now. Thanks, tmul, for posting your thoughts on the matter. The idea of merging ECM and ECCM into a single EW installation is an interesting one that's worthy of consideration.
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby PracticalM on Tue 26 Feb 2013 18:22

I like the core of the idea, but I really would hate all the calculation that would have to be done each time you change targets.

If you wanted to make it complicated I would rather have a single system that did both ECM and ECCM but you had to allocate points to either and the system generation would determine how many point you could allocate as well as a maximum for each category.*
Unfortunately, I would find this too complicated too.

Example
First generation ECM would allow you to allocate 1 point. Your ship could either have a -1 to hit or negate a -1 to hit a single enemy ship.

Besides being annoying to have to allocate each datagroup each turn, it hurts the Pt system's ability to negate the first point of ECM because instead of the ? system being wasted, ships facing Pt can just turn the system to another use.
This could be resolved with the first generation system having 1 point to allocate but only able to allocate it to ECM.
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby Crucis on Tue 26 Feb 2013 21:09

PracticalM wrote:I like the core of the idea, but I really would hate all the calculation that would have to be done each time you change targets.


Jeff, aside from the fact that tmul's idea is TL based rather than generational (every 2rd, 3rd, or whatever TL), I don't see how it's all that different from how ECM and ECCM (i.e. '?d') function in Ultra. (Of course, it's possible that you may not be fond of that either...)

I do think that having EW (or ECM and ECCM) improve every single TL does make it more likely that one navy might have much more of a mix of versions of EW than if the system's generations were separated by 2 or more TL's, during which time, one might think that fleets would have had the time and inclination to upgrade their EW units (and simplify the calculations you mention).


On a larger point, of course, one could really simplify ECM by just sticking with ECM as it exists in 3E and not allow for any generational improvements, but that seems a bit unrealistic, since one would think that there'd be a constant push for improving ECM systems. That said, keeping the generations far enough apart (2-4 TL's?) probably simplifies things to a sufficient degree.




If you wanted to make it complicated I would rather have a single system that did both ECM and ECCM but you had to allocate points to either and the system generation would determine how many point you could allocate as well as a maximum for each category.*
Unfortunately, I would find this too complicated too.


No, to be honest, I wouldn't want to be "allocating" ECM or ECCM points as it would be too complicated to keep track of which ships allocated points in which way in any moderately sizable fleet.
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby tmul4050 on Wed 27 Feb 2013 02:22

This ECM penalty really shouldn't apply to one's point defense rolls, since the missiles the enemy fires aren't protected by the firing ship's EW systems.

Actually it can be argued that a ships electronic warfare can influence a missles targeting solution. OTOH communication is a lightspeed which would mean missles would have to be independent. (I've really got to stop shooting down my own ideas). Still point defense weapons (whether laser clusters, counter missles, decoys or autocannon) still could be affected by offensive EW.

I
'm not sure that having an EW system every single TL is a good idea. I suppose in theory one could argue that EW would be constantly changing, but I think that that could be argued about almost every bit of technology in the game to one degree or other. And I'm not so sure that starting EW at IND2 is a good idea either. For one thing, the ships are so small at that point that 2 hs for EW is enormous. Generally speaking, I'm thinking that this would be better if the EW system got a generational upgrade every 2nd or 3rd TL, rather than every TL (though you would still have to develop each generation...)


We have Ew today (assuming we are ind2). Whilst it would not compare in quality, quantity is a quality to itself. I would also think that since you have tech levels they would relect a growing EW capacity. Still I see your point Which leads to...

As for mounting multiple EW systems on the same unit, I'm wary of allowing it for the reason that I'm afraid that we'd see space stations and Asteroid forts mounting lots of them and making themselves extremely difficult to hit by mobile units. The alternative to this that I've considered is that idea of having a standard size basic unit and a a "capital" sized unit that would be considerably more capable. (Obviously, the capital-sized unit would be rather larger than the standard sized unit, but alto rather more capable.)


Having a larger system would give greater capability, more power and so on, and it gives lower TLs a chance to compete. Increasing the size of the system could reduce the number on units (say size 3 or 4), but I like the idea of a capital system. As for space stations and asteroid forts maxing out in this system well these are supposed to be hard targets and the penalty is only -3 at most which is the same as if it bought one (ONE :o ) ecm1 in the system we use now. So if the builders of an asteroid base decided to place 20 EW systems, more power to them. Bases should be harder electronic targets I feel, as they should have access to more power and redundancy. It makes up for the fact they are stationary. :)

I like the core of the idea, but I really would hate all the calculation that would have to be done each time you change targets.

Well that can be sped up by recording beside each unit the number of EW systems on board, for example Killumfast class crusier, EW 2. As each unit is standardised (if not you have a whole other problem :D ) adding them up for each battle group shouldn't be much of a chore. I didn't think the maths was that complicated. The idea of ecm/eccm points gives me starfleet battles flashbacks :?

Anyway thats all for now
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby Crucis on Wed 27 Feb 2013 02:45

tmul4050 wrote:
This ECM penalty really shouldn't apply to one's point defense rolls, since the missiles the enemy fires aren't protected by the firing ship's EW systems.

Actually it can be argued that a ships electronic warfare can influence a missles targeting solution. OTOH communication is a lightspeed which would mean missles would have to be independent. (I've really got to stop shooting down my own ideas). Still point defense weapons (whether laser clusters, counter missles, decoys or autocannon) still could be affected by offensive EW.


The "EW" that does affect point defense is what's referred to as "penaids" (penetration aids) on Capital Missiles, as represented by the -1 to PD rolls.


I'm not sure that having an EW system every single TL is a good idea. I suppose in theory one could argue that EW would be constantly changing, but I think that that could be argued about almost every bit of technology in the game to one degree or other. And I'm not so sure that starting EW at IND2 is a good idea either. For one thing, the ships are so small at that point that 2 hs for EW is enormous. Generally speaking, I'm thinking that this would be better if the EW system got a generational upgrade every 2nd or 3rd TL, rather than every TL (though you would still have to develop each generation...)


We have Ew today (assuming we are ind2). Whilst it would not compare in quality, quantity is a quality to itself. I would also think that since you have tech levels they would reflect a growing EW capacity. Still I see your point Which leads to...



Perhaps, but I just don't think that EW should be a part of the lower TL's. Canonically, ECM shows up at TL7, though I could see reducing that to TL4.


As for mounting multiple EW systems on the same unit, I'm wary of allowing it for the reason that I'm afraid that we'd see space stations and Asteroid forts mounting lots of them and making themselves extremely difficult to hit by mobile units. The alternative to this that I've considered is that idea of having a standard size basic unit and a a "capital" sized unit that would be considerably more capable. (Obviously, the capital-sized unit would be rather larger than the standard sized unit, but also rather more capable.)


Having a larger system would give greater capability, more power and so on, and it gives lower TLs a chance to compete. Increasing the size of the system could reduce the number on units (say size 3 or 4), but I like the idea of a capital system. As for space stations and asteroid forts maxing out in this system well these are supposed to be hard targets and the penalty is only -3 at most which is the same as if it bought one (ONE :o ) ecm1 in the system we use now. So if the builders of an asteroid base decided to place 20 EW systems, more power to them. Bases should be harder electronic targets I feel, as they should have access to more power and redundancy. It makes up for the fact they are stationary. :)



A lower TL capital ECM unit might end up being functionally comparable to a higher TL standard ECM unit. (Ditto for ECCM units.)

Also, I'm not going to assume a max penalty of -3. Oh, I doubt that when you had to navies of fairly similar TL's that you'd see such a large penalty, at least for ECM and ECCM units of the same size and power. On the rare occasion that you have a fairly large gap in TL's, you might ... might see a large-ish penalty, but shouldn't that really be that case? Shouldn't the IND2 or TL1 ships have a wretched time locking onto those nasty starships with their nasty TL7 capital ECM? :twisted:

Also, I'm still not keen on allowing multiple installations of ECM or ECCM to be functioning in parallel. Oh, it might be one thing for a space-station or AF to mount redundant units, in case one gets damaged in combat. But I'd rather avoid making things any more complex than they already are.


I'll probably write some more on this topic later today, but that's all I have for now...
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby tmul4050 on Wed 27 Feb 2013 06:14

Crucis said
Also, I'm not going to assume a max penalty of -3. Oh, I doubt that when you had to navies of fairly similar TL's that you'd see such a large penalty, at least for ECM and ECCM units of the same size and power. On the rare occasion that you have a fairly large gap in TL's, you might ... might see a large-ish penalty, but shouldn't that really be that case? Shouldn't the IND2 or TL1 ships have a wretched time locking onto those nasty starships with their nasty TL7 capital ECM? :twisted:

Hmmm.
Brings to mind Babylon 5 where the Mimbari ships had such effective ecm that the earth alliance couldn't lock on with any weapons. In fact the only kill the earth alliance made was with mines.
What would be the penalty you had in mind. -3 is pretty heavy; more would be a reason for surrender. Then again a high tech opponent should generally slaughter low tech opponents.
I had another idea. Why not combine Ew with sensors and scanners. After all they are linked.
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby PracticalM on Wed 27 Feb 2013 14:42

Crucis wrote:
PracticalM wrote:I like the core of the idea, but I really would hate all the calculation that would have to be done each time you change targets.


Jeff, aside from the fact that tmul's idea is TL based rather than generational (every 2rd, 3rd, or whatever TL), I don't see how it's all that different from how ECM and ECCM (i.e. '?d') function in Ultra. (Of course, it's possible that you may not be fond of that either...)


Not quite. With the SOLAR version, you check the ship you are firing at or check the datagroup for that ship and find the right ?d sytem and you get the penalty from that system, and then look up a table to get the modification to the penalty (in some cases)

With the OP system, you check how many currently active EW systems in the defending group and compare to the currently active EW systems in the attacking group. (unless you are getting rid of the multiple EW installations factor).

The SOLAR case changes only when the Z, ? or ?d systems are destroyed on the firing group or target and changes in a known way (removing the penalty or lack of penalty) and the system code gives you a hint a, b, c. The OP method has a varied penalty value.
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby Dawn Falcon on Wed 27 Feb 2013 17:44

Crucis wrote:Those smaller units probably aren't worried about a swiss army knife of ECM. They'd be happy just being able to cloak themselves (which argues in favor of splitting cloak and deception ECM into separate units).


Well, this is a swiss-army knife issue. Do you want one install, which can do both, but is say 4HS, or do you want just the cloak (3HS) or the deception (2HS)? You might be able to have one very capable unit, but which can only do one thing at once... (I seem to remember the Gorm had something about this!)

I'm not sure about a direct TL modifier, it seems rather powerful, and rather over-emphasises TL. Also, while I'd limit ECCM to being used on one target (or datagroup), in some cases you might want to split your fire. So being able to mount 2 ECCM units to target different...
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Re: Changes to Electronic Warfare

Postby Crucis on Wed 27 Feb 2013 19:12

Dawn Falcon wrote:
Crucis wrote:Those smaller units probably aren't worried about a swiss army knife of ECM. They'd be happy just being able to cloak themselves (which argues in favor of splitting cloak and deception ECM into separate units).


Well, this is a swiss-army knife issue. Do you want one install, which can do both, but is say 4HS, or do you want just the cloak (3HS) or the deception (2HS)? You might be able to have one very capable unit, but which can only do one thing at once... (I seem to remember the Gorm had something about this!)


Deception ECM has always seemed to me to be a "cheap parlor trick" compared to Cloaking ECM. Also, it's only really useful in the hands of a player who has enough of a devious mind to use this sort of deception effectively. OTOH, cloaking doesn't exactly require a particularly devious mind to use, though it doesn't hurt.

Furthermore, while deception may be a useful tool in the toolbox of the right type of player, smaller ships often simply don't have the space to spare for this tool, and seem likely to opt for Cloaking ECM only.



I'm not sure about a direct TL modifier, it seems rather powerful, and rather over-emphasises TL. Also, while I'd limit ECCM to being used on one target (or datagroup), in some cases you might want to split your fire. So being able to mount 2 ECCM units to target different...


In reverse, thanks for pointing out a very legit reason for mounting multiple ECCM units.

As for a direct TL modifier, I agree. I prefer the idea of ECM (and ECCM) only improving every 2-4 TL's, and probably staggered, i.e. 2nd gen ECM might come out at TL6 while 2nd gen ECCM might not come out until TL7 or TL8.
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