Dust 514's Weapons Are So Lethal You Could Die Firing Them

Illustration for article titled emDust 514s/em Weapons Are So Lethal You Could Die Firing Them

There are so many things I love about Eve Online, but almost all of it can be traced back to the game's mystique. I guess that's what I love most about Eve Online; I haven't played it.


I anxiously anticipate Dust 514, the Playstation 3 shooter coming from the Eve developers, in the same way. I haven't even tried that game yet, but man, the mythology of the world is so impressive.

Take, for instance, the fact that the infantry weapons of the game are so powerful that you need to wear dropsuit armor not just to survive a hit, but to survive shooting them.


The goal was to create weapons that had recognizable roles but used more advanced technologies than the equivalent weapons of today," writes Phil Wang, community manager for the upcoming massively multiplayer first-person shoter. "The power of these guns would tear apart a modern day battlefield. In DUST 514 the only way your mercenary can survive the power of these weapons is due to the advanced shielding and armor of the dropsuits they wear. Without them, simply firing these weapons would severely injure or even kill you!"

That's right, these are weapons that can kill with recoil.

As with Eve Online, everything about Dust 514 is steeped in back story, intricate back story. Hop on over to the Playstation Blog if you want to learn all about the Gallente G75-VLB Assault Rifle, a weapon conceived at Duvolle Laboratories that solved "many of the problems inherent in mass-manufactured plasma weapons."

The write-up also includes details on the game's heavy weapons and side arms.

Infantry Weapons in DUST 514 [Playstation Blog]

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Train Dodger

I've said it before and I'll say it again; if it's powerful enough to kill the user with recoil/radiant heat alone, it is also powerful enough to turn itself into shrapnel the very first time you pull the trigger. There are limits to what you can do with the elements in the periodic table. The guns that we use today are right up near the very apex of what brass cartridge cases and steel barrels can do. If even a single parameter is incorrect (wrong headspacing, overloaded case, etc.), the gun will blow up.

Let's assume that the Caldari Forge Gun has one shot per reload. If it fires a 3.3kg slug at 7 km/s, the muzzle energy would be 81 megajoules. By comparison, the 120mm gun on an Abrams tank has 7 megajoules of muzzle energy, but the gun barrel and mount weigh 4,500 kilograms (not including the weight of the entire tank; 61 metric tons).

The handheld railgun from Dust 514 only weighs 58 kilos loaded. Assuming that the drop armor weighs about 200kg with someone in it, if you fired this gun, not only would it immediately explode in a shower of sparks and flying metal, you would be sent sailing backwards through the air at over three hundred kilometers per hour.

And, of course, one of the main reasons why we don't have practical handheld railguns, plasma-throwers and pulsed energy projectile weapons is simply because it's virtually impossible to build capacitors or batteries with the charge density to produce a lethal effect from such a weapon. It's way out at the theoretical limits of what materials science can do:


Those super-high-density batteries can't discharge all their energy all at once. Capacitors can, but their energy density is significantly worse than batteries. Even the highest-density capacitors have a tiny fraction of the energy content per kilogram of gasoline. Even a dielectric made from some type of metamaterial lattice would have trouble coping with the energy demands of such a weapon. Railguns aren't 100% efficient, anyway. You'd be lucky to turn 20% of the input electrical energy into muzzle energy. If you used functional Lithium-air batteries to charge up your capacitors, it would take hours to reach full charge.