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A Better/more Realistic Way To Do Laser Tech


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#1 IdahoEv

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 04:17 AM

I had an idea on lasers while reading the other thread suggesting that laser weapons show up too fast. (I agree ...) A thought about how lasers work in the real world might make the game feel more realistic while solving that problem at the same time, and giving our soldiers a reason to use firearms for a while yet.

In the real world, lasers are BIG, heavy, and inefficient. The real challenge is making them *small*, not making them big. (The Air Force's only laser weapon fills a modified 737). So, starting out with the laser pistol and building up from there doesn't make any sense at all.


What if lasers appeared in the reverse order: base defense, then cannon, then heavy lasers, then small arms. Or, better yet, have the old, larger versions get more effective as the technology improves and smaller versions become available:

Laser Tech Level 1 - available in 3 weeks, you get a crappy (low efficiency or poor firing rate) laser base defense.

Laser Tech Level 2 - Improved efficiency. Now you can make *good* laser base defenses, plus a weak vehicular laser cannon for fighters and tanks.

Laser Tech Level 3 - You can make good vehicular laser cannon plus the first inefficient man-portable weapon. Maybe it's either (1) the size/weight/accuracy of the heavy laser but has a power between the xcom LP or LR, or (2) it's like the xcom LR, but has a battery limited to 8 shots.

Laser Tech Level 4 - With a final improvement in miniaturization and power storage technology, you can now make the high-powered, unlimited-ammo squad weapons we all know and love.

If Xenocide 2.0 included TFTD-like ocean fighting, then a research branch could allow for the development of blue-green versions of all the lasers that would fire underwater.

I think a "reverse" laser tree like this has potential - the base defenses could actually be useful right up front for the hypothetical early scout/harvester attacks. Maybe they wouldn't do as much damage as missile defenses, but they'd be far more accurate, which is also realistic. Meanwhile, troops would still need the tried-and-true rifle for a while because early laser technology is just too damn heavy for personal use.

Since it would take a while to get to them, it would probably be nice if they had some clear advantages over plasma at least into the mid-game (to reward you for the effort). In the original, laser rifles are more accurate, lighter, and don't burn precious elerium.

So the the player would still have a strong reason to finish out the laser development tree if the elerium balance were tweaked just slightly (HvyPls magazines have fewer shots, maybe, or are very rare until the late mid-game). Or plasma weapons could be just heavy enough that you really don't want your forward troops lugging them around before you've developed powered armor, and stage 4 laser rifles could be extremely lightweight.

p.s. IMHO it is a good idea to keep rifles around a while. There is a reason firearms have changed very little in the last 80 years; they are extremely good at what they do and all other possible technologies for small arms are still a long, long, way behind good old lead. The player shouldn't be able to toss them out the window in a week just by hiring a dozen extra white coats.

#2 Adun_Toridas

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 06:38 PM

well... that`s true, but think that in the early game... only the personal laser weapons (at least in superhuman) can keep the mankind in at least a respectable position against the alien forces (Before plasma, of course...).

#3 GARAK

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 08:34 AM

Mankind could have have an advanced firearm research tree ending in rail-guns, which would not be as effective as lasers, but you could get them sooner.

#4 Blehm 98

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 10:13 AM

Ahh, but you forget one thing

In Xcom, the laser pistol was their first laser acheivement simply because they fit a big unit into a small laser. All the other laser weapons took advantage of the fact that they managed to minaturize the normally huge system, and they made it bigger. A heavy laser with modern technology might you know take up 2/3 of a 737, and a laser defense in modern technology might take up an city block.

but the point is, laser research came so fast because once they made the laser pistol it was just the process of making it bigger, instead of having to make a laser rifle into a smaller and more efficient laser pistol...
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