Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Space Combat in The Black Desert III: IPVs

    I have been at the Doctor's Office all day today, so this may not be the longest of posts.  That being said, I'll bet most people in the States will be doing the Thanksgiving thing for the rest of the week, so I'm gonna try to give you all some pithy content to remember me by.

     As the title suggests, I will begin by discussing IPVs, or more specifically, Strategic Spacecraft.  Thanks to Wings 3D, one of the many, many optional programs that Ubuntu has let me download, I have been able to build a CG model of said Stategic Craft.  Let's take a look, shall we?
Strategic Spacecraft. 

  The ends of the spacecraft contain the fusion reactors and magnetic sail "poles".  The cylinders behind those contain the IPV's hydrogen propellants.  Next, there are two docking rings, capable of transporting eight Heinlein rockets apiece.  Cargo pods are mounted beneath the rings.  The little spheres contain life support gases and lithium for the active radiators that are not shown in this model.  The exact center of the spacecraft is the primary habitat ring, which houses all the crew, medical facilities, offices, command and control elements, and food and exercise equipment.  I have also not pictured the avionics booms, connecting spars and...well 90% of the detail.  It's just a basic mesh; in February, when I will have my first IPV up for sale, it will be hand-drawn in all the detail of the other deckplans we put out.  I will use the model here to make a perspective drawing, if you're lucky...  

I know it looks like a space station, and that's for a good reason.  It is, a mobile command and control station capable of rapid response any where between the orbits of Terra and Mars.  How fast?  With constant boost, and an acceleration of 0.001g, It is twice as fast as the fastest spacecraft in existence today.  It only takes an IPV a mere 2.4 months to reach Mars orbital space from LEO, compared to 5 months via asteroid cycler.

     Space is really freaking big.

    To make sure everyone has the same mental picture of how one of these things flies, I made this handy diagram of the magnetic sail in relation to the IPV:

     For those who are unfamiliar with how a magnetosphere looks, The stubby end is the one facing the sun; the ship is traveling to the right.  It is safe to fly in any orientation except parallel to it's long axis; the poles are vulnerable to damage from debris.  The fun part is that there will be auroras around the fusion plants, just like there are in Alaska and Australia.

     These things are tough nuts to crack; just as Jon's Law shows that a Fusion Torch is the ultimate weapon, the Magnetic Sail is the ultimate shield.  Because it's designed to repel debris and stellar radiation, it can shrug off lasers, shrapnel, kinetic kill weapons and even nukes with relative ease.  The only theorized effect as of 2010 is that the sail will inflate and accelerate the IPV away from the attack.

     I assume that eventually, the sail will overload and shut down.  It will in The Black Desert at any rate; otherwise it would be a pretty pointless game.

     Tomorrow, we will arm our imaginary Space Wing and see what kind of trouble they can get into.  Have a good night!



  1. A quick nitpick on an otherwise cool design:

    magnetic fields don't affect electromagnetic radiation nor uncharged non-magnetic materials in significant ways.

    Thus lasers will still get through easily, as will most KKVs and nukes.

    But since most space radiation is particle radiation (charged stuff) it will work for it.

    As an aside, this thing may generate some antimatter if the field stays operational long enough. Look here ---> http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=1567

  2. It was my understanding that the ionized plasma suspended in the magnetic fields deflected the lasers. Part of the m2p2 system's design is the idea that laser installations can be used to boost the sail craft in the outer system and allow it to fly "against the wind" sun-ward.
    I did not know that about the antimatter; in fact, Albert, you may have solved a major problem I was having in developing a campaign arc. Thanks!

  3. Hmm. Does it have a fusion drive or some sort of high delta v drive for maneuvering under combat? I mean no fuel and next to no fuel are great but there are situations where I'll want to move and for that I need a reaction drive. Plus, in this setting they make a nifty weapon and a militarized drive would probably be a frightening thing to be on the receiving end of.

    Also, I thought M^2P^2 sail got a boost from particle beams, not lasers.

  4. IPVs are not themselves attack craft. They carry either a lot of laser/ kinetic missiles, or rockets that carry laser and kinetic missiles. The IPVs are fast transports that also function as ready-made forts once on station. They are too expensive to risk in direct offensives (not to mention they're your only ride home).

  5. Reminds me a whole lot of the Light Attack Craft Carriers in Honor Harrington.


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