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I-War technical FAQ (tekhi-neee-kal)

v 0.3 - last updated 11-AUG-99 5.46PM GMT

Wrote up by : FoamBrick [ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]


Contributers : Firstly much Kudos to Stephen Robertson and James Moore for taking the time (most likely at their own expense) on the Message board to answer our technical questions I feel its adds alot of depth to the I-War universe at our end.

And : To all those who asked the questions and contributed to the threads in particular - Nanoprobe, Tarid, Andrew, Starjunky, RedWolf, Admiral Brett, Quarter Master McDuff, Indie, Hotfood, ShitHot, SilverJack, Android 33, Kschang, Hawk Mk2, Mad Squirrel, myself and plenty of others who Ive neglected to mention.. Send me a can of whoopass and Ill get your name in this list ASAP.

Note : Ive more often than not drastically cut down on the size of the question post for the sake of simplicity in finding the type of question you would want answered. Also yes this is horrifically messy, erm I blame the sun and stuff shining in through the window... It will be neatened up considerably before Ive hit v1.0 (if I ever do)


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Q.) How does the ring system work, in particular how does it power the PBCs?

A.) The ring provides all the power for the ship by sending charged particles round and round through accelerator coils until they hit a neutronium target and fuse, creating energy. The PBCs tap the charged particles from the ring and send them as a semi-coherent bolt out of the PBC nozzle. Because charged particles tend to repel each other you get an approx 8km range per bolt. The fuel injected into the ring is 'liquified fusion premix'. There's more than enough for as many shots as you would require on a typical patrol mission, in addition to the power required to run the thrusters (Which also use plasma tapped from the main ring). Obviously the Dreadnaught gets refuelled between each mission, so you never have to worry about running out of fuel in a mission. ( SR/PS )

A2.) Most of the charge on the PBC is neutralised on the barrel, but enough remains to cause the bolts to loose coherency and dissipate, resulting in the game concept of a weapons ‘half range’ While Antimatter PBC bolts are possible you’d need to sweep the whole unit ‘clean’ of stray matter otherwise it’ll neutralise and explode. It’s not something you could jury rig, but a dedicated A-PBC is possible. You’d need to fire a laser beam at the target, energising any matter in the bolts path to clear the way, them discharge the ‘bolt’ of antimatter (In the Original spec for IWAR an antimatter weapon was considered, nicknamed ‘The Antimatter Peashooter’. Sadly, it never got implemented. It’s already on the weapons list ) While ‘Liquefied Fusion Premix’ hasn’t really been clarified, its most probably a mixture of liquefied hydrogen / deuterium / tritium. D/T Fusion generates 80.4 Kt of energy per kg fused, which should be more than enough to run a ship like the Dreadnaut. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) How do stealth ships in I-War work? And whys the sensor detection rate so low?

A.) Stealth In I WAR The sensor systems used by most of the ships rely on Infrared radiation, Gravitic disturbance and Optical tracking to locate and ID Ships. The Gravitic systems allow the location of planets, LaGrange points and other ships jump signatures. (the distinctive pulse caused when a ship jumps via capsule space) The IR emissions of a ship in space are due to the ship expelling heat and plasma. The problem with space is that it’s a vacuum, so while it can be very cold, you have to expel heat by radiation. Running a high power fusion power plant produces a lot of waste heat, which has to go somewhere.
Optical considerations include reflecting light from your surroundings and occluding stars. Advanced sensor systems can optically track the stars around them and spot any ships that block them off. (This system is usually used on Cruisers rather than the smaller ships)A matt black 99.9999% non reflective ship would be very hard to spot Most ships also have a navigation beacon that carries their name and ID codes, with a range of about 15km
In combat, most ships use a High power Radar. This ‘illuminates’ the ship and all around it, with a return proportional to their size and profile. This can be reduced using current stealth technology, but this doesn’t eliminate the radar signature, just reduces it. Total stealth needs a completely radar absorbent material. Current (IWAR) Stealth uses a porous carbon diamondoid ceramic, each pore a channel down into a series of chambers. The radar signal isn’t returned, it is reflected down the channels into the chambers, loosing energy at each reflection. The absorbent panels need constant cooling, but are the most effective means to eliminate your radar signature ( JM/PS )

A2.) In IWAR sensors are usually a combination of passive IR / gravimetric sensors and active radar / lidar for scanning. You use IR sensors to detect the hot gases expelled by the ships exhausts, optical sensors to track star occlusion, passive radar detection to detect radar users and a full spectrum EM detection system to pick up any other reflected energies. Magnetic anomaly detectors are used for detailed ship and object scans, but are usually short ranged. Gravimetric sensors detect Lagrange points and ships in LDS at long distances Using the current equations
A ship ‘dead in the water’ is only visible at about 276km.
A ship accelerating at 100m/s/s is visible at 1195 km.
220m/s/s is spotted at 1773km.
At near the speed of light in LDS you can be seen 2 million Km away
Once a ship gets within 14km you pick up the IFF signal (you get the allegiance colours and name) To cut down on your sensor signature down, most of the game you’re running on the passives only. Only when you’re plotted to use an active scan do you switch over to the full sensors. Active sensors are not part of the game play (a pity really) Modern sensors and weapons mean that activating a radar system is like switching on a target beacon for all the ships around you. Most military ships only do this if they’re defending an area and need to see everything coming. Stealth is possible, with absorbent / reflective hulls that scatter your active sensor returns, 99.9999% matt black non reflective hulls and internal heat sinks to absorb waste heat and baffles to prevent IR emissions. A drive system that expels cool gas rather than plasma reduces your emissions. The problem is heat build up. With the heat baffling and the absorbent hull the ship rapidly overheats, so it can’t stay stealthy for long. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Why is there external sound in I-War when there is no sound in space?

A.) The Sound in I WAR is a combination of hull vibration, vapour cloud and impact shock and the intuitive sound based placement / recognition system fitted to the bridge. You can hear an indication of how fast someone is going, (useful when velocities aren’t directly obvious) when they fire and other environmental information. This information would overload any text or graphical display, so the sound system uses a ‘free’ sense to transfer information. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) On looking at the Dreadnaught near the heaksink assembly theres what appears to be a hinge that would allow the engine to pitch, what is this?

A.) The cylindrical design is part of the reactor housing, rather than being a hinge. There was once an idea to have the heatsink expand as it had to dump more heat, but that was dropped at an early stage of game development. The main engines were never designed to pitch. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) If the ships in I-War can jump from and to any point they choose along the starchart then why was the Toliman point so important in the intro?

A.) This is the current theory on LaGrange points and the Capsule drive.The Drive allows jumping from place to place, but is limited by several factors.Gravity.
Mass to be moved.Distance covered.All of these contribute to the Power requirements to trigger the jump.All jump are triggered in the area of a LaGrange point, as the gravitational forces of nearby stellar bodies cancel, producing an area of 'zero' gravity. The Mass to be moved is important to all of the freigthers, as the more they can move, the more profit they make on each jump.Distance is the real back breaker, as its not a linear relationship. Double the distance and you'll quadruple (or more) the power requirements.

Most Freighters can only manage short jumps, as they are configured with moving mass cheaply in mind. For this reason, interstellar trade routes used by supply ships, tankers etc have become established. Military ships are overpowered for their size, and can jump from weaker points, or travel greater distances, allowing them to travel from point to point off the 'main' routes. This is the reason that the Toloman point was so important, as it was the 'route of least resistance' for transporting goods to support Earth. Without the route, most of the frieghters wouldn't be able to make the jump to Earth and it'd collapse. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Why didnt the Navy simply use a Blocker like the Indies did at the Toliman point when they were blockading Midway?

A.) Good question. The problem is that the Navy have to let their vital stuff through, and even FTL messages and codes can be hacked, copied, coded or jammed. They'd have to be very careful to now upset the neutrals. (also, it'd mess up the plot) ( JM/PS )

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Q.) If ideally all a capsule jump needs is low gravity, why cant you jump from and to deepspace locations?

A.) While interstellar space IS in low enough gravity to Capsule jump, there is a little problem of accuracy. LaGrange points are distinct points and so you are able to target them easily, and jump to and from then with little difficulty. The presence of gravity wells around the L Point supports the formation of the jump field itself, allowing a stable hyperspacial tunnel to be formed. Interstellar space doesn’t have the same restrictions or gravitational supports. While a capsule drive will function, the jump field will spread out and collapse in microseconds. No one has successfully managed a jump from interstellar space, although it is theoretically possible. You MAY jump, you may not. You could end up inside a star, or an atom, or be thrown light years off course. It is possible, with a huge ring of gravity well generators, to provide a support structure for a capsule jump in interstellar space, but the energy requirements and resources mean that no one has managed to build such a structure. (yet…) ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Ive noticed some of the Cruisers have large cyrindical sections on their main hull, are these centrifuges? Do ships in I-War have a gravity solution?

A.) The I war universe does have Artificial Gravity, and most ships are fitted with a 1G floorgrid to keep things Earth Normal. All military ships use AG systems, as a rotating section is a liability in combat. (it acts as a gyroscope, making it harder to manuver, and will tear apart if it becomes damaged and unbalanced). Most large civilian stations use a rotating section as its a lot less power intensive to use centrifugal force.

Also, the floorgrid acts as part of the inertial reduction system that reduces felt acceleration in the ship on thruster manuvers. ( the dread can pull a LOT of G's when it turns fast.) In LDS the system isn't needed. The LDS microjump moves the ship and surrounding space, so you are effectively stationary. This makes travel Inertialess, allowing near impossible manuvering. ( JM / PS )

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Q.) Why do the Destroyers weapons fire so quickly, are they different than the conventional PBCs which the Dreadnaught uses?

A.) The Gatling PBC is the rapid fire weapon used by destroyers, cruisers and the C Fighters. The packs a severe punch but suffers from power demands. The fighter version uses ammo rather than a high power ring system that supplies the destroyer version ( JM / PS )

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Q.) What is the Bridge layout of the Destroyer like?

A.) A destroyer’s bridge has 6 stations and a command station. Of these, You have a NAV / Helm, Engineering, three Gunnery stations (one for each of the gatling turrets) and a Tactical station with a master WEP view, allowing the co-ordination of weapons fire and observation of the whole battlefield. (aka ‘The Tank’) ( JM/PS )

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Q.) How are the turrets on the Destroyer fed?

A.) Ammo feeds use flexible linkages, similar to modern chain feeds for automatic weapons. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Does the Destroyer use a collider ring like the Corvette?

A.) Destroyers use several rings, a main one for power and main functions and several secondary rings for the weapons. The Harvard lost its Starboard Gatling and dedicated ring, which overloaded and took out the main Ring. The remaining secondary had to be switched to systems and life support. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Why are the Destroyers, Tugs and Cruisers exhaust plumes different colours?

A.) Different booster elements and hotter running temperatures. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Could you describe the C-Fighters ammo?

A.) The rounds for the Fighter Gatlings are ceramic cylinders containing Superconductor loops pumped to High Voltages. The round is fed into the accelerator and discharged – the superconductor and casing are plasmarised by the massive voltage release and the accelerator draws power from the discharge to compress the plasma into a coherent bolt and accelerate the bolt from the weapon. The casing is completely consumed. ( JM/PS )

A2.) Gatling cannon are essentially unlimited in the original game for C-Fighters, but in Defiance they are now limited to 500 rounds, in 100 bursts. (each shot is a burst of 5 separate shots). You can very easily change this in the script. ( SR/PS )

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Q.) What does the C-Fighter use as a propellant?

A.) C Fighters use an array of superconductor loops as batteries to store the power to plasmaries the reaction mass they carry (usually any solid will do. Water ice is readily available, but metallic fuels are denser) The plasma is then electro-magnetically ejected out of the fighters exhaust at high speeds, propelling it. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) The fighter in the Evaculation mission was a S-type fighter, was that a forerunner to the C-Fighter? Did the Indies get their S-Fighter through the fighter project?

A.) When we released evacuation as a demo I modifed the script so it included a C-Fighter you could fly. When it came to releasing the game we thought that at the time that Evacuation came in the story-arc the C-Fighters were still experemental, so there wouldn't be any around.

So we changed it to an S-Fighter in Navy livery. The idea being that the S-Fighter was an early fighter design abandoned by the Navy in favour of the new C-Fighter, and the Indies - through their mysterious friends - aquired some modified s-fighters. ( SR/PS )

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Q.) What is the structure that the Space Elevator is attached to, and wouldnt the cables tangle or twist?

A.) The Space Elevator (aka The Beanstalk) goes to a dedicated ‘cable head’ station. This is in a stable orbit, so the cables are held parallel and rigid (and if it does start to twist the station would use its thrusters to hold it steady) ( JM/PS )

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Q.) What is the Space Elevator made out of?

A.) The only materials with would theoretically have enough tensile strength are carbon – fullerene macrotubes. Formed from tubes of carbon atoms, they would be (at equal volume) one fifth the weight of steel cable and have a tensile strength 90 to 100 times higher than steel. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) This lets it reach into high orbit?

A.) Beanstalks -Ideally you never want a beanstalk wrapped around your planet – with a population like Earth’s it would be a catastrophe of monumental proportions. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) How does the registration system in I-War work?

A.) The first number of a ship registry number is the ship type.
Cruisers are1— prefixes (Brazen is 103)
Destroyers are 2— prefixes (the Harvard was 222)
Corvettes are 3— prefixes (Dreadnaut was 301)
Patcoms are 4- - prefixes
The last two are the ship number. Once the two digit registries are allocated, then three digit numbers are used. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Ive seen this mentioned in some of the early Messageboard threads - SLATs what are they?

A.) SLATS (If I remember correctly) are LDS speed weapons, some mounting antimatter warheads. Launched at great distances they rapidly reach near light speed, making then Very difficult to spot when incoming ( JM/PS )

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Q.) (after reading some old posts about them) Flak cannons in I-War, how are they coming along?

A.) The LDSi Flak barrage? You can do this with an LDSI field centred on the cruiser using NO_LDS Cruiser,ON This will Lock down LDS travel in the area around the cruiser ( JM/PS )

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Q.) The image of the L-Point shows it to be a disc, is this accurate, and if so could a ship considerably larger than the disc jump?

A.) The HUD artefact is centred on where the ship sensors place the LaGrange point, so it’s fairly accurate As long as a ship is centred on the point it can form a capsule and jump – but the power to diameter ratios start requiring too much power once you’re taking up the whole point. A purpose build ship with a LOT of power the size of maybe twice the point could jump – but it would have to shut down all of its other systems to have the power free to enable the jump drive. Anything bigger than that is just impractical – that’s why space stations are usually modular and assembled on site. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) How big is the Commonwealth fleet and what is its composition?

A.) Ship types -Cruisers, Destroyers, Corvettes, Patcoms, Tugs and Engineer vessels, Carriers, Fighters, Troop carriers and LST’s, Hospital ships, Bases, Gunstars and remotes, Others -Numbers were never really set out. The fleet is predominantly Patcoms and Corvettes. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) How old is the corvette?

A.) The Corvette was first used in 2190 (Type 1) -The Corvette design was later overhauled to produce the Dreadnaught class and several other military and commercial variants. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Whats its hull composition?

A.) ‘The outer layers of the hull are diamond, nano-deposited onto the surface. Laced across the outer hull layers is a superconductor lattice that supports the LDS fields and acts as an energy conductor. This acts as a very hard outer layer, and as a very effective conductor of heat and energy. The first impact of a particle beam dumps energy into the surface, which is spread over an area by the conduction. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Does the XL-PBC use ammo like it was shown in the briefing animation?

A.) The PBC-XL uses ammunition, and usually carries 50 rounds. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Do the Cruisers with XL-PBCs use ammunition?

A.) Cruiser mounted PBC-XL’s still use ammunition, they just carry a Lot more than a corvette. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) The Puffin isnt the usual disc shaped craft - is that because it has a non-circular collider ring?

A.) The puffins ring is round, but the large forward section and fuel tanks make the ship look more oval. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Why do all the smaller ships look so similar?

A.) All corvette designs are closely related – in fact most ships in IWAR are, as they all have to incorporate the Ring. The smaller ships are basically fusion torus’s with systems bolted onto them ( JM/PS )

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Q.) We know from the manual one of the companies that make ships in the game (NSO) - are there many more?

A.) The navy usually put out a design brief to the shipbuilding companies, who model and make prototype ships for the Navy to test and choose which design they like. This system has lots of room for politics, backstabbing and bribery. NSO are one of the biggest Shipbuilders. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) The Navy fleet is said in the intro to have 3000 ships, how does this compair to the Indie fleet?

A.) The Indie fleet varies wildly in number – mostly Puffin tugs with weapons retrofitted. It is Nowhere near as strong as the Navy – that’s why its fighting a guerrilla war. The Navy has to spread ships across the whole volume of space they control, so the Indies can usually throw enough ships at a single target to stand a chance of victory. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) What do the structures on the sides of the Destroyers do - the ones which look like air-intakes?

A.) They mount Sensors, comms gear and retros, though you can fit fixed-forward weapons there ( JM/PS )

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Q.) How is the Commonwealth Navy rank structure sorted?

A.) I’d say the Navy has a command structure similar to the Modern Navy –
Fleet Admiral, Admiral, Vice admiral, Rear admiral, Commodore, Captain, Captain (Junior Grade), Commander, Lieutenant Commander, Lieutenant, Lieutenant (Junior Grade), Ensign. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) What are the differences between the Front line and the normal cruisers? - Are they a different class than the Danube?

A.) ‘Front line’ and ‘second line’ cruisers are my justification for IWAR cruisers being quite weak in terms of firepower – a destroyer can put more fire onto a target. The Cruisers you see in IWAR are usually older or refitted versions of the Danube class, used for patrols, sensor platforms or fighter carriers.
The ‘Front Line’ cruisers are fitted with more weapons and don’t have gaps in their fire arcs. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Whats the numerical balance between the 'second line' and 'front line' Cruisers?

A.) About equal numbers of front line to second line cruisers. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Why do some ships have a *very* large amount of people on the command crew?

A.) Command crews do include comms staff, fighter control and gunnery crews etc, but they also include the secondary command posts throughout the ship – if the bridge is destroyed sections of the ship can run themselves from auxiliary bridges (that’s why CRW hits don’t cripple a ship, just lower its effectiveness) (.JM/PS )

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Q.) The command module for the Dreadnaught is meant to be interchangable for Patcoms, do they have the same internal layout?

A.) The Patcom and Corvette use the same standard command section interface, allowing any module of the NSO command section range to dock – but Patcoms don’t have full 360 arc weapons, so WEP can be handled by COM or NAV. Some models of command section are made with only 3 consoles to accommodate this. ( JM/PS )

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Q.) Is there any large scale weaponary for the Capital ships in I-War, cap ship missiles and the like?

A.) Capital scale weapons and Ortillary haven’t really been touched on in IWAR, though they may be developed more fully in I WAR 2. ( JM/PS )

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