Ground Operations: Naval Gunfire Support

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Ground Operations: Naval Gunfire Support

Postby MaxShields » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:02 pm

The Good Idea Faery strikes again!

An invaluable set of tools to add to an away team's inventory would be Naval Gunfire Support / Orbital Bombardment and Close Air Support.

Imagine an away team trying to convince an indigenous species of primitive tribesmen armed with nothing more than sharp slices of mango to comply with a settlement plan. In an effort to maintain a minimal presence in order to encourage an open discussion and acceptance of the plan, a very small team of negotiators is sent down. The talks hit a sticking point once the locals decide that there is no real benefit in allying with the Starmen. The leader of the away team pipes up:

"But we are powerful! With us, none shall harm you. Witness!" With a wave of an arm, a bright bolt of light descends from the heavens and vaporizes an enormous and ancient stone Tiki sculpture just barely visible at the far end of the valley. It is known to be a hated symbol, belonging to an opposing tribe of locals armed with pointy pineapples. Such a show of force will surely convince them to align with the team's effort and support future colonization.

Unfortunately, the previous scientific scouting mission got it all wrong, and the Tiki sculpture is a revered artefact belonging to said mango wielders. As the away team madly dashes up the plateau to the awaiting shuttle, dodging all manner of dangerous fruit bits being thrown at them in anger, the team commander screams into the commlink.

"BROKEN ARROW, BROKEN ARROW!"

Moments later, a rain of cerulean bolts hammers the ground behind the last member of the team, and walks its way steadily down the trail towards the locals, shattering stone, and rending the air with ear-splitting blasts. A final beam tears through the small rope bridge that separates the away team from the remaining oncoming locals. Garth, the grizzled Orbital Weapons Controller looks up from his macronoculars and smiles grimly. The diplomats never think they need his kind. He packs his gear up and saunters from his observation point back towards the waiting shuttle.

Any doubt this would be cool, think of this clip from Transformers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGOgJXFpgxs, but with support not only from the air but also from outer space.

This support would be contingent on the type of air or spacecraft that accompany an away party on a mission. A small corvette may have a single light laser, while a battleship bristling with naval weaponry can support with heavy blasters and torpedoes, while a carrier may be able to deploy fighters and bombers to provide Close Air Support to forces on the ground.

Coordinating all of this fire without completely missing the target, accidentally shooting down your own craft in the air, or zapping your own squad members, takes a lot of training and the right equipment to be able to speak to the assets being brought to bear. This is where a character qualified as an Orbital Weapons Controller comes into play, calling down fire and greatly increasing the effectiveness of any ground force. A qualified Orbital Weapons Controller can also help speed up casualty evacuation by guiding in medical shuttles, speeding the return of the wounded to medical treatment and increasing their odds of survival.

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Re: Ground Operations: Naval Gunfire Support

Postby Adam » Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:42 pm

I definitely like this, but only as a later-game feature. Even though you can equip your team with various gear to help them carry out their tasks, I like the focus on their skill set and personality as the primary driver for how a story plays out. In order to fully make use of your proposed support in various away mission contexts, it would give that team a significant edge that should be the reward for technological progression. Hadn't really thought beyond having better gear, though! I like the extra layer of choice your support elements provide!

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Re: Ground Operations: Naval Gunfire Support

Postby PensiveElephant » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:36 am

Adam wrote:I definitely like this, but only as a later-game feature. Even though you can equip your team with various gear to help them carry out their tasks, I like the focus on their skill set and personality as the primary driver for how a story plays out. (...)


You could do both! You could very easily have pilot-class characters whose personality and skills affect such aspects of missions - I bet it wouldn't be rare for pilots to be scarce, so actions that require you to use your ships could carry a risk greater than just losing a ship - and be that much more dramatic.

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Re: Ground Operations: Naval Gunfire Support

Postby MaxShields » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:12 pm

@Pensive: very true, ground attack is a complex skill set that needs to be trained separately from air-air (or space-space, I'll wager). A talented ground support pilot could put his strafing run through a nickle from 30,000' up while a loud-mouthed braggart that hides his incompetence behind swagger might not be able to put a bomb within a mile of his intended target, much to the chagrin of the away team, and the planetary governor whose new pool the bomb fell into.

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Re: Ground Operations: Naval Gunfire Support

Postby MaxShields » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:33 pm

Here's a link to a superb post over at Battlestar Orion that could give some ideas about how to implement orbital gunfire and air support to ground forces, if you choose to go down this route.

http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/ground-attack

The pic below is but one of the helpful tidbits of information that lie therein.

Image

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