Welcome to Keen Software House Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the KSH community.
  1. You are currently browsing our forum as a guest. Create your own forum account to access all forum functionality.

Light fighter : Design for speed or not ?

Discussion in 'General' started by apa, Jan 21, 2014.

Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. apa Trainee Engineer


    (I don't speak english fluant)

    I was thinking, i approve cool design for light fighter ship combining flat design and agressive build.
    But, in space, all ship can move in 3 axes, x, y and z.
    I think the most powerfull ships will be those who can easily go left, right, up and down. Not front and behind.
    When we pilot we can just aim in front, it's too difficult to aim a target in other side.

    The most important is not to be fast but to move in every direction fast.


    Then, light fighter have a 2 other weakness :
    _Follow a moving target with weapon (aiming ?)

    In multiplayer if you are not alone i think the best way to win is 1 ship for 3 players. Let me explain :

    _1 player pilot the ship to avoid ennemy weapon using left, right, up and down move.
    _The ship must have 2 turrets with rotor, 1 on the ship, 1 under the ship. This allow to fire in all direction. If you are only 2 use a turret with a long arm or ask to the pilot to change the axe.
    _If the turret isn't close to the pilot cockpit it allow to use more block to shield the ship.
    _Think about real tank wich use reactive shielding. The objectiv is not to absorb the impact but to block it before it touch the tank. It's the same way here. All armor block don't have to touch the cockpit, engine, etc. Put the shield away to prevent rocket explosion. You can put the "wall" away with a column of 2 or 3 block (i don't know the impact area of rocket, adjust it).

    With this method you can be shock by 1 rocket without problem.
    If the turret is destroy drop it to gain velocity.

    In the same way to think. With this ship we can imagine that the cockpit, engine and thrust ar the base and can be autonomous. If all turrets and "distant wall" are link to the ship by magnet landing gear the pilot can return to the base and pick new armor and turrets. If only the pilot survive he can drop all "distant wall" and turrets to gain velocity and continue like a normal light fighter.

    I actually develop it but i'm not good in ship building. I'll show you when it's finish.

  2. TheFurNinja Apprentice Engineer

    Actually, ships that can move well laterally work very well. Me and a few of my other pilot friends were testing our designs in a dogfight. And my friend brought his fighter which had extreme acceleration, and oh boy! I couldn't keep track of him!

    Speed is life, if your ship can out speed/Accelerate the enemies, you will always win
  3. Leon026 Apprentice Engineer

    I'd say maneuverability, which is both agility and acceleration. Pure acceleration is useful, but for changing directions, you'll notice that the inertia from the weight will be very noticeable.

    So far from my designs, I've come to the conclusion that a 15,000kg-25,000kg range is just about right.
  4. Wybo Trainee Engineer

    Acceleration can be described as the ratio of force to mass (f = m*a, a = f/m). You can have a 15,000kg ship with 1 small thruster with an acceleration of 0.7m/s^2 and a 150,000kg ship with 9 large thrusters with an acceleration of 7.62m/s^2. The absolute amount of mass doesn't matter.

    Keep in mind that light armor blocks are ridiculously dense at the moment. The blue/yellow ship in my signature weighs about 150,000kg. 78 percent of that is used for armor blocks, 12 percent for all thrusters and 8 percent for gyroscopes. The rest (2 percent) is for basic functionality like the cockpit, reflector lights and weapons - the stuff that your ship is actually about. I expect those percentages to change in a future update.

    My advice is to think about acceleration in more than 1 direction. A large acceleration forward without a large acceleration backward is very annoying: it will take way longer to stop than you'd expect. When turning, you need large acceleration either sideways or up-/downwards, otherwise you will drift off too much. When racing in my 150ton fighter I only need to use 3 keys (Q, W and E), and the mouse, because it's got enormous acceleration forward, backward and up and down. In fact, it can accelerate to topspeed within 10 seconds by just going upwards :).
  5. Admiral Yuki Apprentice Engineer

    Leon is right on the money.

    I prefer to build fighters <20,000 kg. Sure a larger ship can be just as mobile but it will take an obscene amount of thrusts and power further increasing your mass and making it impracticable for survival mode. The heavier you go the more material you are wasting, its as simple as that.
  6. Leon026 Apprentice Engineer


    My ratio is 15,000-20,000kg ship, needs 5-6 gyros, 1 large and 6 rear thrusters, 2 sides and 4 front (breaks) to achieve very good agility and acceleration.

    The larger and heavier the ship, the more gyros and thrusters you need to have a similar maneuverability to the above design.

    Gyros weigh 589kg a piece
    128kg per power generator
    93kg per small thruster
    721kg per large thruster.

    The more inefficient your design, the more of the key components you need... racking up your weight even more than would originally be required.

    Don't forget, big ship also equals to big target.
  7. K^2 Apprentice Engineer

    Forget speed. Design for acceleration. Your thrust-to-weight ratio is the most important bit, because your acceleration isn't going to throw off your aim, but it's going to throw off opponent's aim.

    The only other concern is that accelerating towards the target is kind of pointless and will only get you killed, so you need a lot of propulsion in tangential direction. In other words, you need to be able to "strafe" as you are firing at the target.

    So far, I haven't encountered a single fighter I had trouble destroying, because everyone either doesn't have enough thrust, only has thrust to go forward, or has thrusters in all directions, making the ship too heavy to maneuver properly.

    One last note, you get best TWR with 4 large engines per 1 large generator. Anything else is extra weight you have to carry.

    I'm prepared to prove the above in a duel with anyone who wants to test their fighter. Just add me on Steam.
  8. Grim Apprentice Engineer

    This person is right. Listen to this person.
  9. Wybo Trainee Engineer

    I would love to test my ship and practise my dogfighting skills! I have sent you an invitation.
  10. Grim Apprentice Engineer

    I'd like to fight too, but I don't want to beat you too bad :3
  11. K^2 Apprentice Engineer

    Them be fighting words. Might be embarrassing to lose after saying stuff like that. :p
  12. 3istee Trainee Engineer

    I am sorry, but what does TWR mean? ._.

    In my opinion it only sounds logical that going straight forward is much more likely to get you killed instead of strafing, since you can just lead the target. However, if you don't know where he's going you can't predict where the bullet has to fly in order to hit.
    In that aspect, higher weight does not equal waste because it may open more surface to place additional gadgets on

    By the way, I don't understand the hype around Gyros, I use 3 for my 26t fighter and it works out fine, 2 would also probably be enough. Handling only gets worse when I put more on.
  13. radam Senior Engineer

    TWR is trust weight ratio...

    Btw, is there a rule against using large reactors on small fighters? As its really lightweight...
  14. K^2 Apprentice Engineer

    You probably just aren't used to twitch shooters. Good turning rate is very important. If the slightest movement of the mouse turns you 90°, that's a good thing. Yeah, it takes some getting used to if you want to be able to place your shots, but once you have gotten used to it, you'll have both the aim and ability to do 180° in split second. That'll make a difference between staying in the fight and suddenly finding yourself drifting next to a wreck.

    By the way, real fighters are the same. I haven't had a chance to fly anything modern, but it took me a minute to get used to controls of a 1944 T-6. You just touch the stick, and you are already flying completely different attitude. Nothing like controls on a Cessna.
  15. Unknown Squid Apprentice Engineer

    Don't forget that armour doesn't have it's correct "resistance values" enabled yet. It's very likely to change things in future. Though that said, a fast and agile craft is always going to be a good thing for sure. Currently acceleration and skill are the only thing that will make a real difference in combat (excluding using 3rd person view to cheat with absurdly front armoured cockpits).

    I've been doing a lot of testing and experimental design with potential fighter craft designs recently. For me so far, the 20 to 30 ton range marks the best rough weight range to build a cost effective fighter craft with both good acceleration and armour. You can also build fairly nice and still deadly ones in the 10 to 15 ton range, but they will tend to have only very partial armour. I also just now built an experimental 58ton fighter, with plenty of guns and comprehensive armour, that's still a good bit faster and more agile than most fast and light styled fighters I've seen posted here or on Steam. I refer to it as "experimental" because a rule I used for it's design was to use only large thrusters and reactors. No small ones at all, for maximum efficiency. And it does really show. The one problem I've noticed with the large thrusters, is that they are very easy to destroy currently. Seemingly about equally as easy to break as small thrusters. And since you're only going to be using 1 or 2 on most sides for a 60ish ton fighter, that can result in you losing an entire thrust direction very easily. And unlike the small thrusters, it's very difficult to seat them deeply enough to be out of the line of fire.

    The other issue with going for heavier/larger designs currently, is that there's not much reason to do so, regarding the equipment and weaponry available. If guns start weighing more, and also if larger heavy weapons are made available, then there might be a bit more purpose for them. (since the ratio of payload to the crafts unloaded weight and performance would be more noticeable)
  16. Mac D Junior Engineer

    I agree with basically every thing posted so far.

    Adding armor block really increases the fighters mass very fast as you add it on.

    I have been using small cargo containers and conveyers to clad some of my fighters to keep the weight down. I don't think they provide much protection, but it works for filling gaps and I like something covering critical systems. Using slope armor blocks on the outside should halve armor weight as well.

    I think small block light armor is currently too dense and we need something lighter to stop our fighters ending up heavier than most tanks as soon as complete armor cladding is added.

    Protecting against rockets/missiles is going to be difficult and that "distant wall" idea makes sense if you make the gap wide enough. Was discussing the historic torpedo budge (double hull) on old warships recently which sounds similar.

    Prongs out the front of the fighter might allow it to survive a missile hit if they are lucky.
  17. Unknown Squid Apprentice Engineer

    My current thoughts on balancing armour and other systems, would be something like this...
    • Light Armour obviously needs to be, and likely will be, much more effective against light weaponry. (Such as the current gatling guns. Higher calibre cannons would still wreck it quickly.)
    • Add a "Basic Hull" block to the game. At least half as heavy as light armour blocks, but about as resistant to weapons as the current armour is right now. (eg, about as good as luke warm butter)
    • Heavy Armour blocks will be be about as resistant to a gatling gun as large ship light blocks are currently. Heavier calibre cannons will be needed to get through it.
    • Most explosive weapons should be rather ineffective against most forms of armour, but devastating against exposed systems and soft targets. They would be something to fire into the gaps in a large-ship's armour. Not something capable of making those gaps. *note
    • Slightly reduce the weight of the engines, generators, armour, gyros, and maybe a few other misc systems, all in equal proportion, and adjust the thrust power and gyroscope power in equal proportion. Effectively making only the weapons slightly heavier. Comparatively.
    Currently the engines are the next heaviest thing after armour. This means that ships of any size are barely effected by how many guns you put on them. I could upgrade my 25'000kg 3 gun fighter, to a 13 gun fighter, for only 1'120kg extra. It would barely effect it's speed and agility in the slightest. Which feels rather wrong. Implementation of ammo weight and capacity might or might not accomplish this, depending on how much the cargo containers can hold, and how heavy they make the ammo.

    Curiously whilst making this post, I stopped to do some research. And I think I might have gone the exact same route that the devs did when choosing their numbers, finding this page...
    With the stated 112kg weight for that gun there, happening to be the exact same weight as the rotary cannon in the game. What's interesting to note, if you do a little rough maths, is the weight of the ammo. At roughly 100 grams per cartridge, that's 10 per kilo, or 1000 rounds per 100kg. IF we assume the fire rate of the gun in the game to be the same as this M61-Vulcan (and that is a significant if, but still...), then that means you would get 10 seconds worth of ammunition per 100kg, for each gun. Also, if keeping to the described weight of the gun on that wiki page ("Excluding feed system"), the gun itself in the game shouldn't have any self contained storage/capacity at all. The port would be purely for feeding via a conveyor/cargo unit. This would probably be enough to fix things, so I thing I might take back my last bulletpoint there if that's how it turns out. With how armour and cockpit toughness is currently, 10 seconds of fire is still probably enough to kill a dozen or two well armoured fighter craft, but hey, I'm sure that will change.

    *note: (In reality the highly specialised types of rockets you need to hurt a tank don't blow gigantic holes in the armour. They make a tiny tiny hole, and destroy the stuff behind it. If you use general purpose non shaped explosives on an armoured target, it normally comes out unscathed. Since the fancy and precise properties of armour piercing "HEAT" rounds and the like aren't likely to translate well into a voxel game, they are probably better left out. The rather ablative style of the armour and damage model in the game just doesn't really suit realistic armour piercing weapon behaviour.)
  18. Leon026 Apprentice Engineer

    My main beef with armor, or the small blocks rather, is that they're so heavy. Designs end up becoming a balance of function vs form. Why can't function and form go hand-in-hand? I dont mean that I want a super gigantor ship to handle like a 9,000kg fighter, but it would be nice that ships that look good... dont necessarily end up weighing 50,000kg
  19. Unknown Squid Apprentice Engineer

    Mhmm. Hence why I'd love to see that "Basic Hull" block I mentioned. Or the same under any other suitable name. It would allow you to fill out the detail work on such craft as well as use it for purely structural parts that don't need to be bullet proof. For example "wings" on certain styles of fighter craft, could be made using armour blocks around the exterior of the wing, then with these basic blocks being used to fill the inside part. Other times you might not feel you need fully comprehensive armour on a certain part, but don't want to leave an ugly looking gap. It would really allow a lot more aesthetic design options, whilst also serving a few practical applications. They'd also be great for distinguishing military and civilian craft. So far my civilian shuttle or my light-duty tug craft are equally as resistant to weapons fire as my fighter craft are. Which is just silly. The difference between shooting at each of the space borne equivalent a transit van and an armoured car should be pretty distinct.
  20. Wybo Trainee Engineer

    I would use density instead of absolute mass. Currently the most dense small ship component in-game that I have measured is the gyroscope, with a mass of 589 kg and the size of a single block. This is the list of small ship components I have measured so far:

    Gyroscope 589kg 589kg/block
    Light armor block 200kg 200kg/block
    Small generator 118kg 118kg/block
    Small thruster 93kg 46,5kg/block
    Large thruster 721kg 30,04kg/block
    Large generator 20kg 0,74kg/block
    Small cockpit 20kg 0,74kg/block (apparently the mass of the pilot is ignored)

    The 'energy density' (how much energy input/output in GW per block) of the small and large generator (output) are the same, just as the energy density (inpit) of the small and large thrusters. Also, you need roughly 1 large generator per 4 large thrusters. When thrusters apply braking force they peak in energy input. For normal acceleration you can have 5,4 large thrusters per large generator, but when braking you can only sustain 3,6 large thrusters during the short peak.

    And here's a formula to estimate acceleration based on amount of thrusters in the specific direction and the total mass of the ship:

    a = (Nl*Fl+Ns*Fs)/m

    a = acceleration
    m = total mass of ship
    Nl = amount of large thrusters
    Ns = amount of small thrusters

    Fl = force that one large thruster exerts
    Fs = force that one small thruster exerts

    I have measured Fl and Fs to be roughly 125000N (Newton) and 11000N. So the formula becomes:
    a = (Nl*125000 + Ns*11000)/m

    Going back to the list I started with, we can calculate which thruster is most efficient, expressed by the ratio of force to mass:

    Small thruster: 11000N/93kg = 118,3m/s^2
    Large thuster: 125000N/721kg = 173,4m/s^2

    Yes, that ratio N/kg can also be expressed as m/s^2! So this efficiency ratio is actually the maximum acceleration that can be achieved with those thrusters. If you had a ship that ONLY existed of large thrusters that all faced the same direction you would accelerate with 173m/s^2.

    Now let's make a very efficient ship, consisting of:
    1 cockpit
    1 large generator
    1 gyroscope
    6 large thrusters (1 in every direction)

    a = (1*125000)/m
    m = 1*20 + 1*20 + 1*589 + 6*721 = 4955kg
    a = 125000N/4955kg = 25,2m/s^2 (in 6 directions)

    We can make this design more efficient by simply adding large thrusters. In case you only added thrusters on the rear, the formula would look like:

    a = 125000N/(4234+721N)

    When adding 9 extra thrusters for a total of 10 your maxium acceleration would become roughly 110m/s^2. By adding more you would slowly climb to about 163m/s^2.

    I guess that's enough math for now. Just remember the gist of it: use large generators and large thrusters with a ratio of 1:4. Use as little armor and gyros as possible to keep your design light. Don't use small generators or small thrusters if you can help it.
  21. Amancalledme Apprentice Engineer

    I have found using some gyro's can help, and for me, stocking my ship with gyro's, small generators, a few armour blocks (for decoration and connection and small arms fire protection more than anything else) with enough thrusters pointing in 6 directions (and a cockpit) and a few guns, works best.
  22. DutchVictim Apprentice Engineer

    For me, a good fighter in my experience so far would be around 20.000 kg (not necessarily), has minimal 2 thrusters on each side with 1 big thrust on the back, minimal 2 gyro's and the maximum amount of needed engines (around 90% power usages when 2 or more sides are "thrusting"). the rest could be spend on armor and weapons when needed.
    But for the moment right now, speed is indeed more important than armor. When heavy armor comes out, it will be interesting too see how much damage they can sustain and if that will be of influence on our current designs.
  23. Grim Apprentice Engineer

    They be fightin' words. I haven't lost yet, so we shall see if we engage in combat.
  24. KriegsMeister Apprentice Engineer

    So I had a thread on acceleration a while ago (link here) and I got my numbers for thruster output off of the wiki to be something like 145,000 and 12,500 N for large and small respectively. Then I went digging some old threads and found a dev post saying that they are actually 144,000 and 12,000N respectively.

    also it might be interesting to point out that one large thruster is the same size as 12 small thrusters (2x2x3 block of them) and also has exactly 12 times the amount of thrust. So if you really wanted to you could replace one large thruster with 12 small thrusters scattered around your ship or visa versa and replace 12 small thrusters with 1 large one. Although I am not able to recall exactly what the energy input is for both large and small and that might be different but I have a feeling that it might be the same 12:1 ratio.

    Now back on topic, Light fighters have their place and work very well in it but ppl should not completely write off armor all together. When playing with my buddies we started test out some of our Heavy fighter designs. We found that in a 1v1 scenario the lighter more manueverable fighters tended to win about 75-80% of the time, they were able to outflank and hit critical systems and immobilize the HF and then just pummel them to bits, however this took them quite a long time to actually do and there were several instances when the Heavy fighter was able to tank the damage and turn himself and line up and decent burst into the enemy knocking him out very easily. Then we moved on into testing 1v1 ship but 2v1 crew i.e. the heavy fighters having a turret, the tables turned with the outcomes changing to about 70% win rate in favor of the heavy fighter, with the gunner they were able to more quickly spot the enemy and engage him while also having much much better response times when they were shot at first. The gunner was able to more easily focus on just shooting the target while the pilot focused more on dodging and maneuvering. Then we moved onto having 1 Heavy versus 2 lights, The light fighters took the win advantage by being able to split up and divert the attention of the Heavy fighter, but it was only a narrow marginal victory, only winning about 55-60% of the time, and of that they only had a handful of games where both ships survived, in the large majority of conflicts at least one of the Lights died. Our last test was with a Light turreted fighter vs a heavy turreted fighter, this one was quite interesting in only having a 55% win rate in favor of the lighter fighter. There were times when the the heavy fighter was able to tank most of the damage dealt by the lighter one while the light one was able to outmaneuver the heavy one, very interesting results that require more testing.

    Here are the results, please note that every test had 20 different rounds, in each round myself and my 3 friends alternated positions every 5 games so that no one person would get to much practice in any 1 role.

    Non-Turret Heavy versus Non-Turret Light
    Heavy 4 wins
    Light 15 wins
    1 draw (mutual destruction of both vehicles)

    Turreted Heavy versus Non-Turret Light
    Heavy 13
    Light 5
    Draws 2 (both were when the pilot of the heavy was shot out but the gunner remained alive and destroyed the light)

    Turreted Heavy versus 2 Lights
    Heavy 8
    Light 9
    Draws 3 (1 mutual destruction from ramming after one light died and the other had both his guns shot off, and the other 2 were when the heavy pilot was shot out but the the gunner killed the reaming light(s))

    Turreted Heavy versus Turreted Light
    Heavy 6+3 (wins + draws in their favor from pilot death but gunner kill)
    Light 5+6

    I might release more information pertaining to the actual specs of the ships, but I am already breaking some of my own NDA's with my buds about not talking about any of our warship designs and internal testing. However, I just thought that I would point out that light fighters generally have an advantage but it is not always significant, especially when turrets come into play, whether they be AI controlled like the large ship weapons are predicted to be or by player manned turrets, which these results are all from very nooby pilots and gunners. I wouldn't be surprised if the results would change in another few months into developement after more ppl get more practice.
  25. Unknown Squid Apprentice Engineer

    In my very basic but straight forward testing yesterday, I measured that a single Large Thruster uses roughly 18.52% of a Large Reactor's output, whilst a single Small Thruster uses 1.56%, so yes, they do seem to be equal or at least very nearly equal in energy consumption. The problem with doing that though, is that 12 Small Thrusters weigh 1116kg, rather than a single Large Thrusters weight of 721. So their end effect on your ships acceleration is lesser, whilst also working your Gyros harder.

    Well remember when talking about light and heavy stuff regarding fighters, Heavy doesn't mean it has to be slower or less agile, unless you're classifying them based on armour thickness perhaps. Also as various people have mentioned, supposedly the light armour currently has some kind of intended weapon resistance value either disabled or not implemented at all (can anyone correct or clarify on this? I never saw where it was first stated). There's almost no way that it's going to remain as is.
  26. KriegsMeister Apprentice Engineer


    Ok cool I did not realize there was a weight difference, that'll definitely make me think about redesigning some things.

    And as for my light and Heavy ships, my buddies and I were using 2 different ships, (I am breaking so many of my groups NDA rules but I am the CEO so f*ck it) The Mako Superiority fighter which falls in line with most others idea of a light fighter weighing in at about 19.6 tons and has 3 Large thrusters on both sides and forward making it insanely maneuverable, it only has 1 layer of armor around the most vital parts. Then we were using 3 different variants of our Bull Heavy fighter, 1 with no turret with about 2-5 layers of armor and one with a turret and only 2-4 layers of armor (both of which come in at about 185 tons) and a reduced weight one with a turret and only 1-2 layers of armor weighing about 90-120ish tons (I can't remember the exact number because it wasn't my design and it was made specifically for all of the testing). All 3 variants have 12 Large forward thrusters and 2 large thrusters on either side, they are all decently fast in a straight line but can not turn or strafe very well.

    so that should give you guys a pretty good idea about what we are working with. As for the actual armor resistance, even if they do change in the future I believe that the results would still some what be the same since it would equally apply to all of the different fighters and so everything should still have the same basic relationship with eachother, it would just mean that you would have to pump more cannon fire into the targets than what is required right now
  27. K^2 Apprentice Engineer

    See, now we really have to duel. Space isn't big enough for two undefeated fighter pilots. It just completely rains on my bragging rights.
  28. Grim Apprentice Engineer

    I will lose on purpose so you can keep your bragging rights!
  29. Leon026 Apprentice Engineer

    I like the theorycrafting so far, but we mustn't forget that they are apples and oranges. Each has their place in combat, and we shouldn't discount the heavy fighter just because some people are building pure acrobatic dogfighters at the moment. Tactics and the proper application of either fighters in the correct situation is important. The debate of Angles vs Energy fighter is still quite valid here I believe.

    The acrobatic "flying circus" style fighters definitely attract a lot of attention, but it has its niche role that isn't always compatible to certain tactics. As obvious as it may seem, an F-16 does not have the same role as an F-14, for example. Similarly, some fights aren't decided by Renaissance-style jousting if ambushes and surprise comes into play, and a heavy fighter may not be required to maneuver as much to get that first burst to kill the lead units before using its superior acceleration to disengage.

    Add the complexity of multiple fighters in a furrball style 4v4 or even 8v8... I think there's potential for interesting theorycrafting and tactics creation for those really into this sort of stuff; and I know I am.
  30. K^2 Apprentice Engineer

    Oh, come on. At least wait until the fight to start making up excuses. :p
Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.