Spaceship Crashing Combat

 If I were ever in charge of developing a space exploration-and-combat game, you can bet your lucky shoes I'll be implementing the 'Crash straight into the target' feature.

Basically, it's the ability for the player to order his or her crew to simply charge straight into the enemy's spaceship.

See, I always thought it'd be pretty awesome if there was a type of spacecraft built specifically for penetrating the enemy's hull through a combination of propulsion and thicker armor. Like, there'd be a 'support' class, a typical 'shooter' class and the 'melee' class, which would be the one that can charge effectively.

Charging can actually be pretty useful in-game: Energy shields deflect only energy-based weapons, and missile interceptors only stop missiles. In a case where you're fighting an enemy that has nigh-invulnerable shields but only average armor you can order your crew to just charge into it.

This concept doesn't limit itself to spaceships either; I got Capital Ships in mind, the kind of spaceships that are around half the size of the average habitable planet, which can attack just by crashing through the atmosphere and creating a deep impact on a colony world.

There'd be upgrades and add-ons revolving around the whole 'charging' concept. For example, the addition of powerful magnets at the tip of the ship's pointy bow would make it harder for enemy ships to dodge the charge.

You can also add a 'marine module', which would put marines just behind your heavily-armored bow. After you've successfully penetrated the enemy's hull, your space-suited marines will exit the module and wreak havoc inside the enemy's ship.

Of course, charging has its risks. You'll need really good armor and really strong engine to make this sort of attack work, meaning you'd be vulnerable to energy weapons if it takes too long for you to reach your target. You also risk damaging your own ship too much if you go in too deep and let the weaker parts of the hull get attacked by the enemy's crew.

8 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Mayu_Zane

 If I were ever in charge of developing a space exploration-and-combat game, you can bet your lucky shoes I'll be implementing the 'Crash straight into the target' feature.

Basically, it's the ability for the player to order his or her crew to simply charge straight into the enemy's spaceship.

See, I always thought it'd be pretty awesome if there was a type of spacecraft built specifically for penetrating the enemy's hull through a combination of propulsion and thicker armor. Like, there'd be a 'support' class, a typical 'shooter' class and the 'melee' class, which would be the one that can charge effectively.

Charging can actually be pretty useful in-game: Energy shields deflect only energy-based weapons, and missile interceptors only stop missiles. In a case where you're fighting an enemy that has nigh-invulnerable shields but only average armor you can order your crew to just charge into it.

This concept doesn't limit itself to spaceships either; I got Capital Ships in mind, the kind of spaceships that are around half the size of the average habitable planet, which can attack just by crashing through the atmosphere and creating a deep impact on a colony world.

There'd be upgrades and add-ons revolving around the whole 'charging' concept. For example, the addition of powerful magnets at the tip of the ship's pointy bow would make it harder for enemy ships to dodge the charge.

You can also add a 'marine module', which would put marines just behind your heavily-armored bow. After you've successfully penetrated the enemy's hull, your space-suited marines will exit the module and wreak havoc inside the enemy's ship.

Of course, charging has its risks. You'll need really good armor and really strong engine to make this sort of attack work, meaning you'd be vulnerable to energy weapons if it takes too long for you to reach your target. You also risk damaging your own ship too much if you go in too deep and let the weaker parts of the hull get attacked by the enemy's crew.

Posted by masterpaperlink

I agree, ever since i read about these types of manuvers in a halo book i wanted to do it in a game.

Posted by Xeiphyer

Except that the force of impact when you crash your ship into the enemy would wreck your ship and kill your crew. The massive amount of force that would be present with a ship impact would make any thickness of armor useless.. its gonna break.
 
However, I will say that I have seen ramming exists in naval combat, although not anymore. When ships were made primarily of wood, it was possible to crash your ship into the enemy and cause catastrophic damage. A ship that was capable of doing this would have a bow strengthened with metal. 
 
Of course charging into the side of a ship would leave you completly open to cannonfire, but luckily the shape of a ship would cause most cannon fire to glance off and cause very minimal damage.
 
The main problem with crashing a ship into an enemy is that you are risking your own ship and your crew's lives. So it really only works as a last ditch effort.
 
Also, capital ships are massive, but they are nowhere near the size of a typical planet.

Edited by SeriouslyNow

It utterly defies the laws of physics though.  In space if two bodies contact each other the complete lack of resistance means that ship to ship ramming would likely do little more than a bearing change for the rammed ship and damage to the bow of the ramming ship.  Ramming in space doesn't work like ramming in water because water offers resistance while space does not.  On the other hand if you're talking about Solar Sail based space vehicles the pull of the magnetic winds (which solar sails use to translate strange attractors into motorless kinetic energy) might offer some measure of ship to ship ramming possibilities.

Posted by emkeighcameron

Or you could just use a big fucking gun and shoot them

Posted by Mayu_Zane
@SeriouslyNow:  @Xeiphyer: 
 
Thanks for pointing out the problems with this. I'm coming up with ways to counter those problems. Maybe instead of crashing by ramming, it should go the other way around: Instead of the attacking ship moving towards the enemy, the target is pulled at extreme speeds towards the attacker's bow with a magnet/tractor beam. The attacker's bow, armed with a drill or something that break open the enemy's hull would be waiting to tear the enemy's hull apart.
 
With regards to capital ship size, I guess I should change their designation to 'Impact Maker' instead, to emphasize the sheer size.
 
Thanks again for the insight, both of you.
Posted by SeriouslyNow

Maybe you could fire singularity mines which would drag ships into them, as long as they cross the event horizon.

Posted by Pepsiman

The intense amount of physics discussion in here kind of terrifies me.