I'm referring, of course, to the Laser towers in Defense Grid: The Awakening.

I stumbled upon Defense Grid: The Awakening's very detailed steam stats page, and noticed the following: enter image description here

This of course, perplexed me. All the other towers have specific damage totals for their level 1, 2, and 3 verisons, but Laser towers just have a single number. This made me wonder how Laser towers actually deal their damage. Do they do initial damage at all, or is the DoT the only effect they provide (and if that's the case, why does upgrading the laser tower increase damage as per the tower stats screen?). Is building more than one laser tower in a single area inefficient?

Interestingly, I've heard the AI Narrator perform his "Death by laser tower" taunt on maps where I had no laser towers, but did have meteor and/or inferno towers (which also have a small DoT effect?)

Anyway, can anyone shed some light on this topic?


2 Answers 2


Look dude, I am the world's #1 laser expert, and I wrote the world's greatest review of Defense Grid/Lord of the Rings on the Internets.

Now that my credibility is no longer in question, I am going to tell you something that is my suspicion (which I have gained from some of the photons and from having fired a lot of lasers in my time), which is that the laser towers in The Two Towers confer some kind of "heat level" to the enemy alien jerks who need to die.

This "heat level" dissipates over time, and while the "heat level" of a stupid alien is more than zero, some proportional number is subtracted from the alien's health points. This indirect heat damage is impossible to track by turret level, because a level-3 turret's heat level eventually dissipates down to a level-1 turret's level. And a level-2 turret could have exacted horrible burning photonic justice against the extraterrestrial foes in the mean time.

So since the damage isn't instantaneous like it is with most other towers, you can't deterministically calculate which lasers are responsible for what damage. But you can tell that the damage was caused by a laser tower, so you record them all together in one big bucket of fiery alien death.

In conclusion, raspberries.

  • 3
    As first contributions to this site go, this was a good one. Commented May 2, 2011 at 23:01
  • 23
    I am an expert.
    – Welbog
    Commented May 2, 2011 at 23:07
  • 5
    Getting an answer from Welbog to a Laser question is like getting an answer to a complicated algorithm question from Donald Knuth.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 8:33
  • 5
    This answer, including the link to those reviews, is the reason people need to stop overusing the word "epic" so they can save it for epic answers like this. Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 19:11

It seems to me that if laser damage happens indirectly (as implied by the "heat" in the other answer), the same way that force acts on an object, to accelerate it, then the games simply not bothering to track such indirect heat damage, and this simplifies the game code.

So imagine that these imaginary in-game lasers "act" on their targets, charging up the targets "ability to hurt itself". Imagine some natural "friction" acts against this, bringing the targets ability to hurt itself safely back to zero, after a certain time.

Lasers of class 3 may damage targets 30% more than lasers of class 2, or any amount of difference really, but all they are really doing directly is charging up the units ability to hurt itself. Since it seems lasers must really charge up a targets "harm-myself-o-meter", I wouldn't be surprised if the game's logic is written such that all targets are self-harming, and for indirect (fire damage) purposes, all tower defense game targets have this non-linear indirect iterative damage system.

Now imagine explaining this to your physics teacher. Lasers charge up your built in ability to hurt yourself, and that's why you shouldn't stare at one directly.

In conclusion, I had to this answer because the first one was so much fun, and the guy who wrote it is so cool, and so I wanted to be on the same web page. I hope you don't mind.

  • 1
    This still begs the question: What happens when a Laser fires at an enemy which is already maxed on "ability to hurt itself"? In a similar vein, are two laser towers firing at the same enemy both working at 100% efficiency, or do they both simply renew the DoT (making the 2nd tower effectively worthless) Commented May 5, 2011 at 19:07
  • I don't know if targets would need to have any such maximum. Not having such a maximum would make lasers devastatingly effective, perhaps. I haven't observed any "inexplicable lack of damage" to non-shielded aliens yet, so perhaps I haven't tried enough to reach such maximums.
    – Warren P
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 19:09

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