Joint Shield Matrix Prototype MkI

Terran Stellar Navy Forums Command Centre Joint Shield Matrix Prototype MkI

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    Jury-rigged N’Tani tech retrieved from Deserati/Conduti Industrial Combine in Loria I.
    Transcript of some of the comments from the debrief:

    “Joy Tetra”: * Mysterious heat buildup in engineering even when no ship has the shields overpowered
    * Ideally the range would be higher (~8k) to cover all of engagement range
    * I do wanna know what happens if we test it against a ximni dreadnough

    “** Yooey”: System takes the best value from the fleet and applies that shield strength to the facing. That is, we were all getting Apollo’s 33 forward and Sabre’s 20 rear.

    “Forde Swann”: i wanna see lancer engaging a ximni battleship alone, with other ship(s) staying outside enemy arcs and just providing remote shield boost

    “Joy Tetra”: lmk if I’m getting this right: the moment we enable the module, all ship’s current shield values are added up and re-distributed, but all ship’s max shield values become whatever is the highest in the group of ships. And if we take time to charge the shields, all shields will be at the max value of the strongest shield in the group.

    R&D department kindly requests your comments, questions and suggestions about the module.

    Joy Tetra

    The effect of the joint shield matrix can be summarized as follows:

    • While within range, the Communications officer can enable the shield matrix module to automatically join a nearby shield matrix when the ship’s own shields are raised. (Lowered shields cannot be part of a matrix.)
    • While in the matrix, the joined ship’s current shield values are added up and re-distributed across all ships.
    • Maximum shield capacity is increased overall, reaching a value of (number of joined ships) * (highest shield capacity from among joined ships).

    During the simulated test, we have observed the following behaviors:

    • When joining a shield matrix, a ship will observe its current shield percentage drop. This is a result of the total shield capacity increasing, while the current shield value across all ships remains the same. To achieve an overall higher shield value, the shield needs to be charged after joining.
    • Shield damage taken by any ship is re-distributed across all shields. The overall amount of damage stays the same. Notably, this means that if the shields do go down, this will happen to all ships simultaneously, which could lead to precarious situations.
    • While the matrix is active, the shield systems are accumulating heat at all times (even when powered nominally). This needs to be taken into consideration when using this technology. Our engineering officer noted that this would have been really nice to know in advance.
    • The matrix currently has a range of 4k; ships need to be within that range to use the joint shield matrix. However, it is sufficient to be within range of one other ship of the group. Ships forming a line can still form a joint shield matrix as long as any neighboring ships stay within 4k.
    • R&D has clarified that while shield capacity is shared between ships at all times, the effective damage absorption of each shield is still separate, i.e. shield damage reduction due to over-powering is still only effective locally. In practical terms, this means only the ships that are being fired upon should “brace” their shields; if other ships do it it has no effect on the shield damage taken.
    • R&D has also explained that having the matrix active while docked, effectively recharging the entire group’s shield quickly, is not possible in real life. We could only do it in the test due to a simulation bug.

    The following strategic considerations should be made:

    • The joint shield matrix has the biggest theoretical benefit in situations where some ships are directly engaging enemies while others remain out of engagement range (e.g. Kappa).
    • Even when all ships are at engagement range, the matrix can provide a benefit since, if properly charged, the total shield value across all ships is higher than it would be without the matrix.
    • The heat generated by the shield matrix makes it more difficult to sustain “braced” shields. Joint shield operations should probably remain brief for that reason.
    • Losing the joint shield altogether while still engaged should be avoided, since all ships would be left vulnerable at once.
    • The activation of the joint shield matrix is probably a bit too complex to make it useful in emergency situations (such as protecting a tractored ship).
    • Since lowering the shield removes it from the matrix, it is a good quick way to cool down the system if needed, but it comes at the cost of losing any “surplus” shield that was previously gained.
    • To get the full benefit of the shield matrix, some time should be taken to fully charge the joint shield after activation.

    For the next steps, we offer the following comments:

    • The Fleet Captain has noted that a range of 8k (close proximity) would be much more useful for the shield matrix, since our combat formations operate in that range.
    • During the simulation, the shield matrix enabled us to jointly beam down a Ximni battleship before losing shields. Officers have noted that they’d like to try this against a dreadnought.
    • More data on the amount of heat generation incurred by the shield matrix and how long overpowered shields can be sustained is required for tactical considerations. Notably, for the shield matrix to be useful, it should be possible to keep the shield systems at stable heat conditions (using coolant) when they are nominally powered.
    • It is still unclear whether the shield matrix provides a significant advantage over the existing Charlie/Focus Fire tactic. Further tests might be useful, including also tests with other combat formations.
      • In Charlie formation, if the lead ship has tango and the other ships stay behind/out of enemy beam arcs, the lead ship could benefit from the joint shield matrix.
      • In Kappa formation, all ships that focus on drone defense could lend their shields to the lead ship
      • When facing enemies with strong beams and AntiTorp, the shield matrix could provide us the slight edge we need: overall shield value is increased, and we can give all the shields to the ship with the strongest beams to maximize damage output per damage taken.

    In summary, more experiments should be performed to figure out if/how this technology can be effectively used. Some improvements on the technology itself would also not be amiss.


    > Maximum shield capacity is increased overall, reaching a value of (number of joined ships) * (highest shield capacity from among joined ships).

    Clarification: you mean maximum shield capacity of the matrix itself.

    > R&D has also explained that having the matrix active while docked, effectively recharging the entire group’s shield quickly, is not possible in real life. We could only do it in the test due to a simulation bug.

    Correct. R&D informs me that Prototype MkII already includes a safety feature guarding against a resonant cascade scenario, in which station shields fall into resonant frequency with the docked ship, which would be catastrofic.

    The whole crux of this N’Tani technology is in managing the shield frequencies of matrix members and not letting them fall into resonance with each other.
    Station shields have much higher “mass” and are out of safety margines for what the ship-borne defense matrix can effectively dampen.

    Ships which are docked, or were docked in the last 15 seconds, will automatically temporarily disable the local shield matrix generators. No human input required. If the joint shield matrix was ARMed and shields were up during the duration of docking, the matrix will automatically reconnect at earliest possible moment deemed safe by the computer.

    > The activation of the joint shield matrix is probably a bit too complex to make it useful in emergency situations (such as protecting a tractored ship).

    On the contrary, R&D sees some potential of the defense matrix for rescue operations. However, crew training may be required to know how to effectively act in a “panic” scenario.

    Be advised that shield generators being destroyed and/or shields being “at 0” does does not affect the ability to join the shield matrix – only the fact that shields are enabled matters.

    Aideron Tivianne

    Regarding heat buildup of the shield matrix system: further research/practice is needed to determine specifics, but it was my intuition that the additional heat buildup is low enough to be counteracted by about one or at most two units of coolant.
    Practically speaking, even uncooled the time until overheat is long enough for medium-length engagements, and even if one unit of coolant is not technically enough to counteract all heat produced by the matrix, it should still vastly increase the time until overheat (which gives the engineer ample time to either redistribute coolant or inform the CO).
    In short, engineers can likely assume practical heat stability with tho units of coolant in total (one for front shields, one for rear), leaving six units for other systems. Since benefits of additional energy that is fed into a system is non-linear and subject to diminishing returns, this should allow ships to still operate at about 75 – 90 % efficiency (compared to boosted baseline without shield matrix), broadly speaking.

    It should also be noted that the matrix can be switched on intermittently for short amounts of time. This will still redistribute the charge of the shield capacitors, while being very light on heat generation. Ships can thus still aid each other in shield recharge with little impact to their own systems.
    In combat, the mental load on comms officers and the sometimes rapid change in shield values makes this approach non-ideal for various reasons; on the other hand, if the battle group is regrouping (perhaps from different parts of the sector) and a number of vessels are at full shield while others are not, even just switching on the system for a second will allow a significant decrease in time spent recharging shields (depending on circumstances).


    I disagree with some of the tactical implications Tetra mentioned:

    I would argue that the biggest benefit of the shield matrix is when the entire battle group is toe-to-toe with the enemy, rather than having all ships but one stay outside beam distance. Since any incoming damage is distributed among all ships anyway, damage dealt to the enemy should be maximized by having all ships fire on the enemy.
    Comparative to established focused fire, the damage the lead ship can take (and thus the staying power of the battle group as a whole) is at least multiplied by number of ships in the vicinity; if outgoing damage is reduced by having other ships stay away, this advantage is mostly negated.
    On the contrary, the shield matrix can even be exploited by having the lead ship focus on damage mitigation, while the rest of the battlegroup focuses on dealing damage. This leaves each ship in a specific role in the engagement, and thus in a position to optimally use their coolant/energy.
    Of course the above is assuming the enemy ships are focused on the lead TSN vessel, but tango can be established before engaging so this assumption should hold most of the time. And even if not, if the battlegroup stays close any enemies would be close enough to shoot at something anyway, so incoming total damage will be the same.
    This also does not include ships specifically tasked with e.g. Kappa of course, but that is a situation where said ship would not contribute to damage anyway (by design).

    An emergency situation (e.g. a tractored ship) is generally one in which “you miss every shot you don’t take” should apply. Thus, both the ship in danger and all others coming for help should make it a priority to also activate their shield matrices as soon as possible (for the latter, perhaps even before being in range). The case in which it is “too complex to get active in time” is the same as not trying at all, i.e. the worst case. So the attempt should always be made.
    It will probably be beneficial to practice this so comms officers can act quickly if needed.
    A special highlight in this regard is the “Lancer-loop:” even if an incoming ship overshoots and thus needs additional seconds to actually turn about and help (which is not ideal in the first place), an active shield matrix would still engage on first contact, so help the ship in danger immediately. Even if the ship gets out of range again a second later, shields will have averaged intermittently to buy additional time.
    If that is not even attempted, there is less chance that the help will be in time to save the ship.

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