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Beam lasers vs pulse lasers

mike wightman

SOC-14 10K
In CT the beam laser was more accurate but did less damage than the pulse laser which was -1 to hit but caused 2 damage rolls (source Traveller- Starter Edition, the only one with rules for beam vs pulse lasers in CT IIRC).

Should the effective ranges in T20 not be swapped to give the beam laser the greater range and therefore accuracy while the pulse laser retains the higher damage die?

I realise that when you start to group weapons as batteries the beam laser is a bit more effective but they still suffer the greater range penalty.
In space i cant see why there is any difference between beam and pulse lasers if they have the same output, Beam lasers may do slightly more damage than a pulse laser but that would depend on the blink rate.
Sensors will tell you where the target was its speed and direction and maybe size, So your targeting comp gives you a cone the target must be in (updated to time on target for your weapons) this will be continualy updated by sensors.
You fire your lasers (because this is what we is discusing)at the front of the cone and sweep back from top to bottom and front to back, a beam laser will hit and stay hitting longer than a pulse laser (the blink rate) will.
The speed of the target dosnt realy matter because if its going fast the cone is longer but narrower if its going slow the cone is wide but short, so basicaly you have the same area (waits for the maths people to work out im wrong)to cover. Where talking micro degrees in arc hear so if someone hickups on the other side of your ship it probably moves your aim more.
Be back tomorrow to read the comments.
Hi Lionel,
I like your description of how the lasers "scan the targeting cone"
In CT a beam laser is considered to be more accurate because it scans the entire cone, to use your discription. It does less damage because it has to be held precisely on target to burn through.
A pulse laser on the other hand doesn't scan the entire cone (is less accurate) but each pulse contains the same energy that is in the beam laser and so does more damage because the whole pulse hits.
Thanks Sigg Oddra for the complement but i feel cheated, No one has worked out how far from reality i am with the cone's maths (damn).
I guess i cant be satisfied!!!!!.
Winge grumble bitch complain.
How do you put the smiles on.
Re read your message Siggy (sorry if this is derogatory).
If the beam laser and the pulse laser have the same power output the beam laser has to do more damage than the pulse laser unless the pulses are timed to be the same size as the target at that range and if they are then the chances of a miss will rise quite a lot.
The beam laser will do damage over all the time it is on the target ship, but the pulse laser will only do damage while its pulse is on and it is over the ship, any pulse off time while it is on the ship is none damage time.
Beam and pulse lasers should have the same to hit chances but the beam laser should do more damage but the pulse laser will need less power in for the same energy out.
Yes both of these messages should have been combined but this way i get two postings and i have a long way to go to my next stat increase.
Fun little conversation Sigg and Lionel, mind if I jump in with my 2 creds? ;) yeah, like I'd give you a choice

Oops, hey no slight intended LordRhys

I think you have it about right, if I follow you correctly (but I'm not quite up to giving you the math, not when a picture might do

Unfortunately "they" keep changing the url. Fortunately it's a simple graphic and the description is (probably) good enough without it.

So... Imagine two targeting circles (because they are from the gunner's perspective). The cones (in actuality) extend from the laser (point) to the target's maximum plotted range (x, y, and z, with only x and y being visible, z being a factor only in the limit on x and y since it could extend infinitely, but is effectively only several hundred-thousand (?) kilometers at most for damage). The target vessel will be a point at this scale for any range much beyond visual.

The beam laser of energy value 1 (for example) traces it's hit across the whole area (yes actually a 3d cone but effectively a circle so area works fine) as a series of lines. It scans the whole target circle (hence the long space combat turns) to attempt a hit. The tighter the circle the closer the lines and the more likely a hit will occur). The energy value of 1 is divided across the whole scan.

The pulse laser on the other hand targets the same area with a series of distinct points (pulses) which lowers the overall chance of hitting, but because the same energy value (of 1 for example) as the beam laser (to compare) is divided fewer times to cover the same area any hit will do more damage.

This is about the way I see it working anyway (simplistically at least). It does of course raise a couple of issues (at least).

One that always bugged me was the old CT "Selective" program that let you choose the area of the ship to target. No doubt inspired by ST where all combat seems to take place at visual range. Most of the ranges assumed in Traveller are well beyond visual and I don't allow selective targeting. I might allow it at visual range or for certain cases (i.e. a fleeing ship is likely to be presenting nothing but engineering, while one coming hard at you would probably not give you a shot at engineering).

Another is that you might argue that any laser could be selectively beam or pulse. A nice bit of versatility which might be a good idea, probably at a slight cost increase, say maybe Mcr1.25 in CT, or if you're feeling generous allow beam lasers to fire in pulse mode but not allow the cheaper pulse lasers to fire in beam mode.

And one more before I yield the floor, it might be possible with this model of events to actually hit something else straying into your field of fire, if for example there are more than one target in the same potential area. There should probably be something to cover that possibility.

Anyway just some thoughts from my wandering mind.
Originally posted by Lionel Deffries:
How do you put the smiles on.
Hehe, might as well rack up some extra postage myself ;)

Hmm, is that a riddle or a question? Come to think of it I'm not sure if I've seen you use any of the wee instant graemlins* or not.

* just add a click and watch them sprout ;)

Anyway, seriously, assuming TJ hasn't been stealing them all from your posts you have two ways to add them.

First, you can click on them in the little "Instant Graemlins" menu just to the left and below where you compose and edit your post. When you get to the point in your post where you want one (say right here -> :eek: ) just stop typing and click the little dude or symbol you want and pop there it is. I often end up inserting the cursor just to the left of the resulting text ( : e e k : in the example above, but without spaces) and then backspace deleting the extra spaces or inserting a return. Go ahead, play with them, they don't bite, much :D

Or B, you can just type in the text for them if you know it. For example a ; (semicolon) and ) (some bracket or something) typed without a space is a wink, like this ;)

Anyway, now I've done my good deed and liberated a few more Graemlins in the process, go be free my wee friends

But watch out for TJ, he likes to use you for all kinds of nefarious purposes ;)

Oh yes, you can only set free up to 8 of the lads and lassies and itsis in any one post, and if you quote someone's post it clones them and counts them again so you might not be able to add many.
Far-trader - thanks for the tip. ;)
Also i think you missed the point if Beam and pulse lasers output the same power then the pulse laser has to do less damage when its not turned on (nil), This is why i said it should have a lower power requirement.
The same energy is sent to space but its not turned on all the time, so less energy over the same time frame (if the flicker rate is 50% then only 50% of the time will the laser be doing damage.
Sorry if i seem to be harping but obviously i didnt make myself clear (nasty habit i have).
The only time i can think of when you would like to turn your beam lasers to pulse is when you are running away and still want to try to shoot those pesky missiles that are chasing you and you convert the beam lasers to pulse mod and use the extra EP's to dodge.
This is how I see it working, YMMV.

The beam laser will only do more damage if it is in contact with the target for an extended period of time.

Imagine using a high pressure water hose to knock someone down but they keep moving so you waste a lot of water trying to hit them, but you do hit them.
Now switch to firing higher pressure bursts. You don't get very many and you have much less chance of hitting, but if you do hit ouch

Both the beam laser and the pulse laser in CT use 1 EP. The beam laser puts this into a continuous beam so all that energy is spread out over however long the beam is switched on for and most of it is wasted scanning for the target.
The pulse laser splits this 1 EP into "ten"( don't know how many really) pulses, each pulse of a small enough length that it(one pulse) can all hit and damage the target. Most pulses miss, hence the to hit penalty, but the ones that do hit are transferring a greater proportion of that 1 EP as damage.

Here's a thought. At visual range they should both do more damage because you're not going to miss with any of the energy.
Siggy at visual range it would be an automatic hit for a shit load of damage all power transfered to the target.
I think our problem is where talking about different flicker rates, i'm in the milli sec range and i'm assumming your in the micro sec range.
Mine has meters of dead time, your has centrmeters of dead time.