Preference for StarShip Battles portrayed at Accurate Distances or Up Close like in the Age of Sail?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by KamenRiderBlade, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    For me, part of what irks some battles in Star Trek is that given the nature of distances of space combat, sometimes it's protrayed accurately, other times it's not for the sake of "Rule of Cool"

    If we were to be realistic, most of these space battles would be over HUGE distances based on what their weapons are capable of along with sensors are capable of. If the sensors get damaged and they are forced to get closer to be able to hit accurately, then that is the case of the current situation.

    But a lot of times ships are bunched up like the "Age of Sail" and just shooting each other WVR (Within Visual Range) and not using Range to their advantage.

    They don't use Warp Skips / Hops to reposition themselves for long range bombardment very often.

    Look at B5 in the "Battle of Gorash VII"


    The distances were accurately portrayed as BVR (Beyond Visual Range) and they were volleying at each other.

    The Narn had to readjust their main beam weapons and converge multiple arcs together in real time just to chop off a tendril off a Shadow Battle Crab at a distance. That's the kind of attention to detail in a BVR fight I expect to see.

    Regardless of the match up and what you think of the CGI back then, the distances were correct in that they were shooting into the distant scenary and depended on sensors to get accurate shots.

    What are your preferences for portrayal of space battles?

    Mines would be over VERY long distances done as accurately as possible.

    Use Jump Cuts if necessary and use large strategic views to give the audience a sense of what is going on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  2. drt

    drt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My preference would also be long range battles, particularly since the dialogue usually specifies distances of thousands of kilometers between the combatants.

    It’s funny how TOS tended to depict long distance combat primarily because they didn’t really have the ability to easily do the Age of Sail battles we see from TWOK onwards.
     
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  3. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    Conventional wisdom dictates that dramatically, it's cooler to see a ship shooting at the ship being shot at; it's been that way since the first WWII battleship movies. However, a similar logic dictates that it's cooler NOT seeing what's shooting at the ship being shot at, and letting the acting of the characters fill in the blanks; it's been that way since the first WWII submarine movies. If you want big explosions, go close. If you want dramatic tension, go far.

    In Trek, given that we most often see starships fighting in the middle of nowhere (which itself is a failure of logic worthy of its own thread), seeing something else in proximity to the principal ship tends to be more visually exciting, though less realistic. I tend to ascribe this logic to the suspension of disbelief that lets me enjoy starships and phasers and aliens in the first place, and enjoy close-range battles more because they look cooler.

    Trek has done both, though. And recent shows have done BVR AND close range just fine and incredibly believably - the battles in "The Expanse" are great examples of both. Remember the Donnager.

    Mark
     
  4. Henoch

    Henoch Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Or not. They knew battles of even a few miles would be too far to see both in the same screen. Close in shooting and hitting target could have been shown in only a few TOS episodes. One, shooting the rubic cube in The Corbomite Maneuver, and two, shooting the atomic device in Balance of Terror. They did show both shooting and target in the Doomsday Machine. My mistake, no they didn't.
     
  5. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    There are only a few situations where WVR (WithIn Visual Range) battles make sense:

    1) Warp Chase sequence where you need to have each others Warp Fields very close to each other so that you can fire while at warp like the chase sequence for the USS Prometheus

    2) When you're cloaked and can't use your long range sensors because that would give away your bloody position

    3) When your long & medium range sensors are damaged and you must get the vessel to be WVR of the target to make a reasonable shot

    Given long range Torpedoes that can cross Light years, I wouldn't be surprised if future torpedoes can be fired many ly and be completely out of sensor range.
     
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  6. Henoch

    Henoch Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Huh? Where?
     
  7. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    I'm talking future development of Torpedo technology. Given what VOY has seen in WarHead and the Cardassian Dreadnought that was reprogrammed.

    I'm sure future Torpedoes will be improved and minitiaturized to have similar if not more impressive capabilities.

    The WarHead torpedo had very IMPRESSIVE range & superior damage capabilities while being smaller than a standard Federation Photon Torpedo.

    Something I know StarFleet Ordinance boys will have scanned, gotten ideas, and improved in the many years down the line.
     
  8. Henoch

    Henoch Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Yes, I just saw that episode in the last week on BBC America. Slipped my mind. Thanks.
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The TOS (original FX) contained both visual range and BVR combat mixed in with FTL and Sublight speeds and despite the lack of budget I like how they represented what their type of combat would be.

    TWOK does an excellent setup which gave an excuse for devolving into a close-range knife fight. The crippling of both ships further set the tone to keep them fighting at close range.

    Personally, I think all the future FX done in later Trek series miss the point about why TWOK had to fight that close and that slowly and did a poor job of putting two ships on screen at the same time to see them fight. The only good close-range battles of note that seem to have any kind of excitement were the DS9 Defiant battles, IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    4) When your weapons gain massively in penetrating power as the range is shortened. This might be true of all projected energy weapons ITRW, and/or might be a factor in us never developing projected energy weapons in the first place. Trek phasers could well be utterly impotent BVR, though (consider the objection of Stiles and Sulu to the long range firing in "Balance of Terror", and the meager results achieved), and any smart captain would attempt to close the distance.

    5) When your weapons gain massively in accuracy as the range is shortened. Timelag issues would make beam weapons and other non-terminally-guided systems work much better point blank than they do at the distance of half a lightsecond.

    Well, we know that automated projectiles can be fired from lightyears and years away: the Cardassian Dreadnought was an extreme example. But smaller projectiles can do interstellar, too: one carried a human-sized warhead at warp 9+ in "The Emissary". If an office-basketball-sized warhead can rip open the Klingon Ship of the Dead like a tin can, imagine what a load of antimatter the size if not necessarily the shape of Ambassador K'Ehleyr would do!

    Torpedoes are likely to have terminal guidance, too. Or at least some sort of guidance, or they would hit nothing even at distances of a few hundred meters, considering their speed and that of their targets. So why are they so seldom fired at very long ranges? Why doesn't the attacker always soften the target with a thousand torps launched from a distance that counts as standoff for the main/beam weapons, and only then close the range?

    This I guess is the aspect of Trek fighting I'm missing, or having a problem with. Point blank melees with beam weapons make sense: it's simply what the rules of this fictional reality dictate (even if said rules are left as an exercise to the audience). But we know torps are no good in close quarters fighting, by explicit fictional rules. Yet torps look cool and aren't all that difficult to do in VFX terms. Perhaps DSC is doing them a bit more than the preceding shows, mooting the point. But DS9 could have done it, too, and didn't (for probable reasons of cost and complexity), leaving us in this in-universe rut where a major war is fought without torpedo volleys, no two ways around it.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    Torpedo Volley's are not good ways to open up fights because they are a physical weapon, ergo even if you can replicate the Torpedo Casings and refill the warheads, that takes time. So you always have a limited supply of them in any given fight.

    It's not something that can just be replicated into place mid battle like Ablative Hull Armor on Voyager.

    Imagine some poor sap trying to replicate a photon torpedo with all the shaking about and he drops the Anti-Matter war head or mixes up the Anti-Matter + Matter contents and blows up the ship from inside.

    There are probably ALOT of procedures / protocols / safety regulations when it comes to Photon Torpedo manufacturing.

    A basic one like not making it mid battle or in a environment or Ship Status where shaking can happen.

    Torpedoes and their large blast area are probably better used as a finishing weapon then a opening one.

    Energy weapons are the most energy efficient way of whittling down an opponent before ripping apart the hull of the enemy with Torpedoes.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But since they are no good in close quarters fighting, why worry? Fire everything, like Romulan experts recommend, and then fly in and start fighting with phasers. If you don't fire a volley first, you are just carrying dead weight and ought to have left your torpedo launchers ashore when embarking on this campaign.

    ...But at that stage, why bother?

    Indeed, do we ever see a final kill shot being delivered by a torpedo? Demolition shots not preceded by any other weapons fire, against shieldless "opponents" - check. Volleys of torps not preceded by any other weapons fire, against shielded enemies - check. But a final torpedo or two after a phaser fight? I don't recall one.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commander Red Shirt

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    Its usually the medium, in TV, its cooler to see both ships fighting each other up close, In books, especially the Honor Harrington series, if you get in to visual range, its usually your floating corpse. I mean, some of the battles take place millions of miles away, across half a solar system! Its mostly a missle battle, if it gets to a range of lazers, something went wrong!
    You can explain in a book of whats going on, or maybe like Battlestar Galactica, theres no view screens, so sometimes you can show a BVR battle.
    I mean, if you can see a ship on the viewer in Star Trek, its usually within Miles!
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Uh, no, Miles is within the ship. Even in "One Little Ship".

    Basically, if you fight a long range battle in a space adventure, you just launch some self-guided weapons that fly to the enemy and then fight a short range battle with him. And Starfleet likes to put crew onboard those weapons, perhaps to make them fight more effectively. After all, mere exploding warheads are not very effective weapons in Trek, and they expend themselves with their first shot anyway; weapons that fight with weapons (usually beam ones) till the bitter end fare better.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Commodore Commodore

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    Photon Torpedoes in Trek are ridiculously simple compared to weapon technology that already exists.

    In the future, if you wanted to lay an ambush, a cloaked ship should be able to lay down a spread of 'inert' photon torpedoes along with one remote sensor array and leave the area. The sensor would be networked to the torpedo field, which in turn would employ a bee-hive style AI algorithm which would turn the weapons 'smart' and allow them to choose which targets to engage, when, how, and operate in a cooperative manner to defeat countermeasures, conduct immediate post-attack BDA, and determine the need for a re-strike or to preserve the remainder of the field for future targets. You know, little stuff like that. :)
     
  16. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, lets take the DominionWar. Battle for Cardasia.
    You see the Feddy Fleet going in, having to get in close to the ships and orbital defense platforms
    Now, realistically, Here's how it would go, taking a page from Honor Harrington ( great book series btw..)
    Over the Horizon missles, like the Phoenix, can be fired from 100 miles away. That is how it would go.

    The fleet warps in to the edge of the system, maybe even the Oort Cloud out!
    Your launch say... 1000 torpedos (big fleet) the torpedoes acclerate to near lightspeed, then coast in. Depending on the distance, take a few hours to get there. aoubt 15 seconds before they hit, they come alive, and acclerate to target, ether updated by the ship, or if jammed, there own guidance. Boom. then you warp in and clean up!
     
  17. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    In the "Crest of the Stars" Light Novel / Manga / Anime series, they had tricky quad Missiles that played possum when lying amongst wreckage and when it detected a enemy vessel (non-Friendly Ship ID), it fired off at the target by splitting into a multi-cluster attack and critically ended many Protagonist vessels.

    It took the protagonists quite a while to figure out that trick where the torpedoes played dead amongst wreckage.
     
  18. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I agree that phaser damage and penetration increase with the decrease of range. "Balance of Terror", "Errand of Mercy" and "The Doomsday Machine" would suggest that the go-to tactic for a starship captain is to lay down a stream of phaser fire at long range. Only when failing to penetrate or damage the target like in "The Doomsday Machine" would warrant closing in to point-blank to maximize phaser ability. If you watch "Balance of Terror", it was Sulu doubting that they would be able to hit the cloaked ship with only a [motion] sensor lock. Stiles was all for shooting at it.

    Yeah, that's what bugs me too. There were plenty of instances where a bazillion torpedoes being exchanged between two opposing fleets would have been just cool even if were only shown as a computer tactical display.

    I don't recall seeing a kill shot from a torpedo in a ship vs ship battle.

    IIRC in "Tears of the Prophets" we see a mixed phaser/torpedo exchange where occasionally a torpedo is the kill shot after random phaser or disrupter hits against the satellites. Ditto with "Way of the Warrior" where the DS9 is defending against Klingon ships.

    Although not being a kill shot I remember in "Paradise Lost" where Defiant strafes the Lakota with phasers and firing an aft torpedo into the Lakota while breaking away. And ditto in "Arena" where the Enterprise fires her phasers first before switching to photon torpedoes.

    Wasn't that done with the cloaked, self-replicating mine field ("Favor the Bold") in Deep Space Nine and also regular cloaked Klingon mines with a subspace arming signal ("Sons of Mogh")? It's probably not from a lack of ability and more lack of writers taking advantage of those capabilities.
     
  19. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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    That's true of all energy beams projecting on a target, but the energy loss due to distance isn't nearly as bad as you think it is if it was coherent like a laser to begin with.

    We see Federation Vessels bombard planet surfaces with accuracy & intensity, so long distances isn't really much of an issue in terms of power generation and energy, even with atmospheric interference with energy beams, especially at the power levels of Phasers.
     
  20. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A selection, there are several others.