Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Discussion of the space strategy game where you design ships, issue orders to your fleet, then play hands-off battles against human or AI designed enemies.
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Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Bullethead » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:01 pm

In an effort to have more varied and interesting fights, to bring the rock-paper-scissors thing back into my GSB life, I am henceforth going to impose some arbitrary limits on how I design ships. I'm trying to keep these arbitrary limits "believable" in an underlying, non-gratuitous context of empires being run as going concerns, so nothing totally off-the-wall.

Here are some ideas I've had so far and their hoped-for impacts on battles. Feel free to comment or suggest your own.

1. Minimum Speed = 0.04
Any slower than this and the ship lacks sufficient thrust to leave the shipyard. So, ships must devote some slots to engines and the power and crew to supply them. NOTE: This is a requirement I've always had, but the minimum speed used to be 0.03.

2. No Dreadnought Parts in Cruisers
This means all cruisers worthy of the name require 2 slots of powerplants, cutting down on what else they can have. Also, no cruisers zipping around at ridiculous speeds using DN engines.

3. No EMP Cannon
This just hasn't been invented yet. If you want EMP, build frigates. Finally, a reason to do so.

4. Limited Guidance Scramblers
Guidance Scramblers are new technology not available to everybody, and they require lots of bulky, specialized electronics in the ship. So, for non-Parasites, they can only be mounted in dreadnoughts. If you don't have a dreadnought, you don't get any scramblers. Parasites can mount their Revenge Scramblers in cruisers because they don't have DNs. However, the RS has to tie into the brains of dedicated Aegis-type ships otherwise armed only with Cruiser Pulse Lasers, Flak Cannons, Tractor Beams, etc. This rule is to make missiles a viable alternative to plasma.

5. Limited Supercharged Tractor Beams
Only dreadnoughts have the hull strength to keep one of these from ripping out of the ship. So, if you don't have dreadnoughts, you'll have to make due with lesser versions. This help fighters be more effective.

Comments?
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby 123stw » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:37 pm

1. How did you get your fleet that slow anyway? Even my armor tanks move at 0.05.
2. No comment on modded content
3. Frigate are unusable regardless outside of frigate spams. And emp cannons sucks outside of 1 vs 1 dual or CL spams. Pretty much any non rush fleet will have 1 scrambler per ship to avoid getting slaughtered by MWM spam.
4. MWM spams with co-op are good enough as is and does NOT need a buff. 1 scrambler per ship barely give plasma spam the edge and will still lose with bad AI/inferior positioning. The only true counter to MWM spams are swarm smart bomb tank.
5. Normal Tractor > Supercharge to begin with. They cost less, has more energy, and slow fighters enough for a kill shot anyway.

The only restriction I want is
1. Ban Utopia Hull.
2. Ban Flak.

Then Tribe and Parasite will no longer be OP.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Aeson » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:49 pm

1. I'd agree with 123stw - 0.04 speed is extremely slow, and virtually any ship I've ever made can move at least that fast without any trouble. It's also extremely boring (in my opinion) to watch, and usually my goal in playing Gratuitous Space Battles is to watch an interesting 'space battle', not spend a couple minutes watching my cruisers crawl into firing range.
2. I don't use mods, generally speaking, so I won't comment on this.
3. I don't usually bother with EMPs anyway - when I fight them I find it annoying if my ships get stun-locked, and they don't seem to play nicely with my normal order sets (they usually all fire on the same ship, unless I've got the part of my fleet that carries EMPs set to spread fire out). Usually when I play Gratuitous Space Battles, I'm only really looking for a 'space battle' where lots of things blow up and don't really care whether I'm winning, anyway, though.
4. I find that one guidance scrambler on each cruiser is usually more than enough to take care of most missile systems, so unless I wanted to make a design that sits at the very front of the fleet and shields everyone from missile fire, I wouldn't put more than one on any given cruiser, anyways (unless I'm fighting a very significant missile spam).
5. I don't believe I've ever used the Supercharged Tractor Beam (STB). I find that the standard Tractor Beam (TB) is more than sufficient for my antifighter needs, if I'm going to bring tractor beams of any type to the party. Certainly the STB is better than the TB at slowing down whatever it grabs, but I don't really need strafing fighters slowed that much - only enough for my escorting fighters or my onboard Pulse Laser to hit it more consistently, and the TB performs well enough for that purpose. Also, the TB will usually bring to a stop all but the fastest-moving fighters, if those fighters stay within range of the tractor beam long enough. The only advantage I see to the STB is that the slowing effect is greater, and that isn't enough of an advantage for me to justify bringing one along.

As for minimum fleet speeds, why not try something more ambitious, like a goal of 0.15 or 0.20? If your current fleets tend to be around 0.04 in speed, I can almost guarantee that changing them to have a minimum speed of 0.15 or more is going to significantly alter your fleet composition. I don't believe I've ever had a cruiser design that I was happy with that could achieve more than about 0.30, though, so don't try pushing the minimum speed too high.

Perhaps try making specialist ships - one design to break the shields, another to break the armor or kill things. I know from your previous posts that you like using plasmas, which are one of the best generalist weapons - perhaps try a beam cruiser and laser cruiser mix. Make the cruisers with the lasers the Fast Battle Squadron (so, speed 0.20+, or something like that), and the beam cruisers as your normal battle line (except give it a speed somewhere around 0.15 so that it doesn't fall too far behind the Fast Battle Squadron), and give the fast ships orders that encourage shield stripping, while the main battle line has orders to beat up damaged or weak ships. Alternatively, if you don't want to design ships for those speeds, try a slow line of missile or plasma cruisers supporting a mid-speed group of beam cruisers.

Edit: Actually, if you're going to make arbitrary fleet restrictions, you could also require that all your ships carry only the minimum armor required for immunity to fighter weapons and must be fast (pretend that Admiral Fisher is the First Space Lord at the Admiralty, and still wants his Battle Cruisers).

Edit 2: Another rule you could try is limiting the cost of the systems you can put on your ships, or the total cost of the ship (i.e., no Cruiser weapons which cost more than 100 credits can be purchased, no Cruisers which cost more than 2500 credits can be built for the fleet). The component cost limit example I gave is rather limiting (Proton Beams, Quantum Blasters, Rockets, and Cruiser Defense Lasers are some of the few weapons that pass that particular restriction), but I'm not sure about the total cost example (I know that most of my cruisers are up around 3000 to 3500 credits per ship, but I think I could bring that down without too much effort). Combining those two rules could also be interesting: individual components carried by the ships cannot cost more than X credits per component, and the Space Navy's budget in combination with its goals for number of ships produced will not allow you to exceed Y credits per ship.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Bullethead » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:15 pm

These are all very good comments and suggests. They would definitely make things very interesting. Thanks.

Now, as to why my ships are so slow... Mostly it's to gain a DPS advantage. The enemy will come to me, getting all spread out as he does so. By the time he arrives, my slow ships are nearly as tightly massed as when I deployed them. So, usually I can knock off the enemy 1 at a time with the concentrated fire of several of my ships as they approach, while denying the ability to mass fire against me.

What's the advantage of going 0.15 instead of 0.04? It doesn't seem to me to make enough difference in how hard you are to hit to justify the money/power/crew/slots you need to achieve it, let alone the loss of concentrated firepower.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Aeson » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:36 pm

Need there be an advantage to going faster? All you asked for was arbitrary restrictions (which I presume are intended to encourage you to change up your designs, judging from your recent posts in the Diary of a Space Tyrant thread). Nevertheless, you can still maintain a reasonably well-armored, shielded cruiser which can achieve 0.15 speed, which will have some advantage over slow plasma cruisers due to its speed. Against beams, missiles, and lasers, the speed isn't worth that much, but there should be a fairly considerable decline in the accuracy of standard and heavy plasmas if they are firing on a ship moving at 0.15 speed rather than 0.04. Increasing the speed further hurts the plasma cruisers more.

Also, my fast ships generally remain reasonably tightly deployed if I gave them a set of orders that doesn't encourage splitting up (certainly they usually remain close enough to provide mutual fire support, and don't fly off all over the map - though that can be useful sometimes).

The biggest advantage I see for speed, though, is as a solution for boredom. I find watching the very slow cruisers crawl towards the enemy to be boring, and I don't see that the performance of very slow ships is so superior that I would rather wait a while (even on 4X speed) for the cruisers to close the range than have cruisers of my own that can close the range at a reasonable pace.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Bullethead » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:24 pm

123stw wrote:4. MWM spams with co-op are good enough as is and does NOT need a buff. 1 scrambler per ship barely give plasma spam the edge and will still lose with bad AI/inferior positioning. The only true counter to MWM spams are swarm smart bomb tank.


See, my exerpience is that 1 scrambler per ship pretty much negates the MWM spam. To prove my point, I just ran a head-to-head of MWM spam vs. plasma spam. The battle had about 15 units of each type lined up exactly head-on in line abreast with the same orders. The result was that plasma spam beat MWM spam 100-0, although several of the plasma ships were on their last legs.

The competing designs were as identical as possible except for the weapons. The MWM spammers had 6x MWMs, the plasma spammers had 5x Cruiser Plasma and 1x Guidance Scrambler. The only other differences were slight tweaks in power plants and crew quarters due to different requirments, and the plasma having a 3rd Multi-Phasic shield instead of a Fast Recharge. You can see that these differences had very little effect in terms of shield strength, hitpoints, and cost. Both had the same speed and armor.

The last pic shows the "damage by weapon" view. As you can see, the presence of 1 scrambler per ship reduced the MWMs to about a 27% hit rate, far less than the plasma, besides each hit doing considerably less damage. So, despite having 15% fewer weapons, the plasma still had a way better DPS and thus smoked the MWM.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Berny_74 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:43 pm

Bullethead wrote:These are all very good comments and suggests. They would definitely make things very interesting. Thanks.

Now, as to why my ships are so slow... Mostly it's to gain a DPS advantage. The enemy will come to me, getting all spread out as he does so. By the time he arrives, my slow ships are nearly as tightly massed as when I deployed them. So, usually I can knock off the enemy 1 at a time with the concentrated fire of several of my ships as they approach, while denying the ability to mass fire against me.

What's the advantage of going 0.15 instead of 0.04? It doesn't seem to me to make enough difference in how hard you are to hit to justify the money/power/crew/slots you need to achieve it, let alone the loss of concentrated firepower.


A quick and dirty test. A cruiser armed with 8 plasma weapons, standing still. A cruiser with speed of .20, 1 reflective and 2 multiphasics. The cruiser was able to fire 12-13 rounds per weapon, 60% of rounds missed, and the fast cruiser was able to run under the minimum range without its shields dropping.

As for credits and costs.... I have .20 cruisers under 2K.
In fact I've built whole fleets on budgets, including my favourite 1K cruiser challenge. That takes some ingenuity.

Berny
at 1K the quantum blaster looks more appealing.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Archduke Astro » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:21 pm

Bullethead wrote:What's the advantage of going 0.15 instead of 0.04? It doesn't seem to me to make enough difference in how hard you are to hit to justify the money/power/crew/slots you need to achieve it, let alone the loss of concentrated firepower.

Aeson wrote:Need there be an advantage to going faster? All you asked for was arbitrary restrictions (which I presume are intended to encourage you to change up your designs, judging from your recent posts in the Diary of a Space Tyrant thread). Nevertheless, you can still maintain a reasonably well-armored, shielded cruiser which can achieve 0.15 speed, which will have some advantage over slow plasma cruisers due to its speed. Against beams, missiles, and lasers, the speed isn't worth that much, but there should be a fairly considerable decline in the accuracy of standard and heavy plasmas if they are firing on a ship moving at 0.15 speed rather than 0.04. Increasing the speed further hurts the plasma cruisers more.

For the sake of a more informed discussion re: fleet speeds within this topic, I invite you folks to read this thread. Quite an eye-opener.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Bullethead » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:53 pm

Archduke Astro wrote:this thread. Quite an eye-opener.


Thanks for the info. But I think that only tells part of the story. For instance....

1. The Speed Thing
The game doesn't seem to realize it when ships stop involuntarily. For instance, I did a test with some rushers that actually rammed the enemy, so were sitting still. However, possibly because they had "keep moving" orders, the game didn't care and they remained as hard to as before.

2. Bearing Rate
Targets coming straight at you are easier to hit than crossing targets. This is with all weapons but it affects missiles the most because missiles have turn radii. When fired at a crossing target, a missile turns after it using "pure pursuit" (always steering directly at where the target is right now, which ain't the more efficient way to intercept). Anyway, if the missile's turn radius is big enough, it will be unable to hit, regardless of the "to hit" chance figured by the formula, and no matter that the target is painted. This is what makes the Anti-Fighter Missile so useless; its turn radius is too big so it cannot ever hit a fighter that's turning.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Aeson » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:18 pm

@Archduke: thanks, I saw that thread once a while ago, but reading it again was nice.

@Bullethead: I think the game does realize it when fast ships stop. If I give my ships orders to close to range and then sit there exchanging fire with an enemy line, I see my ships take more hits than I do when my ships have the Keep Moving order. This also seems to be the case when my ships are trying to maneuver around enemy ships. What you might have been seeing was the ship being inside minimum range of the enemy weapons. I don't think that angular velocity or ship maneuvers have anything to do with hit rates except when the ships are trying to dodge a weapon with a turning radius. I'm not sure of this since I've never rigorously tested it, but that's the impression I get from watching the game. I'm not certain about the stopped involuntarily thing, but I think that the speed being used is the current speed of the ship, and unless the game for some reason cannot see that when a ship is attempting to move but is somehow or another being blocked, I don't see why it would matter (case in point - fighters don't want to stop when they have a tractor beam on them, and still try to move at full speed, but cannot and become much easier to hit).

Also, try making a 0.20 speed version of your Multiple Warhead Missile cruiser (use Fast Missiles instead of MWMs). You might be surprised at how well it performs against your plasma cruisers. (It still lost, but the one I tested - 18 missile cruisers with 'Keep Moving', 'Cooperative' and engagement range set to the maximum range of the missile - ended up destroying about 60% of a fleet of 18 of your plasma cruisers, arranged in 3 lines of 6 cruisers with no special orders. Testing without 'Keep Moving' orders resulted in similar outcomes to your test with the slow moving MWM cruiser.)
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby GATC » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:22 am

Bullethead wrote:1. The Speed Thing
The game doesn't seem to realize it when ships stop involuntarily. For instance, I did a test with some rushers that actually rammed the enemy, so were sitting still. However, possibly because they had "keep moving" orders, the game didn't care and they remained as hard to as before.


The game realise it:
When a cruiser take hull damages, there is a small explosion that push every ship near it. This explosion affect 99% of the time fighters. When this occur, I've seen plenty of time a cruiser plasma torpedo annihilate a poor fighter who were going straight to the explosion and was instantly stopped (and even push back!).
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Bullethead » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:06 pm

Aeson@Bullethead: I think the game does realize it when fast ships stop.[/quote]
[quote="GATC wrote:
When a cruiser take hull damages, there is a small explosion that push every ship near it. This explosion affect 99% of the time fighters. When this occur, I've seen plenty of time a cruiser plasma torpedo annihilate a poor fighter who were going straight to the explosion and was instantly stopped (and even push back!).


OK, it seems to be that there's a bug of the omission variety. The game apparently doesn't have a general mechanism that always monitors a ship's speed and uses that value for to-hit calculations. Instead, it seems that the game assumes the ship is always moving at its currently possible max speed unless some special event says otherwise (voluntary stopping per orders, tractor beam, shockwave, etc.) But apparently, it doesn't check for stopping due to being immobilized by a scrum.

Try it yourself. Have masses of fast collide in front of stationary ships with plasma, in hopes of giving the plasma easy shots. You will not see accuracy against the fast ships improve, however.

Also, try making a 0.20 speed version of your Multiple Warhead Missile cruiser (use Fast Missiles instead of MWMs). You might be surprised at how well it performs against your plasma cruisers. (It still lost, but the one I tested - 18 missile cruisers with 'Keep Moving', 'Cooperative' and engagement range set to the maximum range of the missile - ended up destroying about 60% of a fleet of 18 of your plasma cruisers, arranged in 3 lines of 6 cruisers with no special orders. Testing without 'Keep Moving' orders resulted in similar outcomes to your test with the slow moving MWM cruiser.)


Well, it' still proves what I was trying to say. I keep hearing how the MWM spam is invincible and was just trying to show that the presence of just 1 scrambler per ship knocks the MWM's DPS so far down that plasma has a huge advantage. The MWM's DPS is further reduced if you mix in some dedicated "Aegis" ships with more scramblers and point defense in the target formation. Meanwhile, the only defense against plasma is speed, but it takes a lot of speed to reduce plasma's DPS down to where the MWM's is. Personally, I find the Fast Missile always hits more often than the MWM, and its hits do more damage, so it has a considerably better DPS.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby GATC » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:04 pm

Bullethead wrote:Well, it' still proves what I was trying to say. I keep hearing how the MWM spam is invincible and was just trying to show that the presence of just 1 scrambler per ship knocks the MWM's DPS so far down that plasma has a huge advantage. The MWM's DPS is further reduced if you mix in some dedicated "Aegis" ships with more scramblers and point defense in the target formation. Meanwhile, the only defense against plasma is speed, but it takes a lot of speed to reduce plasma's DPS down to where the MWM's is. Personally, I find the Fast Missile always hits more often than the MWM, and its hits do more damage, so it has a considerably better DPS.

Your wrong about Fast missile DPS because:
1) The raw damages is inferior, 4x11 for MWM, 30 for FML
2) Recharge rate is inferior, 1950 for MWM, 2145 for FML (Even if this tend to be wrong cause of the "only one missile in fly" problem)
3)FML is much more weak against scrambler if it is linked to an Scanner
4)2 Armour penetration in less
5)Shoot from closer range
6)Cost more
7)And it's less funny if there is only one warhead ^^
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby Bullethead » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:21 pm

GATC wrote:Your wrong about Fast missile DPS because:
1) The raw damages is inferior, 4x11 for MWM, 30 for FML
2) Recharge rate is inferior, 1950 for MWM, 2145 for FML (Even if this tend to be wrong cause of the "only one missile in fly" problem)
3)FML is much more weak against scrambler if it is linked to an Scanner
4)2 Armour penetration in less
5)Shoot from closer range
6)Cost more
7)And it's less funny if there is only one warhead ^^


That all may be so on paper and when facing zero missile defense, but in practice, against the same level of defenses, the FM beats the MWM, for several reaons:

1. Hit Percentage
Against the same level of defenses, the statistics say that the FM always out-hits the MWM by a considerable margin. I believe this is because the FM flies about twice as fast as the MWM. Therefore, it's harder to hit with scramblers and point defense. Also, it has a good chance of crossing the envelope of the defense systems while they're recharging after shooting at previous missiles.

2. Effective Rate of Fire
It appears that when at or near their respective maximum ranges, both the FM and MWM will recharge while they have a shot in flight. IOW, if their missiles hit or are shot down, both can fire again instantly without having to wait to finish recharging. Because the FM goes nearly twice as fast as the MWM, it therefore gets to shoot nearly twice as often. And when missiles miss or get scrambled, the FM has to wait less time for missile burnout than the MWM

3. Damage Per Hit
Given any non-zero level of defenses, it's much more likely that the MWM will hit with 1-3 warheads instead of 4, so the average damage per hit is only 27.5 ((11 + 22 + 33 + 44)/4). This is below the FM's.

So, taken together, the FM fires more shots, each shot is more likely to hit, and each shot on average does more damage. Thus, the FM has higher DPS than the MWM.

EDIT: Corrected MWM average damage.
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Re: Arbitrary Fleet Restrictions

Postby GATC » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:53 pm

Bullethead wrote:1. Hit Percentage
Against the same level of defenses, the statistics say that the FM always out-hits the MWM by a considerable margin. I believe this is because the FM flies about twice as fast as the MWM. Therefore, it's harder to hit with scramblers and point defense. Also, it has a good chance of crossing the envelope of the defense systems while they're recharging after shooting at previous missiles.

True it is harder for PD, false for Scrambler

Bullethead wrote:2. Effective Rate of Fire
It appears that when at or near their respective maximum ranges, both the FM and MWM will recharge while they have a shot in flight. IOW, if their missiles hit or are shot down, both can fire again instantly without having to wait to finish recharging. Because the FM goes nearly twice as fast as the MWM, it therefore gets to shoot nearly twice as often. And when missiles miss or get scrambled, the FM has to wait less time for missile burnout than the MWM

You got a point.

Bullethead wrote:3. Damage Per Hit
Given any non-zero level of defenses, it's much more likely that the MWM will hit with 1-3 warheads instead of 4, so the average damage per hit is only 27.5 ((11 + 22 + 33 + 44)/4). This is below the FM's.

So, taken together, the FM fires more shots, each shot is more likely to hit, and each shot on average does more damage. Thus, the FM has higher DPS than the MWM.

EDIT: Corrected MWM average damage.

I see that you like math ^^
So, I've tested a little battle of my own
3 scramble tank supported by 3 missiles cruiser (MWM on one side, FM on the other)
The end result is a 24.17%-19.44% of hit with the MWM as winner

BUT
In a battle with only MWM against FM, FM win the battle (with a little MWM stupidity to 90% of time attacking the ship in the rear of the formation...)

SO!
If your enemy use an 'all ships have scramblers' strategy, prefer FM.
If they don't, prefer MWM

(In a 80 000 credit battle, I was able to deploy 26 MWM against 25 FM with ship equivalent to your design)
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