# Tracking Speeds

I’ve recently purchased GSB and this would be my first post here after reading a couple guides.
Since my prior life was in EvE Online, there are some notable differences between GSB and EvE which I thought were a bit odd:

Absolute speed vs. Relative speed:
According to one of the guides here, the chance a weapon hitting its target in GSB is a function of target speed, tracking, and target size.
In EvE Online, it is a bit more complicated that that and it is the relative speed that’s important between the shooter and target.
This means that even if you are going at 2.4 and your target is 2.5 speed, the accuracy is still calculated as a function of 2.5 speed and not the speed differential of 0.1.
After all, if you are chasing a target with only a 0.1 speed difference, why should the accuracy be just as bad as shooting from a stationary position?
This then leads to my second observation.

Absolute tracking speed vs. Angular tracking speed:
In GSB, the effects of tracking speed on accuracy is independent of the target’s location. At first, this might seem intuitive, but in reality seems a bit odd.
For example, a ship west of you at a distance of 500 could be traveling north at 0.5 speed and your accuracy is calculated to be 50%.
Shooting at the same ship at a distance of 250 in GSB is still considered to have the same 50% accuracy.
In reality, your tracking speed needs to be much higher to compensate for the angular travel required by the turret.
This is the difference between absolute tracking speed and angular tracking speed.
In the extreme case, if a enemy ship is coming right at you, why should your accuracy be just as bad as it traveling perpendicularly away from you at the same speed?
Because of this fact, Fighters in EvE online often time tend to stick very close to their targets as to maximize their angular velocity with respect to their enemy’s tracking speeds.
On the flip side, Fighters in EvE online are prime game for long-range artillery cannons at long distances or if they are traveling in a straight line with 0 angle differential.
At long distances, the angular tracking speed needs to be only a few radians to offset the angular difference between the shooter and its target.

Absolute tracking speed vs. Relative tracking speed:
The last difference between EvE online and GSB’s calculations for accuracy is with the accuracy being only a one-way calculation of the shooter’s tracking speed vs. target speed.
In EvE Online, if you are a fighter and are going at high angular speeds around your designated target, your own tracking speeds need to be also just as good.
This is because the angular tracking speed of your own turrets are relative to the speeds of the designated target.
If you are going at 30 degrees per second around a stationary target, you won’t be hitting them that much if your tracking is below 0.5 radians/sec.

What all of these points show is that if you are a fast moving cruiser or fighter in GSB,
it doesn’t matter if you are chasing your target or flying away from them in terms of your accuracy or your enemy’s accuracy.
There’s physically no way to increase your accuracy besides hoping that your enemy ships will mistakenly slow down.
I guess the damage drop-off system of “optimum range” in GSB sort of compensates for that.
(EvE Online uses a accuracy drop-off system with no difference in damage dealt with distance.
They do have a different set of damage calculations with target size being a function of missile explosion velocity and turret signature resolution.)

On a slightly different topic, at what point is it worth adding a Target Booster or Target Painter onto a Cruiser Hull for higher DPS numbers?
I am assuming that with small numbers of cruiser plasma launchers, it is not worth adding a booster, but for larger numbers like 5, 6, or 7, I am not sure.
I guess a similar argument could be made with missile launchers with the assumption that you have no Painter Fighters.

do not even compare those two games, they are so diffident that… there diffident
(random addition spelled different “difreant” and Google chrome’s spell checker when “antifreeze”)

Imaginary_num6er, welcome to GSB.

Oh, my. That dense thicket of impassioned theory-crafting will not necessarily aid your enjoyment of this game – after all, it’s not called Gratuitous Space Battles without a reason.

And as my ebullient young friend dafrandle offered, the overlap area between the mechanical aspects of EvE and GSB is sufficiently small as to not only not be worth worrying over, but such concern is actually an impediment which will likely rob you of the enjoyment which this quirky, baroque and somewhat under-developed game offers. GSB sure isn’t EvE; let alone Homeworld or Star Control II; but it has an addictive charm which extends well beyond purely left-brain interests. I do hope you’ll give that aspect of the game experience a fair chance.

Considering the distinctly low base tracking value - 0.60 - which Cruiser Plasmas are stuck with, the upward tick in that value that a Target Booster can bring to the table is not terribly decisive. IMHO, it’s generally better to simply add a few more plasmas to a ship rather than hang all of one’s faith upon the booster to haul your chestnuts out of the fire. At least the heavier sustained volume of fire can help achieve what the boosted tracking accuracy is not that likely to achieve.

A booster is not entirely useless; instead, it’s rather less useful than a cursory examination would indicate. If I had a total plasma spam cruiser with seven turrets full of the fiery stuff, I’d consider installing a Target Booster. Anything less than, say, 5 out of 7 turret slots, though? Then I would rarely bother with the TB. Plasma is very nice to spam, though – it’s one of the few cruiser weapons which not only deals a large amount of damage and also affects both shields and armor, plus those respective penetration ratings are rather strong. All in all, a really powerful weapon whose fairly abysmal accuracy is a balancing feature.

The Target Painter, OTOH, has some medium-tier utility. All missiles which a painter-equipped ship fires while a painter is switched on are guaranteed to hit their target – discounting interception by Point Defense or Guidance Scrambler systems, of course. You could try taking that to an extreme by outfitting a cruiser with six Multi-Warhead Missiles and one Target Painter.

Watch out for the significant disparity in ranges between MWM and TP systems, though! You might be better off bringing along some other low-tier cruisers armed with extra painters, specifically in order to get them within painting range of the target while the MWM-armed unit, far in the rear, simultaneously enters extreme range of said target. With few exceptions, most of the other missile-type weapons in the game are sufficiently lackluster that MWMs are the typical spam choice.

As you’ll doubtless soon see for yourself, it’s relatively hard to make a decisive use of missiles because each launcher can have only one bird in flight at a time. That feature is not moddable, and the sole way around it (again, while avoiding mods) is to employ Multi-Warhead Missiles. Plasmas have a similar limitation; the sole un-modded exception is the wonderfully nasty Plasma Slinger, used only by the Parasite DLC race.

I don’t necessarily play GSB the same way that you do, but I hope that the info I’ve offered is still useful. Hope to see you around here some more – take care.

Thank you dafrandle and Archduke Astro.

That was my thinking, but I was curious if there was a specific cut-off point like 6 plasmas < 5 plasmas + Target Booster II << 7 plasmas (??). I assumed by this point, someone has had to do the calculations to know if there was an obvious answer. Moreover, I am not sure how many plasmas most plasma cruisers use since my gut feeling is that most ships don’t use all of their hard-points on weapons, since a plasma cruiser will need to be fast enough to keep its long range.

That was my frustration when I first tried MWMs with a target painter. You need to get within 720 maximum range while your MWMs have a minimum range of 500. That means you only have 220 range to work with. I was thinking that a cruiser target painter may be better suited for the Fast Missile Launcher, which has a much bigger range of 900-270. Then of course, there’s probably a higher chance of being intercepted. Maybe a combination of FML cruisers + painter and MWM cruisers without painters may be the trick.

you need to turn your brain off and just play the game for 5 minutes

trust me when you do that its a lot more fun than pure numbercrunching

Of course, you could always put painters on ships whose sole role is to get nice and close to the enemy, saving that slot on your missile carriers for ANOTHER missile.

If there is a specific cut-off point such as the one you alluded to, I have never bothered to go in search of it and I do not recall anyone else having done so and sharing their results here. Although long ago, we used to joke about competitive powerlevellers actually playing “Gratuitous Spreadsheet Battles” instead of GSB. Very, very few of those sorts of folks are still with the forum-active community today, though.

As far as “how many plasmas most plasma cruisers use,” I would dare to say “as many as possible”. My previous post mentioned why cruiser plasmas are one of the most frequently spammed guns in the game, so you may encounter quite a lot of that in any online challenges which you choose to play.

The typical GSB cruiser has no more than seven turret slots. A more conservative approach would include 5 cruiser plasmas and 2 cruiser lasers (short-range shield busters), or 5 cruiser plasmas, one cruiser beam laser (for specialized armor busting) and either one guidance scrambler (missile protection) or one cruiser pulse laser (fighter protection).

If, OTOH, you were inquiring about plasma cruisers in the scenarios bundled with the game, it’s an easy enough matter for you to find the deployments folder and cross-reference its contents with the ships folder. The latter is where the saved opposing-forces designs are stored, and that will reveal how many plasma weapons those various subtypes of enemies are equipped with.

One or two plasmas per ship adds a little more tactical flexibility to a cruiser, but that’s only rarely enough by itself to be decisive. Plasma-heavy ships, as well as nothing-but-plasma cruisers, will require moderate to substantial escort against lesser but still noteworthy threats, so please choose wisely.

I believe I already addressed that particular avenue towards a solution. But thank you for doubling the weight of my argument. [-fond chuckle-]… Your notion of maxing-out the number of MWM launchers on any given long-range support cruiser is a very solid one. Just be sure to keep that thing well out of knife-fighting range from the enemy fleet unless it’s well-escorted.