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Old October 29 2012, 11:59 AM   #75
Re: Power of the Federation

Completely regardless of the accuracy of targeting, some key reasons for choosing a specific fighting range would remain the same.

If a single hit hurts, you should keep your distance, because even if a hit is 100% guaranteed in terms of accuracy, distance may allow you to lessen its effect in various ways. Say, the incoming fire may lose strength over distance: rayguns might suffer from the inverse square law, missiles might run out of fuel, and even if the fire following you is persistent, you may stretch out the impacts timewise, Doppler style, by flying away from the fire.

If a single hit is of no consequence, and recovering from multiple hits is just a matter of time and perhaps labor, then there's no point in keeping your distance. The closer you get, the easier it is for you to maximize the amount and effectiveness of your fire on the opponent and create momentary "overload" situations on him. If you dodge and swerve at a distance, you might avoid some low percentage of hits, with the balance of the battle never swinging enough in your advantage. If you go close, Doppler might again be your friend: you could accelerate towards your foe constantly firing and create a time-on-target effect on the enemy wherein your effective firepower is dozens of times the total output of all of your guns. Enemy counterfire would not be correspondingly intensified. (Except in the case of weapons whose traveling speed doesn't depend on your own speed, for which phasers may or may not qualify; say, with lasers, you wouldn't get any Doppler advantage from accelerating towards your foe.)

At some very low distance, your ability to swing your guns would become a limiting factor, as angular velocities would increase. On the other hand, at point blank, the angular size of the foe would also increase, so you might start hitting him with your "side weapons" in addition to your "bow guns".

You might also be worried about the blast radius of your projectiles, or of the hits you score. This seems to affect Trek photon torpedo fighting somewhat.

Finally, there is the boarding range to consider - another factor from ancient warfare that Trek sorta reintroduces with transporter.

Overall, Trek fighting has every right to bear very little resemblance to today's naval or aerial fighting, and would indeed look odd if resembling either of those.

Timo Saloniemi
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