When you think lasers in TF2, you think of Dr Grordbort. You think of the Cow Mangler, the Righteous Bison, the Man Melter and *shudders* the Pomson. They’re the lasers we have. It’s either those or the Machina and the little beams seen on the Wrangler and Sniper bots in MvM. But do they really fulfill that idea of a deadly laser? Not really. We complain about them but they’re not really lasers. Or at least, they’re not the awe-inspiring things you see in other video games.
Let’s have a quick look around in Team Fortress 2 before we head off elsewhere. I mentioned the Dr Grordbort weapons. The Cow Mangler is probably the most laser-y of the lot, but it has progressively lost a lot of its laser-i-ness over the years. The original particle effect was incredibly powerful because it lagged anyone who looked directly at its laser blasts. It looked spectacular with its amazing FPS-murdering particles. The other laser weapons were laser-y but while the effects were cool and looked nice, they didn’t look menacing.
Outside of the Dr Grordbort weapons, lasers are kinda lacking. You’ve got the beam from the Wrangler, which isn’t interesting at all. The laser from the Machina is alright, but it reminds you that there’s a Sniper there and he’s aiming for your head. And technically it’s a tracer, not a laser. Both weapons are alright looks-wise but let’s not get into balancing here.
What does look menacing, laser-wise? Well, there aren’t that many lasers around. The most notable ones are the moving lasers in rd_asteroid. They’re powerful enough to instantly kill you unless you have some sort of damage resistance. That’s what a laser should feel like, even if the particle effects aren’t that impressive. I’m sure they’ll look better though when the rest of the map is filled in. The Asteroid lasers do their job though, being a threat and being fairly menacing, but that’s pretty much it. Lasers, to me at least, have always supposed to have been something big and scary and bright.
Portal 2 kinda has the right idea.
That looks menacing. Alright, they’re just red lines, but coupled with the environment, you know full well that you can’t go past there. Other lasers in the game are thinner and suggest that they won’t instantly dissolve you.
Another thing about lasers though is that they ought to be fired from something big and powerful. The Man Melter and the Righteous Bison are both great weapons but what they fire doesn’t really fit with the size of the gun itself. It just looks small. How did such a big beam come from such a tiny gun? I looked up other laser guns and this Gatling Laser from Fallout is pretty much what I think a big laser gun should look like. Imagine if Heavy had something like this. Wouldn’t it look awesome?
But my favourite laser, one I use regularly, comes from a giant eyeball. If anything, Monoculous should have fired lasers too. My favourite laser is the Life Form Disintegration Ray that Vel’Koz makes.
Now THAT’S a real laser.