Saturday, October 11, 2014

death star super laser in game?

I was doing some stuff with ships the other day and playing with weapon damage when I had a thought...

how much damage (in terms of game mechanics) can the Death Stars super laser do?

Had anyone else been around they probably would have seen my eyes glaze over as I quickly became lost in this question and how I might answer it. As soon as my brain had even a slight plan, I set to work. Here is basically my thought process.

a little research suggests that the only full power shot the death laser ever made was at Alderaan.
ok so a full power shot can destroy a planet we all know that... but how much damage is that in game terms?
Damage is taken as Wounds or as Hull Trauma. Ships and large scale objects seem to use Hull Tauma. so now the question is, what is the Hull Trauma Threshold (HTT) of Alderaan?
before that, we have to ask what does Hull Trauma represent?
HTT is a reflection of the objects construction and ability to sustain damage while continuing to function.
ok....  but how do we even start to calculate how much a planet has?
I'll start with an well established baseline for comparison.
Imperial 1-class Star Destroyer on pg 281 of Age of Rebellion is a well documented ship.
It has a HTT of 145.
so whats the HTT of an equivalently sized (average) chunk of Alderaan?
Construction quality?
well Alderaan presumably isn't made of hardned steel and other alloys, but it is relatively solid as compared to the Star Destroyer which is mostly empty space.
Ability to keep functioning?
The star destroyer has a lot of fancy tech that needs to keep working where as the chunk of Alderaan just has to keep being a chunk of Alderaan.
So it seems like the Alderaan chunk likely has a significantly higher HTT than the star destroyer. The Alderaan chunk may lack armor, but its a solid piece of planet and will keep being a solid piece of planet for longer than a star destroyer continues to be a star destroyer.

so an Imperial 1-Class Star Destroyer sized chuck of Alderaan has a HTT of 300 (just picking a number that sounds 'right-ish')
ok. so how many of those chunks make up the whole planet?
Alderaan has a 12,500km diameter. a volume of ~ 102,000,000,000,000 cubic kilometers (3/4πr^3)

An Imperial 1-class Star Destroyer has a volume of... hmm.
got a length of 1600 meters, a beam (width) of ~880 meters and a hight of ~455 meters.
so its basically a flying pyramid..  ok, lets cut off the tower thing so that its 364 meters tall (more of an 'even' pyramid).  V=(LWH)/3
An Imperial 1-class Star Destroyer has a volume of ~ 171,000,000 Cubic Meters or 177,000 Cubic Kilometers.

 (102,000,000,000,000 / 177,000)
Alderaan is approximately 596,491,228 Imperial Class-1 Star Destroyers.

(300 * 596,491,228)
Alderaan has a Hull Trauma Threshold of ~ 178,947,368,421

That means the Death Star laser does just shy of 179 BILLION damage.

wow. so that's pretty impressive.

the other way to math it out.
*figure out how much energy a Turbolaser (heavy) uses.
there are so many different takes on this but i'm going with the largest estimate i saw of 200 gigatons per shot. some other fun references for this that i didn't use are here and here.

*figure out how much energy it takes to blow up an earth sized planet.
nicest figure i saw was 2.2 x 1032 joules. check this guys maths out.

*divide energy to blow up planet by energy of Turbolaser (heavy).
after converting gigatons to joules and dividing we have a result of  262,906,309,751 Turbolaser shots to equal the energy of one death star shot.

*Multiply result by Turbolaser (heavy) damage of 11.
easy enough.  the Death Star Laser does 2,891,969,407,266 Damage.
            2 TRILLION 892 Billion !!!!

there is a pretty big discrepancy here.
the second method seems like it requires fewer assumptions.. but the assumption of how much energy a Turbolaser uses is a pretty big one..

in the end not sure what i think about either of these...
but i'm pretty sure that the Death Star super laser is one bad-ass laser

at the end of the day, i would probably go with my first 179 Billion damage calculation.
yeah, its the smaller of the two and that's a bit less cool.
Lets not forget that the game includes things like Critical Hits, and other weapon properties.
Lets not forget either that the Super Laser of the death star functions differently from a normal turbolaser. The super laser uses exotic materials pulled from Hyperspace to cause more damage than normal. It also causes material it hits to be pushed into hyperspace causing a sort of 'hyperspace' bubble which then 'pops' causing extra damage in real space.

i'm fine with the low end of the damage calculation.
since the super laser likely has several special Keywords or unique critical capabilities that help it be super destructive...
you know... because 179 Billion damage isn't always enough.

last note..
I am not a mathematician. I know I made assumptions. I could, quite possibly be wrong, on everything I did. No I do not need to be corrected on any of it.
 I had fun so who cares.

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