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Laser Missile Defense mechanics

#1
Hello!

First time posting here.

I just got done with some research on the Laser Missile Defense mechanics and thought I'd share my findings. I appoligize if this is explained somewhere else or if this is the wrong section of the forum. Also, I'm new to the game, so please feel free to tell me if I've made any mistakes. Smile

Testing was done in alpha version 1.923

When you're building a Laser Missile Defense system you should always use 4 Q switches, but you only need 3 stabilisers and 2 doublers. I'll list the reasons below.

Regardless of the range listed when viewing the Multipurpose Laser block, the maximum range of the Laser Missile Defense is exactly (or atleast very close to) 500 meters (500 blocks). However, the range listed seems like it does matter, but in kind of a confusing way. With low range (below 500), your laser will fire, but when they hit a target beyond the listed range, they won't do any damage. Luckily, the range is dependent on the damage and with 120 damage or more, your range will be well over the range of the lasers, so it's nothing to worry about.

The accuracy of your lasers doesn't seem change regardless of what modules you're adding. However, they do become more accurate the closer a missile gets. Therefore, it seems like they don't have a % chance to hit, but rather rely on something like minute of angle, same as the cannons.

Laser Cavitys both store the power needed to fire your laser and increases the damage it does. Keeping all your cavitys in a single line is best, because, while you'll need a long ship/fortress, it requires less block space overall. The damage isn't effected when you split up your cavitys in to different lines. However, in addition to the connectors to connect the lines to your lasers, you will need a new coupler with 4 new Q switches and 3 more stabilisers (in total, 8 blocks or more), for every new line of cavitys you have.
Missiles have about 100 health. I read a post by someone who said that at max range you need 116 damage to still do 100 damage with each hit. I haven't tried to confirm this exact number for myself, but my other experiments seem to support this. The problem is, however, that your damage also decreases when the energy in your cavitys are drained by the lasers. This also means, in order to keep your damage stable, you will want as many Laser Pumps as possible, preferably 4 pumps per cavity, to refill them with power as fast as possible.

You shouldn't use more than 3 Laser Stabilisers, because they become less and less effective the more you use. They also make your lasers require more energy (per shot) the more of them you use. This makes them less efficient in regards to points of damage per points of power used. However, the worst thing about using more than 3 stabilisers is that after the first few shots, your laser pumps won't be able to keep up with the energy drained (even with 4 pumps per cavity). This means while your initial damage will be higher, your damage will actually decrease rather than increase after the first few shots.
Stabilisers only affect the cavity line they are directly connect to, so if you split your cavitys in to different lines, you'll need 3 more stabilisers for each line.

Missiles have 1.5 armor. When your AP is double the armor of the target (1.5 in this case), you will always do full damage. Therefore, you only need 3 AP, which you get from 2 Frequency Doublers, because each doubler will increase your AP by 1 and the Laser Missile Defense starts at 1 AP. This is true even when you have more than 1 laser per system or divide your cavitys in to different lines, because AP is shared between all connected lasers.

Laser Q Switches change your laser from a constant beam to a pulse weapon and with every switch, the energy used per shot decreases. It also changes the color of your beam from blue to green. When a Laser Coupler is connected to a Multipurpose Laser or connector and a cavity, the maximum number of switches per coupler is 4. Due to the inaccuracy of the laser, you should always have 4 Q Switches on every coupler, because the more shots your laser fires, to higher the chance of hitting the missile before it hits you.

To consistently do 100 damage per hit against a constant stream of missiles, with 2 doublers and 3 stabilisers, the number of cavitys (with 4 laser pumps each) you need depends on the number of lasers connected to the same system (provided they are all firing at the same time). Here's a simple list:

1 laser: 9 cavitys (starting at ~130 damage.)
2 lasers: 10 cavitys
3: 12
4: 15
5: 19
6: 24
7: 29
The number of cavitys listed here are the minimum number required to consistently get 100 damage hits, which means you might occasionally get hits below 100 damage. If you really want to be super, extra safe, just add 1 more cavity (with 4 pumps, as they are the important part).
If you need more than 7 missile defense lasers (that will all be firing at the same time), rather than connect them all to the same system, because of the diminishing returns it will require less blocks to divide them into different systems (for example 4+4), than to keep adding to the same system.


Everything I've written is entirely dependent on your ship/fortress having engines capable of providing the power needed by your laser pumps. For example, 6 lasers firing at the same time will require roughly 5000 power, in addition to the power required by your other systems like shields and propulsion.

If you're still here, thanks for sticking with me and I hope you found it useful.
I haven't written this much on a single topic since school. Smile
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#2
This seems like a decent start to the LAMS discussion, covering most of the basic principles of the system. I will however say that using less destabilisers may be better if you are aiming for sustained fire, and would allow for significantly more nodes in a burst fire configuration (like I have setup on my Stryker).

As most missiles are launched in bursts with limited staggering, it can be significantly easier to have your LAMS setup for bursts, and to run off an electrical engine by using an ACB to turn it on when hostile missiles are inbound. Doing so allows you to slowly charge up the LAMS, and run it independent of the ships power which prevents shield flicker or propulsion issues during short bursts of activity, and also provides battery power that could be used for other things when no missiles are targeting you.
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#3
(2016-03-04, 04:16 AM)relic Wrote: Laser Q Switches change your laser from a constant beam to a pulse weapon and with every switch, the energy used per shot decreases. It also changes the color of your beam from blue to green. When a Laser Coupler is connected to a Multipurpose Laser or connector and a cavity, the maximum number of switches per coupler is 4. Due to the inaccuracy of the laser, you should always have 4 Q Switches on every coupler, because the more shots your laser fires, to higher the chance of hitting the missile before it hits you.

This conclusion seem contradictory.

A continuous beam ( 0 Q switches ) fires IIRC 40 times a second, so if you want to maximize how many shots you are firing ( and minimizing overkill damage ), then continuous beam should be the way to go.
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#4
In my testing, I found that decreasing the amount of stabilisers would mean that you needed to either increase the number of cavitys and pumps or remove a laser node, in order to keep getting hits above 100 damage during sustained fire.

Since the cavitys increase both power storage as well as damage and therefore power drain, you're going to need pumps anyway to keep up with the damage. You're right that you could avoid shield flicker with increased storage during short bursts, to avoid flicker, you'd have to use fewer pumps and I'm afraid that your nodes would drain all their storage firing at max range (and missing most shots) which would leave them starving for power under sustained barrage or when targetted by a large swarm of missiles. I suppose this could be countered by limiting your laser's range to around 300 meters where they are much more accurate, but that would leave you vulnerable to faster missiles. I also fear that you might end up with a larger block count than simply maxing out the number of pumps.

I'm going to do some more testing with large amounts of storage, meant for shorter bursts of fire, to see if my fears are unfounded. At the very least, while I think it might take up more storage overall, using fewer pumps would let you make your LAMS flatter, making it easier to hide in armor.

Thank you for your input, Pyro.


(2016-03-04, 01:31 PM)Ixos Wrote: This conclusion seem contradictory.

A continuous beam ( 0 Q switches ) fires IIRC 40 times a second, so if you want to maximize how many shots you are firing ( and minimizing overkill damage ), then continuous beam should be the way to go.
The problem with using a continuous beam is that you're not going to have enough damage per hit to effectively take out a missile. Also, a continuous beam is MUCH more powerhungry than a pulse beam, in regards to points of damage per points of power. Even worse, to keep up with the power drain you're going to need many more pumps, therefore more cavitys, which requires more pumps, etc, etc. You'll end up with a massive block count to reach the same level of performance as a small pulse beam system.

Here's a video showing a comparison between the two systems:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9pcCCqp4SM
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#5
(2016-03-04, 01:42 PM)relic Wrote:
(2016-03-04, 01:31 PM)Ixos Wrote: This conclusion seem contradictory.

A continuous beam ( 0 Q switches ) fires IIRC 40 times a second, so if you want to maximize how many shots you are firing ( and minimizing overkill damage ), then continuous beam should be the way to go.
The problem with using a continuous beam is that you're not going to have enough damage per hit to effectively take out a missile.

Why? There is nothing that prevents you from making a continuous beam laser with 100+ damage.
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#6
Remember than continuous beam fires 5x as 'fast' as 4Q (40/s as opposed to 8/s), so any continuous beam which deals more than ~23 damage (~1/5 of the 116 required for 500m oneshots) will, in terms of sheer potential missiles killed per second, be better than 4Q. On the other hand, 4Q is twice as energy efficient as continuous, so continuous is better employed by larger craft. And of course, if you go for the 116/tick on a continuous laser, it can potentially kill 5x as many missiles as a 'maxed out' 4Q.
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#7
(2016-03-04, 02:07 PM)TheGaiaphage Wrote: Why? There is nothing that prevents you from making a continuous beam laser with 100+ damage.
Nothing is stopping you. However, to get a ~116 damage continuous laser, (with 3 stabilisers) you need 80 cavitys and 190 laser pumps. To power the pumps, you're going to need about 9500 engine power. All that to make a laser that is roughly as effective as a 4-5 pulse laser nodes taking up 15-19 cavitys and 60-80 laser pumps.

(2016-03-04, 02:44 PM)Only Mostly Here Wrote: Remember than continuous beam fires 5x as 'fast' as 4Q (40/s as opposed to 8/s), so any continuous beam which deals more than ~23 damage (~1/5 of the 116 required for 500m oneshots) will, in terms of sheer potential missiles killed per second, be better than 4Q. On the other hand, 4Q is twice as energy efficient as continuous, so continuous is better employed by larger craft. And of course, if you go for the 116/tick on a continuous laser, it can potentially kill 5x as many missiles as a 'maxed out' 4Q.

I can't back up this with facts, but just from unscientific estimation, it seems like a continuous laser is less accurate than a pulse laser.

Actually, just did some testing and it seems I'm wrong about that. They seem to be equally accurate (or inaccurate).
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#8
(2016-03-04, 01:42 PM)relic Wrote: In my testing, I found that decreasing the amount of stabilisers would mean that you needed to either increase the number of cavitys and pumps or remove a laser node, in order to keep getting hits above 100 damage during sustained fire.

Since the cavitys increase both power storage as well as damage and therefore power drain, you're going to need pumps anyway to keep up with the damage. You're right that you could avoid shield flicker with increased storage during short bursts, to avoid flicker, you'd have to use fewer pumps and I'm afraid that your nodes would drain all their storage firing at max range (and missing most shots) which would leave them starving for power under sustained barrage or when targetted by a large swarm of missiles. I suppose this could be countered by limiting your laser's range to around 300 meters where they are much more accurate, but that would leave you vulnerable to faster missiles. I also fear that you might end up with a larger block count than simply maxing out the number of pumps.

I'm going to do some more testing with large amounts of storage, meant for shorter bursts of fire, to see if my fears are unfounded. At the very least, while I think it might take up more storage overall, using fewer pumps would let you make your LAMS flatter, making it easier to hide in armor.

Thank you for your input, Pyro.


(2016-03-04, 01:31 PM)Ixos Wrote: This conclusion seem contradictory.

A continuous beam ( 0 Q switches ) fires IIRC 40 times a second, so if you want to maximize how many shots you are firing ( and minimizing overkill damage ), then continuous beam should be the way to go.
The problem with using a continuous beam is that you're not going to have enough damage per hit to effectively take out a missile. Also, a continuous beam is MUCH more powerhungry than a pulse beam, in regards to points of damage per points of power. Even worse, to keep up with the power drain you're going to need many more pumps, therefore more cavitys, which requires more pumps, etc, etc. You'll end up with a massive block count to reach the same level of performance as a small pulse beam system.

Here's a video showing a comparison between the two systems:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9pcCCqp4SM

I think you misunderstood my point somewhat. I'd suggested setting up a battery and electrical engine system that would provide additional power for your LAMS systems when missiles are inbound (my Stryker has a set of 4 E.Engines that can burn some of its Railgun's energy supplies to generate up to 14K additional power per second [if I remember correctly off the top of my head] when the engines can't cover the full load).

This allows for a much heavier LAMS system than it could otherwise be installed, with the limitations of only being able to run for long bursts before it starts to kill the Railgun's firepower.

A setup like this will however take a short while to recharge to full potency, but for fast craft or those that make attack runs it is often preferable to one which can run constantly at a lower level.

Again from memory here, I think the setup I used was 13-14 cavities, 2 freq. doublers, 1 destabiliser and 4 pumps per cavity. I have 3 such chains powering 9 nodes each, with the potential to cross connect the lasers with transceivers (at the cost of some armour).
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#9
(2016-03-04, 03:05 PM)Pyrotech51 Wrote: I think you misunderstood my point somewhat. I'd suggested setting up a battery and electrical engine system that would provide additional power for your LAMS systems when missiles are inbound ...

Ah, that does make more sense. I had a similar idea to that and will probably test it out in the future.

So that would be controlled by a few ACBs configured with "power fraction" inputs, set to start up and shut down electric engines?

EDIT: You said this in your first reply, I appologize for misunderstanding.
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#10
(2016-03-04, 04:16 AM)relic Wrote: You shouldn't use more than 3 Laser Stabilisers, because they become less and less effective the more you use. They also make your lasers require more energy (per shot) the more of them you use. This makes them less efficient in regards to points of damage per points of power used. However, the worst thing about using more than 3 stabilisers is that after the first few shots, your laser pumps won't be able to keep up with the energy drained (even with 4 pumps per cavity). This means while your initial damage will be higher, your damage will actually decrease rather than increase after the first few shots.
Stabilisers only affect the cavity line they are directly connect to, so if you split your cavitys in to different lines, you'll need 3 more stabilisers for each line.

This isn't entirely true. 4 laser pumps will always keep up with any number of destabilizers, as long as you only have one laser connected to the system. That is unless the laser system has changed since November.

Edit: To be more precise, 4 laser pumps will always fully charge a cavity between shots. What the destabilizer does is use up more of that energy, (which reduces the amount of energy that additional lasers connected to the same system have available) but it doesn't reduce the amount of energy available for the next shot. Lasers fire in "volleys" where each combiner connected to the system is calculated in sequence and only after all lasers have fired does the cavity recharge. That is why hooking a bunch of Anti-missile lasers up to the same system is usually a bad idea, because each laser you add will be weaker than the ones before it.


(2016-03-04, 04:16 AM)relic Wrote: To consistently do 100 damage per hit against a constant stream of missiles, with 2 doublers and 3 stabilisers, the number of cavitys (with 4 laser pumps each) you need depends on the number of lasers connected to the same system (provided they are all firing at the same time). Here's a simple list:

1 laser: 9 cavitys (starting at ~130 damage.)
2 lasers: 10 cavitys
3: 12
4: 15
5: 19
6: 24
7: 29
The number of cavitys listed here are the minimum number required to consistently get 100 damage hits, which means you might occasionally get hits below 100 damage. If you really want to be super, extra safe, just add 1 more cavity (with 4 pumps, as they are the important part).
If you need more than 7 missile defense lasers (that will all be firing at the same time), rather than connect them all to the same system, because of the diminishing returns it will require less blocks to divide them into different systems (for example 4+4), than to keep adding to the same system.

These numbers seem off (again, unless the laser system has significantly changed in the last 4 months). According to my spreadsheet calculator, with 3 destabs with 9 cavities you would indeed get 130 damage with one laser. But in order to get 100 damage on 2 lasers, you'd need 17 cavities. For 3 lasers, you'd already need 41 and to power 7 Anti-missile lasers with that setup you'd need 1435!

Basically, the required Nr. of cavities goes up exponentially. Using 3 destabilizers makes it a lot worse, because destabilizers and multiple LAMS lasers don't mix. Destabilizers increase both alpha damage and DPS at the cost of minimum damage, and minimum damage is what counts for LAMS.

My old spreadsheet can be found here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...edit#gid=0

From what I read, it should still be correct, but I am not sure.
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