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Combat Balance Discussion

Discussion in 'General' started by Dwarf-Lord Pangolin, Sep 21, 2015.

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  1. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    Because not everyone has 1000+ hours to sink into designing fleets of ships? This game is a huge time commitment if you want to produce truly decent craft, and death cubes give you a lot of bang for your buck. PMWs take a lot of work to get right compared to arrays of gats. The investment in design time should have better payoffs than it does.

    Of course production costs and welding logistics in survival are huge, but not everyone even plays mine and weld-it survival. Lots of people play "copy and paste into survival and then have a fight" etc. You can still balance around material costs and ammo supply but actual construction isn't an essential part of combat and so it isn't the deciding metric for combat balance. Cost is.

    Also, not every death cube has to be a literal cube with armor and guns on every side.
     
  2. Einharjar

    Einharjar Junior Engineer

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    529
    This.
    This right here. That's why it's a threat to community. Or at least to newbs. This is what I mean in the previous post about scaring casuals off. What your're describing is Veteran's having the access to Game Knowledge. This only comes with time and practice and fortunately, SE isn't like a Ladder based game by any means. However, casuals will feel hard pressed to make designs work in multiplayer survival when there's such a gap. I feel SE is pretty laid back, but with experience better DCs get better with game knowledge. It's like the trump effect.
    I think my discrepancy is that I just don't feel DCs are all that complicated. I really don't.

    As I just chatted with RageMaster; I've been purposely designing my vessels lately with restrictions on purpose. Conveyors needed for thrusters to work for example (trying this now, to see how it effects a build I made pre-idea). I purposely put warheads in proximity of my thrusters to emulate fuel tanks and tried to see how to design around them.

    Maybe I'm just psychotic.

    I don't really feel SE is all that hard on layouts, I get what you mean but really trimming the fat on your craft means just never adding it. Only add what you need. Armor and Conveyors are very universal blocks, and flexible in their placement as well. And Armor Block transfer power to any block touching it, doesn't matter which face it is of the 6, any face transmits power.
    And conveyors are the same; pretty easy to plug them in where needed, space isn't a problem. I mean the containers work like the armor, they can conveyor in all 6 directions so...

    I do get you however. DCs only pan out to upper echelon who knows how to best exploit the design and mechanics of SE. Game Knowledge.
    Something like that should be the other way around in competitive play.
    The Game Knowledge should come pretty moderately, after discipline is done. Then, after those too it's Strategic/Tactical thinking that's the top Echelon level, not the game knowledge.



    With that said however, I've come to the conclusion with RageMaster's chat earlier that really, DCs aren't that match of a problem in the game mode where balance is actually a concern.
    Like you said and Rage too, loading up the inventory on the DC is a massive undertaking. I don't feel managing the ammo and supply is all that difficult but in the majority of survival games, it certainly is. Until you reach that Trump Effect, wasting that much supply on an overdone bullet vomiting box-o-guns is pretty harsh.

    I would love to see the combat balance I've suggested mainly for the standard designs. Death Cubes will be balanced naturally if such perimeters were put into the combat model.
    So the question arises, are Death Cubes really that big of a deal? Are we seeing them in EVERY SINGLE Survival PVP scenario?
     
  3. Sinbad

    Sinbad Senior Engineer

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    2,788
    I made a 'death puc' for getting cargo ships. 18 (the number you need to disable a turret with one or two 'fire once' clicks) clustered gats, 4 large thrusters in every direction, 12 gyros and 4 landing gear. It ended up wide and long but flat. The idea was to strafe at 830m, pick off the turrets then swoop in latch on and wrestle it to a stop so I could go hunting for booby traps. It worked well, but I've since stripped the gats off and now just use it as a grinder wall tug.
     
  4. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    Resupply and distribution can be handled via script with little work for the player in game time but something that takes a lot of design time. That's why I think talking about design time is an important consideration. You spend much more time in SE designing things than actually "playing".

    SE gets much harder on layouts when you need to go that extra mile to have overlapping self repair, redundant conveyoring (the difference between turrets going dry after a PMW hit or not, etc). Do you use large reactors or huge numbers of distributed small reactors. Small grid death cubes can also be made extremely intricate with lots of self repair, decoy launchers, etc.

    I'm fine with a building game consistently rewarding the best game knowledge and creative designs. The problem is that if you want to make a combat craft, regardless of tonnage, you're going to end up making a "death cube".

    Here is an example of where the problems in SE lie. @noobymcnoobcake has this great self-repairing sort of death cube, the enforcer. https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=503177008

    [​IMG]

    It's a nightmare against ships several times it's size because of the firepower density and self-healing. It's cost effective and a great fit for survival. It's far too fast to ever hope to hit with a PMW which means the best way to fight it is.....packing in more frontal firepower density with something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Both ships have a lot more intricacy in the design than merely cramming guns in. Both are around 1.2 mil kg, both almost entirely self repair, etc, but brutalist firepower wins out, and firepower comes cheaply in SE.
     
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  5. Einharjar

    Einharjar Junior Engineer

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    529
    Which in lies the true balance issue.

    The question still remains though, before i continue below; do we really see that many death cubes in pure survival games? Like noobymcnoobcakes?

    His DC-ish contraption still seems pretty counter-able if we had a fleshed out combat model. We've got no ranged fire support nor homing weapons. So we can't snipe it or utilize an accurate shot while speeding away (homing missile of some sort).
    The other options is making the mass more punishing.

    If we're just assuming Gatlings, one Ammo Container is 35kg and 16L of volume. Each small ship container can hold 125L, so that's 7 boxes of ammo per container. Each container is 73.4 kg, and 7 ammo boxes in that container is a total of (245+73.4)= 318.4 kg of mass. Even times 30 on a smaller fighter smallship grid, that's only an added 9,550 kg. That's horrible. A single large small ship thruster produces 144,000 N of Thrust; to move 9550kg worth of container weight stocked with ammo, you only need 93,673 of that 144,000 N to even move it. One thruster gains you Net thrust even with 30 stocked containers with ammo provided I'm not being Math-tarded... which who knows, it's 2:40 AM I could be at this point.
    And because containers work like Armor Blocks does with power, you don't use tubes. All of the ones I've seen split open just used the containers for 6 way conveyor networks (easy redundancy) and extra ammo space (which is why they stay in fights for so long despite such huge weapon arrays).
    Now yes, I'm not including armor here or anything, but ammo is supposed to be some heavy shite.

    I mentioned to Rage how IRL, an F-15's flight control computer will NOT let you pull maximum G if it knows you've got munitions loaded on your craft. Depending on the size of the munition (such as Side Winder vs Sparrow missiles) and what munition station it's loaded, the computer knows the air frame's limits on inertia / wing loading and won't let you pull the Gs you normally could when flying empty. And if I remember right it's a huge difference - fully loaded for AA, the F-15 will lock you out to like 6-7 G or less, maybe close to 5. Once you let some of that munition go, it'll put you back up to 9G. And that's not even very much ammo. That's 8 to 12 shots of missiles and only about 5 seconds worth of cannon rounds. Meanwhile these cubes are flying around with 8.75 MINUTES of ammunition. Even split among 12 gatlings that's still what, 43.75 seconds worth of ammo? Holy cow.
     
  6. GrindyGears

    GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    1,787
    So, I just realized the ultimate combat balance..... Remove all weapons from the game! Then you'll have nothing to complain about being balanced, death cubes are no longer a problem and weapon damage is balanced! It's the literally perfect way to balance combat in a non combat based game.... /Sarcasm
     
  7. noobymcnoobcake

    noobymcnoobcake Apprentice Engineer

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    128
    @Einharjar and that's why i think we need to seriously buff the rate of fire of Gatlings and make ammo the limiting factor. This would be better for the games performance make more sense when designing fighters as the designs firepower is not limited by its frontal area to mount Gatlings. Increase the mass and volume of ammo containers to compensate and we should see fighter with 2-4 gats rather than 16 and death cubes with 20 gats not 90.

    That said i dont know how you could balance this across inventory settings as i design my ships for 5 times, not one times.
     
  8. RageMasterUK

    RageMasterUK Apprentice Engineer

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    201
    Hmm I guess this is where I diverge from everyone else in this regard. I don't see design time as a balancing factor whatsoever. Creative mode is not a framework for combat-balance in my eyes.
    Nothing stops a newb from downloading the same deathcube and using it themselves with competence within the space of 1 hour.

    What if a player spends ages on space engineers designing, but in reality regardless of how much 'design time' they put in, their craft just sucks because the design sucks.
    What about a player who is super-slick with designing ships and has radical designs and who can make a practical similar design in 15 minutes?

    No. My point is that a good design speaks for itself, regardless of how long it takes to develop.
    Which is why I am trying to steer the conversation back to a place where we have a solid frame of reference (survival) for combat balance, i.e quanitity of components used versus effectiveness at task.
    Also, in creative mode there is very little consideration for what a ship must carry to be effective (uranium, o2, steelplates for auto-weld armor etc). None of these components need to be in the ship in creative mode. No-one has to put them there. Folks can set 5x storage etc...

    Not really. It introduces no reason to reduce gat gun quantity. With 90 high ROF high DPS gats, you will kill your enemy quicker isnt that the benchmark for success? Why would you bother to strip some out? Wouldnt you rather have more dps?

    How rapid bullets come out of the guns is largely irrelevant. Whether you can land them all to deal damage is most relevant. Your suggestion allows deathcubes (or any ship for that matter) to just kill things quicker. All this does is reduce TTK, and would decrease game performance, as more projectiles will be in transit at any given time in combat.

    Surely affecting a gat-gun's mass would do more to restrict the stacking effect. If your maneuverability dropped off considerably you'd have to make a choice between that and firepower...
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  9. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    I think we're basically saying the same thing. Fleshed out player made weapon choices should be able to track targets beyond turret range such that turrets are not the final answer to combat. PMWs still have costs/drawbacks attached, making them a merely viable alternative to turrets/fixed weapons. I don't want the converse to happen where SE combat is reduced to sniping at each other from 5-6 km away with missiles, because that's also less fun that brawling, so I think we need a nice balance where both are viable.

    I'm not a fan of increasing ammo weight, simply because combat is already often indecisive since there is no predictive aiming assist, etc and netcode leads to huge ammo wasting without actually hitting anything.

    Small cargos instead of conveyors is not always a smart choice. Tons of small cargos = super annoying inventory management and means you've got a lot of poorly protected ammo all around your hull.

    I'm not sure how often you see those sort of death cubes, but to me it's an/the ideal PVP survival craft. It's only like 1.5-ish million tons fully loaded. It's self building/self-repairing which means it's logistically easy to use. It doesn't waste mass being symmetric and it's got huge forward concentrated firepower. It has a modest number of welders and turrets so it doesn't totally crush simspeed, etc.

    AFAIK the overload system on the F-15 is merely an audible warning, not a control system override. AAMs on hardpoints are typically capable of lots of Gs, it's the fuel tanks and ground attack munitions (on the E) that are the problem.

    There are few similarities between SE and real aircraft. Real aircraft have to dedicated a huge amount of internal volume to fuel, and then engine, they have to be shaped for aerodynamics, etc. Craft in SE are far more analogous to naval ships, which afford a much higher ratio of payload to propulsion.
     
  10. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    It doesn't really make sense for a gat-gun to be a hugely massive block compared to chunks of armor, etc. This game derives mass based on componentry weights.

    I'm not suggesting that creative is a framework for balance, what I'm saying is that people will favour designing death cuby things over complicated PMW based craft much of the time because the former are reliable and fast builds, whereas the latter miss a lot and have a habit of exploding. PMWs often require using a lot of rotor tricks and grid merging which is fussy outside of creative Copy/Paste.

    Survival 1x isn't even the most common mode, 5x is, so what do you balance around?

    I still think the solution is simple: Make PMWs a reliable enough armament option against maneuvering craft and death cubes won't dominate combat, they'll just be another effective option in addition to grav guns and guided/self-guiding missiles.

    That can be accomplished by making them less fiddly to integrate into ships, and more capable at actually hitting the target. A big problem in SE is that PMWS travel the same speed as their targets.
     
  11. Don_BoT

    Don_BoT Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    5
    how about limitting the death cubes by allowing Gatling guns to only have one conveyor port instead of two? this would increase the number of conveyor blocks by like a power of two. Seems like a pretty good balance to me.
     
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  12. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin

    Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

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    2,597
    Guys, we keep descending into very specific ideas here. Please remember, this is more about the What, not so much about the How.

    The point about a context for balance is a very good one. A lot of the creations that people cite as being very effective are only so when building them and supplying them are not concerns; that brings up another point of its own.

    When the designs have to actually be built, effectiveness is not determined just by combat performance, but by both the cost and time. The kinds of gat walls we're seeing are only viable if you either can't be found while building them, or if you've spent time working on defenses (I'm assuming here that the defenses will actually be worthwhile).

    So is there actually such a thing as a cheap deathcube, or are they all going to get blown up while under construction by a much cheaper fighter?
     
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  13. Dr. Novikov

    Dr. Novikov Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    263
    The ammo weight could also be increased indirectly. Ammo should require a lot more voulme, and that volume, in turn, should require armor to protect it, which, in turn, would add to the weight.
     
  14. Killacyte

    Killacyte Senior Engineer

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    1,659
    I'd think people would just take the hit and carry less ammo, rather than add a bunch more storage.
     
  15. mhalpern

    mhalpern Senior Engineer

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    2,119
    No the benchmark for success is based on potential profit and sustainability. Let's say you have an uber expensive wmd single use- indiscriminate destruction of everything in a large radius- what happens if you use it on a decoy force?
     
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  16. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    I don't consider a 1-2 million KG ship terribly expensive, which is where these ships land. Gats are cheaaap, it's the ammo that's expensive. My death cube basically welds itself as long as you build the central RR stack, 6 containers and two welders by hand. There is a bunch of hand work to be done as well on the outer hull at the end that's mostly hull and a few thrusters not covered by the welders, but it's an incredibly fast build once you've got the components stockpiled. Self building craft are huge time savers, I'm moving all of my designs towards smallish ships that do lots of self construction because welding up BPs is kinda sucky.

    Also, there are lots of different ways to play "survival", some of which don't include starting with nothing more than hand tools and the banana boat.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    The one thing that really screws up pretty much any turret based ship is decoy spam.....

    I'm honestly sort of surprised combat doesn't always devolve into throwing decoys at each other until someone's guns run dry.
     
  18. RageMasterUK

    RageMasterUK Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    201
    I figure this consideration is relative to the scenario. Ie... As to whether you get attacked by the guy who thinks 250,000 kg isn't terribly expensive, gets resources and sets his ship up first to harass your construction operations.

    But I agree, sandbox style enables us to agree on design rules before hand, like when Auto puts up competitions which provide the framework to make a judgement on how good a craft is. But that framework of measurement needs to be agreed upon before designs can be tested against each other before statemens like "Deathcubes are THE BEST DESIGN for combat craft..." because... by what measure?

    Survival places limits on design based upon component availability and ammo/stored component weights.
    Multiplayer scenarios where the designer places the limits equally to both design competitors (i.e heres what you have to work with) work for this also.

    In order to properly examine the deathcube situation I suggested the competition to make a death-cube killer with less than the total components of said death-cube.
    Would that be something people would be interested in the results of?

    My prediction is that a design exists that can defeat the death-cube design via more intelligent and economic use of components.

    Might even post up the competition on the creation forum myself if there is an interest in the outcome.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
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  19. Dr. Novikov

    Dr. Novikov Apprentice Engineer

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    263
    That would be good. Less ammo = less spam, less deathcubes.

    I think we need to ask ourselves: why do real life aircrafts, tanks and ships don't carry oversized guns, 50 nose cannons, 100 launchers and such? What reasons, aside from costs?

    One of the things that really damage the game is the 3rd person view mode. It allows one to place tons of armor and guns on a ship's nose and still be able to have an excellent view. In real life you have to either have a vulnerable cockpit (planes), or a limited view (drones, tanks).

    Another stupid thing is 3X and 10X inventory size. It completely screws up ammo capacity. Non-reloadable launchers with 10X ammo -- WTF?! It allows putting lots of ammo and lots of spare parts into self-repairing vehicles.

    In real life there is very little reason in placing 50 cannons on a jet fighter or a tank, because of ammo consumption, structural load, fire accuracy, aerodynamics, etc. There's also no reason in shooting 20 shells at an enemy tank when 1 good hit is enough.
     
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  20. Dr. Novikov

    Dr. Novikov Apprentice Engineer

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    263
    Take the same deathcube, add armor and more guns. Like in Robocraft, a gunbed always wins. Always. Noone cares about using less components, because components come cheap, and with the 10X inventory size and stupidly multiplied mining, refining and assembling there is really no reason to be more economical when all you want is to blow shit up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  21. Cronos988

    Cronos988 Junior Engineer

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    545
    There is some truth to that. There are other reasons: You need space for a crew, you need space for propulsion, you need bouyancy. There is issues of heat and interference (at least with guns). Viewports are really one of the smaller considerations, but I too think that there should be an option to disable 3rd person, it would make design more interesting.

    However, I think that realistically, the "deathcube" is not going away. It will always be about putting the highest amount of useful components into the smallest surface area, and a cube or a sphere happens to be optiomal for that. Self repair also encourages "cubes". Changing the balance of offense and defense, e.g. with guided weapons and more balanced countermeasures would change the design rules, but in space there is still no reason to not build a cube or a sphere. The one thing that might see more specific hull shapes emerge is armor schemes, but with 2,5m blocks that's going to be hard.
     
  22. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    How about something a little different? You've got X number of each components. Go build a warship.

    Then we make them fight.

    I've actually never made a death cube that was symmetric, all of my designs use the focused forward firepower philosophy.

    I have lots of techniques for messing up turret based warships, but the ships with fixed weapons are a severe pain to beat other than simply outfirepowering them.
     
  23. Dax23333

    Dax23333 Junior Engineer

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    657
    Aircraft especially are limited by weight. They have to be light, and ammo is heavy. Tanks have a huge cannon on top for destroying armored targets, and I don't think you could fit lots of those on top anyway. Ships however, not so much. Warships have a lot of space in them, and have a lot of bouyancy so lots of ammo can be carried. Sailing warships in paticular were designed to have as many cannons as possible in order to deliver devestating broadsides. Because they were so big many heavy cannons and cannonballs could be carried. Pretty much a multi deck cannon wall.

    So even from realism, I don't think we could remove deathcubes entierly. They would still be viable, the best we could do is make them really slow.

    How about making ammo crates much more massive?
     
  24. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    Because real life engineering has nothing to do with design in space engineers?
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  25. tankmayvin

    tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,864
    Modern ammo is voluminous more than it is heavy.
     
  26. mhalpern

    mhalpern Senior Engineer

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    2,119
    not what I meant by "decoy force" by decoy force I mean ships that LOOK like warships but have less ammo, thrust, armor and weapons to the point where they could be built cheaply and destroyed easily, for the sake of giving your enemy a target- so that the REAL warships can get by unimpeded and you get a good idea of your enemy's forces- bonus if you make them look so similar that experianced commanders wouldn't know if they are looking at the decoys or the real deal until they engage, just like the allies used inflatable decoy paratroopers in WWII to confuse enemy gunmen. or you could use a small section of your normal fleet as a distraction let them get destroyed to provide an opening for the rest.
     
  27. Einharjar

    Einharjar Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    529
    You're spot on on the indecisiveness of the combat so far. Most of that is due to net code. The other is the fact, as I mentioned before; shooting down some one in a dog fight typically involved grinding your way through each block until you hit one of two things, a Cockpit, or the main Reactor cluster.
    Other wise shooting at targets feels a lot like asteroid mining, you're just grinding away until your hit a gooey center at some point and it's really anti-climactic.

    I see the cargo-container ones used at times. They're more complicated but as you've stated, the better you get architecturally, the better DCs get too. Some of these guys are super dedicated and use the Cargo Containers for the advantages I implied, extra ammo and extra reduncy. Management is not that much of a problem. One script and you're good to go from what I understand.

    And you're incorrect with the Combat Aircraft G Limiter. There's actual device (typically in the front wheel well) called the G-Limiter. It will prevent over-loading the air frame by applying a torque motor to your control stick that prevents you from going to far. Now, pilots can overturn this, but it's effective at stopping most over-G mishaps, resisting the pilots exagerated inputs as well as reminding him/her that they shouldn't be pushing it much farther. Pilots understand that and are disciplined to fight combat in such a way that it's within the limits.
    The G-Limiter CAN be over ridden; or in the case of the Isrealis, they just remove the damned thing all together (which resulted in an F-16 taking such a high G turn once to avoid a misfired SAM that it bent the Air Frame in Half. He still made it home though!)In newer craft, the FCC sets limits to the ranges your ailerons, elevators and rudder(s) can go to limit the amount of maneuvering you can perform by using that counter torque motor on your control stick; depending on the wing loading and payload limits calculated by the computer.

    The weight of ammunition is rather substantial actually; so much so that the cases from the M61 Vulcans are actually saved within the air frame and not ejected to insure center of balance is not compromised. This was so important that they made a linkless version in the form of the M61A1 to reduce the FOD hazard, but to still retain the cases within the air frame to promote balance.
    And each 20mm102 shell is 100grams. That's pretty heavy when you're looking at a drum full; not counting the M61 itself which I think is around 400+ lbs.
    Further more, single Sparrow is 125kg. It doesn't take much to hit 1000kg with 8 AIM-120s and that weight of course goes through the roof when considering inertia under high G loading.

    Of course we are speaking of entirely different fighter designs. One, in SE, can afford heavy robust and rigid armor while aircraft in modern day are built very light with practically no armor at all for speed and fuel efficiency purposes. Real life is more... realistic... of course.
     
  28. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin

    Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

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    2,597
    This. I want to see this. Starting with deatchcube vs non-deathcube, but this.
     
  29. Napoleocool

    Napoleocool Trainee Engineer

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    20
    I think we should have more weapons, some battlecannons. Similiar to OKI. I also think that we should have a button for manual control of all the turrets, like in dreadnought.
     
  30. Dr. Novikov

    Dr. Novikov Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    263
    It actually has a lot to do with SE. The basic principles are the same. People who play SE are people in real life as well.
     
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