“Guns. Lots of Guns”
One of the first discussions we had after deciding on our first milestone (playable dogfight) was regarding the weapon systems we will have in our game. After all, having a dogfight without the ability to destroy the opponent ship will end as a pretty dull dogfight. As we already agreed that we would have space fighters, we understood that the first weapon system we will need to design would be suitable to be used by small ships and for close range.
Range in space?
Close range? Some of you might question the above statement, as the range for weapons in space can prove to be a bit tricky. After all, if I’m firing a projectile in space, it will keep flying until it hits something. Unlike firing on the surface, there is no gravity or air friction to slow down my projectile.
Diffrenet weapons for each range
If our weapons don’t have range limitations, the weapon’s actual limit is how well it is performing in different engagement ranges. For example, a hail of bullets might be extremely dangerous in very close ranges but very easy to avoid in long ranges, due to the projectile’s extremely small size and speed. This means we need to think about weapon systems that would be effective in different engagement ranges.
The three circles
We decided to divide the engagement ranges into three circles - close, intermediate, and long. The idea behind these circles is to define types of engagements, which will be different from each other and will employ diverse combat styles. Each weapon system in the game will belong to one of these engagement circles, where the exact range could be affected by the specific weapon system, ship’s sensors, firing computer, and more. Although many weapon systems can be used outside their designated engagement circle, their effectiveness can be affected drastically.
This engagement range will include any weapon systems designed to fight within close proximity to the vessel. They are usually not very accurate and relying more on the rate of fire and projectile’s velocity. CIWS is an excellent example of a weapon system that belongs to the close engagement range circle.
The intermediate engagement circle is a middle ground range for weapon systems that will be less effective in the other ranges. The rail gun is a weapon system that naturally reside in this engagement ranges. You can shoot at very close or very far targets, but it is safe to assume that on very long ranges it will be relativity easy to dodge the projectile and in close ranges the slow rate of fire and charge time will allow most of the targets to outmaneuver the system or its targeting capabilities.
Weapon systems that can destroy their targets from extremely long ranges will belong to this engagement circle. These weapon systems are self-propelled and can maneuver themselves into thier targets while relying on advanced sensors and guidance. For example, long-range torpedos are among the first weapon systems that come to mind when thinking about the long range engagement.
Now that we have a basic understanding of our different engagement ranges, we could sit and think about which weapon system we will design first for our close range combat.