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Author Topic: Probe Vs. Cruiser: An Analysis from a Wimp's POV  (Read 3414 times)
Ishamael
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Probe Vs. Cruiser: An Analysis from a Wimp's POV
« on: December 27, 2002, 10:31:31 am »

After several battles of this sort in melee, some analysis of the results suggests the following:

Missiles fired from long-range will evaporate before they strike; they are theoretically close enough, but the probe is quick enough to dodge their single chance to strike.

There is a middle range from which missiles will usually strike, but it is difficult to determine whether one is in this range, especially for the inexperienced combatant.  Of course, sometimes missiles will strike the planet, an asteroid, each other, or for the especially unlucky, the cruiser.  (As the range decreases, the chance of the last increases.)

At close range, any missiles fired will be annihilated by lightning unless fired away from the probe.  Occasionally such a missile will loop back and cause the probe to dodge away.  This, or a chance encounter with a local planet, is apparently the only way to escape from close range.  The probe is otherwise agile enough to remain at close range until the cruiser is destroyed or its batteries are exhausted, and the former will usually come first.  Should a cruiser warp in at close range, it is apparently doomed.

Ironically, the probe is easier to defeat on awesome cyborg level due to its improved urge to dodge.  It can be forced to remain at long range by carefully-fired missiles.  Weak cyborgs will close in much more carelessly and the missiles will simply loop around them until exhausted.

Note: planetary gravity seems to function oddly.  On at least three occasions, thrusting directly away from the planet produced repeated collisions, destroying the ship on one occasion.  Thrust at an oblique angle sometimes produced an escape, but not always.

Attempts to play the probe rather than the cruiser have produced anomalous results; either because of a bug or because the controls are different, I cannot maneuver.
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Ishamael
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Re: Probe Vs. Cruiser: An Analysis from a Wimp's P
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2002, 10:48:50 am »

Additional note: I just didn't know how to control the probe.  However, I cannot figure out how to make it recharge.  Should not be an issue during primary play.
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Flewellyn
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Re: Probe Vs. Cruiser: An Analysis from a Wimp's P
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2002, 12:32:26 pm »

The Slylandro Probe is an odd ship to control, and a difficult one to master.  I think the above problems you were having are due to the fact that its controls work...a little different.

First of all, the probe does not stop moving.  You  probably noticed this by now.  Given that it is always travelling at a constant speed, the "thrust" key has a unique use with this ship: it causes the probe to reverse course instantly.  Handy if you want to dodge things, or surprise an opponent.

Second, it is not affected by gravity.  So, no gravity whip maneuvers, since the probe won't gain any speed by using the slingshot effect.  This also means that if you fly it near a planet, it won't get pulled in.  However, direct collisions do quite a lot of damage, especially if you fly into the planet head on.

The final thing is recharging the batteries.  It doesn't regenerate energy automatically.  Instead, it uses asteroids as fuel.  To recharge, hold down the "special" key and run into an asteroid.  This will automatically process it for energy.

I find that killing probes is best done with either an Earthling cruiser, or with the flagship once I have fusion blasters or hellbore cannons.  (Hellbores make it no challenge at all, in fact.)  Other than that, the Spathi are okay, if slow, ships to fight it with, and the Yehat can quickly blast it to pieces.  Slow ships fare poorly against it.
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Casey
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Re: Probe Vs. Cruiser: An Analysis from a Wimp's P
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2002, 10:36:55 pm »

Your study of planetary gravity effects is correct, and perfectly logical.  The Earthling Cruiser barely has enough thrust to reach escape velocity if you attempt to thrust directly away from the planet at close range.  However, thrusting across the planet will still get you moving, as you are not attempting to directly counteract the force of gravity.  Of course, once you have built up some momentum by thrusting across the planet it's quite easy to get away from the gravitational pull.
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Death 999
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Re: Probe Vs. Cruiser: An Analysis from a Wimp's P
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2003, 11:08:45 pm »

As pointed out in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the energy required to escape a gravity well is a scalar, not a vector. SO, thrusting laterally will do you just as much good... and the next time you bounce off the planet you'll get an extra kick of energy towards outer space.
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ranmafan
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Re: Probe Vs. Cruiser: An Analysis from a Wimp's P
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2003, 06:23:02 pm »

The term you are trying to describe sounds like the Leyland Gravity Whip. It is possible to get the Earthling cruiser to go so 'fast' while whipping that it can run over its OWN missiles. Try it. You can also shoot down your OWN missiles with the PDS if you're moving faster than usual.

Again, solution to this problem is the same as the Mycon: Fire backwards.
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Death 999
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Re: Probe Vs. Cruiser: An Analysis from a Wimp's P
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2003, 06:58:37 pm »

Also note that in SC 1, if you get the ship speed upgrade, the cruiser can go fast enough that firing backwards directly to a right angle, you will hit yourself. Also note that the cyborg AI is too stupid to fire in a different direction when this happens.
I was absolutely dumbstruck when I was playing (in the mode where human manages the strategic view while the computer manages the tactical) that my suped up terran cruiser blew itself up, despite having total mastery over the Ilwrath PUNK it was supposed to be taking out. A sad, sad tale. When your ships have been modified by upgrades, 'tis time to switch to human mode, I fear.
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