If you're the 99% of people reading who don't like Battletech, I'll be explaining stuff a bit, but I won't bullshit you; Wednesdays may not be be a good return on investment for your time so much in the near future. Sorry.
For those of you who are--for you, skiltao, you've probably seen all of this stuff before. Hell, some of this stuff may have been superseded by actual equipment. Whether it's nostalgia or novelty, I hope you enjoy it.
Standard Laser Equations
There are many way to classify Battletech weapons. "Introductory Tech" (sometimes referred to as "Level 1 Tech") is the simplest classification. They're the simplest weapons from which to make a battlemech. There are three types of stanadard laser; large, medium, and small. It's that simple.
Those lasers jump from 3 to 5 to 8 damage with a wide variety of ranges, heats, and tonnages in there. What if we reverse engineer the formulas to derive the other sizes of lasers that are still as simple as the standard lasers?
Equations Deriving Range from Damage
ShortRange = SQR(8 * Damage - 15) - 2
MediumRange = ShortRange * 2
LongRange = ShortRange * 3
Equation Deriving Heat from Damage
Heat = (2 * Damage^2 - Damage) / 15
Equation Deriving Tonnage from Damage
Tons = (13 * Damage^2 - 89 * Damage + 180) / 60
Equation Deriving Critical Slot Size from Tonnage
Crits = (2 * Tons^2 - 3 * Tons + 37) / 36
Plug everything in, then round. For Crits, heat, and range, round as per normal to nearest integer. For Tonnage:
Round: N.01 to N.24 to N [2.22 becomes 2.0]
Round: N.25 to N.74 to N.5 [7.66 becomes 7.5]
Round: N.74 to N.99 to N + 1 [14.8 becomes 15.0]
I totaled up the lasers of classes 4, 6, 7, and 9-12. Results shown below.
Name Dmg Heat SR MR LR Tons Crits Canon(Y/N) Small Laser 3 1 1 2 3 0.5 1 Y
Quad Laser 4 2 2 4 6 0.5 1 N
Medium Laser 5 3 3 6 9 1 1 Y
Laser 6 6 4 4 7 11 2 1 N Laser 7 7 6 4 9 13 3 1 NLarge Laser 8 8 5 10 15 5 2 Y
NonLaser 9 10 6 11 17 7 3 N DecaLaser 10 13 6 12 18 10 6 N 11 Laser 11 15 7 13 20 13 9 N 12 Laser 12 18 7 14 21 16.5 15 N
The Quad Laser makes the Small Laser obsolete, so it's pretty much out.
The rest have a place except for the DecaLaser. It's a weak PPC. Dropping 3 hexes of minimum range isn't worth three extra tons, crits, and heat. It's worthless.
The 12-Laser is useful only because it's a headcapper with the range of an LRM. It's the decision of the player as to whether or not 18 heat and 16.5 tons and more crits than an AC/20 with four tons of ammo is worth it. That's five tons of IS TC.
There's nothing in the 1-2 damage range because the way I worked the ranges (calculating short range from damage) meant that you couldn't have less than 1 hex (which the Small  Laser has). If I changed the equations to yield long range instead, I could have 1/2/- and 1/- lasers. However, they can't weigh less and have less heat than a Small Laser, so either the entire idea is a malfeasance (which many will say it already is) or that I'd have to "bank" these picolasers and nanolasers so that each weapon actually represented smaller clusters of the weapon grouped to yield significant tonnage, heat, and crits (which will be fractional before rounding).
IIRC, I assumed that the original numbers for the small, medium, and large lasers were the center of their values. That is, I assumed that a Large Laser's damage value was 8.0 and not 7.5 or 8.49. Further work could be done to waggle those values and create a different set of stats, which might invalidate the Quad Laser (unlikely. Fear the Quad Laser) or maybe nudge the pico-, nano-, and deca- lasers into usefulness.
Also, how are these font changes working? Shifting from Verdana to Courier and back seems like it would be jarring, but not as jarring as a whole post written in Courier.
On the topic of Battletech, if you're not a Battletech person, I am planning on contextualizing these a bit. If a more thorough explanation or an outright overview would work better for you, let me know and I'll see if I can work up a primer.
Also, as I look through the old blogs I realize I used to complain about personal stuff a lot and don't anymore and that's really worrying.