Why Aristons look like chisels, and other anecdotes

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Why Aristons look like chisels, and other anecdotes

Postby Miramor » Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:44 pm

So I was leaving Bernard's Star for the second time after delivering Jenek's cargo, and when I got the jump point a lone Ariston appeared and started blasting me. I had had some bad experiences with less heavily armed Aeran ships, but luckily I had a full load of heatseekers, which I proceeded to unload at the offending ship. After several salvos the HUD display was red, at which point it turned towards me, apparently intent on making a final firing run.

"Hah," I thought, looking at how low its shields were, "this should be easy."

Then I noticed that it wasn't firing at me, and was moving way too fast for the usual games of chicken.

I did not manage to get out of the way in time.

(I had another Ariston try this on me again the third time, after it somehow followed me through the jump to Stirling. Are Aeran ships really supposed to kamikaze when badly damaged?)
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Postby Halleck » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:59 pm

This sounds like a bug... but it seems to me that it matches the warrior mentality of the aera. If you can't win, at least bring the enemy down with you. :wink:
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Postby wanderer » Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:03 am

lol. it's usually the pirates that try this trick on me. mostly becue they manuver so close and we end up getting tangled up and smashing into oneanother. but I must admit if I had an aeran do that to me I would have to search for him in the neitherworld (or what ever the name of the place the aera call it when they kill someone) and shake his hand for his bravery and impressive resolve.
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Postby Miramor » Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:20 am

Halleck wrote:This sounds like a bug... but it seems to me that it matches the warrior mentality of the aera. If you can't win, at least bring the enemy down with you. :wink:


Actually, I figured it would fit better with the terrorist tactics of the Luddites. Not sure about the Aera, they do have a focus on species survival, but then they're not exactly a race of gung-ho samurai wannabees like the Kilrathi.
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Postby wanderer » Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:36 am

I don't know about the luddites as by definition luddites fight to destroy technology which they believe will threaten their livelyhood, like a worker in a car factory protesting against the manegment introducing new automated robots. then again neo-luddites (which is what the luddies in vegastrike appear to be) are against all forms of technology and usually resort to terror strikes that destroy production means or eliminate people responsible for producing the technology. they're not exsactly the type to commit suicide to reach their goals.
the ISO however being an extension of neo marxist communist political beliefs would use such tactics. in fact during WW2 - korean war russian airforce pilots used taran(sp) tactics which involved prodding flight control surfaces with the aircraft's prop, tipping the wing of the enemy with their wing thus causing the enemy to lose control or direct ramming of the enemy plane.

also the aera with their belief that the life of teh individual is less important than the life of the many (judging by what i read about the pilot contraband in the wiki) so would most likely use such tactics
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Postby jackS » Sat Jul 14, 2007 12:50 pm

With respect to the Luddites, it's important to remember that they don't call themselves Luddites - it's not a neutral POV term for them, but a derogatory term. As the (admittedly terse and stubby) faction entry in the wiki notes, the members of the "Interstellar Church of True Form's Return" are not directly antagonistic to technology, but are rather antagonistic to the changes that human existence goes through because of technology. They began, and in many ways still are, merely an extremist branch of the widespread "Purist" faction, who are seeking to retain some continuity in the nature of human existence in an era where other groups of humans have rewritten their entire genome, practice full body mechanical replacement, or live in a constantly linked fashion with access to shared societal memory. Both Purists and Luddites find this blurring of the definition of "human" very scary, but they differ in what they find themselves compelled to do by their fears.
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Postby Miramor » Sun Jul 15, 2007 6:45 pm

More behavior along those lines...

I had a Dgn Dodo following me from deep in Rlaan space all the way to the War system, This thing used some rather interesting tactics: it would approach me head on, and train the frontal tractor beams on me when it got to 4000 meters or so, apparently trying to smash me into its hull.

Fortunately, entrapment by the heavy tractor beams could be remedied with some Shelton sliding and a second of afterburner. Unfortunately, that left me zooming past it at 2200+ kph, which got the Dodo out of reach of my heavy ion beams too fast, and it seemed awfully good at evading my HS missiles...

(I ended up defeating the Dgn by failing to get out of the tractor beams in time. I had had the good luck to find this whacky hull upgrade during my time in Rlaan space, which made my hull good for 20000 MJ or so. The Dodo hit me dead on and exploded.)
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Postby Turgid Bolk » Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:34 pm

well, I just had a bit of luck with destroying a Derivative, possibly due to this bug. I only had my llama, upgraded with plenty of shields/hull, and engines/afterburner, but my weapons were still somewhat lacking as apparently you can't do much with weapons on a llama.

anyway i only had dumbfire missles, but as i approach the Derivative he's flying directly toward me, still about 20,000 meters out. i aim carefully, and let a missle fly. he doesn't budge his aim, and sure enough about 5 seconds later the missle connects and he's space dust. :shock: what? it actually hit him? well, that was easy. flawless victory! 8) dumbfire FTW!
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Postby loki1950 » Thu Aug 09, 2007 4:50 pm

They pack a punch more explosives less electronics :lol:

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Postby Drakna » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:03 pm

i dont know the rlaan fighters seem fairly fond of bouncing off my shields when ever i find them in swarm numbers
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Postby Miramor » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:31 pm

They probably have less mass (and therefore less inertia) than similarly sized ships... The hulls are molded from (very tough) proteins made by construction microbes, right?

(That would explain the Rlaan micro-shielding hull upgrade. Some proteins can be pretty strong - see for instance the stuff that coats pollen grains - but they're pretty much bound to suck compared to fullerene-reinforced titanium, so the Rlaan would need a good way to make their hulls stronger. Come to think of it, that would explain a lot about the Rlaan - why their ships are so expensive, for instance, and why they're on roughly equal footing with the Aera in spite of having vastly more resources. Relying almost exclusively on biotech would keep their materials sciences way behind what the other races have, so ships would have to use in-hull shielding, jacking the prices up... It would even explain the relatively small size of their capships - above a certain size range, the extra power needed for in-hull shielding would get prohibitive.)
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Postby Drakna » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:03 pm

not nesecarily, see vorlon and shadow vessels from B5, Biotech would probably have harder time making effective shields BUT it could be vastly superior in computational stuff and armor since the hull could be made adaptive the first strike could be the only one you eve get to make
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Postby Miramor » Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:55 pm

Not in VS, and not with Rlaan technology. Remember, their ships are for the most part dead - the nav computer is probably the only thing that could be considered "alive". I'm guessing that Rlaan "computers" are not significantly more powerful than human or Aera ones, because the Rlaan having strong AIs (or even expert systems much better than what the other races had) would swing the balance of conflicts crazily in their favor.

(Also, I'm doing some guesswork here, but I'm betting the nano-plague was designed in part to target any nanoscale technology that could be used to create strong AIs, including biological systems.)

Re adaptive hulls, they're too soft-SF-ish even for Vega Strike, because the outside of a starship is an environment very hostile to molecular machinery of all kinds - organic, inorganic, whatever. Moving parts on that scale get shredded by radiation, and even if VS shields could protect against that, weapons fire would wipe it out - a maser beam would easily toast any nanomachinery it hit.

There's not any reason a living starship couldn't be... uh... grown, but it wouldn't be like the B5 ones. It would probably be more like a shelled mollusk, with the usual soft and squishy innards surrounded by a very dense, very strong shell; the "propulsion tract" and other parts that could get exposed to a lot of heat and radiation would also have to have dead-matter walls.

(For more info on why living starships are not very practical, and living hulls in particular are a bad idea, see here, under the "organic technology" heading.)

I will say there's an exception of a sort... A hull composed of femtomachinery could be "alive" in a sense, while also capable of withstanding forces that would break a Leonidas-class dreadnought like a toothpick. However, there's no certainty that femtotech is even *possible* in the universe we live in, so unlike nanotech, it's not rock-hard SF material. At any rate, the Ancients (and the civilization predating them) are the only ones in VS that could have had such technology.
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Postby Drakna » Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:17 pm

oh please you obviously havent found out about the stuff they found thriving on the reactor walls of chernobyl. contrary to the style of thinking in that page organic material is vastly more robust then you would think. hell ordinary single celled life has been found to live for at least 30 minutes on the lenses of telescopes sent into space. if non engineered bacteria can do that then what can one do with a full and proper understanding of genetic engineering
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Postby Miramor » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:46 pm

Drakna wrote:oh please you obviously havent found out about the stuff they found thriving on the reactor walls of chernobyl. contrary to the style of thinking in that page organic material is vastly more robust then you would think. hell ordinary single celled life has been found to live for at least 30 minutes on the lenses of telescopes sent into space. if non engineered bacteria can do that then what can one do with a full and proper understanding of genetic engineering


First of all, the radiation in an exploded reactor and in interstellar space are quite different. The stuff at Chernobyl is comparatively low energy. Out in interstellar and even interplanetary space, you get heavy nuclei with as much kinetic energy as a well-pitched baseball. The difference in terms of damage to cells is rather like the difference between a 9mm bullet and a rocket-propelled grenade.

(There was a Scientific American article on this a few years ago by Eugene Parker, which discussed this sort of thing. The upshot of it was basically that an interplanetary ship would have to be surrounded by about five meters of water to provide adequate protection for the crew; otherwise they'd get radiation poisoning, tumors, even brain damage from the heavier cosmic rays.)

Supposing organisms designed in the fashion of the Chernobyl microbes could survive in interstellar space - which is not too much a leap, if you designed them to breed very very fast and had very very good measures for preventing destructive mutations - you still run into the problem of weapons fire. The IR lasers in VS, for instance, can vaporize hull armor. For humans, the armor ranges from plasteel (malleable, fullerene reinforced; melting point probably higher than most modern steels) to isometal (probably an amorphous alloy, clearly able to withstand insane temperatures). Molecular machinery simply can't handle those temperatures, no matter how one "configures" it; proteins get refolded the wrong way, bonds break and reform, and things generally get screwed up.

That's not to say organic material couldn't be effective armor; for all I know the scrambling of big molecules and breakage and reformation of bonds could soak up huge amounts of heat. But the "adaptibility" advantage just isn't there; one hit and you have a patch of dead armor.
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Postby Drakna » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:52 pm

yeah but the shit underneath it has a chance to adapt and the rest of the ship that wasnt hit is really where the adaptation bit starts. and you can still do the mollusks thing and the chernobyl thing underneath the hard shell
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Postby Miramor » Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:12 am

Drakna wrote:yeah but the shit underneath it has a chance to adapt and the rest of the ship that wasnt hit is really where the adaptation bit starts.


Not really, given the aforementioned problems with using complex molecular machinery in armor. Also, such adaptation would be contingent on the baked armor being able to give some information on what hit it before expiring (possible but chancy), and on the rest of the armor being able to make some significant change to its composition very quickly (likely to be impossible).

In other words, even if adaptive biological armor could work, it wouldn't be useful in a dogfight; the usefulness would only appear over time, when dealing with (for example) waves of ships employing similar weapons.

and you can still do the mollusks thing and the chernobyl thing underneath the hard shell


Which would mean no "adaptive armor".
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Postby Drakna » Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:26 am

unless you do both the mollusk shell and the adaptive squishy underside. as the shell is being blasted away the stuff underneath it and any active scanners on board are analyzing the incoming fire. the main danger to this would be multiple types of weapons or the outer shell being damaged to fast not giving enough time for the living parts of the ship to adapt
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Postby JimiJons » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:07 pm

Adaptive armour... Is anyone else hearing "Borg"?
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Postby Miramor » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:47 pm

That's more like adaptive shielding. Not very good, either, as it's never been seen to work against kinetic weapons (knives, bullets, etc.).

Of course, it's generally better not to bring Trek into an SF discussion, seeing as Trek physics is never any more consistant than plot devices require.
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Postby jackS » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:19 am

to weigh in on some of the speculation here --

A) There's nothing "adaptive" (in the senses discussed) about organic components in VS starships
B) Damage absorption potential of purely organic protectives (polymers, proteins and such) across most forms of potential damage agents is inferior in many respects to other alternatives (such as metal-infused ceramics) although the protection-mass ratios may be beneficial. This is a fairly direct consequence of the energy required to break the carbon bonds of polymers or denature proteins (i.e. even high-temperature plastics will tend to melt or smolder before their metallic counterparts).
C) Rlaan materials science is actually quite advanced -- they just have different construction priorities than might be assumed. Hull construction is optimized for economical and speedy construction above innate strength. The most interesting materials are put into armor plating of the sort only appearing on their military vessels. However, even Rlaan hull construction employs assorted ceramics, silicates, and assorted other such materials, as the requirements of particular ship components are diverse. The Rlaan are also really big fans of epoxy-and-fiber-over-skeleton construction approaches, efficiently filling in the spaces between the more vital portions. Indeed, that the Rlaan can make as much of the craft out of the components that they do is testament to the advanced materials used in the rest of the construction effort that viably manage high thermal and high-stress locations.
D) As a bit of an aside, another key to thinking about Rlaan spaceship construction is that most Rlaan designs are fundamentally fairly old (although the particular equipment installed is subject to revamp and the designs do benefit from incremental improvements). That is to say, most most Rlaan designs are the Nth iteration of the same craft rather than the Kth new design for the same role. This leads to degree of over-optimization of the Rlaan industrial machine to whatever designs are currently in use.
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Postby Iain » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:55 pm

jackS wrote:to weigh in on some of the speculation here --

D) As a bit of an aside, another key to thinking about Rlaan spaceship construction is that most Rlaan designs are fundamentally fairly old (although the particular equipment installed is subject to revamp and the designs do benefit from incremental improvements). That is to say, most most Rlaan designs are the Nth iteration of the same craft rather than the Kth new design for the same role. This leads to degree of over-optimization of the Rlaan industrial machine to whatever designs are currently in use.

Seems to me that with a cap ship being nice and expensive, it would make sense for a hull to receive upgrades over time, maybe keeping the same ship in service for centuries.
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Postby Boaal » Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:23 am

Well Dodo's certainly live up to their name. Shmmn Dodo's are always cropping up somewhere and if they are damaged even remotely they will fly away and come back charging headon at me. Usually they can't quite get to my hull though. if one collides it gets through the shileds but doesn't rech the hull.

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Postby grendel0226 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:18 pm

[quote="Miramor"]
There's not any reason a living starship couldn't be... uh... grown, but it wouldn't be like the B5 ones. It would probably be more like a shelled mollusk, with the usual soft and squishy innards surrounded by a very dense, very strong shell; the "propulsion tract" and other parts that could get exposed to a lot of heat and radiation would also have to have dead-matter walls.
[/quote="Miranor"]

Sounds a lot like the modern Cylon ships from Galactica, at the moment. Inside being a bit fleshy, but the actual working parts hard, mechanical, and metal. Though I'd imagine that Rlaan would have it something closer to a highly advanced Chitin for the outside of their ships, rather than a highly dense, and most likely radioactive metal.

Anyways, I had the same problem the Original Poster did of this thread on the one story mission with Janek's old boss and it put me up against a Derivitive. I tried to swerve around it when it was almost dead, but it veered for me, and boom went my ship. Oddly enough, it destroyed the escape pod as well O.o I'm thinking this might be a slight glitch?
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An organic starship might be able to work...

Postby Dragonseraph Angel » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:12 pm

Salutations! :mrgreen:

In my opinion, :wink: an organic starship COULD be a very possible and potent creation. :twisted:

As said before, most modern twenty-first-century weapons, (not to mention Vegastrike's futuristic energy weapons :wink: ) can easily penetrate organic armor without a problem. :evil: However, it must be taken into account that nothing has really had the chance to evolve to protect itself against this kind of attack. :?

Anyway, ancient dinosaurs had armor that might have been somewhat bulletproof. After all they did have to protect themselves from their carnivorous cousins, many of which could exert incredible force with their jaws. :shock:

It should also be remembered that carbon-nano-fibers, one of the strongest modern materials, 8) (apparently far stronger than steal :shock: ) are made, of course, from carbon, the same substance that life is made of. :mrgreen:

Diamonds, the hardest natural substance, are also made of carbon. :mrgreen:

Wood, although not nearly as strong as metal, is very strong for its weight, as are bones.

Dformations of chitin, keratin, or organic calcium, can be very strong. Think about the shells on a crab or lobster. No, not as hard as metal, but make it a meter thick thick, and you do have considerable protection, although probably not space adequate, :( without modifications, :) especially to stop radiation.

Spider silk is EXTREMELY elastic, and is said to be three times stronger than steel. :shock: :twisted:

I have also heard of bacterium capable of living inside volcanoes, :shock: :shock: :shock: not only enduring incredible heat, but also massive preasure and toxic, acidic gases.

Some algea grow inside of the ice and rocks on the top of mountains, where the ice never melts. 8)

We must also remember that it is very likely that other planets have their own unique lifeforms, some of which might have evolved to grow armor that is far harder and stronger than any substance we have ever encountered. 8) Add the Rlaan's bio-engineering technologies to an organism that already produces armor harder than steel, and you will have something amazing. :shock: :twisted:

The fact that life can regenerate and adapt is also a very valid point. Over time, idividual lifeorms do adapt to their surroundings; arctic wolves change their color depending on the season, plants grow diffferent types of leaves depending on how much sunlight they are exposed to, and organisms become immuned to dissease. :D And these changes are displayed in indivdual organisms; :wink: let a few millenia pass, and the changes are drastic. :shock: Again, we have no idea what extraterrestrial organisms are capable of. :o I would not be surprised if their was a creature somewhere that has living, growing armor, that can regenerate from a serious wound in under a minute. :shock: This hypothetical extraterrestrial creature might have spead up the evolutionary process the same way it could have spead up its regeneration process (amphibians have essentially spead up the evolution from a water living creature to a land living creature, so that it takes only one generation) and be able to adapt so quickly that it would be immune after the first blow, to whatever type of force that hit it. :shock: Far fetched yes, but definitly not impossible. :wink:

Again, add the Rlaan technologies, and you have a starship capable of far more than just your average metal vessel. :shock: :shock: :shock: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

And of course, this is a sciencefiction based game. :wink: 8) Scientists do not (yet) :wink: really know how to create a SPEC drive or how to activate a jump node. :wink: This is all about being creative, and exploring the possiblities. That is part of what makes Vegastrike such an amazing game. :D

Speaking of possbilities, an organic armor with a way to heal and adapt to be semi or completely immune to what it is being attacked with, would be an extremely nice addition to the next Vegastrike version.
:wink: :mrgreen:
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