The Weapon Rotator is a piece of equipment that rotates your 4 Lasers in either clockwise or anticlockwise direction. This helps you to put the laser that's best for your current task up front.
Whom of us pilots, who don't mean harm to anybody, peacefully go after our business, are rudely interrupted by pirates menacefully attacking our ship? When mining asteroids nothing disturbs you more than a fleet of pirates trying to kill you and get the fruit of your efforts for free.
Well, mining works best, when you slice an asteroid and then slowly approach the remaining boulders until you could possibly touch them with your bare hand. Not literally of course, since you cannot just open a window in deep space, but you know what I mean. Anyway, just before you collide, you give the boulder a final blast with your mining laser, it splits into splinters and being that close they are immediately scooped up. If you even have an "Ore Processor" then you just let the money roll in.
This of course works best when you fit the mining laser at front. Many tried it sideways and it works no way. First it's inconvenient circling boulders sideways and getting close the same time. Then once you blast them into splinters they all drift away into opposite directions. By the time you turn the ship, you already have them nicely spread all over the place. You then have to round them up like a herd of sheep being attacked by a wolf.
OK, I see, you understand. So you fit your mining laser up front and happily go mining. This is what pirates only wait for. Once you processed all your ore and did the dirty work, they launch an attack and you won't stand a chance against them with your tiny mining laser.
This basically leaves you only the option to go to a dull and boring democracy, dock at the station, park your military laser sideways, fit the mining laser at front, go mining and hope no pirates attack you. Then you return with your filled up cargo space and reverse the process. Other than the costs and hassle to constantly re-fit your ship, you could go mining only at certain techlevels, where they sell military lasers. Then the system has to be otherwise quite harmless, in order to survive without a front military laser, restricting your choice of worlds even further. This is exactly what everybody else does, so you have to share those crumpy remains of asteroids with lots of other miners.
Now you fit the weapon rotator at your ship and then you could rotate all four weapons in flight with the push of a button. Switch to front mining laser, scoop up splinters like hell. Pirates attack, you switch back to front military laser and teach them a little lesson. Go to feudal or anarchy worlds, clean up the area of pirates, then take all the time you need to get the valuable stuff out of the asteroids.
There are several versions spotted in the marketplace. The all call themselves "Bore & Ratter Weapon Rotator". Some are quite expensive, but they come with almost all features you need. They are very precise, so you won't notice any inaccuracy when firing. They run quickly and smoothly and need almost no maintenance other than within the usual intervals. They have a certificate of authenticity attached to it and it's production facility can always be traced.
Some lesser funded pilots may be tempted to buy a much cheaper "Bore & Ratter Weapon Rotator" product. Well, while surely the guys at B&R don't give away their stuff, think for yourself, if you're offered a device for less than half the announced factory price. While some of you may be lucky and get a real refurbished device at low costs, others will be ending up with a cheap imitation from some dubious world in the third galaxy. Nothing worse than constantly maintaining such a device, or even having it break down at crucial moments.
To avoid damage to the laser system as well as the Weapon Rotator itself, rotation is allowed only below a certain laser temperature. If the laser temperature is too high a warning is issued and rotation is aborted.
Additional equipment may be available at appropriate tech-level worlds. The B&R Auto-Rotator is an interface device that connects to both, your combat engine and the Weapon Rotator. It automatically sets a given weapon configuration when your status indicator goes red in a combat situation, thus saving yourself valuable seconds in combat.
A special shielding will be available, protecting your Weapon Rotator against laser blasts. As the device is - naturally - mounted on the outside of the ship, it is one of the first devices taking possible damage in combat. The additional shielding gives a better protection from enemy laser fire.
Bore & Ratter inferior Rotator: TL8, 3830₢ Bore & Ratter superior Rotator: TL12, 9250₢ Bore & Ratter additional Automator for the Rotator: TL12, 2890₢ Bore & Ratter Shielding: TL12, 10₢
Like many other special equipment it is selected using the 'N' key (shift-n). The clockwise rotation is then started using the 'n' key (lowercase n). The anticlockwise rotation is triggered using the 'b' key.
The Auto-Rotator activates automatically when the status turns red in a combat situation. It then will rotate to a previously given laser position. The position has to be stored at least once after the Auto Rotator was bought. To store the position the Auto Rotator has to be selected ('N'). It then stores the current weapon position, when activated with 'n'.
The OXP is still in an early stage of development, however the core is already working quite well. There are still a lot of areas to work in:
- determine what happens when you rotate weapons in unusual condition (during docking, while scooping, whilst close to the sun...)?
- shielding is not yet implemented
The Weapon Rotator needs at least Oolite V1.77.
Weapon Rotator OXP (the box, updated 2013-03-19): https://www.box.com/s/882u5f8sah1uz4rcqm8z
Thanks to all the people having put this incredible effort into developing oolite, documenting the API and creating all those OXPs. Too many to mention them all, but that's what makes the game so interesting, when you can configure your setup to your likes.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.
Please see the readme included with the OXP.