(MS) Design Goals – Kinetic & Energy Weapons

In our last post we talked about lethality in weaponry. In this post we will talk about how we try to keep energy and kinetic weapons distinct.

In the Gundam universe beam weapons are particle weapons, specifically megaparticles which are created by compression of positive and negative Minovsky particles. Beam weapons are revolutionary since they have incredibly high penetration power and are able to fire relatively quickly.

Over time technology matures and we see miniaturized beam weapons for Mobile Suits and eventually rapid fire beam machineguns. The invention of these high PEN particle weapons revolutionizes warfare and as a result we see a shift away from kinetic weapons like Machine guns and Bazookas and in later years we see thinner armor and smaller Mecha to maximize mobility since even one hit from a beam weapon can instantly neutralize a target.

In our last post we talked about PEN or penetration. A stat used to keep things lethal in the game. PEN forces the target to make an Armor Save when it hits and if they fail that save the unit is destroyed or disabled.

Since MechaStellar is a system neutral game we wanted to make sure that Kinetic Weapons and Energy weapons were both represented and each had their niche.

In the Gundam universe the power of beam weapons was so great (not to mention the logistical efficiency) that there was often very few reasons to stick with kinetic weapons. In other Mecha universes projectile weapons with solid shells are alive and well, either the technology level means that energy weapons are less common or have a severe limiting factor. For example in Evangelion energy weapons exist but have a massive power draw that can’t be supplied by the eponymous Mecha.

When you look at other media you have the Armored Core games, a series heavy on granularity when it comes to giant robots and it is quite the better because of it. Mechs are generally very constrained by their reactor which powers various systems and most importantly thrusters. Energy weapons are quite powerful but that draw on the reactor means a shorter operational time at high speeds. Kinetic weapons of course were limited by their ammunition and could also cause heat build up.

For MechaStellar we went the following route. Kinetic weapons would be higher damage but lower PEN, conversely Energy weapons would be lower damage but higher PEN. For a few weapons we also let the kinetic weapons have longer range since particle weapons tend to lose their effectiveness over distances especially with diffusion and atmospheric absorption of thermal energy.

To put this in examples we’ll compare two common weapons the Giant Bazooka and a standard beam rifle. The Giant Bazooka deals 700 DMG per shot but is only PEN 2, the only kinetic weapon with a higher PEN is a railgun or antiship missile. The Beam Rifle is only 300 DMG but is PEN 3, a Beam Cannon is 500 DMG and PEN 4. While being struck by a Beam Rifle or Cannon would yield less overall damage the PEN is much higher so a target has a higher chance of being instantly destroyed. Both weapons have their uses and preferred target. You also see them used to great effect by the Rick Dias and Nemo used the AEUG in Zeta Gundam.

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