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ship combat questions - 7/10/2015 2:06:13 PM   
ManticOre81

 

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Do we know how targets are assigned in group v group combat? LarryMonte in a Let's play comments that AI targeting prioritizes higher firepower ships. Has that been confirmed/tested??


What stat(s) determine if an opponent is "weaker" or "stronger" for purposes of combat strategy? Simple firepower, dps, mass, %mass devoted to weapons, weapons + shields, etc,???



I had an idea that if most designs default to weaker opponent: point blank then I could make one tough ship with max recharge shields/bots and maybe a few ion cannons (or maybe no weapons at all) and draw enemies and keep fire off my long range standoff ships. I guess if higher firepower draws the hate then it's harder to pull of a "tank" ship but I still like the concept. Does anyone have any design they use in a similar fashion, or advice on how I could make this idea a reality??

Post #: 1
RE: ship combat questions - 7/10/2015 5:17:34 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

What stat(s) determine if an opponent is "weaker" or "stronger" for purposes of combat strategy? Simple firepower, dps, mass, %mass devoted to weapons, weapons + shields, etc,???

According to the game manual, a ship is 'stronger' than another ship if it has at least 30% more firepower. I.e. if I have a ship with 100 firepower, then my ship will consider any opponent with 130+ firepower to be stronger and anything else to be weaker, and my 100 firepower ship will be considered a stronger opponent by ships with less than 77 firepower and a weaker opponent by anything with 77 or more firepower.

quote:

Do we know how targets are assigned in group v group combat?

Not as far as I am aware.

quote:

LarryMonte in a Let's play comments that AI targeting prioritizes higher firepower ships. Has that been confirmed/tested?

Not as far as I am aware, though it doesn't seem like an unreasonable assumption.

quote:

I had an idea that if most designs default to weaker opponent: point blank then I could make one tough ship with max recharge shields/bots and maybe a few ion cannons (or maybe no weapons at all) and draw enemies and keep fire off my long range standoff ships. I guess if higher firepower draws the hate then it's harder to pull of a "tank" ship but I still like the concept. Does anyone have any design they use in a similar fashion, or advice on how I could make this idea a reality?

Try using tractor or graviton beams on your close-range ship. Ships set to engage anything at point blank or all weapons should use any tractor beams they have to pull targets towards themselves, and graviton beams more or less hold targets in a fixed position relative to the ship firing the beam. Ion Cannons will help, but they don't have the ability to drag a target away from the ships you want to protect; tractor beams and, to a lesser extent, graviton beams have that ability (though be careful; they can also drag the target towards the ships you're trying to protect). I would further add that if you're planning to use a standard military ship role (Escort, Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, Capital), then you cannot make a weaponless ship; tractor beams, graviton beams, and ion cannons all count as weapons if I recall correctly (the only ones I'm not sure of are the tractor beams, as I've never tried designing an all-tractor beams ship), so if you include at least one of these on the design you should be fine.

As far as the long-range ship goes, make sure to give it a good turning rate and speed, or you might have some issues with ships having to get much closer to the things they're trying to run away from before they can get further away. Tractor beams could also be useful here; one of the patches a while back made it so that tractor beams are supposed to be used in a manner that tries to match the ship's engagement behavior, so ships which want to engage at standoff ranges should push approaching hostile targets away from themselves. Area Graviton Pulses or, better, Area Transient Singularities should also be useful in helping keep the range open.

I will also add that the standard engagement range against weaker opponents is 'all weapons,' not 'point blank,' unless you're using a mod.

(in reply to ManticOre81)
Post #: 2
RE: ship combat questions - 7/10/2015 7:41:29 PM   
ManticOre81

 

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Thanks for the response. I'm trying to improve (read: min/max) my game and this idea came to mind. Based on your experiences, do you think this idea is a worthwhile adventure toward that goal or more of an RP/flavor concept? I love the idea of combined arms but have had more luck simply spamming a few designs and building 5x (for me at least) what I think I'll need.


I can't seem to make my military ships all that effective and I'm at a loss. At even firepower or total weight in group battles I rarely win and then it is with heavy losses. I guess that means balance isn't as bad as some posts make it seem. Still I would like to be on the other side of this learning curve and have a better idea of my mistakes. When I'm get a free moment I'll post my better efforts if that's ok.

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 3
RE: ship combat questions - 7/11/2015 12:25:18 AM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

At even firepower or total weight in group battles I rarely win and then it is with heavy losses.

Do be aware that firepower and size are not particularly good indicators of the actual power of a fleet or weapon system. Firepower in particular is rather misleading, as a ship's firepower is simply the sum of the rated damage of each of its weapon components with no consideration given to rate of fire, making it more of a point-blank salvo damage potential metric than anything else.

My guess, without knowing anything about what your designs look like, is that you probably went too light on defenses, particularly shields. You might want to take a look at a computer empire's ships and get an idea of how many shield points each ship type has; if it's more than what your ships in the equivalent role had, that's probably a large part of the reason why your fleets are doing poorly.

quote:

Still I would like to be on the other side of this learning curve and have a better idea of my mistakes. When I'm get a free moment I'll post my better efforts if that's ok.

I don't see any particular issue with you posting your better (or, for that matter, worse) efforts. Do be aware that this forum requires you to make some minimum number of posts before you can provide links or embed images in posts.

It may also help you to take a look at the computer designs and experiment with variations of those initially, rather than making new designs from scratch until you're comfortable with your ability to create effective designs.

(in reply to ManticOre81)
Post #: 4
RE: ship combat questions - 7/11/2015 11:04:28 PM   
ManticOre81

 

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I guess have to start with tech levels. I pay off pirates until I get this design up and running. This is entry level for these techs.

5 Corvidian Shields (500 rating; 2nd upgrade target)
2 Energy Collectors
1 Basic Prox array
3 Basic Reactor's (1st upgrade target)
1 Command Center
3 Small Fuel Cell
3 Epsilon Torp
13 Ion Thrusters
4 Directional Thrusters
5 Hab/5Life
1 Gerax Drive

300 ton
Speed (energy required) ::: 3 impulse (6) ::: 22 Cruise (26) ::: 26 Sprint (52) ::: 12500 Hyper (78)
Accel: 4.7 /sec Turn: 10 degrees/sec
Range 2.76 sectors

125 Excess energy: takes 31 to fire all weapons and 1.5 for shield recharge
51 damage point blank, max range of 460 with garbage dps.



I'm not really sure what poor/average/good/great speeds are in these categories which may be part of my hang-up.

After 10-20 of these out (usually with Fission Reactors and then more/stronger shields) I'll start dropping pirate protections one at a time while I divert ransom to ship upkeep. Then the raids start and the losses force me to renegotiate the protection at a higher $$$ and lick my wounds. I thought the design was fairly solid for starting tech levels, maybe I'm simply too impatient and should try to do less in the early game. I seem to end up in a bind where even with creeping taxes too much % of my economy is spent on protection agreements and I am short on funds for exploration/mines/military ship (no troops at this point). It is probably worth mentioning at this point that I have tech trading disabled and the only races I've NOT struggled with thus far is Securan/Quameno/Ikkuro (really only tried bugs, these guys , and Haakonish in ~10-12 games total.)


Again I want to say thanks for your responses and please don't hold punches (I have thick skin and a deep appreciation for the critical mind).

(in reply to Aeson)
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RE: ship combat questions - 7/12/2015 12:51:57 AM   
Spidey


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Some general comments.

1) You don't have to maintain your premium subscription to the Pirates'R'Us newsletter. You can buy the mandatory monthly whenever their salespeople drop by and knock on your door, and then cancel once they leave. Sure, it will piss them off but so what? You're building to crush them anyway, aren't you?

2) Size 300 ships don't need energy collectors early game. When your size penalty is less harsh and you've got a lot more garrison ships then it's probably worth it but it isn't a priority in the early game when all you have is a dozen size 300 boats that are barely functional as warships.

3) Torps are great but fighting pirates with Epsilons is a bit of a tough cookie. Personally I prefer to take it a step further and get to Velo Shards before I try to fight them. I know some people prefer Shockwaves since they hit a lot harder, but Velo Shards outrange most other weapons, which keeps your fragile early game ships alive a lot longer, and they're also fast enough that most enemies can't just run out of their range. With Shockwaves, I often bash down enemy shields only to see them run away with minimal damage.

4) Proximity scanners are mostly useless. Don't waste size and energy on them early game. You'll need the initial tech to get to long range scanners, which are extremely awesome (particularly when you add them to your mining stations), but the proximity scanners themselves really don't do much of anything.

5) Basic space reactors are rather bad. If you're Quameno then make their special reactors a priority. If not then get to Fission 2 or Fusion 1. The amount of reactors you'll want on your ships is generally enough to cruise and shoot at the same time.

6) If you're using 5 habs / life sups for a size 300 ship then your high-tech priorities seem a bit off. Same thing if you're using small fuel cells. It's very tempting to jump right into some of the really cool branches but in my experience, there's a tremendous amount of "bang-for-buck" value in taking most of the tier 1 techs. Storage systems gives you normal fuel cells and cargo bays instead of matchbox versions. Crew systems is almost a 50% boost to habs / life system capacity. Medical systems and entertainment systems gives a nice happiness boost on colonies. Transport systems is something you'll need anyway to invade independents. Enhanced resource exploration makes your system exploration a lot faster.

7) 13 engines is on the low side. Torps are not the best point blank weapon so you'll generally want to be a bit faster than the enemy if you're relying on torps.

8) 3 epsies is not a lot of DPS and with cruise 22, your ships are about as fast and nimble as a hippo on land. To put it bluntly, they lack any competitive advantages. What happens in combat is that they engage the enemy at mid range, the enemy closes ground enough to get in range with their own weapons, and then your ships are unable to disengage because they simply aren't fast enough.

9) In terms of balance between weapons and defense, I tend to go with 5 velo shards, 5 basic shields, and 5-10 units of armor. Everything else is engines and maneuvering thrusters. My general line of thinking is that I don't need much shield if the enemy cannot actually get within firing range.

(in reply to ManticOre81)
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RE: ship combat questions - 7/12/2015 2:33:36 AM   
Aeson

 

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I agree with Spidey that some of your tech and design priorities seem a bit off. Your design has a static energy requirement of 13 (1 for each Hab Module, 1 for each Life Support Unit, 1 for the Proximity Array, and 2 for the Command Center), but you have 48 Energy Collection from two Energy Collectors. Dropping 1 Energy Collector will gain you 8 space for other things while leaving you with 24 Energy Collection, which at about twice the static requirement is more than sufficient to cover the static requirements from most points within a star system. Upgrading to even the first level of Fission Reactors will allow you to go from 3 Basic Space Reactors using 54 size units to 2 Fission Reactors consuming 44 size units, giving you another 10 size units to play with. Dropping the Proximity Array because it's not that useful saves you another 3 size units (and reduces your static requirements by 1, not that this matters that much). That's 21 additional size units to play around with; two fission reactors and a static requirement of 12 gives you 108 excess reactor output, more than sufficient for the ~85 you require for sprint + weapons. Toss 9 of this 21 size into armor and 12 into ion thrusters and you're left with a much more durable ship with a cruise speed of 26.

I don't really agree with Spidey that improving crew systems is all that much of a priority for you, though; going from 60 support size to 85 (or from 85 to 100 if you started at tech level 1 rather than prewarp/tech level 0) may look like a big improvement, but it's only going to save you 3 size units and reduce static requirements by 2 on a size-300 ship if you take only the minimum required number of hab modules and life support units, which is useful but not great. It would help if you wanted to uparmor your ship a bit or add an extra ion thruster to increase cruise from 26 to ~28 (at the cost of 3 armor plates for 6 remaining, or 3 size units somewhere else).

I would also strongly recommend Seeker or Concussion Missiles over Epsilon Torpedoes for early long-range ships. The missiles offer better range and much better DPS per size unit invested over much of the common range band than Epsilon Torpedoes do (Epsilon Torpedoes are only better in DPS per size unit than the missiles are at ranges below 100-150 unless the torpedoes are much more advanced than the missiles are), and at ranges short enough for the torpedoes to outperform the missiles you'd be better off turning to blasters for DPS. Plus, the missiles are something you can play with a bit more because you only need 8 size units for each Seeker Missile or 10 for each Concussion Missile as opposed to 15 for each Epsilon Torpedo, so if you decide you need to trade something for an extra weapon (or if you feel you need to trade a weapon for something else) it'll cost you less to fit in the extra missile than it will to fit in the extra torpedo. Missile ships are also something that can stick around longer without refits, generally speaking, because concussion missiles are replaced much later than epsilon torpedoes are; Assault Missiles are 5 levels beyond Seeker Missiles and 4 beyond Concussion Missiles whereas you'll want to replace your Epsilon Torpedoes with Velocity Shards or Shockwave Torpedoes only two tech levels after the Epsilon Torpedoes were first introduced. Epsilon Torpedoes are a tech I research frequently but a weapon I rarely use; they're a stepping stone to something better, and that something better comes out quickly enough that unless you're playing on slow research speeds or spreading your weapons research relatively freely you almost may as well wait for the better weapons before designing or building torpedo ships since even the basic start-of-game missile will perform similarly well as a standoff weapon (Seeker Missiles are generally superior as standoff weapons to Epsilon Torpedoes as introduced, and about on par with the first upgrade of the Epsilon Torpedo as Seeker Missiles have a bit more DPS at long range for the size invested but a bit less maximum range than Epsilon Torpedoes with their first upgrade).

quote:

5) Basic space reactors are rather bad. If you're Quameno then make their special reactors a priority. If not then get to Fission 2 or Fusion 1. The amount of reactors you'll want on your ships is generally enough to cruise and shoot at the same time.

Personally, for non-Quameno warships I prefer Quantum Reactors to Fusion Reactors. I find the superior power generation per size unit offered by the Quantum Reactors generally saves me space despite each reactor costing more space individually. The lower fuel efficiency is somewhat problematic, but I don't feel it's worse enough to be that bothersome.

< Message edited by Aeson -- 7/12/2015 3:43:56 AM >

(in reply to Spidey)
Post #: 7
RE: ship combat questions - 7/12/2015 5:18:21 AM   
ManticOre81

 

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Man I was pretty proud of my design. Thought I had some of it right but when the rubber met the road it was a lot of streak marks and fiery explosions. "Standoff" becomes "spin in place then explode"


**scribbles notes furiously**

Drop Prox array/energy collectors and monthly ransom unless under attack.

upgrade reactor's sooner, invest in more speed, reconsider missiles in early game.

I guess I don't need 3 sector's worth of fuel for simple system defense.




More questions:
What kind of cruise/sprint/turn speed should I shoot for with 300ton ship? (As I understand it combat is conducted at sprint speed but forum posts seem to talk in terms of cruise speed which is puzzling to me) I've seen post where people target 45+ but that leaves little room for fuel/1 weapon.


regarding ship control: I've tried automating tons of escorts that wandered off chasing pirates leaving the freighter/bases undefended. I've tried both unautomated destroyers hoping the default "no mission" had some basic system target type default behaviour and saw ships AFK while my bases get chewed in raids. Automated Destroyer's guard the bases and do nothing for the freighters en route. So I've been packing fleets and making purple bubbles everywhere. What I really want is a layer of Escort's that follow freighters and scare off but don't chase enemies combined with another layer of guard dog's sitting near bases actually fighting back raids and only a few fleets for attack. I am comfortable working with fleet postures but if there is an easier/less cluttered way I'd love to hear about it.


I really want to love Titan Beams but the Torpedoe design was my most effective and you've seen it. Any tips for building close range military ships (or should I just focus on Standoff ships)? They obviously need to be tougher (shields/armor) and faster but finding the balance between the two is not easy.


Thanks again guys, really appreciate the help.

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 8
RE: ship combat questions - 7/12/2015 8:02:49 AM   
Spidey


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@ Aeson

quote:

I don't really agree with Spidey that improving crew systems is all that much of a priority for you

Going from 60 to 85 per unit is a fairly big jump and the research cost is relatively tiny. You might argue that another three units of size and static energy usage isn't a huge gain, and I agree, but it is three units of size more that can be used for something that actually makes a ship better at what it's supposed to do. And again, the research cost is minimal. Half an engine? Another maneuvering thruster? Why not? Anything is better than pointless crew systems.

quote:

I would also strongly recommend Seeker or Concussion Missiles over Epsilon Torpedoes for early long-range ships.

I would too, though early missiles have a very brief window of awesomeness. If you make speed a design priority then they'll work out okay for a while, but I think there's also a decent case to be made for simply waiting it out for the better torps, assuming the galaxy allows for it.

quote:

Missile ships are also something that can stick around longer without refits, generally speaking,

I disagree. Early missiles are crap the moment you have to punch through more than a token amount of armor plates and investing research into missile tech upgrades is a bit of a dead end, IMO. If one wants to play the long range game, and I don't see why a min-maxer wouldn't, then velo shards aren't too far away and they're a much better long range weapon that actually lead to an end game worthy upgrade.

quote:

Personally, for non-Quameno warships I prefer Quantum Reactors to Fusion Reactors. I find the superior power generation per size unit offered by the Quantum Reactors generally saves me space despite each reactor costing more space individually. The lower fuel efficiency is somewhat problematic, but I don't feel it's worse enough to be that bothersome.

It's a bit of a trade-off, but running dry in the middle of a long engagement really sucks and if you want to avoid it with the Quantums then you'll need to invest in more fuel cells, which then leads to a bigger drain on your fuel reserves, though of course I'm a bit biased due to always playing huge (15x15) galaxies, which means targets are commonly a few sectors away from the closest practical refueling point.

Another consideration is whether you can stick with a single Quantum reactor anyway? There's some zig-zag in the size optimal power solution depending on the actual power requirements. I don't have the numbers in front of me right now, but as I recall, the power requirement of my designs tend to push past 120 around size 300'ish. That said, this consideration really is secondary to me. I'd go with fuel efficiency in the reactor even if it isn't size optimal.

(in reply to ManticOre81)
Post #: 9
RE: ship combat questions - 7/12/2015 11:01:39 AM   
Spidey


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quote:

What kind of cruise/sprint/turn speed should I shoot for with 300ton ship? (As I understand it combat is conducted at sprint speed but forum posts seem to talk in terms of cruise speed which is puzzling to me) I've seen post where people target 45+ but that leaves little room for fuel/1 weapon.

Having enough power to sprint while firing weapons is problematic and requires a ton of reactors which in turn slows you down unless you add even more engines that then require a ridiculous amount of power to sprint. If you're using ion thrusters then you'll also notice that their sprint thrust is only marginally higher than their cruise thrust but at double the energy use. No point in sprinting with those. Proton thrusters provide better sprint thrust at the cost of less cruise thrust per unit size, so you might actually experience your ships slowing down when you "upgrade" to proton 1s. Proton 2s are all around better than ion thrusters, though.

Anyway, I personally tend to aim around 30 cruise at that stage in the game. 45 would be awesome but getting there with early tech is next to impossible and it isn't that useful anyway. The reason to have that kind of speed is because pirates and space critters simply cannot catch up, but my main worries aren't "pirates" in general but merely pirate capital ships and cruisers, and 30 cruise is generally enough to stay ahead of those kinds of ships. Smaller pirate ships die quickly anyway, unless they're legion, in which case you really need to put some manual attention into the battle no matter what. As for turn speed, it really won't be great no matter what you do but five thrust vectors tend to do it for me.

quote:

regarding ship control: I've tried automating tons of escorts that wandered off chasing pirates leaving the freighter/bases undefended. I've tried both unautomated destroyers hoping the default "no mission" had some basic system target type default behaviour and saw ships AFK while my bases get chewed in raids. Automated Destroyer's guard the bases and do nothing for the freighters en route. So I've been packing fleets and making purple bubbles everywhere. What I really want is a layer of Escort's that follow freighters and scare off but don't chase enemies combined with another layer of guard dog's sitting near bases actually fighting back raids and only a few fleets for attack. I am comfortable working with fleet postures but if there is an easier/less cluttered way I'd love to hear about it.

Trying to guard all your freighters is next to impossible but in my experience, they generally can take care of themselves if you design them with enough speed to not be crawling ducks. The private sector is likely swimming in cash so there's little reason to worry about upkeep. My freighters consequently have warship levels of mobility, eventually they'll get some shields, and way, waaay into the game they'll end up with grav weapons. My mining stations tend to end up with a good bit of carrier capacity, a good bit of shield, and maybe some torp launchers, just because. Not enough to stop a determined fleet but enough that a random raider will have a bad day.

What I'm trying to say is, don't defend the warp space paths. That's pretty much impossible. Defend the endpoints, which is where almost all the combat is taking place anyway.

quote:

I really want to love Titan Beams but the Torpedoe design was my most effective and you've seen it. Any tips for building close range military ships (or should I just focus on Standoff ships)? They obviously need to be tougher (shields/armor) and faster but finding the balance between the two is not easy.

I don't think short range brawlers really need to be faster than your torp boats, but they do need to be a whole lot tougher in order to actually come through undamaged and that's harder to achieve, which is why the min-maxer approach is to abuse the AI with hordes of stand-off ships that the AI isn't able to catch up with. You'll also have seen a lot of people talking about carriers, which is pretty much the same approach with a different weapon.

If you want to go short range without constantly repairing and rebuilder fleets then look at the enemy you're fighting against. If they're using grav weapons then short range will be a right pain. If they love rail guns then you'll need lots of high tier armor. This leads to a conflict since you can't be fast, heavily armored, and still pack a punch at the same time. You'll have to slack on one of those and in my book, the easy choice is speed, for the simple reason that you're probably going to warp drive a fleet of your brawlers right on top of what you're going to brawl. That means they'll start in range and anything fleeing will have to move straight through your blob of death, which it probably cannot survive. This also means that you'll need a different design if you're planning to chase down ships in a stern chase.

Can you do any of this at early tech and size 300? IMO, no. You certainly can build brawler ships but they won't be durable so you'll take a lot of casualties when fighting anything that packs a punch. Bases and enemy capital ships will require large fleets and they will hurt. This can be plenty fun, of course, but it isn't really an economic way to bring targets down. A group of 15-20 size 500 ships with 1500-2000 shield each and twice the firepower of a small faction is an entirely different story, of course. And at that tech level, you might find that they are really only slow relative to dedicated long range designs that the AI isn't actually using.

(in reply to Spidey)
Post #: 10
RE: ship combat questions - 7/12/2015 9:48:28 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

Another consideration is whether you can stick with a single Quantum reactor anyway? There's some zig-zag in the size optimal power solution depending on the actual power requirements. I don't have the numbers in front of me right now, but as I recall, the power requirement of my designs tend to push past 120 around size 300'ish. That said, this consideration really is secondary to me. I'd go with fuel efficiency in the reactor even if it isn't size optimal.

It's true that the optimal number of reactors and which type uses less space is somewhat design dependent. However, the break points really aren't all that favorable to fusion reactors; assuming Fusion 1 and Quantum 1 reactors, a design needs to require less than 84 power to use 1 Fusion instead of 1 Quantum Reactor (saving 3 size), 121-168 power in order to use 2 Fusion instead of 2 Quantum Reactors (a savings of 6 size), 241-252 power to use 3 Fusion instead of 3 Quantum Reactors (saving 9 size, but losing 9 as opposed to just cutting maybe 12 power from the power budget so you can use 2 Quantum Reactors instead of 3 Quantum or 3 Fusion Reactors), and I don't think there's a point beyond that where Fusion Reactors are actually better as far as size requirements go. I can't think of any warship design I have ever made that requires less than 84 power unless it was a prewarp design, and I can't think of that many that require 121-168 power, and there's very little point in hitting the 241-252 power range since it's basically just a blaster or a torpedo either way and you'll have missed the window.

Beyond that, the range isn't greatly improved with Fusion Reactors instead of Quantum Reactors, especially if we're just looking at the first set. 65 fuel (unupgraded standard fuel cells) will provide ~18,700 energy for a Quantum Reactor 1 or ~22,500 energy for a Fusion Reactor 1; assuming a static requirement of 10 and a fully powered Equinox Jumpdrive 1, that's ~4.3e6 range units (~2.15 sectors) per fuel cell with a Fusion Reactor 1 or ~3.6e6 range units (~1.8 sectors) per fuel cell with a Quantum Reactor 1, which means you're only really buying an extra ~0.1 sectors of effective operating range per fuel cell by using Fusion Reactor 1s instead of Quantum Reactor 1s. If we upgrade to Fusion Reactor IIs and Quantum Reactor IIs, the Quantum Reactor ships keep more or less their initial range while the Fusion Reactors go to ~4.5e6 range units (~2.25 sectors) per fuel cell (again assuming a ship with a fully powered Equinox Jumpdrive I and a static requirement of 10) for a whole ~0.15*n sectors of effective operating range more than what the Quantum Reactor ships have with both ship designs carrying n fuel cells. Sorry, but I don't find that to be terribly impressive; that's maybe an extra fuel cell on the ship with Quantum Reactors to make up the range difference when the design with Fusion Reactors carries 10 fuel cells. 650 fuel per ship or 715 fuel per ship is not going to make or break the fuel situation under normal circumstances.

quote:

I guess I don't need 3 sector's worth of fuel for simple system defense.

I would not reduce your ships below 3 small fuel cells; assuming the ships are continually at sprint speed and firing constantly during an engagement, the design you posted has no more than 418 real-world seconds of combat time at normal game speed on those ships. That really isn't that much, and the lower the fuel capacities of the ships are, the more frequently they need to stop whatever they're doing to go refuel, increasing the downtime of the defense fleets, thereby increasing the size of the fleet you need to guarantee some certain nominal defensive strength in the region at any given time. Even my short-range ships have at least 5 fuel cells unless I'm really desperate to squeeze something in.

quote:

Drop ... energy collectors

I personally would not drop both energy collectors. I'd drop one of them, but if you drop both you're going to see the downtime required for refueling your defense fleets spike sharply, especially if the system in which they're stationed lacks a fuel source (meaning that the fleet has to go somewhere else to refuel). At normal game speed, a ship with 3 small fuel cells, basic space reactors, and a static requirement of 13 will need to refuel roughly once every hour of real time if it lacks energy collectors, even if the only thing the ship does in that time is idle. Adding just one energy collector to that ship will increase its time on station significantly, as it will only burn fuel in combat, immediately before/after combat, and during refueling maneuvers. Size-300 ships are big enough that carrying an energy collector isn't that much of a sacrifice.

quote:

I disagree. Early missiles are crap the moment you have to punch through more than a token amount of armor plates and investing research into missile tech upgrades is a bit of a dead end, IMO. If one wants to play the long range game, and I don't see why a min-maxer wouldn't, then velo shards aren't too far away and they're a much better long range weapon that actually lead to an end game worthy upgrade.

The first upgrade of the Concussion Missile keeps it viable, though not great, in the mid-game; that's one tier 1 and one tier 3 tech and 0 refits for a viable, though not great, early mid-game long-range warship upgraded from an early-game long-range warship. Compare that to basing your long-range ships on torpedoes - you need a tier 1 tech, a tier 2 tech, a tier 3 tech, and a refit to keep torpedo designs viable.

Beyond that, at standoff ranges torpedoes really aren't all that much better than missiles against armor, despite the 50% anti-armor penalty suffered by missiles. A Velocity Shard I engaging at 600 range is dealing only 4 damage per shot to a Concussion Missile II's 8 (4 versus armor); Velocity Shard IIs are at 8 damage per shot to the Concussion Missile III's 11 (5.5 versus armor) at 600 range, and are reduced to 6 damage per shot at 700 range. For the size invested, the missiles also tend to remain better DPS-wise at standoff ranges. If you're looking for a standoff weapon for early-game to mid-game designs, missiles are neither terrible by comparison to torpedoes nor all that expensive to develop or deploy. Even if you switch over to Velocity Shards (or even Shockwave Torpedoes, though I'd consider those more of a mid-range weapon than a standoff weapon) in the mid-game, devoting a bit of research to missiles early isn't going to put you that far behind. Torpedoes are simply 'safer' weapons because from the mid-game onwards they can maintain their short-range DPS and damage per shot advantages over missiles at progressively less short ranges.

quote:

More questions:
What kind of cruise/sprint/turn speed should I shoot for with 300ton ship? (As I understand it combat is conducted at sprint speed but forum posts seem to talk in terms of cruise speed which is puzzling to me) I've seen post where people target 45+ but that leaves little room for fuel/1 weapon.

Regardless of the ship's purpose, I aim for a minimum cruise speed of ~20 or so; you require a cruise speed of around 12-15 in order to catch up to a planet when out of fuel (planets move at something like 3 or 4 speed and being out of fuel reduces your ships to one third of their design speed; sprinting only occurs in combat, and impulse speed, which is unaffected by fuel or installed power as far as I know, is only used for actual docking maneuvers and fine-tuning the position the ship stops in, so a cruise speed which is at least three times greater than a planet's movement speed is necessary unless you want to fiddle with jumping around or specifically order the ship to a station in a gas cloud rather than relying on the 'refuel at nearest X' command to be smart about where it sends the ship). ~25 is probably pretty decent for an early-game size-300 warship with ion thrusters; 30 would be better, but it'll cost you more (specifically, 3 or 4 additional thrusters to go from a cruise speed of ~25 to a cruise speed of ~30 for a size-300 ship propelled by Ion Thrusters or Proton Thruster Is). Once I get better thrusters than Ion or early Proton Thrusters, I tend to shoot for a minimum cruise speed of ~25-30 for most designs, though very heavy warship designs may have lower design speeds. I don't really have design targets for sprint speeds; they're tied to cruise speeds through the thrusters I have, so a goal for one effectively sets the goal for the other.

As far as turning speeds go, I tend to like ~5 vectoring thruster components, though I'd keep an eye on the actual turn rate; the turn rate formula appears to be something like
     6 + 115 * [number of vectoring thrusters] * [thrust per vectoring thruster] / [total ship size]

so if your turn rates are pushing down close to 6 degrees per second it may not be worth having the additional vectoring thrusters on the design (alternatively, it's past time to upgrade to better vectoring thrusters and maybe add more vectoring thrusters). You need to keep at least 1 vectoring thruster on the design, of course.

As far as getting ships up to 45+ cruise speed, the difficulty of doing that depends on the thrusters you have and how much you're willing to invest in thrusters. TurboThruster Is can manage it on a size-300 ship with 16 drive components (112 size, cruise speed of 45.3), and Starburner Is can manage it on size-300 ships with 12 drive components (84 size, cruise speed of 47.2), though these are among the best drives in the game in terms of attainable speeds; generally available components won't begin surpassing these tier 2 racial techs until you reach Vortex IIs or Acceleros IIIs (the earliest common drive components to surpass the TurboThruster I in cruise thrust per size and thus attainable speed, though they're still not equal to Starburners) or Vortex IIIs (the only common drive component to surpass the Starburner I in cruise thrust per size and thus attainable speed); if you want to trade components at 1-1 rather than size at 1-1, then the Acceleros II is the first common component to surpass the TurboThruster I in cruise thrust per component, though the Vortex Engine III is once again the only common component to surpass the Starburner I.

Personally, even my heavy ships normally don't see more than ~30% of their size invested into defenses and another ~30% of their size invested into weapons (rough estimate, based on a quick survey of the designs I've created in the save games I've kept), so there is some space available, especially on lighter ships, if you want to pursue these kinds of speeds, but it's very helpful to have access to the better thrusters if you want to manage this, especially if those thrusters have been upgraded to some degree.

quote:

I really want to love Titan Beams but the Torpedoe design was my most effective and you've seen it. Any tips for building close range military ships (or should I just focus on Standoff ships)? They obviously need to be tougher (shields/armor) and faster but finding the balance between the two is not easy.

Try something like 20% of the ship's size invested in blasters, 30% in defenses (so ~90-100 size units on a size-300 ship; perhaps 8 shield generators and 15 armor would be decent), the rest into thrusters, reactors, hyperdrives, and other required components, see how it performs, and experiment from there to see what you like. If you have phasers (either cannons or lances, though I prefer lances for the range), you might consider mixing a few of them in with the blasters to improve anti-armor performance. An early design with bad reactors may need to cut back on the armament and defenses in order to achieve an acceptable speed (30 would be good early on, but 15-25 is probably acceptable if your intention is for the ship to be able to drive off rather than run down and kill opponents).

(in reply to Spidey)
Post #: 11
RE: ship combat questions - 7/13/2015 12:10:27 AM   
Spidey


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Joined: 12/8/2013
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quote:

I can't think of that many that require 121-168 power,

Probably not at size 300. It tends to happen just after size 300, at least for me.

quote:

Beyond that, the range isn't greatly improved with Fusion Reactors instead of Quantum Reactors, especially if we're just looking at the first set. 65 fuel (unupgraded standard fuel cells) will provide ~18,700 energy for a Quantum Reactor 1 or ~22,500 energy for a Fusion Reactor 1;

It may not translate into a lot of range but it does effectively mean 20% more juice per fuel cell. It isn't much but I'll happily take that. Even with fusions and 8 upgraded normal fuel cells, the operational range is somewhat limited once you engage in active combat.

You could argue that using only 18 units of size for a single reactor (instead of 30 for two) means you've got plenty of room for another fuel cell but if you have to include another fuel cell or two then you're not really saving any significant amount of size.

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I personally would not drop both energy collectors. I'd drop one of them, but if you drop both you're going to see the downtime required for refueling your defense fleets spike sharply, especially if the system in which they're stationed lacks a fuel source (meaning that the fleet has to go somewhere else to refuel).

Granted, I may have misunderstood the situation. I thought he was building an early fleet to take the fight to the pirates. Upon reading his scenario description again, that probably wasn't the case. I agree that if one is designing mostly stationary garrison ships then one might as well throw on an energy collector, though anything that prevents the garrison ships from doing a regular refuel will likely also be draining a lot of energy and thereby force the issue on a regular basis.

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The first upgrade of the Concussion Missile keeps it viable, though not great, in the mid-game;

Researching Concussion Missiles 1 is sensible because it is both very cheap and it leads to point defense weapons, which you'll probably need eventually. Researching Concussion Missiles 2 is a tier 3 tech that isn't quite as cheap and which leads directly to nowhere in particular that one would want to go, at which point one might feel very inclined to go along and research all the torp stuff anyway.

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Compare that to basing your long-range ships on torpedoes - you need a tier 1 tech, a tier 2 tech, a tier 3 tech, and a refit to keep torpedo designs viable.

You can't avoid researching those techs if you want a stand-off fleet because they quite simply lead to the best tool for the job. So it's never a question of whether you research those techs or not but rather when you do it. Going big on missiles means picking up research that you could otherwise have ignored completely. Pushing through to velo shards in only a little longer than it would've taken to reach Concussion 2.

And as far as refits are concerned, I find that it is usually possible to delay major fleet building until after you get to velo shards. If you skip over epsies then there's no major retrofitting.

quote:

Beyond that, at standoff ranges torpedoes really aren't all that much better than missiles against armor, despite the 50% anti-armor penalty suffered by missiles.

You don't have to remain at standoff range with torps, though. You can kill the shield from a safe distance and then close ground if necessary, at which point the armor penetration will improve significantly. Missiles don't do enough damage at any range and they suffer a penalty on top. Concussion 3 missiles are a tier 4 tech that can at best do 5.5 damage to armor. That translates into a 35% chance per shot to break a regular plate of armor and an 8% chance per shot to break enhanced armor, and that's only if you actually invest in a pointless tier 4 tech. Concussion 2s do 4 damage against armor, which translates into 20% chance to break regular armor and a headache against enhanced armor.

What this means in a practical sense is that pirate cruisers and capital ships may well withstand even ridiculous bombardments long enough to wind up their warp drives and run off.

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 12
RE: ship combat questions - 7/13/2015 2:22:15 AM   
Aeson

 

Posts: 771
Joined: 8/30/2013
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quote:

Granted, I may have misunderstood the situation. I thought he was building an early fleet to take the fight to the pirates. Upon reading his scenario description again, that probably wasn't the case. I agree that if one is designing mostly stationary garrison ships then one might as well throw on an energy collector, though anything that prevents the garrison ships from doing a regular refuel will likely also be draining a lot of energy and thereby force the issue on a regular basis.

Early in the game I don't really see that much point in making any great distinction between garrison and offensive ships; you don't really have the economy to support a big fleet, so since you'll probably end up using your early ships for both roles anyways, you may as well use the same, or at least similar, designs for both roles.

quote:

You don't have to remain at standoff range with torps, though.

Except that in order to manage to not stay at standoff ranges, you either have to control the ships in the battle manually or change the stances mid-battle, or your 'standoff' ships have to be unable to control the engagement range (thereby allowing the enemy to close). You certainly can't use the 'versus stronger' and 'versus weaker' engagement range stances to let your ships change the engagement range mid-battle just for anti-armor purposes; weaker/stronger is based on firepower, and firepower won't change until after the armor breaks.

It's a nice theory, but putting it into practice without a significant amount of micromanagement means that you're not really designing standoff ships anymore, you're designing a mid-range combatant that sits at 'all weapons' to take advantage of the superior short- or mid-range anti-armor performance of torpedoes as opposed to missiles and the superior mid-range DPS of torpedoes as compared to blasters.

quote:

What this means in a practical sense is that pirate cruisers and capital ships may well withstand even ridiculous bombardments long enough to wind up their warp drives and run off.

Making it run is often sufficient. Besides which, standoff ships are not going to close with a ship in time to make the superior short-range anti-armor performance of torpedoes matter in this scenario unless you're micromanaging the battle; they're going to sit at standoff ranges, where missiles have roughly the same anti-armor performance that torpedoes offer, until after the armor breaks and the target's firepower diminishes enough to allow a 'versus weaker' engagement stance to take over, if said stance happens to draw the standoff ships closer to the target.

quote:

You can't avoid researching those techs if you want a stand-off fleet because they quite simply lead to the best tool for the job. So it's never a question of whether you research those techs or not but rather when you do it. Going big on missiles means picking up research that you could otherwise have ignored completely. Pushing through to velo shards in only a little longer than it would've taken to reach Concussion 2.

Except that even in the end-game, Assault Missiles are better standoff weapons than Plasma Thunderbolts. Beyond 964 range, Assault Missile IIIs have superior DPS per size unit (and the missiles will in practice surpass the torpedoes before that in DPS per ship or in ship speed or in ship staying power, as Plasma Thunderbolt IIIs require something like 8.7 times more power per size unit than Assault Missiles do, so you'll probably be spending a lot more size on reactors with torpedoes than you will with missiles, and that extra size can only come at the expense of something else, presuming similarly large missile and torpedo ships). Beyond 917 range, Assault Missile IIIs have superior DPS per component. Beyond 900 range, Assault Missile IIIs are more capable of penetrating armor with each shot. Torpedoes supplant missiles as the endgame standoff weapon of choice not because they become superior standoff weapons to missiles (which they don't) but because the performance loss they suffer in their standoff role is insufficiently large to make up for their superiority over missiles in non-standoff situations.

If your goal is a pure standoff fleet, missiles, not torpedoes, will be your weapon of choice in the end game, just as they were in the early game. The reason torpedoes are preferred is that they're a hybrid weapon that by late game isn't very inferior at standoff ranges to missiles and isn't very inferior at close range to mixed blasters and phasers, and as a result are good weapons for any situation and any design, and they fit nicely into the 'standoff versus stronger, all weapons versus weaker' default engagement stances.

(in reply to Spidey)
Post #: 13
RE: ship combat questions - 7/13/2015 4:40:55 PM   
ManticOre81

 

Posts: 12
Joined: 7/10/2015
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Aeson

quote:

What this means in a practical sense is that pirate cruisers and capital ships may well withstand even ridiculous bombardments long enough to wind up their warp drives and run off.

Making it run is often sufficient. Besides which, standoff ships are not going to close with a ship in time to make the superior short-range anti-armor performance of torpedoes matter in this scenario unless you're micromanaging the battle; they're going to sit at standoff ranges, where missiles have roughly the same anti-armor performance that torpedoes offer, until after the armor breaks and the target's firepower diminishes enough to allow a 'versus weaker' engagement stance to take over, if said stance happens to draw the standoff ships closer to the target.



The big clue for me that I needed help with my ship designs came from a pirate capital ship scenario. The design I had wasn't overpowering the shields and scaring him off. I simply didn't have the combined firepower to drive down the shield enough to trigger the Hyperdrive. When I added more ships it simply took longer to lose my fleet. I had a lot of fun micromanaging that fight. I'd force the targeted ship to flee while the others peppered him and simply switch the chase ship. I could keep this up until the fuel ran dry but when I reload and try to let the fleet handle that unsupervised they slowly fell apart.


I have no trouble with this scenario using fighter bays but if the enemy has a bay or two or any point defense (commonly 1 or both in pirate designs) I'm back to a loosing battle. I was hoping to find a 1-size-fits-all weapon that wasn't dependent on the enemy design or micromanagement. My next game I'll try a non-fighter approach again. I'm starting to think I'm starting to fight back just a little too early. All of my troubles get better as my weapons research progresses. Epsilon Torpedoes are clearly not the keystone tech I'm looking for.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Aeson
quote:

You can't avoid researching those techs if you want a stand-off fleet because they quite simply lead to the best tool for the job. So it's never a question of whether you research those techs or not but rather when you do it. Going big on missiles means picking up research that you could otherwise have ignored completely. Pushing through to velo shards in only a little longer than it would've taken to reach Concussion 2.

Except that even in the end-game, Assault Missiles are better standoff weapons than Plasma Thunderbolts. Beyond 964 range, Assault Missile IIIs have superior DPS per size unit (and the missiles will in practice surpass the torpedoes before that in DPS per ship or in ship speed or in ship staying power, as Plasma Thunderbolt IIIs require something like 8.7 times more power per size unit than Assault Missiles do, so you'll probably be spending a lot more size on reactors with torpedoes than you will with missiles, and that extra size can only come at the expense of something else, presuming similarly large missile and torpedo ships). Beyond 917 range, Assault Missile IIIs have superior DPS per component. Beyond 900 range, Assault Missile IIIs are more capable of penetrating armor with each shot. Torpedoes supplant missiles as the endgame standoff weapon of choice not because they become superior standoff weapons to missiles (which they don't) but because the performance loss they suffer in their standoff role is insufficiently large to make up for their superiority over missiles in non-standoff situations.

If your goal is a pure standoff fleet, missiles, not torpedoes, will be your weapon of choice in the end game, just as they were in the early game. The reason torpedoes are preferred is that they're a hybrid weapon that by late game isn't very inferior at standoff ranges to missiles and isn't very inferior at close range to mixed blasters and phasers, and as a result are good weapons for any situation and any design, and they fit nicely into the 'standoff versus stronger, all weapons versus weaker' default engagement stances.


I honestly took Spidey's view that torpedo were better because my designs lacked the speed to control combat range and wanted that mid/close range increase in damage. If I can really maintain standoff I'll have to rethink missiles. I don't find that enemies pack much armor in the early game and I like the size/power advantage missiles have. I worry about the increasing reactive armor rating though. I've not done the math but I can imagine a point where missiles at any range can't 'break' the armor threshold in the same way that Titan Beams fail at max range. Maybe I'm over-thinking this but if missiles fail in this regard then standoff is a doomed concept if/when enemy armor techs improve.


I started the discussion with standoff weapons (iunno, maybe less than 500 range??) because they seemed the simplest design but I also had questions about an effective way to work with Shakturi Firestorm/Beams/Graviton/etc. I assume mixed designs with All Weapons:All Weapons stances but since my simple standoff designs were so ineffective I needed to fix that problem first.


< Message edited by ManticOre81 -- 7/13/2015 5:40:47 PM >

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 14
RE: ship combat questions - 7/13/2015 5:08:15 PM   
Spidey


Posts: 399
Joined: 12/8/2013
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quote:

Early in the game I don't really see that much point in making any great distinction between garrison and offensive ships;

If all you have is a single fleet that is about to see intense action then you're probably not going to leave it stationary for all that long and then an energy collector isn't a very contributing use of size that could've been spent on mobility, armor, firepower. Or, if you will, on using two fusion reactors instead of a quantum reactor and at least one more fuel cell.

quote:

It's a nice theory, but putting it into practice without a significant amount of micromanagement

It takes maybe four seconds to pause the game, click on a ship, click on its design name, change the range settings to all weapons or point blank, click okay, and then unpause the game. It takes maybe another four seconds, at most, to revert back to normal after the target is destroyed. I suppose it does require you to actually pay attention to the more serious battles you're fighting. Is that unreasonable?

quote:

Making it run is often sufficient.

Making it run means it will come back, and then you'll have to fight it again. Then you scare it off again. Then it comes back and you scare it off. Again. It's a stop-gap measure and it's better than nothing but really, it just delays what has to happen. Killing the target, as opposed to merely scaring it away, means it will not come back, which is an actual solution to the problem. How easy is it to do this with missiles? How easy is it to do this with torps?

quote:

Beyond 964 range, Assault Missile IIIs have superior DPS per size unit

You're talking about a range of distanes between 0 and 26, which means you're assuming that you can actually get your ships to maintain their max weapon distance with that degree of precision. Personally, I've never had much luck with that. What settings are you using to accomplish this?

And do we know that the distance penalty is a double rather than an integer? Sure, it would make sense, but do we know that?

quote:

Beyond 900 range, Assault Missile IIIs are more capable of penetrating armor with each shot.

What you're leaving out is that AM3s have a 56% chance to break enhanced armor, 28% chance to break reactive armor, and a whopping 10% chance to break a plate of ultra-dense armor regardless of range. Granted, it's as good as it gets if you absolutely, positively have to stay at range 990, but why on Earth would you feel so inclined? Is this a dance routine or are we trying to destroy the target? Those probabilities suck and there's no other way to describe it. And since that's the best that can be done at extreme range, the sensible answer, or so it seems to me, is to change the variables and enter a less extreme range where something better can be achieved.

Suppose we close to range 500'ish. TB3s will have 100% chance to break enhanced armor, 90% chance to break reactive armor, and 50% chance to break UD armor. Close to point blank range and TB3s are 100% across the board. Meanwhile, the best you can ever do with AM3s will remain those percentages listed above. Which is better, would you say? Having no recourse but to wait it out or having the option to put shields and armor to use and quickly sort things out?

quote:

If your goal is a pure standoff fleet, missiles, not torpedoes, will be your weapon of choice in the end game

Combat isn't about purity, though. The point of a stand-off approach is to blast the enemy while mostly staying out of enemy range, taking very little damage (if any) in the process. Torps do that brilliantly. You can barely find situations where missiles can do a better job and in my experience, those situations sure aren't common from a practical perspective in the game.

The only times where torp stand-off is ineffective is when it's put against other torps of similar range, carriers, and obviously missiles. Against pretty much everything else, they'll pick it apart just as fast (or faster) than missiles. And in the number of situations where a stand-off approach is impractical (if something refuses to die in a feasible amount of time or is capable of closing ground or if you end up in a dog fight or if something warp jumps right on top of your fleet), there is a very easy plan B and that plan B is very effective. Missiles simply don't offer that.

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 15
RE: ship combat questions - 7/13/2015 5:41:25 PM   
ManticOre81

 

Posts: 12
Joined: 7/10/2015
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Spidey


quote:

It's a nice theory, but putting it into practice without a significant amount of micromanagement

It takes maybe four seconds to pause the game, click on a ship, click on its design name, change the range settings to all weapons or point blank, click okay, and then unpause the game. It takes maybe another four seconds, at most, to revert back to normal after the target is destroyed. I suppose it does require you to actually pay attention to the more serious battles you're fighting. Is that unreasonable?


quick and easy but I often find designs in combat in multiple areas so I try to refrain from this. If I can I'd prefer a single solution that works in 99% of the situations and in the 1% case I can rely on overwhelming numbers.

quote:


quote:

Making it run is often sufficient.

Making it run means it will come back, and then you'll have to fight it again. Then you scare it off again. Then it comes back and you scare it off. Again. It's a stop-gap measure and it's better than nothing but really, it just delays what has to happen. Killing the target, as opposed to merely scaring it away, means it will not come back, which is an actual solution to the problem. How easy is it to do this with missiles? How easy is it to do this with torps?


In my very limited experience and at this stage of the game I find killing the target impossible. It's not until hyperdeny surpasses standoff range that I can reliably kill. Until then I'm happy with the scare tactic. Either way I get a break and my bases don't have to be replaced regularly.


quote:


quote:

Beyond 964 range, Assault Missile IIIs have superior DPS per size unit

You're talking about a range of distanes between 0 and 26, which means you're assuming that you can actually get your ships to maintain their max weapon distance with that degree of precision. Personally, I've never had much luck with that. What settings are you using to accomplish this?

And do we know that the distance penalty is a double rather than an integer? Sure, it would make sense, but do we know that?


I think you both picked up my key earlier flaw in design speed. I doubt the default stances can really keep ranges this precisely but I'm not sure how much that really matters. If I can out-range the targets then I can win the attrition war and dps/size really becomes a determinate of combat time. Granted these are not 1v1 encouters and targeting, etc become a factor but ultimately everything about my early game gets easier and more survivable when I have range and speed.

No harm in trying both and finding my favorite flavor of Kool-Aid.


quote:


quote:

Beyond 900 range, Assault Missile IIIs are more capable of penetrating armor with each shot.

What you're leaving out is that AM3s have a 56% chance to break enhanced armor, 28% chance to break reactive armor, and a whopping 10% chance to break a plate of ultra-dense armor regardless of range. Granted, it's as good as it gets if you absolutely, positively have to stay at range 990, but why on Earth would you feel so inclined? Is this a dance routine or are we trying to destroy the target? Those probabilities suck and there's no other way to describe it. And since that's the best that can be done at extreme range, the sensible answer, or so it seems to me, is to change the variables and enter a less extreme range where something better can be achieved.

Suppose we close to range 500'ish. TB3s will have 100% chance to break enhanced armor, 90% chance to break reactive armor, and 50% chance to break UD armor. Close to point blank range and TB3s are 100% across the board. Meanwhile, the best you can ever do with AM3s will remain those percentages listed above. Which is better, would you say? Having no recourse but to wait it out or having the option to put shields and armor to use and quickly sort things out?


answers my earlier concern regarding missiles. 10% isn't great but by that late stage I'll hopefully have mixed ships/carrier and combined arms can help.

quote:


quote:

If your goal is a pure standoff fleet, missiles, not torpedoes, will be your weapon of choice in the end game

Combat isn't about purity, though. The point of a stand-off approach is to blast the enemy while mostly staying out of enemy range, taking very little damage (if any) in the process. Torps do that brilliantly. You can barely find situations where missiles can do a better job and in my experience, those situations sure aren't common from a practical perspective in the game.

The only times where torp stand-off is ineffective is when it's put against other torps of similar range, carriers, and obviously missiles. Against pretty much everything else, they'll pick it apart just as fast (or faster) than missiles. And in the number of situations where a stand-off approach is impractical (if something refuses to die in a feasible amount of time or is capable of closing ground or if you end up in a dog fight or if something warp jumps right on top of your fleet), there is a very easy plan B and that plan B is very effective. Missiles simply don't offer that.


Epsilon Torp doen't either. Maybe torps are the 1size answer I want, I have a lot to learn still.

In any case, I really enjoy the abstract discussion and appreciate all the input. Thanks again.

(in reply to Spidey)
Post #: 16
RE: ship combat questions - 7/13/2015 8:54:22 PM   
Aeson

 

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Joined: 8/30/2013
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quote:

It takes maybe four seconds to pause the game, click on a ship, click on its design name, change the range settings to all weapons or point blank, click okay, and then unpause the game. It takes maybe another four seconds, at most, to revert back to normal after the target is destroyed. I suppose it does require you to actually pay attention to the more serious battles you're fighting. Is that unreasonable?

It is by the time I have a moderately developed empire, when I have 15 fleets of ships engaging in battles on opposite sides of my empire because I started next to three or four insect empires who decided I was a good target for invasion. There's no way in hell I'm altering the engagement stance setting of a design just to affect 1 battle positively when it's also going to affect several others going on at the same time without at least first taking a look at each of those other battles, which could be scattered all over my empire and which I might not have noticed yet.

What you're describing is fine when it's early in the game and you have a small empire, a small navy, and few things vying for your attention. For some reason, it's less fine when there's much more occupying your attention and many more potential battles to take up 'only' a few seconds of your time.

quote:

Making it run means it will come back, and then you'll have to fight it again. Then you scare it off again. Then it comes back and you scare it off. Again. It's a stop-gap measure and it's better than nothing but really, it just delays what has to happen. Killing the target, as opposed to merely scaring it away, means it will not come back, which is an actual solution to the problem. How easy is it to do this with missiles? How easy is it to do this with torps?

Pirates are the only enemies whose ships are a primary target for me, and even against pirates killing bases is of greater import than killing ships. Destroying ships is for me at best a secondary goal to taking colonies and destroying or capturing mines when fighting empires; the ships will either come to defend the primary targets, in which case either driving them off or destroying them allows me to successfully complete my primary objective(s), or they won't come to defend the primary targets, in which case I can complete my primary objective(s) unopposed. Destroying the ships is nice for minimizing harassment in my empire's back yard and preventing counterattacks, but it's really not essential. Besides which, ships which still exist at the time of the empire's destruction have a chance to defect to my empire (for that matter, there's a chance they'll do so before the empire's destruction, if the happiness levels are low enough), which is useful as it provides a temporary defense force until I build up whatever I want to put in place on a more permanent basis and may also permit me to obtain some special technologies, if the defeated empire had any.

Besides which, by mid game it's quite difficult to run from a properly built hunter-killer group anyways; they'll carry jump inhibitors to prevent the ships from escaping at close range and tractor beams or graviton beams to prevent the targets from running beyond the range of the jump inhibitors. Missiles wouldn't be my first choice for weapons on a hunter-killer group, but then standoff designs with any armament wouldn't be my first choice for hunter-killer groups anyways.

(in reply to ManticOre81)
Post #: 17
RE: ship combat questions - 7/14/2015 2:34:48 PM   
Spidey


Posts: 399
Joined: 12/8/2013
Status: offline
quote:

It is by the time I have a moderately developed empire, when I have 15 fleets of ships engaging in battles on opposite sides of my empire because I started next to three or four insect empires who decided I was a good target for invasion.

This may just come down to a difference in style, then. Personally, by the time I have 15 fleets, I'm certainly not using size 300 ships with tier 3 weapons. And if I start next to three or four insect empires then I do try to deal with that issue well before I have 15 fleets fighting battles at the same time. That situation would be chaos and I don't want my empires disintegrating into chaos.


quote:

There's no way in hell I'm altering the engagement stance setting of a design just to affect 1 battle positively when it's also going to affect several others going on at the same time without at least first taking a look at each of those other battles,

Understandable. Personally, I look at the battle every time I get a battle alert out of general principle and any large battle against a significant opposition will get my full attention, even if it means spending a lot of time on pause. Changing stance doesn't involve any extra micro for me, it's merely an option that is either useful or not useful.

quote:

Pirates are the only enemies whose ships are a primary target for me, and even against pirates killing bases is of greater import than killing ships.

How do you find and kill those pirate bases? You need the range to get there in a reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of fuel and you need to also find the base in the first place. That's hard at the stage we're discussing in this thread, wouldn't you say? But if you can manage to take out those randomly visiting capital ships then there's one less pain in the butt around and the pirate factions lack the tech to rebuild them.

quote:

Besides which, by mid game it's quite difficult to run from a properly built hunter-killer group anyways;

Depends on how you define "mid game", doesn't it? I don't know what you consider a "properly built hunter-killer group" either.

In my experience, with a few exceptions, I'm having very little trouble killing anything by going pure torp for a long time. And those exceptions mainly manifest themselves during the early techs years. The AI isn't good at building anything that can fight back effectively, and once you've invaded another few factions, you can overcome any efficiency issues through weight of numbers. Crush, consolidate, move on. Crush, consolidate, move on.

quote:

but then standoff designs with any armament wouldn't be my first choice for hunter-killer groups anyways.

So what would be your first choice? Alpha strike phasers? And can it fight without being monitored or will it happily charge into a nest of grav cannons and titan beams?

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 18
RE: ship combat questions - 7/14/2015 4:50:47 PM   
Aeson

 

Posts: 771
Joined: 8/30/2013
Status: offline
quote:

How do you find and kill those pirate bases? You need the range to get there in a reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of fuel and you need to also find the base in the first place. That's hard at the stage we're discussing in this thread, wouldn't you say? But if you can manage to take out those randomly visiting capital ships then there's one less pain in the butt around and the pirate factions lack the tech to rebuild them.

In my experience, killing most varieties of pirate bases near your empire becomes viable with size-300 ships, 5 standard fuel cells (more is of course preferable, but not necessary), Gerax hyperdrives, and a halfway decent weapon. The ships will have a static energy cost of ~10-12, which with 5 fuel cells and the initial Gerax hyperdrive gives them a design range of ~6 sectors, so they can conduct strike missions within a little under ~3 sectors, or remain on station for a decent amount of time at targets within ~2 sectors. If necessary, you can boost range a bit by sacrificing some weapons or defenses; time on station can be improved by using missiles instead of something more power-hungry like torpedoes or blasters, or again by sacrificing some weapons or defenses for more fuel.

Finding the pirate bases is a matter for exploration ships and intelligence agents, taking note of pirate ship movements that I can see so that I can make a guess at where the bases are (easier if I already have long-range scanners), and sending something to check out known fuel sites that I haven't put a mine on yet every now and then.

quote:

And can it fight without being monitored or will it happily charge into a nest of grav cannons and titan beams?

There's no real way to use a hunter-killer group without monitoring it; you have to keep an eye on it so as to keep it near the last known position of whatever you want to kill, or better yet jumping in on whatever you want to kill while you know where it is.

Regardless, when using the first jump inhibitor, as you would with a somewhat early hunter-killer group, there's not really a good way to avoid charging into a nest of graviton and titan beams; the initial jump inhibitor just doesn't have the range to avoid that as without upgrades its range is only 340, less than the range of unupgraded Titan Beams, and even upgraded it's only going to have 480 range.

quote:

So what would be your first choice? Alpha strike phasers?

High DPS, something to punch through armor, and engagement stance set for all weapons or point blank against all opponents to keep the target within the jump inhibitor's area of effect. Blasters, Blasters + Phasers, Blasters + Torpedoes, or Torpedoes would be my choices, depending on what I've researched; sending non-torpedo alpha strike designs, which are generally lacking in DPS even against similarly-advanced designs, against more advanced and more powerful ships results in heavier losses in the hunter-killer group, in my experience, unless the alpha strike is significant, so pure-phasers and pure-missiles are out, the anti-armor performance of railguns kills pure-railgun designs against big advanced ships, and pure-graviton is incredibly slow especially against big ships. Railguns or preferably Graviton Beams can be useful as secondary weapons, as can ion cannons, since all of these can start reducing the target's killing power before its shields are broken, and ion cannons and graviton beams can start doing so before the armor breaks, but I wouldn't rely too much on any of these, and I'd probably only take one of the options rather than two or three even if I have access to all three; if the ships are still small, they're not really going to have the space available for mounting several large special-use components, especially since they're already carrying a jump inhibitor and need to be able to keep up with potentially more advanced ships.

quote:

In my experience, with a few exceptions, I'm having very little trouble killing anything by going pure torp for a long time. And those exceptions mainly manifest themselves during the early techs years. The AI isn't good at building anything that can fight back effectively, and once you've invaded another few factions, you can overcome any efficiency issues through weight of numbers. Crush, consolidate, move on. Crush, consolidate, move on.

In my experience, with few exceptions, I have very little trouble killing anything the computer builds by going pure-[insert primary weapon here] for a long time as long as I'm not using computer-generated designs. Great, you can do it with torpedoes. I can do it with torpedoes, or I can do it with blasters, or I can do it with missiles. Torpedoes are not special in this regard, it's player-designed ships that are special, if the player is good at designing their ships. Torpedoes are simply the weapons which are adequate for both short- and long-range designs, whereas missiles are only good for long-range designs (and possibly some special-use short-range designs; poor anti-armor performance is a good thing on a capture ship, though the low DPS hurts when trying to take down the target's shields enough to let the assault pods through), blasters and phasers are only good for short- or mid-range designs, and railguns are only good for short-range designs.

(in reply to Spidey)
Post #: 19
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