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Monday, 21 November 2016

Fanstorm Armada - Background technology...Weapons & Shields

Hello again to another post on background for Fanstorm Armada. This time I'm going to be talking about technology, since that underpins a lot of the writing as well as game effects that are used in any game. I started this waaaay before I became involved with Spartan games, and I kept it bubbling ever since. It really came out of wanting to create a better ship customisation tool than existed in v1 at the time, and then disappeared in v1.5 (which was a shame since it fostered a lot of community involvement, creativity and discussion).

The first part of this was weapons technology, since that is a pivotal part of the game. Although there were small hints as to the technologies involved, like Dindrenzi using railguns, Aquans using lasers and the dirty Terrans using nukes...those dirty, dirty terrans....This is a bit like saying the US military uses missiles, ships and aircraft in its military - it's not really engaging. So I started looking at weapon development by looking at my ship construction, and I derived this from the physical models and the stats at the time.

A prime example are the mass-drivers on the Terran Battleships and Dreadnoughts - there are two of these, so its possible to reverse engineer the stats of a single one assuming that weapons "link" internally in the same way they do if ships in a squadron do. This makes sense, since multiple weapons on a single ship do anyway (think broadsides and turrets or multiple broadsides and so on). As it happens, this works out quite nicely for the terran main weapons - not quite so well elsewhere because it wasn't thought of in the model design phase - models are designed on the "rule of cool" rather than hard stats, though when I was in the FFG Chris (the model designer) did usually get the stats before finalising designs so that they aligned - something which i also think is important...model stats should reflect how the model looks.

Now the document I present to you is a WIP which I shelved because of other commitments and the likelihood of it ever being officially implemented...now of course I am free from such strictures so I can let you all see this little view on my mindset and I will update it to make it relevant to the current/future rules (Fanstorm v1). So here it is, my views on weapon development in the FA universe, part 1 v1;

Weapons in FA

Next a few musings on shields, since that's another underpinning technology of several races. This is a bit harder to make seem "real" since the underlying principles are, of course, much more fiction than science. Still, putting something down on paper seemed like a good idea

Shields in FA

Another area that is hugely overlooked, yet pivotal, in FA is the concept of the Foldspace drive. Why is this so important? Well, the workings of this drive determine the size and nature of the conflict in the FA universe, since this will determine how communication works, what the combat radius of a ship is, tactics employed etc. This also has to mesh with things like in-game mechanics of Fold-Space entry, Fold-space escape and battle-shunts. It also has to explain why the Terrans abandoned their wormhole network, which seems like a pretty big deal - instantly travelling from one system to another vs spending time in foldspace...

I posted on the Spartan Games community about this as Spartan Alex, but as "my thoughts" rather than canon, since it wasn't an official Spartan announcement. I haven't yet collected these together in a conherent document, but it quite neatly deals with most of the above issues (it being incredibly laborious and random to get any official sanction on anything). This also explains the existence, size and shape of Fathom's Reach and the Storm Zone, and the border zone between the Zenian League and the Kurak Alliance. It was also essential for developing my narrative for the ongoing direction of FA, which would incorporate the Leviathan class ship - so more on that in another blog post :-)