Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fireworks for the Fourth

First happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans. Happy Wednesday to the rest of you. In the spirit of the day I am discussing fireworks. Specifically the sort emanating from the turrets of your spaceships. The sort player characters like.

I never gave turrets much thought. I'll admit this and if I was pressed to describe one fast, I'd go with a block, or cylinder, or pyramid, with one to three barrels sticking out if it, built to swivel.

Does this look familiar? I ask you, would this scare anyone?

Something like this. It takes up 150 cm square or half a displacement ton. The other half is taken up presumably by the gunner's station, some spare missiles a/o sand canisters and maybe a couple magazines to read when things are boring.

Okay, it's short hand for a weapon installation.At least it was for me. On reflection not all of a ship is shown on the deck plans. There has to be some gear not contained in the hull, sensors, engine nozzles, landing gear. There's stuff that sticks out that you, safe and cozy and breathing, standing in your 1 gee artificial gravity field do not deal with unless you're doing maintenance in port or an EVA. So your turret exterior doesn't have to be a 1.5 meters across.

That's a little better but I'd worry more about a guy with a Desert Eagle if I didn't know better.

Well I had too much time on my hands. I began doodling. I thought about things. It took very little time for things to progress to this.

I humbly submit the blue beast on the left as an example of a triple turret. It makes sense to me for several reasons.

1) There is ample room for power lines, coolant lines, missile and canister loaders.

2) It's big. If you consider the 1 displacement ton a turret takes up it seems pretty ludicrous to fit one of the darned things for every hundred tons. This beast looks like it would take some doing for a Scout to haul about. Making visual sense is important in an RPG. especially if, like myself, you are neither an engineer or physicist and your last name isn't Chung, Black, McVay, Choi or Campbell.

3) The missiles (the three little circular holes in the front) are kept a little ways off from the laser. This is a good thing. You don't want exhausts and such messing your lenses up and at some point some dumbass will ignore that <Laser Firing -Do Not Fire Ordnance!> light and let fly.

4) I will also note that keeping your missiles away from your delicate machinery isa good thing. A laser or rail gun malfunctioning generally means you have a warning light letting you know. A missile malfunction means you have a loud boom letting you know. Better it has a little distance from the non disposable weapons.

5) That nasty thing that looks like a small artillery piece is a sandcaster. In this reimagining the sand in a canister is loaded into the turret. This coil gun then takes the grains off sand and fires them in carefully chosen speeds and vectors to block incoming laser fire or missiles. I think that is more effective than exploding a canister some distance from the ship. That's a good way to have a few grains take out a sensor or laser on your own ship. Some of the grains in an explosion will be flying back at you so yeah, the sandcaster fires squirt of sand. Return the empty canisters for .05 cr. Not there are two launchers for the purpose of illustration but they count as one launcher for purposes of combat. Each one covers 180 degrees.

6) The laser cannon has two emitters at right angles to each other and that swivel independently. There is still only one laser. A mirror lets you chose which way it comes out. Two lasers increases the coverage of the beam, making you avoid tilting the whole ship to fire one way. Also turrets have got to track targets very precisely and you can't be accurate and fast. Finally, sometimes you have to tilt the ship and that firing solution you were working on becomes meaningless as the laser's field of fire moves.

7) It looks badass. To the ill informed the sand casters look like the nastiest weapon system. this might be the case since the ill informed are generally. people on the ground in some backwater and a sandcaster is a good substitute for a hundred guys with shotguns.
A wing mounted version of a turret. Note there is only one (larger) sandcaster because several turrets (or at least one other) will handle some of the 'casting.

I leave the single and double turrets for you to work up yourselves. Or wait till next week and I'm sure I'll be working on other turrets.