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Meteor Defense for Stations in the Open

Discussion in 'Survival' started by Draxis, May 26, 2014.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Draxis Trainee Engineer

    Hello all!

    So I've been playing around survival mode for a while and the thing that causes me the most grief are these meteor showers, but I don't want to turn them off because I am stubborn and a glutton for punishment. That said, I am not too proud to ask for help. Previously, I had gone with the regular route of building in the shadow of an asteroid or inside an asteroid itself, but I have decided that I want to do a survival run in plain sight of the sun. What I am looking for is advice on how to start building a station that would be fairly resistant to asteroid until I can get some gatling turrets up and then, how many turrets do you all recommend.

    From looking at the forums, I have heard that the smart thing to do is to place a shield of sorts above your station until you get turrets running. I saw an idea that suggested using incomplete light armor as a sort of mesh to "catch" the meteors. However, I am not sure how far to place this net from my refinery and assembly or how thick it should be. I guess it comes down to the damage radius of the meteor. I have also heard that a two block thick heavy armor shield is sufficient to ward off most meteor strikes. Is this the case?

    Finally, how large does a station have to be before it starts attracting meteor showers? I am considering going to each asteroid in the sector and planting a few armor blocks in order to divert strikes from my base, but I don't know if this is feasible without building a fairly significant outpost.

    I like the idea of meteors, but they just strike too frequently and too accurately for my taste, but I don't want to turn them off because I feel like surviving them is part of the challenge. My problem is that it can be difficult to deal with them when you're doing a survival start on realistic mode and your refinery/assembler are being constantly targeted for destruction. I guess I'm just looking for any advice on initial defenses. I don't object to capturing ships and using them as defenses either, but I don't want to take advantage of turret mechanics to capture ships using just a space suit. So I am using a few mining carriages as overwatch, but that's all I can get initially, at least legitimately.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. Hawthorn Apprentice Engineer

    All you can do, besides ugly, cheater-ish blast frames, is create sentry buoys. Just make about six of them, each with two turrets and a hundred boxes of bullets, and place them on each side of a cube around your station. Set the turrets to a range of 150m, and you'll be golden as long as you maintain occasional ammo refills.
  3. Vivicector Apprentice Engineer

    You can use 1-2 solar cells to power 2 turrets, those defence satellites are the best choice.

    If you feel cheap and unreliable, you can make a mesh of 1% build LA blocks between the sun and the meteors. A pain in the ass to repair.

    Shield of HA is simply a bad idea. Too expensive, too much trouble repairing it.
  4. cherv-saper Apprentice Engineer

    I found meteors too annoying and demanding to my pc and switched them off, but kept them in mind. And i did set new base, dug in dark side of large asteroid. Now, thx to addition of ship grinders old base dismantled, and new "pawn shop" ready to greet clients.
    Only sad thing - no solar panels... May be in future, when meteor waves will be less often, some warning system available and rotors will transfer power and control signals, i will make a foldable-retractable solar farm...
  5. mo8ius Apprentice Engineer

    I've found that almost any construction with a Beacon gets a share of asteroid showers, regardless of the size of the structure.

    The game seems to pick a Beacon at random and aim a shower at them.

    After noticing that two stations placed 10km apart seem to have asteroid showers alternating between them, after a time that randomization appeared to be roughly 50/50, maybe a slightly heavier weighting towards the base I'm in, but that could just be selective attention on my part. I tested this further by parking several large ships 'under' (away-from-sun) one of the two stations with Beacons active, and that station got more than a 50% share of the asteroid strikes.

    I assume this is because it was also getting the share of asteroids that were coming in aiming for the ships parked just under the station.

    I also tested a small beacon on a satellite approx 12km from any other structure, that was harder to track, but it was destroyed by asteroids after a few hours, so it definitely attracted its own showers.

    I could have made the wrong conclusion, but I'm working my constructions under the principle that the game goes for Active Beacons. I'm unsure whether the game goes for Beacons that are turned off yet or just active ones, I haven't tested it.
  6. mo8ius Apprentice Engineer

    Introducing The Skyshield.

    (I like corny names!)

    It's 6 turrets, fed by a conveyor under a plate of heavy armour just large enough to cover the conveyor systems (just in case any stray small rocks hit it). It needs a gyro, small reactor, 6 small thrusters, small cargo container (for the ammo) and a cockpit. A small amount of Uranium will run it for weeks.

    You then position it about 1200m from your station in a direct line between your station and the sun.

    Set turrets to fire at about 400m and make sure it's stocked with ammo.

    Because this system limits the angle of attack, you can defend a large area with a very small investment of resources. Admittedly this was made much easier with the small ship welders (the first version had two layers of light armour since it was easier to hand-weld that than one layer of heavy, but heavy is better if you can spare the plates).

    My station had guns already, but they never managed to get all the incoming meteors and every 2-3 showers at least one rock would get through doing some damage.

    I didn't want to add a lot more guns to my station since I'd also need to add all the conveyor tubing, and there would be even more ammo usage, etc. and it seems inefficient. I didn't want to turn off meteors, and I didn't want to cover my station in armour (which needs to be continually repaired anyway), and I didn't want to hide behind an asteroid.

    The Skyshield has been in place for several play-hours now and so far not a single meteor has hit it or the base, the guns intercept them all (somewhere around 15-20 asteroid waves have been intercepted). I've turned off the guns on my station completely, so there's just the 6 on the Skyshield.

    It does miss some rocks that seem to spawn very wide, but they aren't in the 'kill cone' for the station so it doesn't matter (though careful if you park ships around your station!!). I expect at some point it will get hit, requiring repairs, but it's so cheap to build and maintain it's not an issue.
  7. Draxis Trainee Engineer

    Interesting designs and ideas. Do the meteors always come from exactly the same place? I mean, the center of the sun is always the spawn point? If so, I can see the sky shield working well. It seems that there is just going to be a lot of time pressure and that the goal is to get a small mining ship up and running as quickly as possible so I can collect the materials I need for building turret components. Once that's done, I'll need a builder ship to shore up defenses. Hmm, this definitely feels like a race against time.

    I think I will do a new sole survivor start and try to build a cage around the platform while uranium is processing. Then I guess I really need to rush a mining ship and a builder ship. If I can place some beacon distraction stations in other places, that ought to help me out. Alternatively, could I just capture a bunch of private sails and leave them around so they draw meteors or are they too small to draw attention? I guess my issue is that starting off without any resources means that you are just vulnerable for a fairly long period of time until you get your turrets up and running. I think the problem with the sole survivor start is that you are in just one place and it is relatively harder to get resources than in the Asteroids start.

    Oh well, thanks for the ideas and keep em coming. I'm really curious to see if I can make this work some how. Maybe if I can hijack some mining carriages, I can use them to defend my station a bit.
  8. mo8ius Apprentice Engineer

    So far, the meteors always spawn from the direction of the sun wherever you are in space. They spawn a certain distance away from your Beacon and travel towards you on slightly different vectors. So if you're in a ship and moving, unless you're going very, very slowly, you will actually miss the meteors since they don't correct for velocity :)

    I think, though I've not been able to confirm it yet (need to do more testing), they spawn maybe as close as 5km to a beacon. They seem to spawn already separated and traveling at various speeds (rather than spawning from a single point and spreading outwards in a cone).

    Yes you can use anything as a skyshield. The very first one I tried was a captured ship too! It's more about positioning it between your base and the sun to give it the best chance to intercept the meteors than it is about what you use to do it with.

    Also, because of the way this works, limiting the angle of attack, then if you've got a small base, you only need a small skyshield. I haven't tried it, but for the small platform, I think it's the lone survivor start(?) you may only need one or two guns to cover the very small area you need to protect. Dial down the range to 100, or even 50m since you want it to ignore the meteors that wouldn't hit you anyway.

    I know there's a delay hard-coded in on the asteroids, so when you start a game there's a delay before the first ones hit, so you may have time to whip up a turret!

    The first constructed version I tried (because I was low on resources) was a turret attached to either side of a small cargo container and a small reactor to power it. Then a small ship clamped to that to provide thrust to get it into place and to stabilise it. That actually worked surprisingly well and it's pretty cheap to build (cheaper than using large ship thrusters), though it's a complete nightmare to fly.

    Private sails should work as decoys. I think it's the active beacon that's important.

    Good luck! interested to see how this turns out :)
  9. Siridean Trainee Engineer

    Another way would be to use drones. That's what I've been using, seems pretty effective so far, and they don't get hit by the meteors because they're moving.
  10. malcheus Trainee Engineer

    Seeing these replies, I have an idea for an improvement on the skyshield;
    You make a very big wall of heavy armor and perhaps some turrets, but most importantly you also make a very big wall of welders, or perhaps a single row of them.
    Using rotors or wheels you make the welders move over the skyshield (on the safe size off course), automatically repairing any damage.
    You only have to feed it steel plates and ammo to keep it going.
  11. Rosenkranz Apprentice Engineer

    It's been awhile since this thread has seen action. I'm curious on a follow up.

    How often does the skyshield concept get hit?

    I was thinking of a modification of this concept that didn't need armor. The idea is to keep the whole thing to a minimum profile.

    If you have a conveyor in the middle with a SmCargo top, bottom, left and right. I can place a turret on 5 sides of that 'cube' with flight systems attached to the rear face. Set the forward gun to 50m and the rest to 400m. In theory it should never get hit.

    This is really the smallest profile you can have with a maximum number of guns.
  12. Spacedweller Trainee Engineer

    I had my "home" ship in same kind of scenario, not hiding behind asteroid. Nose of the ship was pointed to sun and protected By 8 gatlings, useless. After every meteor shower, i need to fix turret or/and plating. Any range, always meteors sneak past the defence. Even turrets set to different ranges. Higher the range, more likely you are getting hits. (Range 400m and turrets will also shoot everything passing By under 400m, when they should ignored). Turret need elevation and angle settings to define firing sectors/cones.
  13. Floki Apprentice Engineer

    Trying my best to recreate these, but even the one directional ships sway off course.
    I believe this is due to a bug.
    Attach a gravity generator to a floating mass block, then add a reactor in a 3x1x1 arrangement. You'd expect this to fly in one direction on the axis of gravity forever, as no force is pushing this object off course.
    In reality, this object will fly off on a curve, so something is not right.
  14. Rosenkranz Apprentice Engineer

    The AM block isn't at the center of the drones mass, so it is getting torqued by the grav fields. When designing the drone, turn on the CoM indicator and place the AM block(s) accordingly. I say blocks because you won't likely be able to place the block at the CoM so you'll have to place two such that the CoM is between them.

    Do this and it should solve the issue.
  15. Petite_patte Trainee Engineer

  16. mattryan72 Apprentice Engineer

    I use the following for meteorite defence, been fine to date.

  17. Floki Apprentice Engineer

    My ships have been centered accordingly, but still go off course?
  18. Rosenkranz Apprentice Engineer

    Sadly, no clue. Does it do the same in the current version? Maybe post the world file.
  19. ProfessorFalken Apprentice Engineer

    honestly, if you are in survival and trying to defend against meteors in the open... you will not be able to product ammo fast enough to protect your station. Turrets use ammo so quickly, that even if you were doing nothing but getting Mg and Ni for your refineries and assemblers, you wouldn't keep up with your consumption.

    • I would make a shield of heavy armor 3 blocks thick over your station and make a point of repairing it on a regular basis.
    • Alternatively, you could put a single layer of heavy armor and a network of welders behind it to repair damage as it happens.
  20. DocMop Junior Engineer

    It's more efficient to just add one layer of unfinished light armour above your base. Kind of like cage armour. Sure, it gets destroyed instantly but it also destroys the meteoroid and you only loose 1 steel plate.
  21. Narase Trainee Engineer

    But then you have to repair them like every 10min
  22. Draxis Trainee Engineer

    True, I haven't had too much time to play lately but I am hoping to start tonight once the patch drops. I have been building a base in survival and I suspect that one can reduce the meteor strikes by building outposts around the map. Right now they are just a few blocks each. Has anyone tried this? I may just use repurposed private sails as distractions to hopefully ward off a few strikes. Also, I was looking at the laser turret mod which currently is a reskinned Gatling turret. However, if t ever can be made to use electricity, it could be great for solar powered defense platforms. That's said, I've pretty much given up on building in the open on survival because my game time is too limited for me to constantly be repairing things at that level of attrition.
  23. DocMop Junior Engineer

    You have to do that with heavy armour too.
  24. Narase Trainee Engineer

    Thats why you dont use a wall and use a gatling-satelite instead
  25. DocMop Junior Engineer

    Then you have to restock ammo. I guess it comes down to personal preference what you want to work on, armour or ammo.
  26. WhiteWeasel Senior Engineer

    I had a thread with a similar subject. From what I have learned, lowering a turrets range helps them save ammo and makes them more likely to hit the ones coming directly at your base. Also they come from the sun, so you can strategically block a turrets Fov so they do not aim at flybys. But the biggest one is from what I have experimented is that one big array to get 'em all is not that effective, unless you have a ton of turrets and ammo, which if weren't a problem, this thread wouldn't exist. They can't always get them all. Not to mention the flybys will be distracting your turrets from base hitters, too many to aim at once. You need multiple lines of defense, usually the first (and beefiest) taking the brunt of it, and having at least a second line below that outside the first lines range. The second line will be much more effective since many of the meteors at this point either whizz outside the range as flybys or are easier to pick off as the second turrets don't have as much strain on their targeting since there are less meteors to shoot at.

  27. btroycraft Apprentice Engineer

    You can abuse the meteor mechanics to your own benefit. Meteors target all ships uniformly, so if you place a bunch of cheap beacons all around your main base (at a fair distance), they will attract storms away from your main base. Turrets on your main base should be able to keep up ammo-wise if you keep the meteors targeting other stuff.
  28. Insignus Apprentice Engineer

    I find this whole discussion interesting, so I'll post a set of screens illustrating an advanced CIWS (Close Intercept Weapon System - Term encompasses Anti-missile, Anti-asteroid, and Anti-fighter) concept from one my survival mode adventures. Note: This is from my conceptual workbench (Project 24), and is a medium scaled build, so you can all likely find more resource efficient adaptations for your own ships. I don't have a screenshot of the current design, which increased the gun density per fire control sector - from 6 guns per sector to 8 (See endnote). The ship is currently at 4L. This screenshot is from a few months ago before I took a break, phase 4C (Scroll down).

    Note the placement. Turret placement and angle overlapping is key. The positioning of the top guns off-center (To the sides of an imaginary line running through the middle of the ship) allow the guns to engage targets coming at head on, while not themselves sustaining likely damage if a theoretical hit occurs (The guns are positioned at the corners of the armor box, reducing the probable surface area by some mathematical formula I can't remember). This enables them to keep firing if asteroids, opponents, or some combination do manage to overwhelm the ship's defenses. The side guns are positioned in such a way that they have the ability to fire within an arc that can take slack off the top guns in regards to oblique angle projectiles. The same off-center principle also applies to the side guns. Finally, the positioning also allows for both sets of guns on each side to focus fire on corner shots that aim to destroy the guns.

    Next, it is important to differentially range your guns. The standard criticism of this is that "You should engage all targets with full force at maximum distance." This is a valid criticism, and full on guns can work - but only against a limited number of larger projectiles. Differential ranging implies that while the outmost guns engage at say, 350m, the innermost guns scale down to a mere 150m. This means that when swarms of projectiles are fired, the guns are less likely to fixate (See endnote). Of key note, however, is that this can reduce your firepower against any single projectile. So use no more than three intervals, with at least 4 guns per interval (I used 2 intervals on this design - far and close).

    This final point is that this is also the most ammo efficient means of CIWS, because of threat scaling - Namely, it simulates how in reality, your ships computer would evaluate each threat and task an appropriate number of guns to each targets. For a missile, for example, you would task 2-3 guns. For a smaller asteroid, a single or double gun would do. For a huge rock, you'd want all of them on target. Because we don't have that in game, differential ranging simulates this behavior. An object closer to the rear of the ship will initially be engaged by two guns at 350m, then the forward two guns that are also ranged at 350m (This is geomery, more or less) and finally by the four 150m guns as it gets closer to your ship.

    Finally, note the ammunition feeding system. This is perhaps the weakpoint of this design, as the attention to gun positioning mandates potentially resource intensive and vulnerable conveyor tube strings. While the ammo loop does enable potentially continuous firing, it exposes the guns to having a loop break, because the tubes are more vulnerable than say, a wall of conveyors that another design might use. I have been tempted to expend even more resources to correct that, but this is a survival mode design, after all :/
    As a final note, the system does indeed test well. I've shot rockets at it and run it under asteroids, and no hits so far. It should be noted that in the absence of a full-multiplayer fight against an carrier, the full effectiveness of the system can't be verified up to its test rating. The initial 350m setup did show a tendency to squirrel on asteroids, but its necessary to engage fighters, otherwise they would be able to plink it with reliable gatling fire of their own. The next iteration will include a single turret at max range for this reason, likely mounted on the centerline.


    Endnotes: The number of guns in the screenshots is 6 per sector, (For a total of 2 + 4 + 4 + 2 x 4) on that iteration, 6 upper, 3 upper and 3 lower sides (x2). and 6 bottom, totaling 24 After the addition of the hangar, an additional set of turrets was added, bringing the total to 30

    Gun fixing is the term I use for when a gun "Fixates" on a target, as opposed to "squirreling" which is the focus on irrelevant targets. It occurs when a gun or turret array engages one target, only to have another target enter into range. Because the guns haven't destroyed the other target, no guns focus on the second one, and the system either allows it to pass and detonate, or destroys the first target and then spends 1-2 seconds retraining on the new target, which reduces the gun array's ability to destroy that target in time. Differential ranging does not eliminate this behavior, but can mitigate its affects in instances where a faster target enters into range and passes inside the range of the first target.
    This fixes part of the problem. Gun positioning can help fix the other part of the fixing problem, in that the geometry of the engagement is shifted to allow all guns to engage a target, but some guns to engage other targets that enter their range prior to the first target entering their engagement window.
    These combined allow those guns to fix on multiple targets, potentially, as well as pseudo prioritize targets
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