Projectile based weapons

was playing last night and i felt the need for Rail Guns, Mass drivers, and Gauss Cannons.

yes the jillion jolt beams of death are nice and the swarms of missles is devastating.

but nothing gives you a thrill, like launchig a 100 ton projectile at near light speed. and watching the ensuing fireworks :slight_smile:

i saw the thread on ammo but i feel these guns of destructions are being unfairly left out this game .

Storongly agree with this one. New shiny weapons , that just go screaming across the board. forget Ecm saving you from a near light speed slug. Ammo space Feh, you have a near endless supply of missles why not some plain old nast exploding slugs.

Agreed. I want to see fighter’s spraying bullets Battlestar Galactica style.



  1. railguns do kinetic damage (high armor penetration, no shield penetration)
  2. after each shot they are damaged! So they need repair unit, because they will be destroyed after some shots otherwise.
  3. they should have ammunition (like repair units).
  4. uses a lot of power.
  5. should push ships back if rly big projectiles are used.
  6. they are accurate, but ofcourse accuracy is limited by turret rotation. This means that when projectiles are shot, they hit (mostly), but if turrets can’t keep up with speedy targets, then they should not fire at all.
  1. i still say shields protect against energy - so kinetic shells go straight through. much like those fighter thingies

  2. they’re damaged because of current-tech™. i would also point out that the optics in laser weapons are damaged with each shot at present too… but i don’t see the beam lasers needing repair. also, coil guns don’t suffer this problem - but need much longer barrels. railguns have the advantage of very (relatively) short barrels.

  3. more like missile launchers. oh…

  4. “power output of every toaster on a medium sized planet” sort of power?

  5. … they’re not accurate in space terms. not compared to light-speed lasers, or guided missiles. the general opinion is that you need the enemy not to know you’re firing … otherwise tiny course changed mean you just miss totally. the best solution is generally to fire lots of projectiles and saturate the probable area of space the enemy will be in.

Not that GSB is supposed to bear any resemblance to what space combat would really be like, but a laser is going to be severely limited in terms of range by diffraction effects. You would need truly enormous, and thus exceedingly vulnerable, optics to make a laser do anything more at range than light up your target. Evasive manoeuvres will also work against a laser if the target knows it’s under attack, because the round-trip timelag between an electromagnetic wave leaving your target, which you detect, and your fired laser arriving at the target will give the target time to move. Railguns of sufficient power could hit projectile speeds a hair off c, and thus be as accurate as a laser without diffraction effects.

A guided missile would, of course, be more accurate as it can adjust its course as it approaches… but to travel slow enough that its course can be corrected quickly enough (relativistic time dilation and mass increases increasing apparent reaction time and increasing the amount of energy required to alter course, respectively), it would be intensely vulnerable to point-defence lasers.

Why do we have to have railguns? Big nasty chemical explosives will work fine too. Cheap and dirty and zero power… but HEAVY… cannons would provide a wonderful balance to beams.

because assuming you can pump the appropriate amount of power into it, a 0.99c railgun would deliver something like 4x10^12 joules on impact… about 140kT, and conveniently … about the same as a cruiser beam laser :slight_smile:

you ain’t gonna carry around 140,000 tonnes of chemical explosives for one shot. (or was that what you meant by ‘heavy’…? :slight_smile:

hmmm… i suppose nuclear artillery would be possible - but you’d still realisticly want it to fire using your ships powerplant… given just how much energy there is sloshing around in there. [oh damn. ‘realisticly’. there goes my argument! :slight_smile: ]

[of course, this ignores the problem that neither weapons system could actually get a projectile to that velocity - but i suspect the chemical options will have a far lower theoretical max]

I was thinking of traditional chemical shell propellants. You don’t have to get it going too fast and you make the warhead itself do the damage, maybe nuclear or HEAP or even more fun… nanyte shells that spread armor eating bugs on impact. Crunch crunch, yum!

Considering the distances in this game are so small given that it is a space game, projectiles of some sort might not be unrealistic. I mean, top engagement range is like 1100 m. In a void, most modern day projectiles would travel that in no time. Let alone the ‘future’. I like the nanobomb idea. I still think separating kinetic and energy shields could be interesting too, and maybe have a weaker hybrid.

railguns do not use explosives

of course they don’t… the discussion went:
“why railguns? can’t we have cannon with chemicals?”
“to get railgun impact with a cannon would take 140kT of propellant”
“i meant lower speed, but with warheads”

no-one suggested a railgun would take explosives…

on a random note, either missiles or shells could implement a handwavey real AoE effect… multiple independently targeted fission pumped x-ray lasers. when the shell goes off, several beams fire from the detonation point to hit nearby ships. small beam lasers so they wouldn’t do much to cruisers, but fighters might go “ouchie”

There is only one reason why railguns are necessary: they’re cool and they’re part of GSB’s commonly-accepted subject matter.

That said, they must serve some ingame purpose. The long-range armor-busting role is already fulfilled by beam lasers. One idea previously posted was to make railguns extremely long range and low damage sniper weapons for siege purposes (much like Plasma, except with even more range and less damage - or possibly even less accuracy). The problem with that is avoiding overlap with Plasma weapons themselves, though we do need a siege-breaking weapon for use against stationary battlestations. Another option is to make them long-range shield-breakers - but this runs the danger of making beams overpowered. Breaking shields at range leaves ships completely vulnerable to beam weapons, which are already one of the most powerful strategies available (though currently backed up with either plasma or short range burst lasers). The current long-range shield-breakers, missiles and plasma, both have significant restrictions in the form of point defense and target speed.

The most balanced role of railguns seems to be as plasma++: more range, even less accuracy, and shield pwnage galore. This is easily justified because GSB’s shield systems tend to have more trouble dissipating bursts of energy (burst lasers), including kenetic energy (missles), than beams. Shields are most effective against continuous energy beams perhaps because they automatically modulate for each individual impact (making beams less stress on the system). Railguns, however, dish out individual kenetic impacts rather than a stream of energy.

nope they dont. But if your shell is made from unstable rare earths in a nickel shell, and speed up to near revelvistic speeds, it would tend to critical when it slams into something. Like a cruiser,or its sheilds. Plus going back to the start of the thread. Guns adds another set weapons, would be fun, give more choice to the players, and fits in with the old giaint battle in space theme. Whats not to like.

I respectfully disagree. I agree that they need to be balanced, but we see energy type weapons that fulfill a variety of roles… pulse, long beam, ion, cruiser laser, etc. Missiles are much the same, having a variety of roles but slower firing rates and interceptibility. I don’t see why Direct Fire Projectile weapons can’t do the same, but be heavier and take less power (maybe except for gauss/rail cannon which are both high power and high weight, like the projectile version of plasma).

You could end up seeing big cannon ships with tough shields but light armor slamming into essentially identically powerful energy ships with lighter shields but solid thick armor for a grand engagement. Maybe both with support from lightly defended missile platforms. That would be awesome.

Oh and by the way, am I the only one hoping for MIRV anti fighter missiles with loads of tiny 1 dmg warheads? That would rule.

But this is the current state of railgun technology. Imagine military grade railguns 100’s of years from now. These problems would mostly likely no longer exist.

I’d like to see railguns as rapid fire weapons peppering the enemy with fire. They’d fire in bursts with a small spread to improve the chance of hitting the enemy.

I’ve only just started playing the game, but are are there flak cannons? Much like those from Battlestar Galactica. I’d really like to see all those small explosions!

reading through the replies i think we all have pretty good ideas on how they should be balanced .

I would also like to add my ideas .

Rail guns: long range high damage require tons of power maybe a dedicated ammo bay .
very deadly against Shields and armour .
You have not experienced shock and awe until you realise you no longer have to issue the command “on screen” . due to the fact that your command deck now has a open balcony due to that last salvo of rails.

hardened Shields should defend well against them and maybe a defending armour type.

ammo could be a balancing factor to high damage rails. Loosing a slot to ammo and possibly a power generator, would prevent uber own everything ships. while maintaining their lethality.


Mass driver / Gauss cannons could be the shorter range higher rate of fire guns maybe an excellent anti-frigate weapon or a even better point defense platform. Based of the idea earlier in the thread of filling the void full of projectiles . Who cares about aiming these days !!?? again balanced by ammo and power req.


and as mentioned previously in this thread.
lets not forget the good old fashioned high explosive shells
delayed detonation to ensure maximum penetration and thus righteous devastation !!

and since this is the future why worry with high explosive. with a antimatter warhead contained in a True Void Field encased within a nice shiny shell . what better way to let your target know you want their demise to be quick and painless.

To balance these ? heck this is old fashioned technology . sheilds and armour should be enough .

less those shells are filled with that glop from sub prime 5. that kinda reminds you of that crap the vux would spit out at you from star control 2.


Here’s my thoughts on projectile weapons:

They don’t NEED to fill some unique niche role. They’re cool, they’d add variety. They can fill gaps in the fitting balance rather than battle balance. Heavy weapons with high crew requirements that need little power (mostly, rail guns should obviously need huge power). Another take being that projectile weapons are in fact stronger than their energy based counterparts, but suffer ammo shortages.

As for weapon classes, I see two predominant subcategories of these weapons; magnetic and chemical/conventional, each using their respective propellants. Magnetic weapons have prohibitively high fitting requirements, in crew, power and weight, but their range is longer than other weapons in their size category. They’re more accurate than plasma, and harder hitting. The downsides? Here’s an idea, aside from the fitting, the powerful but short lived magnetic field generated when firing causes damage to shield stability. Having too many of these weapons firing will drop your own ship’s shields temporarily.

Within this class I’m thinking of the following categories:
Railgun - large cannons comparable to plasma, but better all round (perhaps range ~1200). In view of the real life example people gave, perhaps these damage themselves slightly with every shot, meaning a repair module is necessary for continuous fire. Potential for weight classes within hull classes, ie. light and heavy railguns.
Gauss Gun - a shorter range, higher rate of fire weapon that doesn’t damage itself. Far less penetrating than the railgun, but higher dps overall. I’m thinking a range of ~600.

Chemical/conventional weapons are very heavy and have high crew requirements, but use very little power. Their range is less than average and they aren’t very accurate. However, their rate of fire and damage are both exceptionally high (penetration lacking though), making it the highest dps class there currently is, but short ranged and non-penetrating.

Within the class I’m thinking of:
Artillery - enormous great cannon, long range (~900?) terrible accuracy. Huge damage per shot and quite a respectable rate of fire for its size. This would be the end of any engine-less fleet, it would simply tear them apart. Cruiser exclusive.
Cannon - smaller class of cannon (perhaps hitting to ~700) with less damage, slightly higher rate of fire. Frigate size module exists.
Autocannon - rapid firing lower calibre weaponry, perhaps a range ~400, accuracy still pretty poor, but a huge rate of fire making up for it. Quite high damage, but sod all penetration. This weapon exists in all three ship classes, serving as the fighter’s rapid fire weapon too.
Flak - obviously enough, it’s a spray and pray anti-fighter weapon. Low damage, low penetration, after all it isn’t meant to hit them, just get near misses. Stupid rate of fire, it just puts up a wall of lead for fighters to run into.

railguns - make fitting requirements so high, that only 1-2, maybe 3 could be fitted at a time for a reasonable price.