Z Datagroup Sizes

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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby Whitecold on Tue 25 Jul 2017 14:22

Cralis wrote:That is actually pretty straight forward: Z is a distributed network while Zc has a centralized control system. The synergistic effects of a centralized command center would have a minimal impact on the capabilities of a Z datagroup's network, as it is hobbled by the unit with the lowest capability.

Except that I'd argue that a distributed network is much more damage resistant than a centralized network, so Zc should be the decentralized one. Of course, both systems should employ some decentralization in their architecture, and not all nodes need to be treated equal, so I don't see why the least capable unit should hobble a DG any more with either Zc or Z.
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby procyon on Tue 25 Jul 2017 18:47

Ok. This is a bit off topic, and comes from a discussion with some of my older players from years back. We have never put it into the rules - but it made sense.

We were talking about Z and Zc. We discussed how they likely operated compared to real world targeting. Time On Target (TOT) fire missions has been something that the US Army has been doing since WW II. In fact the Germans considered our coordinated fire as a violation of the laws of war.

A Starfire ship should have no problem managing it. Our thought was that 'plain' Z should be easier for a ship to manage than ECM (?). All ships can manage ECM - so why not make Z an empire wide upgrade? Once you get Za, all ships have it - just like they have ECM. And like ECM - standard Z is NOT on the ship string. Why would an ES that can link with others be significantly harder to destroy than one without?

So, to our discussion - Z would just be listed after a ship description. And when you upgrade - all ships can upgrade.

So, Zc is then a dedicated fire control system. It won't fail until the systems are out of action. So we decided that Z is just running using the excess processing capacity in a ship. ANY internal damage forces the ship to use that processing capacity to manage the damage control (fire supression, bulkhead closures, power redistribution, etc) not just a specific hit to the very first system inside armor - which might not happen for a bit when using some precision targeting (deep hits, C type damage, etc).

We liked the idea, but have never implemented it. And we felt that Zc should be made more capable as it is so much higher in SL - and would now be expensive compared to the 'free' Z. And it is using dedicated HS (systems) to managing combat.

So would this make Zc a 'must have' system for warships? Probably.

I'm just not sure that would be an issue if ALL ships already have Z anyway.

Now, whether CNC should help Z/Zc...

Personally I would say no.

My thought being that if there was something in that CNC that made Zc better - why wouldn't they be including it in Zc in the first place ?
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby Cralis on Wed 26 Jul 2017 00:24

procyon wrote:We were talking about Z and Zc. We discussed how they likely operated compared to real world targeting. Time On Target (TOT) fire missions has been something that the US Army has been doing since WW II. In fact the Germans considered our coordinated fire as a violation of the laws of war.


TOT in 3D space at the speeds we are talking about are far, far more complex then conventional ground-based artillery from fixed positions on the surface of a sphere. Especially given that the targets can accelerate from 0-%c and decelerate from %c-0 in seconds, back and forth. This is something I've already said above. Performing the mathematics is many orders of magnitude more complex, and they get more complex the more targets and launching points there are involved. And that's without considering network latency.

I have no doubt that our computers today could calculate dozens of launches from three moving launchers towards a single target, all moving at a percentage of c... in a couple hours. But we are talking about 30 second turns.

A Starfire ship should have no problem managing it. Our thought was that 'plain' Z should be easier for a ship to manage than ECM (?). All ships can manage ECM - so why not make Z an empire wide upgrade? Once you get Za, all ships have it - just like they have ECM. And like ECM - standard Z is NOT on the ship string. Why would an ES that can link with others be significantly harder to destroy than one without?


You keep saying "ECM" but we don't have ECM in Solar Starfire. EM is part of the drive-field mechanics and does not involve fire control calculations.

That said, this isn't the first time I've had the discussion on whether or not Z should be an empire wide upgrade included with every ship. We had this discussion with Galactic Starfire but we kept Z as a separate system because it added another HTK.

So, to our discussion - Z would just be listed after a ship description. And when you upgrade - all ships can upgrade.


Like (AM) or (AC). I get it. Not entirely opposed to it either. I just don't want it to be a free upgrade.

So, Zc is then a dedicated fire control system.


ALL Z systems are dedicated to fire control. The question is whether it is distributed or centralized.

It won't fail until the systems are out of action. So we decided that Z is just running using the excess processing capacity in a ship. ANY internal damage forces the ship to use that processing capacity to manage the damage control (fire supression, bulkhead closures, power redistribution, etc) not just a specific hit to the very first system inside armor - which might not happen for a bit when using some precision targeting (deep hits, C type damage, etc).


There are a million ways around this, not the least of which are expert AI systems that are self-contained. Many of those systems aren't going to require much more than a smart switch, internal systems, and an expert program. So this doesn't work for me.

We liked the idea, but have never implemented it. And we felt that Zc should be made more capable as it is so much higher in SL - and would now be expensive compared to the 'free' Z. And it is using dedicated HS (systems) to managing combat.

So would this make Zc a 'must have' system for warships? Probably.


Centralized vs distributed is the primary differences between Z and Zc.

I'm just not sure that would be an issue if ALL ships already have Z anyway.


But would they? All freighters, for example?

Now, whether CNC should help Z/Zc...

Personally I would say no.

My thought being that if there was something in that CNC that made Zc better - why wouldn't they be including it in Zc in the first place ?


CNC isn't an improvement on the systems that it gives a boost. CNC combines them with expert programs, expert interfaces, and complex procedural methods that allow for a synergistic effect that improves the capabilities of the systems it boosts. The same for CIC.

But I agree with you and am leaning towards not giving a bonus.
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby Whitecold on Wed 26 Jul 2017 14:17

I'd be against making Z an intrinsic ability of ships. When Z is introduced, it is quite a valid choice to save the expense of Z on especially lighter ships. If it is worth the up to 25% increased cost on CTs is a matter of opinion. Whether to use Zc or Z is a question that comes up at higher EL, and I wouldn't want to make the second choice more balanced at the expense of taking the first one away.
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby procyon on Wed 26 Jul 2017 16:49

Maybe I haven't had enough coffee yet.

I understand not wanting Z as intrinsic.

I am not sure I understand the rest of the post though.
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Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby Cralis on Wed 26 Jul 2017 17:14

And I'm not sure how Zc would become balanced if Z was made intrinsic to every ship. For that matter, I'm not sure how Zc could be considered unbalanced right now.
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby procyon on Thu 27 Jul 2017 01:24

Cralis wrote:For that matter, I'm not sure how Zc could be considered unbalanced right now.


I agree. Zc isn't unbalanced. In fact - it might be a tiny bit underpowered.
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Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby Cralis on Thu 27 Jul 2017 02:26

While I don't think Z should be automatic for every unit, I could see it being like (AM) or (AC) as a zero-space, non-destructible system. However, it would probably still be disabled by the first non-precision internal hit. And Zl and Zc could never be like that.
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby procyon on Thu 27 Jul 2017 02:49

Cralis wrote:You keep saying "ECM" but we don't have ECM in Solar Starfire. EM is part of the drive-field mechanics and does not involve fire control calculations.


Hey. I had the question mark there for EMS (?). I just got the wrong letters stuck in my head. And...oh, forget it... :oops:

But you know what I meant. If it is a zero HS system, it seems a bit odd that it makes your ship harder to destroy.

Cralis wrote:TOT in 3D space at the speeds we are talking about are far, far more complex then conventional ground-based artillery from fixed positions on the surface of a sphere. Especially given that the targets can accelerate from 0-%c and decelerate from %c-0 in seconds, back and forth. This is something I've already said above. Performing the mathematics is many orders of magnitude more complex, and they get more complex the more targets and launching points there are involved. And that's without considering network latency. I have no doubt that our computers today could calculate dozens of launches from three moving launchers towards a single target, all moving at a percentage of c... in a couple hours. But we are talking about 30 second turns.


This is where I think you are missing a big point.

The TOT isn't figuring out all the minutia of getting the weapon to the target - ie the target's acceleration/deceleration, all the other variables you discussed, etc. The firing solution computed by the launching ship ALREADY HAD TO DO THAT. Otherwise it couldn't hit the other vessel in the first place.

All the TOT for Z has to do is correlate the relative time to target for each firing solution supplied -which have already been calculated.
And if your firing unit already has done all the computations to lock in the firing solution to put the weapon on target - it takes very little for a central computer to regulate the sequence of firing based on the firing solutions already provided for each weapon.

I think you are confusing how hard it would be to just hit the target, with how hard it would be to get those firing solutions to synch up. The first would be terrible to accomplish (just hitting that bugger with unreal accel/decel capabilities). The second would be easy compared to that.

ETA
And to me at least, if you can manage to do all the calculations to hit a Starfire target at all in less than 30 seconds, getting the firing solutions synched would be processed in nanoseconds.
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Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: Z Datagroup Sizes

Postby procyon on Thu 27 Jul 2017 03:00

Cralis wrote:While I don't think Z should be automatic for every unit, I could see it being like (AM) or (AC) as a zero-space, non-destructible system. However, it would probably still be disabled by the first non-precision internal hit. And Zl and Zc could never be like that.


You must have posted while I was still typing...
Oh well.

It may just be a 'warship only' or perhaps 'warship/BS/AF only'.

But I will stress this was just a discussion from years back with the older players. And we have never implemented it. Just thoughts we threw around. If there is actually interest - I am sure I could get the players to add it to the latest game to see how it worked. This game is still a work in process and not set yet. We have had far to many 'rewrites' of the rules to actually call it a 'game' yet. More of an extended series of playtests.
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