realism level: why are there pilots?

#1
So why are there pilots rather than drones or missiles in this universe?

There is no horizon in space so there is no reason the fighters couldn't just be remote controlled drones or even just autonomous AI. These would be able to withstand higher gforces than a human and would not require a life support system (extra weight) or a squashy pilot to protect.

I realise realism does not always equal fun but I just want to know somebody has thought of an answer to this question especially as this game focuses o realism so much.
 

Hisnitch

Impeller Staff
Staff member
#2
First off, because why not, Rule of Cool.

Secondly, because human reactions are second to none. Sure, you can code AI to pop flares when it has a missile locked on it's ship, but humans can time it so that they pop flares when they actually need to. Or better yet, they can shoot the missile out of the sky in zero g.

This is actually a huge point during the Clone Wars era, and in Battlestar Galactic: Yes, you can overwhelm your targets, but when they actually begin activate defenses against you, then it becomes an issue of defending. Plus droids/cylons can't build skill, clones and jedi/humans can.


By activate defenses, I mean employ tactics. Sorry.
 
#3
Rule of cool sure. No pilots, no game, no fun. I wouldn't normally have such high expectations of realism but the devs have made a point of selling the game concept on realism.

Human reactions are not second to none. The ciws is an example of this. It is a gun which shoots missiles out of the sky mainly from ships. The reason we still have fighter pilots is because decisions need to be made over the horizon away from command centres. With the eurofighter, pilots' reactions are too slow to control the aircraft and require assistance by a computer.

Computers can build skills too. They are software updates. New drones fly as if they are fully experienced pilots too as they always start with the best software.

Your using examples from fiction for why drones wouldn't be effective. Stars Wars and battlestar galactic are both great fun but I don't think they can really be used to prove your point since they aren't real.

The other issue is that drones do not have a biological limit on acceleration like humans do while also being lighter due to no life support systems.

Also don't think fighters as a concept make sense in space. You just need a few missiles like this one https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprint_(missile and suddenly fighters are irrelevant. It wouldn't need to be nuclear it would just need to hit it's target. If need be it could break up deliberately and become an expanding cloud of debris moving at 3.4km/second.


All that said I would ignore these huge problems with the setting if the game is fun. I was just hoping they had come up with an excuse for this.
 

Jaxley

Well-Known Member
#4
I think that keeping human pilots adds an element of drama and risk to combat. A drone can always be replaced with another drone. Not sure of there will be pilot skill advancement though.
 

10thTARDIS

Moderator
Staff member
Alpha Squadron
QA Tester
#5
ECM (including jamming and hacking) are going to be major pieces of the gameplay. While I believe there will be some choices of drones at some point in the game, it's likely that they'll quickly be taken out by the countermeasures from other players.

Missiles, both nuclear and conventional, are already in the game or are planned to be shortly; so are various forms of kinetic weaponry including sandcasters (which will create that expanding cloud of debris you mention).

Keeping pilots in the cockpit is a deliberate and realistic choice by the devs. I suggest you read their full explanation here - it's quite a good read, and I suspect it will address most of your questions.
 

10thTARDIS

Moderator
Staff member
Alpha Squadron
QA Tester
#7
They really have. After talking to the devs over the past two-ish years, I'm convinced they've thought of everything.
 

Togg

New Member
#8
Having been in more than a few gunfights (Both airborne and ground side) i can definitively say gunfights are more art than science (more feel than than fact).

and until we have emotive computing, HUMANS will trump computers.
 

DFX2KX

New Member
#9
As to why one would have fighter pilots over drones? Any drone with external communications can be interfered with. Even if in practicality that'd be next to impossible with even a basic understanding of encryption practices, I'll handwave that.

Today, humans are preferred over pure computers mainly on account of reliability. The 'emotive' nature of humans is actually something the militaries of today are already getting annoyed with, so I am not convinced that'd be seen as an advantage 200 years hence.

However, there is one area where humans have the edge... processing power per dollar. A computer that can be nearly as adaptable as a human is doable, certainly those that can out do us flying a fighter certainly exist. A good system like this is rather expensive, however. So that investment would be better spent on 4 or 5 much cheaper manned craft, with essentially expendable meat computers.
 
#10
Why is it so important to have pilots in games? Could we not fly craft "remotely" in a game world? Is it simply the fantasy of being top fighter dude is so strongly ingrained into flight sims no one wants to make a game without them?
 

10thTARDIS

Moderator
Staff member
Alpha Squadron
QA Tester
#11
Why is it so important to have pilots in games? Could we not fly craft "remotely" in a game world? Is it simply the fantasy of being top fighter dude is so strongly ingrained into flight sims no one wants to make a game without them?
As has been mentioned above and in other places, hacking and electronics warfare is planned to be a large part of the game. You can't rely on something that's being controlled remotely-- look at the drone the United States lost over Iran a couple years back if you want proof of that. If you want to make sure that your fighters can't be hacked, controlled, or jammed by your enemy, you need to have a pilot inside it.
 

David Wessman

Impeller Staff
Staff member
#12
We prefer to have pilots in the cockpit for a number of reasons:
  1. Ken Burnside's Zeroth Law of Space Combat: Science fiction fans relate more to human beings than to silicon chips.
  2. Pilots and crew can be captured and ransomed (this can be very profitable)
  3. We can portray the affects of space combat on humans in realistically grisly ways that no other game has yet attempted (afawk) - think of the red snowflakes in the Ganymede battle scene of Season 2 Episode 7 of The Expanse:
 
#13
you have nuclear weapons, I think you underestimate the radiation pulse generated by a space nuclear burst, INSTANTLY LEATHAL!!!, an AI core can be hardened much more easily then a fleshy type and can handle more radiation to boot
 

10thTARDIS

Moderator
Staff member
Alpha Squadron
QA Tester
#14
Radiation is not instantly lethal except in extraordinarily high doses (and by this, I mean staggeringly high amounts of radiation-- such as an unshielded fuel assembly at twenty feet), and nuclear weapons do not generally output as much radiation as people believe them to. Death may occur in an incredibly painful manner over a period of one or two days, but that isn't very useful when talking about space combat.

Nukes in space just aren't the kill-all weapon that people think that they are. That's one of the reasons why missile interceptors don't use nukes to destroy incoming warheads.
 
#15
on the other hand, Instant incapacitation occurs at ~10 greys (according to atomic rockets) which for a 12.7Kt nuke (which can be less then 30kg according to children of a dead earth, this games fleet comanding older cousin), using rems/200= Grays, 10 Grays occurs at 630m (according to nukemap) AT SEA LEVEL, more of the explosion is converted to hard radiation in space extending the instant radius up, 630m is long enough to avoid ERA and other last instant defenses and ensure kills even if their is late flare or other countermeasure deployment, neutron radiation and gamma radiation is HARD to shield aganist, Li-6 and Gd-157 can stop MOST of the radiation tough the Li-6 will be transmuted into (radioactive) tritium
Radiation is not instantly lethal except in extraordinarily high doses (and by this, I mean staggeringly high amounts of radiation-- such as an unshielded fuel assembly at twenty feet), and nuclear weapons do not generally output as much radiation as people believe them to. Death may occur in an incredibly painful manner over a period of one or two days, but that isn't very useful when talking about space combat.

Nukes in space just aren't the kill-all weapon that people think that they are. That's one of the reasons why missile interceptors don't use nukes to destroy incoming warheads.
also the russian A-135 ABM system around Moscow uses nuclear intercepters, the American SAFEGUARD ABM system used nuclear missiles as well (Nike [can't rememeber which Nike missile] and Sprint). nukes are also more splashy then other missile warheads, a nuclear shaped charge has low spread, nuclear bomb-pumped lasers are lasers, fragmenting warheads quickly spread to uselessness and are hard countered by wipple shields, KKVs impact and kill, same with HESH, HEAT fires a jet of copper which doesn't spread out very much either
 

David Wessman

Impeller Staff
Staff member
#16
on the other hand, Instant incapacitation occurs at ~10 greys (according to atomic rockets) which for a 12.7Kt nuke (which can be less then 30kg according to children of a dead earth, this games fleet comanding older cousin), using rems/200= Grays, 10 Grays occurs at 630m (according to nukemap) AT SEA LEVEL, more of the explosion is converted to hard radiation in space extending the instant radius up, 630m is long enough to avoid ERA and other last instant defenses and ensure kills even if their is late flare or other countermeasure deployment, neutron radiation and gamma radiation is HARD to shield aganist, Li-6 and Gd-157 can stop MOST of the radiation tough the Li-6 will be transmuted into (radioactive) tritium
also the russian A-135 ABM system around Moscow uses nuclear intercepters, the American SAFEGUARD ABM system used nuclear missiles as well (Nike [can't rememeber which Nike missile] and Sprint). nukes are also more splashy then other missile warheads, a nuclear shaped charge has low spread, nuclear bomb-pumped lasers are lasers, fragmenting warheads quickly spread to uselessness and are hard countered by wipple shields, KKVs impact and kill, same with HESH, HEAT fires a jet of copper which doesn't spread out very much either
We're addressing these issues from a few angles. First, the type and yield of nuclear weapons will be constrained - most warheads will be sub-kiloton. Second, we're considering the implications of some breakthroughs in biotechnology and therapeutics (based on research into radiation-resistant extremophiles - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23271672), as well as improved shielding.
 
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