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Thread: What is combat going to be like?

  1. #31
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    Feb 2017
    Up close and personal is probably not going to describe realistic future space combat.
    Nor are missions likely be identified, decided upon and executed all by one small vessel.

    But I believe it is going to describe (elements of) the game.

  2. #32
    I am kinda thinking that if this game works out how we hope, it will teach us what a space battle might be like. This is, ideally, a simulation. Let it do what simulations are supposed to do. IE. depict a hypothetical outcome based upon as much factual information as you have.

    There won't be space fighters bothering to match an orbit with another space fighter just so the two can dogfight at relative speeds and trajectories....But if some asteroid gets carved into a space station I can see attacking and defending space craft matching the orbit of that asteroid.

    Most of the "No dogfights in space" crowd make excellent observations about the complexities of space ware-fare but drastically under-appreciate the complexity of terrestrial areal ware-fare. Even underestimate the purpose of Aerial warfare. Not trying to single anyone out but "In General" that is my observation.

    The biggest fault is that dogfights don't exist in modern ware-fare and they didn't really exist in WWII either. They happened, sure, but they were not something people planned for. If they are rare in terrestrial aerial ware-fare there is no doubt they will be more rare in space.

    The F22 Raptor is built with the capability to dog fight and shoot down other fighters. If it does shoot down an enemy fighter it will most likely do that BVR. That said its real job is to shoot down attack planes and bombers. Again this will most likely be done BVR. Yes it "can" dogfight but I challenge you to find a modern combat pilot who actually has been in a dogfight. The real job of an air-force is to destroy ground targets. IE. Bombers and Attack planes. They do this because only an Army can take and hold assets. So no matter how fancy an Air-force gets it will always be a support role.

    So instead of getting bogged down in never ending debates between guys with lots of space knowledge poo pooing the guys who want to play a fun game I think we should approach it as a simulation. That means start with the real objective. In a war that spans a solar system no side will give a rip if you shoot down the others ships. It is about controlling habitable real estate and resources. Maybe it is a colony on a habitable moon orbiting a gas giant, maybe an asteroid that acts as a base of operation for nearby asteroid mining, Or a space station that manages a fleet of drones that suck Helium 3 from a planets atmosphere. That is the stuff you want. That is what you would fight for. Start with strategies to take control of or blow up those assets. Build ships to do those jobs. Then if opposing ships happen to come across each other and try to blow each other up then let the simulation determine how that might best be done.

    Aerial warfare did not develop because someone thought a dogfight would be cool. It started more like the fable of the old lady who swallowed a spider, then swallowed a mouse to catch the spider. IE. They built a plane to recon for artillery, then a plane to be artillery, then someone decided to shoot down that plane with another plane. Ground units developed defense against those planes. Planes developed deference against ground targets.

    Space will develop very differently but the underlying motivation for the development will be the same. How do I capture or kill a colony, space station, ect. How do we defend against that. And so on. Who knows were it will really get to but don't ever forget the objective. You want to control livable real estate in the solar system.

    In short, I think debates about how a dogfight will never happen in space are just putting the cart before the horse. Create a believable simulation, then create realistic objectives, then build ships to meet those objectives. Then just play the game and see what happens

  3. #33
    Not to sound pedantic but the "No dogfight" observation come from mind experiment AND CALCULATION that are often more receivable than a Simulation, SIM tend to be limited to specific context, closed & isolated systems (ex: self contained spacecraft rather than a hive-fleet) and suffer a lack of large scale infrastructure/political considerations.

    You'd first have to predict the motive & drive to know whether or not we do thing the cheapest/short term way or the costliest/long term way.
    Just whether or not we will even have Planet-based Colonies rather than Space-based one is hard to predict (planet are overrated once you have self-sufficient space-station), and it all goes to hell trying to predict new technology and which one is more efficient. Space-shuttle or Reusable rocket ? Surface-to-Orbit spacecraft as the main means of transportation or Launch loop ? Space-Elevator, Orbital Ring that might be easier to design or SPACE-TETHER that can turn out to beat everything ?

    Speaking of capturing resources, the Kessler syndrome can single-handily nullify "conventional warfare" between civilized enemies, or allow an easy bloodbath if Space-Hitler want genocide. The threat alone of someone cutting all access to space could lead never use planet-based or even orbit-based colony (opposed to cluster of life around asteroids who do not care that much about debris)

    What I am getting at is that a simulation will more or less be entirely fictional until reality catch up and we discovers how wrong our simulation was.

    To give you an example : "Children of a Dead Earth" this game/simulation pretty much cover the simulation part, but it also set the context after the destruction of Earth as (I'm assuming here) to limit technological evolution while enforcing presence of large population in space. As a simulation it is also limited in system integration and how intelligent the human-player is to make his tactics and manage the ships.
    As a result : despite its realism, we cannot take for granted any of the design used and the mechanics of the game prevent tactic too out-of-the-box (ex : warship-do-all versus hive-fleet built around absolute specialization for redundancy).

    I could also use the F-22 (soon the F-35) as example. The F-22 was built for a job but turned out to have no enemy to fight, the soviet were crumbling and by the time new threat rose (be it terrorism, social warfare, cyber warfare or the YELLOW MENACE!) the F-22 is now completely outdated, still ridiculously expensive, it's stealth now massively-overrated, and incapable of using network-based solution because it would defeat its stealth. (and I don't tell you about the F-35 aka the WORST FIGHTER ever built by the US)

    Simulation can validate or invalidate some ideas. But it cannot validate a setting.
    Also it cannot come before debate, because in the making of your simulation you will debate over what to simulate and how (it will only be accurate up to the black-box we disagree on).

  4. #34
    I think you are talking past me a bit. Your grammar and punctuation make it difficult to say for sure so apologies if I have misread your post.

    I am saying we should be thinking about what space combat might be like instead of focussing on what it won't be like. Sure it is a simulation and we need a LOT of conjecture to imagine what it could be like. We also, for now at least, will need to make a lot of concessions in order to have a playable game. (ie. Drives that get us from one side of a Solar System to another in hours instead of months and years) And finally...People 300 years from now might look back on Rogue System and its dedicated players and laugh at us just like we laugh at Georges Méliès "A Trip To The Moon." But hey...Even Georges got a few things right

    Here is my big rant, though. I think "Dogfights is Space" is a cheap and easy target. It allows people to flex their science "know it all" brain to seem like a big fish in a small pond. (Again not pointing a finger at any individual here because I can never know anyone's true intention.) Furthermore, I hear a lot of good questions from people on many space game forums get sidestepped by the Space Intelligentsia. A question about space combat comes up and instead of answering the question actually asked, they like to respond as if the inquisitive was advocating for a space dogfight. So let me be clear, I am not advocating for "Dogfights in Space." I am saying that "Most" science minded people who jump on the soap box against "Space Dogfights," in Film or in games, have shown little understanding of the complexity or terrestrial combat. I have seen the following arguments on different sci-fi blogs.

    No Space Dogfights because: Lasers travel at the speed of light so you couldn't dodge them anyway. Fallacy: A bullet, compared to a WWI Bi-plane is effectively a LASER!!! Indeed, modern jets still can't "dodge" bullets. With radar guided pippers, if your opponent gets his pipper on target, you are dead. No pilot has ever dodged a bullet. They just dodge the guy trying to put those bullets on target.

    No Space Dogfights because: No stealth in space! Fallacy: WTF!! Ask a Thud driver who spent 6 years in the Hanoi Hilton how well "Stealth" worked out for him. Radar was around in the late 30s and the first operational use of a stealth plane was the early 90s. That is 50 years of air combat where the other side knew you were coming. Sure you can fly low in a terrestrial environment and that will hide some sins but since the invention of radar the "Wild Weasel" has, and continues to be, the most effective tool against detection. Actually, Wild Weasel doesn't really even hide so much as it blinds.

    No Space Dogfight because: Space fighters don't need to bank to turn. Fallacy: err...none actually LOL But depending on how advanced G-suites get it is conceivable that you might WANT to bank. The most common illustration of "stupid sci-fi space physics heresy" is the infamous scene from Star Wars where the X-wings roll over and dive on the death star. Here is the funny part. That scene was copied almost frame for frame from footage of Dauntless dive bombers rolling over to attack an aircraft carrier. Here is the catch. The Dauntless is perfectly capable of diving on the target without rolling over first. The reason rolling over was the procedure of the day was because pilots can handle more positive than negative Gs. So the craft (space or terrestrial) might not need to bank but in a high-G maneuver but you might want to.

    Now try this one because I think it is a MUCH more accurate argument. No Dogfights in Space because(drum roll) Dogfights are a MYTH!!!! WWI probably saw more dogfights than any other war and that is probably because planes were flying relatively slow and pilots were still sort of figuring out this new mode of combat. But even then the guys who started to "Get it," quickly started shying away from Dogfights. Read Dicta Boelke. The closest advice he offers to recommend a dogfight is to turn into your attacker if you find yourself on the defensive. Other than that it is get high, get fast, attack from a dive, and fly to safety.

    We advance to WWII: The to planes that set themselves apart as great dogfighters were the Spitfire and the Zero. They were fantastic dogfighters early in the war but their usefulness faded fast. Almost every other "Great fighter" of that war was was a "THUG!" They had plenty of power, moved fast, and attacked from a dive. A Tactic that became known as "Boom and Zoom." The Dora, the Corsair, the Hell Cat. Lots of power and lots of punch but they did not necessarily do it with grace. Consider this, Erich Hartmann's motto was "See-Decide-Attack-Reverse." Unless it was clear he still had an advantage he broke off the attack and went home after one pass.

    Vietnam: We do see a resurgence in dogfights in Vietnam. This actually led to the creation of Top Gun and Red Flag. What caused this, ironically, was the belief that the era of Dogfights had passed with the invention of heat seeking and radar guided missiles. It was the US Air Forces own reliance on this technology that led to overconfidence(no gun on the F-4 Phantom.) Ironically the missiles were only 1/2 the problem. The bigger issue was the lack of reliable IFF(Identify Friend or Foe) technology. This led to the Airforce requiring a visual tally before firing on the opponent. Thus, they inadvertently put themselves in positions to allow the nimble Mig 21 to dogfight on its terms.

    Modern day: Now we DO have reliable IFF technology and it may be this, coupled with radar missiles, that has finally put the nail in the dogfight myth. Learning to dogfight is still a skill modern pilots practice but, to my knowledge, the last pilot to go "Guns" on another aircraft was an A-10 pilot downing a helicopter in the Gulf War.

    Conclusion: So if the dogfight is already all but extinct then why use it as a foil in arguments about future combat in space? If the bigger argument is that space is just too complex to have any kind of combat in...well Rogue System is not the game for you. It is an expressed part of what this game is about. If you think a space simulator should just be about modifying ships and flying around a solar system...maybe delivering some cargo while you are at it...that is cool. Unfortunately, that game already exists and is called Kerbal Space Program. If you are interested in Rogue System then spend some time thinking about what space combat might be like instead of creating a mythical foil that no longer exists in modern terrestrial combat. You might as well be spending your time finding scientific reasons why two knights riding warhorses in a joust is totally "unrealistic" in space. In short...the answer is "DUH!"

  5. #35
    I think I see what you are coming to.
    Once again, that website have a much better answer than me.

    My take :
    The realm of possibility is infinite. You could justify flesh&blood dragon-riding sword battle in a futuristic DIAMOND-HARD SF setting if you wanted to, Myself I've got stories project up the wazoo with kingdom(corporation) fighting(incapacitating) enemy(competitor) with infantry(colorful mech) line battle(repurposed mining equipment needing power cable) or that other one I hinted at: short-range space-fighter being used to neutralize & take control of gigantic station with necessarily weak weapons (aimed manually because computer can't know what is too risky to destroy).

    So it lead nowhere to suppose that everything is possible, it would just be fantasy.
    Good predictions and speculative fiction are made by eliminating the impossible, zigzagging between the unlikely and studying the road until you have mapped what's credible and work with it.

    Sure "NO DOGFIGHT IN SPACE" is heard way too often, but that's because 'normal' people take their lessons from Starwars, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse, Cold War...etc. So you have to explain the basics first (even here)
    If I only told someone what space-warfare can be in broad positive terms, he'll easily imagine another single-seat multipurpose space-fighters, and call it real just because his wingless-F22 in space do strafe in 3 dimension, using ridiculously efficient engine, and radiator to redirect heat away to be stealthy (DUH!).
    But we already have too many of those.
    Last week I learned about this Kickstarter : STARFIGHTER INC. Who boast about "realistic space-fighter possible in the next 200 years". I'll let you judge but I myself call bull****, it's just another space-game trying to hype itself using weak terminology void of real meaning.

    So yes, it's agreeable to discuss what space warfare "might" be. But until you meet a peer who can school you, you'll still have to explain "dogfight in space isn't like you imagine it" for as long as it take for your interlocutor to catch up with the level of realism you want(or stop twisting the words to keep his fantasy possible) and then discuss what it might be assuming this setting.

    In our case ROGUE SYSTEM only have a few rules we assume to be followed (including a cheat drive to travel fast), but if the developer tried to cater to every sort of combat that people think is possible we will run into logical inconsistency and unintended consequences. (ex: if you want engine ridiculously efficient and powerful to make long duration dodging possible, then they become plasma weapons and space travel become too easy)

    Some choices will be needed, meaning things you can't do anymore.

  6. #36
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    Feb 2017
    My take:
    It is reasonable to assume that gameplay will expand upon existing strong points in the game, which are for instance:
    * interplay of systems/sub systems.
    * Produce and consume :
    1 energy,
    2 life support,
    3 propulsion.
    4 other consumables.
    * Making due with a degraded ship.
    * Using these skills offensively. Whether direct (eg weapons targeting, sabotage) or indirectly through denying access to consumables/parts.

    I also expect you to gather information, assess the strategic situation, decide tactical options and execute them all from your one avatar. Even though it's unlikely that a CEO/general would put himself in harms way like that.
    Even though it's unlikely that a small ship hit by a futuristic weapon would survive and be possible to field repair, I assume it is going into the game.

    The skills that you acquire as an engineer should somehow be made relevant to succeed in multiple aspects of the game.
    So, to me it's a question of deciding upon what realism exemptions are needed to make the desired game experience happen. Realism is certainly a priority, but not at the expense of everything else. The law of diminishing returns applies.
    I started the thread because the weapons demo I saw on youtube (point your cross hairs at an enemy and fire) made little sense considering the challenges of rendezvousing with a stationary target.

  7. #37
    Yeah I hope for something like you describe, Tormod. Frankly, in simulated combat the weapons management of BVR systems is definitely rewarding. Just ask any DCS player.Now I am going to post something and I know it could be a target for people who will just want to drudge up technicalities about "How it will never be like that." I am not posting this to say Rogue system will be like this but just to illustrate how exciting weapons management can be. This is a real terrestrial scenario but, except for about the last 30 seconds' this is not a "Dog Fight."(ignore the Youtube title they don't know what they are really talking about) Instead this is a lot of jockeying for position, guys trying to lock up an enemy before they lock you up, an communications between your coordinating parties. The guy you hear most in this will be the RIO of a flight of F-14s who is the tactical lead in this scenario. RIOs and WSOs have ironically been the unsung heroes of Air to Air combat for probably the last 30 years. While Rogue system might not evolve into a lot of "Dogfights," being quick and efficient with weapons management and communication with cooperative participants could definitely create a challenging and rewarding environment. It won't be quite like this but this can serve as a hint.

  8. #38
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    Feb 2017
    Indeed, jockeying for range, LOS, gravity well positioning etc in a BVR battle is certainly something that RogueSys invites to and that you have some control over in the current implementation. Myself, I would probably need a more kerbal interface in order to leverage such factors for tactical gains.
    I would also think that energy economy should be a factor. Ie, a reason to shut systems down. But currently I can't think of anything other than affecting the chance of enemy detecting you and/or them achieving an optimal target solution. I myself think it would be worth the tradeoff, but sensor dampening, cloaking and such may be too sci-fi for RogueSys if it stays true to the mission statement about realism.

  9. #39
    Jockeying ? Don't rise your hope too high, considering the real amount of time and fuel it would take to position yourself it would be slow and more withing the realm of tactics than combat maneuvers, worsened if a means of FTL travel nullify orbital parameter advantage.

    Speaking of energy economy however... you do have a way : "The Expanse", railgun, they needed the power and so they cut anything not essential.
    The show is still taking liberties with physics, ridiculously powerful engines and the help of convenient timeskip.

    But off with the realism, how do you keep some fun along some realism ?
    What think to be the best things "Rogue System" can capitalize on is not a pure spec and maneuvers battle but more a management and damage-control one. Winning mean little if the enemy already had a good shot at your thruster and stranded you forever.

    I mean management as in : "even if your 'tactics' is nothing more than getting in range on autopilot, shooting on autopilot, 'dodging' on autopilot, you'll be making sure everything operate at peak efficiency when it need to.
    - Fuel management, ideally you don't want to have to use your engines unless you need to.
    - Optimal firing solution would realistically not be a question of detection but it will be limited by weapons precision and relative velocity, you need to plan your braking burn so you can still look at your target and present your "most armored" side for all it count (keeping the fragile radiator stowed will help).
    - Power management, you have to power your most fancy weapons, and do you really need the main thruster ?
    - Ammo management, your mass is precious and you have a lot of travel, do you use all your missiles/shells on this drones or do you play it cheap in case of sudden DEATH STAR ?

    But what about moving ?
    - Dodging can still be a thing, up to said optimal weapon range at least, no Itano circus against missiles but you can still destroy them if you can manage to keep your turret oriented in its direction. As such, overwhelming an enemy can be as likely as keeping the missile out of range until they can come faster than a ship can afford to.
    - (rambling bout it again) Sufficiently big & important space-station that both side wish to keep intact can give you a call for "DOGFIGHT", at least if you redefine it as "using the station/asteroid as shield and inflicting thousand laser-papercut attack upon your enemies. The station occupant might not be pleased and yell at you on the radio.

    Detection ?
    - You'll have no problem seeing anything at combat range but the context is important. FTL travel mean light-lag beyond interplanetary range. Sharing data between FTL spaceship can be important.
    - As a corollary once you teleport in you'll have little time to understand the situation (there you have your reason to move)
    - Stealth and cloak is unrealistic, but as said fictional FTL travel also double as such, FTL/Jump/warp is one of the easiest and most accepted SF way to reduce engagement range in a "surprise attack".

    Daydreaming I imagine grabbing a piece of debris with the ship canadarms to use as a makeshift ablative shield (with the opening of Outlaw Star running in the background)
    Realistically I'll be happy if Rogue System meet the non-combat goals of travel, cargo, basic upkeep without relying on overused game mechanics.

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