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Cloaker

Tractor Beam effect design feels wonky.

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As defined in science fiction; A tractor beam is a device with the ability to attract one object to another from a distance.

I've always thought tractor beams should only be allowed to pull a ship only TOWARD the ship doing the tractoring. It seems silly any other way. They aren't repulsor beams. 

I wonder what the design logic was in allowing tractor beams to a) move ships laterally and b) allow a ship to be propelled further AWAY from the emitting ship. How would it positively or negatively effect the game if it was only in the direction of the tractoring ship? 

Cheers! 

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Well when you think about it.  If a machine has the power to pull anything towards it.  It would definitley also have an opposing effect as well such as pushing something away

Think of a vaccum

They suck air in one end and blow air out another

So why wouldn't a tractor beam be able to push objects away as well?

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43 minutes ago, executor said:

Well when you think about it.  If a machine has the power to pull anything towards it.  It would definitley also have an opposing effect as well such as pushing something away

Think of a vaccum

They suck air in one end and blow air out another

So why wouldn't a tractor beam be able to push objects away as well?

thats not how physics work.   a drill cant fill holes just because it can make them,  a rocket engine cant suck in fire to reverse, and a winch(the closest analogue we have) cant push things away.

a tractor beam, if it can even exist, would not neccessarily manipulate objects on all axis... by definition it would only need to reel things in.

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8 minutes ago, Vontoothskie said:

thats not how physics work.   a drill cant fill holes just because it can make them,  a rocket engine cant suck in fire to reverse, and a winch(the closest analogue we have) cant push things away.

a tractor beam, if it can even exist, would not neccessarily manipulate objects on all axis... by definition it would only need to reel things in.

But they have been shown as able to maneuver things somewhat delicately, such as landing the Falcon in the death star hangar bay without damage. Perhaps they are more semi turret with fine positioning abilities.

Edited by Nyxen

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13 minutes ago, Nyxen said:

But they have been shown as able to maneuver things somewhat delicately, such as landing the Falcon in thd death star hangar bay without damage. Perhaps they are more semi turret with fine positioning abilities.

no clue what you mean. a single point pivoting doesnt lead to control. the falcon is pulled into the shuttle bay in an undescribed way, but what makes the most sense is that multiple beams were used to manuever the falcon into the shuttle bay by counterbalsncing eachother. without counter balanced beams the falcon would simply accellerate in the direction pulled until collision, effectively falling into the path of least resistance. multiple beams pulling in unison would work the same way multiple cables are sometimes used in crane work for delicate construction.

if you tie a rope to a tire and drag it you have very little control, but if you tie 4 ropes and get 3 friends to each pull one, you can gain complete control  in 2 axis.  thats how a tractor beam would have to work

 

Edited by Vontoothskie

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43 minutes ago, Vontoothskie said:

thats not how physics work.   a drill cant fill holes just because it can make them,  a rocket engine cant suck in fire to reverse, and a winch(the closest analogue we have) cant push things away.

a tractor beam, if it can even exist, would not neccessarily manipulate objects on all axis... by definition it would only need to reel things in.

Really? Are you really going to lecture me on the physics of science fiction?

Take a step back from the fantasy for a minute and understand what you're arguing here.

Last time i checked we don't have tractor beam technology.  So unless you have somehow invented it.  I don't think you can argue the physics of a sci-fi technology

I think we should debate space wizards with laser swords next

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Considering a tractor in the real world pushes and pulls heavy objects, I see nothing wrong with a “tractor beam” being something that accomplishes similar tasks. How they actually accomplish it is not the point of sci-Fi. I don’t care if a quadjumper has a single beam or lots of beams that work to generate the net movement you want.

Just take the darn tractor tokens and let me shoot at you!

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23 minutes ago, gamblertuba said:

Would it be that much worse if they could boost a ship in reverse?  I always wondered why you can only move ships forward or to the side.

For balance reasons. Moving a ship in reverse makes the tractor even harder to predict. Last night I was playing against 3 quadjumpers and latts razzi (it was one crazy list) and there were several turns where I knew I'd be tractored but since they couldn't push me backward, there were moves I could dial that would be less terrible.

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Tractor beams - despite their name - are shown as having both tractor and repulsor options. It's just that the latter tends to be less used because it's generally less useful. But as noted the ability to finely manoeuvre something requires 'push' as well as 'pull'

I remember one Star Wars book where an operator was trying to clear debris by switching from one setting to the other and essentially shaking the debris to pieces.

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I've always thought of tractor beams as an exceptionally powerful magnetic field that basically grapples anything metal and then can maneuver it.  In my head, that means the tractor mechanic operates like this:

Quadjumper - several very powerful magnetic beams, projected from emitters on the front of the ship, grapple at several points on the opposing vessel and then can manipulate it as per your illustration above, @Vontoothskie.  

Shadow Caster - Ketsu's managed to get a hold of some illicit tech that improves the tractor array she's already had added to the ship for capturing live bounties, which projects a tractor 'net' that encompasses a small ship and renders it immobile.

Nantex - these are spacefaring bugs - who knows what kind of weird stuff they have ;)

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Just to pile onto a pointless debate, tractor beams in Star Wars are clearly fields, not actual beam weapons. If nothing else, you can note that the range of the tractor on the falcon by the Death Star was wildly further than any turbo laser or other beam weapon shots we’ve seen. 
 

So, from that standpoint, of course you could move things laterally with a field you control. Preferably right into the path of your actual beam weapons. 

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7 hours ago, Azrapse said:

It's basically like the gravity gun in Half-Life 2.

Why is it that this explanation is so hilariously awesome to validate the logic of how it works? 

Using imaginary to explain the imaginary only helped it make more sense for me, well done sir!

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1 hour ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Tractor beams - despite their name - are shown as having both tractor and repulsor options. It's just that the latter tends to be less used because it's generally less useful. But as noted the ability to finely manoeuvre something requires 'push' as well as 'pull'

I remember one Star Wars book where an operator was trying to clear debris by switching from one setting to the other and essentially shaking the debris to pieces.

Canonical definitions trump all arguments

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1 hour ago, gamblertuba said:

Would it be that much worse if they could boost a ship in reverse?  I always wondered why you can only move ships forward or to the side.

This question nags at me from time to time, but then I remember that the ship is exerting thrust in a forward direction. In my head canon, when you choose not to move the tractored ship, you are pulling them backwards, but they simply stay put because they are going forward at the same time.

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8 hours ago, Vontoothskie said:

no clue what you mean. a single point pivoting doesnt lead to control. the falcon is pulled into the shuttle bay in an undescribed way, but what makes the most sense is that multiple beams were used to manuever the falcon into the shuttle bay by counterbalsncing eachother. without counter balanced beams the falcon would simply accellerate in the direction pulled until collision, effectively falling into the path of least resistance. multiple beams pulling in unison would work the same way multiple cables are sometimes used in crane work for delicate construction.

if you tie a rope to a tire and drag it you have very little control, but if you tie 4 ropes and get 3 friends to each pull one, you can gain complete control  in 2 axis.  thats how a tractor beam would have to work

 

I would also suggest that perhaps there are tractor beams for gaining control of ships at specific ranges that sacrifice fine control for brute force. Those beams then pass ships off to additional counterbalancing beams more tuned for finer control. 

9 hours ago, Vontoothskie said:

thats not how physics work.   a drill cant fill holes just because it can make them,  a rocket engine cant suck in fire to reverse, and a winch(the closest analogue we have) cant push things away.

a tractor beam, if it can even exist, would not neccessarily manipulate objects on all axis... by definition it would only need to reel things in.

And on this same line and F1 racing car and the family mini-van are both "cars." They apply very different values for a

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8 hours ago, executor said:

Really? Are you really going to lecture me on the physics of science fiction?

Take a step back from the fantasy for a minute and understand what you're arguing here.

Last time i checked we don't have tractor beam technology.  So unless you have somehow invented it.  I don't think you can argue the physics of a sci-fi technology

I think we should debate space wizards with laser swords next

Yes, you can argue the physics. Just because something in science fiction doesn't exist doesn't mean that the something doesn't need rules and logic with some grounding in the rules and logic of the real world your audience lives in.

Take a step back and understand what you're arguing here. If there aren't any rules for the tech and it can just do whatever the plot needs then the writers are free to cheat and get their characters out of things with rabbits pulled from hats and not the character's cleverness. They then undermine their own story because the difficulties to be overcome don't matter. 

And in Star Wars The Force is more or less "magic" in a D&D sort of world. And it needs rules too. 

https://hollylisle.com/fantasy-is-not-for-sissies-real-rules-for-real-worlds/

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37 minutes ago, Cloaker said:

Canonical definitions trump all arguments

Okay - the canonical definition, in the canon of the fictional Star Wars universe, drawn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Sections.

"A tractor beam was a projected force field that manipulated gravitational forces to push or pull objects"

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13 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Okay - the canonical definition, in the canon of the fictional Star Wars universe, drawn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Sections.

"A tractor beam was a projected force field that manipulated gravitational forces to push or pull objects"

case closed!

 

(except for that whole we can't one straight a ship backwards instead thingy, but close enough)

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14 minutes ago, Cloaker said:

case closed!

 

(except for that whole we can't one straight a ship backwards instead thingy, but close enough)

So, while the “because game balance” explanation is the root cause, perhaps the in-universe argument of inertia could be applied? Yes, you’ve locked on, but don’t have the power to push against the thrust and inertia of a ship actively moving forward. The emitters in game are smaller than what we’d see in the Death Star or capital ship. 

I doubt that’s a full proof explanation, but it might work in Star Wars fantastical setting.

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3 hours ago, gamblertuba said:

Would it be that much worse if they could boost a ship in reverse?  I always wondered why you can only move ships forward or to the side.

My guess would be because the thrust of the opposing ship is always moving it forward.  I think the tractor effect is supposed to be a little more subtle than just yanking a ship backwards and completely overpowering its forward thrust

 

Well at least small tractor beams attached to the starfighters.

I'm not talking about star destroyers and death star tractor beams which completely pulled ships in and opposing their thrust

Edited by executor

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Tractor beams are like just a hybrid of gravity generators and magnets, similar to the devices that give artificial gravity to all of the ships in Star Wars. So being able to push/pull a metal ship makes sense, while they are never shown to be able to move asteroids. Maybe even a low-grade energized beam that's magnetic, that allows for the reach, while the charge produced by the weapon will result in either the positive or negative charge (push/pull).

(I think I gave up on the gravity idea half way through that, I think, but don't want to rewrite it. Enjoy my thought process)

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