Author Topic: Physics of Space Battles  (Read 3087 times)

Offline spelk

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Physics of Space Battles
« on: December 18, 2009, 07:14:32 AM »
An interesting article here (even goes into Enders Game)
http://gizmodo.com/5426453/

Offline eRe4s3r

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,801
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2009, 11:26:06 AM »
Speaking of physics, my physicists heart split when i saw a nuke destroy the ISS in Call of Duty: MW2

Thats easily the most weird and *wrong* thing i ever saw, my logical brain tells me nukes do not make shockwaves in space, because shockwaves are air compression/decompression and sound waves. No sound and air in space, so all a nuke will do is glow brightly and fry your electronics.
Proud member of the Initiative for Bigger Weapons EV. - Bringer of Additive Blended Doom - Vote for Lore, get free cookie

Offline Cydonia

  • Jr. Member Mark III
  • **
  • Posts: 96
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2009, 12:17:32 PM »
Oh yeah. I didn't notice that... well I think you can't take the story of MW2 too seriously^^ Russia attacking.. yeah why not, and in the end it would just be an evil Nazi plot, like in that movie I currently don't know the name of  ;D

But this article is interesting... :)
Germany, timezone +1

Thank you for chosing Value-Rep!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,700
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2009, 02:00:32 PM »
Definitely an interesting article!

There were two physicists/chemists on my alpha testing team for AI War, and so there was a lot of discussion of stuff like this.  Some interesting tidbits about AI War:

- For a long while, only allied ships made any sounds (since you can't hear stuff in space, this level of hearing was considered the sound over radios from the individual ships).  However, in practice this was very odd, so we switched to just having everything make sounds as you'd expect.

- For a good while, we were also toying with the idea of adding gravity wells to planets.  The idea being that ships would orbit planets, and ships closer to the planet would orbit faster, and going toward the planet was faster than going away, and ships would take elliptical paths to their destinations, etc.  From a simulation standpoint this would have been cool, but from a strategy game standpoint it would have made things more difficult to control, and would have had little effect on gameplay (if you click to send a guy to a location, in an RTS you expect him to go there and make it, whether he goes straight there or takes an elliptical route).

There were a lot of other things we discussed, too, but most of them wound up getting cut for one reason or another.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline zebramatt

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,574
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2009, 02:13:42 PM »
Have y'all played Osmos?

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,700
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2009, 02:26:41 PM »
Have y'all played Osmos?

I have not, but it's on my list to check out when I have some time. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline zebramatt

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,574
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2009, 03:04:53 PM »
Have y'all played Osmos?

I have not, but it's on my list to check out when I have some time. :)

A space rts game with orbits could definitely be a lot of fun... but maybe on a slightly smaller scale than AI War!

Offline eRe4s3r

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,801
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2009, 03:33:04 PM »
No, No no no no no no

I tell you why its not fun, because its not .... fun.

There was a game that tried this, exactly 1, and that game demonstrated amazingly why orbits in - faster than real-time speed do not work.

1) Heres an idea - your shipyards are in stationary orbit
2) Around a moon A
3) Which orbits a gas giant with 60 moons
4) Which orbits a sun

Now imagine you want to get from planet 51 in the outer solar system to the moon around a gas giant which is the 5th planet to repair your damaged ships, how will you calculate the movement path? Do you go straight at the target (trailing the moon for 600 months?) will go calculate the trajectories of ALL entities involved (sun/gasgiant/moon/other moons!) Hoping your real-time calculations have enough increments to actually land even remotely near the moon (which is infinitely smaller than a gas giant or a sun) ?

What happens when enemies go to moon B and these moons only come close to each other once ever 631 years - how would you visualize that? Do you realize how much calculations are required to make a planet move on a elliptic shape faster than real-time without it appearing to be jerky, stuttering or jittery?

There is simply no way a RTS game simulating Space fully can be fun. Trajectories of super large masses are something humans are terrible at seeing and understanding without a super computer. Even 1 pixel difference on your screen could mean missing an enemy fleet by 600k km (and in turn, never meeting it at all), with every move of the enemy, you have to re-adjust YOUR movement or actually code a predictive algorithm for intercept (which would easily be fooled by simply re-adjusting the trajectory).

Osmos is the prime example - that game is based on luck, not on skill. Because even with a display you can not predict where you are going to end up once you gain mass by consumption.

I think Total War is the way to go for RTS - meta game on a turn based map with actual tactical situations in real-time - And unlike Total War these things could work fine in space settings... just don't look at Armada 2526 on how to do it.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2009, 03:35:54 PM by eRe4s3r »
Proud member of the Initiative for Bigger Weapons EV. - Bringer of Additive Blended Doom - Vote for Lore, get free cookie

Offline Echo35

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,703
  • More turrets! MORE TURRETS!
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2009, 06:24:04 PM »
There is simply no way a RTS game simulating Space fully can be fun. Trajectories of super large masses are something humans are terrible at seeing and understanding without a super computer. Even 1 pixel difference on your screen could mean missing an enemy fleet by 600k km (and in turn, never meeting it at all), with every move of the enemy, you have to re-adjust YOUR movement or actually code a predictive algorithm for intercept (which would easily be fooled by simply re-adjusting the trajectory).

Osmos is the prime example - that game is based on luck, not on skill. Because even with a display you can not predict where you are going to end up once you gain mass by consumption.

I know I've mentioned it a dozen times before, but http://www.geekdo.com/boardgame/6767/attack-vector-tactical. Granted, its tactical, individual ship level rather than a full on RTS, but you control thrust direction and burn (Even gaining some displacement when you lose mass from burned fuel) weapon trajectories (No pew pew lasers here. Real coilgun slugs and the like, though there are heat lasers simply for pounding down armor plating), heat management (Where are you going to radiate all that heat in space?), and even crew grades and quality. Definitely a huge learning curve, but surprisingly fun and despite having no real world model to compare it too, shockingly realistic.

Offline eRe4s3r

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,801
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2009, 08:20:41 PM »
Realistic in the abstracted game world it models ;) I am not sure where the notion comes that its a problem to manage heat in space, if you switch of your heater you are going to freeze within seconds, worse - you are going to see the most awesome display of ice formation on your inside hull.

If you had really excess heath a simple heat exchanger (like liquid cpu cooling) would do the trick - heat is energy and energy can dissipate in a vacuum. The only situation where heat is a problem is if you would go stealth, IE. 0 Emission (and heat is a powerful emission that is extremely easy to spot in space..) Space is where the submarines of the future will reign supreme.. And it wouldn't even need a cloaking device, just paint your spaceship black - in space its unlikely you will ever get within "eye" distance before being obliterated...

And again we are at the ultimate topic - Lets make a Total war game in space !

How hard can it be? Hell i am a 3d-artist and i am sure we can scrounge some awesome texture and sound artists up in no time. It could be the next big thing, out selling Total War easily. Most importantly, we could do it better than Armada 2526 - easily .. brr, i wish i had never bought that.. ^^ You know .. what aggravates me really is seeing that game before me, so many things that are just, plain HORRIBLY ugly and idiotic.

Proud member of the Initiative for Bigger Weapons EV. - Bringer of Additive Blended Doom - Vote for Lore, get free cookie

Offline Echo35

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,703
  • More turrets! MORE TURRETS!
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2009, 09:41:03 PM »
Realistic in the abstracted game world it models ;) I am not sure where the notion comes that its a problem to manage heat in space, if you switch of your heater you are going to freeze within seconds, worse - you are going to see the most awesome display of ice formation on your inside hull.

Its the fact that power generators making the energy to run weapons and the like, even though much more efficient than modern technology, still create a good amount of waste heat. And in space, you need radiators to bleed off that heat. In the game's lore, since you have to slow down to non-combat speeds to extend radiators, its the equivalent of "striking your colors" and surrendering, so heat management and combat endurance is a really huge factor of the battles.

If you're really interested, the rule book even has the thermodynamic equations in a sidebar so you can calculate it yourself, if you REALLY want to.

Offline eRe4s3r

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,801
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2009, 10:21:51 PM »
But what would stop a ship designer from designing a ship in such a way that the hull surface becomes infinitely larger and thus external radiators become pointless ;)  http://ere4s3r.deviantart.com/art/Slim-Cruiser-Clay-and-Final-133979551

You just need 1 or 2 interior insertions or wings to double and triple the available space for always-on radiators. And damage can be avoided by simply rotating with a strong gyro (as i modeled ;p) to maintain smallest profile. In space all you need is a massive gyro to be able to maintain the orientation you want
Proud member of the Initiative for Bigger Weapons EV. - Bringer of Additive Blended Doom - Vote for Lore, get free cookie

Offline Spikey00

  • Lord of just 5 Colony Ships
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,703
  • And he sayeth to sea worm, thou shalt wriggle
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2009, 05:41:12 PM »
NOP!  There are always fires in space and light is always diffracted in vacuums!

Actually, ironically, Starships kind of are on fire when they're low on HP...
I'd take a sea worm any time over a hundred emotionless spinning carriers.
irc.appliedirc.com / #aiwar
AI War Facebook
AI War Steam Group

Offline eRe4s3r

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,801
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2009, 12:46:57 AM »
Lasers emit light though, you just can't see it with human eyes unless its directly refracted at you ... So at least that could be "AI Enhanced Vision" to some extend. You know, heat-energy visualization or something.

To be honest, i am not even sure lasers would work in space - as weapon. Given how cold space is, wouldn't you loose a huge amount of energy when a laser traverses the non-vacuum (meaning theres particles there) ?

The only thing i can imagine working is rail guns and mass drivers and missiles.
Proud member of the Initiative for Bigger Weapons EV. - Bringer of Additive Blended Doom - Vote for Lore, get free cookie

Offline Echo35

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,703
  • More turrets! MORE TURRETS!
Re: Physics of Space Battles
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2009, 02:51:29 PM »
But what would stop a ship designer from designing a ship in such a way that the hull surface becomes infinitely larger and thus external radiators become pointless ;)

The civilian ships do function like that, but with the military ships, the entire exterior is covered in armor and sensor arrays. Putting a radiator outside would make a nice soft spot to lob a shell through.

Quote
To be honest, i am not even sure lasers would work in space - as weapon. Given how cold space is, wouldn't you loose a huge amount of energy when a laser traverses the non-vacuum (meaning theres particles there) ?

Nope, thats why they lose a massive amount of damage potential the farther they go. Missiles and coilguns are the primary weapons, lasers are just there for close in firing, or for downfiring at inbound missiles.