Monday, 16 March 2009

Other People's Musings

Robert Farley has a nice post up discussing the Galactica's similarity to a Russian aircraft carrier, as oppose to an American one. It's nice geek reading.

I have to pick him up on this, though:
This leads to another (even nerdier) question; why do the Cylons and the Colonials only have capital ships? And why do they only, apparently, have one type of capital ship, rather than a specialized selection?
I would have thought the answer regarding the Colonial Fleet would be: what the hell are you talking about? With the exception of a few seconds of space combat in Razor, we have seen exactly three battlestars. One was on a secret mission requiring a carrier, so that a stealth fighter could be launched. The other two survived the attack on the colonies by blind luck. Why is there any reason to believe that just because both surviving ships are battlestars that no other class of capital ship exists? Or smaller vessels, for that matter. The whole point of the intial attack was that military ships went down across the board, from vipers to battlestars to space stations.

The Cylon question is a better one. If I were to guess, I'd suggest the following possibilities:
  • The baseship is the fastest Cylon capital ship, making it the only practical choice for long-term operations following Galactica;The baseship is the largest and most durable ship, meaning that if, as seems plausible, the Cylons really did abandon the Twelve Colonies to head for Earth with their entire population on board, they were the logical choice of conveyance;
  • A race that has only twelve different human models, along with hybrids, centurions, and raiders, either sees little use for variation, or is restricted by their own lack of it.
Any other suggestions?


Senior Spielbergo said...

I would suggest that the reason why they are all (or at least mainly) carriers would be the fact that a capital ship probably can’t land on a planet, and to build a capital ship capable of doing so would compromise it in other areas (amount of armour, weapons etc). Therefore to be of any practical value a capital ship would need the ability to take on and launch smaller ships that were capable of landing on a planet (else you couldn’t resupply the ship very easily). From what we have seen on Battlestars and Basestars this requires a reasonable amount of space (at least to land the ships, as you appear to basically require a runway size area) and therefore it is probably impractical to have any kind of large ship that isn’t essentially a carrier as you would have to build it at least a carrier in length in order to land ships on it, if it’s that long your going to need FLT and Sub light engines to power it sufficiently. Therefore you end up probably having to build something at least that size to be effective.

SpaceSquid said...

I can see your point, but I'm not totally convinced. Vipers and Raptors may "land" inside Galactica, but other, larger ships simply match airlocks (see Water, for example), so why couldn't resupply be done that way?

Tom said...

Theory A: Fundamentally space and the sea are different. The evolution of ships since the war has basically been about defending against submarines. That's why there are no true battleships anymore, instead aircraft carriers surrounded by lots of smaller vessels designed to do nothing much except hunt for threats to the carrier. In space it's different: there's nowhere to hide in a submarine-ish way. So the "battlestar" has been able to evolve as a hybrid battleship/aircraft carrier, well capable of fighting it's own battles. This is exactly what would have happened at sea if it wasn't for those pesky submarines.

Theory B: Like so many of BSG's weaknesses, their hands are tied by cribbing the premise from the ludicrous 70's version.


SpaceSquid said...

I presume by "nowhere to hide" you mean "nowhere the enemies planes can't get to you"? I can easily envisage a spacecraft that could fulfil a submarine's role (since we know stealth tech is possible), but in space your CAP will work just as well as a destroyer at defending against them. Probably better, since in space volume of coverage becomes critical, and any old Viper can have nukes slung underneath the wings.

Senior Spielbergo said...

Just watching the last few episodes - Of note Adama mentioned that he commanded 2 Battlestars and 2 Escorts - Escorts are presumably a smaller capital capital ship that escorts the Battlestar - So a destroyer or frigate type ship. Puts paid yo the idea that they only build Carrier type ships anyway.

SpaceSquid said...

Yeah, I noticed that too. Time for a re-think.