Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Ion Cannon Control (Star Morphs A to Z Challenge)

There are a lot of good blogs out there taking the Challenge...
As the title says, "I" is for "Ion Cannon Control", but this map can really be used for any medium sized beam turret you setting supports.  The main thing I wanted to capture with this map is that for every beam emplacement you see on a ship's surface, there is a lot going on under the hull to make it work.  Let's take a look:

1. Outer Hull:  This is the dorsal surface of whatever starship you happen to be on.  If you are in this area without a vacc-suit, you are going to have a bad day.

2. Turret:  This is the generic double beam turret of your choice.  It's about ten meters in diameter (Suitable for Corvettes) and occupies about a hundred tons of liquid hydrogen displacement, for those of you who measure things that way.

3. Local Control Platform:  This is a raised section of the deck accessible by a pair of stairs with control consoles facing four large viewports that give a direct view of the turret beyond. When the turret is under local control, these stations can direct the turret's rotation and elevation, as well as its intensity.  Up to four crew can be stationed here, but only two or even one are necessary, especially if robots are monitoring the outside two consoles. A safety rail goes across the platform.

4. Catwalk: Higher up than the Control Platform is a maintenance catwalk that surrounds the compartment.  A pair of shallow stairs connect the platform to the catwalk, while a pair of steep stairs just inside the door go all the way to the main deck. A safety rail goes all the way around the catwalk.

5. Capacitors:  A half-dozen engine-grade power capacitors occupy most of the space on the main deck.  They reach floor to ceiling and have narrow catwalks that connect to the main maintenance catwalk.  The main catwalk's safety rails are gated to allow access to the capacitors.

6. Retractable walkway:  There are two pairs of these walkways that can be extended to connect the center capacitors with those on either side.  During normal operation, the walkways are extended for inspection and maintenance.  During combat, they are retracted to prevent static discharges across the capacitor banks.

7. Power Control:  A pair of monitor stations keep track of power fluctuations in the capacitors and help regulate the beam cannon's power output.  From these stations, power can be routed directly from the ship's main reactor or secondary reactors to the turret, bypassing the capacitor banks.  This turbo-charges the beam bay, at the risk of blowing out the optics or frying the delicate electronics.

For those of us who haven't studied up on how big naval guns operate, it is rare for any individual turret to be under local control in normal combat operations.  There is at the very least a central gun director tied into the main sensors that can aim every turret on the ship at a single target, or assign targets to the turrets.  This is far more precise than using local control and allows concentrated fire.  Some game system only allow up to ten or a dozen turrets to be fire linked by a single director, and some only allow weapons of a certain type to be linked, so there can be multiple gun director stations on a spacecraft.  Local control is seen as a last resort, when the gun director or main sensors are knocked out.  In this event, the turret's gun captain takes over, uses the turret's built-in sensors, and directs fire at the bridge's direction or at their own discretion, depending on how deep in the kacky they happen to be.

On that happy note, I wish you all a good day and look forward to more alphabetical goodness tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is wonderfully detailed. I called my son in here to check it out! Thanks for your A to Z post :)


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