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Types and names of futuristic weapons?

ClearDragon

Troubadour
So I'm trying to come up with a full set of weapons for my super advanced space empire.
I have an idea for a standard armament.
Like handgun, shotgun, rifle, sniper rifle, assault rifle.
The thing is there all going to be directed energy weapons, so the term "rifle" doesn't really fit.
Also what is the difference from an assault rifle and a battle rifle and do I need both?
Last, do I need an equivalent of a sub machine gun?
This is actually for a science fantasy setting, so I'm already planning on bending the laws of physics.
 
Seeing as it is Science Fantasy, you can go the full array from lasers, phasers, plasma and ray guns. It may come down on how silly you're willing to go for this. Should take a look at all of Fallout's assortment of weaponry, and maybe keep some kinetics and other things like rail guns and other mag launchers. Might also want to look at other gaming weapons like from The Outer Worlds.

And you may not need an equivalent, but you may end up with one anyways. Just have it as a setting on standard weaponry.
 

ClearDragon

Troubadour
Seeing as it is Science Fantasy, you can go the full array from lasers, phasers, plasma and ray guns. It may come down on how silly you're willing to go for this. Should take a look at all of Fallout's assortment of weaponry, and maybe keep some kinetics and other things like rail guns and other mag launchers. Might also want to look at other gaming weapons like from The Outer Worlds.

And you may not need an equivalent, but you may end up with one anyways. Just have it as a setting on standard weaponry.

Ohhhh! I had forgotten about the possibility of multiple settings!
So now I think I'll have the rifle and sniper rifle just be the same and the assault, battle and sub be too.
I wonder about calling them directed energy long gun and rapid pulse directed energy gun?
Maybe I should go with a more technical sounding term, but I don't really know any.
Like maybe "long range particle offence system" and then "rapid pulse particle offence system"?
The shotgun can just be called "scattershot particle defense system".
Then they can have acronyms too.
 

ClearDragon

Troubadour
DERP- Direct Energy Repeating Pulser
RAD- Radiation Assisted Defender
REACH- What I'm doing with bad acronyms for you.

If you're aiming for silly ones.

Lol, thanks.
I think I'll go with more series ones
Anyway, I think I got what I needed with them having multiple settings.
 

CupofJoe

Myth Weaver
And don't forget, whatever the official name for a weapon, it will almost certainly not be the name the troops call it. by...
A reliable weapon with a yellow glow, might be called "Old Yella". Something with a clicking sound as it fires might be called a cricket. If a weapon is [or even believed to be] unreliable, then "Widowmaker" or FUWN [pronounced "fun" F$£"! Useless When Needed]
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
Many times the difference between two weapons is in the caliber of the bullets being fired, so you could similarly want to consider the grade of the blast your weapons give off.

Just, for example, let's say they work by shooting "electro-pulse plasma," or whatever jargon you'd like to use. You could have electro-pulse plasma that's more pure, or a higher voltage, or a larger amount per shot. One gun could have different voltage settings, or you might replace the "blast cartridge" to change the purity. Maybe a higher voltage is better for breaking/zapping equipment, while a higher purity has more corrosion for breaking down walls.
 

ClearDragon

Troubadour
Alright thanks for the info.
I think I'll go with star trek phaser style settings and have several weapons combined into one.
 

Nighty_Knight

Minstrel
As for the difference between military weapon terms.

Never heard of a battle rifle.
The difference between an assault rifle or weapon is really that it is designed for a war setting. So an assault rifle is built to have the accuracy of a rifle, but the capabilities of war, such as the 3 round burst setting as well as being quickly reloaded, the detachable magazine for ammo was part of that. (M-16, all-47)

A machine gun is much larger and usually has a team to haul it and all the ammo. The ammo is usually belt fed and it is fully automatic. The barrel is usually changed out in heat shootouts due to the barrel overheating. (M-240, M-249, M-60)

A sub machine gun is a smaller machine gun. They are fully auto as well, they usually use a magazine instead of being belt fed and have lighter firepower, but are carried by one person.
(Tommy gun, Uzi)
 
The thing with names is that humans in general are bad at coming up with names. As such, they tend to re-use existing stuff as much as possible. Nice example is the word Computer. Originally, a computer was a real person who had the job to compute things, as in, make (mainly scientific) calculations. Later, they became the programmers who worked with the first computers, and only after that did the computer become the machine.

As such, if it looks like a rifle and performs the same function, then you can simply use the term rifle.

As for which you need, depends on your story. There's two sides to it: you can add more if you feel it adds depth to your world. However, I also feel that things you add in need to play a distinct role in your story. If you only use one of them and don't distinguish between them then create only one.

As for needing a machine gun, you definitely need one. The ability to shoot a lot of "bullets" really fast is very very useful. It's so useful that it's hard to imagine an military organisation without this ability in some form or another. Do you need one in your story? That very much depends on your story.
 

ClearDragon

Troubadour
The thing with names is that humans in general are bad at coming up with names. As such, they tend to re-use existing stuff as much as possible. Nice example is the word Computer. Originally, a computer was a real person who had the job to compute things, as in, make (mainly scientific) calculations. Later, they became the programmers who worked with the first computers, and only after that did the computer become the machine.

As such, if it looks like a rifle and performs the same function, then you can simply use the term rifle.

As for which you need, depends on your story. There's two sides to it: you can add more if you feel it adds depth to your world. However, I also feel that things you add in need to play a distinct role in your story. If you only use one of them and don't distinguish between them then create only one.

As for needing a machine gun, you definitely need one. The ability to shoot a lot of "bullets" really fast is very very useful. It's so useful that it's hard to imagine an military organisation without this ability in some form or another. Do you need one in your story? That very much depends on your story.

I see, makes sense. Yeah I think I'll just keep things simple.
A bit part of my story deals with the discovery of a hostile exotic life form and characters discussing if currently available weaponry will be effective against the new threat.
 

pmmg

Istar
The culture the energy weapons exist in would very likely have passed through a gunpowder age before the energy age, and so they would have had rifles when the terms for a longer gun was coined. Rifle would likely have carried over, even though riffling is no longer required in the barrel.
 

ClearDragon

Troubadour
The culture the energy weapons exist in would very likely have passed through a gunpowder age before the energy age, and so they would have had rifles when the terms for a longer gun was coined. Rifle would likely have carried over, even though riffling is no longer required in the barrel.

Hmm, after thinking about it I might just go with that after all.
I've always found the most simple solutions to be the best, just get annoyed when people call me lazy for doing so.
 

Ruth Chris

Acolyte
Keeping things simple is smart. I'm trying to get better at that for sure because I know from experience that overthinking things can be a form of laziness when all it means is that you are postponing ever actually doing the work of writing the thing(!!)
That being said…
I am really interested in the idea of future weapons in general. When we describe the "the future" we are essentially writing into a different culture from our own, I'd say. I feel like Dune has such good examples of how weapons might be conceived of differently in different cultural / physiological systems. Thinking of how the Bene Gesserit have the Voice and the pain box as kinds of weapons of control and violence, weapons that really match the whole narrative and history of the Bene Gesserit. Or the Crysknife which is based probably on the Kris or Indonesia / SE Asia which I just recently heard a podcast about and has a cool history that is very braided with religious beliefs, the afterlife, ceremonial practices, etc…
Anyway just the fact that in Dune swords are the only thing that can be used on Arrakis because of the sand worms being drawn to the energy of other weapons is such a great detail that reminds us that weapons are, or become, intimately connected to our environment, culture and belief system.
 

ClearDragon

Troubadour
Keeping things simple is smart. I'm trying to get better at that for sure because I know from experience that overthinking things can be a form of laziness when all it means is that you are postponing ever actually doing the work of writing the thing(!!)
That being said…
I am really interested in the idea of future weapons in general. When we describe the "the future" we are essentially writing into a different culture from our own, I'd say. I feel like Dune has such good examples of how weapons might be conceived of differently in different cultural / physiological systems. Thinking of how the Bene Gesserit have the Voice and the pain box as kinds of weapons of control and violence, weapons that really match the whole narrative and history of the Bene Gesserit. Or the Crysknife which is based probably on the Kris or Indonesia / SE Asia which I just recently heard a podcast about and has a cool history that is very braided with religious beliefs, the afterlife, ceremonial practices, etc…
Anyway just the fact that in Dune swords are the only thing that can be used on Arrakis because of the sand worms being drawn to the energy of other weapons is such a great detail that reminds us that weapons are, or become, intimately connected to our environment, culture and belief system.

I see, yeah I like the future weapons concepts in various video games and movies too.
I'm going with super high tech weapons based off current day ones.
 

Iapetus777

Scribe
Sorry that I'm late to the draw, I just have been inactive for 4 or so years, school and all. However, I come up with some interesting options for you. Let's start with the fun stuff inside physics and get to the really fun stuff with physics bending magic stuff.

So we have the normie continuous lasers, they just dump a bunch of heat into things and make it melt or stuff. However, if you can dump enough energy into an organic entity like us, you will vaporize a cylinder of water inside them, since we are mostly water. Now gasses like to expand, and water vapor expands by a factor of 2,500 or so, causing some really interesting things like the target exploding. You can also have pulsed lasers to drill through armor. I'd imagine they would have both modes for dealing with various targets. However, lasers are really inefficient at generating light, so they build up heat like there is no tomorrow.

There are also two sub-types of laser that are also interesting, the plasma laser and the electro-laser. The plasma laser adds heavy atoms to the laser and throws it along, causing kinetic damage. Now the electro-laser uses a high-intensity pulse to ionize a corridor of air, and then dump an obscene amount of electricity through it. This can disable machines or mess with nervous systems with equal ease.

If you want to get extra spicy, they can be gamma-ray lasers for the cancer factor. However, lasers have some major drawbacks, they suffer from stuff like a too humid climate because of thermal blooming and their relatively low range due to the lenses needed.

Now for particle beams. Particle beams are used if you want everything in that general direction to get cancer. They have kinetic effects and exploiting particle physics, can make the target explode from the inside. There are a lot of particles you can use, but they would likely use neutral particles since they are super advanced. Now about the cancer thing. Inside an atmosphere, some of the particles will hit the air molecules, doing nasty things to it and likely inducing a fission event, blasting everybody with lovely gamma radiation. These would likely have a tough backscatter shield to protect the user from this stuff unless they are highly radiation-resistant. (I'd imagine a tachyon lance would be this except on steroids)

Now time to mess around with physics.

Plasma weapons can be deadly if you can contain them at range, and using this you can also get some crazy effects. If you ionize a single gram of air and throw it at decent velocity, that gram of air has a whopping 16 megajoules! That is about how much energy a modern tank round has! Now it is even more brutal than it will give anybody near the bolt 3rd-degree burns and light stuff on fire. Now with this remote containment, we can also slap in some fusion fuel, and now you basically have a fusion bomb launcher.

Now with the pure fantasy stuff, graviton beams. This one is likely the most straightforward one since it is just shredding or ripping things in addition to the ability to throw stuff around.

Naming stuff I think has been covered pretty well by others, so I bid you good luck on your writing journey!
 

ClearDragon

Troubadour
Sorry that I'm late to the draw, I just have been inactive for 4 or so years, school and all. However, I come up with some interesting options for you. Let's start with the fun stuff inside physics and get to the really fun stuff with physics bending magic stuff.

So we have the normie continuous lasers, they just dump a bunch of heat into things and make it melt or stuff. However, if you can dump enough energy into an organic entity like us, you will vaporize a cylinder of water inside them, since we are mostly water. Now gasses like to expand, and water vapor expands by a factor of 2,500 or so, causing some really interesting things like the target exploding. You can also have pulsed lasers to drill through armor. I'd imagine they would have both modes for dealing with various targets. However, lasers are really inefficient at generating light, so they build up heat like there is no tomorrow.

There are also two sub-types of laser that are also interesting, the plasma laser and the electro-laser. The plasma laser adds heavy atoms to the laser and throws it along, causing kinetic damage. Now the electro-laser uses a high-intensity pulse to ionize a corridor of air, and then dump an obscene amount of electricity through it. This can disable machines or mess with nervous systems with equal ease.

If you want to get extra spicy, they can be gamma-ray lasers for the cancer factor. However, lasers have some major drawbacks, they suffer from stuff like a too humid climate because of thermal blooming and their relatively low range due to the lenses needed.

Now for particle beams. Particle beams are used if you want everything in that general direction to get cancer. They have kinetic effects and exploiting particle physics, can make the target explode from the inside. There are a lot of particles you can use, but they would likely use neutral particles since they are super advanced. Now about the cancer thing. Inside an atmosphere, some of the particles will hit the air molecules, doing nasty things to it and likely inducing a fission event, blasting everybody with lovely gamma radiation. These would likely have a tough backscatter shield to protect the user from this stuff unless they are highly radiation-resistant. (I'd imagine a tachyon lance would be this except on steroids)

Now time to mess around with physics.

Plasma weapons can be deadly if you can contain them at range, and using this you can also get some crazy effects. If you ionize a single gram of air and throw it at decent velocity, that gram of air has a whopping 16 megajoules! That is about how much energy a modern tank round has! Now it is even more brutal than it will give anybody near the bolt 3rd-degree burns and light stuff on fire. Now with this remote containment, we can also slap in some fusion fuel, and now you basically have a fusion bomb launcher.

Now with the pure fantasy stuff, graviton beams. This one is likely the most straightforward one since it is just shredding or ripping things in addition to the ability to throw stuff around.

Naming stuff I think has been covered pretty well by others, so I bid you good luck on your writing journey!

Oh hi.
Pretty interesting, I didn't think plasma would be so powerful! I think its more difficult to aim and control then a particle beam though.
I ended up going with particle beams that somewhat bend the laws of physics with the particle source material naturally sticking together.
I'm also just having the weapons called some common names.
 

Iapetus777

Scribe
Oh hi.
Pretty interesting, I didn't think plasma would be so powerful! I think its more difficult to aim and control then a particle beam though.
I ended up going with particle beams that somewhat bend the laws of physics with the particle source material naturally sticking together.
I'm also just having the weapons called some common names.
Fantastic! Glad I could be of help!
 
I know it's fun to invent technology, but my advice is to keep it simple.

You don't want readers to be raising skeptical eyebrows due to a surfeit of explanation. A gun that shoots an energy pulse is just fine.
 

ClearDragon

Troubadour
I know it's fun to invent technology, but my advice is to keep it simple.

You don't want readers to be raising skeptical eyebrows due to a surfeit of explanation. A gun that shoots an energy pulse is just fine.

Yeah, I'm just going to keep it simple after all.
 
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