Why do plasma/energy weapons have recoil?

This has been bugging me for a while now.

Weapons such as the Plasma Rifle, Focus Rifle or even Spartan Laser all utilise Directed Energy technology - which doesn’t use solid projectiles in any way, shape or form.
So why do they all have recoil animations when you fire them? Is it purely a visual indication, that you indeed, fired the weapon?

I can understand the forces involved in firing a bullet. It takes force to move a solid projectile. And because every action has an equal and opposite reaction - the reactive force to firing the bullet is that there will be recoil.

But plasma and energy weapons are accelerating bursts, or streams of particles - not bullets…

Should H:X1 address this? Or do we leave physics at the door when we play Halo?
Discuss.

(This also technically applies to the Railgun, which uses magnetic acceleration - not explosive propulsion, and should therefore only have very minimal recoil.)

Well…early issues with RL railguns were tied to energy production and the bullet exiting the muzzle so fast that it would vaporize itself, I could see the recoil from the railgun being the result of this large projectile hitting open air and immediately breaking sound barrier

The Spartan laser has no recoil, that is good and verosimile

As for plasma weapons…mmmmm

Well, plasma is technically gas, it has a mass and it is being propelled forward at high pressure within a magnetic field of containment. I dunno, there must be some tachnobabble explanation

The reason they all have recoil is because they wouldn’t be overpowered. Much in the same way how weak plasma weapons are in the game compared to the books. Gameplay =/= Canon

> The reason they all have recoil is because they wouldn’t be overpowered. Much in the same way how weak plasma weapons are in the game compared to the books. Gameplay =/= Canon

sure, but putting gameplay over canon “just because” is rather lazy if you ask me

> > The reason they all have recoil is because they wouldn’t be overpowered. Much in the same way how weak plasma weapons are in the game compared to the books. Gameplay =/= Canon
>
> sure, but putting gameplay over canon “just because” is rather lazy if you ask me

I agree, but it woudn’t be fun if a grunt could kill Master Chief with two shots from a plasma pistol.

> > > The reason they all have recoil is because they wouldn’t be overpowered. Much in the same way how weak plasma weapons are in the game compared to the books. Gameplay =/= Canon
> >
> > sure, but putting gameplay over canon “just because” is rather lazy if you ask me
>
> I agree, but it woudn’t be fun if a grunt could kill Master Chief with two shots from a plasma pistol.

that is what happens when you build Lore and Gameplay separately.

Or when you try to hard to go for the “rule of cool” like it happened in ME2

Perhaps something to do with the heat at the tip of the weapon as it makes/fires plasma?

It’s all about gameplay not being canon.

In the books, the Assault Rifles that are used are pretty much deadly accurate… at least when Spartans use them. They like… headshot grunts and stuff.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you fire/project mass and energy in a vector, you get force in the opposite direction. Even a lazer will have some recoil. The bigger question is why are the Spartan’s so affected by it? They are larger, more massive, stronger, wearing an armor that would take a fork lift to nudge, and yet firing a few bullets makes their arms move up or shakes their arms so much that they spray bullets everywhere.

> It’s all about gameplay not being canon.
>
> In the books, the Assault Rifles that are used are pretty much deadly accurate… at least when Spartans use them. They like… headshot grunts and stuff.

I would love to have the AR from the books in the game. But to the OP plasma weapons fire super heated ionized gas which would have a mass.

That is a good question. Logically, directed energy weapons would have no recoil whatsoever. However, most of the weapons in Halo are not truly “directed energy.” The plasma pistol and plasma rifle fire “plasma,” which is ionized gas, and would require some kind of kinetic reaction to propel the bolts. The same goes for the rail gun which uses magnetic coils to accelerate a metal slug (again, kinetic energy).

The particle beam rifle and spartan laser are “true” directed energy weapons as they fire light particles. Logically they should not have any kind recoil because they are not propelling any matter.

I wonder if the same could be said for the light rifle, suppressor and boltshot as they fire “hard light.”

> Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you fire/project mass and energy in a vector, you get force in the opposite direction. Even a lazer will have some recoil. The bigger question is why are the Spartan’s so affected by it? They are larger, more massive, stronger, wearing an armor that would take a fork lift to nudge, and yet firing a few bullets makes their arms move up or shakes their arms so much that they spray bullets everywhere.

a laser weapon would have no recoil, as laser is a wave and has no mass to project (waves carry energy, not mass, physics 101) even if photons are part particle part wave…still…no recoil

> Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you fire/project mass and energy in a vector, you get force in the opposite direction. Even a lazer will have some recoil. The bigger question is why are the Spartan’s so affected by it? They are larger, more massive, stronger, wearing an armor that would take a fork lift to nudge, and yet firing a few bullets makes their arms move up or shakes their arms so much that they spray bullets everywhere.

Probably for gameplay appearance. I’d bet people would complain shooting would be “boring” otherwise.

EDIT: In Halo Legends, when MC and pals are running through the hallways, his AR is recoiling. He doesn’t miss a shot, of course though ; )

343 should take hints from crytek in this field

Just because a projectile is plasma doesn’t mean that it defies the laws of physics…

Plasma is a state of matter, therefore, it has mass. This isn’t a gameplay compromise, actual canon will have Plasma Weapons suffering recoil - Science Fiction follows the laws of Science, after all.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction…

> a laser weapon would have no recoil, as laser is a wave and has no mass to project (waves carry energy, not mass, physics 101) even if photons are part particle part wave…still…no recoil

WRONG!

Photons have energy and momentum. p=h/λ

It would have to be a pretty obscenely powerful laser to amount to much recoil though.

As far as the rail gun goes though, it is firing a projectile with significant mass at extremely high speeds with a small window of acceleration. F=ma. Comparatively high mass and acceleration. I would expect it to probably have more recoil than a normal projectile weapon, not less.

> > a laser weapon would have no recoil, as laser is a wave and has no mass to project (waves carry energy, not mass, physics 101) even if photons are part particle part wave…still…no recoil
>
> WRONG!
>
> Photons have energy and momentum. p=h/λ
>
> It would have to be a pretty obscenely powerful laser to amount to much recoil though.
>
> As far as the rail gun goes though, it is firing a projectile with significant mass at extremely high speeds with a small window of acceleration. F=ma. Comparatively high mass and acceleration. I would expect it to probably have more recoil than a normal projectile weapon, not less.

as I said photons are part oarticle and part wave in nature, but as you pointed out in order for it to have a recoil it would have to be an insanely powerful laser

With that in mind I “thought” the railgun had indeed a lot of recoil but I have not played halo 4 in a while so maybe I am remembering wrong or confusing it with another game featuring railguns

> as I said photons are part oarticle and part wave in nature, but as you pointed out in order for it to have a recoil it would have to be an insanely powerful laser
>
>
> With that in mind I “thought” the railgun had indeed a lot of recoil but I have not played halo 4 in a while so maybe I am remembering wrong or confusing it with another game featuring railguns

Wave/particle duality isn’t really central to this discussion as either way the photon is massless but still has momentum, thus emitting the photon will conserve momentum and generate force in the opposite direction.

As far as the rail gun goes, someone earlier said it shouldn’t have recoil because it uses magnetic fields to accelerate the slug which is patently false. That part wasn’t in direct response to you.

Because they are shooting an object forward. It doesn’t matter that it’s plasma or light, for it to accelerate forward it must apply force backwards. Physics.

It is further theorised the S.Laser uses some sort of chemical as its powersource as there is both exhaust and noticeable recoil.
It’s because converting a lot of mass to energy so quickly would create recoil, as explained in another phenomenon below. Pure energy to energy projection gives much less momentum transfer.

As stated by some, plasma isn’t pure energy and it definitely has mass and equal and opposite actions are not exclusive to ballistics.

What makes magnetic weapons so easy to control isn’t that they don’t give kick, it’s that the force they apply to their projectiles is given in a linear and incremental acceleration.
You still have Newtonian physics having an equal and opposite reaction but this is applied in such a fashion that what we call recoil is drastically reduced.
The longer the barrel, the longer the acceleration and the smoother the shot because of the time between applied forces. Plus rail guns are not a 1-time force hits like ballistics and seemingly even many plasma-based weapons WHICH WOULD still use a type of magnetic acceleration like a Gauss-weapon but due to their “barrel” being nearly 0, the recoil is very high (hence the recoil on plasma-based weapons but barely on the BeRi’s shot).