Thursday, November 18, 2010

Space Combat in The Black Desert II - Military Spacecraft

      ...I forgot to put the laundry in the dryer and now I have to stay up with it until it finishes, so I can start it again.  What can  I say, it was $275 new nine years ago...
     So, yesterday I presented you with a modest proposal:  Space Combat from the purely from the Character's perspective.   It's not a new idea, and I proposed it as an act of desperation so I could avoid the daunting task of trying to compete with enthusiasts with much more experience.  What I want to do today is expand on just what I am thinking of when I say "Space combat scenarios" in my previous post.  I have had multiple inquiries via Facebook and the Open D6 OGL Forum on the subject, so I had better deliver the goods before going further, huh?
     Jeez, I just put, like, four links in that paragraph...Oh, well, you all had better get ready for more, because I will be relying on Winchell Chung's Atomic Rockets site to back me up on a lot of this.  Also not that none of this is set in stone; the articles on this blog are the beginnings of a role-playing game, and the ideas presented will evolve.

      So in order to imagine the combat scenario, we need some imaginary ships spacecraft.  They will be plying the endless ocean empty deserts of space.  Intrepid Admirals Mission Commanders will command coordinate  fleets wings of frigates fighters kinetic-kill UCVs which will dogfight engage at a vast distance with opposing wings of UCVs...
     ...I hope I've made my point.
     I'm sorry if the above sounded snarky or uncalled for, that is not my intention.  I wanted to convey in a single paragraph how frustrating it has been for a Star Trek loving, Lucas worshiping, Space Opera nut like me ended up writing a Hard SF game like this.  I can't help it, either.  I'm too logical to come up with an original SF setting that doesn't end up as hard as cider in the backwoods.  So I have had to lose a lot of misconceptions and unlearn what TV and movies have taught me over the years and start from scratch.
      The following will go faster if you look visit the Atomic Rockets site.  Not smoother, but faster.
      ...Back, okay.  Here we go.
     In the Black Desert setting, there are interplanetary vehicles (IPVs) and orbital vehicles (OVs).  IPVs travel between planets (obviously) and to the different asteroid nodes that cycle between Terra and Mars.  (Why do they cycle?  That has to do with space economics; we'll get to that later.)  Orbiters travel between asteroids in the same nodes, planets and moons and, of course, a planet's surface and orbit.  OVs use L-Drives, making them a species of Lightcraft that uses internal lasers and has limited Delta-V.  IPVs use magnetic sails to achieve constant boost at very low acceleration (say, .01g) and very high specific impulse.  To translate, OV= high thrust and bad gas mileage, and IPV=crappy thrust but great gas milelage.  So, IPVs ferry OVs to other planets or asteroid nodes, then the OVs carry cargo, people and ordinance to the surface, to moons and to the asteroids in a node.
      Everything clear?
     Moving on then, military IPVs (which, if we use the real world as our guide would follow Air Force conventions, not Naval ones) fall into two general categories:  Missile Craft, and Strategic Craft.

     Missile Craft are just what they say.  IPVs that carry lots of missiles. They are more common, because they are cheaper.  Their mission is resource denial; they're basically siege weapons.  They attack asteroid or Lunar installations.  Not by direct bombardment because a) that's suicidal (ICBMs make great surface to space weapons) and b) if you bomb the crap out of your target on an asteroid, there's nothing to capture.  By using indirect missile attack, you can fill the orbital space above your target with so much junk that its impossible to land or take off until you sweep up the debris.  Bereft of supplies the colonists are forced to surrender the base or starve.

     Space Combat is not pretty.

     Once a Missile Craft cut off an asteroid (to get more specific), the Strategic Craft comes into play.  This is because the attackers need to clean up the orbit and occupy the base, and the defenders need rescuing.  So both side will want to send Strategic Craft; and you have a race.  At constant boost speeds (which can reach thirty-six thousand m/sec), there is going to be little difference in engine performance; basically, the closest one wins.  That's why both Missile and Strategic Craft go on long patrols and asteroid outposts will be on alert when enemy craft are on the move (they can totally see them coming, after all).

     -Laundry's done!  I can finally go to bed!  We'll pick this up in they next post...which will probably be later on today.

      Questions, comments, criticisms?  Discuss here.


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