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Transit Carriers

PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov 2018 07:15
by Whitecold
I was interested what people's experience and usage of transit carriers are. They seem like a very interesting concept with very little useful applications.
The only real use I found was as a ferry equipped with MNE through nebulae, or possibly as a transporter for damaged units to bring them back to base.
I can't really see them for the purpose their name hints at, transporting units through a WP. The most sensible cargo to me for an assault would be small SRW units, but since it is a static target for an entire turn to unload, I can't really see the advantage compared to bringing large SRWs that don't have to wait a turn, and are less likely to immediately loose engines.

What is your experience? Do you use transit carriers, and if so, how?

Re: Transit Carriers

PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov 2018 15:08
by Cralis
Whitecold wrote:What is your experience? Do you use transit carriers, and if so, how?


I’ve used transit carriers for a number of purposes, but I suspect you’re most interested in combat usage. There are two ways I have seen used or used transit carriers in battle:

to transport units that cannot transit a WP;
to transport squadrons via Wj.

The first was actually something I did in a mini campaign years ago. I play a mini campaign using Cp drives. After developing I drives, I used transit carriers to WP assault with my fleet of Cp ships.

But I’ve also seen where someone built speed 1 ships and used transit carriers to move more through than they normally could due to being speed 1. Less engines = more weapons and defenses. We called it the “blob of death” tactic. He ended up building faster ships because he was constantly being outmanuevered at the strategic/system level, but it was both very amusing and tremendously annoying.

The last is because of how Wj works. The downside of Wj is that each ship rolls on the scattergram and your fleet is smeared around the WP. Really hard on datagroups.. With transit carriers you can carry whole datagroups and drop them together after a Wj transit. Makes survivabity much better.

Last, I’ve long thought about doing a custom campaign where WP-capable drives are separate and MUCH bigger. The intent was a game where transit carriers are used for most of your ships, everywhere. Never got around to trying though.

Re: Transit Carriers

PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov 2018 04:33
by Whitecold
Cralis wrote:Last, I’ve long thought about doing a custom campaign where WP-capable drives are separate and MUCH bigger. The intent was a game where transit carriers are used for most of your ships, everywhere. Never got around to trying though.

Hm, by making the WP drive much larger, one would have to consider that bases don't make locking down WP completely trivial.
I toyed with the idea of a separate drive which has no strategic speed, but has 2 times the engine power of a regular drive, with same hullspeeds as the J drive. This would free up some HS for more weapons or defenses, but the ships would need a carrier to get anywhere. (May have to adjust the burnout rate to ensure they don't go too far on spare engines)

Re: Transit Carriers

PostPosted: Sun 04 Nov 2018 01:28
by Cralis
Whitecold wrote:
Cralis wrote:Last, I’ve long thought about doing a custom campaign where WP-capable drives are separate and MUCH bigger. The intent was a game where transit carriers are used for most of your ships, everywhere. Never got around to trying though.

Hm, by making the WP drive much larger, one would have to consider that bases don't make locking down WP completely trivial.


Early on it's hard to completely lock down a WP because you simply don't have enough assets. Later on, Wj becomes a counter. "Locked down WP" doesn't mean the same thing in SSF as it does in Classic Starfire.

I toyed with the idea of a separate drive which has no strategic speed, but has 2 times the engine power of a regular drive, with same hullspeeds as the J drive. This would free up some HS for more weapons or defenses, but the ships would need a carrier to get anywhere. (May have to adjust the burnout rate to ensure they don't go too far on spare engines)


My thought was to have the drive much larger, such as 4-6 HS per drive, but with the same drive power. That way your carriers aren't going to be armed monstrosities, they'll have to sacrifice firepower for drives and defenses. But the ships they carry will have more space for weapons since they won't be mounting the large WP-capable drives.

As I said, it was an idea I've just never experimented with.

Re: Transit Carriers

PostPosted: Sun 04 Nov 2018 01:44
by Whitecold
As I just have been reading up on transit carriers, I found a ruling that seems weird to me:
E9.02.1 states that 50% of carried HS are added to the carriers size, and then E5.03.3 is used. This means however that you start at -2MP even if you just load an EX onto a SD, since the carrier is 100% its own size.

Re: Transit Carriers

PostPosted: Sun 04 Nov 2018 12:10
by Cralis
Whitecold wrote:As I just have been reading up on transit carriers, I found a ruling that seems weird to me:
E9.02.1 states that 50% of carried HS are added to the carriers size, and then E5.03.3 is used. This means however that you start at -2MP even if you just load an EX onto a SD, since the carrier is 100% its own size.


The original purpose of this was to make transit carriers so that they were specifically for WP transits, and not to carry ships all over the star system.

However, this has not been well received primarily because the automatic loss in speed affects how many transit carriers can transit the WP. So there is a change coming to them in the next version that reduces the transit carrier's HS to 1/2 normal fir the calculation. This means that it can't move with loaded @ and have no penalty, but it can carry an additional HS of ships up to it's own HS in size before it gets the -2 MP penalty you mention above.

Re: Transit Carriers

PostPosted: Wed 07 Nov 2018 11:22
by Whitecold
Cralis wrote:The original purpose of this was to make transit carriers so that they were specifically for WP transits, and not to carry ships all over the star system.

However, this has not been well received primarily because the automatic loss in speed affects how many transit carriers can transit the WP. So there is a change coming to them in the next version that reduces the transit carrier's HS to 1/2 normal fir the calculation. This means that it can't move with loaded @ and have no penalty, but it can carry an additional HS of ships up to it's own HS in size before it gets the -2 MP penalty you mention above.


I have to say it seems a bit weird to me that tugging a ship behind should be faster than loading it up, especially since tractors are otherwise more flexible as they can move bases and can move larger ships, but then again I did think about carriers more for strategic movement, and for my idea of smaller purely tactical drives they would be the primary form of strategic movement.

Re: Transit Carriers

PostPosted: Wed 07 Nov 2018 19:21
by Cralis
Whitecold wrote:I have to say it seems a bit weird to me that tugging a ship behind should be faster than loading it up, especially since tractors are otherwise more flexible as they can move bases and can move larger ships, but then again I did think about carriers more for strategic movement, and for my idea of smaller purely tactical drives they would be the primary form of strategic movement.


Those results are a byproduct of the physics presumptions.

Tractor beams provide their own motive power. That is how it pushes or pulls a target without a DF, and why it is an HEL technology.

It seems odd that you can strap extra HS to the outside of the ship and it won’t affect the ship’s power/mass ratio?

@ is not a tractor beam and the parasite units are attached to the ship. So it takes more power to drag more HS. Its just more efficient than having their own drives.