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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:27 pm 
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How come, VDAs didn't become staple, mainstream, bread and butter, etc? It seems that only Toughs have VDA systems, is it possible that this idea occurred only to Kevyn, and somehow no one stole it yet?


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:33 pm 
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M[i]ech wrote:
How come, VDAs didn't become staple, mainstream, bread and butter, etc? It seems that only Toughs have VDA systems, is it possible that this idea occurred only to Kevyn, and somehow no one stole it yet?


it's probably a cultural thing. most navies are likely to prefer 'invisible' micro-sensors, backed by 'clusters' of armed warheads. everyone's missiles can probably double as sensors, but only the toughs don't bother with deploying 'normal' sensors in addition to the armed ones.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:39 pm 
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I just realized I don't know if they did this 'port "to the letter" again or not.

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:48 pm 
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At a guess, it's a combination of things. One, big navies wouldn't use torpedoes for it - they have actual ships with gravy to spare. Two, I'm not sure most mercenary groups have milspec fabbers. The Toughs have had one or another for most of the comic, but they've been absurdly lucky with their equipment in general. If everybody had a fabber places like Planet Mercenary wouldn't exist. Who'd buy equipment they could just build?
EDIT: To add to this, have we seen any 'modern' fabbers that were not either UNS or Psychobear? Because they are also the two premier powers of the galaxy if I understand things right. There's no guarantee that anybody else has fabbers to do this kind of thing with.

And lastly, a point that's been brought up in comic. If you port into a system behind a broadside that brings the Rule about overkill into question, most militaries are going to do their absolute very best to murder you the moment you show up.

For a permanent VDA, well that just has a different name. Minefield.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 10:40 pm 
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The UNS and Obenn both seem to make intimidating displays of power part of their battle doctrine. The VDA is effective, not cheap, and sneaky.

Kind of depends on whether you want to prevent conflict, or you're kind of hoping for it.

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 11:02 pm 
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Victory is achieved through destruction of the enemy's ability to fight effectively.

You can do this by killing all of your enemies or destroying their ships/equipment/civilization . . .

Bu if you can scare the enemy into surrendering without actually fighting, that's even better!

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 11:13 pm 
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rleggett wrote:
The UNS and Obenn both seem to make intimidating displays of power part of their battle doctrine. The VDA is effective, not cheap, and sneaky.

Kind of depends on whether you want to prevent conflict, or you're kind of hoping for it.

Is the VDA actually still effective?

The enemy comes in with TAD active, and all those terrapedoes can close in on their conventional drives from widely scattered locations (so very unlikely to manage time on target arrival unless I deliberately run a predictable course or sit still), or they can do nothing.

Power-plants are more efficient at bigger sizes, as soon as I take away the terraport a battle plate sized ship is probably actually FASTER than a terrapedo. Your scattered munitions probably can't catch me before I reach the target.

I'm not at all convinced that with TAD a bunch of big ships and small sensors isn't better. The terrapedoes probably need some PTU for their power plants, so they have real cost. But a sensor platform is a camera + fiddly bit, a ship can terraport it out then it hypernets back it's results without any real cost. Your munitions stay concentrated at the target rather than being scatterred to hell and gone when you need them.

Terrapedoes are too small to be really individually effective, and TAD, or worse TAD+Jamming, makes them individual platforms.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 12:17 am 
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Doug Lampert wrote:
rleggett wrote:
The UNS and Obenn both seem to make intimidating displays of power part of their battle doctrine. The VDA is effective, not cheap, and sneaky.

Kind of depends on whether you want to prevent conflict, or you're kind of hoping for it.

Is the VDA actually still effective?

The enemy comes in with TAD active, and all those terrapedoes can close in on their conventional drives from widely scattered locations (so very unlikely to manage time on target arrival unless I deliberately run a predictable course or sit still), or they can do nothing.

Power-plants are more efficient at bigger sizes, as soon as I take away the terraport a battle plate sized ship is probably actually FASTER than a terrapedo. Your scattered munitions probably can't catch me before I reach the target.

I'm not at all convinced that with TAD a bunch of big ships and small sensors isn't better. The terrapedoes probably need some PTU for their power plants, so they have real cost. But a sensor platform is a camera + fiddly bit, a ship can terraport it out then it hypernets back it's results without any real cost. Your munitions stay concentrated at the target rather than being scatterred to hell and gone when you need them.

Terrapedoes are too small to be really individually effective, and TAD, or worse TAD+Jamming, makes them individual platforms.


If the VDA isn't effective it's because the torpedoes aren't effective to start with. Remember, it's just extremely proactive target acquisition. ASSUMING the torpedoes are effective to begin with, they are more effective scattered and closer to the target.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 1:54 am 
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sotanaht wrote:
Doug Lampert wrote:
Terapedoes are too small to be really individually effective, and TAD, or worse TAD+Jamming, makes them individual platforms.


If the VDA isn't effective it's because the torpedoes aren't effective to start with. Remember, it's just extremely proactive target acquisition. ASSUMING the torpedoes are effective to begin with, they are more effective scattered and closer to the target.


...

Doug drew an implicit potential distinction between "effective in small numbers" and "effective en masse" (so long as you are exceeding a certain threshold). Asserting that there's no middle ground between useless and dominating strikes me as disingenuous.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 2:01 am 
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Don't the terapedos have synthetic intelligence for brains, it was earlier alluded to that this was almost human smart, they should be able to work in unison especially since they almost always have a genuine a.i. directing them. This should provide time on target attacks upping their danger level tremendously. To me it looks like the Toughs just have a different philosophy about using their missles as the VDA where their opponents depend on dedicated information gathering equipment.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 8:35 am 
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The Toughs could prefer the VDA from habit: they use it VDA because they're used to it, and have used it effectively in the past, disregarding that it was originally an improvisation.

The Toughs could also be using it because it requires less computing than separate but parallel sensor and terapedo nets.

And of course other powers could be not using the VDA for either political reasons ("Using missiles for sensors?! Are you nuts?!") or inertia (nobody questioned the traditional method of separate sensor nets).

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 9:50 am 
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Danark wrote:
Don't the terapedos have synthetic intelligence for brains, it was earlier alluded to that this was almost human smart, they should be able to work in unison especially since they almost always have a genuine a.i. directing them. This should provide time on target attacks upping their danger level tremendously. To me it looks like the Toughs just have a different philosophy about using their missles as the VDA where their opponents depend on dedicated information gathering equipment.


If you start dispersed then time on target requires that you have at least one of (1) a comparable or greater max acceleration to the enemy, (2) nothing non-mobile you are trying to defend, (3) an enemy that is an idiot.

(1) is very unlikely, larger anni-plants are more efficient, they produce vastly more power per unit mass. So big ships should have higher acceleration all else being equal.
(2) is not applicable at all.
(3) is very unlikely when everyone's ships have an AI.

It doesn't matter HOW smart the terrapedoes are or how good their communications, they simply can't time on target. Terrapedoes are dispersed around the target and spot the enemy when it enters their area, the enemy runs toward its target, the farthest terrapedoes can't possibly get there first unless they are higher acceleration (they're at a standing start and have as far to go while the enemy could start moving and actually be decelerating all the way to the target), the ones closer to the enemy need to intercept now or be outrun and left behind, intermediate distances face the same dilemma at other degrees.

If missiles were vastly faster than ships, then they could time on target, but given what we know about power-plants and drives, if missiles are faster it's largely because they lack the same level of endurance.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 10:45 am 
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Bigger ships do have larger power plants, but they also have more mass to move, and greater inertia to overcome. If gravitic drives are inertialess (are they?) then the last point does not apply, but a powerful engine driving a small mass can result in higher acceleration than larger engines driving larger masses (that's partly why air-to-air missiles are much faster than jet fighters, at least over a relatively short distance).

In other words, a terapedo that is close enough to a battleplate can catch up to it through TAD-interdicted space. It's another question whether it can get through the 'plate's shields or point defenses, of course.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 1:32 pm 
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Also, I would expect manned ships to have lower accelerations because having a catastrophic drive failure in a manned ship is a significant loss, whereas losing one missile in a swarm is not . . . and I would expect that the higher the acceleration the higher the likelihood of catastrophic drive failure.

Either that, or Schlock tech has immunity to Murphy . . . and we know that's not true.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 3:04 pm 
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Plus the VDA can act as spotters for the long guns. But let's keep that a secret until needed.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 5:20 pm 
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Doug Lampert wrote:
It doesn't matter HOW smart the terrapedoes are or how good their communications, they simply can't time on target. Terrapedoes are dispersed around the target and spot the enemy when it enters their area, the enemy runs toward its target, the farthest terrapedoes can't possibly get there first unless they are higher acceleration (they're at a standing start and have as far to go while the enemy could start moving and actually be decelerating all the way to the target), the ones closer to the enemy need to intercept now or be outrun and left behind, intermediate distances face the same dilemma at other degrees.

If missiles were vastly faster than ships, then they could time on target, but given what we know about power-plants and drives, if missiles are faster it's largely because they lack the same level of endurance.


Let's simplify.
Can the Terrapedos do target acquisition of a target that's further out than they are?
Let's assume you're driving down the road, and I intend to intercept you. On foot.
Obviously, I can't run and catch you, (although it's reasonable that I intend to intercept you with a motorcycle, but let's stick to your assumption that small terrapedos are inherently slower than supercapital ships.)
If I can See You Coming, can I not put myself between you and your destination?

Let's remove the road, but add a few, dozen, of my friends. We're all intent on getting between you and our tent.
Smooth, open, dry lakebed. Ten mile visibility.
So, my friends and I form a ring around our tent. We're spread out about a ten second sprint from each other in a large-ish ring around our tent. Once we see you coming, can't one of us, or a few of us, put ourselves between you and our tent? If we stood still, you could drive right between any two of us, but we can maneuver a lot tighter than you can in your car.

We don't have to outrun you. Only intercept you while you're coming toward us.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 8:22 pm 
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macnut wrote:
Bigger ships do have larger power plants, but they also have more mass to move, and greater inertia to overcome. If gravitic drives are inertialess (are they?) then the last point does not apply, but a powerful engine driving a small mass can result in higher acceleration than larger engines driving larger masses (that's partly why air-to-air missiles are much faster than jet fighters, at least over a relatively short distance).

In other words, a terapedo that is close enough to a battleplate can catch up to it through TAD-interdicted space. It's another question whether it can get through the 'plate's shields or point defenses, of course.


The larger plants are more powerful EVEN IN RELATION TO THEIR MASS. 2x the diameter is 8x the mass, and many hundreds of times the power. So the ship with the larger plant is MUCH MUCH faster if both put equal resources into propulsion. Missiles almost certainly put more into propulsion and accept shorter life spans and less redundancy, but with the tech as described the bigger ship should STILL be faster without the terraport in play.

Sean wrote:
Doug Lampert wrote:
It doesn't matter HOW smart the terrapedoes are or how good their communications, they simply can't time on target. Terrapedoes are dispersed around the target and spot the enemy when it enters their area, the enemy runs toward its target, the farthest terrapedoes can't possibly get there first unless they are higher acceleration (they're at a standing start and have as far to go while the enemy could start moving and actually be decelerating all the way to the target), the ones closer to the enemy need to intercept now or be outrun and left behind, intermediate distances face the same dilemma at other degrees.

If missiles were vastly faster than ships, then they could time on target, but given what we know about power-plants and drives, if missiles are faster it's largely because they lack the same level of endurance.


Let's simplify.
Can the Terrapedos do target acquisition of a target that's further out than they are?
Let's assume you're driving down the road, and I intend to intercept you. On foot.
Obviously, I can't run and catch you, (although it's reasonable that I intend to intercept you with a motorcycle, but let's stick to your assumption that small terrapedos are inherently slower than supercapital ships.)
If I can See You Coming, can I not put myself between you and your destination?

Let's remove the road, but add a few, dozen, of my friends. We're all intent on getting between you and our tent.
Smooth, open, dry lakebed. Ten mile visibility.
So, my friends and I form a ring around our tent. We're spread out about a ten second sprint from each other in a large-ish ring around our tent. Once we see you coming, can't one of us, or a few of us, put ourselves between you and our tent? If we stood still, you could drive right between any two of us, but we can maneuver a lot tighter than you can in your car.

We don't have to outrun you. Only intercept you while you're coming toward us.


One of you easily can, but I never said that wasn't true, I said you couldn't time on target, which you just AGREED WITH! One of you getting in front is definitely NOT a time on target salvo.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 9:02 pm 
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If you want the munitions to strike at once you have the closest ones move deliberately slower so that the furthest ones catch up in the interval. The point where all the missiles should catch up is of course right around the enemy weapons range. It's a very simple solution that the SIs could easily handle.

Even with the closest munitions moving slower than max speed they still have less travel time/quicker response time (with hostiles present) than if they were launched after the enemy was sighted. Furthermore, there can be far more munitions in the cloud than could be launched, or even stored, on all present friendly ships in a reasonable timeframe. Therefor the response is both faster AND stronger.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 10:02 pm 
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Doug Lampert wrote:
One of you easily can, but I never said that wasn't true, I said you couldn't time on target, which you just AGREED WITH! One of you getting in front is definitely NOT a time on target salvo.

The VDA isn't just some "outer perimeter surveillance". They are used to create kill boxes.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 12:31 am 
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Doug Lampert wrote:
macnut wrote:
Bigger ships do have larger power plants, but they also have more mass to move, and greater inertia to overcome. If gravitic drives are inertialess (are they?) then the last point does not apply, but a powerful engine driving a small mass can result in higher acceleration than larger engines driving larger masses (that's partly why air-to-air missiles are much faster than jet fighters, at least over a relatively short distance).

In other words, a terapedo that is close enough to a battleplate can catch up to it through TAD-interdicted space. It's another question whether it can get through the 'plate's shields or point defenses, of course.


The larger plants are more powerful EVEN IN RELATION TO THEIR MASS. 2x the diameter is 8x the mass, and many hundreds of times the power. So the ship with the larger plant is MUCH MUCH faster if both put equal resources into propulsion. Missiles almost certainly put more into propulsion and accept shorter life spans and less redundancy, but with the tech as described the bigger ship should STILL be faster without the terraport in play.

Sean wrote:
Doug Lampert wrote:
It doesn't matter HOW smart the terrapedoes are or how good their communications, they simply can't time on target. Terrapedoes are dispersed around the target and spot the enemy when it enters their area, the enemy runs toward its target, the farthest terrapedoes can't possibly get there first unless they are higher acceleration (they're at a standing start and have as far to go while the enemy could start moving and actually be decelerating all the way to the target), the ones closer to the enemy need to intercept now or be outrun and left behind, intermediate distances face the same dilemma at other degrees.

If missiles were vastly faster than ships, then they could time on target, but given what we know about power-plants and drives, if missiles are faster it's largely because they lack the same level of endurance.


Let's simplify.
Can the Terrapedos do target acquisition of a target that's further out than they are?
Let's assume you're driving down the road, and I intend to intercept you. On foot.
Obviously, I can't run and catch you, (although it's reasonable that I intend to intercept you with a motorcycle, but let's stick to your assumption that small terrapedos are inherently slower than supercapital ships.)
If I can See You Coming, can I not put myself between you and your destination?

Let's remove the road, but add a few, dozen, of my friends. We're all intent on getting between you and our tent.
Smooth, open, dry lakebed. Ten mile visibility.
So, my friends and I form a ring around our tent. We're spread out about a ten second sprint from each other in a large-ish ring around our tent. Once we see you coming, can't one of us, or a few of us, put ourselves between you and our tent? If we stood still, you could drive right between any two of us, but we can maneuver a lot tighter than you can in your car.

We don't have to outrun you. Only intercept you while you're coming toward us.


One of you easily can, but I never said that wasn't true, I said you couldn't time on target, which you just AGREED WITH! One of you getting in front is definitely NOT a time on target salvo.

Point of order. Your actual statement was, they cannot intercept.
Doug Lampert wrote:

...Power-plants are more efficient at bigger sizes, as soon as I take away the terraport a battle plate sized ship is probably actually FASTER than a terrapedo. Your scattered munitions probably can't catch me before I reach the target....


...Terrapedoes are too small to be really individually effective, and TAD, or worse TAD+Jamming, makes them individual platforms.

But, like others have said, with careful lay of killboxes, they can intercept. The VDA is basically a landmine field, with sensor capability.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 1:31 pm 
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Motortiki wrote:
But, like others have said, with careful lay of killboxes, they can intercept. The VDA is basically a landmine field, with sensor capability.

And if the user has complete TAD* control, it's a rapidly redeployable minefield.

* Note the VDA has been used at least once to implement a TAD.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 2:54 pm 
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sotanaht wrote:
If you want the munitions to strike at once you have the closest ones move deliberately slower so that the furthest ones catch up in the interval. The point where all the missiles should catch up is of course right around the enemy weapons range. It's a very simple solution that the SIs could easily handle.

Even with the closest munitions moving slower than max speed they still have less travel time/quicker response time (with hostiles present) than if they were launched after the enemy was sighted. Furthermore, there can be far more munitions in the cloud than could be launched, or even stored, on all present friendly ships in a reasonable timeframe. Therefor the response is both faster AND stronger.


The problem is that I can outrun the closest ones if they don't intercept immediately, I can enter the zone already moving, if you accelerate at less than complete max then even if our max accelerations are equal you don't catch me till I'm orbiting the thing you claim to be defending.

Even in depth you are hitting with a tiny fraction of the available munitions at once. The "kill box" in depth that others are talking about is a way to get a small percentage of your munitions into play at any time.

This is all as opposed to the TRIVIALLY EASY solution where you deploy all the munitions near the target and they hit as a group because they are a group. All this requires is that you Terraport deploy cheap sensors, and keep the more expensive munitions near the thing you actually want to defend.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:51 pm 
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Doug Lampert wrote:
But a sensor platform is a camera + fiddly bit, a ship can terraport it out then it hypernets back it's results without any real cost.

This may have been mentioned elsewhere, but I believe an effective TAD field also blocks hypernet.

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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:51 pm 
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Black Sheep wrote:
Doug Lampert wrote:
But a sensor platform is a camera + fiddly bit, a ship can terraport it out then it hypernets back it's results without any real cost.

This may have been mentioned elsewhere, but I believe an effective TAD field also blocks hypernet.

They don't, but when used offensively they are often paired with a hypernet jammer


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:35 pm 
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I don't think the VDA is an efficient use of resources for fights between proper navies. By spreading the missiles out over light-minutes, it means they can't concentrate their fire when enemy TAD goes up, and having the firepower concentrated and the sensor net dispersed is probably much more resource-efficient overall. However, a small number of missiles is effective against most of the enemies the Toughs fight and dispersing them means they can strike quickly when an enemy ship arrives.\. But it was conspicuously ineffectual whenever they had an actual large warship to go up against.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:50 pm 
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(name here) wrote:
I don't think the VDA is an efficient use of resources for fights between proper navies. By spreading the missiles out over light-minutes, it means they can't concentrate their fire when enemy TAD goes up, and having the firepower concentrated and the sensor net dispersed is probably much more resource-efficient overall. However, a small number of missiles is effective against most of the enemies the Toughs fight and dispersing them means they can strike quickly when an enemy ship arrives.\. But it was conspicuously ineffectual whenever they had an actual large warship to go up against.


When did that happen? The only time I remember the Toughs really using the VDA in a fight it was quite effective. When they go up against larger ships it's usually much larger ships and the proper response is to run away or bargain.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:57 pm 
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Arcanestomper wrote:
When did that happen? The only time I remember the Toughs really using the VDA in a fight it was quite effective. When they go up against larger ships it's usually much larger ships and the proper response is to run away or bargain.

You answer your own question. When they faced down a battleplate, which is exactly when you want all your terapedoes to be able to coordinate and strike at once.


In that circumstance (I refer to the Oisri Incident) they ended up using the VDA's TAD to "level the field" instead.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:27 pm 
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Actually they ran out of terapedoes in that situation not because of the VDA, but because Ennesby was not capable of handling tactics capably enough and unloaded most of their ordnance fighting the decoy ships.

He actually said that he emptied half of the ordnance bay during the assault itself. That implies that while the VDA is composed of a lot of terapedoes it isn't actually the majority of their ordnance.

Although even if they had had a full load of terapedoes it wouldn't have been enough against a battleplate.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:33 pm 
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Arcanestomper wrote:
(name here) wrote:
I don't think the VDA is an efficient use of resources for fights between proper navies. By spreading the missiles out over light-minutes, it means they can't concentrate their fire when enemy TAD goes up, and having the firepower concentrated and the sensor net dispersed is probably much more resource-efficient overall. However, a small number of missiles is effective against most of the enemies the Toughs fight and dispersing them means they can strike quickly when an enemy ship arrives.\. But it was conspicuously ineffectual whenever they had an actual large warship to go up against.


When did that happen? The only time I remember the Toughs really using the VDA in a fight it was quite effective. When they go up against larger ships it's usually much larger ships and the proper response is to run away or bargain.


Whenever they were on the other side of a standoff with a Battleplate. The VDA was so completely useless in that scenario that its offensive capacity was irrelevant to the situation. It also apparently wasn't very reassuring to have up against Thunderheads, but I'm not sure if they had a VDA deployed at the Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance and that may not have been battle-tested. It works great against the things the Toughs tend to actually try to fight, but they seem to generally have fabbing capacity out of proportion to their warships post-Petey. Most prominently with the Scrapyard and obtaining the initial VDA, but even since then their opponents don't seem to fab their own tanks, for instance.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 9:21 pm 
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Most prominently with the Scrapyard and obtaining the initial VDA, but even since then their opponents don't seem to fab their own tanks, for instance.

:/ This is exactly what I said earlier in the thread. Why would Planet Mercenary exist if everybody has fabbers? The Toughs are just exceptionally lucky that they always seem to find one at cut rates. Without a fabber, VDAs are untenable - you need more missiles than you have missile bays for, and probably more than you want to spend money buying.


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