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Categorizing combat vehicles for sci-fantasy space setting

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:23 pm    Post subject: Categorizing combat vehicles for sci-fantasy space setting Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Some notes I've taken while jammin' out a not-40k/not-Star Wars/not-Cowboy Bebop kind of setting. I listed a bunch of scifi ships I like, general size and combat role.


Fighter/Cutter- 8m-20m. One to two man craft built for air superiority.
Light: nimble to outmaneuver larger ships
Ex: Spikeís Swordfish II, R-Type

Heavy Fighter: Heavier armament for larger targets, bombing runs.
Ex: Jetís Hammerhead, Silpheed

Boat- 20m-50m. Has space to walk around in. From civilian trawlers and freighters to government pursuit craft and military gunships.
Gun/missile/torpedo boat/ship: Armed with rapid firing autocannons to take out nimble targets or a few torpedoes for taking on larger targets.
Ex: Boba Fettís Firespray

Shuttle: primarily for transporting personnel or cargo
Ex: Millennium Falcon, space shuttle orbiter
Mobile Armor: Fighter-like cockpit, all space dedicated to combat
Ex: Bigro, Silpheed

Corvette/Frigate- 50-150m. Has the endurance for patrolling and long range travel. Room for specialized equipment for detection, minesweeping, or carrying a few fighters, and the speed for pursuit. Often the largest ship an individual can sustain/pilot.
Corvette- On the smaller end of the scale
Ex: The Bebop, Zinnermanís Garancieres
Heavy Mobile Armor: Fighter-like cockpit, all space dedicated to combat
Ex: Neue Ziel, Val Walo

Light Cruiser- 150m-250m. Capable of long range independent operations, requires a large crew. Designed to attack anything lighter and outmaneuver anything slower.
Ex: Musai, Salamis

Destroyer: Dedicated to destroying smaller vessels, fighters, escorting larger ships in a fleet
Ex: Musai, Salamis

Heavy Cruiser- 250m-500m. Often the capital ship for a battle fleet.
Battleship: Heavily armored, slower, lots of firepower
Yamato, Earth Federationís Magellan

Carrier: Space dedicated to transporting and deploying fighters
Zeonís Dolos Heavy Carrier

Assault Carrier: Hybrid between carrier and battleship
Earth Federationís White Base, Zeonís Gwazine

Dreadnought- 500+. Fantastically large, heavily armed and armored ships, the flagship of nations, a mobile fortress. Designed more for sieges against static targets due to low mobility.
Leviathan: exceeding 1km in size, sometimes an asteroid is part of the design
Station Usually made of asteroids

There will be some magically convenient tech to make visual range combat the norm and guided weapons unreliable so it resembles grunt vs grunt Gundam space combat:

I like the Gundam idea of AMBAC, where some kind of moveable 'limbs' and thrusters on them are used for zero-g maneuverability to flip around and change directions.

So the lighter ships resemble these:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)

Here's a neat ship from Strikesuit Zero:

So some of them have limited ability to walk in low gravity environments like a space colony port or particularly large asteroid/small moon.

Heat dissipation is a big question that most settings ignore, could present 'wings' on ships as heatsinks or an advanced scifi tech for it. An idea I've got for close range weaponry is venting heat, or venting ship heat into a blade for charging attacks (still a scifantasy setting after all).

Notes on weaponry:


Guided Weapons:
-Missile: Smaller and agile for taking out fighters, Macross Iteno circus type attacks.

-Torpedo: Large with high payload, for taking out cruisers and above. Tends to be less maneuverable than a missile. A heavy fighter can carry one of the smaller ones.

Direct Fire Solid Weapons: Due to lack of atmosphere they'll be hard to see visually, but will show up on heat sensors.

-Gunpowder: use chemical explosion to launch shells, slow muzzle velocity but versatile shells possible. Low energy requirements make it popular on small drones
-Railgun: Optimized for firing small, accurate projectiles at high speed, projectile often becomes plasma on contact with armor that also turns into plasma on contact.
-Coilgun: Optimized for firing larger mass projectiles at high speed. Cruiser primary weapon.

Energy Weapons: tends to be shorter ranged than projectile weapons due to diffusion. Would they show up on the visual spectrum?
-Pulse Laser: Laser fires in pulses to chip through target and send shockwaves
-Heat ray: A continuous energy laser that focuses on target, damages by heat transfer, needs to Ďstay on targetí so more likely to be used against large less maneuverable ships.

Flashy bright energy beam weaponry is already done well in various settings so I think a focus on solid munitions adds to the setting.

I'll update whenever I build up on this setting.

Last edited by OgreBattle on Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:24 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Nice array you have here so far, look to WW2 real seafaring ship categories for inspiration where you have none.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah WWII planes and ships was what I looked at, with some additions from Gundam and other scifi works (Dreadnoughts, Assault carriers).

Thoughts on space combat and imagery...

I like the imagery gunboats and mobile armors being built for high fuel capacity and long combat range being supported by shorter ranged but more agile fighters. The shorter fuel capacity of the fighters is compensated by being able to latch on to the larger gunboats and mobile armors to reach the combat zone.

Heavy fighters have the fuel capacity to get their on their own but are usually less agile than a light fighter.

Should these fighters also operate in atmospheric combat? I guess so, there's few scifi settings where starfighters don't just replace atmospheric craft too.


For earthside combat my inspiration is Masamune Shirow's works. So you have your real-world array of infantry, IFV's, main battle tanks, attack helicopters and so on.

You also have scifi units like...

Infantry- commandos and trench diggers, may have bionics or be full conversion cyborgs. Scifi mobility gadgets like grappling hooks (Lost Planet 2 to Attack on Titan style). Basically all the gadgets in Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm) Tuned agents use:

Drones- flying rotor drones for scouting, walking/wheeled drones for combat support, grenade drones with legs as walking booby traps.

armored combat cyborgs & power armor- resists small arms, vulnerable to heavy machineguns (12mm+). Some have limited flight (more like jumping and gliding, or limited hovering) via bulky backpacks

heavy power armor- Shirow landmates, less of a 1:1 correspondence between your movement and the armor's movement. About as durable as an IFV or air support craft like the Hind and A-10 so you'll want something 20mm plus to damage 'em. Limited flight ability on some.

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)

Spider tanks- your main battle tank on four or more treaded legs. More mobile than a treaded MBT but somewhat more vulnerable.

In the real world satellites and radio comms work poorly in dense environments like cities and jungle, in this setting you also have further signal jamming from not-minovsky reactors. So combat ranges are shortened and laser comms are more popular. Also some handwaving for bigger emphasis on melee combat, perhaps bulky shield generators stop projectiles or new armor materials resist conventional weaponry but powered melee weapons can slice through them.
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