Sunday, June 24, 2012

Information Symetry - Challenges of Hard Sci-Fi Ship Combat

Edits from a discussion with Ken Burnside and Nyranth.

In the back of my mind this problem has been percolating and I've just recently gained some insight and I'm wondering if anyone has already thought of it?

Will try to limit sci-fi breakthrough assumptions.

  • Power Generation is x5 to x25 more efficient and productive. added^ Than what we currently have in 2012. that means a 1MW Power Plant of about 5tons and about 10m^3 today can produce 5MW at the start of the space era and moving towards 25MW by the time its interestallar era. 
  • Engineering can make sufficiently large ship, station and colony structures that are cost effective. 
  • Life Support Allows for Space Stations to only 90% of all resources for self sustenance. Lower for locations which have more resources available. 
  • There is one form of FTL travel: Jumps that can only occur when passing beyond the farthest edge of the system. This occurs instantaneously, the draw back is getting the the jump point takes forever.  
  • No Gravity Manipulation - all gravity is by rotation based or linear acceleration. This basically makes all shipping cylindrical. 
  • No FTL Systems. 


Before any War, there was already a Arms race for Modeling Systems. Information has been thoroughly modeled, and even before the first professional military interstellar conflict.

Warships try to Appear like Commercial Ships. The extents of the octupi-like deception goes as far as your Q-ship, "transforming" ships, combining multiple vessels to appear as one larger vessel.  This goes both ways, commercial ships will try to appear like Q-ships and various other pretend ships. You never know what is a warship. the most powerful pretenders are the Carriers, which appear like mega-freighters.

It is all about Range. Combat is at a couple Light Minutes Seconds, warships have to accurately predict where a ship will be Minutes before they can hit it. At Light minute Ranges it is matter of processing power and gestalt numbers.

Missile Pods, and Missiles are Traps. These deployed weapons are meant to allow ships to be more than one place at a time, allows them to cover more "ground".

Tactical Officers are Wizards, Commanders are Psychics. Tactical Officers are an augmented Statisticians and Game-Theory Experts. The Commanders are augmented experts in cognition, game theory and psychology: trying to Predict the actions/moves of the other Commander.

Drone Warfare tries to achieve the ff:

  • All Warships can be converted into Drones
  • exploiting Lanchesters law as much as possible. 
  • Has more capability to pretend to be commercial shipping.
  • Drones are the primary AI of missile pods and missiles. 

Card Game System. This is too complex to be made into a piece vs piece game. Its better made to a level of abstraction similar to CCGs. I have one in mind, that is for another post.


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