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Using Engines as Weapons in stock / multiplayer warfare


SkyFall2489
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"Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Corollary: any drive capable of providing great thrust is capable of creating great destruction."

 

I was wondering, what if, in a KSP battle, either through savefile exchange or multiplayer, is it a good idea to fly up to an enemy ship, aim away from them, and fire the engines?

As structural panels have a heat tolerance that is the same as a fuel tank, adding metal armor would be worthless. Wing armor is a bit more thermally resistant, though.

I'd assume that a bigger engine, or some modded high power fusion/antimatter/handwavium drive would be better at this.

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12 hours ago, SkyFall2489 said:

I was wondering, what if, in a KSP battle, either through savefile exchange or multiplayer, is it a good idea to fly up to an enemy ship, aim away from them, and fire the engines?

Maybe. There is a thing called the kzinti lesson though.

Quote

A weapon's output is in direct proportion to its potential as a maneuvering thruster.

This also covers using rockets as wepons. http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacegunexotic.php#id--Propulsion_Systems

In other words, yes, I think you could destroy ships by using the engines.

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You can do it, however, I'm not entirely sure why you *would* do it. Considering that fire and forget missiles that automatically compensate for gravity can be used at much longer ranges (within atmosphere I've hit at 60 km away with a 1 meter accuracy) and are more destructive than trying to barbecue the enemy ship from less than 10 meters away.

 

Also if precision guided weapons aren't your thing, you're far better off using engines as mass drivers or putting them on the projectile to make it a dumbfire rocket than using engines as weapons themselves. Throwing parts at supersonic speeds using an engine is a much more effective way to attack than using the engine as a lightsaber.

Edited by Pds314
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@Pds314, You can use ISRU to refuel an engine, but it is much more work to use EL or GC to build new missiles. As well as the fact that barbequing can very easily deal with metal plate armor, no matter how many layers you add

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On 3/16/2022 at 4:12 PM, SkyFall2489 said:

@Pds314, You can use ISRU to refuel an engine, but it is much more work to use EL or GC to build new missiles. As well as the fact that barbequing can very easily deal with metal plate armor, no matter how many layers you add

True, it's arguably cheaper to use the barbecuing beam if you're beyond LKO.

However:

1. You need a very high K/D ratio to justify worrying about the cost of a single use weapon rather than the cost of the ship using it.

2. Barbecue beams require you to not get destroyed by everything they shoot at you on your way to trying to barbecue them.

3. There is a very simple defense against barbecueing. That defense is... more barbecueing. If someone is barbecueing your ship with 1 MN of thrust, then this creates 2 MN of repulsion between your ships. If you also blast them with 1 MN, then there is 4 MN of repulsion between your ships. The aggressor now needs to divert 4 MN of thrust away from barbecueing you in order to stay in range. The result is that the defender in this situation can do the same amount of damage with 1/5th the engines of the aggressor, and if the engine power levels are parity, they can use the distance gained to fire mass drivers or even rockets AND do more damage than the aggressor.

4. Mk3 fuel tanks and other large parts are fairly resistant to this attack. Especially if they have active radiators on them.

Edited by Pds314
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1 hour ago, Pds314 said:

3. There is a very simple defense against barbecueing. That defense is... more barbecueing. If someone is barbecueing your ship with 1 MN of thrust, then this creates 2 MN of repulsion between your ships. If you also blast them with 1 MN, then there is 4 MN of repulsion between your ships. The aggressor now needs to divert 4 MN of thrust away from barbecueing you in order to stay in range. The result is that the defender in this situation can do the same amount of damage with 1/5th the engines of the aggressor, and if the engine power levels are parity, they can use the distance gained to fire mass drivers or even rockets AND do more damage than the aggressor.

That's called "running away", and it works against missiles too

Also, barbeque has a Q in it.

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On 3/17/2022 at 8:01 PM, SkyFall2489 said:

That's called "running away", and it works against missiles too

Also, barbeque has a Q in it.

Running away doesn't work very well against missiles though. Flanking works, and it also works against lining up an attack with the barbeque ray, since that's basically trying to rendezvous and dock with something that is trying it's hardest not to let you rendezvous and dock.

 

Also there's still a difference. Simply running away doesn't provide you extra acceleration or damage relative to the aggressor against any other attack than the barbeque ray.  Normally it forces both sides to waste an equal amount of Delta-V. Running away from the barbeque ray means in order to achieve combat effectiveness parity, they have to spend 5x the effort and have 5x the engines to spend it with.

Edited by Pds314
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Getting close to an enemy warship is going to be hard, no matter what. Also, what if you put a barbeque engine on a missile? Go fast until close, and at the last second fire an engine in each direction to melt through enemy armor.

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On 3/21/2022 at 6:49 PM, SkyFall2489 said:

Getting close to an enemy warship is going to be hard, no matter what. Also, what if you put a barbeque engine on a missile? Go fast until close, and at the last second fire an engine in each direction to melt through enemy armor.

Hmm... it could work. I'm not sure what the mass trade off is like between fuel to slow down + extra engines + fuel to cook the enemy ship and hold in place vs just ramming them at mach 2 or whatever, but at least it has the advantage of the missile being able to go right up and target specific parts vs just relying on doing enough damage with it tracking the root part (which could well not be anything important or sandwiched behind multiple layers of Mk3 fuel tanks , or placed on an outrigger as a deliberate decoy or something.)

So maybe it could work as a more precise weapon, letting you melt critical components instead of just targeting the ship itself.

Edited by Pds314
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  • 5 weeks later...

Fireworks are great. I discovered a glitch that let you duplicate stackable inventory items, so you technically have infinite ammo. However, fireworks bounce off armor - which is why a hybrid approach of multiple weapon types is always best.

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You'd need to sustain the burn for a finite time period. During which time the enemy could try to move away or fight back. How long does it take to break common parts? Versus kinetic weapons which either destroy the target instantly or do nothing.

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a powerful engine can do a lot very quickly. The main reason to use these is because parts which have high impact tolerance have low thermal tolerance, so a combo could get through a lot of armor.

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