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Fighting in Space

Started by Blunt Force Trauma, December 22, 2009, 05:14:25 PM

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Blunt Force Trauma

Moderately in-depth article about the physics of zero-g space fighting.


iron maiden

The History channel show, The Universe, which is a favorite of mine, did a whole show about that kind of stuff. You and other BZ fans should watch it sometime.
So we only get one chance can we take it
And we only get one life can't exchange it
Can we hold on to what we have don't replace it
The age of innocence is fading..... Like an old dream


Interesting. I actually knew a lot of the stuff I read in that, how boring space combat is.

90% of combat is just orbital maneuvers and fuel cost management. Ships would be captained by mathematicians, Newtonian physicists, and statisticians to figure all the complex movements of the ship and the tactile advantage.

In one mod I am working on I use some of what was described in that article, but in other parts I rely on the science fiction field generated by biometal that makes Star Trek like maneuvers possible (the field in ST is why they act like boats). I currently have large ships governed by the laws of orbital momentum and such while using the science fiction elements to control the fighters and handle complex operations like deceleration pulses (if in a very fast elliptical orbit with fighters out I have written that pulses in the ship's field will decelerate it and all fighters around, though the fighters on a delay).

I think too much.

BTW, in space they often would meet like boats. The cause of this is the 'solar plane' that most ships would purposely travel in if heading to any planet or moon destination.

Click on the image...

Blunt Force Trauma

Far and away. . .I mean way past Tie Fighter, Freelancer, Freespace, etc. ...for accuracy...was Independence War 1998.

The hardest sim I've ever had to play.  Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos was even better....but LIKE BZ, it never snagged the public's attention in a big way.  Too damn bad, it was very cool and fairly accurate space sim.

Check out the game intro, it's really pretty good:

Part 1
Part 2


meh. fantasy is far more fun that reality

BZII Expansion Pack Development Leader. Coming Soon.

Blunt Force Trauma

Yes, hard core, ultra realistic space maneuvering is hard. . .real hard.

If anyone wants a challenge try this simulator.  It's very humbling if you thought you could maneuver in space with little effort.



I think it was one of Heinlein's books that had newtonian physics ships where the pilots rode in suspended animation to handle the immense G forces pulled by accelerating/decelerating.  I remember one encounter where the 'Space Police' were watching some billionaire's ship as it pulled away from them, and when the ship rotated into a new heading they calculated the intercept course and jumped into their suspended animation pods...

The didn't know the rich guy had engines at BOTH ENDS of his ship, so he could look like he was rotating to a heading and then go exactly the opposite direction...  Boy were they suprised when they woke up 'by the numbers' expecting to be closing in on his ship...   :)

I thought that a good, old-fashioned newtonian trick...


Who is, himself, a good old-fashioned newtonian trick...  :)


I was playing a beta 2D space game and it was a real pain. It had an all stop button that was nice, but getting into orbit was impossible. You would get it right, have the on screen prompts, see the orbit line, get it green being the correct velocity was attained, and then just slowly drift off...

Click on the image...


Has anyone read the Lost Fleet series?  The books take a hybrid science/science fiction approach to deep space battles. The author depicts these battles to be like naval engagements but only last a fraction of a second as the ships flash past each other at a fraction of light speed. Though they employ mysterious inertia dampeners, the books include hard facts like the speed of light (if a ship suddenly appeared near Pluto, we would not see it for 4 hours or so), time dilation, ship formations, kinetic weapons (no need for mag cannons when you can drop a ton of metal on a planet traveling at 1/10 the speed of light), etc.


Blunt Force Trauma

Oh yea, Campbell is definitely a technician.  He has thought long and hard on space warfare.  To me the stories are just ok, but his books are a must read if you want good, honest approach to a space battle.  Larry Niven also writes good space "dogfight".  His universe has FTL but it's use is limited to a dozen or so AU out from any high mass object like a star, black hole, etc. so he doesn't use space fighting a whole lot.  His book 'Ringworld's Children' has an extended non-FTL fight. . .surprisingly similar to Campbells.

Oh yea. . . When I mention Niven or Ringworld, I also like to mention Bungie ripped
off Niven severely.  This pic look "familiar"?

Joe Haldeman's 'The Forever War' has some limited fights, but he envisions  fights never getting close because of the massive energy being transferred with beam/laser weapons.


best space-based game ever: Moonshot

BZII Expansion Pack Development Leader. Coming Soon.


Engaging in battle when the combatants are moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light would be problematic at best. I recall reading a novel (Antares Rising? something like that) in whcih humanity was fighting a race called the Riall (I think) and they engaged in battles similar to the way eddy describes the fighting in Lost Fleet, racing towards each other at tremendous velocity and firing their weapons as they come.