Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Science Fiction Based Airsoft Simulation Games

Ever since a segment of the airsoft gaming world embraced Stargate: SG1’s P90 weapons system and the science fiction TV series noted epic battle scenes. Will the wider world of the airsoft gaming community embrace the world of sci-fi battle scenes?

By: Vanessa Uy

Maybe it was the release of the soot-em-up video game called Star Trek Elite Force and it’s subsequent variants and incarnations. Or the inclusion of Navy Seal / Delta Force-type personnel in the recent Enterprise series that allowed Trekkies – majority of which that I know of are also airsoft enthusiast – to create simulations reenacting their favorite battle scenes in various Star Trek episodes. From the original series to the last Enterprise TV series, there’s no shortage of scenarios to choose from.

When it comes to the world of science fiction combat scenario – especially ones involving fully automatic infantry weapons. Simulating epic battle scenes using airsoft weapons systems usually depends on the scenario you intend to reenact.

In the science fiction side of the airsoft gaming world, the only widely available science fiction oriented airsoft weapon system - bar Stargate: SG-1’s P90 - is the M41 Pulse Rifle used by the US Marine expeditionary fighting force accompanying Lt. Ellen Ripley in the movie Aliens. Noting that “widely” is a relative term here since an overwhelming majority of airsoft gamers tend to gravitate toward historically real events like the Vietnam War or Operation: Desert Storm, etc.

On the Star Trek end of things, given that Masterpiece Models – the official Starfleet Armory and manufacturer of Star Trek-oriented weaponry – sells these products to avid Trekkies. Since they’ve already made very good Type III Phaser Rifles and compression rifles used in Star Trek: Voyager series, should licence their designs to airsoft manufacturers so that the airsoft gaming world will finally have a somewhat true Star Trek experience.

The problem with celluloid / movie or TV battle scenes – especially ones involving shooting a target over 200 meters away – is that long distances don’t lend themselves particularly well in the make believe world of the proverbial silver screen. Even the latest high definition contrivances don’t even come close of the real experience of shooting a helmet placed 300 meters away with a Kalashnikov using it’s iron sights. Especially when you did this first hand and you’re lucky enough to posses a pair of eyes with a slightly better than 20/20 visual acuity.

Luckily – or is it due to the brilliant directors clever cinematography – that science fiction-based combat scenes usually takes place in close quarters. Like the shipboard phaser-type weapons combat in Star Trek, or in Aliens where the marine’s arch-nemesis tend to pounce on them at very close distances. As an avid Star Trek fan, I never saw their phasers or compression rifles being used at targets more than 300 meters away.

Cinematic foibles such as these tend to benefit airsoft gamers since airsoft weapon systems’ projectiles – i.e. the plastic BB pellets – have a very poor ballistic coefficient. Even ones with muzzle velocities that measure 450 or so feet per second slow down very rapidly the farther the target you intend to shoot. Shooting someone half a basketball court away using an airsoft weapons system – even with a 450 feet per second muzzle velocity – your game mate will just do a “Matrix”-style swerve to evade your pellet fire. So close quarter scenarios are a prerequisite in airsoft battle simulations, especially good ones.