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We can debate all day about if pirates flying XS cube ships with L Railguns have any class or not (spoiler: they don't, cubes are lame), but I think we can all agree that the current iteration of PvP has plenty of problems.

 

Current Problems:

  1. Lock-on range is only determined by core size
  2. Some weapons have ranges that are greater than the minimum Lock-on range
  3. Weapons have no/minimal accuracy falloff with increasing range
  4. Weapons have no/minimal accuracy loss for high transversal velocities and accelerations

 

My Proposed Solutions:

 

1: Lock on range needs to be based on different parameters.  The current meta of L guns on XS ships is problematic, since S and M ships (even if they also have L guns) are outranged and don't even get an opportunity to fight back.  I propose splitting lock-on into 4 separate "Radar" units:

  • Radar - lock-on range based on sum of ship's 3 cross-sections (already calculated, and doing it as a sum encourages non-cube ships)
  • Gravimetric - lock-on range based on ship's mass (already calculated, makes heavy ships easier to detect whether its cargo or armor)
  • Thermal - lock-on range based on magnitude of the ship's maximum thrust in newtons (already calculated, makes ships with lots of engines easier to detect)
  • Electromagnetic - lock-on range based on power capacity and shields (obviously only useful when/if those systems are added)

Balancing the ranges from the 4 methods will take some trial and error, but overall it would make detection more "fair" by adding more control handles for NQ to balance.

 

2+3: Weapons being able to shoot far is very reasonable, and is really a necessity for the BVR combat caused by the velocities of ships in space.  With the lock-on changes above, #2 becomes less of a problem.  However, just because your weapon CAN reach that far, doesn't mean it should have great accuracy at doing so.  Weapons should be able to fire when they are locked on, regardless of range (maybe missiles would be an exception to this), but should have accuracy falloff due to that range.  Additionally, lasers should have damage falloff with range.  I'd like to see the weapons rebalanced accordingly:

  • Railguns - high accuracy, low rof, moderate damage
  • Cannons - moderate accuracy, moderate rof, moderate damage
  • Lasers - high accuracy, high rof, damage falloff at range (low damage at long range, moderate damage at short range)
  • Missiles - moderate accuracy, low rof, hard cap range limited (high damage at short range)

 

4: Unless you are exactly in the target's flight path, you shouldn't be able to hit someone blazing past at 30k kph, aka "0.99c".  Accounting for transversal velocity forces pursuers to match velocities in order to have high hit chances, not just reduce the distance.  This means that weapons need a "tracking speed" property, so that some are better than others.  While tracking speed should vary by weapon type, it should primarily vary by weapon size so that Large weapons have low accuracy at high transversal velocities.  This solves the "the ultimate ship is the biggest ship covered in the most armor and cannons" problem, by making it hard for large weapons to target faster moving ships.  While that can be overcome by adding a ton of engines to make "the ultimate ship" accelerate like a fighter, it will also drastically increase their Thermal signature thus allowing smaller ships to plink them to death from out of range.  Additionally, if transversal acceleration and facing cross section were taken into account, small and quick ships like fighters would be harder to hit.

 

Now some of you are going to say "but SGCam, that sounds a lot like the combat mechanics in EVE."  And you are right, it does.  But as with many things in DU that take inspiration from EVE, Lock+Fire combat is one of them.  That system overall works pretty well for EVE, and the more granular and customizable nature of DU means that it can be even more effective here.  I'm also looking forward to warp interdiction and tackling, but that would be a whole other post.

 

Overall, the more complex the mechanics, the less all-around advantage "meta" builds have.  They may be powerful in certain situations, and that's ok - as long as they are weaker elsewhere due to their optimization.  Adding tradeoffs opens up the design space for more varied and interesting PvP, and will hopefully prevent us from playing "Cube Gank Squad 2020" going forward.

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Good post. My only hope is that they take their time to implement the signature size from cross-section deal, everything else is just balancing from existing mechanics standpoint.

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17 hours ago, SGCam said:

maximum thrust in newtons

Make that 'current' thrust. If they've been coasting in space for a while, engines cold, they'll have a much smaller thermal signature than if actively burning. 

 

  

17 hours ago, SGCam said:

it should primarily vary by weapon size so that Large weapons have low accuracy at high transversal velocities

I think this should be modified by the target's vector change. If a target is traveling in a straight line with no vector changes, it should be a matter of relative simplicity to hit it regardless of speed or size.

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16 hours ago, Emptiness said:

Make that 'current' thrust. If they've been coasting in space for a while, engines cold, they'll have a much smaller thermal signature than if actively burning. 

That would be the ideal situation, but I was trying to keep them from having to recalculate things on the fly.  Particularly since people have scripts that can toggle thrust pretty rapidly.

 

16 hours ago, Emptiness said:

I think this should be modified by the target's vector change. If a target is traveling in a straight line with no vector changes, it should be a matter of relative simplicity to hit it regardless of speed or size.

A vector change would be an acceleration, which should be the primary cause of accuracy reduction.  Still, someone with a high transversal velocity relative to you would force your turrets to rotate to hit them, and there is a limit to how fast a turret can do that.  If they are flying directly towards or away from you, hitting them should be relatively easy.

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Dear all,

 

1:

I suggest these four systems not to be exclusive but complementary.

Each would measure quantities of information on the target. 

Enough information allows us to calculate its distance, velocity, and acceleration.

That is lock-on when you have them as it will allow you to fire were the target will be based on recent measurements.

Of course, a target can change course during the time of flight of your ordinance, that is acceleration.

 

If you are going to the radar cross-section, you can consider the whole link budget https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_budget.

That is still spreadsheet level (first rough estimation) calculations after all.

It would consider the radar emitted power (after antenna gain), distance, reflected power (that where cross-section impact), return distance, reception gain.

The advantage of bigger vessels is to emit more power and have a bigger antenna array (that is better antenna gain).

Meanwhile, the advantage of a smaller vessel would be the lower cross-section.

 

That is for radar, where you illuminate the target.

But on the thermal side, you have to look at the emitted power (EM radiation) from the target exhaust flare, return distance, reception gain.

 

After that, you can do an exciting thing if you suppose you have excellent thermal isolation that allows you to survive in a minimally powered, cold vessel.

Then you are cold (not emitting power), stealthy (low cross-section, you reflect little power).

Gravimetric detection will be useful to detect your hiding vessel.

However, a capital ship looking for you would be emitting power with its radar making it easy for you to see it in return.

 

Finally, it would be the ship designer choice to install all the four systems and spare the space for the antenna/telescope size (basically, a telescope is a reception antenna in the visible specter)

 

Please do not consider my following citation as publicity. I am not working for them, nor I believe them competitive to Dual.

To acquire insight into targeting mechanism, I would recommend the following simulation game.

Spoiler

"ultimate admiral: dreadnoughts"


3:
In ballistics, nothing fire in line, everything fire in a cone.
Even if a cone is very narrow, the precision naturally degrades in distance square (imagine a more extended cone that keeps constant its angle).
It is different, but similar to the laser that sent the light over the whole cone.
Thus, the laser focuses the EM power on a small surface at close range, enough to do thermal damage.
A long-distance, the laser spray the light over square meters and become virtually a, not even warm spotlight.
 
 To acquire insight into realistic space combat, I would recommend the following simulation game.

 
 
 
Spoiler

"The children of dead earth"

 

All of it is still at the spreadsheet level.
 
Best regards,

 

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#BorgNotBoring !

If your cubes look like borg cubes: Not boring. If your cubes look like boring blah cubes: Boring.

Edit:  I guess I should provide my thoughts on the PvP thing.

For the XS ship vs S and M ships,  have the S and M ships slammed on the breaks when they get a normie blah cube coming after them?  It shortens the time between the XS cube pounding on them and the time  that they get to fight back, I believe.  It also, since a lot of these ships are rocking Railguns, reduces the effectiveness of their meta systems so that you might have a fighting chance.

Edited by Seether
I didn't add anything of substance to the discussion.

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1 hour ago, Seether said:

#BorgNotBoring !

If your cubes look like borg cubes: Not boring. If your cubes look like boring blah cubes: Boring.

I could live with good looking borg cubes.  But that's not where the meta is at, unfortunately.

 

1 hour ago, Seether said:

For the XS ship vs S and M ships,  have the S and M ships slammed on the breaks when they get a normie blah cube coming after them?  It shortens the time between the XS cube pounding on them and the time  that they get to fight back, I believe.  It also, since a lot of these ships are rocking Railguns, reduces the effectiveness of their meta systems so that you might have a fighting chance.

That is definitely a good strategy for closing the gap in some situations.  Personally I think its a little backwards that large ships need close the gap to smaller ships.  Though to discuss that: once you have determined that you can't escape an aggressor who has a range advantage over you, you should accelerate towards them to minimize their range advantage.  It also helps, because to then stay in range of you they need to turn to use their engines, thus making it so they can't fire railguns at you.  Its most effective when using retros (space brakes), but unfortunately that only works if your pursuer is directly behind you and on the same vector. 

 

Overall, if they have both a range and acceleration advantage over you, you are screwed.  The question is only how screwed.  Realistically the answer is "very", but you should still get at least some chance to fight back.

 

@Myrias I am a big fan of Children of a Dead Earth - such an amazing true-physics space combat game.  I think lot of the stuff you mentioned would be great for a simulator, but doesn't make a lot of sense for an online multiplayer game due to complexity and computational loading.

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