In regards to energy weapons, I'm pretty sure that just about any energy beam would be invisible. Even bolts of electricity are only visible due to the super-heating of the atmosphere. In space, there'd be nothing for it to superheat. Same goes for any other energy or even small matter stream: with no air particles to heat up, bounce off of, or react with, there'd be no visible effects regardless of what the energy was. Something would have to be sent along with it to make it visible, since otherwise there'd be no reason for the particles to emit photons to make it visible. Of course, I'm no physics major either...
The trails of modern-day Ion Engines like the ones used on NASA's Dawn
probe and the Japanese Hayabusa
spacecraft are supposed to release a faintly glowing bluish trail from their thrusters.
I'd expect particle beam weapons to do so too. Sufficiently energetic electron or ion beams ought to at least have a faint glow.
I'll have to look up this whole Delta-V thing though. www.projectrho.com/rocket
The one-stop-shop for all your realistic Sci-Fi needs.
Delta-V is simply a fancy term for a change in velocity.
Also, point defenses are great. Actually, I'd go so far as to say that, from a realism standpoint, the point defenses in BF are very INaccurate. Even modern point defense and anti-air guns are pinpoint accurate. Despite what entertainment shows us, you do NOT outmaneuver automated AA turrets. They shoot you, unless they're malfunctioning.
No, you can modify your PD weapons to be more accurate if you want. And point beams are fail-proof dead-on accurate.
And controlling speeds does kinda make sense since if they do want to go particularly far or fast, they can just use their hyperspace jump things. Though it doesn't explain the logic behind making your biggest and most powerful and probably most useful ships the slowest. Besides game balancing that is.
Bigger ships means more mass. More mass means more inertia, and more force needed to accelerate, decelerate and turn. More force calls for more energy to be used, more reaction mass to be spent.
If your dreadnought and your cruiser have equal maneuvering fuel, you will need the dreadnought to be slower and less agile. On the other hand, if you do cram proportionally more fuel into the dreadnought, both can have similar performance.
Small, fast, agile starfighters, though, are outright unrealistic.
This is, as far as I am aware, correct. In space, all light based weapons would be invisible. When they hit a hull, though, you would get a very bright burst of light of the same color light the beam is made out of, assuming the beam is in the visible spectrum. You'd also get a good bang, though only audible to the crew of the receiving ship. You might be able to see plasma weapons, as they are matter (ionized gas), but known science states that plasma weapons are, by their very nature, not possible. The plasma would just dissipate into space. I can't speak for the visibility of particle beams. I doubt they'd be visible, but I really don't know. They would be more powerful than lasers, but the individual particles tend to repel themselves, causing the beam to widen fairly quickly, rendering it all but useless. This gives it a shorter range.
For lasers, the beam would be invisible, but the burst of light and jet of expelled mass upon impact would be visible.
Plasma weapons would be akin to guns that shoot steam. You could do it, it would just be really, really dumb.
Particle beams would pack more punch than lasers, but would have shorter range due to electrostatic repulsion or neutralization defocusing.
Basically, if your hypervelocity ballistics and unguided rocketry have range 10000(limited by the quality of your targeting computer and sensors), your missiles would have something like range 4000(limited by onboard fuel for maneuvers), your invisible lasers would have range 700-800 and your particle beams would have range 300-400.
Some kind of plasma weapon might work out if the ionized gas is contained by some magnetic field, which is generated by a solid core. So really you'd be firing a projectile that generates a magnetic field and is surrounded by plasma. Of course, this weapon would only be reasonable if the plasma were far more damaging than more conventional weapons.
You could make your plasma weapons, yes, but as I have already said, just about everything else would work better and do more damage for the amount of energy spent.
I never actually fleshed it out, but the conceptualization for the graphical style of the game is that it's an enhanced image that is displayed on the tactical display in the CIC of your flagship. This accounts for beams and the glowy ships. Also it's plausible that the tactical display compresses distances into a useful representation, since Newtonian motion has very little meaning if not taken in relation to other moving objects.
You mean, like the radar screen in an AWACS plane, showing all friendly and enemy aircraft and missiles in the area? But with spiffy special effects?