Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Bothkill
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Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Bothkill »

Maybe this issue was settled long ago. I've searched the forum to find it but I couldn't.
So, sorry if this was debated before.

It's about the form of the Laser beam in Oolite. The beam is just a straight line starting from the centre.

In classical Elite there were two pairs (each of two beams) converging to the hitting point, like this:

BBC Micro (original version)
Image

Commodore 64 version
Image

ZX Spectrum version
Image


Maybe one would argue that the idea of four beams converging doesn't make sense when the targets are at different (variable) distances.
But, since the Cobra Mk III is a state of the art technology, the (four) beams can be computer-controlled to converge to the desired point of impact.
If the missile 'Targeting system' works for identifying moving objects, why couldn't the firing system adjust the converging point of the 4 laser beams?

So, the question is:

"Could the Laser beams be in the standard Oolite (not in OXPs) like in the classical Elite?"

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by another_commander »

No, I would vote against it. The reason is that although the originals had laser beams as you describe, this was only for the player. All other NPCs were shooting single laser beams. This was in fact an inconsistency in the old Elites which I am glad we got rid of.

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Bothkill »

another_commander wrote:No, I would vote against it. The reason is that although the originals had laser beams as you describe, this was only for the player. All other NPCs were shooting single laser beams. This was in fact an inconsistency in the old Elites which I am glad we got rid of.
You have a point.

But, I say there's a workaround your argument and still preserve the original look of Elite.
Elite & Oolite is a science-fiction setting and we can do almost anything explaining it away by using advanced science/technology.

Say the firing system is so designed so that the 4 beams converge always at the same distance from the ship (let's say 10 meters) then they combine (due to some fancy Sci-Fi explanation) to only one beam.
Since the pilot's point of view is directly behind the converging point, the pilot doesn't see the resulting One beam, he only sees the 4 beams converging to one point. But the other pilots do see only one beam. And since the converging point is so close to the firing ship (10 meters), the other pilots don't see the 4 beams at all.

I would very much be in favour of preserving, as much as we can, the original Elite.

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by another_commander »

I would have to wonder why get into the trouble of implementing this - and I believe it's not an exactly trivial code change - just to enter handwavium territory immediately afterwards trying to explain why it looks like it does. It's just pointless in my opinion and I would consider this difference to the original a very insignificant detail in the overall scheme of things.

If one would really want to change something about the laser beams, I would say make them look like more like laser beams, with fade-out of red in the edges or something like that to enhance their appearance. Now, that would definitely get my vote.

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Gimi »

another_commander wrote:If one would really want to change something about the laser beams, I would say make them look like more like laser beams, with fade-out of red in the edges or something like that to enhance their appearance. Now, that would definitely get my vote.
Yes please, fully support this.
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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Smivs »

Bothkill wrote: But, since the Cobra Mk III is a state of the art technology, the (four) beams can be computer-controlled to converge to the desired point of impact.
The latest range of lasers are far more effecient than those of 30 years ago. Today a more robust and reliable single-beam laser has the same punch as the old multi-beam jobs we had to make do with back then :wink:
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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Diziet Sma »

I'd vote no as well.. the positional difference between player viewpoint and laser barrel already introduces parallax errors which need to be compensated for when aiming (some ships more than others, of course). Four converging beams would only make this more confusing, IMO.
Bothkill wrote:I would very much be in favour of preserving, as much as we can, the original Elite.
There are already several Elite clones out there..

The goal of Oolite is to take things to the next level, while preserving the spirit and gameplay of the original.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Disembodied »

another_commander wrote:No, I would vote against it. The reason is that although the originals had laser beams as you describe, this was only for the player. All other NPCs were shooting single laser beams. This was in fact an inconsistency in the old Elites which I am glad we got rid of.
+1 on that. It always nagged at me, playing the original, that I had these two (or four - it's not exactly clear) beams but all the other ships only had one. I've always assumed they were like that in the original because the original BBC version couldn't display colour in the top section of the screen. A single white line, or even a single white stretched triangle, would have looked odd and wouldn't have given any sense of depth and distance, which I think was the only reason for the "converging" (or parallel, apparently converging) beams. But that was then, and this is now ... :)

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Bothkill »

There's no inconsistency if you look for an explanation.

From the outside of the firing ship you still see one beam. The converging point is too close from the firing ship to be seen from afar.

Image

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by another_commander »

Bothkill wrote:There's no inconsistency if you look for an explanation.
See my earlier post. Why would we want to spend our time doing this if we have to look for an explanation to justify it afterwards?

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Gimbal Locke »

I always had a different interpretation of what I saw: I thought the beams were not converging, but straight. Now if you shoot two beams which are -say- 10 meters from each other at a target which is 10 km away, they *seem* to converge over that distance while they actually don't - in the same way that a road looks less wide far away than it looks from up close.

While the picture posted by Bothkill is awesome, I see no physical way to do such a thing with lasers. (But of course, physics and [Oo|E]lite are a poor match anyway.)

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Bothkill »

another_commander wrote: See my earlier post. Why would we want to spend our time doing this if we have to look for an explanation to justify it afterwards?
I've got your point from the first time but didn't dare reply to it.
Now that you insisted I present my view.
Unless there was a strong reason against it, I think it was a mistake (and I mean no disrespect to developers, on the contrary, I enjoy it very much exploring this version of Elite replica) altering the way lasers look in 'Oolite' comparing to 'Elite'.
So, in my opinion (which could be wrong) reverting to the original laser beam appearance, would do only justice to the game.
Was there any justification when Oolite came with this modified laser beam design in the first place?
Diziet Sma wrote:.. the positional difference between player viewpoint and laser barrel already introduces parallax errors
On the contrary, the parallax error is introduced in the single laser beam design of Oolite.
That's why when you have a ship 5-10 km away, right in the center of crosshair, and you fire the laser, you won't hit it.
In order to hit it, you'll have to move the ship a little lower in the crosshair to compensate for the parallax effect of the single laser beam.
While in the original Elites the center of crosshair was the point of laser impact, in Oolite it is not.

Sorry for dragging this too much, but I like Elite so much that, personally, I view this issues as very important in my own perception of the game. :oops:
Last edited by Bothkill on Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Thargoid »

another_commander wrote:If one would really want to change something about the laser beams, I would say make them look like more like laser beams, with fade-out of red in the edges or something like that to enhance their appearance. Now, that would definitely get my vote.
Actually if it's a laser beam then you wouldn't see anything at all (except when it hits something). The only way you see a laser beam at any other stage is if it hits something and scatters, which reduces the power of the beam. Hence to have a beam as solidly visible as the one in-game (and the one in most sci-fi films) you'd have almost no power left in it by the time it'd travelled any useful difference.

But that's not to say some nicer eye-candy than a solid beam wouldn't be welcome, at least visually...

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Disembodied »

Bothkill wrote:So, in my opinion (which could be wrong) reverting to the original laser beam appearance, would do only justice to the game.
A single beam means that players and NPCs all work in the same way. What is the benefit of having two/four/however many converging/parallel beams? Elite used them because on a low-res, monochrome screen, a single central beam would have made the game look two-dimensional. That problem no longer exists. Elite was a great game, but it just seems weird to emulate its graphical oddities - which were a product of the low-resolution screens and limited technology of the day - when there's absolutely no reason to.

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Re: Laser beam(s) - not like in the classical Elite

Post by Diziet Sma »

Bothkill wrote:]The converging point is too close from the firing ship to be seen from afar.
At the range I do much of my fighting, converging beams would mean I'd miss most of the time.. :lol:
Bothkill wrote:on the contrary, I enjoy it very much exploring this version of Elite replica
Apparently you missed the point I made that Oolite is not an Elite "replica".. :roll:
Bothkill wrote:
Diziet Sma wrote:.. the positional difference between player viewpoint and laser barrel already introduces parallax errors
On the contrary, the parallax error is introduced in the single laser beam design of Oolite.
Yes, that's what I was saying. If your proposed solution eliminated parallax error, that would be unrealistic.
Last edited by Diziet Sma on Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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