Realism in sci-fi

Just wondering if any of you possess any knowledge about what sort of realistic weapons would be like.

I'm not very knowledgable about such things.

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There are only 3 kinds of people; those who can count, and those who can't.

Probably very efficient and powerful. Much more so than what is seen in sci-fi today.

But what kind of weapons are we talking about? Are we talking about personal firearms or naval/starship weapons?

I could spin a yarn or two about futuristic weapons.

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"That was quick."
"Well you know, when you don't do it right it doesn't take as long."

(This message has been edited by El Spamo (edited 03-18-2003).)

Quite likely powerful lasers/masers would be the best type of weapon. Speed of light and pinpoint accuracy are hard to beat. If we're talking space to ground, asteroids. It would require very little energy to alter the course, but the impact energy would be enormous.

Personal weapons WILL be high-powered lasers once we can build one a man can carry. Or we could just mount them on robots. Build 10000 insectoid robots, arm them with lasers, and watch them slay the heck out of the enemy.

BTW, laser weapons used in an atmosphere WILL probably have visible beams. Ones used in space will NOT.

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"In literature as in love we are astounded by what is chosen by others." Andre Maurois
Onii7/Frinkruds and his funky forums
macgamer.net

Any sort of weapon.

There are some you haven't suggested:

  1. Kinetic. I read about this in a sci-fi short story. Basically taking an atom (or group of atoms) and sending them at light speed toward an enemy. Basically the force of the atom is enough to create alot of damage.

  2. Otone. Artificial blackholes seem relatively easy to create under lab conditions, but they destroy themselves very quickly. The otone cannon could somehow create a blackhole on an enemy ship for a short period of time. Possibly 1-2 milliards of a second. With much more advanced technology maybe even up to a quarter second+.

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There are only 3 kinds of people; those who can count, and those who can't.

I would like to think that guided missiles would come into play. Sure you could shoot it with lasers but the warhead of a missile will do a lot more damage than a laser could do...

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Ares plugin writer and all around helpful guy... Except possibly when it comes to certain people...

Anti-matter based munitions.
Once the technology is developed it will be cheap and easy to produce really nasty am-weapons.
Anything from planet destroying Ship based anti-proton beams down to small hand held
weapons capable of taking the top off a mountain for example.

Also, microwave technology and ultra- and infra-sonic technology could produce some really
effective terrestrial weapons. Very low frequency sound carries across vast distances and can be seriously destructive.

Then there are Stealth shields, to enable you to sneak up on your enemy,
also the possibility of short range time travel. Magnetic fields can produce some interesting side effects.

Nano technology will yeild infinite possibilities.Computer viruses to attack ship weapons and nav systems, as well as anti-viruses to defend against them.

Probably the nastiest weapon of all would be those designed to attack populations.
Rather like the idea of the Neutron Bomb, consider an intelligent hunter killer virus, genetically engineered to infect and kill a host with a certain specific charcteristic, or at a certain time, or when the host thinks a certain thought, or watches a TV program, or whatever..., and then it dies out when it's job is done.

Chilling weapons of mass destruction...
Be the envy of other major governments 🆒 🆒
...touch me, thrill me, kill me!

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Oh, so it is another bug hunt then...

"Planet Destroying" is the wrong term. In order to fully destroy a planet, you must overcome its gravitation binding energy.

Overcoming gravitation binding energy of earth is:
1. Difficult. It's something like the entire energy output of the sun for a few weeks.
2. Useless. Vaporizing the top hundred miles or so would kill everything down to bacteria and wouldn't cost nearly as much.

I doubt antimatter would be as popular as you think. Magnetic countermeasures could divert it or (worse) reflect it back at you. Just dump garbage and antimatter together and send the photons at the enemy. Diverting photons is hard.

Also, it's quite likely that the fights will be carried out without human intervention. In space, any energy source is easy to spot, so detection would occur well outside firing range, and the only variables would be 1) shooting first and 2) shooting straighter.

Target identification would be easy, using passive-passive systems. The enemy can't fake being a friend unless they can occupy the same space at the same time. Coordinating this over multiple star systems would be hell, though.

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"In literature as in love we are astounded by what is chosen by others." Andre Maurois
Onii7/Frinkruds and his funky forums
macgamer.net

There could be plenty of different types of shielding that exist in a sci fi novel. Here are some:

Plasma bottle
Damper field
Deflector (i.e. starwars or star trek)
Reflection field (also in star wars - ray shielded)

But the issue is here which one can be implemented in nova. I don't think that's possible for the damper field.

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There are only 3 kinds of people; those who can count, and those who can't.

A buffer of negative energy (in soliton form) would be a reasonable shielding system against matter and energy weapondry, AND consistent with EVN shield behavior.

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"In literature as in love we are astounded by what is chosen by others." Andre Maurois
Onii7/Frinkruds and his funky forums
macgamer.net

Ok, let's say you produce a wall of antimatter around a ship about 2 metres thick and maintain it... that means if you fire a weapon at it 2 metres circular you will effectively spread the shield out or the next shot will punch through it. To be exact, the shields in EVN all die out at once regardless of where you get hit and how many times. Possible one of the worser things about EVN is the lack of a damper field, because that is the singularly most realistic shield I can think of.

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There are only 3 kinds of people; those who can count, and those who can't.

(This message has been edited by Joveia (edited 03-19-2003).)

Antimatter is different from negative energy. If you got it right, the wavelength would be big enough to contain the whole ship, creating uniform depletion.

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"In literature as in love we are astounded by what is chosen by others." Andre Maurois
Onii7/Frinkruds and his funky forums
macgamer.net

The smallest unit of antimatter is a particle not a wave.
You are thinking here of energy which may be considered either as particles or as waves or as particles that behave as waves depending on the viewing perspective and on whichever theories you subscribe to.
Magnetism or Gravitism is an extension of energy, with the theoretical wave-particle (magneton, graviton) being the medium of propagation. In the abscence of a unified field theory these bits remain separate from light based energy. However shields will utilise gravitons and or magnetons as their mode of deployment.

On the subject of the destruction of planets, the gravitation which holds a world together is a relatively weak force. A planet could easily be smashed into bits by a relatively small object with sufficient kinetic energy (viz, the "doomsday asteroid"). All you need is to balance your equation. The planet would however re-gather itself back relatively quickly, but from a military point of view it would have been destroyed.
To completly convert the planet's mass into energy and thus truly "destroy" it would require a whole lot more energy, an impractical amount as you say. (Actually, on a point of semantics, the planet would still not be truly "destroyed" as the energy produced by the destruction would still exist. "destruction" here is therefore a relative term...)

The advantage of an antimatter bomb would be that it would produce a large amount of energy from a relatively small and cheap weapon. How the energy is used and how the weapon is delivered would be a matter for the Generals and their scientists. But antimatter is, will be cheap to produce. The delivery system would of course need to be effective in avoiding countermeasures deployed against it, just as a present day cruise missile flies low to reduce its chances of detection, as do anti-ship missiles. The countermeasure to anti-ship missiles has therefore evolved from anti-missile missiles to point defense dpr cannons and the like.

You will always need human operators. They can think! This remainds me of a Sci-Fi story I read once (Asimov I think) about the rediscovery of mathematics by people who used computers for everything, and therefore everything was automated, including weapons. The military strategists immediately seized on the idea of using human pilots for their missiles instead of computers, because the humans could now make calculations, and also think.

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Oh, so it is another bug hunt then...

Range.

Massive?

Missiles would be good of course. I'm thinking of how fast the missile would go. Keep in mind that ships may be able (because of their larger engines) to outrun missiles. This is because in space, size has nothing to do with it. Size might affect inertia. If you have a massive-ass capital ship going at full speed it would outrun the fastest small-scale missile you have, unless their's a more advanced propulsion system on the missile.

This means missile might not be perceived as that effective.

You'd need some sort of counterbalance.

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There are only 3 kinds of people; those who can count, and those who can't.

Humans are too slow. Our brains are optimized for the wrong KIND of calculation. Aiming a laser is very simple math - except for the decimals, and the cosines. We'd need scratch paper, and a calculator to do the decimals. You can't point and shoot without a computer providing a mark for you to shoot at. The logical next step is to just have the computer point the laser at the mark.

Asimov's story had MISSILES. Those are very different, because we're perfectly fine at making continuous decisions, and missiles have considerable oportunities to correct aim.
Lasers have 3 decisions. The last 2 must be perfect.
1. What to shoot
2. X angle
3. Y angle

Humans cannot make the last two decisions as well as a computer. A good IFF system could make the first decision. If you outrange your enemy, the order in which to shoot them is merely "closest first". If you do NOT outrange them, you're probably screwed but closest first is still best, due to the fact you can probably kill 300-odd targets per minute with a good system.

The only point at which humans are optimal is the "declaration of war" step. And possibly not even there, judging from history (including recent history).

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"In literature as in love we are astounded by what is chosen by others." Andre Maurois
Onii7/Frinkruds and his funky forums
macgamer.net

post defeated by time - l8r

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There are only 3 kinds of people; those who can count, and those who can't.

(This message has been edited by Joveia (edited 03-20-2003).)

(This message has been edited by Joveia (edited 03-20-2003).)

Interesting point, but the computer still cannot actually make a decision.
If both of your targets are equally close then the defense system computer may simply not engage either of them because it cannot decide which is the closer...
(which has actually happened in practice!)
A human can decide to do something else, like which one of them to take out first.

A human can also pilot the missile into the target.

.
.
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Uh, we're outta time are we, oh well... 🙂

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Oh, so it is another bug hunt then...

Don't be silly. If that did happen, whoever wrote that code should be banned from entering a room containing a computer forever. That's the sort of error you have to try to make.

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"In literature as in love we are astounded by what is chosen by others." Andre Maurois
Onii7/Frinkruds and his funky forums
macgamer.net

Quote

Originally posted by Lord Commander Anic:
**Uh, we're outta time are we, oh well...:)

**

Eh, don't be facetious. I was just trying to make a long post and I realised that today I needed to go, and always messed up by mentioning the Iraqi war but there is enough of that in the media these. Don't want to turn an ares forum into an iraq war topic eh.

(this is in relation with darkk's war statement.)

I've got a book out by some guys and even though it says nothing there are some interesting ideas.

I think the otone idea is the most effective and realistic future weapon. I think alot of EVN is going to be based on otones.

Also an energy absorber. Darkk, is it possible to create something where you get hit and some of that damage (or just getting hit) siphons off into more fuel/energy for a ship?

I'm still undecided on the use of shields. Ideally I think some weapons should be based so that they specialise, except then I realised that that might not even result in a fun game, like the way paper/scissors/rocks games are predictable and not at all fun. I think I'm going to do something different.

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There are only 3 kinds of people; those who can count, and those who can't.

How would it create the black hole? Also, what you have to understand is that a tiny black hole has a tiny event horizon. It's actually possible for a sufficiently small black hole to pass through an object without causing significant damage (some theorize that Earth was struck in this way at least once). Then there's the small matter of getting the black hole from here to there. And you've got to consider that it's doing as much damage with its event horizon and/or pull here as it is there.

I still say you can't beat raw matter-energy conversion lasers in terms of efficiency, without envoking zero-point chaining energy conversion (which I'm to ignorant to fully know if you could do it (I think you can), but will happily write sci-fi stories about) or some sort of wormhole cutter or other spatial distortion, but that's considerably farther in the future.

As for the absorber, I suppose you could in theory. All you need is a highly efficient solar panel that absorbs whatever frequency your enemies use.

Like I said earlier, if they projected antimatter at you, just bussard collect it. Or put a magnetic field up in such a way as to fling it back at them. It would be funny to see ships duel in this manner, a steadily-increasing loop of antimatter around them...

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"In literature as in love we are astounded by what is chosen by others." Andre Maurois
Onii7/Frinkruds and his funky forums
macgamer.net

Otones have actually been done in physics labs. I read an article on it by a russian magazine (Pravda, interestingly enough).

Apparently they are created for some kind of infinitesimal time and are then extinguished (obviously damage would be next to none.)

But in the future they are talking of (these same scientists) bombs that could blow up planets. This is definately worth looking into.

The otone creation is like creating a nuclear blast I think. Or a particle acceleration. Basically very controlled operation. But nuclear blasts can be done via grenades (bombs) and I think that means super otones could too. Plus, atleast if you follow Starcraft™, then nukes can also be focused explosions. I think you could somehow 'project' an otone (think of a 18inch battleship gun for an idea how this would interact with my proposed universe - on a space battleship) and create an otone on an enemy ship for like 1 particle.

Effects:

The ship would be hit at somepoint and it's matter would likely be distorted for a very small amount of time, practically ignoring armour strength. Then the blackhole would disappear in like .5 seconds. Effectively it would be like trading shots with a battleship except the 'shell' (i.e. the otone creation) would be much much shorter than an explosion. And the hint of it would be the battleship slowly losing it's shape along the bits where it's hit. Eventually the whole thing would be very distorted and so forth.

But - since we're talking about distortion mainly I don't think it would just be like one hit and she's done for. In fact, it could be conceived battles that go on for long enough just make a ship's hull very very distorted and then without alot of difference keep distorting it. So you'd have all the vital instruments in the middle of the ship. This makes me think of the Trade Federation battleship core. A sphere would have alot of resistance to Otones.

Another thing is the kind of dimensions we're talking here. In Star Wars you get alot of realistic guns that might as well contain shells and machinegun bullets. In Star Trek you get a ship with one entire gun - essentially just a gun and a ship stuck together (romulans) but alot nicer. It all depends on energy effeciency. For lasers you could get lasers going up to like 150 tons of cargo space for supership merely because of their effeciency, while with ... er...

Ok enough. The problem is you still can't get missile blasts that big and I don't think missiles would work that well.

Cloaking would be definately intrinsic. Both long range cloaking of energy signatures and drive emissions and some futuristic short range cloaking. I honestly have no idea how you would cloak gravity assuming it would be like that. Designs for an all-hidden ship, immune to infra-red, radar, gravitic detection. (assuming radar works from reflecting light back... I hope I've got it right..)

  1. Have the ship's outer hull run at absolute zero. Cover the engine's with coolant and have them run very effeciently, reducing the output. You could also go into cruiser mode once you've arrived at you're destination. I imagine a cloaking outfit would have an absolutely massive cap on top speed for this to work.
  2. radar. Make the ship's outermost hull out of dark matter. I can't think of anything else at the moment that would conceivably work. Of course, you'd have to have a very very advanced civ to hold dark matter and stick a ship onto it.
  3. Generate a negative gravity field around the ship assuming you have anti-gravity. Or else make the ship out of lightweight materials and then cover an outer coating with anti-matter suspended in a magnetic bottle. Presumably the negative gravity from the anti-matter (I'm guessing they give off anti-grav) would be enough to offset some of the mass. Of course, get a good enough gravity detector or get close enough and she's done for.
  4. Another one. Detect basic energy usage using some sort of quantum technique I'm not currently aware of. Dark matter might cloak this effect.

(eh, I actually put more time in this than my 1 week overdue english essay...)

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There are only 3 kinds of people; those who can count, and those who can't.

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