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Thread: Best Space Battles

  1. #1
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    Best Space Battles

    I'm halfway through S2 of Stargate Atlantis and there have been some great space battles with the humans/Asgards versus the Wraith. The Prometheus is the human ship equipped with an Asgard intergallactic hyperdrive and shield plus beaming technology and shows up in the nick of time to save Atlantis, and is able to beam nukes into Wraith ships for a short period before countermeasures. I think I like the battles more in this series because they focus more on big ship to ship combat and less on the fighters which can make it hard for me to follow the action. I liked the space battles in BSG but often found some of the camera work and the fighter to fighter battles annoying to a degree. It's nice to have a good clean exchange of particle beams or rail gun projecticles between cruisers or battleships to keep things simple I find.

    Another really pleasing space battle was in Serenity with the Firefly class cargo ship with our heroes onboard doing a lot of dodging of massive Alliance and Reaver ships while trying to make it to the ground. For some reason I didn't find many of the space battles in the later Star Wars movies very exciting, there was too much going on and they lacked an organic quality somehow.

    What excellent space battles am I missing out on?
    Last edited by starcanuck64; 2014-Mar-21 at 01:56 AM.
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    Babylon 5: Severed Dreams. (Earth attempts to retake Babylon 5.)

    Also see:
    Babylon 5: Into the Fire (The Interstellar Alliance intervenes in the Vorlon-Shadow war.)
    Babylon 5: In the Beginning. (Londo tells the story of the final days of the Earth-Minbari war.)

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    BSG did some great space battles. I think the battle with the Resurrection ship was the best. They all look so good and they're scored brilliantly.

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    There were some good DS9 space battles when they started to be able to afford complex CGI. Some of it admittedly is context. The Klingon attack on DS9 was made more impressive because up to then DS9 was always shown as having almost no useful weapons, and then . . . watch out!


    Let's see, that was (googling) The Way of the Warrior.

    I'm not looking up the others. The Dominion attack on DS9 was pretty good too, but I'd recommend watching in context (see at least some of the earlier episodes). I also really liked the end scene, since it hinted at things to come.

    And there was a good fleet to fleet battle between the Federation ships and Dominion and Cardassian ships, but they annoyingly ended it with a Deux ex Machina.

    And then there was the advance on Cardassia very near the end of the series, which I think was the best battle.

    There were other episodes with battles with a few ships, and the battles didn't really get going until they introduced the Defiant. I think that was the third season.

    It's interesting that they showed the Wolf 359 Borg Federation battle in the first episode, and what was technically right for Star Trek didn't look very good visually - in that case, they had ships turning and zipping around very fast, which makes sense since they are supposed to be able to accelerate at a 1000 Gs, but visually it didn't look that good. Later fights were close in with slower movements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Babylon 5: Severed Dreams. (Earth attempts to retake Babylon 5.)

    Also see:
    Babylon 5: Into the Fire (The Interstellar Alliance intervenes in the Vorlon-Shadow war.)
    Babylon 5: In the Beginning. (Londo tells the story of the final days of the Earth-Minbari war.)
    "Only one human captain has ever survived battle with the Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else."


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    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    "Only one human captain has ever survived battle with the Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else."

    I'll say this about Mira Furlan. Her wonderful accent had a way of accenting her humanity when she played happy, and could simultaneously sell her on being utterly, utterly Minbari when she was throwing down the gauntlet. Often in consecutive scenes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    "Only one human captain has ever survived battle with the Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else."

    That line is just awesome
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    The Alpha-test release of the new "Elite" is shaping to have some epic space battles, which of course YOU will be part of!
    See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X88vvPDpVc

    John

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    Why limit it to video? How about audio and books?

    For books, I'd suggest the battle between GSV Sleeper Service and an Affront fleet in Iain Banks's Excession. Of course, the GSV did build about 80,000 warships of various types in a few days before the battle....
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    When Galatica jumps into the atmosphere and back out again leaving a vacuum.

    If we have books, then Ender's second last question "Can I used the MAD on the planet?" Using the MAD was the aftermath to Ender's fight(s) with his teachers and classmates.
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    If we have books, the really long and drawn out relativistic speeds battle between the two protectors in Niven's Protector (I think, or some other book in the series?).


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    The attack on Moonbase Alpha in the "Space 1999" episode "Wargames" was a good one.

    David

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    I liked the battle between The Enterprise and four other Starfleet ships in the original Star Trek episode,The Ultimate Computer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    I liked the battle between The Enterprise and four other Starfleet ships in the original Star Trek episode,The Ultimate Computer.
    Is that the CGI update? I don't remember much of that from the original episode (not that they could afford to do that much then). My favorite original was the Doomsday machine episode, though I especially remember the size problem with the shuttle. And most of my enjoyment was the story, not so much the battle itself.

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    I didn't know there was a CGI update. I just liked the concept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Why limit it to video? How about audio and books?

    For books, I'd suggest the battle between GSV Sleeper Service and an Affront fleet in Iain Banks's Excession. Of course, the GSV did build about 80,000 warships of various types in a few days before the battle....
    Not even...
    When the Torture class Rapid Offensive Unit Killing Time got pissed off at the Killer class Limited Offensive Unit Attitude Adjuster and took on it and it's entire fleet, that was the real battle of that book.
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    Most Star-Trek battles, seems to be a melee where the ships just fly in and attack with no strategy.

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    I wish I could get our library to buy Babylon 5, they keep turning me down.

    I'm on S2 of DS9 so it sounds like I have a lot to look forward to.
    Last edited by starcanuck64; 2014-Mar-23 at 10:08 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    If we have books, the really long and drawn out relativistic speeds battle between the two protectors in Niven's Protector (I think, or some other book in the series?).

    Yes, it was Protector. Brennan took Roy on a years-long joyride to prevent the Pak from finding Earth... among other reasons (A Protector never does just one thing). The scene where Brennan uses a rifle and a neutron star to kill several Pak ships is particularly memorable.
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    Since books are being included; I liked the nervous cat-and-mouse game the Earth ship LS-1187 plays against the vastly superior Morthan cruiser Dragon Lord in an attempt to escape ("Voyage of the Star Wolf", David Gerrold). Not exactly a 'battle' in the whooshing-ships-and-laser-blasts department; but it had a very nice U-boat feel as the critically damaged Liberty ship tries to avoid detection.

    Another favourite is the Battle for the Toliman Exchange in the spectacular 14-minute opening movie of the 1997 space simulator Independence War. (I already posted the vid in the 'Realistic Spaceships' thread). Even given the limits of CGI at the time; Jefferson Clay's performance is riveting as the Dreadnaught desperately tries to evade the Indies and save the arriving Navy. (If you don't want to watch the whole thing; the Battle starts at 9:00.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Githyanki View Post
    Most Star-Trek battles, seems to be a melee where the ships just fly in and attack with no strategy.
    Something I didn't like about the Klingon attack on DS9, however much I enjoyed the rest of the episode and battle. Now; I know Klingons value individual bravery over tactics; but Gowron had pretty much the entire Red Fleet with him. Even heavily studded as DS9 is; a Cardassian space station should have had no chance at all against a fleet that size. Any race capable of building excellent ships should have a better command of basic tactics than "soak up every Fed photon you can; anyone left over shoot at the station".

    OTOH; the Earth assault on B5 (mentioned above) in 'Severed Dreams' is excellent in terms of tactics (or at least displayed tactics). The movements of all 4 Destroyers can be easily tracked, and B5's heavy fire slamming into Agrippa look like it seriously hurts. Great stuff.
    Last edited by NorthernDevo; 2014-Mar-26 at 06:46 PM.

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    I liked the battle between Streaker and the alien (Thennanin?) ship in Startide Rising. Well, not so much a battle as a desperate race.
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    STAR TREK...Into the darkness.

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    Best for me is a bit subjective, in terms of sheer cool factor I'd probably pick star wars, for something a bit more realistic... I've been liking the battles in the Lost Fleet series which are basically battles of maneuver in the hours crossing light-years of space trying to ensure as many guns of your own will be firing at the enemy whilst not allowing your enemy too many shots and trying to direct the shots which will happen towards heavier craft that can take it rather than the lighter destroyers followed by a frantic few seconds of the actual firing pass where computers try to compensate for relativistic distortion to work out where the enemy actually is, calculate their velocity to work out where they actually will be when the weapon gets there across light minutes of space and then pulling the metaphorical trigger since no human could react fast enough at those velocities followed by the survivors catching their breath and trying to repair any non-critical damage whilst the ships come around in a wide arc (thanks to how far you go when at appreciable fractions of C) to start the maneuvering again.

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    I rather liked Balance of Terror.

    Some fun scenes in Moonraker with astronauts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I liked the battle between Streaker and the alien (Thennanin?) ship in Startide Rising. Well, not so much a battle as a desperate race.
    There were some great ones in that book. I forget which alien were involved but the scene where the ship crashes into the sea while some of the human crew were walking on the marine surface vegetation was cool. I think it might have been a Thennanin ship that crashed nearby and was used by the Streaker as a disguise to escape the system.
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  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Infinity Watcher View Post
    Best for me is a bit subjective, in terms of sheer cool factor I'd probably pick star wars, for something a bit more realistic... I've been liking the battles in the Lost Fleet series which are basically battles of maneuver in the hours crossing light-years of space trying to ensure as many guns of your own will be firing at the enemy whilst not allowing your enemy too many shots and trying to direct the shots which will happen towards heavier craft that can take it rather than the lighter destroyers followed by a frantic few seconds of the actual firing pass where computers try to compensate for relativistic distortion to work out where the enemy actually is, calculate their velocity to work out where they actually will be when the weapon gets there across light minutes of space and then pulling the metaphorical trigger since no human could react fast enough at those velocities followed by the survivors catching their breath and trying to repair any non-critical damage whilst the ships come around in a wide arc (thanks to how far you go when at appreciable fractions of C) to start the maneuvering again.
    I like the books, but the bit about relativistic distortion being some kind of particularly difficult problem bugged me. Not to mention the kind of power output and energy density it implies. The ships must be carrying something that stores more than its mass in energy, which is a neat trick.


    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    There were some great ones in that book. I forget which alien were involved but the scene where the ship crashes into the sea while some of the human crew were walking on the marine surface vegetation was cool. I think it might have been a Thennanin ship that crashed nearby and was used by the Streaker as a disguise to escape the system.
    At one point in the battle, a Tandu ship employs a client race's engineered reality warping abilities to suddenly appear within an enemy formation and start shooting it apart...only for it to backfire, causing that ship to simply cease to exist.

    Streaker pulls off a probably-impossible maneuver around a gas giant when it dumps its load of excess water in its pursuers faces. It's not clear how the impact velocity would have been enough to have the described effects, but you might hand-wave that away as being due to however the inertialess drives work.

    The second trilogy is nowhere near as good, unfortunately. Long and slow, moved along by dei ex machina. Streaker survives the climactic battle by employing a particular misunderstanding of lasers that Brin based much of the setting of Sundiver around (the idea that they are somehow more efficient emitters than black bodies and can be used to pump heat out of a ship). It makes even less sense this time around, because they use a communications laser that wasn't designed or installed to do anything of the sort, and so didn't have all the needed supporting equipment...

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    I like the books, but the bit about relativistic distortion being some kind of particularly difficult problem bugged me. Not to mention the kind of power output and energy density it implies. The ships must be carrying something that stores more than its mass in energy, which is a neat trick.
    Could you elaborate on this a bit? my grasp of relativity is pretty weak at the best of times (I took medical physics rather than astrophysics at A-level) so I'd be interested.

  28. #28
    The "distortion" would just be length contraction due to relative motion...not much to compensate for. The books make it sound like it's a major obstacle in ships being able to detect, identify, and attack each other.

    Worse, for it to be really significant, the relative velocities must be so high that the kinetic energy of the ships is at least a large fraction of their rest mass. And they repeatedly make velocity changes of that magnitude. They'd need convert much of the initial mass of the ship to energy in order to achieve the delta-v budget they appear to have. Their ships could be mostly fuel, but they don't appear to have the matter-energy conversion technology that would be implied.

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    I thought there were a few other weird distortion effects you'd get n a percieved image... I can't rememberwhere it was now but there was a website which showed the changes to a fictional landscape as you saw it at progressively higher fractions of C (stuff that wasn't 'real' in the sense that length contraction is but more along the lines of blueshift and similar analogue effects but maybe I made that up, certainly what you say is logical enough. IIRC the given speeds in the books were usually around 0.2C relative velocity... but I don't think they ever give an absolute velocity, just an appreciable fraction of the speed of light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    At one point in the battle, a Tandu ship employs a client race's engineered reality warping abilities to suddenly appear within an enemy formation and start shooting it apart...only for it to backfire, causing that ship to simply cease to exist.

    Streaker pulls off a probably-impossible maneuver around a gas giant when it dumps its load of excess water in its pursuers faces. It's not clear how the impact velocity would have been enough to have the described effects, but you might hand-wave that away as being due to however the inertialess drives work.

    The second trilogy is nowhere near as good, unfortunately. Long and slow, moved along by dei ex machina. Streaker survives the climactic battle by employing a particular misunderstanding of lasers that Brin based much of the setting of Sundiver around (the idea that they are somehow more efficient emitters than black bodies and can be used to pump heat out of a ship). It makes even less sense this time around, because they use a communications laser that wasn't designed or installed to do anything of the sort, and so didn't have all the needed supporting equipment...
    I think Startide Rising would make a great movie, but the Uplift War did tend to drag on. I would have liked to see more about the Progenitors and their technology introduced into the story, there was that massive derelict fleet out there that most alien races thought was important. Or maybe my 50 year old brain is forgetting how Brin weaved that in to the last book.
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