Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

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Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby BlackHatSupport » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:28 pm UTC

Many Sci-Fi books and TV shows and movies and games have "whiz-bang" tech that is never explained, here's a chance to try and let your inner nerd make it work.


For example:

Battlestar Galactica's FTL Drives - The drive folds space and punches the ship through to the destination.

or,

Homeworld's Kinetic Kill weapons don't send the ships sailing backwards through space due to massive shock absorbers.


Have fun explaining away all the Sci-Fi tech in the world.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby bryangibs » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:12 am UTC

BlackHatSupport wrote:Many Sci-Fi books and TV shows and movies and games have "whiz-bang" tech that is never explained, here's a chance to try and let your inner nerd make it work.


For example:

Battlestar Galactica's FTL Drives - The drive folds space and punches the ship through to the destination.

or,

Homeworld's Kinetic Kill weapons don't send the ships sailing backwards through space due to massive shock absorbers.


Have fun explaining away all the Sci-Fi tech in the world.

Yep that true many of the books /tv shows do not have whiz-bang explained!!!
Nice one i never taught whiz-bang until now :)
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby yurell » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:03 am UTC

BlackHatSupport wrote:Homeworld's Kinetic Kill weapons don't send the ships sailing backwards through space due to massive shock absorbers.


Sorry, how does that one work?
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby Roĝer » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:18 pm UTC

Clearly the momentum is transferred to a nearby planet or moon.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby Kang » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

BlackHatSupport wrote:For example:
Battlestar Galactica's FTL Drives - The drive folds space and punches the ship through to the destination.
or,
Homeworld's Kinetic Kill weapons don't send the ships sailing backwards through space due to massive shock absorbers.

Wow. Now they are finally completely clear to me. Don't get me wrong, but how is that more of an explanation than 'it works because of magic' or 'don't ask stupid questions like that, everyone but the stupid reader had these things in their spacetech engineering class!'?
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby BlackHatSupport » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Wow. Now they are finally completely clear to me. Don't get me wrong, but how is that more of an explanation than 'it works because of magic' or 'don't ask stupid questions like that, everyone but the stupid reader had these things in their spacetech engineering class!'?



Did you read the bit about "allowing your inner nerd to explain things away"?

Sorry, but It was a just-for-fun type thing.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby Kang » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:56 pm UTC

No, mostly because you didn't put it like that. But maybe my earlier response sounded much harsher than it should have. It's just that neither of these really moved away from the standpoint of 'look, it just works somehow, okay?'.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby MarkHill256 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:34 am UTC

James Bond movies weapons are best examples. Or i don't know if anything like that really exists.. :!:





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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:39 am UTC

I wouldn't criticize BSG too much on that count. It's less an explanation of how the technology works and more a definition of the limits of the "magic." So, since FTL doesn't actually involve moving faster than light, you can't use it as a kinetic weapon and don't have to deal with SR.

Just a plot device, not sci-spec in itself.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby Gagundathar The Inexplicable » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:45 pm UTC

FTL is REALLY hard to explain in any coherent manner consistent with relativity.
You can't communicate with something outside your light cone.
If something violated this, a lot of causality effects would be obviated.
Nevertheless, if you want a universe where we have something like BSG or Star Trek or Star Wars transport then we have to bend to the "rule of cool".
There is an amazingly well-written article here : http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FasterThanLightTravel
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby Gagundathar The Inexplicable » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:59 pm UTC

One of the more obvious silly thing that is done in all movies is when a kinetic weapon hits the targeted person, they are thrown backwards. Unless the projectile is something huge, this won't happen. Just work out the physics. If that happened, the target might actually survive since a lot of the energy would be transferred to their propulsion through the air. As it really happens, all of that energy is transferred to the body. That causes significant hydrostatic shock which disrupts all of the affected organs. Also, the projectile rattles around and it impacts and punctures organs. That is what kills the target.

But, an energy weapon? I can imagine it burning the surface and even sending such energy into the interior. But knocking someone backward? I don't think that would happen. When people faint they typically collapse forward, not (as portrayed in cartoons) backwards.

I suppose you could include a generous amount of tetryon particles that do something other that what I understand, then it makes some sense.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby yurell » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:05 am UTC

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:But, an energy weapon? I can imagine it burning the surface and even sending such energy into the interior. But knocking someone backward? I don't think that would happen. When people faint they typically collapse forward, not (as portrayed in cartoons) backwards.

I suppose you could include a generous amount of tetryon particles that do something other that what I understand, then it makes some sense.


It could be in analogy to an electrical shock, which can send someone flying by making the muscles activate, screwing up the body's control mechanism. Once you combine that with the people who direct movies don't do science (they direct movies), it's easy to get it to the point where the audience expects people to be flying around, and dislike it when they don't.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby Gagundathar The Inexplicable » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:22 am UTC

yurell wrote:
Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:But, an energy weapon? I can imagine it burning the surface and even sending such energy into the interior. But knocking someone backward? I don't think that would happen. When people faint they typically collapse forward, not (as portrayed in cartoons) backwards.

I suppose you could include a generous amount of tetryon particles that do something other that what I understand, then it makes some sense.


It could be in analogy to an electrical shock, which can send someone flying by making the muscles activate, screwing up the body's control mechanism. Once you combine that with the people who direct movies don't do science (they direct movies), it's easy to get it to the point where the audience expects people to be flying around, and dislike it when they don't.


Yes. I agree. People expect certain things in their fiction.
Nevertheless, it is ludicrous.
And that was the point of the thread, right?

I am not being combative, but these kind of things could be done better.
Having someone crumple and fall forward would be just as effective, if done properly.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby yurell » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:30 am UTC

Oh, I agree. But then again, being able to see the 'laser' at all is just as, if not more, ridiculous.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby Gagundathar The Inexplicable » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:51 am UTC

Yes, that is silly as well.
Unless there were some suspended particles- fog, smoke, something like that.
And we rarely see that. But, they couldn't just have the phasers make a noise and the bad guys fall down.
I suppose the worse example of is when Kirk is 'accelerated' (Blink of an Eye)and the phaser beam actually moves slowly enough to show the beginning and the end of its ... what the heck do you call it?
Phaser pulse, I suppose.

Also, on this same track, how are you supposed to dodge those things?
I assume they project their energy at light speed. But given the above mentioned episode, I believe otherwise... which is weird.
I suppose you anticipate where your opponent is firing and dodge prior to their pressing the trigger.
Much as you would when dodging a bullet.
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby RaptorRider » Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:33 pm UTC

then when it comes to Star Wars, they seem to be shooting plasma. How could the plasma stay together after it leaves the gun? Do they fire an electromagnetic field along with it?
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Re: Sci-Fi Weapons and Technology

Postby yurell » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:04 pm UTC

It doesn't behave like plasma, so I would guess that it's not plasma. To quote Incredible Cross-Sections: Episode II - Attack of the Clones:
Energy weapons fire invisible energy at lightspeed. The visible "bolt" is a glowing pulse that travels along the beam at less than lightspeed. Therefore, targets can explode instants before the "bolt" actually arrives. The light given off by visible bolts depletes the overall energy content of the beam, limiting its range. Turbolasers gain a longer range by spinning the energy beam, which reduces waste glow.


Admittedly, they're talking about the starship guns, but I should imagine the personal arms follow a similar principle (although it doesn't explain how the Jedi can reflect the beam by just hitting the bolt -- maybe they use the force to deflect the beam, but just can't stop the bolt that way).
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