Shielding question.

The features of the WC Academy ships is great, but you guys made it a point to say the Sivar dreadnought had three times the amount of shielding as a vessel of matching size...

Now, my question is, what's the point of all the shielding, when a single locked torpedo will cut through any amount of shielding? I could understand all that shielding if phase shields could block against Torpedos as well...Did the Sivar dreadnought have increased point defense turrets to match it's upping-the-bar shields?
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
Around this time (and proceeding into Wing Commander 1), fighter-based weaponry had reached the point where it could overwhelm capital ship shielding over time. The trend of able to hurt capships - not able to hurt capships cycles a couple of times through the Wing Commander series as the tech struggle escalates until we see the Devastator in Secret Ops which we can imagine to be the next phase of fighter-mounted weaponry able to overwhelm capship phase shields.

Besides I always imagined that capships Big Guns could hurt other capships regardless of phase shielding.
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
The point of shielding is this - if it takes a torpedo to cut through the shields, at least for a fighter-sized craft, then that means your ship's not vulnerable to every damned other capship or fighter out there; beyond that, improved shielding can reduce the ability of torps to penetrate or do damage, as the Hakaga-class ships proved nearly invulnerable to standard Mark III torps.

Otherwise, a guy in a light fighter could take out that super-heavy cruiser or carrier you've got... which means that the enemy scored a very cheap win - they potentially could've lost one pilot and a 5 million credit fighter which took two months to build and taken out a capship with five hundred crew and worth billions of credits that took 5 years to construct. Phase shields prevented anything but very heavy guns or shield-penetrating weapons from hitting the hull - that's why they were the primary defense in Action Stations, and why Confed used battleships as the backbone of their fleet - it took their heavy guns to put holes in shields, overwhelming the defenses at one point to pour all that energy into the enemy ship's hull and armor.

Once the torpedo was introduced, smaller and cheaper craft gained the ability to damage phase-shielded ships and installations - no longer would it take a very expensive battleship to destroy a target; a relatively cheap bomber strike could do the same thing. This provided the impetus to improve shields and weapons - if you could adapt phase-penetrating technology to normal weapons, then you could reduce your dependence on bombers and torpedoes when it came to smaller phase-shielded targets like destroyers or corvettes. Improved weapons and torps means that there's also a reason to develop better phase-shields, so that only torps (and to start, maybe not even them) can penetrate those defenses, so that your destroyers and corvettes are proof against anything but those very expensive weapons which require specialized delivery systems.

Torpedo strikes take time to set up - time for the phase-shielding to be penetrated by the missile, and more time that the delivery unit (the bomber) is vulnerable to attack. If any old fighter can dodge in and out of your capship's defenses, weaving all the while to make it a difficult target... then the difficulty of the ship's defense has increased many-fold. If it takes a bomber flying a straight line for 15-30 seconds at a relatively predictable velocity... then it's a lot easier to a) shoot down the bomber, and b) shoot down the torpedo now that you know its vector.

That's why they use phase-shields, and keep improving them.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Eh, simple analogy: will a flu shot stop you from getting cancer? Heavy shields may not stop some types of torpedoes - but they do protect against energy batteries, regular weapons, missiles, planetary defenses, etc.
 
excellent...I wasn't sure if the Sivar dreadnought was in service during the time when confed fighter weapons were able to punch through phase sheilds. (I remember the "see-saw" discussion, at least)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Like putting too much air into a balloon!

(Seriously, though, of course the Sivar was around when Confed fighters can knock down shields... you fight it in SM1. :))
 
prepare to be shocked- the extent of my wing commander experience is beating WC1, Secret Ops, and Prophecy. Despite the literally endless availability of information here, I never could keep my timeline straight...I'm not to familiar with what points in history marks the seesaw's switching.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Hehe, don't worry about it -- extensive knowledge of the Wing Commander timeline is an exhausting and pointless pursuit. :)

Roughly:

(Pre-WC1) - Torpedoes
WC1 - Guns
WC2 - Torpedoes
WC3 - Guns
WC4 - Guns, Leading to Torpedoes
WCP - Torpedoes, Leading to Guns
 
Colonel Sanders said:
prepare to be shocked- the extent of my wing commander experience is beating WC1, Secret Ops, and Prophecy. Despite the literally endless availability of information here, I never could keep my timeline straight...I'm not to familiar with what points in history marks the seesaw's switching.
Prepare yourself to be shocked, I dont think anyone cares!
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
I never had the opportunity to play 3, 4, Prophecy or Secret Ops until the past couple of years.

Quite funny how it turns out really.

I managed to get the PSX versions of 3 and 4 really cheap used at Gamestop.
 

overmortal

Bearded Person
Actually, according to the explanation given in Action Stations, at any given point in WC history, capital ship shielding could be overwhelemed by gunfire from fighters. It was just the required amount that kept changing.

In the explanation, any shielding can be broken through if enough gunfire is shoved into it. It's just that fighters typically didn't have enough gunpower to break through. Even in pre-wc1 days when torps were the 'only' way to break through, there was a simulation where a concentrated attack by fighters nearly overwhelmed the shields of a bigger ship. It's just that, in the games, it's a function of the programming whether or not your guns are allowed to break through. Often, it was in order to force you to use torpedos. Remember Vesuvius of WC4? You could weaken its shields, but not bring them down. I think that's how it was through most of the timeline, except there were, as it's been said in this thread, times when gun technology gave fighters the capability to wear down the shields of some capships.

I'd love to see a future WC game where guns *can* bring down shields, but torpedos still pass through them, as before. No wc game has demonstrated that. (Wcp came closest)
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
overmortal said:
Actually, according to the explanation given in Action Stations, at any given point in WC history, capital ship shielding could be overwhelemed by gunfire from fighters. It was just the required amount that kept changing.

In the explanation, any shielding can be broken through if enough gunfire is shoved into it. It's just that fighters typically didn't have enough gunpower to break through. Even in pre-wc1 days when torps were the 'only' way to break through, there was a simulation where a concentrated attack by fighters nearly overwhelmed the shields of a bigger ship. It's just that, in the games, it's a function of the programming whether or not your guns are allowed to break through. Often, it was in order to force you to use torpedos. Remember Vesuvius of WC4? You could weaken its shields, but not bring them down. I think that's how it was through most of the timeline, except there were, as it's been said in this thread, times when gun technology gave fighters the capability to wear down the shields of some capships.

I'd love to see a future WC game where guns *can* bring down shields, but torpedos still pass through them, as before. No wc game has demonstrated that. (Wcp came closest)

Notice how your first two paragraphs contradict one another? :D

Short form - phase shields take either shield-penetrating technology, or a given amount of energy to bypass or overwhelm their protection, thus dealing damage directly to the hull. In the hundred years before the McAuliffe incident, phase shields were strong enough that anything short of a capital ship's main guns were unable to penetrate them due to the amount of energy involved. Fighters were relegated to scouting and ground-attack roles as a result, and battleships were considered to be the only means to effectively deal with another battleship.

The introduction of the torpedo, a Varni innovation, allowed the Kilrathi to take out much of the fleet in drydock at the start of the Kilrathi War, as they completely bypassed the protection the shields offered to deliver their warheads to the target, thus spending all the energy on the target itself. Over time, improvements to gun and targeting computer technology allowed other fighter-based weapons to also bypass or penetrate shields, thus allowing their guns to start picking at the target as well, though this was generally less effective than a missile or torpedo.

As shield technology improved, the newer generations of shields became impenetrable to anything but large capship guns or torpedoes again - and the balance keeps swinging back and forth.

Also, given that game engines changed completely between WC2 and WC3, it wasn't JUST that factor which allowed it - there was the in-game technology of the time to consider. Remember that, in Fleet Actions, the Hakaga-class supercarriers carried a new generation of shielding which was supposed to be immune to Mark IV and V torps. And as defenses improve, so must the guns and missiles and torps, along with their targeting and their phase-pattern-compensation equipment.
 

RogueBanshee

Rear Admiral
Are the Anti-matter rockets from Fleet Action the same as Cap-Ship missles and if so why can't Cap-ship missles pass through shields?
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
RogueBanshee said:
Are the Anti-matter rockets from Fleet Action the same as Cap-Ship missles and if so why can't Cap-ship missles pass through shields?
As far as we can tell, those are bombardment missiles - but there is no word given on whether they're the older-style CapShip missiles described in the WC3 novel, or if they're more like the 'planetary bombardment' missiles the Vorghath in False Colors is supposed to have.

The main reason CapShip missiles don't seem to pass through is because they're probably missing the technology that the torps have - the phase-pattern compensating equipment, which lets torps expend their energy blowing up against the hull. With capship missiles, at least in the WC3 era, they either already deliver enough energy to punch through the shields anyways, or they're meant for ground targets. WCP has CapShip missiles of some sort, anyhow - whether or not they have shield-bypass equipment is, however, another question.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
In the case of torpedoes, antimatter is the warhead, not the ingredient that makes them skip through shields. There are torpedoes with different warheads - fusion torpedoes, for instance, show up in the WCIV novel.
 

Starkey

Avenging Rooster
Yeah, I remember that the thing that makes torpedoes bypass shields is that they have a mechanism to figure out the shield´s frequency. That´s why they take so long to lock up.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Bandit LOAF said:
In the case of torpedoes, antimatter is the warhead, not the ingredient that makes them skip through shields. There are torpedoes with different warheads - fusion torpedoes, for instance, show up in the WCIV novel.
Priv/RF also give us Proton torps....
 
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