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"3D Space - Combat tactics" Topic


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T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 3:03 a.m. PST

Hi guys, I've always been interested in spaceship gaming, but have always been put off by the 2D representation.

I've read plenty of threads on here regarding the subject of 3D gaming, and I don't wish to have a heated debate on the subject, but I've been putting in a lot of thought and think I've come up with an elegant design to represent full 3D space battles.

I don't wish to divulge the specifics until I've done a bit of prototyping, but I would like to discuss tactics and effects this would bring to the game.

As far as I can see, space fighting, from a "capital ship" point of view is about bringing your most powerful weapons to bear at the right moment whilst keeping your vulnerable parts (engines, bridge deck) concealed from enemy firepower, I have sketched up some rough rules which basically make your opponents attacks more deadly depending on which angle they are coming from, (for example high armour on the front, medium on the top and sides, low armour on the back and underside). So the ability to pitch and roll your ship becomes an active mechanic to conceal weak points.

The ability to pitch up and down, or even fly "vertically" (z axis) allows you to not only pincer an enemy with ships simultaneously attacking front and side armour for example, but with ranks of craft attacking from above and below, meaning if the defending craft pitches upwards to meet the higher craft, it exposes its weak underside.

As someone who has enjoyed the look of BFG and Firestorm Armada, but never played a single game, nor even glanced at their rules, I'd like to throw a new game out into the mix with (hopefully) a fresh look at the space-combat genre.

I want it to be complex, but actually play deceptively simply, fast moving, and with quick to decipher dice rolls. I think I've got the basics sketched out. Just need for it to "click" into place. :)

So what do you think about a 3D space-combat game? Would it appeal?
How much tactical complexity would you like to see?
And what would really 'make' a space-combat game for you?

Cheers all

TSINI

Aksakal12 Jul 2012 3:17 a.m. PST

How does it 'look' good (visually, in 3D sense) ? (can models be rotated to suit or still fly flat…)

each (here) will have preferences to cinematic movement or vector based, thrust application, inertia etc…

for myself, a hard sf game would have focus on the movement in space and tactical play based on mastering that. a cinematic game play is more based on exciting outcomes and larger than life action.

Dynaman878912 Jul 2012 3:20 a.m. PST

> So what do you think about a 3D space-combat game? Would it appeal?

History says "no". Especially if you go for a realistic, 3d newtonian physics game. Explaining 2D versions of newtonian physics is bad enough.

Chief Lackey Rich Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 Jul 2012 3:47 a.m. PST

There are Squadron Strike and Saganami Island players who would disagree with Dynaman, but frankly, they're a small minority of a small gamer niche, and most people are content with 2D games of varying degrees of realism. Regardless, unless your hypothetical rules can offer something Ad Astra's don't, I wouldn't bother reinventing the wheel. There's also With Hostile Intent to consider, although it still hasn't come out and may never do so at this rate – I'd rate it down with Full Thrust 3.0 in the "not holding my breath" future release category.

Personal logo bauedawargames Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Jul 2012 4:16 a.m. PST

considering the power of current weapons I think it's a completely moot point… think of the technological advance needed to achieve efficient space travel even only within our own system and parallel that to weapon development, in other words, today we have the space shuttle and 50 megatons bombs, think how much better your spaceship needs to be compared to a space shuttle then consider how much more powerful that bomb would become in proportion…

I'd guess that in a realistic space combat if you could get a warhead within a few hundred km of the target that's about it, never mind where it come from or where it hits… once you are instantly turned into radioactive plasma that is not really important anymore… or if you look at the current development of em rail guns for the US navy and again draw the parallel above, you'll get mass drivers that could easily shoot through ANY amount of armor, unless you are thinking of steel plates several kilometers thick!

So, given that the whole premise is an absolute nonsense, why bother with it being 2 or 3D, just chill out, relax and enjoy a good game! :)

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 4:29 a.m. PST

Some good points so far.

Well, I hopefully have designed a flying stand that allows you to roll and pitch your craft at 45 degree intervals (both simultaneously), this allows you to present not only different armour facings, but combinations of facings (corners and edges)

I will have to give some other games a look over to see what each one offers I guess

Ok, so as people who have played other systems, what is good about your personal favourite(s)? What about it repeatedly gets your minis on the table?

Cheers

TSINI

Chief Lackey Rich Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 Jul 2012 4:35 a.m. PST

Full Thrust. Starmada.

DS615112 Jul 2012 4:43 a.m. PST

think how much better your spaceship needs to be compared to a space shuttle then consider how much more powerful that bomb would become in proportion…

Those two aren't really related in any way.

I wish you luck on your game, but you'll have a hard time beating Full Thrust for my table space.
We already play FT in 3D, and no matter how many other games we try (including our own rule set) we always come back to it.

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 4:44 a.m. PST

Baueda, great points, but you could argue that science advances at different speeds in different fields, perhaps harnessing the power of the atom is the edge of weapon technology in terms of raw power, and that defensive technology is currently in it's infancy, as is higgs boson technology, so you could extrapolate that future space travel is easily achievable via mass / gravity manipulation, and advances in shield / momentum depleting technology could lead to a space arms race of different sorts.

I like to think of star wars esque classic sci fi space combat, with starships manouvering around each other and clouds of tiny fighters dogfighting for bomber superiority.

Dynaman878912 Jul 2012 4:51 a.m. PST

> There are Squadron Strike and Saganami Island players who would disagree with Dynaman

Actually, the fact that you can list the games on one hand, and they are so niche, pretty much proves my point…

Dynaman878912 Jul 2012 4:55 a.m. PST

> I like to think of star wars esque classic sci fi space combat

Star Wars through physics right out the window. Babylon 5 and the new BSG gives at least a wink and a nod to physics and would serve as a better example.

Traveller 2300 had a good idea as well, ships moved so fast they were impossible to hit with anything but a laser or energy weapon (no realistic physics there either, stutterwarp instead)

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 5:01 a.m. PST

I don't know, the only things really wring with starwars space physics would be the lack of opposing thrusters to slow down/ manouver, and sound effects in space…. Oh and gungans of course…

Generally the weapons tech was excellent, especially in games such as X-Wing vs Tie Fighter with lasers, torpedoes, ion cannons, chaff and shields, it all made sense, in a sci fi kinda way.

Wartopia Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 5:27 a.m. PST

Star Fleet Battles, FullThrust, and StarFire seemed to work fine without it.

I've never seen it work well and don't play rules that include it. Too much bother for playing a game with toy spaceships.

Key problem: any device used to "roll" the ship models or change "altitude" will detract significantly from the visual presentation. Leave this to computer games, they do a much better job.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2012 5:56 a.m. PST

The few games I've played that use true 3d movement(Attack Vector Tactical, Vector 3, etc.) have been an enlightening experience in terms of tactics, weapon envelopes, maneuvering, etc. However, the complexity, learning curve, down time searching for rules, and other associated problems means that it's a gaming experience that doesn't happen too often. It's just much easier to throw a few dozen ships on the board and use Full Thrust or some other 2D rule set.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2012 6:13 a.m. PST

I have both played and written 3D games, but so much of whether that actually affects combat or not depends how you thnk ships function.

If you go for a Traveller/High Guard type thing with spinal mounted primary weapons and engines at the back then it does make a difference.

But if our spaceships are simply oblate spheroids with multi directional energy projectors and some sort of handwavium warp drive, then it it doesn't actually make much difference at all. Concentration of force, economy of effort etc is very similar whether it is in 2D or 3D.

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 6:18 a.m. PST

Ok, so assuming a game could be easy and quick to move/position/rotate etc, and the complexity was easily dealt with through the game mechanics / wysiwyg, attacks dealt with dice.

Components such as:

Planets
Space stations
Capital ships
Frigates
Corvettes
Fighters
Bombers
Torpedoes etc

What other details would be necessary to compete with existing systems?

Wartopia Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 7:11 a.m. PST

If you're serious about this…

Let's say the table is 4x6.

Do all ships start at, say, 24" above the table surface? 36"?

Is there a limit of 48" above the table surface? 72"?

Is the table surface the lower limit?

Your proposal assumes the fighting occurs in some sort of cube or rectangular right-prism.

If the z axis of playable volume is nothing more than a few inches plus or minus why bother? There's not enough difference between a plane of 48"x72" and a right prism of 48"x72"x12" to justify the effort.

On the other hand, if you're really proposing a proper volume of space then there are serious model stability issues when you start mounting GZG capital ships on stands 48" high! You said this was WYSIWYG so that would mean stands 48" high. My Jedi powers see bent and broken ship models in the furture! :-)

Another huge issue: firing arcs. People have a tough enough time using templates on a 2d surface. Imagine the difficulty of a ship "upside down", pitched +45 degrees with yaw of -45 degrees. WYSIWYG? Yikes!

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 8:01 a.m. PST

Hehe, yeah the complex combined angles are Definately complex, if you could see my spreadsheet detailing what armour facings are available at different incoming attack directions vs ship roll + pitch, its… Interesting to say the least. But its a maths puzzle I'm working on.

As for height on the table, your assumption of the cuboid gamespace is correct, I reckon a "normal" space, with a higher and lower area of space will actually be enough, It's more complex than that, but the 3 basic heights represent a good enough amount of 3D to quickly represent being an order of height above your enemy to have an effect. I also have ideas to dissuade someone from "turtling" at the top or bottom.

Wartopia Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 8:57 a.m. PST

So it's not truly 3d WYSIWYG.

It sounds like it's really just 3 planes stacked on top of each other and not a volume of space at all.

2D x 3?

That's far less than most air combat games!

From a practical perspective, what would the gamer get out of that?

Farstar Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 9:51 a.m. PST

if you could see my spreadsheet

Yeah… No.

As an instructive example of this sort of design path, look at the classic "Armor" from Yaquinto.
link
Note that it was intended as a tank *duel* game. One on one. That level of complexity does not combine well with large numbers of combatants. Taking that lesson back into space has one very important implication: you don't need 3D for duels.

Two ships do not create a 3D field of battle. It takes *four* to do that. With two ships the only thing that matters is distance and who controls it, and which face you care to show the enemy. Once you abandon the speed boat model of maneuver (ala SFB, BFG, FA, Full Thrust cinematic, and a few others), a ship with functional maneuver can change its facing relative to an enemy faster than the enemy can do anything about it other than fire at it.

AONeill12 Jul 2012 9:59 a.m. PST

I've played 3d space games using flight stands and way more than 3 heights.
We used small balsa models. weight of model is significant and balsa usually bounces if dropped.
Quite frankly, i don't think it's worth the effort.
Space should be a very big place and any facing is almost irrelevent compared to closing speed.
Relative vectors and acceleration are the important things.
It's not like you're going to be pulling hammer turns ot immelmans.

In real future space combat, accelerating mass to huge velocities seems likely to be a winning and relatively simple tactic.
So rather than missiles you direct a bunch of near light speed drones.
Forget hitting enemy craft.
Drive two drones into one another and you'd get a ridiculously big bang.
You don't need nukes if you have stupid-fast-drives.

emckinney12 Jul 2012 11:40 a.m. PST

I'd guess that in a realistic space combat if you could get a warhead within a few hundred km of the target that's about it, never mind where it come from or where it hits… once you are instantly turned into radioactive plasma that is not really important anymore

bauedawargames, nuclear weapons are remarkably inefficient in vacuum because they don't generate shockwaves. There are som interesting quick notes here: link The main problem is adequate radiation shielding for the crew--water, lead, or advanced materials. Close enough, you will get surface structural damage due to thermal effects from radiation depositions, but you do have to be "fairly" close to get physical effects.

emckinney12 Jul 2012 11:43 a.m. PST

Well, I hopefully have designed a flying stand that allows you to roll and pitch your craft at 45 degree intervals (both simultaneously), this allows you to present not only different armour facings, but combinations of facings (corners and edges)

T S I N I, Ninja Magic already sells these and makes them for 30 degree increments as well. You can get the 30/60/90 versions through Ad Astra Games.

emckinney12 Jul 2012 11:55 a.m. PST

Two ships do not create a 3D field of battle. It takes *four* to do that. With two ships the only thing that matters is distance and who controls it, and which face you care to show the enemy. Once you abandon the speed boat model of maneuver (ala SFB, BFG, FA, Full Thrust cinematic, and a few others), a ship with functional maneuver can change its facing relative to an enemy faster than the enemy can do anything about it other than fire at it.

Farstar, if firing arcs are limited, you can only thrust in the direction that you're facing, and changing facing takes a perceptible amount of time,* this is simply untrue. If my weapons are mostly forward-mounted, but I want to keep the range open, I'm confronted with the dilemma of needing to point toward my opponent to fire or to point away (or laterally) to keep the range open. That forces very delicate maneuver decisions, which are what make the game interesting.

Another weapons arrangement that produces real decision-making is to have two batteries, on opposite sides of the ship, with some overlap. Do you take weaker shots while allowing more lateral maneuver or do you pivot to take the big shot? In Attack Vector: Tactical this matters because all the weapons are pooled against the target's armor, so multiple small attacks are much less efficient that a few large attacks. Even more importantly, the ships are limited in the total amount of energy they have to charge their weapons over the course of the game. Are you going to be able to do enough damage with the multiple small attacks before you're out of juice? Obviously, interesting ship designs make a big difference.


* All true in Attack Vector: Tactical, Saganami Island Tactical Simulator, and Squadron Strike's vector movement mode.

emckinney12 Jul 2012 12:06 p.m. PST

Two ships do not create a 3D field of battle. It takes *four* to do that. With two ships the only thing that matters is distance and who controls it …

Just to address this for both "speedboat" and vector movement. Farstar is making a slightly different argument, but I've heard the "two points define a plane, so 3D doesn't matter" argument many times.

The problem is that ships aren't points because they also have velocities. That means that they are effectively vectors (even in "speedboat" movement), so the concept of out-of-plane maneuvers becomes important.

Speedboat: Imagine that two ships are heading directly toward one another. This is actually a 1D case--only range matters. Suppose that you turn your ship to your right (imagine it making 60-degree arc) while I turn my ship up out of the plane of the map (again, a 60 degree arc). There's no way to put the plane of my maneuver into the plane of your maneuver.

Vector: We could do exactly the same sort of this as in the speedboat example--you thrust to the right and I thrust up. Even without thrust, if we simple start with you having a vector directly to the right and me having a vector directly up, there's no way to resolve this into a single plane. If you tried to treat it as range only, the rate of change in range is so complicated that you're better off just using 3D instead of trying to do calculus at the gaming table.

Incidentally, if you have any sort of projectile weapons that can be dodged and that can be used to "lead" the target in different directions, they obviously add to the "ship count" that Farstar proposes and quickly break the game out of 2D.

Farstar Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 12:40 p.m. PST

Attack Vector has been mentioned. All hope of "elegant" is now lost. Flee while you can.

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 12:46 p.m. PST

Emckinney, cheers for the heads up, these are a along the right lines, but not the

There's some great discussion here, obviously people are going to see different values and have varying preferences

emckinney12 Jul 2012 12:49 p.m. PST

"not the …" what?

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 12:52 p.m. PST

Emckinney, cheers for the heads up, these are a along the right lines, but not the most elegant.

There's some great discussion here, obviously people are going to see different values and have varying preferences of sci fi tech, but the more ideas the better guys, cheers.

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 12:53 p.m. PST

My phone is awkward to comment lol

Broadsword12 Jul 2012 1:47 p.m. PST

T S I N I – How many players and how many ships per player are you trying to get on the table?

Al | ravenfeastsmeadhall.blogspot.com

T S I N I Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 1:59 p.m. PST

I think the classic wargame standard, 2 players, with the opportunity for multiple teams, I'm not sure about uneven numbers, 3, just isn't the magic number with wargames

RTJEBADIA12 Jul 2012 2:33 p.m. PST

My personal feeling has always been that a newtonian movement system is easily converted to 3d, so the rules should be written in the way most people will play (2d) with the option to play 3d.

WIth my own space combat game (http://cerescrossroads.blogspot.com/2012/04/beowulf-and-her-crew-drift-from-new.html) I've found that 3d just adds in a lot of notes and visual difficulties while not really adding anything tactically.

Therefore, I don't use 3d.

If players want to, they can… they might have a reason; with enough ships flying around (esp. if they are fairly well armored but not heavily armed) then the ability to surround an opponent in 3 dimensions might be helpful, but it doesn't come up in most scenarios in a way that would be relevant… if I'm making a pass on an enemy ship and turning to keep my main guns on him as I fly by, it doesn't matter whether he's flying by on my left of under me.

BTW, to those who say doing a newtonian/somewhat hard/3d game is pointless because Attack Vector Tactical arleady does it… right, and we all should have stopped writing grand strategy games when Risk came out. There are different ways of representing the same thing, and some will be better for some situations than others… and in SF, AVT represents a fairly narrow set of tech assumptions pretty well (in a simulation sort of way, at least). But what about other assumptions? What about a game that focuses on the tactics over simulating (therefore abstracting the details in favor of presenting options in the way an experienced commander would see it-- as most war games do)?

Tim White Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2012 2:51 p.m. PST

Lately we've been playing ACTA, Squadron Strike and Starmada. SS handles 3d quite well, and really if you use ships that are designed to be simple it plays reasonably fast. While I'm always interested in another 2D game, I doubt I'd ever want to check out another 3d game. One is really enough!

-Tim

emckinney12 Jul 2012 2:56 p.m. PST

BTW, to those who say doing a newtonian/somewhat hard/3d game is pointless because Attack Vector Tactical arleady does it … AVT represents a fairly narrow set of tech assumptions

Squadron Strike has very few built-in tech assumptions, so you set up all sorts of situations. It also offers a simplified version of vector movement by eliminating segmented movement. Overall, it's slightly slower than Full Thrust with plotted vector movement, mostly because the play aids make it easy to see your fairly limited options.

What about a game that focuses on the tactics over simulating (therefore abstracting the details in favor of presenting options in the way an experienced commander would see it-- as most war games do)?

That's an interesting idea--how do you accomplish it? If you're not simulating the 3D, how do you represent the tactics? That almost seems like saying, "OK, I want to do Star Wars fighter combat, but I don't want to do a lot of detailed simulation, so we'll just use the Star Wars collectible miniatures game." It abstracts all of the tactics out of the situation. I think this may come across as hostile, but I'm really interested in ideas on how to accomplish this without devolving back to 2D.

Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2012 3:36 p.m. PST

For me space combat isn't dogfighting… it's wwII submarine combat. Lots of sneaking, whoever gets in the first shot gets the kill. and RUN from the support to reengage later

emckinney12 Jul 2012 4:12 p.m. PST

BigNickR, do you mean from personal preference (the sort of game that you would like to play) or based on science? If you're interested in the science, take a look at the "Stealth Doesn't Work" section in the introduction to AV:T PDF link

RTJEBADIA12 Jul 2012 4:17 p.m. PST

"That's an interesting idea--how do you accomplish it? If you're not simulating the 3D, how do you represent the tactics? That almost seems like saying, "OK, I want to do Star Wars fighter combat, but I don't want to do a lot of detailed simulation, so we'll just use the Star Wars collectible miniatures game." It abstracts all of the tactics out of the situation. I think this may come across as hostile, but I'm really interested in ideas on how to accomplish this without devolving back to 2D."

I'm not particularly in favor of this solution. I prefer my games to play it straight… it doesn't need to be super detailed, but why abstract, for example, suppression if the shooting mechanics handle it already (see Nuts!)?

It ultimately comes down to your assumptions. Most tech assumptions don't make 3d all that important in part because 2d won't be all that important either… different weapons have different range, bands, ships might be armored better to the front, etc, but realistically you basically have a group of ships all facing towards the enemy position and the enemy doing the same thing. They all shoot at each other. Etc.

So to narrow my answer down to something that can easily be discussed, lets take a setting where lasers totally dominate but are susceptible to being blinded when they aren't shuttered. If a laser/sensors are blinded that makes the enemy able to fire on you without fear of being shot at/blinded himself and he can launch a kinetic strike to finish you off without it being shot down.

Such a thing can be represented in, for example, my very own (WIP) space combat game (link above). That said, it does it in a fairly "simulation" style… you maneuver ships in 2 dimensions in a newtonian way (3d is possible but I dont' use it because I get nothing out of it but more time consuming play), you pick specific targets, etc.

A game (and again, I'm not necessarily supporting this as the best option) that just took the tactics that this simulation presented and made the game an almost rock paper scissors like exercise in what tactic you choose vs. what tactic the enemy chooses would work and even be fairly realistic (though you wouldn't be able to discover new tactics from it).

Example:The game operates by each player choosing a tactic/action for a given ship and then results come from its relative powers, the enemies' powers, and the tactics chosen by both sides. Tactics are chosen in secret and revealed at the same time. I choose to try to close range as fast as possible with a bunch of small lasers-- shuttered-- to the point where they were within blinding range of the largest enemies' laser. Then they'd all open at once and try to blind. It'd probably be a one to one trade… he loses one big laser (to blinding) and I lose one small laser (possibly another ship or more in the approach depending on the relative weapon powers). But what if his tactic is to send out a bunch of kinetic missiles while I'm shuttered? If I open up to fire on the KKVs then he can start blinding me first… long before I'm within blind range of him. If I try to wait, some KKVs get through and I lose a bunch of ships. So on.

So you can come up with a game that realistically represents the tactical complexities of a given situation but won't work well for going outside the exact tech/setting/scenario/tactical assumptions or you can represent the same things (either in detail or with a more simplified but still simulation style system) in a game that WILL translate to other assumptions quite well but it won't be a simple.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

What I'm curious about is what sort of things people get out of 3d… given that most people don't get anything out of it, I think its generally true that most games don't benefit… the same tactical choices present themselves in 2d, the difference is essentially aesthetic. Facing comes up in 2d in the same way as 3d. Being able to maneuver in a non-1d sort of way is just as present in 2d as in 3d. Etc. So what does 3d actually bring to the table other than just being another direction? Unlike in air combat, with gravity and all that going on which makes up-down NOT the same as right-left, forward-back, I don't think Space Combat really needs it.

Farstar Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 4:22 p.m. PST

If you're interested in the science, take a look at the "Stealth Doesn't Work" section in the introduction to AV:T

And yet you can support ships dodging incoming fire?

Squadron Strike has very few built-in tech assumptions

Riiiight.

gweirda Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member12 Jul 2012 4:34 p.m. PST

Or you could just give up and drink the Kool-Aid…

link


JFL – please don't anyone take this (or me) seriously…

emckinney12 Jul 2012 6:00 p.m. PST

And yet you can support ships dodging incoming fire?

Dodging projectiles? It takes a lot of energy to get a projectile of significant mass up to meaningful speeds. Could you lay out your argument for why this wouldn't work?

Squadron Strike has very few built-in tech assumptions

Riiiight.

Obviously you disagree, but what assumptions do you see? When you can build flat-out science fantasy ships, like for the Warhammer 40K universe, Star Wars fighters, Star Trek cruisers, and even vague simulations of hard science, I'm not sure what limitations you see.

Aksakal13 Jul 2012 6:35 a.m. PST

Kirk out thought khan by going 3D and there were only 2 ships. To make it look 'good' models need to be turnable to all directions, vertical, upside down etc… (not what they're made for doing) and the range would be close to allow a greater vertical.

Broadsword13 Jul 2012 8:11 p.m. PST

Kirk out thought khan by going 3D and there were only 2 ships.

That duel would have been more impressive if it didn't happen in some sort of energized gas cloud where both ships' sensors were impaired and if Khan was a fully trained starship captain with years of experience and was intimately familiar with his ship's capabilities.

Wartopia Inactive Member13 Jul 2012 8:22 p.m. PST

Actually, it's clearly implied that Kirk was thinking in 2d no differently to Khan's thought process. It took Spock to point out Khan's 2d thinking at which point Kirk decides to think 3d…by "descending" lower-hull first rather than nosing down and "diving" nose first.

Even the big battles in the Star Wars series are generally fought on 2d plane or 3d volume with a very limited Z axis.

OGREAI Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2012 9:43 p.m. PST

emckinney said:

Speedboat: Imagine that two ships are heading directly toward one another. This is actually a 1D case--only range matters. Suppose that you turn your ship to your right (imagine it making 60-degree arc) while I turn my ship up out of the plane of the map (again, a 60 degree arc). There's no way to put the plane of my maneuver into the plane of your maneuver.

No way to reduce this to a single plane state? sure there is. Change the frame of reference.

Pick one ship. Set it to zero velocity, but grab it's old velocity vector. Now take that vector and subtract it from the end of the opposing ships vector (it's actually adding its reciprocal vector). Translate the resulting plane (in three dimensions) of the "stationary" ship and the moving ship to zero out any of the three axis (pretty simple arithmetic)and you are on a plane. I could then zero out one of the resulting two axis to put both ships on a line then. When we are talking about only two objects, we can always reduce the vector state to a line with some math. With three objects we can only clean it up to a plane. Four objects and we are stuck to a volume.

Yes, there are special exception, that might let us get things cleaner (four objects all traveling in the same direction)

The question becomes, do you WANT to do this after every movement?

RTJEBADIA14 Jul 2012 3:23 a.m. PST

OGREAI---
The answer is no, especially because there is no reason to go through the process while simultaneously restraining your game to only two objects.

But your point is valid… the arguments for 3d basically ignore that there is nothing special about the Z axis in space. Because all the directions are equal, all that matters (for the tactics) are relative… Kirk's tactic would translate to most 2d games as him flanking Khan in one way or another and shooting him where he is weak. Probably facilitated by better captain/piloting/activation rolls or some such to allow him to do this without Khan turning to face him.

For significantly large games (dozens of ships to a side) you could argue for 3d providing more space, essentially, and more directions to flank from, but ultimately it ends up being a diminishing return… much more work for little gain in gameplay.

The in between is where you only have a few ships to a side and have it for aesthetic reasons. I'm fine with that… if done efficiently its kinda sexy because it feels more realistic, but the game play doesn't really improve. Best option, IMO, is a Newtonian system that can easily be converted to 3d if you REALLY want to try it out, but defaults to 2d. If its designed well and is at the right scale, it will feel just as realistic (like a flight sim, even) without all the work of 3d.

Chief Lackey Rich Supporting Member of TMP Fezian14 Jul 2012 8:26 a.m. PST

It took Spock to point out Khan's 2d thinking at which point Kirk decides to think 3d…by "descending" lower-hull first rather than nosing down and "diving" nose first.

Which begs the question of how they did that at all. The impulse engines are on the back of the saucer, and presumably can't provide significant Z-axis thrust (especially upward thrust, which would put the exhaust stream right into the engineering hull) without reorienting the whole ship. Did Kirk's elevator maneuver run entirely on unseen maneuvering thrusters? How powerful are those anyway, to allow the whole ship to move at useful speeds in combat?

Just kidding we all know Star Trek ships use Plot Neccessity Drives.

if Khan was a fully trained starship captain with years of experience and was intimately familiar with his ship's capabilities.

Pick, pick, pick. Next you'll be saying his innate genetic superiority and pectoral prosthetic didn't offset Kirk's edge. :)

Spreewaldgurken Inactive Member14 Jul 2012 9:34 a.m. PST

Doesn't this only matter if weapons are placed in hard points on a ship that can only fire in certain arcs? And we assume that a ship traveling at incredible speed wouldn't be able to tip itself for a nanosecond to bring whatever weapons to bear?

I mean, the way people talk about this stuff, it makes me think of early 20th-century dreadnoughts in space. A modern AEGIS destroyer can already fire in pretty much any direction in a matter of seconds. My iPhone and my car both have non-directional antennae that can send and receive signals from any surface in any direction.

Surely a future space ship will have weapons that can be fired from any direction, from an energized hull, or launch and head in any direction so quickly that none of this will matter.

That won't make tactics very interesting, I guess, since geometry and facing and direction won't matter, but… doesn't it seem a little silly to imagine that future-century spaceships will be laid-out like some old Jutland-era battlecruiser that needs to turn to "bring her guns to bear" ?

Karsta Inactive Member14 Jul 2012 10:34 a.m. PST

Surely a future space ship will have weapons that can be fired from any direction, from an energized hull, or launch and head in any direction so quickly that none of this will matter.

It depends. For example, if projectiles need to be given a good initial push because of the immense engagement range, you might want something like a rail- or coilgun almost as long as the ship's hull. I agree though that making space battles both interesting and believable (I'm not going to use the r-word here) is pretty difficult.

RTJEBADIA15 Jul 2012 7:40 p.m. PST

Missiles also generally go with your velocity when they are fired. Unless your missile has as much delta v as your ship then that may matter…

The tactics aren't the same as naval battles (at least on the level of facings and directions) but that doesn't mean those things don't matter and that doesn't mean there aren't interesting tactics.

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