View Full Version : Beef #1: Ramming
September 19th, 2000, 05:42 PM
WOW, is this a great game! Only played the demo so far. Intend to buy. But, as an American I demand my right to complain. So here goes:
Ramming combined with heavy shields unbalances the game. Fortunately (?) the Combat AI can't grasp the concept, even when you tell it that your fleet's strategy is Kamikaze. However, in Tactical mode, you can easily defeat much better (bigger, more advanced) ships with a fleet of kamikazes.
IMHO, MM has modeled warfare correctly -- suicide tactics are indeed extremely effective, as we have seen from WWII and from truck bombs in the Mideast. The problem, though, is that (in the real world)it is difficult to get recruits for suicide missions, and that's the aspect of reality that is missing. To model that, suicide ramming should only be available as an option to elite units, or to units that are close to destruction anyway, or to forces that are severely outgunned.
But that still doesn't stop someone from building large ships equipped almost entirely with shields/armor and sending them into battle with the sole intent of ramming the enemy into oblivion. The Greeks and Romans used to do almost exactly that, and it isn't necessarily a suicide tactic, so my previous suggested rule doesn't apply. But to prevent large armored rammers from unbalancing the game, I would suggest that ramming should not always hit. There should be some sort of "maneuverability" calculation. It should be easy to ram a carrier with a fighter, but difficult to ram an escort with a dreadnought. Using just size and speed would help gameplay and would be easy to implement in the code, but ideally there should also be technology addressing maneuverability.
Also, fix the AI so it understands what Kamikaze is.
September 19th, 2000, 06:19 PM
Officer's log --
Strange. No other word suffices to explain this... strange ship design. Have our Fleet Engineers gone insane? While the _Hammerhead_ may be a large ship, she bears no weaponry, for her structure is largely armor plating, shield generators, and propulsion systems. Horrible rumors abound about how we are to be used, but surely those deserve little credence.
I would have asked the Captain, but he did not appear to be in a talkative mood after reading his confidential briefing; instead, he turned pale and retired to his cabin.
Hmmm. If the AI used engine-destroying, or, alternately, armor/shield-bypassing weapons (Time weapons [both], Shard cannons [bypass armor], etc), then it might be able to slow down the rammers sufficiently.
Alternately, right now repulsor beams don't seem that useful, because their range is so short compared to other weapons, and thus even after the push the enemy will likely still be close enough to shoot you. But... if there were opportunity fire (say, crews/Master Computers can respond with unfired weapons to approaching ships -- perhaps with probability based on crew experience or MC level), then repulsors might be able to force an attacker to expend more MPs to close.
Emergency propulsion systems would also seem to be a good candidate for an auto-fire for avoiding a ram.
FWIW, crew loyalty could be useful in discouraging silly rams, as well.
-- The thing that goes bump in the night
September 20th, 2000, 12:05 AM
I agree. Ramming is often overlooked in combat. Also, a good tactical player will never let a ramming ship get close enough to ram. Wave after wave of rammers will fall to well armed (distance weapons) fast ships. Kind of like the Frank knights versus the English longbow.
September 20th, 2000, 03:52 AM
Yes, the total _certainty_ of hitting your target with ramming is a bit unbalancing. There should be some sort of probability based on relative size and speed of the ships, and the crew experience. For that matter, there ought to be a probability of hitting with boarding parties. Surely they can miss once in a while and be left floating in space? http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon7.gif
September 20th, 2000, 05:48 AM
Well, I don't think they're fired out like human cannonballs. http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon12.gif
"BLast! Missed again! OK, Private, into the tube, and try not to throw off my aim with that panicked flailing!"
I hadn't given it much thought but I'd been assuming some kind of boarding tackle was being employed. It certainly should have a chance to miss/not grab properly/whatever, but things haven't struck me as being particularly unbalanced as they are.
That's with boarding, that is. As for ramming, I agree there should be a chance for the targeted ship to dodge and that basing it on comparative speed and agility would be the way to do it.
I usually use ramming as a way for those ships which are obviously not going to make it another turn to get a bit of pre-emptive revenge on their opponents. I've thought several times about how illogical it is for a ship which is down to its Last sputtering drive unit to be unfailingly able to successfully close and ram into a fully mobile enemy.
I do like the fact that the amount of damage a ship has taken is considered in how much damage it does when ramming, however.
September 20th, 2000, 07:55 AM
Grappling? You think they can bring one full-sized ship that close to another and actually physically restrain an enemy ship? If you think ramming is difficult, explain how they can approach that close under combat conditions and NOT collide? http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon7.gif That's even more incredible an idea than the transporter. http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon7.gif I was assuming that they had something akin to "assault shuttles" or if those are added to the game later with greater than 1 square range then "assault pods" would be the default. A small "vehicle" akin to a fighter with just enough fuel and life support to make a short run at the enemy ship. The marines would be wearing full space suits, of course, but could hook into the pod's resources during the trip. If you get there and manage to grapple the enemy ship somehow, then you'd have equipment to try to cut your way inside. Or maybe it would have shaped charges built into it's structure to bLast a clean hole. That's why the component is destroyed on launch. Those little assault pods are disposable.
September 21st, 2000, 06:08 AM
No, not grappling. What I mean by "tackle" is something more like a fishing line.
OK, that's a cheesy analogy, but what I picture is something more like individual lines that are fired out by the marines. All the boarding ship would have to accomplish is a close enough match that the marines could stand the sudden acceleration as the lines pull taut and they are suddenly sailing along behind the enemy. Just reel in, apply a limpet mine to the airlock, and proceed from there. It'd be much more difficult to intercept 12 individual targets (or however many marines make up a boarding party) than it would be to down a single assualt craft, which helps explain why there's no chance modelled for interdicting the boarding party before it reaches its target.
My own image of the marines includes something more like a full exoskeleton system. Certainly full life support would be a must. I suppose you could crack the airlock security and close it behind you but that'd be time consuming at best. I think any way you are going to get into the ship will lead to decompression. The marines would need to be able to first fight in that environment, and then survive in it long enough to patch the hull integrity back together and restore the atmosphere.
I'd assumed the boarding module was disabled after the boarding attempt because, well, the marines are either dead or fully occupied maintaining control on the newly captured ship.
Aaaaanyway, I'm just rambling about my own half-formed mental image. I don't see any flaws in an assualt pod concept, as long as they don't use those cheesy fighter/lawnmower engines for power. They'd get left in the dust trying to close while riding on one of those. http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon12.gif
September 21st, 2000, 05:18 PM
I use tactical combat in all cases, except when I'm bLasting/bombing a low pop. planet that I know doesn't have platforms. Ramming is useful against the AI because it is lacking in tactical combat. I'll use colony ships to ram the enemy because there is no retreat option and you can not avoid the enemy for 30 turns. I head straight for the enemy and ram before he has a chance to do much damage. The AI always comes toward the ship, it does not appear to try to stay out of range.
Has far as boarding forces: Not sure how boarding works in space but one of the best things about this game is the way it lets you imagine how things happen.
[This message has been edited by General Hawkwing (edited 21 September 2000).]
September 11th, 2001, 01:38 AM
Resurrecting my very first topic. Sniff [wipes away tear]...ah, the memories.
Anyone tried the "total kamikaze" strategy lately?
September 11th, 2001, 10:23 AM
I have never tried the ramming/Kamikaze strategy myself, but I will make an AI of religious fanatics that will use this strategy excessively. If I can get a nice shipset for them, I will start on the AI soon. I am surprised to hear that this strategy could actually be effective. When this idea formed in my head I didn't think they would be successful, but just being a big PITA. Now I am intrigued and will probably start earlier on this project than planned http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon7.gif.
September 11th, 2001, 11:45 AM
Ramming is powerful, but there are some costs. One is that ships are not cheap and a ramming race will be perpetually bleeding off their strength, whereas conventional ships that win can fight another day and probably get experience from it.
Another is that you donít have any ships left after the fight to project your power. Ok, you kicked my homeworld fleetís butt, but you donít have any ships left to glass my planets. This raises another point, but one I am not so sure about. Can you ram a satellite or a planet. I suspect you can not. Even if reasonable number of your rammers survive, you can not get past my static defenses.
Mixing in a few rammers for special occasions is a pretty neat idea, but you need to keep a lot of regular ships around. Otherwise, all your victories will be Pyrithic ones.
September 11th, 2001, 12:06 PM
Before I purged SEIV off the computer I use, I had a design for a Kamikazi which was almost entirely organic armor. If you go organic, it would be very effective as a rammer.
Lonnie Courtney Clay
September 12th, 2001, 03:41 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>This raises another point, but one I am not so sure about. Can you ram a satellite or a planet. I suspect you can not. Even if reasonable number of your rammers survive, you can not get past my static defenses.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>You CAN ram sats, fighters, planets, & bases. The problem is that your ship gets vaped without doing a whole lotta damage when you lose a ram.
You can even ram warppoints, in case you don't want to avoid being captured.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>It'd be much more difficult to intercept 12 individual targets (or however many marines make up a boarding party) than it would be to down a single assualt craft, which helps explain why there's no chance modelled for interdicting the boarding party before it reaches its target.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>How about 200 Marines, with 100 tons of boarding/combat/control equipment EACH.
[This message has been edited by suicide_junkie (edited 12 September 2001).]
September 12th, 2001, 06:03 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Saxon:
Ramming is powerful, but there are some costs. One is that ships are not cheap and a ramming race will be perpetually bleeding off their strength, whereas conventional ships that win can fight another day and probably get experience from it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
The term "kamikaze" is probably not appropriate. A ship with all armor, even if not organic, is able to destroy other ships (even much larger ones) without completely destroying itself. So you definitely need some repair ships in your fleet, but your fleet will not disappear after each battle. The victories are real, not Pyrrhic. (At least they used to be. Like I said, I haven't tried this strategy lately. Armor's been revamped, ramming's been revamped, and AIs have been improved.) Experience is irrelevant to a rammer. (Actually it is best to keep using fresh crews! http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon10.gif )
September 13th, 2001, 09:58 PM
Couldn't a ramming fleet just be easily neutralized with engine damaging weapons though? Wouldn't matter how may shields or armor the ramming ships have, if they're dead in the water, they can't get close enough to anyone to ram.
September 13th, 2001, 11:05 PM
Yup. Ionic weapons would really ruin a rammer's day. So would anybody else having a speed advantage (or even parity, barring huge numbers) and a maximum-weapons-range / don't-get-hurt tactic.
-- The thing that goes bump in the night
September 14th, 2001, 01:08 AM
Taqwus and Neo:
True and true, rammers would need greater numbers. But remember that they are cheaper than regular ships, and can take out ships much larger than themselves, so you would normally be launching a swarm of small ships at a few large ships. Also, ramming specialists would only need to research armor and propulsion, so that, all other things being equal, they'd be the fastest ships.
And of course, as has been pointed out before, every strategy has an effective counter-strategy. Rammers would dread a crystalline race with multi-targeting.
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