Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby Crucis on Wed 15 May 2013 00:39

Ok, guys, just in case some one hasn't noticed, I've split off this most recent discussion from the old "Starfire without WP's" thread into this new thread, starting with DMarcus' post from early May. Obviously, this thread is all over the place, topic wise. No bother. So feel free to continue the discussion.
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby Vandervecken on Wed 15 May 2013 00:41

Crucis wrote:BTW, I've has a rather different but just as radical an idea for countering early TL swarms. It's been a fairly well known belief that the best counter to swarms is fighters. So, maybe the best way to blunt those low TL swarms is to reduce the TL of fighter technology down to about TL3-4 (with the exception of certain tech items that just don't make any sense at such low TL's like fighter ECM pods).

Anyways, this is really off the wall idea that occurred to me today... It would of course have numerous consequences, but I suspect that most if not all of them could be managed easily enough, if I decided to go forward with this idea...



Alas, the 'Age of Dreadnoughts' was superceded by the youthful 'Age of Fighters/Carriers'.
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby Crucis on Wed 15 May 2013 00:58

Vandervecken wrote:
Crucis wrote:BTW, I've has a rather different but just as radical an idea for countering early TL swarms. It's been a fairly well known belief that the best counter to swarms is fighters. So, maybe the best way to blunt those low TL swarms is to reduce the TL of fighter technology down to about TL3-4 (with the exception of certain tech items that just don't make any sense at such low TL's like fighter ECM pods).

Anyways, this is really off the wall idea that occurred to me today... It would of course have numerous consequences, but I suspect that most if not all of them could be managed easily enough, if I decided to go forward with this idea...



Alas, the 'Age of Dreadnoughts' was superceded by the youthful 'Age of Fighters/Carriers'.


Well, it is only an idea that occurred to me yesterday.

There would be an "Age of Dreadnoughts" in this larger idea, it would just come a little later and counter to 20th century history, it would come after the "Age of Carriers".

But in this idea, the AoD would supersede the AoC because advances in technology would make it increasingly difficult for fighters to deal with the capital ships. It's an interesting alternative take on fighters and cap ships and so forth....

BUT ... I have NOT decided whether to go down this route or not...
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby Vandervecken on Wed 15 May 2013 05:04

That might be an interesting switch. maybe

Very early: Swarm, cause there isn't much bigger to make

Early: Fighter and Carriers

Middle: the big ships start to dominate, then even Bigger ships, then BIGGER ...

Later: DDs and Cruisers begin to make a run as tech increases make needed tactical components small enough for ships smaller than BB or DN worth buying again

Final: new age of carriers/fighters

What I'd like is that there would never be a bad class of ship but one or 2 classes that if done right would have the slightest advantage during their heyday. A tough order to fill, but I can dream.
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby Crucis on Wed 15 May 2013 05:26

Vandervecken wrote:That might be an interesting switch. maybe

Very early: Swarm, cause there isn't much bigger to make

Early: Fighter and Carriers

Middle: the big ships start to dominate, then even Bigger ships, then BIGGER ...

Later: DDs and Cruisers begin to make a run as tech increases make needed tactical components small enough for ships smaller than BB or DN worth buying again

Final: new age of carriers/fighters

What I'd like is that there would never be a bad class of ship but one or 2 classes that if done right would have the slightest advantage during their heyday. A tough order to fill, but I can dream.


The thing with swarms is that in Classic, they can tend to stay viable up until fighters show up because the technology pre-fighters just doesn't provide large ships of that era with enough of an advantage in many situations to be able to spank swarms around. For large ships to deal with swarms, particularly in WP assaults (large ships assaulting against a swarm defense) the large ships probably need to maximize their multiplex tracking because the chances are pretty good that they'll end up fighting without datalink. They certainly will on the first turn. And come to think of it, on the turn of transit, their mutliplex may not be working. And if it isn't, they're in a world of hurt between the transit penalties and having to divide up their fire without multiplex to avoid the to-hit penalty.

Against a swarm WP defense, one is almost forced to use a swarm simul-transit. Of course, if one had missile pods, this little problem can get stomped good and proper. Even having GB's would be a big help, as they'd be swarming units in their own right.

In truth, fighters probably wouldn't be all that much good in a WP assault, if the swarmers can get in close and destroy the carriers before the fighters can launch. However, in many other situations, fighters would probably eat swarmers alive.

Moving on, I don't really see your "later" phase entering into the picture. Frankly, providing the reduced size tech to make "later" happen would only serve to recreate swarms, which I'd be loathe to do. But I should say that I think that there are roles for smaller ships. it's just that those roles don't involve being battlewagons. They're screening units, scouts, explorers, surveyors, and so forth.


As for a second heyday for fighters, anything's possible. However, there's one principle that I want to show in the tech tables and history and that each and every tech system does not advance ad infinitum. Certain tech will hit walls beyond which they can't advance. Or some things will be made just plain obsolete by other advances. This was presented in the latest Starfire novels EXODUS and EXTREMIS where fighters were close to becoming obsolete because the drives used by starships in that era (i.e. the Desai Drive) were so much faster than fighters that fighters were losing relevancy. (In the novels, the Desai Drive couldn't work too close to a gravity well, like a planet or star, and it was in these areas where fighters were still valuable. Outside of them, starships would just kick in the desai drives and leave the fighters in the dust.)


Well, that's all for now.
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby PracticalM on Wed 15 May 2013 10:41

Crucis wrote:The thing with swarms is that in Classic, they can tend to stay viable up until fighters show up because the technology pre-fighters just doesn't provide large ships of that era with enough of an advantage in many situations to be able to spank swarms around. For large ships to deal with swarms, particularly in WP assaults (large ships assaulting against a swarm defense) the large ships probably need to maximize their multiplex tracking because the chances are pretty good that they'll end up fighting without datalink. They certainly will on the first turn. And come to think of it, on the turn of transit, their mutliplex may not be working. And if it isn't, they're in a world of hurt between the transit penalties and having to divide up their fire without multiplex to avoid the to-hit penalty.


There was a very good and in depth analysis of swarms and how to defeat them and the conclusion was that the originally designed Terran ships were designed as anti-swarm ships. I don't have the original article and posts right at hand but I thought it made it into one of the ECs.

Firing at a lot of ships isn't quite as important as running and getting enough weapons to bear to slow down the swarm which then can be defeated in detail. Of course it works both ways.
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby Crucis on Wed 15 May 2013 11:02

PracticalM wrote:
Crucis wrote:The thing with swarms is that in Classic, they can tend to stay viable up until fighters show up because the technology pre-fighters just doesn't provide large ships of that era with enough of an advantage in many situations to be able to spank swarms around. For large ships to deal with swarms, particularly in WP assaults (large ships assaulting against a swarm defense) the large ships probably need to maximize their multiplex tracking because the chances are pretty good that they'll end up fighting without datalink. They certainly will on the first turn. And come to think of it, on the turn of transit, their mutliplex may not be working. And if it isn't, they're in a world of hurt between the transit penalties and having to divide up their fire without multiplex to avoid the to-hit penalty.


There was a very good and in depth analysis of swarms and how to defeat them and the conclusion was that the originally designed Terran ships were designed as anti-swarm ships. I don't have the original article and posts right at hand but I thought it made it into one of the ECs.

Firing at a lot of ships isn't quite as important as running and getting enough weapons to bear to slow down the swarm which then can be defeated in detail. Of course it works both ways.


Thanks for the heads-up, Jeff. If it's in one of the EC's, I'll find it.
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby aramis on Sat 18 May 2013 12:57

The issues with small ships and with warp point defense....

You want big battleships? Flip the costs per hull space.

Want to reduce the low TL swarm? Reduce ship building capacity; give a bonus for bigger ships. As in, ES are built at 5 space a month; CT at 6, FG at 7, DD at 8, etc...

Eliminate minefields and warp capable missiles. Keep the original rationale: Drives smaller than 1/2 space can't function in transit. Add a 1A and 1S requirement, and you suddenly set a minimum 3 HS for a 1XO one-shot wonder, and 6 for an armed ship. Eliminate XO (or cause transit to damage XO ordinance), and you eliminate the ability to have massive XO flush warp point crashes. This also makes fighters a non-first-line offense - you need to beachhead for the time needed to bring up the fighter drives.

Make mines expensive to maintain - replace monthly, and cost about half a fighter per pattern. Make sowing a pattern a 1 interception turn activity; add a minelaying system (2 HS) to allow sowing two in one tac hex per I-Turn. Which means you need to picket the other side to make them financially viable.

My first game with mines, I killed every ship but one of the 400 ES invasion....and still had FG's to use. (Yes, 400 escorts with SRXHII.)
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby Crucis on Sat 18 May 2013 15:45

aramis, first let me thank you for your input. I appreciate all input here. :mrgreen:

aramis wrote:The issues with small ships and with warp point defense....

You want big battleships? Flip the costs per hull space.


Definitely possible. My initial intent was to go with with a flat per-HS cost regardless of size, but a per-HS cost that reduces as hull sizes increase is a possibility.[/quote]


Want to reduce the low TL swarm? Reduce ship building capacity; give a bonus for bigger ships. As in, ES are built at 5 space a month; CT at 6, FG at 7, DD at 8, etc...


I am ... less comfortable with this idea. It would make larger ships more attractive, but so would paying for large ships in monthly installments rather than 100% of the cost up front.


Eliminate minefields and warp capable missiles. Keep the original rationale: Drives smaller than 1/2 space can't function in transit. Add a 1A and 1S requirement, and you suddenly set a minimum 3 HS for a 1XO one-shot wonder, and 6 for an armed ship. Eliminate XO (or cause transit to damage XO ordinance), and you eliminate the ability to have massive XO flush warp point crashes. This also makes fighters a non-first-line offense - you need to beachhead for the time needed to bring up the fighter drives.


There are a lot of points in this one small paragraph...

Eliminating all automated weapons just isn't likely. They just make too much sense. That's not to say that some things can't be done to improve the situation, though. Maintenance on emplaced mines and buoys, for starters.

Also note that the smallest warship hull type I allow for on the Cosmic Hull Table is the 11-15 HS CT, with an I/MP of 1/2. No ES's. No EX's.

As for fighters, I don't see what the earlier points in the paragraph have to do with using fighters offensively in a WP assault. All in all, they're going to be difficult to use, unless you either use a large Simul-Transit with a lot of warships covering the carriers in that first ST wave.

Also, if you do away with missile pods AND XO racks on transiting ships, you're basically handing even more advantages to the defenders.


Make mines expensive to maintain - replace monthly, and cost about half a fighter per pattern. Make sowing a pattern a 1 interception turn activity; add a minelaying system (2 HS) to allow sowing two in one tac hex per I-Turn. Which means you need to picket the other side to make them financially viable.


I can see how placing a PATTERN of mines might take an interception turn, give that a pattern is a significant number of mines. OTOH, the current draft of mine rules that we're looking at does away with the concept of patterns and focuses on individual mines. So I can't see laying 1 mine taking an interception turn. Maybe 1 mine per tac turn per ship. Maybe more if you use smallcraft to assist with the minelaying.

And mines should definitely incur a maintenance cost, if they've been placed. Mines that you have sitting in a cargo hold or in storage on a planet should have no maintenance cost. I don't know if mines need to be "expensive" to maintain. Even a normal 15% of the cost of mines would be a significant cost if you want to have some dense minefields in place all the time.



My first game with mines, I killed every ship but one of the 400 ES invasion....and still had FG's to use. (Yes, 400 escorts with SRXHII.)


Well, small ships are always going to be vulnerable to mines. The only ships that should really have a good chance of surviving in a strong minefield should be dedicated minesweepers built on large hulls that have strong passives, strong suites of point defense, and some beams to sweep mines.
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Re: Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

Postby SCC on Mon 20 May 2013 01:17

Mines shouldn't fundamentally cost anything to maintain, it's not like mines needed topping up of reaction mass or anything. The lack of maintenance costs is why mines are used in the real world.

In Starfire the biggest reason/explanation for maintenance would be needing to reposition them once they drift off station.
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