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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:32 am 
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Pseudofeline Overlord
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FOREWORD

This thread is an attempt to properly define and explain the various weapons seen on Laser Wars ships!

Actual stats can be found here.




LASERS
By far the most prevalent weapon system in the known galaxy, these lasers are not true laser weapons, but are used by most factions due to their simplicity and ease of use.

Lasers come in five colour-coded variants - Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet.

Spoiler: show
Red lasers have the shortest range and least per-hit power, but the fastest recharge times and highest capacities thanks to their very low heat generation. They're ideal for close-range defense against lightly-armoured foes such as gunships and fighters. They are generally the first energy projectile weapon any spacefaring race manages to develop without the aid of Precursor artefacts or help from other spacefaring races.

Yellow lasers are an attempt to increase Red laser range and power, but the cost in fire rate and recharge time is somewhat disproportionate. As a result, few factions choose to use yellow lasers - but they're also cheap since they're in low-demand, so they can often be found on civilian vessels. Against pirates in scrap ships, a little extra range and firepower can make all the difference.

Green lasers are midway between all laser types in terms of performance, and are good all-rounders. Whilst very effective in Heavy mounts, they should not be used for Superheavy mounts; the focusing and emission systems used by Green lasers tend to suffer severe drops in efficiency if pushed beyond a certain scale. Faction scientists are hard at work seeking to find ways around this problem.

Blue lasers are amongst the highest-tech lasers currently fielded, with performance somewhere between Greens and Violets. They have good range and firepower, without the slow rates of fire seen on power-hungry, heat-intensive Violet lasers. The most well-known faction to field Blue lasers is probably the Sovereign Aurelian Republic.

Violet lasers demand a considerable amount of power to run their high-tech emitter system, but have unrivalled range and power - at least amongst other lasers. They suffer from poor performance at lower scales, but are very effective if scaled up to larger mounts. Few (if any) factions are known to currently field Violet lasers due to high production and maintenance costs. Thermal warping damage to emission systems is an all too common occurrance, and the primary cause of mid-battle failures.


Recently, some scientists and military personnel have been experimenting with various variants of laser weaponry. More information on these prototypes and alternate systems will be detailed as their development progresses.

Assault Lasers
This variant/sub-type of Laser was first sighted on NZA warships, but observation of the system in action has lead other factions to consider deploying their own.

The Assault Laser is built on a Medium Laser chassis, but uses banks of modified heatsinks and capacitors operating in parallel circuits to provide a constant stream of fire - as opposed to the conventional series-circuit design used by most factions that allows for a barrage of shots before cooling off. Assault Lasers also sacrifice range and a little rate of fire for slightly improved damage. Many are mounted on fast-tracking wide-flex mounts that are ideal for engaging agile but lightly-armoured craft such as gunships and corvettes.




PARTICLE ACCELERATORS
Part kinetic, part thermal, part energy - all mean. Particle Accelerator weaponry is presently fielded exclusively by the Miora Colonies.

Particle Accelerators have exceptional range and firepower, but tend to have slightly longer recycle times than equivalent lasers. Additionally, unless the weapons are properly fitted and secured, the recoil generated by the particle acceleration process leads to poor accuracy. In ships and mounts that cannot spare the space for proper shock absorbers, the loss in accuracy compared to properly-fitted accelerators can be very noticeable indeed.

More data required.




ROCKETS/MISSILES/TORPEDOES
Whether fitted with kinetic penetrators, explosive warheads, or small-scale nuclear charges, rockets, missiles and torpedoes are amongst some of the deadliest weapons currently available, capable of penetrating the heaviest armour to deal significant damage to their target. As a result, they are often mounted on small and highly agile ships to make dedicated capital-killers.

Prominent users of rocket, missile, and torpedo technologies include the Sovereign Aurelian Republic and Miora Colonies. The PACIV also makes use of MIRV/MWM payloads.

Spoiler: show
Missile system subtype classifications

By missile behaviour

Swarm missile systems fire off massive amounts of small missiles in short periods of time. While each individual missile might not do much damage individually, the sheer number launched is capable of overwhelming point defense systems. The small amount of space in each missile for fuel unfortunately restricts the range of such missiles.

Cluster missiles, also dubbed MIRVs or MWMs, are a relatively recent development. Each carrier missile carries multiple smaller missiles within it, which are released when the main missile gets close to the target.These were originally envisioned as a way of combining the range of heavier missiles with the PD-bypassing ability of swarm systems. These weapons are still untested, and it remains to be seen if they will have a major tactical role.

By warhead

"Conventional" missile systems utilise either kinetic energy or explosive charges (shaped or otherwise) in order to do damage. These types of missiles are the most common type in service, and are what people ususally refer to by unquantified mentions of typical 'missiles'.

"Torpedo" refers to a specific class of heavy anti-capital missile systems. Such systems usually rely on their massive explosive charges (usually nuclear) to deal damage over kinetic force. Torpedo warheads are large enough to produce massive explosions the size of small ships even in a vaccum, and are capable of doing serious damage to any ship struck. Even if armour is not penetrated, armour spalling and conccussive force can damage vital systems and kill crew. The downside is that such large warheads usually require a massive missile, reducing rate of fire as well as missile speed and manuverbility. Other Torpedoes may utilize warheads designed to generate crippling EMPs, temporarily disabling a ship's computers and other control systems.





KINETIC WEAPONRY
A low-tech weapon system, kinetic weaponry is extremely simple and easy to manufacture, being even simpler than red lasers. Most use simple chemical propellants to accelerate a solid metal projectile, dealing damage through raw kinetic energy. More advanced versions may incorporate magnetic acceleration, or small explosive or nuclear charges in shells for increased damage. While now rendered obsolete in most faction's arsenals thanks to the proliferation of energy weapons and looked down upon by some due to their 'crude' nature, they can still be found in the hands of some pirate groups who favour them for their availability, low heat emissions, and simplicity.

The Ratai are notable for being one of the few major factions known to rely heavily on such weaponry.




BEAM WEAPONRY
Data pending. A few factions are experimenting with beam-based emitter weaponry, but for the most part these weapons have not been fielded in significant numbers, or taken part in any major fleet engagements.




PLASMA BLASTERS
Employed exclusively on NZA warships, plasma blasters are believed to use magnetic containment and compression to condense a charge of high-energy plasma. When the magnetic containment field generated around the charge is interrupted by the presence of other magnetic fields or dense matter (such as bodies of water, an asteroid, or a ship's hull) then the field collapses, releasing the compressed plasma charge in a violent dispersal of hull-melting ionized gas and crew-scorching radiation.

Though they are fired from structures that look like standard torpedo tubes, these plasma blasts are always unguided. Like torpedoes, plasma blasters deal full damage to even the most heavily-armoured targets.

Like standard Laser weapons, Plasma Blasters come in Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet variants. The NZA uses Green Plasma Blasters almost exclusively.

Spoiler: show
Red Plasma Blasters have the shortest range and greatest blast radius, but also the least firepower and accuracy. They can fire several shots in rapid succession. Unsurprisingly, they are used as close-range saturation weapons.

Yellow Plasma Blasters are rarely used - like Yellow Lasers, they try to sit between Red and Green, but suffer the weaknesses of both and the benefits of neither.

Green Plasma Blasters are by far the most common Plasma Blaster employed by the NZA. They have a solid mix of range and power in all respects.

Blue Plasma Blasters have not yet been seen in the hands of the NZA.

Violet Plasma Blasters, like Violet Lasers, are long-range and high-power - but they also have very tight blast areas, requiring careful aim for maximum damage. The few that have been sighted were seen affixed to defensive installations, making for deadly long-range anti-capital defense.


As yet, no faction has had the chance to examine the actual design and function of Plasma Blasters in detail - the self-erasure protocols of NZA ships and their hazardous home environment leave few opportunities.




ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT
Weaponry is not the only important design consideration in warship design. Many other factors and systems are involved, including engines, armour, communications, sensors and more.




STEALTH SYSTEMS
A number of ships are diesgned with stealth features, referred to as passive stealth. Utilisation of emmision reduction and sensor fooling technologies can produce ships with significantly reduced sensor footprints, making them much harder to detect. This system is hardly parfect; such designs require more exotic materials than normal craft thus raising costs, while design concessions given to stealth can hinder combat performance in other areas. Furthermore, a sufficiently powerful or sufficiently close sensor can still stand a good chance of detecting such craft. Such systems can be more effective with friendly ECM support spoofing hostile sensor systems, or where local conditions (like in nebulae or around stars) hinder sensor systems.

Full active stealth systems, often refered to as 'cloaks', were widely regarded as merely a theoretical exercise - at least, until the now-infamous Anarr raid, which revealed the existence of the Sovereign Aurelian Republic's advanced stealth warships. The precise workings of such systems are currently unknown, as whatever information is highly classified. The most popular theory are that it bends space-time around the user, causing sensor signals to simply flow around the cloaked ship. The effects, however, are well known. Stealth cloaks can allow a ship to elude detection with ease, and prevent accurate targeting when in combat when coupled with the ECM mounted of Aurelian stealth craft. The only hope for effective detection is the most advanced and powerful sensor systems mounted on dedicated electronic warfare craft like the Mioran Ossuary, and even then only at close ranges.




End Note
More weapons and data pending. If you have anything you'd like to see covered, corrections to make, or a section of your own to submit, just post!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:17 am 
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You forgot kinetic weapons. Also, there's a pretty good beam section in the laser wars doc.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:22 am 
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It's a work in progress. Also, whilst there are basic stats for beam weapons, I don't think anyone uses them extensively. Likewise, I haven't seen anyone making much use of kinetic weaponry beyond rockets/missiles/torpedoes.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:25 am 
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Ratai uses kinetic guns almost exclusively. So does my Ashtic commonwealth. The Kriken coalition are all outfitted with significant amounts of green beams.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:27 am 
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Every Novian ship features a beam weapon as its primary. (Although I did name them 'photon lances' in the stats.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:40 am 
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Well, nothing's stopping you guys from writing your own bits up and PM'ing them to me so I can add them to the first post, or just flat-out editing them in if you have moderator privs. I'm not psychic/all-knowing. Haven't had time to look at the commonwealth/coalition yet either.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:26 am 
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Alirght, added a section on kinetic weaponry.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:12 pm 
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Im wondering if I should make the kinetic weapons on Ratai ships extreme range with just reduced fire rate - or reduced power. Kinetic projectile does not loose its energy in vacuum till it hits something, unlike lasers or heat/plasma based weapons. In turn reloading large projectile has to be done physically (with autoloaders) of course, which would explain reduced firing rate.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:59 pm 
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And more stuff on different subtypes of missile.
R0ni: You can justify quite a lot of things with well-written technobabble.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:21 am 
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I think the main drawback of kinetic weapons would be low shot speed. Damage might be mid/subpar (to reflect advanced armour) but range good. Average-to-high accuracy. Magnetically accelerated weapons would trade this for slower reload/refire times.

I've added a spreadsheet link to the foreword. Balance discussion is ongoing in the IRC channel and we're rehashing/rebalancing a few things.

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