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-   -   High Guard Combat Software (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=11544)

rvatsaas September 28th, 2003 07:53 PM

HAs anyone ever succcessfully created a High Guard Combat computer program? I tried it about 15 years ago, but the task was beyond my limited grasp of FORTRAN and Pascal.

The combat steps are so complex and repetitive that I imagine it is difficult to keep players attention during a ship combat scenario.

Has any one used spreadsheets to keep track of High Guard Combat.

The version I tried to develop would also have had realistic vector movement, but I was never able to solve the adaptive gain problem (a ship trying to match courses with another would never converge)

Whipsnade September 28th, 2003 09:47 PM

Egapillar wrote:

"Has anyone ever succcessfully created a High Guard Combat computer program? I tried it about 15 years ago, but the task was beyond my limited grasp of FORTRAN and Pascal."


Sir,

I've never seen a complete HG2 combat program, just various spreasheets that handle certain aspects. Naturally, that doens't mean there isn't one out there.

"Has any one used spreadsheets to keep track of High Guard Combat."

That I have seen. There is an active Yahoo group dedicated to CT and HG2 ship designs; 'ct starships'. IIRC, you have to join to access the files section. In the group's files, there is a nifty .xls spreadsheet that requires minimal input from you; weapons' factors and types, agility, computers, etc. and handles all the die rolls including 'to hit', 'to pen', and damage.

"The version I tried to develop would also have had realistic vector movement, but I was never able to solve the adaptive gain problem (a ship trying to match courses with another would never converge)"

That is an entirely different kettle of fish. Another Yahoo group I belong to, 'sfconsim-1', deals with sci-fi game design and play. You'll find many better brains than I gathered there, of course the local drunk tank has many better brains than I too. You may find the message archives, members, and files there of great interest.


Sincerely,
Larsen

kaladorn September 28th, 2003 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Egapillar:
The version I tried to develop would also have had realistic vector movement, but I was never able to solve the adaptive gain problem (a ship trying to match courses with another would never converge)
General comments:
1. It is hard to do. The enemy will manouver to prevent this (even if it is just rotations) unless you disable her drives.
2. As you approach, your ship would recalc this every few milliseconds and adjust course accordingly. Games don't represent this well.

The way around #2 is to specify some distance and apart (within a map hex or a measuring unit) for the vessels along with some similarity rules for the vectors (such as within 15 degrees and within a few velocity increments of one another) and then apply the old "and then a miracle happens" handwave and declare them docked and using the same (or perhaps an averaged) vector.

rvatsaas September 28th, 2003 11:31 PM

Regarding Vector movement.

Yes, its very hard to do. I successfully design a simulation of an anti-torpedo intercepting a incoming torpedo (that's the kind of work I was doing at the time), but just matching courses with a "derelict" I found impossible, I could work it out on paper, but in a simulation, I continually over shot the target.

Thanks all for the hints. I will check those links out.

kaladorn September 29th, 2003 01:40 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Egapillar:
incoming torpedo (that's the kind of work I was doing at the time), but just matching courses with a "derelict" I found impossible, I could work it out on paper, but in a simulation, I continually over shot the target.
I'm guessing you were doing this as a 'discrete' solution as opposed to a continous one? If you do it as a discrete solution, or even a numerical methods approach which is discrete plus computers, then you may well have this kind of problem. In order to match courses, you need to have something which will allow you to find both a coincident point on the three space (or two space if using flat space) grid at the same time you have velocity vectors in two or three space that are the same. THAT isn't the simplest bit of math ever done. And chances are, unless your time increment between adjustments is such that the enemy ship moves very little distance, you have a very tough situation.

For another fun mental excercise, try using most space board/minis games to enter a stable orbit around a world. <hint: ha! good luck!>

rvatsaas September 29th, 2003 03:06 PM

:( Matching Courses in space (mechancially speaking) is a case of high spring constant with zero damping.

When you think about it, Space combat engagements reduce down to only a few scenarios

1. Defend the planet/Gas Giant and force the retreat of the agressor

2. Escape the planet/Gas Giant and make for 100 diameters

3. Escape to planet surface (when chased by pirates)

4. ambush a fleet that is fueling

5. Deep space slugout

6. Did I miss any?

Actual vector movement doesn't really ad much to any of these, I suppose.

kaladorn September 29th, 2003 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Egapillar:

1. Defend the planet/Gas Giant and force the retreat of the agressor

2. Escape the planet/Gas Giant and make for 100 diameters

3. Escape to planet surface (when chased by pirates)

4. ambush a fleet that is fueling

5. Deep space slugout

6. Did I miss any?

Actual vector movement doesn't really ad much to any of these, I suppose.

I totally disagree with that - I hate cinematic space movement systems. Abstract systems are also less interesting and tactically challenging. But then, I'm a wargamer too.

You missed plenty of scenarios:
1) Bombard the planet
2) Invade the planet
3) Stop either of the above
4) Attack the High Port
5) Escape the High Port
6) Engage in a battle amidst a traffic pattern
7) Intercept a vessel in open space (it is going
from A to B and you are coming from C)
8) Fight in an asteroid belt or ring system
9) Fight near a star or other source of gravitation or radiation effects

There are lots of interesting space scenarios and I think almost any combat is spiced up by the kind of decisions you have to make when there are actually maps or minis involved. But, YMMV.

rvatsaas September 29th, 2003 10:15 PM

I am not familiar with the term "Cinematic movement" Does that refer to Stars wars like dogfights?

kaladorn September 30th, 2003 01:44 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Egapillar:
I am not familiar with the term "Cinematic movement" Does that refer to Stars wars like dogfights?
Yes, because it is just that - cinematic. In Star Wars, they have flips and overturns that make your ship corner tighter.... (this works in atmosphere due to said atmosphere... I have no idea why the game figures it'll work in vacuum, except the movie seemed to). At the very least, they are non-Newtonian and don't respect conservation of energy or momentum as far as anyone can tell.

TheEngineer September 30th, 2003 07:49 AM

Hi,

I have just finished a beta version of my MT spaceship combat software,
which includes vector movement. (Originally I just wanted to have something
to do all the to hit/to pen dice rolling...)
Now I mostly use it to "test" MT combat vessel designs, so I just call it
"Starship Testdrive".

Regarding the vector movement I mainly had problems to implement "live" into
the movement. If you let computer movement be perfect you just get alternating
and swinging movement effects (as Egapillar stated "with a high spring constant").
So I use more or less frequent pilot or sensoring flaws in order to let it
look more "real".

Matching vectors works quite well, when one ship "hunts" another at higher
velocities. (Now I use two basic "modes" of a ship: "attack" and "breakout")
As soon as the fleeing ship is slow enough to reach higher turn rates matching
vectors is quite difficult.
Al least matching vectors is always difficult/impossible when both ships have
nearly identical g ratings (torpedo/anti-torpedo problem).

Mostly I tend to neglect vector movement for space combat purposes. I have
tried to figure out some roleplaying pen/dice/paper mechanics for "typical"
situations (similar to those presented in the last posts), which take concern
of typical effects when using vector movement.
For game purpose I differ mainly between two basic situations:

- Interception/Hunting
Ships with lower g rating try to intercept targets with higher g rating
in order to be able to apply some hits before target moves away
Ships with high g rating try to intercept targets with lower g rating
before target reaches safe areas

- Combat
Both ships want to attack each other, regardsless of g-rating

In both cases I use g-rating, agility, actual movement speed, distance
and of course skills as modifiers for a combat movement task, which effects
the distance again.
For this methods its also quite easy to figure out an appropriate excel
spreadsheet.

If there is anyone interested I will use the next programmming turns to
convert "MT Starship Testdrive" to a "HG Starship Testdrive".
Perhaps somebody is willing to help, too ?
I could provide a bunch of VB source code.


Best regards,


Mert


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