Deep Space Force

The way I figure it, why does one have to figure out all these technical issues when the folks at NASA are paid to do this. We get the benefit of their work.

Yes, I do indeed run the Atomic Rocket website. I’m glad you like it.

A gentleman of my acquaintance named Michael Llaneza approved of the new gun mounts. He noted that your old mounts appeared to be modeled on a standard World War 2 USN 5" gun mount, which had the unfortunate drawback of being incapable of tracking a target passing directly overhead.

Cool, I just made those up. The old mounts are based on a French gun from the late '50’s, just because there were lots of reference pictures available :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_100_mm_naval_gun

Some minor updates. Added telescopes, access panels, and a few more guns. The top can now open to deploy a reflective sail to reflect lasers at long range (obviously, no good against guns or missiles). Vertex count is now at about 1.3 million. But that’s OK, because most of the detail (which is necessarily on a scale too small to see here) won’t be visible except in a few close-up shots. I should easily be able to slash the vertex count for most views. Also I’ll remodel the whole thing with a reduced vertex count so that it’ll be easy to add more ships in the distance (this should be easy because everything’s symmetric).
http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/Deep%20Space%20Force%20Gallery/slides/Soviet%20Orion.html
http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/Deep%20Space%20Force%20Gallery/slides/Hull%20section.html
http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/Deep%20Space%20Force%20Gallery/slides/Soviet%20Schematic.html
Not really a huge amount to see here that wasn’t there before unfortunately. For example all of the window-bubbles have armour that can rotate out of the hull to protect them, as can the large telescopes, but it’s just too small to see except in close up (should be good for close camera flypasts though). Everything is rigged and animatable (except for the lids on the missile turrets, must get round to that). But progress must slow down for a while, it’s exam season…

It is starting to look frighteningly real.

Rhysy 2: Very nice piece of work.

nyrathwiz: Love ya site, very good stuff.

You’re doing a very good job here. I’ve been thinking about designing a space ship, which has has every part engineered and the existence justified. Although my plan was to have it somewhat more furustic than you; I would include things as fusion reactors and cloaking devices (I’ve even thought of both how they would work, in relative detail).

About the sound effects BTW. You said you will make an artistic compromise and have sounds in space. For what I was planning, I was thinking about having a lot of scenes seen from the inside of the ships, and then you would hear all the weapons impacting on the hull, but you wouldn’t have sounds for effects that are not in physical contact with your ship. The amount of “free space” camera work would be limited, to avoid getting a silent movie (or with Strauss playing like in “2001 A Space Odyssey”). I don’t know if you can use the suggestion, but I’m offering it anyway :slight_smile:

A sidenote about the sound in space BTW. A lot of people complain about sounds in space scenes, but you never hear them about the absence of delays between image and sound. Battlescenes, space or planetarial, in movies are often quite large. Yet everybody finds it quite normal to have no delay in the sound. If you start looking/listening for it, a lot of those scenes are suddenly a lot less realistic, because something that is miles away makes sound as if your standing next to it.

Your Project Orion movie looks cool too BTW. There are things that I’d have C&C on, but I guess it’s too late :slight_smile:

Again, my previously mentioned website has enough to get you started on the design.
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/index.html
There are a few common mistakes to avoid.

  • Inside the ship, the direction of “down” will be in the same direction that the rocket exhaust goes.
  • Ships will be mostly reaction mass tanks. Probably around four parts tank mass to one part of everything else mass.
  • Plasma weapons are impossible.
  • Within current scientific knowledge, stealth is impossible.
  • Space fighters make no sense from an efficiency standpoint.There are detailed arguments on these and other topics on the website. Let me know if you have any questions. If you are lucky, I might know the answer, or know who to ask.

Very nice models. They look great and details are perfect. I look forward to see more images of this nice spaceships.

On the other hand, I hate this Orion concept of propulsion. I thing it won’t be used, but if you don’t know what to do with nuclear bombs, then it’s very good way how to get rid of them in large numbers doing spectacular visual effects. :slight_smile:

BTW, what does the name of the ship actually mean? I didn’t found it in dictionary and “Blustitelno” sounds a bit strange.

For the sounds in space, I do not think there are any. Yes, you may hear weapons impacting, but anything else no. For external scenes, some nice music would be perfect.

Plasma weapons are impossible.

Depends how you define plasma weapons. The rail gun is technicly a plasma weapon, and they exist even today. They propel slugs (aluminium I believe) with magnetic fields. The plasma is used to inside/near the slug to cause the magnetic repulsion.

Within current scientific knowledge, stealth is impossible.

My idea for a cloaking device was nothing that involves tachyons or “chronotons”, but something more physical. The entire ship could be covered in EM sensors and emittors, so that the light and other EM radiation received on one side can be transmitted on the other side. This makes it looks like the ship is made of glass. Other precautions have to be taken to minimise radiated energy from the ship itself, like is done in contemporary stealth bombers; they reduce their radar profile so that they can fly between radar stations, but are still visible when they to close to one. Mapping the radar stations is therefore essential.

I agree that my idea can’t be put into practice today, but it’s more feasable than a chronoton device you plug into your shield generator :slight_smile:

Space fighters make no sense from an efficiency standpoint.

Perhaps, but they do from a strategic point of view. I’ve played a lot of real time strategy games to know that it’s prudent to have a whole bunch of small units to protect your big ones. Too much firepower is lost when even one ship is destroyed. And, a lot of small units spread enemy fire over more ships. And, firing some kind of big gun might be an enourmous undertaking. If you can only take out these tiny ships at once, the enemy is wasting a lot of power and time.

Thanks everybody !

halfgaar :

For what I was planning, I was thinking about having a lot of scenes seen from the inside of the ships, and then you would hear all the weapons impacting on the hull, but you wouldn’t have sounds for effects that are not in physical contact with your ship.

That’s a good idea, but not really where I was heading with this. Modelling interior rooms would be quite a lot of extra work. Making a weapon cause a sound doesn’t really change its underlying physics, so I’m quite happy to adopt the “space opera” policy in this regard. I’d like it to have wider appeal than amongst the physics/engineering junkies. :smiley:
On the delay of sound due to distance, that’s quite an interesting idea, I might try that.

I learned a lot making the last Orion animation, I’m aiming for two things with this one :

  1. More ambitious ! One ship is not enough…
  2. Better camera action. I’d like it to look like the camera (at least for some shots) is actually flying around the scene, and not completely free to choose its position.

nyrathwiz :

Inside the ship, the direction of “down” will be in the same direction that the rocket exhaust goes.

But most of the time the ship is just going to be cruising, so wouldn’t the usual direction of down be radially outward as it rotates ? Although I suppose you could do it as end-over-end tumbling pigeon rotation, but for a warship, that would look crazy.

On the colour of cooling fins, on your site you say they would only glow a dull red. I’m not sure this is entirely accurate. Calculating the colour through the wavelength doesn’t account for the number of photons emitted. For example an ordinary incandescent lightbulb is about 2500 C, (according to some random google search) which in the blackbody viewer is indeed a dull red. But lightbulbs do not look dull red, presumably because of the way the eye (and cameras) handle the photons. More photons emitted per unit time (i.e. greater flux) make something look brighter. Too many photons and a CCD image will become saturated white, no matter the colour of the source.

Myn.pheos : Thank you. Personally I find the concept of an Orion battleship utterly and wholly detestable, but I like the propulsion system. It’s so damn powerful you wouldn’t need many launches before you could switch to a safer system (although the actual risk from such a system is acceptably small in my opinion, you wouldn’t want to keep using it constantly) like a space elevator or even ordinary chemical rockets. Once a sufficiently large space industry is established (i.e. asteroid mining) it should make use other systems that are currently too expensive viable.

The name of the ship is “Vigilant”, it’s in Russian, as translated by Babelfish. Although given the reliability of Babelfish it could well mean Fishcake for all I know…

halfgaar (again) : the stealth idea (IMHO) sounds semi-plausible. I’m not sure how much you’d be able to reduce radiated energy or be able to deflect radiation at all wavelengths. I’ve heard that infra-red detectors are getting very sensitive these days. But, on the other hand, that would drive innovation and revolutions in physics will probably make all future predictions null and void.

On space fighters, I’ve been thinking along similar lines myself for a different purpose. At long range ships can use extremely powerful weapons capable of completely obliterating an enemy vessel, but at long range there’s more time to deploy counter measures. The solution could be a massive bombardment of smaller, expendable weapons to force the opponet to deal with these rather than the more serious threats.

The camera is indeed one of the things I would have commented on. Although I can’t give you any concrete tips, it does look somewhat static. I would analyse some movies to figure out what it is. I’m planning to do that as well, for animations I want to make (for somewhere in the distant future…).

I also suggest the use of widescreen BTW. I like 2.35:1, theatre aspect ratio. Widescreen gives a far better impression of the surroundings. I once saw read article about widescreen, which had some examples of various aspect ratios, taken from some wild west movie. The difference between 4:3 and 2.35:1 was astonishing. In scenes in the desert, the sense of vastness and lonelyness was portrayed much better in widescreen.

Isn’t it so that the temperature of the object determines how much “leakage” there is in the visible spectrum? A “warm” object emits infrared. If you heat it up some more, it starts emitting red. If you heat it even more, orange is included. Etc, etc. Isn’t that why a lightbulb seems white?

Or, it could litterally mean “vigil ant” (you know, an ant which is vigil). Some translators break up the words into ones it recognises, and comes up with the most stupid translations you can imagine…

About the color of those radiators: Let this on imagination of author. He may choose color he likes. I found only equation for perfect black object and i think radiators don’t need to be black.

As for the sounds in space, i would be very good movie, if the movements of spaceships were made according to music. I mean something like non-abstract visualisation of music. I don’t think you are going to make some documentary movie on the biggest battle of last 50 years.

I am for the widescreen as halhgaar has supposed, it would be much more interesting.

Name “Blustitelno” sounds really strange. I think it is adverb and it means something without shifting, transmission or transference. So the name of ship might be бдительный (“Bditelniy”).

halfgaar : This time round, I plan to make very low-poly models to set-up and plan everything. This will make it much easier to do test animations for camera movement. Last time I modelled the scene then animated the camera, which made it impossible to tweak the motion properly because of the vertex count. Careful planning, I hope, will make life much easier this time around. I don’t really like all the planning stuff that much, I feel that it wastes time. But, as I’ve found out, it’s probably incredibly useful.

Widescreen I’m not sure about. It does look more cinematic, but I don’t have a widescreen monitor. IMO, it’s only useful on a large screen. Comparing similar-sized televisions, one widescreen and one not, I find the widescreen gives me the impression that a lot of the picture has been cut off. But, on the other hand, I once tried a sort of widscreen render and I quite liked the effect. So I’ll experiment with that. Good idea by the way.

Isn’t it so that the temperature of the object determines how much “leakage” there is in the visible spectrum? A “warm” object emits infrared. If you heat it up some more, it starts emitting red. If you heat it even more, orange is included. Etc, etc. Isn’t that why a lightbulb seems white?

Yeah, but I lightbulb’s temperature of 2500C corresponds to red, apparently. Blackbodies emit at all wavelengths, so there’ll be some emission in the yellow and even blue. Hmm… 4 years of physics study and I don’t even know why a lightbulb looks white… But I do not that even candle flames, which are a few hundred C, look yellow-white. I’m hoping there’s a physical reason to make the cooling fins yellow rather than red, because it looks better.

Or, it could litterally mean “vigil ant” (you know, an ant which is vigil). Some translators break up the words into ones it recognises, and comes up with the most stupid translations you can imagine…

Putting “Блюстительно” back into Babelfish the other way leads to “It is vigilant”. I found a better translator that agrees Vigilant should actually be бдительный, just as Myn.pheos says. I’ll use that translator in future.

Myn.pheos : A blackbody is the most perfect radiator because it is the most efficient radiator and radiates at all wavelengths. Make it a different colour and efficiency is lost. I was just wondering not what colour the radiator itself is, but the colour of the light it emits.

It will be set to music, but probably I’ll alter the music to fit the animation, rather than the other way round.

Some updates. The ship with a reflective sail deployed to ward off laser strikes. The unfurling is already animated using softbodies and shape keys, it’s sort of like an umbrella :
http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/Deep%20Space%20Force%20Gallery/slides/Soviet%20Orion%20with%20laser%20shield.html
View of the unlit side of the hull, showing illuminated windows and glowing radiators (or, why bright yellow looks nicer than dull red) :
http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/Deep%20Space%20Force%20Gallery/slides/Dark%20Side%20of%20the%20Hull.html

That about wraps this one up, I couldn’t add much more detail if I wanted to. Next I need to re-organize the .blend to make it easier to work with, then make a lower-poly copy.

halfgaar : This time round, I plan to make very low-poly models to set-up and plan everything. This will make it much easier to do test animations for camera movement. Last time I modelled the scene then animated the camera, which made it impossible to tweak the motion properly because of the vertex count. Careful planning, I hope, will make life much easier this time around. I don’t really like all the planning stuff that much, I feel that it wastes time. But, as I’ve found out, it’s probably incredibly useful.

You can also set the drawmode of a lot of objects to “box” (or whatever it’s called), so that your 3d view can be animated in real time.

Widescreen I’m not sure about. It does look more cinematic, but I don’t have a widescreen monitor. IMO, it’s only useful on a large screen. Comparing similar-sized televisions, one widescreen and one not, I find the widescreen gives me the impression that a lot of the picture has been cut off. But, on the other hand, I once tried a sort of widscreen render and I quite liked the effect. So I’ll experiment with that. Good idea by the way.

I still find widescreen worth it on 4:3 monitors/tv’s. If the area where the black bars are, are filled up with what is actually there in the scene, you will see all kind of irrelevant information. For example, if you try to put two people sitting at oposite ends of a table in the shot in 4:3, you have to zoom out very far.

Here is a snapshot from Star Wars 2, which is a good example of how widescreen can/should be used.

http://img125.imageshack.us/img125/969/xinesnapshot16fg.th.png

About the radiator. Isn’t it more efficient to simply have a part of the hull plating acting as radiators, instead of a few relatively small fins? It would be more robust as well.

I’m not so sure. A rail gun doesn’t need the plasma, it is just hard to avoid. You have two parallel rails that are highly charged. The slugs can be of any conductive material. When the slug is introduced into the breech, it strikes an arc between the two rails, and the Lorentz force accelerates it down the rails. This is simple, but the erosion on the rails is severe.
Go to http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3x.html#kinetic and scroll down to railgun.

No, you misunderstand me. I did not make myself clear :wink: There is a use for tiny ships, but it is uneconomical to have the ships be manned ships. Manned ships need four times the propellant, since they are expected to come back home, while an unmanned drone doesn’t have to. Manned ships are limited in acceleration to what a human can survive, while drones are not. Manned ships need life support systems while drones do not. Manned ships are more expensive than drones so you get more drones for your tiny ship budget.

RE: direction of “down”. Yes, of course. I was trying to explain the common misconception that gravity in spacecraft acts like the Starship Enterprise, where the arrangement looks like a passenger airliner. But the explanation was not directed at you, since you already understand the issues involved.

RE: color of heat radiators. You are probably right. Calculating the color of a heat radiator is above my level of expertise. The radiator notes on my website are from physics experts I know, I have no way of checking their math. Actually, they are talking about color, not brightness.

No, because if you have a nuclear reactor or something even more powerful, the radiators are going to dwarf the ship. A 150 gigawatts power plant is going to need a radiator that is 35,000 square meters in area, say a square two-sided radiator that is 90 meters (about 300 feet) on a side.

OK, back to work !

I’ve dropped the anti-laser sail. Combat lasers, I’m told, will be too narrow and intense for a flimsy sail to be of any use. I also corrected the name. The cooling fins are now shown in the extended position where they can radiate a nice warm red-heat during extended periods of travel. They can be withdrawn during combat but must therefore radiate at a higher temperature, causing them to look a bright yellow (I don’t really know if that’s accurate, but what the hell).

http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/Deep%20Space%20Force%20Gallery/slides/Soviet%20Orion%20final.html

Here is an animation-quality test render. I made a much lower-poly version of the ship which for all intents and purposes looks identical at this distance/image size. The only difference is that it uses less than 1/3rd of the verticies and less than half the memory. I’ll still use the high-poly version (bits of it at least) for close-ups. Also I turned off reflections on the hull and made the texture look better close-up (though you can’t see that here). In this image, each ship took 10-30 seconds to render, placing it firmly in the realms of animatability, if that’s a word.

http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/Deep%20Space%20Force%20Gallery/Fleet%20Test.jpg

I think I’ll probably go for widescreen eventually as it looks more cinematic, though I won’t make a final decision until I start testing animations.

I’m looking forward to your animations. If you’re able to get the camerawork and movement to look professional, instead of fan-film like (like those Star Wars fan films, I would very much like to study it in detail, and like to know how exactly you accomplished it. I could do that with Elephants Dream as well, of course, but shots of things like spaceships peaks my interest particularly.

I advise you to study a whole bunch of movies which show things like spaceships and aircraft, and try to determine what exactly it is that sets them apart from amateur films. The visuals you posted so far have real potential, and it would be a shame if it got lost to bad animation and directing.

BTW, the textures on your planets could use a higher resolution. Low res textures has more of a negative impact than low poly models. And, the planets are lit from two sides. You should only be able to see one side, while the other is pitch black. So not like in Star Trek :slight_smile: The same would go for your ships, actually. The question is, can you achieve nice looking scenes that way…

How to put this… Awesome work! :smiley:

Can’t believe I hadn’t noticed any of this before! Glad to see there’s more than one person around here that would like to see more scientifically-feasible S.F. in their diet! Read Analog (the mini-mag, not the glossy) by any chance?

In nyrathwiz’s article about radiators, you’ll note the size calculations. I’m guess you’ve assuming the more efficient designs with those tiny fins. If your radiators are glowing yellow, you’d better have spares because they’d probably be ablative!

By the way, nyrathwiz - thanks for that great collection of articles you’ve got there!

One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned in the thread though (unless its somewhere in one of the links I haven’t gotten to yet) is a potential shield against rail-gun projectiles. Depending on the design, there is a known type of “force field” which could at least help absorb some kinetic energy - a magnetic hysteresis field. For the curious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hysteresis

The idea is that if a magenetic rail-gun has been used to accellerate the projectile, then the projectile has to be a magnetic material (like plain old iron). So, if the ship has a large enough magnetic field surrounding it, when the projectile comes zipping in, it will exactly reverse the effect - a magnetic field will be created in the projectile. (Pretty sure that Niven’s used that before in his stories.) The induced magnetism’s polarity will oppose the ship’s magnetic field, and just like two toy magnets, they will feel a force attempting to push them apart. Since the projectile is far lighter than the ship, it will slow down.

The cool part is that the faster the project is travelling, the stronger the induced field, and the more the field will force the missle to “brake”. The danger of a projectile is related to its velocity, so any amount of kinetic energy that the “shield” bleeds off would help. Then armour-plating could hopefully take care of the remaining danger, for awhile! (just had a “bird shot”-like mental sound/image of the results from a target’s point of view “Is it hailing outside?” ;))

There are numerous problems, of course. The numbers might not crunch, so it may have been abandoned. Hysteresis does have a “lag”. A rail-gun might be able to accelerate it so that the field would not slow it enough. The field would have to be big=strong=lots of power=heat. Too much bombardment could overload the magnetic power generators, so you’d prefer a separate power source. (Shades of Trek… “The shield generat’rs are down, cap’n!”) You might want to run it at an alternating high-frequency - possibly crush the projectile?

Probably need some kind of Farraday cage arrangement (ship-in-a-bird-cage!) which would be easily damaged, like the radiators. Or else an outer shell - apparently you can have multiple layers for magnetic shielding to improve it. Not sure how much this applies, but don’t feel like buying it ATM :slight_smile:
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=1519937

Need shielding on the ship from their own shield… hull might be enough if its very conductive. Also its possible that most of the mass of the projectile could be non-(or poorly) magnetic material, or that the magnetic part is ejected or decoupled from the main mass - if so, the majority of the kinetic energy would zip on through.

A comment for the physics-ally challenged about “artificial gravity”.
Rotating the ship to create artificial gravity, as Rhysy mentioned, is also not feasible during combat - or any other significant maneuvering because the ship would act like a giant gyroscope, the maneuvering rockets would be spinning as they try to fire, etc etc. You would have to “de-spin” before you could change course - not a good idea during a battle.

Also, in case you hadn’t heard, they think they’ve solved the problem that has stalled fusion reactor development - the magnetic bottle pinching effect, so you can safely include a tokomak at least :slight_smile:
Now, where was that… odd. Can’t find it? Ooo… lots of cool stuff recently though! There was the potential nanotube capacitor battery.
The first-ever Heinlein Prize winner, X-prize founder www.heinleinprize.com/prize/1stprize.htm
NASA Holds Competition to Develop Space Vehicles freescienceonline.blogspot.com/
eh… sorry getting too far O.T. :o