Article: The Physics of (Non-Gratuitous) Space Battles

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Id imagine this might interest most people here, it seems pretty good. Nice read. Obviously, when a battle gets gratuitous the physics all change. Because of quantum gratuity flux. Duh.

A couple of points he missed, a fighter could eject a chemical rocket backwards to boost its speed, it its quick turning a flat shape might be best, to stay at the edges of the battle and present a small profile. Also a fighter could drop a rocket downwards (small amount of momentum) which then turns on its engine, saving momentum.

I cant believe i didnt realise that the mass of an object wouldnt effect the speed of a craft, just the acceleration. I wonder what theis would be like in this game? Could be interesting, especially if you have a cruiser sized tractor beam, that could screw up a ship with crap acceleration that was going fast. More tactics can be a good thing, though more complication can be alienating…

Also, you could really armour a fighter, and launch it from a carrier, meaning it would already be at its max speed. Screw manuvarability. 7 speed fighters are so hard to hit :slight_smile:


Much, MUCH more in-depth analysis of the future of rocketry, including many discussions on weapons and defenses from a realistic standpoint.

Some things GSB really needs are included. Notably, orion drives and bomb-pumped laser warheads. Because it’s not GRATUITOUS enough unless your ship is propelled by atomic bombs and your missiles shoot lasers. Truth has once again outdone fiction for sheer AWESOME.


I’d love a game like this with somewhat more realistic physics - ships that move like projectiles rather than boats. Boat-style does make it easier to understand and play though :smiley:

+1 from me for missiles with frickin’ laser beams for eyes.


I think its easier for most people if we just use physics as they work on earth, not that I am calling the average human person stupid but yeah I just watched a film and its fricken 2009 and filmmakers/people still have not figured out that you can not see stars from the moon at the same time the sun shines there, way to go humans, its not like moon hoax conspiracy theorists have used the absence of stars in the apollo footage as their main point since the first moon landing.

so yeah, we are all stupid, I am probably stupid in many ways, whoopty doo waves a little flag


IN games and film, sometimes it’s not about realism. It’s about entertainment. Honestly, I think it’s more fun to have space ships that move like(or similar to) the naval ships of today. I can accept spherical ships in space, but they’re gonna look stupid in a game. =)



Mostly realistic physics in a space battle can be done very well, and be just as entertaining as the ‘boats in space’ mentality. Example: Watch Babylon 5; some of the most awesome small-group battles ever, all done with newtonian physics and somewhat plausible weapons and ship designs. Or better yet, play an older game that uses newtonian movement physics. I recommend the tar Control series, of which you can find a free remake on Sourceforge (search ‘Ur-Quan masters’).

Besides, good realism in GSB would let us do epic stuff like pull Niven’s First Law (That being; A fusion drive’s usefulness as a weapon is directly proportional to its efficiency as a drive.)


Ramships…yummy. BTW, nice to see another Niven fan here!