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 Post subject: Space is the Place
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:49 am 
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Okay, so. I really like this game. The current wave of bugs aside, it's probably the smoothest execution of an RTS game I've ever encountered. AND you can make custom ships, which with the new expanded catalog of parts and weapons should be even more fun. (especially for me, who likes ballistic weapons more than energy weapons)

So yeah, as far as the game elements goes, I have no real complaints. But whenever I'm playing, or designing a ship, the engineer/scientist within me can't help but start writhing in agony over this game's general handling of "space." I'm not exactly complaining or demanding changes mind you, since such changes would make the game too different. But I still can't help but to think about it.

As such, I've compiled a list of links containing articles (all from one of the greatest websites ever) that pretty much hit upon every strange depiction of space in Battleships Forever. Sure, BF doesn't do too awfully much that other SF pieces aren't guilty of, and some of you might find this all to be tl;dr. But others might find it interesting and informative, and it is for such curious folks that I have done this. So, without further adieu...

One that actually bothers me as far as gameplay goes:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... oidThicket

Some considerations for more realistic handling of space combat:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... ogfighting
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... utoffRange

Typical stuff, though we can just say the ships are purposefully slowing down or holding certain speeds:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... ceFriction

True, but I'd never change this in a game:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceIsNoisy

Can't really be avoided considering the nature of the game:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Two-DSpace

So, that's the list pretty much. Maybe somebody will enjoy it. Of course, one could very easily counter any one of these entries with either of these two concepts that pretty much every single thing in entertainment bows down to:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfFun

Though, I suppose there could be those that find realism cool and fun, so the issue is subjective.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:08 am 
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Location: "not here" would probably be accurate
"justified in video games under the Rule Of Fun and Acceptable Breaks From Reality. See also Short Range Long Range Weapon and Old School Dogfighting." (Exerpt from "Space Based Weapon Has Cut off Range")

Basically... you're right.
These are unrealistic
But... it would completely kill all the fun in this game to have "realistic" space battles.
So, I mean... I understand what you're saying, and you did do a good job of inserting conditions on your statements. However... I don't believe that there would be ANY way to change the game to better represent these things without removing what makes BSF... fun. If you can come up with specifics, I would be happy to hear them however.

edit: Also, as Arcalane pointed out, this game is about as scientifically realistic as... um... well, it's not.


Last edited by lightstriker on Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:18 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:09 am 
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inb4 Space is boring. ;o

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:10 am 
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I'd like to point out that the Tachyon weapons are some of the slowest-moving in the game, yet Tachyons themselves are particles that go faster than light, as I recall. ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:13 am 
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Oh, also, regarding spacefriction, BSF doesn't have it. ;o
Get yourself a ship with a thruster, set the thruster to shave all your thrust upon destruction, voila bouncing ball.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:15 am 
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Chiiro wrote:
Oh, also, regarding spacefriction, BSF doesn't have it. ;o


It does, so long as a ship has acceleration. The point is once you've started it should be incredibly hard to stop again unless you're very careful, I think.

Chiiro wrote:
Get yourself a ship with a thruster, set the thruster to shave all your thrust upon destruction, voila bouncing ball.


Only because the engine uses acceleration as deceleration. :P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:17 am 
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Arcalane wrote:
Only because the engine uses acceleration as deceleration. :P

Engine or no engine, the moral of the story is that without thrusters to stop you with you're a bouncing ball! =O

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:24 am 
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Chiiro wrote:
Arcalane wrote:
Only because the engine uses acceleration as deceleration. :P

Engine or no engine, the moral of the story is that without thrusters to stop you with you're a bouncing ball! =O


Without an acceleration value greater than 0, you mean. :P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:25 am 
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Arcalane wrote:
Chiiro wrote:
Arcalane wrote:
Only because the engine uses acceleration as deceleration. :P

Engine or no engine, the moral of the story is that without thrusters to stop you with you're a bouncing ball! =O


Without an acceleration value greater than 0, you mean. :P

sssssshhh ;3

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:46 am 
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Arguments for boring realism in the form of TV Tropes links.. give me a break. Convincing intertia on moving ships would make stuff look a lot better, though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:32 am 
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Yea, that was ironic, arguments for realism coming from a TVtropes website.

Shall we start arguing about the relative power of a Star Destroyer's turbolaser based on that scene where it shoots an asteroid? Was it a heavy nickel-metal asteroid? Was it a foam asteroid on a set? Is a Star Trek phaser capable of that? THE MIND BOGGLES.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:56 am 
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[url=http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm120/darkling155/BFscreen01.jpg]I've borked all the rules of space in this magical sentence, thank you for you time. =)
[/url]


I would really hate to see a real real accurate BSF, it's just not BSF.





[yes, I am aware that I dug that picture up from the depths of hell in HOS (darkling)]<<<


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:51 am 
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th15 wrote:
Yea, that was ironic, arguments for realism coming from a TVtropes website.

Well, all the site is for is to point out the things we commonly see in entertainment. Rampant unrealism is certainly one of them. It's not like they're making this stuff up.

And I'd like to re-iterate the fact that I wasn't really suggesting changes in BF. Just trying to make some conversation.

Regarding space friction, I understand that if you set things up correctly in the editor you can have perfectly frictionless stuff. It's just that the vanilla content ships are portrayed as having "top speeds" and such. The article doesn't argue that there shouldn't be acceleration or deceleration. It just argues that there shouldn't be top speeds. I haven't tried it, but I guess you could probably do that by making a ship's top speed ridiculously high, but give it a reasonable rate of acceleration and deceleration. It seems like the ships in this game know how and when to slow down properly in order to stop at their destination. So what I figure would happen is that the ship would just constantly accelerate until it hit the midway point to its destination, and then start decelerating.

Of course, bigger heavier ships would accelerate more slowly, unless you decided that the thrusters were powerful enough to give as much acceleration as smaller ships would have. I guess how powerful the thrusters could be would depend on the nature of the technology behind it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:16 pm 
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There's no point arguing how it works when everything is dictated by the bits of numbers you input into the custom shipmaker. :roll: And the occasional meteor shower.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:29 pm 
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Darlos,

BSF, given it's immense customizability, is better at realism than many other space-based games I've seen. Just use the MST3K Mantra, or incorporate realism into your designs as much as you can(take help from here). Here's my take on things:


Energy Weapons:
Real lasers in space would be invisible - which would mean that all BSF beam weapons would have to be some form of particle beam. Electron beams and heavy ion beams to be more precise, since I doubt neutron beams would glow like that either.

Blasters, particle guns, pulse guns, etc would just be particle beams firing short bursts that appear as "projectiles" - though if you want to make them more realistic, they'd have to be damn friggin' fast projectiles, much faster than ballistics.

Of course, both ion/electron beams and "projectiles" would be short-ranged weapons, due to electrostatic repulsion or defocusing caused by neutralizing them.


Ballistic Weapons & Missiles:
The ballistic weapons are ok, though. Mass drivers(railguns and coilguns) firing kinetic slugs are realistic enough. Bigger guns would fire fast-moving, high-damage shots, while smaller guns(preferably on Gatling-style rotary assemblies) would fire faster, but their shots would be slower and less damaging. Explosion radii can be created by using slugs fitted with an internal explosive that causes them to disintegrate into high-velocity shrapnel, like the flak gun.

Missiles would be the most realistic stuff you get. Though the stylistic side-launching missiles seen on so many ship designs would have to go, due to obvious Delta-V considerations(unless, of course, your ship is a broadsider). Missile damage would be based on whatever you decide that you want as your warhead - nuclear fusion, antimatter annihilation, shaped charge, kinetic impact, kinetic fragmentation, your choice.
Unguided rockets(like the HV Rocket Launcher) would be cheap spammy weapons with a higher firing rate than missiles, but bad accuracy.

Ballistics and unguided rockets would have unlimited range due to the lack of substantial friction, which allows them to keep going with whatever kinetic energy they were imparted with. Missiles would have a long, but limited, range - limited by onboard fuel supply needed for maneuvering and tracking their targets.



Defenses:

Invincibility-inducing deflectors are pretty damn unrealistic - real shipboard electromagnetic fields or cold plasmas would only limit the damage caused, and only work against particular types of weapon.

Armor is ok. Armor is armor. Slabs of stuff you put on your ship that takes damage instead of your ship until it gets entirely blown off. Ablative armor, Whipple shields, composite laminates, plain old steel, etc. Whatever you want to call it.

Point defenses can be included in the weapons stuff above - the particle gun would fall under the particle-burst "projectile" section, the point beam would fall under the particle beams section, the flak cannon would fall under ballistics, and the PD rocket launcher would fall under unguided rocketry.

The Rorschach module would be a pod that emits a very strong electromagnetic field until it runs out of energy - a field that would be able to bend the charged electron/ion beams mentioned above.

The Nano Matrix could be justified to advanced hull-structure and armor design and/or advanced nanotechnology. High tech, though not impossible.

The Impeder... I dunno. It's unrealistic, plain and simple, like the deflectors.



Misc:

As for top speeds - those can be self-induced speed limits to conserve fuel for maneuvering, decelerating and other velocity-changing actions in the future. You don't want to waste fuel in space accelerating more than you need to.

For turning, you could use maneuvering thrusters or a thrust-vectoring system on your main engine. The thrust-vectoring would be less maneuverable, but maneuvering thrusters would be more vulnerable to destruction. A combination of the two would be the best, IMO.

For ship design, you would want to have all your weapons(except maybe for guided missiles) to be on rotating turrets, you would want armor around your ship's critical systems(like thrusters), and you would need big, unarmored, vulnerable radiators to get rid of waste heat in the insulator that is space. You could implement stylistic solar sails that double up as radiators, provided the sail section itself is fragile and has some armor in front of it to protect it.

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