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Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread 
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Jakelope13 wrote:
Absalom wrote:
Mass drivers have approximately zero cost to damage when they encounter a shield, but also have approximately zero contribution towards combat-mode damage-per-second for the ship that carries them. They're very potent demolition devices, but about as useful for Outsider combat as a wrecking ball is for tank combat.


Very true, but seeing as how the war has become sort-of stagnant (Umiak send out a fleet, Loroi raiders perform hit-and-run maneuvers to whittle down the invading force, then Loroi defense fleets finish off the Umiak forces) I'd imagine that the Terran weapons doctrine would come as a 'breath of fresh air' and, hopefully, turn the tide of the war in the Loroi's favor.

Heck, if the Terran mass driver rounds are coated in enough stealth materials, the Terran ships could effectively act as sniping vessels, firing rounds that hit the Umiak warships for devastating effect without the Umiak picking up on their weapons.
Won't help. The primary weapons in Outsider have been near-C weapons since (at least as I best recall) before Humanity entered space. Actual engagements happen at enough range that these weapons still often miss. Now, the highest-velocity theoretical mass drivers in Outsider should be around 30% of the speed of light at most. And you aren't having to worry about the surface area that you need to cover, you're having to worry about the volume. And ships can be accelerating. So, to find the volume that the target ship might be in, the most optimistic calculation is to take the velocity of the enemy, add a little for acceleration, multiply by 3, and then cube.

That's the optimistic perspective, and even that looks as nice as it does out of my laziness rather than anything else (I ball-parked figures instead of looking them up, and even then the Terrans aren't capable of building "best case" mass drivers; for a realistic number, look at Fredgiblet's "one hour to hit" statistic). And mass drivers don't do devastating damage (the Mjolnir does, but it's a particle cannon, not a mass driver). And Terran mass drivers have even lower projectile velocities than this implies, so it's a lot worse in reality than "multiply by 3". And Loroi and Umiak vessels perform minor random maneuvers during normal operations just for the purpose of screwing with anyone that thinks they can use a super-stealthy round to sneak-attack them, rendering sniping strategies ineffective as well.

Mass drivers are for utterly destroying stationary targets, and launching various self-propelled munitions so that their engines don't damage the ship, but they aren't appropriate for Outsider space combat. Maybe if the Loroi eventually mount a ground invasion again, the TCA can convert some destroyers or something into self-deployed Bolos, that's about the most you can get out of mass drivers in this setting.


Murica wrote:
Well another important question is what humanity industrial capacity ? In other words if we put our backs in it how many ships can we pop out a year?
I think that Arioch at one point said that Humanity represents a statistically meaningful production capacity when compared to the Loroi, though it was a good deal less than half. The real issue is that Human drives aren't fit for front-line use, so the only thing we can really contribute are freighters and supplies (if the drivers were up to snuff we could at least provide some kamikaze drones, but the drives can't do the job). Either of these is certainly convenient, but it's of the ignominious "deciding factors" category, not the heroic category that everyone likes.


Jakelope13 wrote:
Odd question, but what does 'ECS' stand for? Earth Colonial Ship? Wouldn't the TCA go with something that isn't so Earth-centric?
I forget the details, but somewhere around 80-90% of Humanity lives on or around Earth. And Mars doesn't count towards the figures for Earth. If the UN was staffed, funded, and populated by 80-90% Americans, then it would be called the American Forum For The Nations (or something similarly ostentatious), instead of the United Nations.


Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:39 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Terran mass drivers have a muzzle velocity of 400 km/s (.133% of light speed) according to the shipboard weapons page on the Insider. Maximum direct fire combat ranges for Umiak weapons top out at about 250,000 km. Sniping from beyond that distance means about 10.5 minutes of flight time, launch to impact.

The launch would definitely not be stealthy, which would alert the target to the presence of the attacking ships, if they didn't know already and I would also question the ability to stealth a mass driver slug. I don't know much about mass drivers, but I am guessing that at least some of the energy used in the launch is not converted to kinetic energy in the projectile, but instead becomes heat in the projectile. Even if it doesn't, then the rounds are probably still a good deal hotter than the background due to having been stored on board the launching ship.


Last edited by JQBogus on Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:03 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
It may be worth noting that the mass drivers were removed from the Victory.

Jakelope13 wrote:
Odd question, but what does 'ECS' stand for? Earth Colonial Ship? Wouldn't the TCA go with something that isn't so Earth-centric?

It doesn't stand for anything meaningful, it's just a hull registry tag having to do with whatever bureaucratic/logistical procurement process that's required for production of the military hulls, similar to Star Trek's "NCC." Longer answer here.

Jakelope13 wrote:
Do the individual navies of each nation have their own naming conventions, or do they abide by the system set down by the TCA?

Civilian vessels would not follow the same registry pattern.

Jakelope13 wrote:
Does each planet have their own orbital shipyard, or do the individual nations have their own stations? And, if so, does that mean that Aldea and Mars (or Yinghao, if the case may be) are the only ones with the shipyard capacity to build ships above the size of a Heavy Destroyer, or did they surrender that capacity when they gave the TCA their ships as well?

The vast majority of ships larger than 100m were built in the Sol system; most ships operated by the colonial nations were purchased from Earth or Mars companies. Colony worlds have some shipyard infrastructure, but it's mainly for building small craft or servicing larger craft; it's hard for colonial companies currently to compete with Earth companies in such manufacturing. It's kind of like Denmark trying to build it's own stealth fighters... much more efficient just to buy them from the US. This will change over time, but the colonies are still very new.

Individual orbital stations may be owned by planetary governments, the colonial administration, individual colonial nations or companies, or even offworld nations or companies. Many colonial stations are built and owned by Earth companies. One of the earliest large stations at Aldea was operated by Yinghuo (the control of which was one of the points of contention in the crisis that developed).

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
So far, the story seems stacked in favor of "We'll ally with the Loroi" but can we expect some twists and turns? I know you don't want to give anything away, but what foreshadowing you've done has been pretty masterful, in my opinion. I'm still hanging on Mozin's terminated conversation.
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Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:42 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Just how rare is the type of person you can teach to operate a space ship? I mean how rare is it to find someone with the skills to be on the crew of a human spaceship are we talking 1 out of 100 or 1 out of a million


Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:49 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Murica wrote:
Just how rare is the type of person you can teach to operate a space ship? I mean how rare is it to find someone with the skills to be on the crew of a human spaceship are we talking 1 out of 100 or 1 out of a million

I'm guessing the TCA and any other spacer corps are volunteer groups, so most likely the kind of people you want piloting your ship are going to be doing so. The thing is, though, you're going to need a lot of people doing various duties (manning sensor stations, operation of the primary reactor, maintenance of any plumbing available, making food in the galley/cafeteria, performing analysis in the CIC, keeping an eye on things in Damage Control, etc. etc.) that, most likely, you're not going to have ships capable of being manned by a single individual. Granted, you can cut down on crew sizes tremendously by using automation, but at the end the ship still needs people on board to run things.

That being said, I'd figure that you can teach just about anybody to operate a space ship, if the educational systems are up to date. The biggest restriction would most likely be the personality of the spacers in question. You wouldn't see all that many people in the Scout Corps who are prone to being homesick, or worse, with a hint of claustrophobia.


Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:45 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Murica wrote:
Just how rare is the type of person you can teach to operate a space ship? I mean how rare is it to find someone with the skills to be on the crew of a human spaceship are we talking 1 out of 100 or 1 out of a million


Even if it was only one in a million, that's still a pool of over twenty thousand people to draw your volunteers from. ;)

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
GeoModder wrote:
Murica wrote:
Just how rare is the type of person you can teach to operate a space ship? I mean how rare is it to find someone with the skills to be on the crew of a human spaceship are we talking 1 out of 100 or 1 out of a million


Even if it was only one in a million, that's still a pool of over twenty thousand people to draw your volunteers from. ;)

Yes but I don't think you want conscripts running such systems


Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:37 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
cacambo43 wrote:
So far, the story seems stacked in favor of "We'll ally with the Loroi" but can we expect some twists and turns? I know you don't want to give anything away, but what foreshadowing you've done has been pretty masterful, in my opinion. I'm still hanging on Mozin's terminated conversation.

There's no straightforward way to answer that without spoilers, but I think people will find the storyline interesting and, at times, unexpected. Obviously, I need to find a way to tell it in a more timely fashion.

Murica wrote:
Just how rare is the type of person you can teach to operate a space ship? I mean how rare is it to find someone with the skills to be on the crew of a human spaceship are we talking 1 out of 100 or 1 out of a million

Anyone can operate a spacecraft (or a modern passenger jet) when all the systems are functioning correctly; the trick is having someone with the skills to cope when things start to go wrong, and this is even more the case with a military vessel. Being able to tolerate weightlessness and jump sickness and other physical and psychological stresses also helps. The Scout Corps and Fleet are in a situation where they have a limited number of highly sought-after jobs, and billions of candidates to choose from, so they can select only the best of the very best. Although he is young, Alex is overqualified to be a third-seat pilot. (Though maybe not so overqualified to be the Loroi Ambassador and Savior of Humanity.)

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
Obviously, I need to find a way to tell it in a more timely fashion.


2D backgrounds?

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
I've been lurking off-and-on here for a while, and a question has been simmering in the back of my mind the whole time. so i'm just going to ask it and screw it if it's already been answered.

I feel i should preface this with a bit of background. I'm not an expert of anything, but I have quite a bit of experience with cannon weaponry due to my carreer in the military, first in the field artillery and currently in a tank company.

for the past thirty years we've possessed the capability of firing guided munitions out of our 155mm howitzers; the older Copperhead rounds were the first, with the Excalibur looking to be its replacement. they're basically big HE shells with fins and laser guidance.

the Russian Armored corps has a similar capability in the 152mm Krasnopol shell; a laser-guided tank round.

another consideration is that in the field artillery we can extend the range of our shells by using rocket motors meant to engage just before the end of the shell's upward travel. these are called "Apogee motors" for obvious reasons.

finally, our Javelin ATGM tracks its targets by focusing a camera on them and taking lots of pictures as the missile closes on said targets, comparing the newest pics to the older. this allows the missile to reliably track even moving targets.

so we have, right now, the capability of firing guided munitions with rocket motors.

here's my question:

why doesn't the terran navy just use their cannons to fire guided shells? by imparting the necessary velocity right at the start the Kill vehicle (shell,missile,etc.) can use all of its reaction mass for maneuvering. it would allow them to still be effective in a naval engagement right out the gate without needing to gut and refit all of their ships, and allow them to extend their engagement envelope far beyond what would be possible otherwise.

another thing that is often overlooked is that a weapon doesn't need to kill you to still be effectively used against you. for example; if someone is dropping mortar shells all around your bunker, you're not exactly going to be eager to take a stroll outside. same is true for naval combat: all those shells those backwards primates are slinging your way may not be that much of a threat and easily avoided, but if those shells are pouring in along certain trajectories, you're still not going to want to fly across their paths; even to avoid other, more accurate weaponry. this is a tactical principle known as "area denial" and is the chief mission of artillery and machine guns. even if the terran ships can't hit anything, they can still employ their weaponry to coax the enemy into more favorable paths that could make them easier for the big girls to kill them.

[edit] another thing to consider is even a non-penetrating hit is still going to ring your bell, at least where tanks are concerned. I can't imagine being in a metal tube falling thorough space, and getting that metal tube struck by a dozen objects roughly 1/100 the mass of said tube, at twelve times the speed of sound, would be all that pleasant in the best case scenario.

the terran navy is looking alot like a guy in a wheelchair swinging a sledgehammer: sure he's easy to avoid, but how easy will he be to deal with when you're fighting someone already?


Last edited by Emcha on Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:09 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Because to render what you describe feasible, it would no longer be a mass-driver round; it would be a torpedo.


Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:33 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
CptWinters wrote:
Because to render what you describe feasible, it would no longer be a mass-driver round; it would be a torpedo.


so it would be silly to use a mass driver -a device designed to propel a body of mass to a stupidly high velocity, which you have at least four of on every ship in your fleet- to launch torpedoes because then you wouldn't be able to say they were firing "mass driver rounds?"

I don't imagine many Abrams crewman would be too upset about getting a FaF guided tank round on the grounds that it turns their "L/44 smoothebore cannon" into an "L/44 missile launcher."

I can't speak for the courageous spacemen aboard the alliance cruiser Bismark, but the guy pulling the trigger doesn't care one bit about semantics or nomenclature: he wants the weapon he's using to be able to kill his enemy. and while hundreds of mass driver-launched torpedoes may be easy to intercept or avoid, in a fight with terran ships supporting Loroi it means the fragile terran navy can sit back, far outside the engagement envelope of the Umiak's weapons, sending torpedoes their way which the umiak have to fire on with weapons that would otherwise be directed at the loroi ships or risk getting hit by dozens upon dozens of stellar wrecking balls. it just seems like a very simple and low-cost stop-gap measure until the terrans can field their own particle beam-equipped warships.

but of course, making sense has never been a high priority in any military coming out of a long peace. so it's entirely possible old men set in their ways would presume that giant steel balls which were good enough in their day will be good enough for the young deckhands going against the up-to-now unknown enemy.


Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:54 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Mass driver rounds are guided shells. But the delta-v and fuel supply of the round is very small compared to that of the ships they're trying to hit.

The larger and more like a true torpedo you try to make your mass driver round, the more energy it takes to accelerate it, and the harder it is to keep it from being destroyed by the firing process. Mass driver rounds need to be as simple and rugged as you can make them.

Area denial is not overlooked; it's most of what mass driver rounds are good for in the Terran 6G/50Mm ship-to-ship realm of maneuver. But in the Loroi/Umiak 30G/300Mm realm, even area denial is not very effective.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
next question:

presuming everything goes favorably with the good acting captain on his meeting with the emperor, what could the terran military expect to acquire from the loroi tech-wise?


Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:45 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Emcha wrote:
presuming everything goes favorably with the good acting captain on his meeting with the emperor, what could the terran military expect to acquire from the loroi tech-wise?

There are too many hypotheticals involved in answering that question which depend on important story points that would be inappropriate for me to discuss.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
What kind of reactors are Terran ships equipped with? A fission reactor would allow for longer periods between refueling, due to the long lifetime of the reactor piles, yet a fusion reactor would allow for a far higher energy output.

Exactly how large are the weapon mounts on these ships? And would it be possible to see larger weapons mounted on the smaller classes? I'd imagine that having a small, fast vessel equipped with only a spinal Mjolnir Cannon (and some point defense turrets) would serve well as a force multiplier.


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Jakelope13 wrote:
What kind of reactors are Terran ships equipped with? A fission reactor would allow for longer periods between refueling, due to the long lifetime of the reactor piles, yet a fusion reactor would allow for a far higher energy output.

Fusion.

Jakelope13 wrote:
Exactly how large are the weapon mounts on these ships? And would it be possible to see larger weapons mounted on the smaller classes? I'd imagine that having a small, fast vessel equipped with only a spinal Mjolnir Cannon (and some point defense turrets) would serve well as a force multiplier.

The Mjolnir module is almost 100m long. Even if it could fit on one of the smaller ships (which I doubt), there would be problems with supplying enough power to operate the weapon; it's taxing on even the heavy cruiser's power system.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
What was the initial plan of the bellermine ? Once they found one of the sides what was there plan if they weren't attacked? Did they have a diplomat or was that the captain? Did they an honor guard? Or we're they just supost to bring aliens to a pre determined location? Or a bit of both?


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
The Mjolnir module is almost 100m long. Even if it could fit on one of the smaller ships (which I doubt), there would be problems with supplying enough power to operate the weapon; it's taxing on even the heavy cruiser's power system.


What about an Ion Cannon Frigate type design? Would that be feasible for the tech?


Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:37 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Quote:
What was the initial plan of the bellermine ? Once they found one of the sides what was there plan if they weren't attacked? Did they have a diplomat or was that the captain? Did they an honor guard? Or we're they just supost to bring aliens to a pre determined location? Or a bit of both?

Captain Hamilton's orders (which now fall on Alex) were to make contact, handle appropriate introductions, and open negotiations. Ideally, this would mean getting word back to the ACM HQ at Esperanza via the relay vessel Prabhu and arranging a meeting with high-level Terran diplomats, but the captains were given substantial authority to negotiate on their own, if necessary. Any agreement would have to be communicated to and agreed to by the appropriate TCA authorities (also standing by at Esperanza). Bellarmine had diplomatic advisors on board, but Hamilton was ultimately in charge of the diplomatic mission.

fredgiblet wrote:
What about an Ion Cannon Frigate type design? Would that be feasible for the tech?

Structurally, yes, but the power requirements would still be a problem. For the heavy cruiser, the Mjolnir operates a bit like the Wave Loom, in that its power requirements are greater than the ship's power generation capacity, and so it must have a capacitor that's charged over several minutes. A ~200m "Mjolnir Frigate" with a destroyer-class powerplant would have to charge for a longer time, during which it would have limited ability to use its engines for anything else. It's an interesting idea, though.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
How were the extra-solar planets colonized? Were the survey vessels equipped with an FTL drive, and the following (initial) colony expedition made the trip via sublight speeds (with some form of cryostasis to cut down on lifesupport) or were the colony ships also equipped with an FTL drive?

And how large are the Terran Jump Drives? Could you significantly reduce the power requirements, and potentially increase the armaments, by stripping it out? Or is it roughly the same size as the reactor itself, where adding/removing it would pose no actual reduction in power usage?


Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:47 pm
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
Jakelope13 wrote:
Exactly how large are the weapon mounts on these ships? And would it be possible to see larger weapons mounted on the smaller classes? I'd imagine that having a small, fast vessel equipped with only a spinal Mjolnir Cannon (and some point defense turrets) would serve well as a force multiplier.

The Mjolnir module is almost 100m long. Even if it could fit on one of the smaller ships (which I doubt), there would be problems with supplying enough power to operate the weapon; it's taxing on even the heavy cruiser's power system.
How large of a strap-on reactor would it take to counter-act this problem? I ask, mostly because the future ambassador from the Loroi advising that the Emperor not extend pulse cannon technology to humanity because "They'll try to stick it on a fighter, and if that won't work, they'll stick a fighter on it" amuses me for some reason.

Edit: Well, that and certain brain-bleach -inducing jokes.


Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:00 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Jakelope13 wrote:
How were the extra-solar planets colonized? Were the survey vessels equipped with an FTL drive, and the following (initial) colony expedition made the trip via sublight speeds (with some form of cryostasis to cut down on lifesupport) or were the colony ships also equipped with an FTL drive?

The colonies were set up by many sorties of ordinary FTL freighters and transports. I don't know why folks seem to imagine some mammoth colony ship that does it in one shot. 4X space games, perhaps?

Sublight starships take centuries to get anywhere. The story is set only 150 years in the future.

Jakelope13 wrote:
And how large are the Terran Jump Drives? Could you significantly reduce the power requirements, and potentially increase the armaments, by stripping it out?

The jump drive doesn't draw power unless you're using it. Omitting the jump drive saves you some cost and weight, but then the vessel is limited to defending the system it's built at (Sol).

Absalom wrote:
How large of a strap-on reactor would it take to counter-act this problem?

If you take a destroyer hull and outfit it with cruiser engines, then you haven't really got a destroyer any more... you've got something that's nearly as expensive as a cruiser. That kind of defeats the whole appeal of the Mjolnir-Destroyer idea, which is that you can make more of the things because they're cheaper.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
The colonies were set up by many sorties of ordinary FTL freighters and transports. I don't know why folks seem to imagine some mammoth colony ship that does it in one shot. 4X space games, perhaps?

Sublight starships take centuries to get anywhere. The story is set only 150 years in the future.
It's probably something harking back to the Age of Sail, or the old Viking years, where it took months (sometimes, even years) to get anywhere, fraught with peril and adventure. There's a certain poetry in those kinds of stories. Not to mention which, it's not that much of a stretch to imagine that the very earliest FTL drives weren't exactly reliable. So, when launching a ship with the capability to land a self-sustaining colony on a new world, it probably didn't hurt to send it the one way that was cost-effective/safe.

Arioch wrote:
The jump drive doesn't draw power unless you're using it. Omitting the jump drive saves you some cost and weight, but then the vessel is limited to defending the system it's built at (Sol).
Extremely true... unless you built some kind of supercarrier to ferry those ships from system to system.

I'm drawing from David Weber's LAC idea (LACs, or Light Attack Craft, were too small to effectively mount an FTL drive, but were perfect for patrolling star systems; in his later novels, however, the LAC went from being a smaller starship to being akin to a very large fighter, the first new flight wrapped around a superheavy laser cannon, designed for puncturing battlecruiser armor, and were ferried in dreadnaught/superdreadnaught carriers)

Plus, if someone on one on Aldea wanted a starship, but without a jump drive, wouldn't they need a very large freighter (possibly capable of delivering multiple of these single-system vessels) to be able to transport it from Sol?


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