View Full Version : Special Manoeuvre - 0 Hovering

26-02-2007, 03:19
After a few games of AI we've played "Search and Rescue, Yarant II" and I've found out that hovering aircrafts have to perform Manoeuvre 1 to gain or loose altitude resulting in a weird zig-zag movement should the aircraft pretend to stay over a determined point on the battlefield. With the current rules hovering allows an aircraft not to move (speed 0) performing no manoeuvre card and end up facing any direction. After a few minutes I came up with this tweak rule:

An aircraft moving at 0 speed may only perform special manoeuvre: "Hovering"

Manoevre 0 - Hovering.

Aircraft remains stationary. Face any direction.

CLIMB: May +Thrust altitude
DIVE: May -Thrust altitude

A hovering aircraft may land by means of reaching ground altitude. (Usually 0).

27-02-2007, 07:41
I'm in support of this-I've always wanted to do it myself.

I thought though that it might depend on the aircraft involved, as in some can do it whilst others can't.

Cry of the Wind
27-02-2007, 12:40
While I can see why you might want that rule it seems a little too unrealistic (even in a game of space fighters and aliens).

It takes a huge amount of power for a helicopter to hover if it is loaded up and even more to climb vertically (and also the climb rate vertically is terrible). Now that said we aren't dealing with helicopters but the fact remains the same that for say a Valkyrie venting its exhaust is probably going to be using most of its power to stay hovering, let alone climb at any reasonable rate. Given that each altitude band seems like representation of a large vertical chunk of sky it seems to me that the minimal vertical climb rate any of the hover capable aircraft could maintain (I remember reading somewhere that a Manta uses most of its power just to remain in the air flying strait and level, never mind climbing in a hover), I just can't see them gaining enough altitude to move up an Altitude band. Now descending may be easy to do but I'm not sure how quickly (if at all) a Manta would be able to slow down it's decent rate safely.

Hopefully I made myself understood there, but the basic point is, in real life and in the fluff that I have read, the aircraft we have in the game so far don't have to power needed to climb vertically at any noticeable rate, or the power to safely slow down from a rapid decent given the scale of the game.

27-02-2007, 16:06
I have to say that is a very good statement. I came up with this idea after playing with valkyries, I found out that to land in the current position facing backwards you needed 3 turns, and I thought that was a nonsense. I say give it a try, do some playtesting...

I may be very wrong indeed.

28-02-2007, 07:44
I have to say that is a very good statement. I came up with this idea after playing with valkyries, I found out that to land in the current position facing backwards you needed 3 turns, and I thought that was a nonsense. I say give it a try, do some playtesting...

I may be very wrong indeed.

If you're at altitude 1, and speed 0, you don't need 3 turns to land - you can just land immediately. Check out the second Q&A posted from Warwick : http://www.warseer.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1286498&postcount=84


28-02-2007, 12:37
Ah very good to know! I'm glad Mr. Kinrade is so responsive to our questions.

01-03-2007, 11:19
Not sure about the rules as i am yet to read them but on the fluff.
T-Bolts and any other vector thrust aircraft (the chaos ones, lightnings i think and i would guess the tau and def eldar have similar (but probably better) systems) can effect vertical take off's and landings. They (according to double eagle) can perform an upwards viff as well as an earthwards viff if needed. So i can see a justification in the fluff for the tweaked rule.

Cry of the Wind
01-03-2007, 11:52
Viffing is not covered in the rules as they are written (Thunderbolts and such are not hover capable in A.I.). My take from reading Double Eagle is that they use the viff to enter a low hover from which they then proceed to power forwards and climb out as a normal airplane. They can't just shoot into the air vertically (when they do that they are using launch ramps and rocket engines).

On a seperate note my idea for including viffing would simply be a pilot skill check and the move the aircraft up to 2" to the left or right representing a quick shift in thrust. Altitude changes shouldn't happen as the altitude bands are too large IMHO to be covered by viff movement.

01-03-2007, 12:00
Double Eagle also describes the fast launch process of TBolts - having them mounted on a ramp and using the rocket booster to get them up quick. The VTOL capabilities would be slow, especially on such a heavy fighter. Trying to use VTOL to take off or land with enemy aircraft nearby would be near suicidal.

There's also no need to add rules for "viffing" - the rules as they stand pretty much cover it anyway. "viffing" wouldn't move you up or down very far - and the cards already include ways to move up/down 1 or 2 altitude levels for the High and Very High maneouvre aircraft (which covers the TBolts and Lightnings, Chaos, and Eldar aircraft). I can't see "viffing" being something that would be pulled off every turn anyway, so the existing Extreme Maneouvre rule would enable a TBolt Ace to pull off a "viff" using another card - for the example of moving 2" to left of right, the Side Slip card would suffice ;)

Cry of the Wind
01-03-2007, 12:55
The side slip card doesn't really cover the kind of manouvering that is described by viffing. Any airplane can side slip, not every airplane can make a lateral shift without banking (or make an opposite lateral shift to the direction of bank). It seemed to me that viffing was a standard tactic throughout the book and was refered to as such (not just for aces), so a pilot skill check would prevent it from being done all the time but allow anyone to do it. I could see it being used in a bank to push the aircraft over to the side to line up better with the enemy's tail. The biggest reason I think they didn't include that rule (if they considered it) is the fact it takes out some of the skill needed to pull the right move at the right time, i.e. it prevents players from going "oh, I overshot a little this way, I'll just viff back on course". Since it's possible that not every race would have viffing it would give Imperials and Chaos (probably Eldar too) an unfair advantage.

02-03-2007, 17:58
It's just sci-fi so whatever goes but, as Cry of Wind noted, in present day you can't hover at altitude. Helicopters cannot hover more than 1,000 feet or so above the ground. Harriers and the like I believe even less so. Air gets thin very quickly at altitude. Range bands in AI are probably 3-5,000ft each. So it makes sense a Valk/Vult would stay at level 1. Of course in the rules they can hover at any altitude so they should at LEAST be able to drop in place.

So I would suggest a house rule that a hovering craft could drop one altitude band per turn while hovering but not be able to climb above level 1.

Slekith's suggestion is fine as well if you want to assume more power for hovering in the future. From a fluff standpoint the jets on the Valk/Vult point down and not up. So I'm not sure anything could really 'thrust' straight down so I like limiting the drop to 1 per turn; otherwise you are probably diving and thus moving forward.

As for the 'Double Eagle' T-Bolt fluff I think the 'hovering' is just an aide to takeoff like a helicopter taxing and thus covered under the normal takeoff/landing rules. There is nothing about them hovering over a spot on the battlefield that I remember. ViFFing and the like I think are just absorbed into the maneuver ratings for each aircraft.

02-03-2007, 18:12
Here's something I found,

"8000 meters altitude is the average maximum altitude where a rescue by helicopter can reasonably be hoped as efficient and successful considering today's state of art of helicopter designing."

And note that the helicopter is still only hovering within a hundred feet of the ground (thus in ground effect) not in mid air; it's just that the ground is really high in this case!


Cry of the Wind
02-03-2007, 22:12
Well 100' is way out of ground effect. Now the tests they did there were most likely within ground effect (or had strong favouring winds) but as for hovering at say 2000' (just a random altitude) I can certainly do it, in fact to do power checks on the engine I have to enter a higher altitude hover (could require more than 5000' depending on the day) to bring the engine to max takeoff power, and while in a hover at altitude I must climb vertically. The issue is the speed of the climb and the fact that it would probably exceed the power limits since it won't be flying empty and more weight needs more power. Think of an air show when a fighter jet will zoom along a runway and then rocket vertical to 10 000', I can hover up there vertical too (given the right conditions....) but while the jet does this in seconds, I'll probably still be in the climb tomorrow...

I base my fluff power requirements on things I've read in IA3 (for example the Valkyries began to climb from 500' up to jump altitude 10 minutes prior to reaching the drop zone and were described as straining upwards) and in Epic (where the Manta is described as being incapable of fast manoeuvres since they expend most of their energy to remain airborne).

Descending is different and probably could be done if you really want to (nothing is stopping a Valkyrie from just entering a vertical dive using its regular thrust downwards without using the vector thrust at all, of course all aircraft should be able to do that too as long as their structural integrity holds).

Viffng is not flight in the way the manoeuvre cards play it. Think of a Harrier Jump Jet pointing its thrust nozzles sideways instead of down. This jerks the plane laterally, not in a smooth turn and bank, but just forces the aircraft over. It wouldn't make a difference in altitude too much but laterally it could be a little significant when on someone’s 6. I guess why I'm in favour of viffing working like a seperate lateral move is to make the game a little more sci-fi. I can take a little Pits Special out for a go and pull off all the manoeuvre cards from A.I., however I can't move laterally without banking. It just adds some unique flavour IMHO, while A.I. is great there is nothing in it that screams sci-fi fighter combat besides the laser guns and holo-fields, if you understand what I'm trying to get at...

03-03-2007, 00:04
So you're saying you can put a helicopter into a hover in mid-air at 5,000ft? That's interesting.

The Valkyrie vertical dive is what I don't buy. Something about nosing the craft over and power diving straight down just doesn't seem right for a machine meant to putt along at low altitude and hover. But this is sci-fi so I wouldn't be completely against Slekith's rule as I said. I just think not allowing the thrusted drop would be more fitting. Of course in the case of the Valk/Vult I think they only have Thrust 1 anyway (don't have book with me) so it ends up the same?

As for ViFFing, I see that as a more subtle maneuver. One that helps tighten a turn, jink, do a few odd things. To me the maneuvering AI is depicting are actions at a grosser level and thus the Very High maneuver trait is taking things like ViFFing into account. To me the pilot already is jinking and trying to shake someone off his tale even when going straight. The maneuver cards are just the more macro maneuvers being made. Of course I agree if one wanted to add such a thing for flavor it would be hard to argue it was totally out of line.

I agree AI feels very WW2ish with missiles but I think that helps the flavor of the game. Certainly one of the strengths of the game is it is easy to tinker with such things.

Cry of the Wind
04-03-2007, 19:12
The Valkyrie is more like a Harrier, if forward flight it is just the same as a jet, using wings for lift and turbofans for thrust, it's just the vectored thrust nozzels that allow a hover at all.

Well I think you've made some good points there tanker. Thinking in macro terms is kind of required I suppose with 9 altitude band between ground and space (when thinking that way it seems that even being one altitude different would prevent shooting). I also have to agree that the game is written simple enough for the player to make minor tweaks without making the game break, I think I might try my style of viffing a couple games and see if it feels right in practice.

06-03-2007, 22:23
While we're on the subject of manoeuvring - are any fighters in 40K capable of using afterburners? That's from a fluff perspective - by the way...

Need to know for the story I'm preparing.

Cry of the Wind
07-03-2007, 16:07
Well in the A.I. book under the discriptions for all the Imperial aircraft (with the exception of the Arvus and Aquila which use rocket engines) the powerplant list them as after-burning turbofans or afterburning vector-turbojets or afterburning ramjets depending on the aircraft. All the other races have powerplant listed as 'unknown'.