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Cordane

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As my title says, I'm a Strike Craft wonk (along with related topics), being a little obsessed with how things "should" work in both a general science-fiction sense and in Stellaris in particular. Among the details that I'm trying to make sure I have a clear understanding is the relative size of the individual Strike Craft. As with the major warships, I tend to work in relative sizes versus necessarily absolutes, but getting an idea of how big something actually would be can also be helpful.

I typically use stats within the game to get a sense of relative size. On the major warship side, I look at things from the Wiki like Base Cost, Build Time, Small Slot Equivalent, etc., to reach the conclusion that a Corvette is one-eighth the volume/mass of a Battleship. For a completely arbitrary starting length of 400 meters for a Corvette, a Battleship at 8x the volume would (if proportional) be 2x as long, tall, and wide as the Corvette, meaning 800 meters long in this hypothetical. Slightly off from the other ratios, Base Hull for the Corvette is 300 and the Battleship is 3,000, giving a 10:1 ratio.

I'm then looking at Basic Strike Craft, specifically the Scout Wing, which (in the Wiki) shows a table with Cost (in alloys), Power, and Average Damage that seem to be at the Hangar level, i.e., covering a standard 8-unit wing. But then I look at Shield and Hull in the same table and I'm not sure if that's supposed to be per craft or per wing.

I ask this because, if each craft has 30 Hull points, compared to a Corvette's 300 Base Hull points and a Battleship's 3,000, would that make each craft approximately 1/8th as large (volume/mass) as a Corvette? Compared to the hypothetical 400 meter Corvette above, each Strike Craft (BTW, represented in icon form as a classic starfighter) would come out as 200 meters long. If instead the wing as a whole has the 30 Hull points, it would instead likely make each hypothetical Strike Craft 1/64th the size of the Corvette above, or 100 meters long.

I bring all of this up because how we view the absolute size of Strike Craft should change our view of how they would operate. When currently operating in a space battle, Strike Craft have forward-fire cannons only. This forces them to loop around in their orbit and only attack their target when they are able to point their flight path at it. This means that at only one point in their current orbits are they able to fire on their current target. With a 2.3-day cooldown, Strike Craft would need to complete an orbit every 2.3 days to sync their capability to fire with their opportunity to fire - that's probably not what's happening now, as I've seen many complaints that Strike Craft break off attacking one target to go after another, lather, rinse, repeat, and end up not really focus-firing and actually killing targets efficiently.

If Stellaris were thinking more along the lines of Newtonian physics, Strike Craft (and really all warships) could briefly coast and quickly flip their hulls around to point any forward-fire cannons at any target they want, but the current physics engine doesn't allow for that to show up visually (definitely not the warships, as they turn too slowly). So I wanted to see if it would be reasonable for a Strike Craft to use turrets to keep their warship-damaging guns on target basically all the time. If a Strike Craft was closer in absolute size to a typical sci-fi starfighter (no more than 25 meters), no, it's not really viable. But if that Strike Craft is instead 50, 100, 200 meters long, then yes, it would make much more sense.

Again, the hypothetical absolute size of a Corvette I gave above is driving the values down the line, but that size is also influenced by comparing the Base Cost in Alloys of a Corvette to the Cost in Minerals of Districts and similar planetary projects (and adjusting for conversion rates). If there was a flat equivalency between the costs after adjustment (which I definitely don't agree with), even Corvettes could be well over a thousand meters long and now Strike Craft would proportionally be many hundreds of meters in length (i.e., just smaller full warships, not simply launched craft).

Thinking about Strike Craft in this way presents other opportunities, like classic starfighter-size (e.g., 25m) Strike Craft that could launch from S-slot Hangars on Corvettes in waves of 100+ (but which would only be effective versus the 50m versions, which themselves would only be effective against the next size up, etc.), or legitimizing letting the "full-size" 100-200m Strike Craft have hyperlane capability to patrol for pirates. It's really all just playing with numbers, but I think there are some opportunities to get Stellaris to recreate more of the classic sci-fi battles we've seen in other media.
 
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HFY

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Tanks have turrets. Starfighters are probably larger & more sophisticated than those.

Warlord "Technical"s have turrets. Starfighters are probably larger & more sophisticated than those, too.
 
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Cordane

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Tanks have turrets. Starfighters are probably larger & more sophisticated than those.

Warlord "Technical"s have turrets. Starfighters are probably larger & more sophisticated than those, too.
Technically what a technical typically has is not a turret (which is "a mounting platform from which weapons can be fired that affords protection, visibility, and ability to turn and aim") - it's more of a pintle mount, even if it has a plate or two of steel for a touch of protection. I also don't see anything that would be mounted on a technical as being much use against a Corvette, never mind a Battleship.

Tanks do have turrets (the main gun, not the little pintle mount machine gun over the commander's hatch) and I could see a weapon that would mount in that large of a turret being slightly useful against a Corvette. But I'm not sure what starfighters you might be referring to that are capable of mounting a turret of that size, along with the powerplant to supply it.

I'm also not sure why you would be pointing out that a starfighter (a futuristic spacecraft built for highly-mobile combat in, y'know, space and the future) would be "more sophisticated" than a modern-day RL tank or technical. I would assume that as a given, but also as not particularly relevant, as the targets they would be going after would also be "more sophisticated" than modern-day RL targets.

It's all about getting a weapon capable of doing damage against a substantial target, and getting it pointed consistently at that target. Starfighters typically are only capable of carrying fixed mounts (or launching GW) that have any chance at really hurting a much larger target - any turret they might mount is typically going to have weapons that are only good against something much closer to their own size.

If you can lay out some examples of some starfighters that mount or are capable of mounting turrets capable of doing respectable damage against a capital ship, I'd consider conceding the point.
 

HFY

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If you can lay out some examples of some starfighters that mount or are capable of mounting turrets capable of doing respectable damage against a capital ship, I'd consider conceding the point.
There are no real starfighters. I've given an example of a smaller vehicle which has a substantive turret (the tank); there are small boats and historical planes with turrets, too, though modern fighter planes face atmospheric resistance which limits the use of turrets. Starfighters do not face atmospheric resistance.

Are you looking for fictional examples to justify a narrative?
 
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SaintD

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It costs 10000 alloys to finish one quarter of an entire habitable zone sized ringworld. And like....2000 to build a battleship.

Using in-game stats for any kind of in-universe comparative measurements is ludicrous folly not even a high school student should fall into.
 
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Zagreb 887

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It costs 10000 alloys to finish one quarter of an entire habitable zone sized ringworld. And like....2000 to build a battleship.

Using in-game stats for any kind of in-universe comparative measurements is ludicrous folly not even a high school student should fall into.

Like any kind of real-world comparison with Stellaris. If we seek "realism" about space warfare, strike craft make 0 sense, they are just a transposition in space of carrier, like many of classical sci-fi space warfare is a litteral transposition of naval warfare from XIX century to WWII.
 
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Cordane

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There are no real starfighters. I've given an example of a smaller vehicle which has a substantive turret (the tank); there are small boats and historical planes with turrets, too, though modern fighter planes face atmospheric resistance which limits the use of turrets. Starfighters do not face atmospheric resistance.

Are you looking for fictional examples to justify a narrative?
Well that's a loaded question - the narrative in question is your own. Considering that the starfighter is an extremely common trope of science fiction writing, whether kept as literature or converted into other media, there should have been someone that has followed the same line of thought as you, and come up with a vessel having the size of a starfighter and turrets with the punch to actually hurt a warship. So yeah, give me an example from some science-fiction universe that actually justifies your narrative.
the starfighter from "the last starfighter" ?
It's a 2 manned vehicle and certainly dishes out damage along with having some form of directional firesystems
See this is a good starting point - the Gunstar from TLSF had numerous limited-arc turrets and it definitely was a ship capable of doing damage to a military vessel several orders of magnitude larger. My point of concern on any comparison to Stellaris is that the Gunstar's power level is such that, if it were scaled up to Corvette size, it wouldn't just knock out some systems that would normally keep the battleship from crashing into a moon - it would totally wreck it in no time flat. A Corvette in Stellaris would have to work in concert with 7 others of its ilk in order to stand an even chance against a Battleship, and they at least (because of Evasion) would have a better chance than four Destroyers or two Cruisers. Sci-fi stories with individual starfighters capable of taking out major warships on their own or in limited numbers, even with turreted weapons, are unfortunately common, but they don't look at the reality that would come into play once you scale up the weapons to use on larger vessels.
It costs 10000 alloys to finish one quarter of an entire habitable zone sized ringworld. And like....2000 to build a battleship.

Using in-game stats for any kind of in-universe comparative measurements is ludicrous folly not even a high school student should fall into.
Comparing the costs detailed for Corvettes, Destroyers, Cruisers, and Battleships - fairly similar items in a game system - is absolutely different from comparing the cost of any military ship to the cost of a Ringworld (one section or the whole thing). Never mind that Stellaris isn't about to put the real cost for a Ringworld out there, because working on the scale that worked for the alloys used in producing a single Corvette would be absolutely unreachable if it was a proportional increase to a Ringworld. But the Devs want us to feel like an awesome space empire with awesome space empire stuff, so they let us do it despite it not being at all reasonable.

The whole point of this exercise is to get to a place where Strike Craft are able to justify orbits around targets that are circles with the target in the middle and firing every 2.3 days, versus having to pass over the target on one point of the circle and then waste time swinging all the way back around to fire again, losing effective damage output because they either don't sync cooldown with orbit days or keep switching targets. I tried to come up with a way to justify using turrets to do so, rather than having the Strike Craft visually turn toward their targets every time, which would let them normalize the damage output while not having the Strike Craft look weird. If you're not worried about making that work, fine, nothing to see here.
 

HFY

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Well that's a loaded question - the narrative in question is your own. Considering that the starfighter is an extremely common trope of science fiction writing, whether kept as literature or converted into other media, there should have been someone that has followed the same line of thought as you, and come up with a vessel having the size of a starfighter and turrets with the punch to actually hurt a warship. So yeah, give me an example from some science-fiction universe that actually justifies your narrative.
Here's an example from a popular franchise -- you should be familiar with this one already: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/BTL_Y-wing_starfighter

It's common to make the mistake of ignoring turrets because humans are better at analogy than logic, and the analogy for a starfighter on a carrier starship is a fighter-plane on a carrier ship. Fighter-planes don't use turrets, as mentioned previously, so by analogy it's common to ignore them. Of course, that's not an excuse. Analogies are a terrible replacement for reason.
 

FuzzyLogic

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I've headcanon-ed fighters as armed unmanned drones. Like, say, torpedos or missiles but packing a handful of laser turrets instead of an explosive warhead.
 
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Cordane

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Here's an example from a popular franchise -- you should be familiar with this one already: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/BTL_Y-wing_starfighter

It's common to make the mistake of ignoring turrets because humans are better at analogy than logic, and the analogy for a starfighter on a carrier starship is a fighter-plane on a carrier ship. Fighter-planes don't use turrets, as mentioned previously, so by analogy it's common to ignore them. Of course, that's not an excuse. Analogies are a terrible replacement for reason.
This is another case of a failure to account for scaling by the SW teams, with a 1.5-meter long twin-turret needing just three hits to disable a 325-meter light cruiser. Every single fight between capital ships should therefore end in 1-2 shots - not per weapon, PER SHIP - because their scaled-up weapons should absolutely obliterate each other. If that's all it would take to disable a large ship, why would a Y-wing need to carry forward-fire-only laser cannons or proton torpedo launchers? That's right - those are the anti-capital-ship weapons and the turret was supposed to be for dealing with enemy fighters, as it was based on the defensive turrets on WWII-era strategic bombers. But I guess somebody thought it would be kewl to have the dinky turret take a whole capital ship out of a fight.

Think about it this way:
  • A Stellaris Battleship can fairly handily withstand repeated fire from S-slot turrets on Corvettes.
  • I'm claiming above that a Corvette is an order of magnitude smaller than a Battleship (1/2 as long, wide, and tall). Similarly, an S-slot turret is 1/4 the volume, resource needs, and capability of an L-slot turret. (Technically there's a greater-than halving of damage when dropping a size, but we'll skip that for now.)
  • Reduce the size of a ship by another order of magnitude, meaning the weapons on that ship are now 1/8th of even an S-slot.
  • Repeat that:
    • At a total of 3 orders of magnitude smaller than the Corvette, the difference in size would be a 25-meter starfighter, a 200-meter Corvette, and a 400-meter Battleship, and our starfighter turrets are doing 1/512th of the damage of the Corvette's S-slot turrets. (If there is only one weapon on the starfighter, I might even allow it the equivalent of an L-slot on the base Corvette, which would still make the damage 1/128th of a Corvette's S-slot.)
    • At a total of 4 orders of magnitude smaller, it would be a 25-meter starfighter, a 400-meter Corvette, and an 800-meter Battleship, and our starfighter turrets are only doing 1/4096th (if multiple turrets - 1/1024th if a single larger turret) of the damage from a Corvette's S-slot turrets.
  • If you stayed at a 100-meter Strike Craft, there would only be one order of magnitude down from the 200-meter Corvette (and actually only a halving of damage if using the single turret) - same thing if the Strike Craft was 200 meters against a 400-meter Corvette. Dropping two orders of magnitude from a 400-meter Corvette to a 100-meter Strike Craft is still pretty steep - 1/64th (or even 1/16th).
  • But Strike Craft fight as an 8-craft wing - at one order of magnitude below the Corvette, each larger turret times 8 craft in the wing does damage equal to 4x the standard S-slot or (hey, look at that!) equal to an L-slot (did you know that an H-slot Hangar is equivalent to an L-slot turret?). At three orders of magnitude, however, even an 8-craft wing is still only doing 1/64th of a single S-slot (or 1/16th if a single larger turret per craft) - at four orders, we're back to 1/512th (1/128th).
  • Now if you want to claim that the Strike Craft are that 25-meter starfighter size in order to lock that in, you can still get those 1-2 orders of magnitude ratios for damage, but you have to make the Corvette either 50 or 100 meters long and the Battleship only twice that.
A Strike Craft that looks like a Star Wars Y-wing doesn't really make sense once you spend any real time using reason to analyze the situation. It probably looks a lot closer to a Light Attack Craft from the Honorverse, which were launched from LAC carriers (over 1,000 meters but carrying around 100 LAC) - even in that case, LACs used missiles and forward-fire cannons but no turrets. Of course, you could just stick to the analogy that space carriers would launch space fighter-planes, but that would be a terrible replacement for the reasoned explanation I just gave.
 

HFY

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The real disposable strike craft of the Honorverse would be their bomb-pumped laser missiles. Those actually avoid that setting's shields, which were a lot more potent than Stelleris shields.


Anyway, you asked for a fictional example of a starfighter with a turret, you got a well-known example of one, and here you are trying to discredit Star Wars.

If you're not willing to engage with the evidence you requested, then more evidence (the Last Starfighter, phaser arrays from Star Trek, etc.) doesn't really seem worth bringing up.

Good luck to you.
 

mial42

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...Why does it matter whether or not a turret would make sense? Who actually looks closely enough at strike-craft mid combat to even notice? It would solve an issue with strike craft at the moment, and that's good enough for me.
 
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Cordane

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Anyway, you asked for a fictional example of a starfighter with a turret, you got a well-known example of one, and here you are trying to discredit Star Wars.

If you're not willing to engage with the evidence you requested, then more evidence (the Last Starfighter, phaser arrays from Star Trek, etc.) doesn't really seem worth bringing up.
Well that's a loaded question - the narrative in question is your own. Considering that the starfighter is an extremely common trope of science fiction writing, whether kept as literature or converted into other media, there should have been someone that has followed the same line of thought as you, and come up with a vessel having the size of a starfighter and turrets with the punch to actually hurt a warship. So yeah, give me an example from some science-fiction universe that actually justifies your narrative.

See this is a good starting point - the Gunstar from TLSF had numerous limited-arc turrets and it definitely was a ship capable of doing damage to a military vessel several orders of magnitude larger. My point of concern on any comparison to Stellaris is that the Gunstar's power level is such that, if it were scaled up to Corvette size, it wouldn't just knock out some systems that would normally keep the battleship from crashing into a moon - it would totally wreck it in no time flat. A Corvette in Stellaris would have to work in concert with 7 others of its ilk in order to stand an even chance against a Battleship, and they at least (because of Evasion) would have a better chance than four Destroyers or two Cruisers. Sci-fi stories with individual starfighters capable of taking out major warships on their own or in limited numbers, even with turreted weapons, are unfortunately common, but they don't look at the reality that would come into play once you scale up the weapons to use on larger vessels.
As you can see, what I asked for was an example of a starfighter that had turrets "with the punch to actually hurt a warship", and then I immediately pointed out that having a BS OP weapon wasn't in keeping with the discussion. I did engage with the evidence you presented and immediately pointed out that it had a BS OP weapon. Am I incorrect in identifying it as an overpowered weapon, both in its own universe and in comparison with Stellaris? (And despite all the earnest effort that the SW fanbase has made to try to explain away the ridiculous decisions portrayed especially in the movies, that sci-fi universe is notorious for wildly-mismatched BS OP systems and abilities.) I already commented specifically on the Gunstar, and phaser arrays are entirely limited to the powerplant of the vessel equipping them (which would follow the same orders of magnitude as the vessel itself).

Honestly, good luck to you as well.
 

Cordane

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...Why does it matter whether or not a turret would make sense? Who actually looks closely enough at strike-craft mid combat to even notice? It would solve an issue with strike craft at the moment, and that's good enough for me.
Probably if no one ever pays attention (and still likely even if they do), it doesn't really matter, but on the off chance that it does, let it make more sense than it could otherwise.
Who use strikecraft? They are so bad ^^
If they were better, would you use them? If you would, shouldn't they try? Maybe not if it was just you or me or whomever, but with enough interest, SC can finally get some love.
 

Zagreb 887

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Probably if no one ever pays attention (and still likely even if they do), it doesn't really matter, but on the off chance that it does, let it make more sense than it could otherwise.

If they were better, would you use them? If you would, shouldn't they try? Maybe not if it was just you or me or whomever, but with enough interest, SC can finally get some love.

Yes, if they were actually useful, I would probably use them, just for one time skeeping the arc emitters meta.
I'm not really a big fan of the strike-craft thing in SF, but if it change gameplay a bit why not?