R & D Commentary

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R & D Commentary

Post by Tom Saint » 2008-10-20 02:08

You'd have thought this would have struck me earlier, but we've been lacking an R & D comments post since we moved the site. So if anybody's got questions, ideas, or comments to any projects, leave them here.
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tavish McFini » 2008-11-10 01:44

Alright, idea:

TIE Scimitar - In a nutshell, an upgrade to the Scimitar Bomber. The idea: give it a second ion engine (more speed and give it the TIE moniker) and give it another 8 Downward-Facing Missile Launchers except, place them on the top (so it would become 8 upward-facing missile launchers) to 1) effectively double the number of missile launchers it has and 2) be able to conduct missile strikes against the underside of enemy warships without having to go upside down (which is really irrelevant in space but, during atmospheric flight, might be more useful for low flying corvettes and frigates.)

There it is.
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Thrakis Gregory » 2008-11-10 22:50

There's nothing preventing a fighter (or bomber) from inverting during atmospheric flight, either. In fact, the pilot wouldn't even experience the unpleasantness of being upside-down: a ship's inertial dampeners are also the system that provides artificial gravity, and a fighter must obviously have them to keep the pilot from becoming a red stain in the cockpit.

My suggestion would be to simply go with the second engine, and increase the size of all of the bomber's magazines. Enlarging the magazines may require enlarging the bomber, but the second engine would probably require a larger reactor to power, anyway, and so increasing the bomber's size is probably necessary for that, also.
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tavish McFini » 2008-11-11 01:47

Well, the bomber is already 9 meters long (with a regular TIE Bomber only being 7.8 meters) so what about just increasing the size of the solar arrays? I wouldn't think a reactor would need to be enlarged that much if the surface area of the wings were simply increased. I only brought up the top-side missile magazines in order to make use of some of the top side area, keep it even as opposed to enlarge the bottom or the bomber altogether.
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tom Saint » 2008-11-11 03:40

I'm already working on something with much more potential ;). Give me another couple days to put on the finishing touches and i'll have it posted. (Depending on how crazy my chemistry teacher goes)
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tavish McFini » 2008-11-12 01:51

Ohh, I think I just got:

a) shot down
b) burned
c) a and b
d) none of the above
e) all of the above

Lookin' forward to it Tom!

---

EDIT:

Well, I don't want to double post and I only posted in Vik's thread because I had permission so, trying my best not to break any rules.

With regards to the QIE:

It's essentially an improvement over the TIE Interdictor which poses a significant question. Why build fewer of these new QIEs over either the TIE Interdictor which we can build more of or a Scimitar Assault Bomber which is faster and has an escape pod. While this heavy bomber won't be that much slower than the Scimitar, it's going to be a pretty big target with a huge frontal surface area for even a turbolaser to get in a lucky hit.

Also, the jammer. I'm susposing tht it's going to be used to make targeting the craft harder but, it'd have to be turned off for the bomber to acquire any target locks of its own for missiles/torpedos.

I'm also not entirely convinced that the near same sized bomber can produce enough power to provide for all the bells and whilstles you've given it but that was always something I tended to overlook so I can arguably let you get away with it. ;)
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Thrakis Gregory » 2008-11-25 02:41

Fini, nice idea with the cloak detector. The only possible way I can see to improve it would be to automatically route the telemetry through the targeting computer, so that if something is detected, there's the option to automatically fire weapons at that spot.

Also, combining successive uses of this with that computer system that was originally made by Pellaeon (I don't recall its name offhand; it was in the Hand of Thrawn series) could improve the computer's ability to plot potential trajectories, thereby improving both systems.
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tavish McFini » 2008-11-25 02:50

Thanks, I'll make those changes :D
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tom Saint » 2008-12-01 00:57

As to the points you made against the Devastator McFini, you questioned why to build it. It can deliver more munitions than the Scimitar or TIE Interdictor, making it cheaper in the long run. Even though the Scimitar has an escape pod, there's no garuntee that the pod will save the crew (it many not get them far enough from the exploding ship, may not be found later on).

Its big target area can be countered with the pilot specific modifications. Since it will be in the same avialabilty bracket as the TIE Interdictor, pilots flying the QIE Devastator will have a minimum of 6 modifications to use. We can just strongly reccomend that they get the stealth engines and armor.

Also, the jammer doesn't need to be off when the Devastator is taking a shot. The jammer only affects certain channels at one time. The ship's center computer knows what channels are being jammed and so tells the sensors to scan on any but those channels. Then as the jammer changes channels(tens or even hundreds of times a second) the computer informs the sensors of those changes.
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tavish McFini » 2008-12-01 01:33

Fair points. I've got nothing further to add. Carry on ;)
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2008-12-04 00:23

A comment on Fini's Cloak detector:

It's a very interesting idea Fini, and one that I don't think many people could find holes for. I would like to know what the cost of the specialized missiles and sensor arrays would be. The reason I ask is because it would be an easy system to confuse. If the mere presence of matter is enough to disrupt expanding particles enough to create a gap, then any amount of force would create a large hole in the particles. Even a small explosion could throw the whole thing off, especially in a vacuum.

Don't get me wrong, out on a quiet patrol this would certainly detect any cloaked ships trying to tail you. In the heat of battle though, with lots of fire and explosions all around, I don't see this as even slightly accurate. In battle, linking it to your turbolasers is a great way to start wasting shots at a whole lot of nothing.

I also wonder what countering the particle missles with other particle missiles would do. Again, on a quiet patrol this counter would be meaningless. But in battle a cap-ship could cover its cloaked fighters from this system by spamming the areas with its own particles. At the very least, it would take even a skilled and educated sensor technician time to study the readings and determine what exactly was being seen, and which particles are coming from where. The cloaked ship would have unloaded its payload and be long gone before then.

What do you think? I think a potential weakness to this system is unreliability in the heat of battle.

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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tavish McFini » 2008-12-04 02:08

Cost I don't imagine would be a whole lot, probably not much more than a normal concussion missile, maybe even less since we don't have to worry about filling it with as much explosive material. I'm assuming in an age of space age technology that nanotechology has come a long way and it shouldn't be too hard to grind some sort of material (sand, polymer, scrap metal?) into a very very very fine powder.

The sensors also shouldn't be terribly expensive to modify. I think most of the effort would be modifying the sensors and making the computer program to make this system work.

Sure, some amount of force would throw the system off but, let's say you are in the heat of battle, a bunch of star destroyers and some TIE phantoms are against the Intimidator (it's a very skewed example but only to make a point). In the heat of a fight, the SDs are going to pound away at the Int while the phantoms will fail to do a whole lot in the grand scheme of things so finding them wouldn't be a necessary priority.

Countering particle missiles with other particle missiles might work, but they might not. Remember, in an ideal world, the particles would be a ever expanding, solid outline of a sphere, like a balloon... Unfortunately, at some point, the particles are going to be spaced far apart from each other so, depending on distances, force and vectors, the particles might collide or pass through, it all depends. I'm not terribly well educated about the physics of space but, an explosion right next to the particles might be enough to throw the system off but then, isn't it kinda obvious what the aim there is? You mention the mere presence of matter... Are we talking matter existing anywhere within a 10000 lightyear radius or right next to the particles as they're traveling right into it? If it's the latter, than yes, it will interfere with the system but, for the most part, assuming there is nothing else going on, what's out there that would throw this system off?

I'm not going to try and argue that this system has flaws when it comes to actual engagements but, I will point out this: The vast majority of cloaking systems are double-blind so in the heat of battle, I'm sure the odds of a TIE or even a Star Destroyer ramming into a cloaked ship is pretty darned good and even if not, the momentary sensor blip a decloaked ship would provide while the pilot gets his/her bearings would be enough to warrant spamming the immediate area with laser/turbolaser fire.

Another thing I've been wondering about is making the particles stick to the cloak field... I'm not sure what happens if something small collides with a cloaked ship (is it the same as particle shields or does the cloak work differently?) in which case this system becomes even better ;). Maybe if I spam an area with post-it notes!!!
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2008-12-04 02:35

Consider that even high powered thermal imaging requires a skilled operator to interpret the image, particularly the ones used in helicopters that view larger areas. I imagine it would be the same with a system like this one. Trusting a computer program to interpret the gaps in the image would work fine on a quiet patrol, but like any security system ever created there are going to be more false alarms than actual breaches. The scope of this system's confusion would depend on the heat of the battle happening around it, but the more intense the fighting the more ships that will slip through the cracks.

I think the problem of interpretation gets even worse if you deploy particle missiles against it. After all, though a sensor reads in 360 degrees in all directions, that doesn't mean that it *understands* that information on a three dimensional level. It can make guesses and readings, but the more particles there are in space, the more likely it is to misread the gaps.

You speak now of nano-machines. Now that sounds much more fool-proof. Forget reading expanding particle clouds. It'd be easy and reasonable to fill space with nano-machines that transmit a short range signal back to your ship. When the sphere passes an object and creates a hole, that hole would then be transmitted back to your ship.

In other words, instead of a single point sending a signal out to detect in a 3 dimension environment, you have all the nano-machines in your sphere transmitting back in 3 dimensions. THAT, a computer can understand.

Better yet, make the nano-machine sticky and you'll maintain a bead on the cloaked ship so long as it stays with in the short range of your nano-machines transmission.

It's weaknesses: This could be disrupted with communications jamming. Again, this means nothing on a quiet patrol. "Sir, our comms are being jammed!" "...then there must be a cloaker stalking us." Again though, in the heat of battle if jamming was being used then cloaked fighters would slip through. So that begs the questions, how strong would the jamming have to be? How strong can you make a burst transmission in a nano-machine?

It'd also be more expensive to develop this with nano-machines, and more expensive still to make them stick to ships in some way. I'm not sure what the cost of development would become, but perhaps it's worth it?

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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tavish McFini » 2008-12-04 03:24

Heh, well, I was thinking of the nanomachines but I'm trying to both be cost effective and practical. I'm not calling this detection method fool proof by any means. It just exists as a means to find cloaked ships under certain (limited) circumstances.

I could assume we could shrink transmitters down to nano or micro size. How much would it cost? How long could they operate for? How fast can we mass produce them? I don't have the answers. I like your idea though and I'm willing to pursue it further. So, an alternative plan could be to shrink tracking devices down to a very small size, load them into a warhead and fire them, hoping to whatever deity they latch onto a moving, cloaked ship. You call it fool proof but... it sounds like all we've done is add another level of complexity to it. Instead of pinging individual particles with a sensor and then reading all the particles, we've got the same number of particles each sending their own sensor ping to a waiting receiver.

This means that the amount of information the computers must sort through hasn't changed at all and its still possible for the same problems to arise as already mentioned.

As for the interpretation of the readouts, again, there comes a point when we have to ask what's possible in the realm of Science Fiction. At what point do we decide that "no, even for a futuristic society, no one can ever create something that can do what we couldn't possibly imagine today!". Who's to say, with all the AI in the galaxy, the supercomputing power and storage ability of tiny crystals and the ability to make glowing beams of light able to cleave though anything, that we can't make reading this system more user friendly and capable of being looked at by the sensors, complied and sorted though AI and presented to the user or operator who can then determine if the movement was caused by the wake of an explosion that the sensors would have also picked up or if indeed there doesn't appear to be any logical explanation to why the particles/nanomachines suddenly changed course/disappeared.

I mean, okay, some things needed to be firmly rooted into the realm of physical reality where ideas like me surfing through the internet with my mind, right this moment and looking through someone elses' webcam is impossible. Maybe in the future, there'll be something that will allow me to do that (assuming I live that long) but, since it doesn't exist, it doesn't mean we couldn't create a fictional story about it.

I'm sorry if I'm coming across as a wee bit cross about this, I'm just incapable of providing all the answers because I can only theorize what could happen and assuming what technology in the Star Wars galaxy should be capable of.

And why are we discussing it here as opposed to the related R&D post in the thread itself? You're SH, you've got access to everything ;)
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2008-12-04 04:11

I thought we were making an initiative to keep the projects threads as clean as possible, so I figured I'd comment here.

I'm sorry if I sound attacking and pointed. I know you don't have all the answers and I don't expect you to. The point is to merely ask questions as to the validity of the project, so we can all think in new ways and make the project better. I think this project is strengthened by my questions so far, and I'm rather enjoying theorizing over it. So I hope you are as well. ^_~

The technology to shrink a transmitter already exists in modern society. The only question in SW is the strength of the transmission and the range, which are intrinsically linked in this case. We can only speculate as to the strength of SW jamming and SW transmission.

The same can be said of the sensor interpretation of your original idea. A computer computes, it doesn't understand. SW develops advanced AI that has the capability to reason and discern truths and deductions based on that, but AI isn't cheap and I only know of a scant few ships that have one.

My whole point with the original idea is that pinging particles is a very imprecise method of detection. I have no doubt that it would detect some cloaked ships, just as I have no doubt that it won't detect others if enough is happening to confuse the particle sphere. I also have no doubt that it's going to detect and misread unexplained gaps created by battle. So with the original project still in question, then my original point still stands:

"I think a potential weakness to this system is unreliability in the heat of battle."

I think a quick edit to the project's "weakness" entry would be sufficient.

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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Thrakis Gregory » 2008-12-04 06:05

I may be wrong, but I've been under the impression that communications (being remarkably similar to sensor information) cannot be transmitted out of a cloaking field, which I think would nullify Mai's idea concerning using sticky transmitters to track cloaked ships.

Also, these nano-sized transmitters would be transmitting a signal that carries no information, only allows for easy tracking of the signal's origin (if a cloaking field overlaps some of the transmitters, it will block their transmission, allowing for a computer to easily find areas of reduced signal density). So, since the transmitters themselves aren't broadcasting a data stream, why go through the expense of manufacturing nano-transmitters, when we have naturally occurring energy transmitters available at just as small a scale? Simply go with McFini's earlier "dust" idea, and make the dust from a lightly radioactive element. Sensors can pick up radioactivity just as easily as a transmission.

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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2008-12-04 07:31

Fair point. I had forgotten about the communication lock out on communications. Radioactive material is also a good though. I have next to no knowledge of radioactivity and sensing it. I would draw into question whether or not sensing radioactivity is all that precise. I've always thought it was more of a "radio activity is that way!" sort of thing. I could very easily be wrong about that.

What interests me about this idea is whether or not radioactivity is trapped by a cloak. An argument could be made for it, I suppose, since the cloak traps light. But then again radioactivity passes through other materials that also trap light.

Quick, some more educated than me explain all the principles of radioactivity and it's relationship to light!

I'm interested by this notion of radioactive materials. I think that could improve on this project greatly. However, even more than pinging dust particles, I'm even *more* confident that countering radioactive particles with other radioactive particles would through off the results. No one would know about it at first, but such is the nature of technology and escalation. They get cloaks, we get de-cloakers, they get de-de-cloakers.

Still, I like it. Keep thinking.

(Understand that as Mai, it is in my nature to think up ways around "security measures" and "detection devices". This stuff makes me... well Fini knows what I mean.) ^_~

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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2008-12-04 07:52

To my knowledge, radioactive detection is not particularly precise and needs a special sensor (i.e. a Geiger counter). It has nothing to do with radio/light waves and everything to do with subatomic particles.

BUT, what are you thinking of in terms of radioactivity? Are we talking gamma radiation or some other type? Gamma radiation *might* pass through a cloaking field because it has a higher level of energy than visible light, as might x-rays. I'm not sure what a cloaking device would cover in terms of the light spectrum, but both would need specialized sensors, or at least recalibrated ones.
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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2008-12-04 08:36

Well, so does the original project. Re-tooling sensors wouldn't be too expensive. Time consuming to get through the whole fleet of course, but certainly doable. I think the biggest problem would be the slow rotation of ships, maximizing both the number of ships on the front vs the speed of refitting. Since this a speculative and preemptive project anyway, I don't see that as much of an issue.

To be clear, if you could get radioactive particles to stick to a cloaked ship, that *also* moves through a cloaking field, then you could track cloaked ships until they manage to get cleaned off somehow.

How well that can be linked to firing computers and trajectory read outs, well I suppose that's SW tech. I still wonder about the cloaks though. The cloaks block out radio waves in addition to light waves, so clearly it covers a spectrum. But until I read otherwise, or hear otherwise, I don't see why *that* couldn't work, and with much greater success than any of the other variations proposed so far. I may do a bit of research on this. Stay tuned.

Thanks, Fini/Thrakis/Spyker. Great thinking so far.

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Re: R & D Commentary

Post by Tavish McFini » 2008-12-04 16:59

Mai wrote:I thought we were making an initiative to keep the projects threads as clean as possible, so I figured I'd comment here.
Oh snap... I totally missed that memo. Sorry, still used to the old way of doing R&D. Not that I mind this system, it just seems, should a bunch of interesting projects suddenly take off, this thread could become very cluttered and confusing.
Mai wrote:I'm sorry if I sound attacking and pointed. I know you don't have all the answers and I don't expect you to. The point is to merely ask questions as to the validity of the project, so we can all think in new ways and make the project better. I think this project is strengthened by my questions so far, and I'm rather enjoying theorizing over it. So I hope you are as well. ^_~
No, it's my bad. I was just tired but I'm actually enjoying all the possible ideas being tossed around. I never take time to really think of the finer points of things like this. We R&D a new ship design and never really stop to think "is it big enough to house the crew requirements and carry enough food for however long it might need to take to travel before needing to be resupplied?" Poor example, I know, but it's stuff I usually don't consider.
Mai wrote:(Understand that as Mai, it is in my nature to think up ways around "security measures" and "detection devices". This stuff makes me... well Fini knows what I mean.) ^_~
Heh, I'm glad I installed Trillian and made an appearance on chat, otherwise the concept of... yeah... might not have surfaced. *Cue the dying from laughter*

Anyways, back to the project ;).

I guess I need a better understanding of how cloaking works. I mean, it's a field, I know that much (duh Fini!) but, is it a field that works like particle and ray shields or does it just have ray shield qualities (to absorb the various wavelengths?)? And for that matter, can a cloaked ship use it's shields? If so, I would assume they're inside the cloaking field otherwise someone might be able to pick up the shield energy signature.
Thrakis wrote:I may be wrong, but I've been under the impression that communications (being remarkably similar to sensor information) cannot be transmitted out of a cloaking field, which I think would nullify Mai's idea concerning using sticky transmitters to track cloaked ships.
You're right in the sense of communications being similar to sensor information (unless they've changed it in SW, I mean, look at the HoloNet, how does that work?) but, I'm thinking if these particles are able to stick to some sort of discernible surface, they might be able to transmit a signal out and away from the field before the field is able to cross the signals path, like a radio tower. The ground beneath it won't be able to pick up the signal (it gets absorbed so a person in a bomb shelter with no wires leading to the surface) wouldn't get the radio signal while people around and above would. Of course, radio signals are able to get around things but I digress since it doesn't change the point.
Thrakis wrote:Simply go with McFini's earlier "dust" idea, and make the dust from a lightly radioactive element. Sensors can pick up radioactivity just as easily as a transmission.
Now there's an idea! Why didn't I think of that? I'm not sure if sensors right now could pick up radioactivity but I'm pretty positive something would exist that *could* read radioactive emissions in a scale large enough for this application. Again, I'm assuming that there is a SW analog capable enough.
Spyker wrote:To my knowledge, radioactive detection is not particularly precise and needs a special sensor (i.e. a Geiger counter). It has nothing to do with radio/light waves and everything to do with subatomic particles.
In this case, we wouldn't have to worry about them being too precise. All we need is a discernible change in radioactive density (or strength) to signal the presence of something that shouldn't be there. Of course, things could get thrown off again as explosions might be able to somehow charge some particles while collisions might combine other particles to make an additive effect.
Spyker wrote:BUT, what are you thinking of in terms of radioactivity? Are we talking gamma radiation or some other type? Gamma radiation *might* pass through a cloaking field because it has a higher level of energy than visible light, as might x-rays. I'm not sure what a cloaking device would cover in terms of the light spectrum, but both would need specialized sensors, or at least recalibrated ones.
I would imagine it absorbs just about everything. Visible light (it would have to otherwise we could see it... though with cloaks, we can see through it so...?) IR and UV? I would say so. Radio waves? Assuming that's what we use for sensors, definately, otherwise a cloak would be rendered detectable and we can't have that can we? Microwaves, gamma rays, x-rays and all those really small, high energy wavelengths? I don't know. As Mai put it:
Mai wrote:The cloaks block out radio waves in addition to light waves, so clearly it covers a spectrum.


How much of this spectrum becomes the chief question.

If gamma rays are able to pass through a cloaking field and hit a ship, would they bounce off or simply get absorbed. Gama rays are able to pass through most metals, stopping only when encountering either something really dense or really really thick (thickness depending on density).

So, lets take a look at a possible theory shall we?

Assuming the particles emitting these rays are able to also pass through the cloaking field (which never really states if it can stop solid masses since it seems more interested in a light spectrum) and the gamma rays pass through cloaking fields than we might have something we can use, iff (if and only if) the aforementioned is true.

If we combine the fact that this ship is moving through a field of these particles and they're sticking to the ship... on a computer screen, it would show up that a large, ever growing mass of radioactive particles are traveling in some direction (let's assume that the sensors can determine things like distance and intensity) so when normal scanners go to scan the area and find that, hey, there's nothing showing up on our sensors and no one is seeing anything, we have our cloaked culprit!
Mai wrote:How well that can be linked to firing computers and trajectory read outs, well I suppose that's SW tech. I still wonder about the cloaks though.
Well, we don't have to link it up, it was only suggested to me as a means of increasing efficiency for targeting computers and to speed up shooting stuff ;)

For now, I'll make the edit to my project but the entire project might get rewritten if we pursue this new direction. Thanks for the input.
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- Admiral McFini and Ensign Hales discovered why Executor-class Star Destroyers seldom ram anything.

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