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swampspruce
10-13-2016, 10:21 AM
This thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=537013&page=2http://) got me to thinking about all the sci-fi space operas I've read/watched and began to wonder if anyone has done a space battle that in any way respects orbital mechanics/ physics in space? I know it would be very counter-intuitive (no "pew=pews" of the turbo lasers, 3-d battle space, no fabulous engine noises, engines on only when changing vectors) but would it be cool/worth watching?

lazybratsche
10-13-2016, 10:54 AM
You definitely should check out "The Expanse". There are 5 novels, and one season of a TV series produced by the Syfy channel. The show is excellent so far, while the books start good but IMO aren't quite as interesting later on (though I'm only on book 3).

It's set in a near-future solar system where the Earth government is in conflict with Mars, itself in the early stages of terraforming, and the "Belters" which populate the frontier of the asteroid belt and the moons of the outer planets. Off of planets, "gravity" is only provided by rotation or constant thrust. Ships are given (admittedly unrealistic) powerful and efficient drives, which can sustain 0.3 G burns indefinitely and high-G burns in short bursts. There are a few spectacular space battles, going from long-range salvos of torpedoes and countermeasures, short-range dueling with kinetic projectiles, and eventual boarding operations in zero gravity.

There's also lot of fascinating world building examining how fragile life would be in a series of rickety Belt stations and mining ships, and how society and biology might adapt to the circumstances. Air and water, in particular, are precious resources. They're the basis for a lot of conflict between colonies and the inner planets, or workers and their corporate overlords. But among the Belters, there's zero tolerance for screwing with any precious supplies: a slumlord might be tolerated, but when they start skimping on air recycler maintenance, they'll be tossed out an airlock at the earliest opportunity.

If you want to keep going down the hard scifi rabbit hole, check out the website Atomic Rockets (http://projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/). It's a massive collection of essays and commentaries about "realistic" hard scifi (scroll down to the bottom to get the whole list of topics). To get started, you might also want to check out their list of books movies, and games that get the science "right" (http://projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/sealofapproval.php).

bob++
10-13-2016, 11:21 AM
I have always imagined that space battles would not be dissimilar to sea battles in sailing ship days. Ships would take hours to manoeuvre into a 'good' position, and missiles fire from too far away would be easily avoided or destroyed. Of course, if FTL speeds are posited then that doesn't really work - or does it.

In O'Brian's books we see captains trying to predict the intentions of the opposition; "getting the wind gauge" was vital. They got up to all kinds of rue de guerre, false flags etc, but it all seemed to happen in slow motion, with only a brief burst of action at the end.

cmyk
10-13-2016, 11:31 AM
It makes me wonder what sort of weponry and artillary would be developed, so you wouldn't have to depend on direct hits. I'm thinking of anti-aircraft type shells, but with nuke charges that would spread shrapnel at crazy speeds, with a cone of safety that you would be sure to align with your own ship. Also set off a huge EMP.

markn+
10-13-2016, 11:35 AM
Babylon 5 did a pretty good (but not perfect) job of depicting realistic physics in its space battle scenes.

--Mark

scr4
10-13-2016, 11:56 AM
IMO the most unrealistic aspect of sci-fi spaceships is the propulsion / momentum. They seem to keep moving when the engines are running, and able to stop fairly quickly by stopping the engines. Even Babylon 5 spaceships appeared to behave this way.

The Expanse is the only exception I can think of. In this show & novels, the ships turn around and start decelerating halfway to the destination. An approaching enemy ship is visible long before the encounter, because they would be decelerating with their engines pointed towards you - otherwise they fly right past you with no time to do any damage.

markn+
10-13-2016, 12:14 PM
I thought that was one aspect that B5 got right. I don't remember seeing ships stop when they turned off their engines. The little fighter ships in particular always seemed to be operating correctly in this respect. When they turned or slowed down, the various rockets on their wings would be firing in the correct way.

The Vorlon and Shadow ships don't count, though, because they're using technology several billion years more advanced than ours, and may not be momentum-conserving.

--Mark

gnoitall
10-13-2016, 12:19 PM
IMO the most unrealistic aspect of sci-fi spaceships is the propulsion / momentum. They seem to keep moving when the engines are running, and able to stop fairly quickly by stopping the engines. Even Babylon 5 spaceships appeared to behave this way.I don't think you were paying attention to Babylon 5 if you thought you saw that.

Deceleration in open space was always by counterthrust. Cutting engines always meant coasting. Spacecraft didn't bank and zoom. Hell, a typical combat maneuver in a Starfury fighter while being chased by a bad guy was to cut thrust, apply differential thrust across an axis to flip the fighter fore-and-aft while coasting, apply counterthrust to keep accelerating backwards, and target your pursuer with your forward-firing (from the spacecraft's perspective) weapons.

scr4
10-13-2016, 12:46 PM
It's been many years since I watched Babylon 5, but I don't recall the Starfury or any other ship turning around halfway to the destination. Maybe they behave correctly if we assume they have forward-facing thrusters that are just as powerful as the rear-facing ones - which may make sense for a fighter but not for larger ships, I think. Earth Force destroyers clearly had big thrusters at the back, and nothing comparable in front, and we always saw them approaching the destination/target head first.

lazybratsche
10-13-2016, 01:29 PM
I'm with scr4: Babylon 5 had some references and nods to realistic physics, but most of the space combat wasn't very far from "WW2 dogfighting and capital sailing ships in space". I've got B5 ripped and sitting on a media server, so I'll take a look at the big combat scene at the end of "Severed Dreams":

Star Furies (the fighters) are mostly zooming along in one direction, with thrusters at the back constantly glowing while making whooshing noises. There is a fair amount of gradual plane-like banking, though more extreme maneuvers are accompanied by extra glowy bits on the sides of the thruster pods (consistent with either lateral or reverse thrust). After an attack run, you see the Star Furies yaw 180 and going "backwards" relative to the "stationary" capital ships. I'll call the physics "realistic" enough there.

However, the destroyers and other large ships only have obvious thrusters at the back. Most of the time they're slowly drifting towards each other, like ocean vessels. A few times the capital ships rotate in place, without any obvious thrust. Between scenes, they somehow end up stopped or traveling in different directions. If you want to be generous, you could say that there are either invisible reverse thrusters, or that all the pitch-and-burn deceleration happens off camera. Still, they're doing their best boat impression, where they appear to trade shots while puttering around at 20 knots.

There was one boarding pod that had obvious reverse thrusters that were used to decelerate right before latching onto a station.

So, while there is some indication that everything obeys Newtonian physics, the set-piece battles are all set up to give images of fighters zooming around a fleet of slow capital ships. There's very little consideration of how the tactics would change if you had ships with high thrust and practically unlimited Δv.

In any case, it was remarkably better than contemporary Star Trek for at least giving a few nods to real-world physics.

Doughbag
10-13-2016, 01:45 PM
The space battles in Evan Currie's Odyssey One series make great effort to seem plausible.

Marko Kloos also tries to have believable space battles in his Frontline series.

So does Richard Fox in his Void series.

Of cos they all have that technology that let them travel faster than light, but I can live with that, but you have that in almost ever Sci-Fi galactic space battle book/film.

markn+
10-13-2016, 01:46 PM
It's been many years since I watched Babylon 5, but I don't recall the Starfury or any other ship turning around halfway to the destination. Maybe they behave correctly if we assume they have forward-facing thrusters that are just as powerful as the rear-facing ones - which may make sense for a fighter but not for larger ships, I think. Earth Force destroyers clearly had big thrusters at the back, and nothing comparable in front, and we always saw them approaching the destination/target head first.

Yes, the Starfuries had four engines, each with two nozzles, one pointing forward and one pointing backwards. They would slow down by firing all four forward-pointing engines. They would turn by firing the forward engines on one side and the backward engines on the other side. Here's (https://youtube.com/watch?v=nanfQ0mviaU) a short clip showing one maneuvering. I'm sure there are better examples showing more complicated maneuvers but I can't put my finger on one right now. I'm pretty sure the Starfuries always showed correct physics with regard to their engine operation.

You may have a point about the bigger ships; I don't really recall how they maneuvered. One point where the physics was probably wrong is with the ships that had rotating sections for artificial gravity. They seemed to maneuver without regard for gyroscopic effects.

--Mark

GreenWyvern
10-13-2016, 01:55 PM
The best space battles I've ever found in SF books are those in C.J. Cherryh's 'Alliance-Union' novels.

Downbelow Station (which won the Hugo Award for best novel) is the first and most essential book for that universe.

In the space battles, there are delays in info and communications, which travel only at light speed. So you can see where the enemy ship was a few seconds or minutes ago, but you don't know what it's done since then. But the ships may be moving at significant fractions of light speed - not easy to change course. Real physics, aside from the hyperspace jumps, and brilliant writing.

Her novel Hellburner is without doubt the best book about the development of space warships. It's a sequel to Heavy Time.

Her work has something else very rare in SF - real, believable, complex characters.

markn+
10-13-2016, 02:11 PM
Here's (https://youtube.com/watch?v=nanfQ0mviaU) a short clip showing one maneuvering.

Also notice the clever launching technique. Babylon 5 is a rotating space station, and the Starfuries are docked at the outer rim. To launch, they merely rotate outward ("downward" with respect to the artificial gravity) and release the clamps holding them in place. They are then flung outward by the centrifugal force of the station, without any need to use propellant.

--Mark

Colibri
10-13-2016, 02:24 PM
Since the OP is asking about whether such battles have appeared in films, and whether they would be cool to watch, this is better suited to Cafe Society than GQ.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Chimera
10-13-2016, 02:35 PM
the big combat scene at the end of "Severed Dreams":

A few times the capital ships rotate in place, without any obvious thrust.

Like when they turn to run away, but I think that was merely described in short form, so to speak, to show them 'turning tail' after Delenn's threat. :D

Boyo Jim
10-13-2016, 04:06 PM
... A few times the capital ships rotate in place, without any obvious thrust. Between scenes, they somehow end up stopped or traveling in different directions. If you want to be generous, you could say that there are either invisible reverse thrusters, or that all the pitch-and-burn deceleration happens off camera. Still, they're doing their best boat impression, where they appear to trade shots while puttering around at 20 knots. ...

Never seen the show or watched any of the battles, but a ship with large enough gyroscopes could rotate without external thrusters. If their thrusters are powered while they are rotating with gyroscopes, their direction of advance would also change.

carnivorousplant
10-13-2016, 04:13 PM
In these space battles, was everyone oriented in the same way along the Y axis?

HookerChemical
10-13-2016, 04:58 PM
Downbelow Station (which won the Hugo Award for best novel) is the first and most essential book for that universe.

This was the first book that came to my mind. The travel between systems is "unreal" (meaning faster-than-light), but the combat is all sublight with distances between ships exceeding light-hours in some cases, IIRC.

Sage Rat
10-13-2016, 05:01 PM
I think there was an anime which noted that the propulsion that the ships was using was basically more powerful than any other weapon that you could realistically strap onto the ships, so redirecting your exhaust at your enemy was the key to walloping them.

But I think that, ultimately, by the time we've got realistic intergalactic travel, if we haven't genetically engineered ourselves to be less warmaking, we will at least have invented new ways of destroying one another. Battle may be all about throwing off a ship's navigation so that it flies into a star or opening a wormhole near it, such that projectile physics and relative position are irrelevant to what is going on.

Trinopus
10-13-2016, 05:07 PM
The old SPI Wargame Battlefleet: Mars (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3662/battlefleet-mars) did a very nice job of respecting space physics. The strategic game depicted a large part of the orbit of Mars (and invward) while the tactical game was in a (projected) 3-D weightless grid.

GDW's "Mayday" tactical space combat game also incorporated proper Newtonian physics, including the effects of gravity near planets.

I also pumped a lot of quarters into those old vector-graphics video games -- one was Asteroids, and I don't remember the name of the other: two ships orbiting a gravity source, and firing missiles at each other. Darn fun game!

ETA: In literature, "The Mote in God's Eye" and "The Gripping Hand" by Niven and Pournelle pay a lot of very close attention to gravitational effects and the speed-of-light lag. (Where you see your enemy is not where he actually is right now.)

scr4
10-13-2016, 05:14 PM
Yes, the Starfuries had four engines, each with two nozzles, one pointing forward and one pointing backwards. They would slow down by firing all four forward-pointing engines. They would turn by firing the forward engines on one side and the backward engines on the other side. Here's (https://youtube.com/watch?v=nanfQ0mviaU) a short clip showing one maneuvering. I'm sure there are better examples showing more complicated maneuvers but I can't put my finger on one right now. I'm pretty sure the Starfuries always showed correct physics with regard to their engine operation.
Thanks. That actually looks more realistic than I remembered. But still, if you look at battle scenes like this (https://youtube.com/watch?v=tWl1ZteUS8U), you see the Starfuries with their rear thrusters firing all the time. And they seem to change trajectory without having to spin around and point their thrusters sideways, reminiscent of fighter aircraft.

lazybratsche
10-13-2016, 05:25 PM
Thanks. That actually looks more realistic than I remembered. But still, if you look at battle scenes like this (https://youtube.com/watch?v=tWl1ZteUS8U), you see the Starfuries with their rear thrusters firing all the time. And they seem to change trajectory without having to spin around and point their thrusters sideways, reminiscent of fighter aircraft.

That was the exact scene I was describing. You have to look really carefully, but there are a few moments where you can extra lights on the side/front of those thruster pods, consistent with lateral or reverse thrusters. At 1:33 there's a Star Fury that's doing a sort of barrel roll, and on one of the thruster pods there's a second light. And at 1:59 you see two of them yawing 180, so that they're moving "backwards" relative to the rest of the battle. The forward thrusters are glowing the entire time, but you do see a reverse thruster glowing during the yaw, and the forward thrusters get brighter afterwards.

But yeah, mostly a lot of airplane-like maneuvers.

Der Trihs
10-13-2016, 05:36 PM
Speaking of games, the new game Children of a Dead Earth (http://store.steampowered.com/app/476530/) is very specifically designed as a scientifically realistic space battle game.

scr4
10-13-2016, 05:37 PM
In these space battles, was everyone oriented in the same way along the Y axis?

Babylon 5 did have battle scenes where all the ships seem to be oriented in the same direction, e.g. right at the beginning of this clip (https://youtube.com/watch?v=tWl1ZteUS8U).

In The Expanse the battles seem to take place at greater distances. I don't recall any scene where opposing spaceships are shown together. Here's a clip (https://youtube.com/watch?v=SpfCkkKP9eE) of the main battle of Season 1 pieced together, if you don't mind spoilers.

And related to this - most sci-fi spaceships look like their direction of "up" is perpendicular to the direction of thrust. Of course this is because ships and aircraft on earth are designed that way, but it doesn't make sense for spaceships - especially if the ship does not have artificial gravity.

Again, I think The Expanse did this correctly - you can see a cruiser on this page (http://neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1155980&page=17). Though I don't understand why the weapons would be located on the top end - seems more useful on the other side, to use while decelerating towards the enemy.

carnivorousplant
10-13-2016, 05:55 PM
In the Dominic Flandry books and stories, Poul Anderson has computers running the targeting and phasing in and out of hyperspace. Anderson was a physicist in addition to being one of the great science fiction writers of the "Golden Era".

swampspruce
10-13-2016, 06:35 PM
I've read Mote in God's Eye and thought it would make an excellent movie,and I never really watched Babylon 5 at all so mayhap I will have to do some binge watching. It just never really resonated with me at the time despite all the raves it got from my buddies. I agree Expanse has been doing a good job with the person to person battle scenes but I haven't seen that whole series from the beginning either.
I'm just really tired of the whole setpiece ST/SW battles that seemed more at home in an atmosphere or ocean....

Thanx Colibri

Chronos
10-13-2016, 08:18 PM
On Babylon 5, strictly speaking, Earth-Force vessels (including the station) aren't even oriented the same way up as themselves. The station is basically a big cylinder, and the habitable parts of the cruisers are a pair of modules, in both cases with "up" being towards the center.

Alien vessels with artificial gravity do generally seem to all be the same way "up", but who knows? Maybe orienting an artificial gravity generator opposed to another one nearby causes unnecessary strain on the systems, or something, so everyone just stays the same way "up" for convenience.

The Stainless Steel Rat
10-13-2016, 09:03 PM
I'll add David Weber's Honorverse, which uses the 18th century 'ship of the line' tactics but respects the limits of physics (and also displays long-range combat, like in millions of miles distance between combatants, rather than the point-blank stuff of Star Trek/Star Wars).

Trinopus
10-13-2016, 09:21 PM
In the Dominic Flandry books and stories, Poul Anderson has computers running the targeting and phasing in and out of hyperspace. Anderson was a physicist in addition to being one of the great science fiction writers of the "Golden Era".

Wow... I have to disagree...at least in some cases... Anderson sometimes has Flandy, as an expert pilot, manually controlling the phasing, with some double-speak about how the human senses are better than computers for this.

(I agree, though, that Anderson's space battles are very realistic, given the SF assumptions, and that his physics knowledge makes all the details of his stories more believable.)

(I'm also thinking about Star Wars, where the gunnery aboard the M.F. is done by hand-targeting. Okay, many Han just couldn't afford a targeting computer...despite the fact that a blessed 8080 chip could do better than a guy holding a handle!)

carnivorousplant
10-13-2016, 09:32 PM
Wow... I have to disagree...at least in some cases... Anderson sometimes has Flandy, as an expert pilot, manually controlling the phasing, with some double-speak about how the human senses are better than computers for this.


Nor do I disagree with you, but do you recall which novel or story?

Lok
10-13-2016, 10:26 PM
John Hemry's books have very realistic space combat. The JAG in Space books being near future and limited to the solar system and slow speeds.

His Jack Campbell Last Fleet universe books have massive interstellar human empires fighting. There are FTL jumps between solar systems, but combat takes place at slower speeds in the systems.

All the weapons are fired by computer control because the slower speeds are still beehive what humans can react to. The ships can reach high fractions of the speed of light, but combat can't happen faster than .2 lightspeed because the computers can't control the weapons well enough to hit anything at higher speeds.

Miller
10-14-2016, 12:28 AM
It's been many years since I watched Babylon 5, but I don't recall the Starfury or any other ship turning around halfway to the destination. Maybe they behave correctly if we assume they have forward-facing thrusters that are just as powerful as the rear-facing ones - which may make sense for a fighter but not for larger ships, I think. Earth Force destroyers clearly had big thrusters at the back, and nothing comparable in front, and we always saw them approaching the destination/target head first.

Remember, though, that interstellar travel in B5 is done via warp gate. So it's not like you spend six months thrusting towards Alpha Centauri, then flip around and spend six months thrusting away. Instead, you pop out basically on top of your destination. And I could very well be forgetting something, but I don't think we ever saw a ship actually slow down and stop outside of the station (or a planet, or wherever). You'd usually get a big fx shot of the ship coming out of a gate, then radio communications between the ship and the station, and then cut to the captain (or whoever) being greeted at the docking bay by one of the series regulars. How the ship stopped (or even if it stopped) usually didn't come up.

Thanks. That actually looks more realistic than I remembered. But still, if you look at battle scenes like this, you see the Starfuries with their rear thrusters firing all the time. And they seem to change trajectory without having to spin around and point their thrusters sideways, reminiscent of fighter aircraft.

I think you have to give them a little leeway for budget and time constraints. The show very clearly established how the fighters were supposed to act, and generally stuck pretty close to it, especially when it was directly plot relevant. If sometimes the fx artists didn't get it quite right, and there wasn't time or money to fix it, that's more of an art error than a contradiction. Like sometimes you'll be reading a comic and they accidentally color Superman's cape blue in one panel.

Trinopus
10-14-2016, 12:49 AM
Nor do I disagree with you, but do you recall which novel or story?

Alas, no, I can't be specific. My memory is telling me it happens in A Stone in Heaven, but I'm just not sure.

(I also sometimes wonder about the shipbuilding and naval architecture behind Hooligan. It has upgraded engines, so it can go faster than most ships, it has an advanced weapons suite...and it still has enough empty space for a dining room. Seems a little too good to be true...)

(Again, I'm being way nitpicky; I adore Anderson, and think the Flandry series is some of the best SF ever written!)

Sam Stone
10-14-2016, 02:06 AM
if you have the tech to travel near the speed of light, a devastating weapon would be a small ship that goes past you without slowing down, having first fired out clouds of expanding sand. The ship passes you before you know it's there, and then suddenly you're vapour.

A single grain of sand going 99% the speed of light has an equivalent energy of about 500 tons of TNT. Imagine a 20 mile wide disc of such sand coming at you with a density of, say, 50 grains per square meter... And since it's going .99c, you won't have much time to manoever.

Heinlein was always great when it came to space combat. Starship Troopers was awsome. The opening battle against the 'skinnies', starting with the drop of armored soldiers from orbit in ablative capsules, is just fantastic.

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" depicted the inevitable use of gravity weapons, when the colonists on the moon fight back against Earth by simply dropping rocks on them, fired from mass drivers buried under the regolith with their muzzles designed to look like nondescript craters. But it also had space battles with miners on the surface trying to bring down spaceships with laser drills, and hand-to-hand combat in which unfamiliarity with low gravity combat by one side was a deciding factor. Great book.

MrDibble
10-14-2016, 06:49 AM
if you have the tech to travel near the speed of light, a devastating weapon would be a small ship that goes past you without slowing down, having first fired out clouds of expanding sand. The ship passes you before you know it's there, and then suddenly you're vapour.

A single grain of sand going 99% the speed of light has an equivalent energy of about 500 tons of TNT. Imagine a 20 mile wide disc of such sand coming at you with a density of, say, 50 grains per square meter... And since it's going .99c, you won't have much time to manoever.
Any NAFAL ship (assuming the "you" in there is another ship) that doesn't have shielding against interacting with NAFAL particles isn't going to exist for very long, is it? And absent that, what's going to happen to the attacking ship when it slows down, and the cloud (now with extra enemy ship chunks!) catches up with it? Or some other neutral structure in the vicinity?

IMO, any society that has NAFAL or FTL travel should treat anyone using untargetted kinetic impactors the same as use of CBW weapons planetside, and for the same reason. "Spray and pray" isn't justified on the streets of Baghdad. Much less so when the potential collateral damage radius could fill a solar system.

ftg
10-14-2016, 08:02 AM
During the brief, hours-long air war (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mole_Cricket_19) between Israel and Syria in 1982, the IAF destroyed 90 Syrian MIG fighters taking minor losses.

The IAF did this without seeing the enemy planes at all. It was all radar/etc. controlled.

This is how most* modern air battles are fought. You see a blip on the screen and you push a button to make that blip go away.

The close in battle depicted, for example, in SW:EP4 when they escape the Death Star is ridiculous. Designed to imitate WWI (not even WWII) air battles. They had frickin' lasers**! How do you end up fighting at close quarters if you have lasers? Why are you aiming without computers? (And not even telescopic sights!)

* But not all. A few traditional dogfights took place during the Iraq invasion.

** Or whatever those death rays are called.

carnivorousplant
10-14-2016, 09:21 AM
Alas, no, I can't be specific. My memory is telling me it happens in A Stone in Heaven, but I'm just not sure.

(I also sometimes wonder about the shipbuilding and naval architecture behind Hooligan. It has upgraded engines, so it can go faster than most ships, it has an advanced weapons suite...and it still has enough empty space for a dining room. Seems a little too good to be true...)

(Again, I'm being way nitpicky; I adore Anderson, and think the Flandry series is some of the best SF ever written!)

Thanks, Trinopus.

DesertDog
10-14-2016, 09:57 AM
This is how most* modern air battles are fought. You see a blip on the screen and you push a button to make that blip go away.Inevitable Galaxy Quest (https://youtube.com/watch?v=b6zwALJ8TVk) clip.

swampspruce
10-14-2016, 10:29 AM
Speaking of games, the new game Children of a Dead Earth (http://store.steampowered.com/app/476530/) is very specifically designed as a scientifically realistic space battle game.

That looks like it might be fun! It also looks like the Kerbals finally go to war....:D

lazybratsche
10-14-2016, 11:35 AM
Speaking of games, the new game Children of a Dead Earth (http://store.steampowered.com/app/476530/) is very specifically designed as a scientifically realistic space battle game.

Interesting. It seems to me that combat with near-future spaceships would be a pretty terrible idea. With limited Δv, there's not going to be a lot of orbital maneuvering. My WAG is that it'll come down to detection: if you can spot a ship or missile on an intercept course early enough, you can dodge it without spending much Δv. But if you don't detect it in time, you're screwed, because a missile could have way more Δv for terminal guidance than you can ever use to evade it.

What kind of Δv budgets do the ships in that game have?

Just Asking Questions
10-14-2016, 12:05 PM
I have always imagined that space battles would not be dissimilar to sea battles in sailing ship days. Ships would take hours to manoeuvre into a 'good' position, ...

True. And look at the greatest Star Trek movie ever, 1951's Captain Horatio Hornblower. While the battles in the movie are portrayed accurately for combat, they aren't for time. The interveining hour or so while the ship turns around, gets rerigged, and lines up for another pass, are completely removed for the sake of a decent movie. Still the result is that the combat ends up looking exactly like Star Trek. :)

carnivorousplant
10-14-2016, 12:49 PM
True. And look at the greatest Star Trek movie ever, 1951's Captain Horatio Hornblower.

I believe the greatest Star Trek movie was The Forbidden Planet. :dubious:

Hornblower is certainly close.

Just Asking Questions
10-14-2016, 03:34 PM
I believe the greatest Star Trek movie was The Forbidden Planet. :dubious:

Hornblower is certainly close.

I go back and forth which is number one.

carnivorousplant
10-14-2016, 03:50 PM
Planet has the triumvirate, bad Doctor, Damsel in Distress, and big monster.

Trinopus
10-14-2016, 04:48 PM
if you have the tech to travel near the speed of light, a devastating weapon would be a small ship that goes past you without slowing down, having first fired out clouds of expanding sand. The ship passes you before you know it's there, and then suddenly you're vapour. . . .

This was how combat was depicted in the SF comic book "Albedo." Two ships rush toward each other at high speed, jinking madly to prevent their exact position being predicted. They eject swarms of "autonomous combat vehicles" -- combat drones. The drones have weapons, but the drones also have enough mass to mess up the other guy's ship if they collide.

The actual combat is over in less than a second, all by computer. You blink...and then thank God you're still alive.

foolsguinea
10-15-2016, 05:38 AM
The light novel series & anime Starship Operators put some thought into space battles. The setting has jump tech and ansibles, but seems largely to have physics as we know it otherwise.

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