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Thread: Realistic Space Combat Resources

  1. #1
    Newer Member Crazy Tom's Avatar
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    Sep 2015

    Realistic Space Combat Resources

    The realistic space combat community seems to be rather small, so I was surprised when I found no mention on this forum of a few websites that I'd thought to be almost universally known.

    With that in mind, here's my first take on some useful links.

    Rocketpunk Manifesto has some insightful discussions (read the comments section if you have the time) on the topic of space combat. A lot of it presents some facts that are rather hostile to Rogue System's basic premise of space fighters, but I would encourage people to read them all (if you have the time) with an eye towards 'How can we make this work in RS?".

    Space Warfare I - The Gravity Well
    Space Warfare II - Stealth Reconsidered
    Space Warfare III - 'Warships' In Space?
    Space Warfare IV - Mobility
    Space Warfare V - Laser Weapons
    Space Warfare VI - Kinetics, Part 1
    Space Warfare VII - Kinetics, Part 2
    Space Warfare IX - Could Everything We Know Be Wrong?
    Space Warfare X - Moving Targets
    Space Warfare XI - La Zona Fronteriza
    Space Warfare XII - Surface Warfare
    Space Warfare XIII - Human Factor
    Space Warfare XIV - Things As They Ought To Be
    Space Warfare XV - Further Reflections on Laserstars
    Space Warfare XVI - Origins and Scratch Forces
    Space Warfare XVI - A Blockade In SPAAAACE!

    And a neat two partner on Lasers vs. Kinetics
    Battle of the Spherical War Cows: Purple Vs Green
    Further Battles of the Spherical War Cows

    And another on on Fighters:
    Space Fighters, Not
    Space Fighters, Reconsidered?

    Then we have the incredibly thorough, and well illustrated Atomic Rockets website, which was once upon a time responsible for me falling in love with the entire space combat genre in the first place. It covers everything you ever wanted to know (and even more that you didn't know to ask) about every aspect of space exploration and combat, with an eye towards spacecraft design. Go read it now, it's totally worth it.

    Here are some choice pages from Atomic Rockets:
    Torchships - High, continuous acceleration vessels, brachiostrome equations for travel times.
    Reactionless Drives - The implications of something like a FLUX drive.
    Engine List - VASIMR isn't the only option.
    Astromilitary - How to make your own space navy.
    Conventional Space Weapons - Lasers, particle beams, missiles, mass drivers and more.
    Defenses - Armor, point defense, heat management, evasive maneuvers and some stuff on making force fields in a semi realistic manner.
    Art Gallery - So pretty, yet so scientifically accurate.
    Last edited by Crazy Tom; 09-08-15 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Newer Member Osric's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
    Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy
    Fantastic post! I've read articles over at in the past, but I hadn't come across rocketpunk manifesto's articles. Thanks for the link!

    EDIT: This should be stickied IMO!
    Last edited by Osric; 09-08-15 at 01:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Newer Member Crazy Tom's Avatar
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    Sep 2015
    Added choice pages for Atomic Rockets.

  4. #4
    Newer Member Hrusdik's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
    Very interesting reading

  5. #5
    Registered Cooper's Avatar
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    Feb 2016
    I have not read all the Atomic Rocket stuff yet but a few things from the Rocket Punk sort of made me cringe. It is not that he doesn't seem to understand the tricky details of an orbital fight so much as he seems to vastly underestimate the how complicated things already are here on Earth. I won't try to argue every point he makes because on the whole he has a lot of great points an ideas. Never the less a few things have nagged at me since I read them so I may as well air it out.

    Under his Gravity Well argument he made reference to the B-52 being used as a treetop bomber to avoid radar. For the most part that is rubbish. Yes it did fly treetop missions I am sure but the vast majority of B-52 combat sorties flown in the last 50 years has been from 50-60,000 feet. Did that make it vulnerable to radar? Sure! Indeed a good proportion of Hanoi Hilton residents were B-52 crew. The point is that in a post radar era the B-52 still found ways to contribute even at high altitudes. They did this most often by being flown on the heels of the "Wild Weasel." If the overall point of that article was to point out that ground based planets will have "Stealth" and "Space Invaders" will what? Stealth has been a technology we have only become accustomed to in the last 20 years or so. We only got our first taste of it in Gulf War 1. Still the vast majority of combat aircraft world wide are doing their missions without Stealth. Instead the Wild weasel(planes that basically seek to find, target, and destroy enemy radar and defense systems) has been flying point for aerial armadas for decades. A tactic less stealthy and more like a Wild Weasel may be exactly what Space Invaders might use. If that is the case then in some ways future space tactics and strategies might well resemble tactics that are already being slowly be phased out.

    Another point discarded, I believe in the same article, was the idea of "Nuking the planet from orbit and shooting it in the dark," and or the ever popular asteroid toss. This was discarded because you would end up destroying the resources you came to collect. My question....would it really? Think about it. If you are a species that figured out how to travel from one solar system to another you have probably already figured out long term life support needs. So what do you need with a life sustaining planet? Not to mention the fact that if you are coming from a completely different solar system you will likely need to terraform before you kick your feet up on a lawn chair for a backyard picnic. So what do you care about that flora and Fauna, even the atmosphere, of the planet you invade. You are likely there for long term resources like water or minerals, or even better real-estate(IE. a sun still 4 billion years from super nova). Nuclear winter on your newly concurred word is not a deterrent .

    The last point I just wanted to pipe up about was in his space fighters-Not. The one that really had me gobsmacked was that Laser weapons would negate any advantage of fighters because they "travel at the speed of light," and thus there is no way for a light maneuverable fighter to dodge them. It is true...a light maneuverable fighter can't dodge a laser. Guess what else they can't dodge? Bullets! There is no fighter airplane that has ever in the history of aerial warfare dodged a bullet. In the "relativity" of combat aviation a bullet is effectively the same as a laser. To be sure, at least with a laser you no longer need to lead your shot but we have had radar assisted pippers(gun sights) since the Korean war. So in a way, even pilots have not really had to lead their shots in about the last 66 years of combat aviation. Indeed pilots who have been "dodging" bullets with their fast maneuverable planes have actually been flying in such a way so that the opposing pilot(or turret gunner) was missing his shot. So lasers won't be making any vast improvements to the ability to shoot down small maneuverable craft. Instead what will matter is how well developed the overall weapons and targeting system becomes. Maybe there will be an AI operated turret system that can predict how a small fighter will maneuver and can also snap its turret around instantly? If that happens, what just negated the need for small and maneuverable fighters was not Lasers, but advanced targeting computing and machinery systems that move the turret itself. Once you have a turret that can instantly aim and fire at any object(regardless of how small) then the type of gun they stick on the thing is not important.

    So that was a short rant and not intended to totally scare you away from reading Rocketpunk's blogs and suggestions. Believe me from what I have read he is on point with a lot of topics regarding space warfare. It is definitely important reading if we are interested in writing "realistic" Sci Fi, or playing "realistic" Sci Fi games. I am mostly highlighting a few gross errors because it seems that a lot of thoughts on these topics do a valiant job at realism in the future but have an oversimplified view of "realism" in the past.
    Last edited by Cooper; 03-08-16 at 12:56 PM.

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