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Old 01-04-2021, 09:58 AM   #1
Anders
 
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Default Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

I'm thinking of melding the two skills. Currently Guns (Pistol) and Beam Weapons (Pistol) default to each other at -4. Which means that you can use your gun's laser sight on someone with full skill, but move the laser downstairs and amp it up and you are suddenly at -4 to skill. That sounds weird, and GURPS has too many skills anyway. What do you think?
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Old 01-04-2021, 10:26 AM   #2
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

I feel the only way for Beam Weapons to be a legitimately different skill is if the operation modes are different. If you have a beam generator that just makes a beam without any sort of variable focusing - like a laser pointer - Guns skill should work just fine, you'd just need to deal with some Familiarity issues. On the other hand, if you have a beam generator with variable focus - even one with something like a camera's autofocus - that is justifiable as a separate skill. Note Beam Weapons configured to be usable with Guns skill would, realistically, have a much shorter range than those configured to be usable with Beam Weapons skill.
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Old 01-04-2021, 11:25 AM   #3
Proteus
 
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

I'm not a real-life gun person, but it seems to me that the lack of recoil is the most obvious difference between the two. Given how often recoil seems to make fools of newbie gun users, wouldn't its absence cause a significant difference in usage and thus skill? (Then there are potential issues, as already mentioned, like needing to adjust beam collimation for various distance bands, and all the other little bits of behavior that go into understanding the "immediate action" required to use / maintain a weapon.)
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Old 01-04-2021, 11:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

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I'm not a real-life gun person, but it seems to me that the lack of recoil is the most obvious difference between the two. Given how often recoil seems to make fools of newbie gun users, wouldn't its absence cause a significant difference in usage and thus skill? (Then there are potential issues, as already mentioned, like needing to adjust beam collimation for various distance bands, and all the other little bits of behavior that go into understanding the "immediate action" required to use / maintain a weapon.)
At the scale where you use Beam Weapons rather than Gunner or Artillery, another big difference is that lasers are effectively instantaneous. Even though that may only be a fraction of a second difference, that can still matter in some cases.
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Old 01-04-2021, 11:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

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At the scale where you use Beam Weapons rather than Gunner or Artillery, another big difference is that lasers are effectively instantaneous. Even though that may only be a fraction of a second difference, that can still matter in some cases.
True. Even with single-user weapons, the absence of any need to "lead" the target, and lack of any concern about things like "windage," seem like significant changes.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:27 PM   #6
Anders
 
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

I thought about that too. But shooters seem to do fine with the gun sight, which has all the properties of a laser. Because it is a laser! They can put little red dots on people just fine.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:31 PM   #7
Pmandrekar
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

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I thought about that too. But shooters seem to do fine with the gun sight, which has all the properties of a laser. Because it is a laser! They can put little red dots on people just fine.
In a world where people routinely use laser sights and laser weapons, perhaps you could lower the penalty between the untrained use of one to the other. Keep in mind that the laser sights tend to aim at where the bullet is supposed to go, and may not coincide perfectly with where a laser would go. But I see your point.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:32 PM   #8
Willy
 
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

IMHO it should be different skills, as above a laser is hitting the target the moment you shoot, no need to lead the target. there is a recoil in projectile weapons, laser don΄t have recoil by design. Also gravity has near zero influence, so you don΄t need to calculate in into your aiming. taht means basically, point the gun at tatrget, press trigger and you will hit your target nearly with absolute precission. In the books is a option mentioned that the gun projects a weaker ray for aiming, combined with a sort of optics every one should be able to hit the target then. Even better put a camera parallel to the barrel and you can aim out of the hiding, without being spotted.
Of cours over LONG distances gravity has an influence, but on earth you can neglect it.
Lasers have one drawback, aside from having problems with targets who shine like a mirror. Its the fact, that a laser needed to stay focused. in an environment with heavy fog or dust into he air, not to mention something like the dust casters in Traveller, the effective range will be reduced - maybe drastically.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

Most of the factors listed so far - as well as lack of need to deal with bullet drop - are things that make using beam weapons easier, rather than different, and may well be a big part of why they tend to have exceptional Acc values. For skill differences, the way you use the weapons needs to be different. Beam weapons (at least at the kind of ranges humans deal with) are functionally hitscan weapons, to use some videogame design terminology - you point the weapon at the target and pull the trigger, and the effect is instant. Firearms are much the same at sufficiently close range, but the skill used doesn't change at longer ranges (honestly, GURPS largely treats firearms as hitscan weapons as well, as the to-hit penalty is based on what size the target appears to be - realistically, it's easier to hit a SM-10 target at 2 yards than an SM+0 target at 100 yards). Again, to justify a different skill, they need to be used differently, and from what I understand about beam weapons, that likely has to do with focusing.

Of course, uses of the skill other than aiming at and hitting the target (such a various IQ-based rolls to identify a weapon, perform maintenance, etc) may well be markedly different, far more so than mere Familiarity calls for. Appropriately accounting for that would require deviation from GURPS norms - in this case, I'd say the player must choose if their character is more familiar with guns or beam weapons; whichever he is not, he's at -4 (which can be removed with a Technique - or maybe even a Perk) to do things other than shoot a target. That's assuming gun-like (no need to deal with focusing) beam weapons, of course.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:46 PM   #10
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Melding Beam Weapons and Guns

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Originally Posted by Pmandrekar View Post
In a world where people routinely use laser sights and laser weapons, perhaps you could lower the penalty between the untrained use of one to the other. Keep in mind that the laser sights tend to aim at where the bullet is supposed to go, and may not coincide perfectly with where a laser would go. But I see your point.
For what it's worth, even iron sights are usually only right at two places: the "zero" point and wherever the arc of the bullet takes it back to zero. A laser does the same thing, and may or may not be visible from there.

The classic example is sighting in an M16 at 25 yards. The ballistics of the round mean that it comes up to the sighting-in point, goes higher from 25 yds to about 300yds, and then after that keeps on falling.

That upward travel might be 4-6". So at 125 yards (about in the middle) if you want a shot in the center of a head, you can't just aim where you want the bullet to go.

More advanced rangefinding systems compensate for this, calculating trajectory and saying "put dot here." Higher tech sights (including some that exist now) don't make you muss overtly with ballistic tables, as they're programmed in.
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