# An insight on beam display

Width, Falloff, and Decay fields

I've been doing a lot of messing around with beams and have made a few discoveries on how some of the fields really work. Apologies if some of this is already known.

Straight Beams

BeamWidth: For straight beams (non-lightning beams) the BeamWidth field doesn't really describe the beam's width at all. The width of the beam core is preset and is about 3 pixels. The width field instead describes the distance between the two sides of the corona. This can cause beams to look slightly odd if set to 3 or more as the corona appears detached from the beam core. (eg. Autumn Petal, Solar Lance). Note that the corona is not the bit that does the damage - objects will pass straight through the corona and not take damage until they hit the beam core. The picture shows a modified CPL with a BeamWidth of 8.
wide.jpg (5.54K)

Falloff: This is basically the width of the corona. A value of 1 is the widest (even though the bible says it should be 2-16) and the corona seems to get exponentially thinner as the falloff increases, up until 16 which is the same as a value of 0 (the corona will always be at least 1 pixel wide though). The picture shows the same beam as above with a Falloff of 1.
widecorona.jpg (3.12K)

Decay: As the bible describes, if this is greater than zero the beam will "shrink" before it disappears from the screen. Higher values make no difference. What the bible doesn't say is that it is actually the corona that shrinks, so there must also be a positive falloff value for this to work. The wider the corona (the lower the falloff), the longer it takes to shrink. The actual time the beam spends on screen will be Count+16-Falloff.

One interesting thing you can do with straight beams is give them a negative width. This causes the two sides of the corona to shift in the opposite direction and can create a cool effect if you have a low falloff. The picture shows the CPL with a BeamWidth of -6 and a Falloff of 2.
negativecorona.jpg (1.17K)

Lightning Beams

BeamWidth: For lightning beams the BeamWidth really is the width of the beam. Lightning beams do not have a separate corona (Falloff and CoronaColor fields are ignored) but instead have their own natural corona. However, if the width is 32 or greater it will lose its natural corona and will just be a solid color. Whatever the width though, the damage is still only done down the very center of the beam - even sharp jags sticking out are harmless. The picture shows the CPL with a LiDensity of 3 and a BeamWidth of 16.
widelightning.jpg (2.06K)

Decay: A value of 1 here will cause the whole beam to shrink before it disappears, unless the width is 32 or greater in which case it will simply fade out. The time the beam spends on screen is about Count+16.

This post has been edited by Guy : 17 March 2005 - 03:06 PM

Good job, Guy. Interesting stuff

This should actually be quite helpful (To me at least)...

Thank you.

I thoughtn about investigating this, but never found the time to. This will be ported to the wëap annotated template. I'm especially surprised by the BeamWidth NOT modifying the (normal) beam's width. Of course, one could do a lightning beam with very little jagging to actually set the beam width, but then no corona.

I think it makes sense for only the center part to do damage: beams arre meant to be infinitely thin for maximum power concentration, and we see a wider beam as the energy is so concentrated it diffuses (harmless) light around, making it seem wider.

Zacha Pedro, on Jan 14 2005, 06:12 PM, said:

I thoughtn about investigating this, but never found the time to. This will be ported to the wëap annotated template. I'm especially surprised by the BeamWidth NOT modifying the (normal) beam's width. Of course, one could do a lightning beam with very little jagging to actually set the beam width, but then no corona.

I think it makes sense for only the center part to do damage: beams arre meant to be infinitely thin for maximum power concentration, and we see a wider beam as the energy is so concentrated it diffuses (harmless) light around, making it seem wider.
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Yeah, I'll agree with that, though I think it'd make sense for the line of damage to follow the jags of a lightning beam.

Guy, on Jan 14 2005, 04:22 PM, said:

Yeah, I'll agree with that, though I think it'd make sense for the line of damage to follow the jags of a lightning beam.
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No it doesn't. This is because beams(lasers atleast) are just concentrated pulses of accelerated photons. They only have a color by reflecting off of dust and other particles or targets. Lightning beams would only be around because concentrations of particles for the shape.

This post has been edited by general11 : 15 January 2005 - 05:54 PM

All of this might be able to help me once I think about all the info. I could use alot of this in my new plug. Thanks.

This post has been edited by general11 : 16 January 2005 - 10:14 AM

@zacha-pedro, on Jan 14 2005, 11:12 AM, said in An insight on beam display:

I think it makes sense for only the center part to do damage: beams arre meant to be infinitely thin for maximum power concentration, and we see a wider beam as the energy is so concentrated it diffuses (harmless) light around, making it seem wider.

Actually, A Lasor beem is to be concentrated. but, what if you where makeing a partical beem? or a beem of plasma. anything that in theory moves across the lenghth of the beem in one frame is plausable.
thank you for this guide! I will be useing the info alot because Renigade uses a lot of beem weapons.
Finally, a slight correctrion about lightning beems. if a ship passes into it, the end of the beem always comes to a point. it is sort of the same thing i guess.

A one and a half year gravedig. A new record!

'Least we know that the search function(assuming Phoebus used it to locate this) works. Oh, and Phoebus, correct spellings are beam, laser, making, length, using, Renegade, and correction. Sorry, I had to do that. It's just so many errors in one post... it gets at me, thats all.