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I''m designing a tank game, and of course the art of war or weapons are a very evident factor. Now I am a Quake fan and I wanted to if its cool to add a railgun - not so much the gun, but how it looks - classic core and sprialing particles around it. But then I think back to C&C: TS(have to dig up that game again) where one of the units uses a railgun which looks the same - core and particles. Same with other weapons - rockets, plasma, ionbeams & cannons, flamethrowers, etc.

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Personally, I think it''s a bit odd looking to have the trail effects for guns. And when you think about it, it''s really a handicap to give away your positions like that.

Call me a stickler for realism and practicality, but I prefer games which gravitate more towards realism than "coolness". Often "coolness" is really stupid when you think about it. Take for example giant robot mechs. I mean think about it....why would you create a gargantuan beast like that that you could hit ten miles away? Why make it anthropomorphic, and instead make it huge hulking cybertank instead (tanks while perhaps not as manueverable would be far more well armored and due to engineering design could support more weapons and internal structure).

So for the "looks" factor of a gun, I''d actually think it''d just be neat to see a little glow around the end of the gun caused by some ionization of the air caused by the magnetic propulsion. No vapor trails, no spiraly effects...nothing to give away my position when I fire other than the noise (which despite some sci-fi claims would be very silent...hardly, the hypervelocity of the projectile is going to make a VERY loud crack when it fires). I actually think the sound effect of a railgun would be more interesting than its visual effect.

As for the looks of the gun itself, I''d think it''d look not too dissimilar from a regular gun. The main difference is that the barrel would probably be thicker than most to allow for the magnetic coils or rails (whichever you prefer). I think the weight of the gun would probably be about the same as well...what you lack in weight by getting rid of the firing chamber, you make up for in the magnetic rails and power core. The main advantage of railguns is that power is determined by how much power you can pump through the rail lines to accelerate the bullet. With conventional guns, you have to reinforce the firing chamber and/or make the barrel longer to give it more power...making the weapon more heavy. A long barrel on a railgun does two things...it will make it more accurate, and it can also accelerate the projectile faster (since it has more time in barrel to get propelled).

One thing I always wondered though...wouldn''t such high EMP discharges be harmful to not just electrical equipment, but humans too? You''d have to put some kind of shielding around the gun so that you don''t fry your own vehicle...or yourself.

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quote:
wouldn''t such high EMP discharges be harmful to not just electrical equipment, but humans too


Two notes:

(a) you dont talk of a high EMP discharge, not by far.
(b) the EM field of certain medical equipment (kernspin tomography) is much stronger. It has no long lasting effects.


Regards

Thomas Tomiczek
THONA Consulting Ltd.
(Microsoft MVP C#/.NET)

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In realistic physics, there are two types of electromagnetic projectile weapons, the Rail, which is a linear accelarator, and the Gauss, which is sorts the same thing except with coiled wired to produce a dense magnetic field that points towards its center, and then it shuts off when the projectile reaches that center.

Now, heres the important thing, You are taking an object, a metal slug or something, accelerating it to a high speed, and ejecting it from whatever carried it. Provided you could supply enough energey to the system (which is where current technology seems to fail), the only other force to worry about is friction with the air. That noted, the only "special effect" that reality can offer is the muzzle flash, sparked by lots of air friction. In a vacumm, provided the whole thing would still work, you don''t get that flash.

All this said, the spiraling blue thing after firing the rail gun in Quake2 is cool, and I used it to figure out who was shooting at me and had the balls to miss. So, take it with a grain of salt, cool for real is the name of the game here.

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quote:
Original post by Dauntless
[...]And when you think about it, it''s really a handicap to give away your positions like that.[...]


I thik that is exactly the reason they put the trail in the quake games. They aren''t supposed to be tactical shooters. They want simple, fast action. Without the trail, a sniper could pick a good spot and ''camp'' it and pick off people for the rest of the map. By adding in the trail, they remove the ability to camp a spot with a sniper rifle. If you snipe, you get spotted and you have to keep moving, which makes sniping just as fast paced as the rest of the game.

Personally, I think it would look cool to have the core go fairly fast, and have the spiral go 1/2 to 3/4 the speed of the core. Instead of it shooting and then hanging in the air, make each one fade as it goes so only a certain length of each will be visible at any time. Add in a particle spray from the core and the leading edge of the spiral and you have yourself a nice effect =-)

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Almost typo-ified using Extrarius'' AUTOMATIC Typo Generator, but I decided to be nice =-)

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I think the problem with snipers/campers is that they are too easy and they shouldn''t be a faced pased type of character. I remember watching a documentary on the Marine Snipers that said sometimes it would take them several hours to move 100yards. Imagine that. Anyone who''s shot a real gun knows how hard it is to hit anything past 100m (for some people, past 50m). Not only are snipers cheap characters in most games because of how easy it is to hit anyone, but unfortunately game sound effects really don''t give you as good of a clue of where you are as it would in real life. In real life, a sniper will usually at most take 3 shots in one position and then scurry to find a new spot. The only time he won''t do this is if by moving it''ll be even more obvious where he is. In real life, our echo location skills are pretty good....usually only messed up in urban areas where sound can bounce off walls easily. That''s why snipers love urban areas...plenty of hiding areas and harder to echo-locate them.

When I played Operation Flashpoint, I could usually kill solitary prone Russian soldiers at 350m in about 3 shots, and I could usually kill running targets within about 8 shots. Sorry, but I''d have to be a world class sniper to do something like that with an M16. A 7.62mm round...maybe, but not 5.56mm. I didn''t have to factor in anything other than target lead if the target was moving. The only ballistic consideration was the inherent MOA (minutes of angle) of the rifle itself (which basically measures the consistency of shot groupings). If you haven''t played Operation Flashpoint...at 350m, a prone target is about half as tall as the letter o here and about as wide, and a standing target is about the size of the letter r on a 1280x1024 resolution screen. Now imagine hitting that without a scope and using your weapon sights (I actually switched to weapon view which gives the same view as if you were sighting down the barrel of the gun).

The end result is that everyone wants to be a sniper because they are so powerful. They are powerful in real life....but that''s only because very few people are good enough to be snipers. Also, in real life, you don''t have nice little crosshairs telling you where your gun is aiming (unless you have laser sights which is a little different). And looking through a high power scope truly does give you tunnel vision, and are hard to track very close moving targets. The farther the target is away, the easier it gets because movement doesn''t seem as exaggerated at great distances. But forget trying to use a scope against targets that are closer than 50m, and even at about 100m. Now, how many firefights in indoor style games take place at these ranges?

I remember playing a game called Twillight 2000 years ago, which was the first PPRPG that had a unique twist to gunfights. It wasn''t just how good of a shot you were, but also how courageous you were. Not only did you have to aim well, but you had to aim well while facing a hail of bullets yourself. If you failed the courage roll, your shots were going to go wild because you were more worried about keeping yourself alive than killing the other guy.

I''ve heard this argument come up before here...that a player shouldn''t be penalized for suppression fire. That the player should be smart enough to know not to duck his head out of cover or not go prone when he''s under fire. Well, let me tell ya, it''s God-honest instinct to get your ass under cover or go prone when you hear shots fired...and it takes willpower NOT to. I remember one time going out to a friend''s heavily wooded lot to do some target shooting. There were 4 of us, and me and one friend were ahead of the other two by a good 50 feet or so. Well, we were talking when we heard a crack of a gun shot behind us. We both immediately dropped prone as we heard a couple more shots. We were both like "WTF???!!!" and we actually heard some pellets raining down from the tree canopy. We then heard our other friends laughing...saying they just shot up in the air, and wanted to see our reaction. Needless to say, we weren''t amused and were pretty pissed off. But I''ll never forget that we both instantly dropped prone basically the same time we heard the shot.

I think it''d be cool to have a feature in a game that tests your courage. That makes you factor in not just your skill with pointing with a mouse, but also makes you contend with your courage under fire. This is where snipers really have to earn their merit..because not only do they have to be extrememly accurate, but they have to be incredibly brave too. Even tactical shooters don''t do snipers justice...and I''d like to see things like bullet-drop, windage, and breath control taken into account (try to shoot a gun after you''ve been hard sprinting for 30seconds).

I can already hear the arguments that games are about fun, and that players want to feel larger than life...like action heroes. But by doing this, it also creates game imbalances that are hard to get rid of (campers). And more to the point, I think people who think this way don''t see that it could be fun by doing it more realistically. I''d recommend anyone who doesn''t want "realistic" games to play a game of paintball, and a game of laser tag, then tell me which one was more fun. I defy anyone tell me that laser tag was more fun (which is why it''s a dead sport basically).


Sorry to get off topic, but I think the sniper/camper problem is a serious one and needs to be addressed by all FPS games. Railguns would make excellent sniper weapons for two reasons. First, there is no gas pushing the bullet, which means it will have more stability. Secondly, the tremendous velocities will mean the player needs less lead time against moving targets, and there will be less bullet-drop (since the bullet will have less time to fall or be affected by wind). Railguns also have a neat thing they could do too. By lowering the power requirements you can make railguns act like machine guns. Less damage but higher rates of fire when you don''t care about accuracy.

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Of course Dauntless, you also realize that most of the people who want the larger then life, superhero fun in a game are the consumers that out there. Admittedly some designers are that way to but the point is that if I want to sell a game to someone I''M going to have to cater to their desires. If I try to tell them that realism is more fun then fiction then they''re either going to go someplace else and try someone else''s game, or try mine but only give it a half hearted try.

And I''m not trying to be argumentative or anything but your last paragraph confused me. You say that Snipers/Campers are a problem then advocate the Railgun as being an invisible Sniper weapon. Like Extrarius said the trail is the manufacturers response to campers, (in Red Faction it had a trail and was slow to reload cause you could aim and fire through walls).

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quote:
Original post by TechnoHydra
Of course Dauntless, you also realize that most of the people who want the larger then life, superhero fun in a game are the consumers that out there. Admittedly some designers are that way to but the point is that if I want to sell a game to someone I''M going to have to cater to their desires. If I try to tell them that realism is more fun then fiction then they''re either going to go someplace else and try someone else''s game, or try mine but only give it a half hearted try.



How did you come to this conclusion? Most people said the same thing a few years ago before a little game called Rainbow Six came out...

quote:
Original post by Dauntless
Even tactical shooters don''t do snipers justice...and I''d like to see things like bullet-drop, windage, and breath control taken into account (try to shoot a gun after you''ve been hard sprinting for 30seconds).



I totally agree!

-Mike

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quote:
Original post by doctorsixstring
[...]How did you come to this conclusion? Most people said the same thing a few years ago before a little game called Rainbow Six came out...[...]
Any many still do (and many more like realism but hate Rainbow Six)... I don't want a 100% realistic game, but some realism is nice. I do prefer realism to cheezy fixes claiming to be realistic but not being anywhere close (see counter-strike's 'jump-stumble' feature to eliminate 'bunny hopping'), but I'll always prefer fun over realism.

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Almost typo-ified using Extrarius' AUTOMATIC Typo Generator, but I decided to be nice =-)

[edited by - Extrarius on March 3, 2003 2:11:07 PM]

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TechnoHydra-
Do we develop games for what we think people want, or do we develop games that we think are good in their own way? It''s an age old question, but I tend to follow my own creative juices more than trying to anticipate what the "masses" want.

More often than not, it''s the original games that are the best sellers. What would have happened if Castle Wolfenstein had never been invented ("what do you mean 1st person persepective...nah, that''s too weird,") or if no one came up with Dune ("a real time strategy game?? No way, turn based is the only way to do this..."). Look at movies too...I like to give Braveheart as a great example of a movie that by all accounts should have floppped. I mean who would want to see a movie about an obscure 12th century Scottish hero?

So I think all games have their place, and a game designer shouldn''t be afraid to tackle a project simply because he thinks it may not be particulary attractive to a huge audience. He may have trouble getting a large studio or publishing house to take his idea, in which he can try to go indie if he likes. I honestly think one of the hugest problems with the game industry today is that we don''t make games creatively anymore. Game designers stick to the tried and true formula and ideas that they think will sell.

And to be very honest, I don''t WANT to produce something that the mainstream audience will necessarily like. If games like Grand Theft Auto, DOA Beach Volleyball, and BMX XXX are any indication, I simply don''t want to pander to that. To be honest, I want to create a game with values, with substance, and that will hopefully make the player think and wonder. Choice is a great thing, but it seems like with many games today, we are catering to the lowest common denominator and we don''t have a choice. I also realize that I''m an indie, and more than likely my game will never sell (indeed, my first pet project is going to be freeware), but at least I''ll get my idea out there. Maybe it won''t have the best graphics, the best music and sound effects, but by God, it''s going to be different.

As for your last point, I was trying to get across in the whole post that many changes need to be done to FPS games in order to get rid of the sniper/camper problem. I''m only against snipers and sniper weapons because it is way too easy to hit people in FPS games. Also, sniper weapons in indoor locations (i.e Quake and many UT levels) just doesn''t make sense. I think once you get things like a "fear factor" built into games, and once you make weapon handling more realistic, you''ll see snipers start to lose a lot of their potency...and only players who are truly good will be able to become one. Simply eliminating or including a trail effect does not solve the problem. If people got hit in wars as easily as they do in FPS, wars would be over a lot more quickly (so, maybe that''s not a bad thing...). I believe in Vietnam they calculated that it took more than 100 rounds fired to hit one enemy in a regular platoon sized engagement. Also, in the infamous LA burglary shootout in 97, the robbers fired more than 1200 rounds, and wounded only 16 people in a shootout that lasted 2 hours. In games, how many bullets do you have to shoot in order to hit someone at about 25 yards? I''m sure it''s not 80-100. But realistically, that''s what it takes sometimes under intense heavy firefights.

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If you really want Sniping as part of the game, and don''t want ''campers'', you have a few options.

First, a Metal Gear Solid like shaky hand. This is actually quite irritating and makes sniping a pain in the ass. In MGS2, You have the option of standing of laying flat, which standing would have a high shake rate, laying having a low shake rate. Laying has its disadvantages because it takes some time getting up.

Second, which is actually quite simple, design the levels with a lot less ammo.

Third, penalize snipers by taking away the cross hair, and instead having a ''zoom'' option thats kinda slow, so sniping takes much longer to acquire a target, and the tunnel vision makes it hard to follow moving targets.

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Anyone that knows their Schwarzenegger movies will know that the Quake 2 and Quake 3 railgun effects are inspired by the really cool looking (although unrealistic, of course) Railgun effect in the movie Eraser. The railguns (and that effect) made the movie.

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most people dont like that movie but i happen to be a fan too (and yes, the railgun effect was very cool) . . . heres hoping Terminator 3 doesnt suck . . .sorry to get off topic -- onto the railgun though, i like the above post that said to focus more on sound. I know this coulndt work that well, given the speed of the rail gun and all, but imagine hearing your impending death coming at you, but not being able to see it at all. Maybe you could see the sonic boom flattening grass over the terrain as it rushed toward you and bending tree limbs, etc., but other than that, just a shrieking boom (those two dont go together really) that annihilated you.

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DoctorSixString/Dauntless:
I wasn''t saying that Fiction IS better then realism, I was saying that it''s not something that can necesarily be forced on the masses. Example: (Note this is just an example so don''t start arguing my scenario) Let''s say the majority of consumers want to have super powers and the majority of the game designers want realism. Who''s more Likely to sell a product to the average consumer? The designer who caters to a KNOWN desire or the one that designs a game based solely on what he wants? Why does Origin keep making more incarnations of UO when it could make an original MMORPG with no magic, dragons and such which are very strongly based on fiction? Why? Because they see an established market and they are catering to it. Now again I''m not trying to be argumentative, I think you just misunderstood my post. I''m all about originality but at the same time I''d like to take some creative liberties where I beleive it will add to it.

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quote:
Original post by mstein
I know this coulndt work that well, given the speed of the rail gun and all, but imagine hearing your impending death coming at you, but not being able to see it at all.


Indeed it couldnt work given that the bullet is at supersonic speed, meaning it gets there (that is, in your head) before the sound waves...


Dauntless :
I fail to understand, you mention Operation Flashpoint but then talks about things that could be done that *Are* in Flashpoint.

A crosshair in Flashpoint ??? Are you joking ? Veteran is the only way to play !
The best part of sniping in Flashpoint is the use of the scope sights to modify your aim to compensate for the bullet dropping because of distance.
Even when you are a sniper, hitting targets is quite a challenge and does take some training (again, I never play in Cadet mode, so I dunno how easier it is).
I never hit anything unless I use the weapon sights, anyway.
You mention breathing ? Well, try sniping after a good run... as far as I remember the view *does* move with the sound of your breath. Which is really cool ''cause you can synchronize with it and compensate for the breathing movement.

When you mention the element of bravery, I think Flashpoint is the first to ever give me "realistic" creeps. As in, I was scared all the way in Aliens, but Operation Flashpoint is just on another level altogether.
When I played for the first time, it took me a good dozen tries before I realised that there was no way I was going to survive by charging the enemy guns ablaze. Going prone and praying that the enemy would not spot me usually works better
Although I do end up being the only survivor in my squad quite often...

Oh, and to come back to the Quake Railgun :
The whole point of the trail is that the Railgun is the ubergun in Quake 2. Takes out 120 points of damage IIRC, which means one shot one kill if you have no armor.
Also the bullet speed is infinite, as in, there is no travel time. Which means there is no need to lead a target when sniping.
So you can see how powerful the gun is.
To compensate, they added the trail that clearly tells you where the sniper is. It''s sniping, but Quake style

Compare this to being sniped by some schmuck 300 meters away on top of a building in Operation Flashpoint Resistance demo... (I never even saw the damn sniper until after i was dead and the camera showed the bastard)

Aaaaaah, and now I need to go and train my Flashpoint skills again


Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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op flashpoint rules! i was up until 2 last night (again) getting killed by ruskies. It does a great job inducing something like fear in the player - sometimes I really don''t want to stick my head over that hill, especially back when I was new to the game. I can picture it now, coming down the slope of a hill, seeing the tracers fly past me. The whole squad hits the dirt and I start to hear that bullet-in-people sound. I should have called in sick today

To stay on topic, which I believe is a tank game - I remember reading somewhere that modern artillery will set up, fire a few shots, and then move on to a new location. I think that radar can detect them when they fire (or trace the projectiles backwards). So when someone fires a weapon like this, you could put them on everyone''s radar for a few moments.

actually, now that I reread the orignal post, what''s the question? It seems like there''s at least one word missing in there somewhere.

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I play the veteran level at OPFlash, and I almost always use weapon sight mode. I noticed far greater accuracy in weapon sight mode rather than in "look" mode. Those shots I made at 300m were only possible in weapon sight mode...I couldn''t hit jack if I used the regular mode, though it''s almost impossible without the crosshairs. And yeah, not using cross hairs is awesome in any game, although I''ll tend to reduce the diffuculty to easy level if I play without crosshairs in other games. I didn''t notice my aim going off after a long hard sprint though....do the sniper weapons have that problem? The only thing bad I noticed about sprinting hard was that my breathing got so labored that I couldn''t hear anything else, which gave you a kind of claustrophobic feeling (unfortunately, there are no foot fall sound effects in OpFlash which would have greatly helped).

As for the fear factor, the one-shot one kill technique does make you really skittish...especially in that mission where you''re trying to make the evac point and dodging Russian patrols left and right with no help. I''ve played that one mission a million times trying to save that long machine-gunner out there, and while twice I''ve been able to stop him from dying (you have to pick up two LAWS at the very beginning of the mission off your dead comrades and nail the two T-72''s that try to blow up the machine gunner...a technique that only works by hitting them in just the right spot against the rear armor with one hit, or two good hits from the side) he doesn''t follow you to help you out, and stays in the forest. When you play that mission against those odds, you do get creeped out though. Actually one of the times I played that mission was pretty damn funny as I got wounded no less than five times...once by the Hind-24, once by shrapnel from a tank (he only barely missed me as I was crawling like mad through some bushes), got hit by a machine gun bullet at extreme range by a BMP, and got hit the other two times by Russian soldiers.

But I''d like to see something actually put into the game that affects your shooting skill based on how courageous your character is. I''d also like to see some physical exhaustion/health effects (sometimes I got wounded in my arm in OpFlash, but my aim was never affected...and yet a wound to the leg could cause you to only crawl). I definitely find playing OpFlash and Ghost Recon ten times more fun than QuakeX or UT. Heck, even System Shock2 had a more fun gun fighting role than the Quake or UT (and talk about fear factor...). So I think tactical shooters have got it going in the right direction, but I think more things can be added in.

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I was thinking about the original topic of using railguns in a game and I was wondering if you were going to use them against personnel or as a defense against other tanks or mechanized units? The reason I ask is because the railgun in the traditional sense won''t be necesarily effective against personnel. Yes it''s very accurate and fast however unless it has a way to destabilize on impact it''ll do little damage unless it hits a vital organ. It''s the same reason the flechette was never used much after tests in Vietnam it has good penetration but passes through in most cases and has no "stopping" power. The same could be said of the railgun if the ammo is relatively small in diameter. It''ll be great for penetrating armor but won''t do more then leave a hole of that same diameter. Now if it was large around (possible if equipped as a tanks main weapon) or made to destabilize severly on impact then it could well cut people in half. Just a thought.

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Lasers have almost the exact opposite problem. They will probably be very effective against human targets, but not that great against armored ones. Lasers have two cool properties that could be used to great effect. If you narrow the aperture of the beam, you can concentrate more power on a smaller point, creating better armor penetration. But the problem with lasers against armor is that even if it has great armor penetration, it''s mostly going to cause damage against armored targets by melting the armor. There won''t be any explosive effect against metals or ceramics (though there may be some sublimation with other kinds of materials that could create an explosive effect...but virtually all armor is based on metals, carbides, plastics or ceramics). With kinetic weapons, you don''t even necessarily have to penetrate the armor to do damage...the concussion effect alone is enough to stun the crew, rattle components around, and pretty much deafen the crew. It''s even possible to kill the crew in a poorly designed vehicle on a non-penetrating hit if the crew member is touching a part of the vehicle that transmits the concussive force through the armor and into the equipment (I remember reading a story about a sailor on the Merrimac who was leaning against the bulkhead when the monitor hit the opposite side of the armor with a cannonball...a fellow sailor said they had to remove the guy in buckets). Secondly, you can vary how much power will be released with each shot and/or the how long the burst is. This can enable you to "pulse fire" the laser for lots of rapid low-power shots, or to fire a continuous low power beam.

Lasers against humans on the hand WILL have an explosive effect. Since the human body contains so much water, the laser will superheat body tissue and literally cause a steam explosion in human tissue. The trick is in getting just the right power levels. Make the beam too strong, and you make a pin prick in the human and cauterize the wounds all nice and clean. Make it just weak enough, and it''s like microwaving someone. Indeed, Lasers don''t have to be light...you can have Masers (microwave), IRasers (infra red), UVasers (ultraviolet), etc etc. The cool thing about that is that lasers can be invisible. No cool visual effect except for the damage it does to the target. As for how a laser would sound?? I dunno, although I suppose theoretically it''d be totally silent. In essence...the perfect sniper weapon. Totally silent, invisible, and if you put the cross-hair on the target...that''s exactly where it hits.

I therefore see lasers not that great at taking out armored vehicles. They will probably be able to wound them fairly well...since they may be able to penetrate armor fairly well, but once the armor is passed through, unless it hits something delicate, it won''t really do much damage. Kinetic weapons that penetrate armor cause spalling, and also tend to ricochet around inside, making mince meat out of the crew. And even with kinetic rounds, you get more damage out of HEAT rounds than out of sabot rounds (basically really long huge bullets). Railguns will essentially be firing very long narrow rods (sabots) at targets. This gives it excellent penetration, but only so-so damage.

In my game system, all weapons(and ammo types) systems will be rated for how well they can penetrate armor, and also how damaging they are. They will also be measured by inherent accuracy, rate of fire, range classes, ammunition load, reload times, and reliability. Reload times are actually an important consideration, as it basically affects the overall rate of fire of a weapon

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how about a coupled system? This would fire both a laser or rail gun coupled with a conventional round, timed to hit about the same point at about the same time. The laser would weaken the armor (especially in the case of fancy stuff like reactive armor or that electromagnetic shield they are talking about putting on IFVs). Then the conventional round would strike. Since the armor piercing is done by the laser or whatever, you can pack in more explosives into your conventional round.

Either weapon could also be used uncoupled - the laser against infantry or air units (hard to hit, easy to damage), and the cannon against soft targets (APCs, other light vehicles).

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I just had a thought about laser weapons....imagine if your purpose wasn''t to penetrate the armor at all, but instead really do microwave the occupants inside? In essence, if you widen the beam, and fire a continuous shot against it, you''ll basically superheat the entire structure....not too dissimilar to firing a flamethrower. Why penetrate the armor when all you have to do is roast the crew inside?

As for flamethrowers, you could create plasma guns that combine laser technology and mass driver technology. You can take a canister of of some gas, and fire a laser at it to super heat it into a plasma state in a magnetic chamber. Then you can fire the ionized plasma ball down the MDC barrel. The magnetic field will protect the barrel from actually touching the plasma, plus, it will only be inside the chamber and barrel for a few microseconds. The disadvantage is that the range will be very short. However, anything it hits is toast...literally. And if you modify the magnetic field, you can make the plasma bolt disperse more quickly versus infantry.

One last thing about railguns. Mass driver cannons (railguns) typically fire very narrow sabot like rounds due to mass constraints. It''s the age old tradeoff in ballistics. If you make a round heavy, it has better ballistic characteristics (not blown around by the wind, carries kinetic energy better, etc) but it requires more power to accelerate the mass.

Key points to remember:
Force (or Kinetic energy) = mass x acceleration
Pressure (or penetration) = force/area
Light weight projectile = worse ballistic characteristics (throw a wiffle ball or a light weight ball to understand)
Heavier weight projectile = better ballistic characteristics
Weight of gun proportionate to Force of projectile to handle the power required to accelerate the projectile.

So ideally, you want to create a gun with a heavy projectile that has a narrow diameter and has an extremely high velocity. Trouble is, the more Force a gun has (mass x accleration), the heavier the gun will weigh. That''s why railguns and modern tank guns fire sabots....which are very long narrow rods. In modern tank guns, even though the bore size is 120mm, they surround the sabot with a discarding core. When the round fires, the jacket falls away, leaving the sabot on to its target. That allows you to trim the total mass of the projectile, but with the same powder charge a regular round gets...meaning the accleration is improved, though the overall Force calculation basically remains the same And since the sabot is very narrow, you get good penetration. That leaves only one problem...the mass of the round. This is why American forces have a limited supply of depleted uranium rounds...which is extremely dense. Lead would be great...if it didn''t deform on contact...which is why you have Full Metal Jacket rounds (which is lead surrounded by a harder metal jacket). Unfortunately the rigor of being fired out of a hig velocity tank gun would strip the metal jacket...meaning that tank gun round can''t do that and instead uses different alloys. Technically, there''s nothing stopping a designer from creating a large bore railgun, but there are some advantages to designing a small bore design only. The main advantage is that you can develop extremely high velocity rounds (since having a small diameter round is that it has less wind resistance, allowing it to reach even higher speeds...like about 10 kilometer''s a second). The disadvantage is that it''s limited to firing only sabots. A large bore design may not be able to achieve the same velocity as a small bore design (even with a dsicarding sabot design), it has the advantage of multiple ammunition types. It could have HE, cannister, seeking weapons (yep, we have cannon launched guided projectiles now that can attack the top portion of armor), as well as quite a few other types. Some weapons designers are even advocating using mortars on tanks thanks to our new smart weapon technology (and since tank top armor is very weak...it''s not a bad idea)

Imagine this for a second. A M-256 120mm smoothbore cannon (the gun on the M1A2 abrahms) fires APFSDS (armor piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot) at 1700m/s. Acceleration of gravity is 9.8m/s^2. So, you fire at a T-90 target which is 2.25m tall at 1000m (this is a good range for a tank battle...most tank guns have a range of about 5km).

Time to impact = 1000/1700 = .59 seconds
Fall of round from gravity = 9.8(.59^2) = 3.41m
Angle of correction = tan theta(3.41m/1000m) = .19 degrees

That means that unless the gunner shifts his angle by about .2 degrees, the round will plow into the ground. Now let''s see what a railgun can do versus the same target at 2000m with a muzzle velocity of 10,000m/sec.

Time to impact = 2000/10000 = .2 seconds
Fall of round = 9.8(.2^2) = .392m
Angle of correction = tan theta(.392/2000) = .01 degrees

So even if the gunner doesn''t correct his aim at all, the round only falls .392m and instead of hitting the turret, will hit the glacis instead. Do the same for calculations of lead time against moving targets, and you see a couple of reasons why railguns would be very nice weapons to have.


Just a few thoughts to get anyone thinking about weapon''s creation some balancing characteristics on weapon design. Nature already has the perfect balancing system. I think it''s far easier to look at how a system would realistically work than just try to fudge numbers to make things cool, and trying to artifically create balance

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Sweet your a quake fan? All I do now is play Quake 2 running on open gl. I always used to play the massive railgun arenas but now im into azboks leet jumping. You heard of that? My nickname on quake 2 is koopathequick say hi if you see me!

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quote:
Original post by Dauntless
Just a few thoughts to get anyone thinking about weapon''s creation some balancing characteristics on weapon design. Nature already has the perfect balancing system. I think it''s far easier to look at how a system would realistically work than just try to fudge numbers to make things cool, and trying to artifically create balance


Which is why I adore finding specialised books on topics, it makes for so much more interesting designs when you base them of real stuff. But try finding a book about ship *design* that''s affordable for the non professional...
guns on the other hand is slightly easier. Just look up the massive database that the American army leaves open for the public. Just the field manuals are absolutely brilliant resources.


Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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