PDA

View Full Version : The Mecha thread.



Mercenary Pen
2011-12-16, 11:11 AM
Basically, in the various anime, computer games and other sources that use mecha, what things are usually done with them and why? What things are rarely done with them, and would those things be awesome if they were?

Item 1 (because it's obvious): Humanoid form in mecha.

Many media sources go with humanoid mecha, but many sources argue that the human form is unsuited for the sort of action a mech can expect to face.

Ways to deal with this:
1- subvert the humanoid form (for example turning the head into a 360 degree rotation weapons turret)
2- avoid the humanoid form (as seen in series such as Patlabor, Zoids, and the Mobile Armour Units of various gundam series)- rarely used for protagonist machines though, possibly due to the fear of alienating a young audience.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-16, 11:39 AM
The advantage of the humanoid form (putting aside realism to get the performance displayed) is in flexibility. As simple as the Gundam being able to carry a beam rifle and drop it to pull a beam saber, or use a heavier weapon without needing to do any work on the suit proper. And in general taking a human and making it huge, the problem is that human agility is not something that can actually scale up.

Putting back any realism you never reach smooth performance that would say ever make close quarters combat a reality. The universal century has Minovsky particles to take things out of simply rocket tag but you need further handwaves to get to a mech not being a big honking target for tanks. They are too fast and too resilient for their size as a rule.

Something like the Knightmare Frames of Code Geass are better by being fairly small but have a totally nonsensical movement system even before the Lensman Arms Race of the second season.

When you start talking about something that actually has to be construct with the square-cube law and vaguely realistic materials on a two legged structure you simply aren't going to get nice smoothly performing machines like Mobile Suits. You get maybe the AT-ST type, two legs and a weapons platform on something rather awkward. The advantage would only be in difficult terrain that rolling vehicles can't enter well.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-16, 12:07 PM
The advantage of the humanoid form (putting aside realism to get the performance displayed) is in flexibility. As simple as the Gundam being able to carry a beam rifle and drop it to pull a beam saber, or use a heavier weapon without needing to do any work on the suit proper. And in general taking a human and making it huge, the problem is that human agility is not something that can actually scale up.

I'm not entirely sure you need a humanoid form for that level of flexibility and agility- for example in the zoids anime series' similar things have been done using animal forms, which innately have certain close combat weapons in things like teeth, claws, pincers- but in this also have separate ranged weapons such as back mounted turrets, allowing them to transition from melee to ranged combat and vice versa relatively seamlessly (and some forms like spider/scorpion designs might actually be rather more practical than the humanoid form)

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-16, 12:17 PM
The advantage of the humanoid form (putting aside realism to get the performance displayed) is in flexibility. As simple as the Gundam being able to carry a beam rifle and drop it to pull a beam saber, or use a heavier weapon without needing to do any work on the suit proper. And in general taking a human and making it huge, the problem is that human agility is not something that can actually scale up.

Putting back any realism you never reach smooth performance that would say ever make close quarters combat a reality. The universal century has Minovsky particles to take things out of simply rocket tag but you need further handwaves to get to a mech not being a big honking target for tanks. They are too fast and too resilient for their size as a rule.

Something like the Knightmare Frames of Code Geass are better by being fairly small but have a totally nonsensical movement system even before the Lensman Arms Race of the second season.

When you start talking about something that actually has to be construct with the square-cube law and vaguely realistic materials on a two legged structure you simply aren't going to get nice smoothly performing machines like Mobile Suits. You get maybe the AT-ST type, two legs and a weapons platform on something rather awkward. The advantage would only be in difficult terrain that rolling vehicles can't enter well.

This is why I prefer BattleTech BattleMechs to the more anime-style giant mecha (yes, even Megas XLR, hilarious though that was). (And I grew up on Transformers.) Anime-type mecha just don't move right to me (I mean, most anime mecha bounce around more than the aforementioned Transformers, who at least have the excuse that they are actually creatures not piloted vehicles.)

(I also find the logic from some anime that (humanoid) mecha are better at fighting in the air than non-transforming fighters to be ridiculous with waaay too much rule-of-cool justification. (Doubly especially since I personally find starfighters to be far cooler than giant robots.))

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-16, 12:18 PM
And AT-STs have ludicrous balance problems, as demonstrated in-universe. The novels gave us the MT-AT spider-tank style walker, which makes a good deal more sense from an engineering standpoint as a tank that can climb vertical surfaces.

Things you need for a mech to be "realistic":

1) Small size. Bipedal units are desperately in need of a low center of gravity, and the square-cube law means that complex machines over a certain size simply cannot support themselves, at least not efficiently. I wouldn't make a mech more than 5-7 meters tall if I was paying any attention at all to physics. And this is to say nothing of ground pressure - you either need to make this lighter than we can today (see below) or give them enormous snowshoes.

2) Materials and energy science greater or different than the present day's. Bipedal humanoids are really inefficient when it comes to energy usage and armor weight, compared to tanks and other treaded/wheeled vehicles. You need a light, powerful powerplant and armor that can ignore small arms fire while not overloading your complex limbs. Speaking of which, engineering to make arms and legs as durable in practice as wheels and treads would also be a big plus.

3) Wheels and/or treads on the feet. Walking is all well and good for nimble maneuvering over broker terrain, but there is a reason humans don't walk everywhere if we can help it. "Skates" like in VOTOMS, Nadesico, or Code Geass are a big help in covering flat terrain as fast as a tank does.

4) A role other than "cooler-looking tank". Humanoid robots will never be better at being tanks than tanks are, because tanks are frankly perfected for their role of absorbing punishment and being the biggest gun on the ground. The most obvious use for a mech is being a non-flying gunship, able to take indirect routes through rough and/or urban terrain without the vulnerabilities that come with being a helicopter. There's also a lot of non-military applications for machines with hands, mainly in rescue and construction. There's shows about this, too (and in fact, Mobile Suits started out as space construction vehicles which were repurposed into walking weapons.)

5) Combined arms. Military mecha need air cover and infantry support just as much as tanks do, if not more. You can't have an army of just one unit type, no matter what it is.

6) Flying mecha are cool, but incredibly stupid. Transforming flying mecha slightly less so, but argh the wear and tear. See above about materials science.

A lot of this is less of a problem if we're talking about fighting exclusively in space

Benefits of bipedal armored units from a tactical (rather than storytelling) standpoint:

1) All-terrain capabilities (assuming you remembered to give them a respectable center of balance for stability)

2) Adaptability. A unit with hands is as versatile as an infantryman, but can carry much bigger sticks. A non-military unit with hands would be invaluable for rescue and construction, and I think this industry is where we'll see bipedal robots in the real world. Even without "hands", putting a gun out on an arm makes it much easier to hot-swap with a different gun than a tank barrel is.

3) Future control schemes may allow users to control machines with thought or even motion capture (for examples in existing mecha shows, see Evangelion, Nadesico, or any number of ludicrous super robot shows like G Gundam). This would obviously be easier if the machine they were controlling had roughly equivalent gross motor function to their own bodies.

4) Something with a gun on an arm can fire around corners or above cover. Tanks simply cannot. Vehicles with human- or animal-like legs can also move in all directions without turning, unlike wheeled or treaded ones. Sacrificing raw armor and firepower for mobility and ability to better utilize cover is why I suggested thinking of mecha as land-helicopters rather than walking tanks above.

5) Gundam's original excuse for putting limbs on things is you can fling your limbs about to change your orientation in space without having to use vernier thrusters (along with all combat taking place at point-blank and the weapons being evolved from construction equipment). There are better ways to do this than human-like limbs, but it's something.


And finally, regardless of everything I just said, the storytelling benefits of giant robots are numerous and obvious. They lend a sense of humanity to large-scale mechanized warfare, or look like giant superheroes, depending on tone of the show. They look just plain cool (except Godmars) and unlike anything we have in the real world, lending a sense of wonder and intimidation to a science fiction or even fantasy stories. As new technological developments, they can be the driving force behind a story or setting. And did I mention they look cool?

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-16, 01:39 PM
I'm not entirely sure you need a humanoid form for that level of flexibility and agility- for example in the zoids anime series' similar things have been done using animal forms, which innately have certain close combat weapons in things like teeth, claws, pincers- but in this also have separate ranged weapons such as back mounted turrets, allowing them to transition from melee to ranged combat and vice versa relatively seamlessly (and some forms like spider/scorpion designs might actually be rather more practical than the humanoid form)

For close combat here's how I see things. Equalizing scale and performance as much as possible to focus on form lets consider a Blade Liger versus a RX-78-2 Gundam with a standard beam saber and shield: The Blade Liger moves in for the kill and Gundam catches its pounce on the shield then stabs the Liger with the beam saber.

When it comes to mimicking nature, nature provides no models with the reach advantage of human weapons or anything like a decent shield. Remember this is ignoring plausibility of performance and talking melee.

Now quadruped (or more) mobile weapons platforms are another matter entirely. They are vastly more realistic offering far fewer balancing concerns. These are mecha that are actually possible without major revolutions in engineering. I've seen video of a home built spider tank shape. They offer most of the terrain advantages without the problems facing mechanical bipeds. Though I question some of the inherent superior physical performance arguments as the largest predators known were bipedal.

Which incidentally gives the scale for plausible mecha sizes.


This is why I prefer BattleTech BattleMechs to the more anime-style giant mecha (yes, even Megas XLR, hilarious though that was). (And I grew up on Transformers.) Anime-type mecha just don't move right to me (I mean, most anime mecha bounce around more than the aforementioned Transformers, who at least have the excuse that they are actually creatures not piloted vehicles.)

(I also find the logic from some anime that (humanoid) mecha are better at fighting in the air than non-transforming fighters to be ridiculous with waaay too much rule-of-cool justification. (Doubly especially since I personally find starfighters to be far cooler than giant robots.))

The Mechs I remember were ludicrously huge if I remember properly but do represent at least some plausible shapes. At least the Timberwolf anyways though its arms would have to be shortened to support anything with recoil I think.

For their nuclear reactor powered scale though they have performance that is no more realistic then anything Real Robot from anime.


And AT-STs have ludicrous balance problems, as demonstrated in-universe. The novels gave us the MT-AT spider-tank style walker, which makes a good deal more sense from an engineering standpoint as a tank that can climb vertical surfaces.

Kevin J Anderson didn't write those books, he hasn't written anything in SW. And especially not in Dune. So I don't know what you are talking about. Also the pictures of said non-machines made them to spindly to be supported their legs took up less of their volume then any insect..

More plausible is the AT-PT designs I've seen which are bi-pedal but on much more robust legs for their size. Unsurprisingly they derive from a Zahn written tome.

Otherwise I feel you make good points.


3) Future control schemes may allow users to control machines with thought or even motion capture (for examples in existing mecha shows, see Evangelion, Nadesico, or any number of ludicrous super robot shows like G Gundam). This would obviously be easier if the machine they were controlling had roughly equivalent gross motor function to their own bodies.

Cybernetics are reasonably likely to be a reality. I saw footage once of a arm being manipulate by wires connecting to a guy's head claim it. Could have been trumped up for TV but still they are working very hard on this front.

Certainly the traditional two sticks makes no sense for the level of control we see. Nevermind the teenagers magically jumping into cockpits being able to do it.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-16, 02:14 PM
Kevin J Anderson didn't write those books, he hasn't written anything in SW. And especially not in Dune. So I don't know what you are talking about. Also the pictures of said non-machines made them to spindly to be supported their legs took up less of their volume then any insect..

And I have no idea where in the heck Dune came into this, or when I mentioned Kevin J. Anderson particularly. He did (unfortunately) write the Jedi Academy Trilogy of Star Wars novels, though, and thus is responsible for the MT-AT's conception.

And you're right, they look ridiculous, but still less ridiculous than AT-STs. My point, which I didn't really go and support in the rest of my post, was that multipedal mecha are a lot more workable than bipedal ones in terms of the first point I made about center of gravity and ground pressure.



Cybernetics are reasonably likely to be a reality. I saw footage once of a arm being manipulate by wires connecting to a guy's head claim it. Could have been trumped up for TV but still they are working very hard on this front.

Certainly the traditional two sticks makes no sense for the level of control we see. Nevermind the teenagers magically jumping into cockpits being able to do it.

I have also seen machines that will read electrical impulses from the brain without any invasive cybernetics with a fair degree of accuracy. Basically, an EEG that parses the information into commands rather than graphs (I am under the impression that's how those little hair clips in Evangelion were supposed to work, along with the entry plug as a whole). Hardware or wetware cybernetics like in Macross Frontier or Martian Successor Nadesico are also completely possible.

Really, the thing is, if you're taking something as complex as a human figure and dumbing down its functionality to the point were you can control it with an aircraft joystick and throttle, there's not a lot of point to making the vehicle humanoid in the first place. You'd need either brain-control or a more nuanced cockpit than what you see in most "real robot" anime, probably a combination of arm and hand motion capture (the original Full Metal Panic novel depiction of Arm Slaves, or those construction bots from Avatar), foot pedals, and voice commands.

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-16, 02:44 PM
The Mechs I remember were ludicrously huge if I remember properly but do represent at least some plausible shapes. At least the Timberwolf anyways though its arms would have to be shortened to support anything with recoil I think.

For their nuclear reactor powered scale though they have performance that is no more realistic then anything Real Robot from anime.

Eeh... I wouldn't have said so.

They are stated as being about 10-14 meters tall (taller than an AT-ST and considerably smaller than an AT-AT) and weighed between 20 and a 100 tons. (For comparison, a Challenger 2 MBT is eight metres long (and 12 with the gun barrel) and weighs about 60 tonnes/70tons.) The averages speeds were about 50-60kph to 80-90kph (with some up to 200kph for the really fast mechs with special technologies (i.e MASC)) - the bottom end of which is about the speed of a modern MBT. (For additional comparison, an F-14 Tomcat is about twenty metres long and masses in at about 27-33 tonnes and an F-22 is 18m and about 29-38 tonnes.)

So, while they are bigger than a tank, they are not massively bigger volumetrically, and arguably have an insanely low density for their size (unrealistically, if we're honest - though given how many derivations of "ton/tonne" there are, it's not impossible a BattleTech "ton" is something different altogether!) So them running at fair speeds on fusion power, given that, is not completely unreasonable. (Battletech is actually quite low-tech, if compared to even modern technology!) They also moved far less fluidly, and felt more like vehicles to me.

Note: I'm not considering target profile here (which is stupidly big by comparison, though not as big as a low-flying aircraft, to be fair...), only performance.

(Certainly they are not the levels of ludicrously huge as in some anime, or 40K's Titans.)

(By the by, the Mad Cat's primary configuration (why yes, I am a dirty IS-terminology using peasant, blame the cartoon) - which is the one used for all the models (both actual and for games and whatnot) carries lasers in the arms, so there would be no appreciable recoil to compensate for. Yes, I am nit-picking!)



Another random point worth noting is that you'd have to be a modest distance from a 12m tall BattleMech to shoot it with a regular tank gun, because of getting enough elevation on the gun (the same as a four-story building), which would have some advantages in wooded terrains (sorta) and heavily urbanised areas with tall buildings. (But really, the advantages of mechs over tanks is either very niche or mostly rule-of-cool. The advantage of mechs over grav-tanks is vastly more debatable, since the latter have even more of a mobility advantage, even in difficult terrain.)



Though, yes, the jump-jet technology is certainly more unrealistic, but I feel still several orders of magnitude less so than a typical bouncing-around-like-a-ninja-with-sword anime mecha. (I'm not saying all anime mecha are like that - and it would also be remiss of me not to point out that early BattleMechs were literally cribbed off...Macross, I think it was - but certainly, the larger porportion of mecha seem to be that way than BattleTech's more sedate, stilted movement.

(I look at it this way: a (non-direct-mind-to-mech-interface) piloted vehicle should not be able to out-agile a Decepticon ninja... (E.g. Bludgeon) At least not and maintain any level of credibility for me without serious levels of camp and/or humour...)




And I have no idea where in the heck Dune came into this, or when I mentioned Kevin J. Anderson particularly. He did (unfortunately) write the Jedi Academy Trilogy of Star Wars novels, though, and thus is responsible for the MT-AT's conception.

I think that's Soras' desperate attempt to block those books from his concious memory for those exact reasons (presumably KJA did a similar...job... on the Dune franchise!)



Incidently, QI had ASIMO (the most advanced humanoid robot so far created) as a guest star, where it demonstrated it's ability to go down stairs and to run (which was amazing) and it did a dance with Jo Brand (which was amazing and hilarious). Walkers are coming slowly.

Lord Seth
2011-12-16, 02:50 PM
http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/6928/darksteelcolossus.jpg

Yora
2011-12-16, 03:08 PM
When it comes to realistic mecha, I think nobody comes even close to Shirow Masamune. Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed have some of the most plausible legged vehicles and robots I've ever seen.

Okay, the Tachikoma in the anime going all out spiderman between skyscrapers while being invisible might be a bit of a stretch, but the design is still remarkable. :smalltongue:

Oh wait, I totally forgott about the Mobile Fortresses in Appleseed. Those are among the most overblown mecha this side of Gurren Lagann. :smallbiggrin:

Dr.Epic
2011-12-16, 03:47 PM
Combining.

From Power Rangers to Gurren Lagann, most mechs usually combine with others to become more powerful.

tensai_oni
2011-12-16, 03:58 PM
I like my mecha unrealistic and impossible to use as feasible weapons of war in real life.

This means I can enjoy the story without the lingering feeling that something like them was or will be actually used in real life to kill people.

Also: non-humanoid mechs are boring. Tachikoma are cute but if they were devoid of their curious energetic AIs and just generic spider-bots, they'd have me yawning in 5 minutes.

turkishproverb
2011-12-16, 04:00 PM
Combining.

From Power Rangers to Gurren Lagann, most mechs usually combine with others to become more powerful.


Alot do, but most? Eh....not really. You get a bigger number of single unit mechs overall.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-16, 04:01 PM
This is why I prefer BattleTech BattleMechs to the more anime-style giant mecha

Of course, many of those were anime mechs anyway.

And frankly, the ones that weren't are highly derivative of them anyway. What, after all, is a Timber Wolf other than a Glaug that's had a few too many pies?

tensai_oni
2011-12-16, 04:02 PM
Combining.

Is this is where I try to shamelessly plug the Getter Robo Go manga on everyone, or not just yet?

EDIT:
Except for designs stolen from anime, BattleTech mecha are boring. If you want to design a tank with legs, just design a tank.

Fri
2011-12-16, 04:12 PM
My favourite take on this is from cthulhutech. They have mysterious phlebotinum engine that gives unparallelled energy/force field/whatever, and the engine give the pilots http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprioception (proprioreception) connection to their machine for some reason, and obviously, the way to use that so it's not making the machines awkward/to use the machine's potential is to make them humanoid.

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-16, 04:14 PM
Of course, many of those were anime mechs anyway.

And frankly, the ones that weren't are highly derivative of them anyway. What, after all, is a Timber Wolf other than a Glaug that's had a few too many pies?

I did mention that in a later post.

It may be dervivative, but that doesn't mean it's not, in some cases, better. Personally, I think the Mad Cat is probably one of the best-looking of all the BT Mechs - I think there's a reaspn it's so iconic! I also find the less human-looking mech like the Maruader, Locust and Rifleman were better than the more human-looking ones. (Or whatever they are called in whatever anime it was they were from - was it Macross or Robotech, I have no idea?)

(And to be fair, the later BattleTech stuff did get it's own style, even if throughout the quality of mech designs was a bit variable.)

Anyway, the main thing for me is that in BT is that they move in a manner I find consistent with manned vehicles, which I don't think they did in their original source material. (I could, of course, be wrong. As you may have gathered, I'm not a big giant robot fan, overall, I'm more of a starship Lich. Nor am I a particularly widely-watched anime buff - apart from the famous ones, I'd be hard pressed to list many, so it's entirely possible I haven't watched the right animes.)


Is this is where I try to shamelessly plug the Getter Robo Go manga on everyone, or not just yet?

EDIT:
Except for designs stolen from anime, BattleTech mecha are boring. If you want to design a tank with legs, just design a tank.

Conversely, I find the more human a mecha looks, the less I like it. (To be fair, I'm a vehicle freak and always has been, and the main point of that is emphatically NOT being people.)

I also don't think of stuff like Transformers as mecha, I should add, so rightly or wrongly - I don't hold them to quite the same constraints.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-16, 04:19 PM
My favourite take on this is from cthulhutech. They have mysterious phlebotinum engine that gives unparallelled energy/force field/whatever, and the engine give the pilots proprioception connection to their machine for some reason, and obviously, the way to use that so it's not making the machines awkward/to use the machine's potential is to make them humanoid.

Hey Fri, want to play a game of CthulhuTech if I get bored enough? I've wanted to do Masks of Nyarlathotep IN THE FUTURE forever now.

Also, your link is wrong.


Regarding Battletech: I'm sorry, but those are some of the few giant robots out there that completely bore me to tears, and just because something looks clunky and dull doesn't make it realistic.

tensai_oni
2011-12-16, 04:24 PM
@Fri:
http://anime.com/Neon_Genesis_Evangelion/images/01.jpg

?

@Aotrs:

If you like real life vehicles then of course mecha will annoy you. Because giant robots and realistic - you can pick only one. Even small ones like VOTOMs are still unrealistic, so let's just shed pretense and make them look cool instead. As long as the way these machines are used is plausible enough not to ruin my suspension of disbelief.

The only problem here is that Japan seems physically incapable of making a vehicle combat-based show that is NOT about giant robots, so if you want an anime like that you're out of luck. But even then there are some exceptions. Such as Yukikaze or Area 88 for fighter jets. Or you can take the best of the worlds with Macross.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-16, 04:26 PM
Combining.

From Power Rangers to Gurren Lagann, most mechs usually combine with others to become more powerful.

I don't recall a single combining real robot. Except for Xabungle, but that's Tomino joking about the whole mecha genre more than anything.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-16, 04:27 PM
@Fri:
http://anime.com/Neon_Genesis_Evangelion/images/01.jpg

?

CthulhuTech takes a lot of elements from Neon Genesis Evangelion, as it should. The whole body-synch with your mech thing, though, applies to anything with a Dimensional Engine (D-Engine), not just the bio-technological cybernetic monsters purposed as overpowered mecha called Engels and piloted by cybernetic crazy people (original concept do not steal).


I don't recall a single combining real robot. Except for Xabungle, but that's Tomino joking about the whole mecha genre more than anything.

Super Gundam. Also the original Gundam, ZZ, Victory, Impulse...okay, screw Impulse, but you know what I mean. Although those were all automated combiners, unlike Super Gundam which hypothetically has two cockpits.

Wait, is 00 Gundam a real robot? Regardless, Gundam Arios/GN Archer is.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-16, 04:33 PM
Super Gundam. Also the original Gundam, ZZ, Victory, Impulse...okay, screw Impulse, but you know what I mean. Although those were all automated combiners, unlike Super Gundam which hypothetically has two cockpits.

Er, right, brainfart. There are no real robot combiners that follow the "1 robot + 1 robot = a bigger robot" principle though. All of them are either "1 fighter jet + several independently useless modules = 1 robot" or "1 robot + 1 piloted module = robot with module". Replace fighter jet with car for Xabungle.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-16, 04:35 PM
Er, right, brainfart. There are no real robot combiners that follow the "1 robot + 1 robot = a bigger robot" principle though. All of them are either "1 fighter jet + several independently useless modules = 1 robot" or "1 robot + 1 piloted module = robot with module". Replace fighter jet with car for Xabungle.

I edited in Archer Arios, which is technically 2 robots = 1 bigger robot, even if both of them transform into planes to make a bigger plane.

It's sad that it's the least silly part of 00 Season 2, mechanically.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-16, 04:53 PM
The only problem here is that Japan seems physically incapable of making a vehicle combat-based show that is NOT about giant robots, so if you want an anime like that you're out of luck. But even then there are some exceptions. Such as Yukikaze or Area 88 for fighter jets. Or you can take the best of the worlds with Macross.

May I register Ghost in the Shell as one of the exceptions, particularly considering none of the vehicular 'robots' are humanoid, and all attempt to be logical progressions of real world combat vehicles into drone automation (albeit with the shift from regular tank into a multiped format)

Tengu_temp
2011-12-16, 04:57 PM
Well, now I know about a (debatably) real robot example then. Still, combining is mostly a super robot feature.

As for Battletech (and the majority of other settings with similar designs), I gave my opinion on it some time ago already, and it's pretty much what Nerdo and Tensai Oni said. I don't find its typical designs of barely-humanoid weapon platforms on legs cool, and they don't have the advantage of realism either because large bipedal combat machines are not realistically viable, period.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-16, 05:34 PM
And you're right, they look ridiculous, but still less ridiculous than AT-STs. My point, which I didn't really go and support in the rest of my post, was that multipedal mecha are a lot more workable than bipedal ones in terms of the first point I made about center of gravity and ground pressure.

I buy an AT-ST standing I'm not sure I buy the MT-ATs doing that. Though yes in general spider tanks are the most realistic mecha design.


Really, the thing is, if you're taking something as complex as a human figure and dumbing down its functionality to the point were you can control it with an aircraft joystick and throttle, there's not a lot of point to making the vehicle humanoid in the first place. You'd need either brain-control or a more nuanced cockpit than what you see in most "real robot" anime, probably a combination of arm and hand motion capture (the original Full Metal Panic novel depiction of Arm Slaves, or those construction bots from Avatar), foot pedals, and voice commands.

My faves (though the don't quite seem to have the room they should were the Guymelef controls from Vision of Escaflowne. Where it was all mechanical/hydraulic feedback. Not nessecarily realistic but barring brain links a full body electronic feed back system would be the way.


Eeh... I wouldn't have said so.

They are stated as being about 10-14 meters tall (taller than an AT-ST and considerably smaller than an AT-AT) and weighed between 20 and a 100 tons. (For comparison, a Challenger 2 MBT is eight metres long (and 12 with the gun barrel) and weighs about 60 tonnes/70tons.) The averages speeds were about 50-60kph to 80-90kph (with some up to 200kph for the really fast mechs with special technologies (i.e MASC)) - the bottom end of which is about the speed of a modern MBT. (For additional comparison, an F-14 Tomcat is about twenty metres long and masses in at about 27-33 tonnes and an F-22 is 18m and about 29-38 tonnes.)

I distinctly remember being able to step on tanks in the game I played of the series (so help me I don't recall which) and would point out we'd need more dimensions. Gameplay separation from official stats maybe. but to be able to step on you'd need to be almost as long in one foot. But that foot is supporting far more weight.

And yeah too big. For comparison an elephant is large quadruped that cannot properly run (though it can get up to a good clip) and is a somewhere around 3m tall. A T-rex is maybe 5-6m tall and could probably run but at 10m long but a lot slimmer then a tank. And that's the sort of scale that becomes plausible. To size with a tank, but hopefully lower in terms of volume and weight.


Though, yes, the jump-jet technology is certainly more unrealistic, but I feel still several orders of magnitude less so than a typical bouncing-around-like-a-ninja-with-sword anime mecha. (I'm not saying all anime mecha are like that - and it would also be remiss of me not to point out that early BattleMechs were literally cribbed off...Macross, I think it was - but certainly, the larger porportion of mecha seem to be that way than BattleTech's more sedate, stilted movement.

The issue is if they aren't swift then what use are they useful for? Remembering that big=/=invincible and far too many mecha tower over everything around them.

Mind you even modern battle tanks can be menaced with man-portable arms. And a minor hit from an RPG that takes out say a tread will imobilize a tank but topple a mech inflicting even more damage. Never mind something as big as the battlefield dominating mecha should be getting airstrikes called in on them to great success.

So if you don't have that sort of smooth performance speed then the only real advantage to a mecha come in places where tanks are impractical, like hilly terrain, urban environments, or some forests.

Speed eliminates a lot of that that because if one can match a reasonable overland speed with pin-point maneuverability you can say dance around a tank and kill it. Code Geass has an good example of that in its opening bit. Doesn't quite answer the airstrikes, but then Gundam answers that with Minovsky particles making combat in largely sight only, particularly with no guided ordinance.



I think that's Soras' desperate attempt to block those books from his concious memory for those exact reasons (presumably KJA did a similar...job... on the Dune franchise!)

Worse so much worse. (like it making it relavent to this thread with Cymeks)

GAHH blocking the pain.... blocking the pain... it didn't happen!


I don't recall a single combining real robot. Except for Xabungle, but that's Tomino joking about the whole mecha genre more than anything.

Technically the original Gundam models, mind you its combining was the Core Fighter and two otherwise useless pieces.

Also the current Gundam AGE also has a modular customizable Gundam. But its running towards being as super-roboty as Gundam 00 turned out. Why I preferr Gundam Unicorn which at least has fairly logical progression of Newtype-tech.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-16, 05:44 PM
I prefer AGE to Unicorn, because the latter has too much whitewashing of Zeon and painting the Federation black, in ways that completely disregard already established canon - especially in episode 4. Which is bad when you remember how a lot of the Japanese Gundam fandom, including the creator of Gundam Unicorn, sees Zeon. PM for details.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-16, 05:54 PM
I prefer AGE to Unicorn, because the latter has too much whitewashing of Zeon and painting the Federation black, in ways that completely disregard already established canon - especially in episode 4. Which is bad when you remember how a lot of the Japanese Gundam fandom, including the creator of Gundam Unicorn, sees Zeon. PM for details.

Well I'd comment on Gundam AGE whitewashing their Zeon equivalent into gangsters... but I will at least let the plot play out to see if the UE deserve it more.

And I'm not sure that Unicorn is particularly better. I mean it was what the first trip to Luna II barely into the original series where Bright and Co ended up about being arrested for the monstrous crime of bringing refugees aboard their vessel by the Federation, so them being pricks isn't new. Nevermind y'know the Titans et all. And for Zeon, CCA didn't do that already?

Exception the Garencieres crew I'm not sure Zeon is getting off easy in Unicorn.

Yora
2011-12-16, 06:00 PM
Or you can take the best of the worlds with Macross.
Macross. It looks so awsome, but every time I see a bit on youtube, it just doesn't make any sense. At all. :smallbiggrin:

Dr.Epic
2011-12-16, 06:00 PM
They always have missiles. As if being 100 feet tall wasn't enough.

Brother Oni
2011-12-16, 06:05 PM
Aside from Ghost in the Shell, there's only two anime which stand out as even having vaguely realistic mecha designs - one was Escaflowne, where the mechs ran off magic, but the control system was pretty realistic.

The other was Gasaraki, but even that had a form of applied phletonium in the form of their locomotion system (an articial muscle system). That said, the mechs were still fairly chunky, just as you'd expect from something with that sort of mass, unlike the near excessively lithe Macross veritechs or the just scaled up human Gundams of their eponymous series.

mangosta71
2011-12-16, 06:10 PM
(Or whatever they are called in whatever anime it was they were from - was it Macross or Robotech, I have no idea?)
The original (Japanese) anime was Macross. Robotech was the result of translation and Americanization.

The thing that puzzles me about the mecha from the various series following Macross Plus is, why did they do away with the YF-21's control system? In the travesty that was Macross Seven, the VF-21 was in service but lacked the direct mental link that the prototype featured. The later models of valkyries in Macross Frontier all used standard controls, aside from Brera's valkyrie (I *think* he was piloting a VF-27, but I couldn't swear to that - I seem to recall that the craft being operated by the primary protagonists were VF-25s).

Btw, for those that want to watch Macross stuff, Plus and Frontier are both excellent, Zero is good, and the original series is good but very dated. Two, as I understand it, is not canonical. It's also not very good. Seven is an unredeemable pile of excrement and features the WORST, most nonsensical control system ever devised.

Macross. It looks so awsome, but every time I see a bit on youtube, it just doesn't make any sense. At all. :smallbiggrin:
The thing about the Macross series is that they tell complete, complex stories. If you see a bit from one episode, you don't have the context to understand it. I recommend watching a series from the start if you want to know what's going on. Macross Plus is only 4 episodes long (though they are episodes designed to fit into a full hour block on tv, so it will take about 3 hours to watch the whole run).

Tengu_temp
2011-12-16, 06:22 PM
I liked Macross Seven more than Macross Plus. The animation is pretty bad and filled with stock footage and the whole thing is very silly, but it was at least entertaining. Macross Plus mostly consists of drama between a douchebag, a generic love interest and an unstable psychotic (who is the most likable character of the show despite that). Music and dogfights, two of the main draws of Macross, are pretty excellent but there's way too little of them.


Well I'd comment on Gundam AGE whitewashing their Zeon equivalent into gangsters... but I will at least let the plot play out to see if the UE deserve it more.

And I'm not sure that Unicorn is particularly better. I mean it was what the first trip to Luna II barely into the original series where Bright and Co ended up about being arrested for the monstrous crime of bringing refugees aboard their vessel by the Federation, so them being pricks isn't new. Nevermind y'know the Titans et all. And for Zeon, CCA didn't do that already?

Exception the Garencieres crew I'm not sure Zeon is getting off easy in Unicorn.

Both Federation and Zeon have their share of *******s, but the Federation is still the better side here, because they only shoot at military hospital ships instead of gassing colonies. Yet there are some people who claim that Zeon is the better side, for reasons I can explain to you in a PM if you're curious. It's annoying enough when fans do that, but when creators do it too? No thanks.

Non-UC Gundam doesn't have that problem. It's strictly a Zeon issue.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-16, 06:32 PM
I liked Macross Seven more than Macross Plus. The animation is pretty bad and filled with stock footage and the whole thing is very silly, but it was at least entertaining. Macross Plus mostly consists of drama between a douchebag, a generic love interest and an unstable psychotic (who is the most likable character of the show despite that). Music and dogfights, two of the main draws of Macross, are pretty excellent but there's way too little of them.

Yeah Macross Plus is Top Gun made by Japan if Iceman was also in a love triangle. Which is both good and bad on balance.



Both Federation and Zeon have their share of *******s, but the Federation is still the better side here, because they only shoot at military hospital ships instead of gassing colonies. Yet there are some people who claim that Zeon is the better side, for reasons I can explain to you in a PM if you're curious. It's annoying enough when fans do that, but when creators do it too? No thanks.

Non-UC Gundam doesn't have that problem. It's strictly a Zeon issue.

Go for it.

Shyftir
2011-12-16, 06:34 PM
In response to the BT haters...

If I wanted to watch guys in armor fight with swords... I'd watch guys in armor fighting with swords...

I like BT and BT design because of the vehicle feel, I want giant walking tanks. Not giant dancing robots with swords. BT is military fiction, most Mecha really isn't. Another aspect I like about BT is that there are no unstoppable super mechs that can wipe out dozens and dozens of any other kind of vehicle out there. (Though that is more of a shonen anime criticism in general.)

In short, I don't really think that Mecha and BT are really in the same category at all.

Other Mecha/Vertical Tank stuff I like:
Front Mission
Star Wars ATs
Armored Core
Full Metal Panic was okay.
Gundam is all right but the action is pretty lame.
Hypernauts
The various walker's of Warhammer 40k (but not Titans)

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-16, 06:40 PM
@Aotrs:

If you like real life vehicles then of course mecha will annoy you. Because giant robots and realistic - you can pick only one. Even small ones like VOTOMs are still unrealistic, so let's just shed pretense and make them look cool instead. As long as the way these machines are used is plausible enough not to ruin my suspension of disbelief.

The only problem here is that Japan seems physically incapable of making a vehicle combat-based show that is NOT about giant robots, so if you want an anime like that you're out of luck. But even then there are some exceptions. Such as Yukikaze or Area 88 for fighter jets. Or you can take the best of the worlds with Macross.

Ah, while ruminating on it, I realised it's not so much giant robots as specifically HUMANOID, piloted giant robots. I am not really interested in people (never have been - my first word was "car" for crying out loud!) My areas of interest extend to fantasy (where they are no vehicles and then it's about characters) and then skips right through to "stuff with vehicles in." (The gunpowder-to-pre-vehicle era is not something I find very interesting.)

I just don't find "people" aesthetically interesting. In fact, I'd go as far as to say, the more human-looking something is, the less likely I am to relate to it. (I have a fairly intense dislike of heavily anthropamorphised animals - non-humanoids are plenty interesting in shape and form that they don't need to made watered down. One of my favoruite aliens are the Daleks, not least because they aren't humanoid.)

Now, the thing about mecha anime, as far as I've seen, is that, almost inevitably, mecha don't act like vehicles, they act like giant infantry1. And I am not an infantry person. I also like blocky and angular. I much prefer an angular shape to the stylised-armoured-humanoid type often seen in anime, which I actually find boring - specifically because it is human-shaped. (I'm also not a fan or excessive shoulder pads and Spikey Bits, which also are fairly common on anime mecha!)

Now this isn't to say I don't find some humanoid mecha fairly cool, but definatly my preferences are swayed the more it breaks up the basic humanoid shape (guns instead of hands, cockpit instead of head are very good starts).

...

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realise that mecha heads are a big part of my problem. Vehicles should not have a (human(ish)) "face" (because they aren't "people", because if they are people, they are automatically NOT a vehicle), unless they're Thomas the Tank Engine or something (which is "people in the shape of a vehicle" which is to my mind a subtle but very important distinction from "vehicle"). I'd be much more inclined to accept a mech (even with hands, carrying a gun) if you chopped the stylised "dude-with-a-helmet" head off and replaced it with a cockpit assembly or something.

In fact, I think it's this vehicle/people switch that's the thing. It's binary - it's either "people" or "vehicle" and there is no middle-ground at all. A lot of the anime-style mecha are vehicles trying to look like people, but not being people and my brain goes "bog off". It's almost an Uncanny Valley effect. I'd actually find them much more acceptable, I think, if the mecha were actually (unpiloted) characters with the same design, or a piloted, less human-looking one.

Interesting... I've learned something today!




As for Battletech (and the majority of other settings with similar designs), I gave my opinion on it some time ago already, and it's pretty much what Nerdo and Tensai Oni said. I don't find its typical designs of barely-humanoid weapon platforms on legs cool, and they don't have the advantage of realism either because large bipedal combat machines are not realistically viable, period.

I like weapons platforms, come to that, I find them far more aesthetically appealing than people! Which I don't find cool on an aethetic level, interestingly enough.


II distinctly remember being able to step on tanks in the game I played of the series (so help me I don't recall which) and would point out we'd need more dimensions. Gameplay separation from official stats maybe. but to be able to step on you'd need to be almost as long in one foot. But that foot is supporting far more weight.

They can. It's worth noting that in BattleTech the vehicles also range from a bit under twenty tons to up to 100, and a 20-ton Locust can stamp (techically resolved as a kick) on a 100 ton tank, presumably working on the basis it's taller...

BattleTech the rules system has it's issues, (rather a lot of them, actually...); the treatment of vehicles and infantry is a bit too much in favour of the Mech for me (as a preponent of combined arms, generally). Heck, the whole universe has it's issues, but I kinda like the the Mechs (and you can again blame the cartoon solely for getting me interested in it!)


And yeah too big. For comparison an elephant is large quadruped that cannot properly run (though it can get up to a good clip) and is a somewhere around 3m tall. A T-rex is maybe 5-6m tall and could probably run but at 10m long but a lot slimmer then a tank. And that's the sort of scale that becomes plausible. To size with a tank, but hopefully lower in terms of volume and weight.

Mechs are, of course, not restricted to biology, and thus will have stuff with superior properties (this perforce, must be true for pretty much any mecha). (And in BattleTech, if we take the weights at face value, they must basically be made of aerospace technology-grade stuff and may well have a lower surface pressure than a similar sized tank for the smaller mechs.)

That said, they are still fairly big, and outside of BattleTech where vehicles are not discriminated against, probably too large to have too many uses. In a game with combined arms, you'd want mechs less than two stories tall (so about 6-7 metres), so at least they could hide in most built-up areas where they would be of most use.

Notably, in the armies that I do use that have mechs that aren't in BattleTech, are only about that size or smaller.




The issue is if they aren't swift then what use are they useful for? Remembering that big=/=invincible and far too many mecha tower over everything around them.

Mind you even modern battle tanks can be menaced with man-portable arms. And a minor hit from an RPG that takes out say a tread will imobilize a tank but topple a mech inflicting even more damage. Never mind something as big as the battlefield dominating mecha should be getting airstrikes called in on them to great success.

So if you don't have that sort of smooth performance speed then the only real advantage to a mecha come in places where tanks are impractical, like hilly terrain, urban environments, or some forests.

Speed eliminates a lot of that that because if one can match a reasonable overland speed with pin-point maneuverability you can say dance around a tank and kill it. Code Geass has an good example of that in its opening bit. Doesn't quite answer the airstrikes, but then Gundam answers that with Minovsky particles making combat in largely sight only, particularly with no guided ordinance.

As I say, BattleTech, outside it's own little Mech-centric world, has serious issues! (I mean, they have space-weapon ranges in kilometres (at least they did in BattleSpace when I had it), for crying out loud! *skullpalm*

It's a bit of a giggle, and we don't treat it too seriously2.

No, but really, we have a Clan-O-Matic, which consists of D100 adjectives and D100 nouns, which we use to roll up which clan we are playing today (not including the original twenty). Clan Concrete Llama is one of my personal favourites (actually pre-dating the chart), as is Clan Plastic Patio Furniture and their close allies Clan Polystyrene Flamingo...




The original (Japanese) anime was Macross. Robotech was the result of translation and Americanization.

See, I didn't even know that. (Actually, I probably have been told before, but just completely forget...)


In response to the BT haters...

If I wanted to watch guys in armor fight with swords... I'd watch guys in armor fighting with swords...

I like BT and BT design because of the vehicle feel, I want giant walking tanks. Not giant dancing robots with swords. BT is military fiction, most Mecha really isn't. Another aspect I like about BT is that there are no unstoppable super mechs that can wipe out dozens and dozens of any other kind of vehicle out there. (Though that is more of a shonen anime criticism in general.)

In short, I don't really think that Mecha and BT are really in the same category at all.

How is it I spend yonk typing up a huge wall of text, then just as I post, you say something pretty much the same point in a handful of lines...?



1Transformers and the ilk tend to get an exception, I suspect, largely because my primary influence (even now) was the UK Marvel comic run. And in that, the Transformers didn't fight like vehicles, they fought like individual characters and thus get filed not under the "military vehicles" section of my brain, but the "interesting characters" section alongside, say, Naruto or the X-Men (the latter are probably a good comparison, actually.) Piloted vehicles are to me inherently NOT characters (as if they are they emphatically do NOT need to be piloted.) It's like an on-off switch. It's either a piloted vehicle or a character (and I find occasions when someone tries to to be both to be unappealing. I'm also the sort of person who finds naming non-specifically unique weapons for the sake of it to be wierd, so personifiying a vehicle just doesn't gel with me.)

2Mainly because BattleTech falls dead flat when you look at it too closely. Especially given that I also play with people who play with sets of rules that fairly accurately simulate actual modern warfare, starting with terrain. (When we have a village, there are like, thirty houses, and we have stuff like dead ground and the tanks can't see everywhere around them and such. The rules work sufficiently well that people who have been doing real armoured warfare have commented on how much like the real thing it is tactically. (In fact, you end to being forced to use real-world tactics to fight for basically the same reasons.)) BattleTech... doesn't do too well under those sort of conditions!

McStabbington
2011-12-16, 06:56 PM
Things you need for a mech to be "realistic":
*snip*

I like where your head's at, but any Battletech fan will tell you that the only reason Mechs are better than tanks is because the game is designed for them to be better. And there is no way to reconcile reality with gameplay:

1) In the game, the longest direct-fire weapons max out at about 700m in effective range. Beyond that range, it's not even worth taking the shot because it is considered, for gameplay purposes, to automatically miss. In real life, a modern Merkava or Abrams routinely scores kill shots from kilometers away. The game designers deliberately shortened the ranges in order to make maneuver a more important part of the game relative to firepower.

2) The silhouette of a 12m tall Atlas would be visible from substantially farther away than the 3m tall silhouette of a T-72. This compounds the problem of range because the height of Mechs is vastly outweighed by how easy they make it to shoot at them from distances that vastly outstrip the ranges of artillery in the game, much less the direct fire weapons mechs usually come equipped with.

3) The Battletech universe is an alternate universe where we never developed a functioning microchip. It's a constant in our universe that as time moves forward, processing power of a standard chip increases while the size of the chip required to generate said processing power decreases. Which is why even in 1990, I had a desktop that could run rings around UNIVAC in terms of processing power, and why today, my two year-old bargain-basement laptop has roughly 80x the processing power of that old desktop (2 Gigs of RAM vs. 25 Megabytes of RAM), and was purchased for half as much.

In the Battletech universe by contrast, "targeting computers" are multi-ton monstrosities that increase effective fire barely more than the targeting computers used on our tanks in the 70's. It's not uncommon to hear Battletech players joke about how their targeting computer went offline because it blew a vacuum tube.

4) The size of armies in the Battletech universe are absurdly small. In 3025, the largest army in the Inner Sphere had about 12000 mechs. With that, they not only garrisoned over 100 worlds with an average population of 7 billion, but took over half of their neighboring nation. In short, the number of mechs required to garrison and effectively conquer another 30 or so planets is roughly equivalent of the yearly output of Sherman tanks produced in one nation on one planet during World War 2.

To be clear, each of these was done for gameplay reasons. Mechs are a lot cooler than tanks, so the LOS and range considerations were ignored. When forced to explain it away, they usually describe it as the result of magic armor that much be effectively blown off by rounds equal in size to modern tank rounds but fired at a significantly higher rate, which increases recoil and shortens effective range. And they want accuracy to be an important consideration, so the modern target-acquisition systems which bring about accuracy higher than 90% must be discarded. And they want to retain the feel of one man being able to turn the tide, so numbers are artificially limited. But in the real world, any regiment of Battletech mechs sent in to take the planet Earth of today would be overwhelmed and shattered in a day or less.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-16, 07:03 PM
I liked Macross Seven more than Macross Plus. The animation is pretty bad and filled with stock footage and the whole thing is very silly, but it was at least entertaining.



Seven has terrible pacing though. You can literally skip the first 15 episodes and lose nothing (City 7 and Battle 7 should have been seperated in episode 1, that's when the story actually starts going anywhere at all). Also Basara is a giant cockend.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-16, 07:08 PM
The thing that puzzles me about the mecha from the various series following Macross Plus is, why did they do away with the YF-21's control system? In the travesty that was Macross Seven, the VF-21 was in service but lacked the direct mental link that the prototype featured. The later models of valkyries in Macross Frontier all used standard controls, aside from Brera's valkyrie (I *think* he was piloting a VF-27, but I couldn't swear to that - I seem to recall that the craft being operated by the primary protagonists were VF-25s).

First of all, Macross 7 was awesome. Second, in case you forgot, the Brainwave Control System on the YF-21 prototype was deeply flawed, prone to friendly fire, and tested out by a schizophrenic (a loveable one, but dude was crazy). That's why NUNS adopted the VF-19 as their next-generation mainline fighter and wound up getting a stripped-down version of the -21, the VF-22 Sturmvogel, as a limited-production special forces unit. Then, at some point, budgets got slashed, which is why you see modified VF-17s (VF-171s, actually) as the main NUNS fighter in Frontier rather than either of the Advanced Variable Fighter models. And then in Frontier, the Messiah and the Lucifer in testing are basically the next generation of the YF-19 and YF-21, down to the Lucifer having a Brainwave Control System (with cybernetics this time)


Btw, for those that want to watch Macross stuff, Plus and Frontier are both excellent, Zero is good, and the original series is good but very dated. Two, as I understand it, is not canonical. It's also not very good. Seven is an unredeemable pile of excrement and features the WORST, most nonsensical control system ever devised.

Once more, haters gonna hate.


As for Gundam: Both the Federation and Zeon suck. Every large organization that gets too tied up in its ideology to see what it's actually doing sucks. That's the freakin' point of UC Gundam.

I think the real villains are Anaheim Electronics, though. Their business model seems to be "hey, there's some unrest. Let's sell one side bitchin' prototypes", then turn around and tell the other side they'll need to buy some bitchin' new prototypes from us if they want to beat their enemies. They do it in Zeta, ZZ, CCA, and I'm pretty sure now again in Unicorn. They deserve to die in obscurity and get replaced by SNRI, frankly.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-16, 07:09 PM
Just a thought, one advantage that mecha potentially have by comparison with tanks is that their height gives them the opportunity to mount radar somewhere it might be almost as effective as warship mounted radar, something which tanks could not do effectively (as I understand it, the higher up a radar system is emplaced, the greater the distance it can cover).

Possibly then an appropriate use for mecha would be as missile artillery units, sent to take the high ground and rain down missiles (altitude helps not only detection radar but also targeting radar) on anyone unlucky enough to come into range.

The Glyphstone
2011-12-16, 07:09 PM
To be clear, each of these was done for gameplay reasons. Mechs are a lot cooler than tanks, so the LOS and range considerations were ignored. When forced to explain it away, they usually describe it as the result of magic armor that much be effectively blown off by rounds equal in size to modern tank rounds but fired at a significantly higher rate, which increases recoil and shortens effective range. And they want accuracy to be an important consideration, so the modern target-acquisition systems which bring about accuracy higher than 90% must be discarded. And they want to retain the feel of one man being able to turn the tide, so numbers are artificially limited. But in the real world, any regiment of Battletech mechs sent in to take the planet Earth of today would be overwhelmed and shattered in a day or less.

Isn't there a fanfiction about this exact sort of thing, where modern-day Earth gets timewarped into the Battletech universe?

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-16, 07:17 PM
Just a thought, one advantage that mecha potentially have by comparison with tanks is that their height gives them the opportunity to mount radar somewhere it might be almost as effective as warship mounted radar, something which tanks could not do effectively (as I understand it, the higher up a radar system is emplaced, the greater the distance it can cover).

Possibly then an appropriate use for mecha would be as missile artillery units, sent to take the high ground and rain down missiles (altitude helps not only detection radar but also targeting radar) on anyone unlucky enough to come into range.

Not really an advantage, given that unlike at sea, land is not flat (being covered in trees and buildings and such - which of course block radar). It would be of very limited use, even on high ground, due to dead ground (i.e. you can't see all the way down the slope of a hill, because they're convex, not concave). When you're next out and about, have a look at what real terrain looks like - the reality and Hollywood (et al)/most wargames board are fascinatingly divergeant.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-16, 07:37 PM
Seven has terrible pacing though. You can literally skip the first 15 episodes and lose nothing (City 7 and Battle 7 should have been seperated in episode 1, that's when the story actually starts going anywhere at all). Also Basara is a giant cockend.

Why'd you want to do that, though? You don't watch Macross 7 for the plot, you watch it for the shenanigans. Filler is the best part.

Basara is a jerk, but at least he's an amusing jerk.

tensai_oni
2011-12-16, 07:45 PM
I like BT and BT design because of the vehicle feel, I want giant walking tanks. Not giant dancing robots with swords. BT is military fiction, most Mecha really isn't. Another aspect I like about BT is that there are no unstoppable super mechs that can wipe out dozens and dozens of any other kind of vehicle out there. (Though that is more of a shonen anime criticism in general.)

Now you are confusing mechanical design with plot. What makes good military fiction is not how realistic a robot is, but rather how it is treated in-universe. Units being treated just like that, as units and not unstoppable war gods is a good example you have given.

This is what defines a real robot genre, where mecha are just tools. Good examples are mentioned by you already - Full Metal Panic, Gundam (but not ALL Gundam series), Macross, VOTOMs. These are the ones that try to be realistic military fiction.

Super robots on the other hand don't even bother. It's not that they're all Gurren Lagann, running on Rule of Cool. But rather, their machines are incredibly powerful, usually one-of-a-kind and just a single one can change the world on an incredible scale. They're less tools and more like superheroes - or supervillains. Mazinger Z, Getter Robo and GaoGaiGar belong here. But criticising them as being poor military fiction is like criticising a dish washer as being a poor fridge. It was never its goal to begin with.

And then of course we have series that are one or another, but are just badly written in general.

Renegade Paladin
2011-12-16, 07:46 PM
And AT-STs have ludicrous balance problems, as demonstrated in-universe. The novels gave us the MT-AT spider-tank style walker, which makes a good deal more sense from an engineering standpoint as a tank that can climb vertical surfaces.

Things you need for a mech to be "realistic":

1) Small size. Bipedal units are desperately in need of a low center of gravity, and the square-cube law means that complex machines over a certain size simply cannot support themselves, at least not efficiently. I wouldn't make a mech more than 5-7 meters tall if I was paying any attention at all to physics. And this is to say nothing of ground pressure - you either need to make this lighter than we can today (see below) or give them enormous snowshoes.

2) Materials and energy science greater or different than the present day's. Bipedal humanoids are really inefficient when it comes to energy usage and armor weight, compared to tanks and other treaded/wheeled vehicles. You need a light, powerful powerplant and armor that can ignore small arms fire while not overloading your complex limbs. Speaking of which, engineering to make arms and legs as durable in practice as wheels and treads would also be a big plus.

3) Wheels and/or treads on the feet. Walking is all well and good for nimble maneuvering over broker terrain, but there is a reason humans don't walk everywhere if we can help it. "Skates" like in VOTOMS, Nadesico, or Code Geass are a big help in covering flat terrain as fast as a tank does.

4) A role other than "cooler-looking tank". Humanoid robots will never be better at being tanks than tanks are, because tanks are frankly perfected for their role of absorbing punishment and being the biggest gun on the ground. The most obvious use for a mech is being a non-flying gunship, able to take indirect routes through rough and/or urban terrain without the vulnerabilities that come with being a helicopter. There's also a lot of non-military applications for machines with hands, mainly in rescue and construction. There's shows about this, too (and in fact, Mobile Suits started out as space construction vehicles which were repurposed into walking weapons.)

5) Combined arms. Military mecha need air cover and infantry support just as much as tanks do, if not more. You can't have an army of just one unit type, no matter what it is.

6) Flying mecha are cool, but incredibly stupid. Transforming flying mecha slightly less so, but argh the wear and tear. See above about materials science.

The key point here is point two. And point two has a major problem: If you have made these gigantic leaps in power plants and materials science, you would get better results applying these advances to a form that's suitable for armored warfare to begin with. The same feats of engineering required to make a mech usable make a tank or other armored fighting vehicle even more dominant than it already is.

Also:

4) Something with a gun on an arm can fire around corners or above cover. Tanks simply cannot.
Reality disagrees. (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/96/Leclerc-openphotonet_PICT5995.JPG/800px-Leclerc-openphotonet_PICT5995.JPG) :smalltongue:

At any rate, the many problems of mecha as applied to armored warfare. All of the following assume we are comparing a mech to a tank built to competent standards using the same technology base, and vehicles that have equivalent mass.


The humanoid mech cannot mount weaponry as heavy as the tank. Even if you adapt the human form to be more squat for a lower center of gravity, recoil is a reality and if you give a sixty ton mech the usually 120mm cannon from a modern main battle tank and stick it on its arm, it would fall right over from the force of firing it, or if you manage to in some form keep it upright, it wouldn't be able to hold the weapon as steady.
The mech also by necessity has weaker armor coverage (remembering that we are discussing equivalent mass vehicles) due to greater exposed surface area. Tanks are low to the ground on treads for a very good reason, and that's it. Armor must either be thinner and spread over the surface area, or large portions of the target must be unarmored.
Increased vulnerability of the propulsion system. In modern armored warfare, mobility is life. Treads are underneath the heavily armored tank they propel. Legs are right there in the open begging to be shot, even if the mech somehow manages not to trip. Further, even if you manage to de-track a tank, it's going to sit upright being a big gun turret that can still shoot at you. The mech will fall over.
The mech has a higher target profile in general. The best way to not get shot is to not get shot at, and if you tower over the battlefield, your enemies will shoot at you. This is doubly a problem because of point two.


These are all systemic problems that continue to apply no matter how you scale your technology.

tensai_oni
2011-12-16, 07:50 PM
Aside from Ghost in the Shell, there's only two anime which stand out as even having vaguely realistic mecha designs - one was Escaflowne, where the mechs ran off magic, but the control system was pretty realistic.

The other was Gasaraki, but even that had a form of applied phletonium in the form of their locomotion system (an articial muscle system). That said, the mechs were still fairly chunky, just as you'd expect from something with that sort of mass, unlike the near excessively lithe Macross veritechs or the just scaled up human Gundams of their eponymous series.

If there's only two in your book, you should watch more series. I suggest VOTOMs or Full Metal Panic for starters, both of them have advantages of having good explanations and being good series. Also "it's magic/advanced tech" is not really realistic, it's just a plausible excuse. But as long as it works, who cares?

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-16, 08:44 PM
The key point here is point two. And point two has a major problem: If you have made these gigantic leaps in power plants and materials science, you would get better results applying these advances to a form that's suitable for armored warfare to begin with. The same feats of engineering required to make a mech usable make a tank or other armored fighting vehicle even more dominant than it already is.


There's two problems with this. First off there are limits to a tank's ability as a rolling platform. Yourexample is NOT looking around a corner its looking over a smallish barrier. Secondly not all advances would benefit all tech equally. Simply making a tank lighter with better material armor would not give it much of an improvement in heavy terrain.

Also a realisitic mecha would not replace tanks. Nerd-o-rama has a good one as a role like helicopters play today but more durable. Along with the general ones like urban combat, rough terrain, and wooded areas to a degree.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-16, 08:57 PM
Why'd you want to do that, though? You don't watch Macross 7 for the plot, you watch it for the shenanigans. Filler is the best part.

Basara is a jerk, but at least he's an amusing jerk.

There were entertaining shenanigans in 7, but they weren't entertaining enough to carry the show by themselves. The plot, on the other hand, was quite good when it finally got going, with an interesting set of antagonists who were simply making the best of a bad situation.

The Glyphstone
2011-12-16, 09:21 PM
Yet another reason to champion Bolos - what happens when you take the tech people invent to justify mecha and apply it to tanks like it should be done in the first place.:smallbiggrin:

Renegade Paladin
2011-12-16, 09:47 PM
There's two problems with this. First off there are limits to a tank's ability as a rolling platform. Yourexample is NOT looking around a corner its looking over a smallish barrier. Secondly not all advances would benefit all tech equally. Simply making a tank lighter with better material armor would not give it much of an improvement in heavy terrain.
He said "or above cover," which is the definition of hull down. The entire point is that while the hull is tough, the turret is armored to a nearly ludicrous degree; if you only expose the turret, you might as well be behind a solid barrier, except you can still shoot.

Also a realisitic mecha would not replace tanks. Nerd-o-rama has a good one as a role like helicopters play today but more durable. Along with the general ones like urban combat, rough terrain, and wooded areas to a degree.
No ground vehicle can replace the role of the helicopter; the concept is absurd. There is no substitute for air mobility when you want the ability to traverse barriers and move at high speed.

Rough terrain isn't nearly so much of a problem for tanks as people seem to always claim when mecha are discussed. They're designed for off-road operations. Most terrain that can stop a tank will stop any large vehicle, a mech included; in fact, the predominant form of terrain that a tank can't handle, deep boggy ground and swamps, would be even worse for a mech because of it's smaller footprint distributing its weight over less surface area.

As for terrain that's really so broken that you absolutely can't roll over it even with treads, there's a new set of obstacles for the mech. A human's (or quadruped animal's, for that matter) ability to climb and scrabble over rocks the way we can is as much a function of tactile sensation as body structure. We can react to the surface we're negotiating the way we do because we can feel it in a way that the pilot of a vehicle (barring some huge leap in neural interfacing) can't. So even if you overcame all the engineering barriers in the way of making a humanoid robot or vehicle as physically nimble as a human (our joints are a maintenance nightmare, a fact I forgot to include in the list of the disadvantages of mecha), you still wouldn't be to the point of athletic rock climbing in such a vehicle.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-16, 09:53 PM
Also a realisitic mecha would not replace tanks. Nerd-o-rama has a good one as a role like helicopters play today but more durable. Along with the general ones like urban combat, rough terrain, and wooded areas to a degree.

Except you've made massive advances in power and materials technology, so now you have better helicopters as well, and unlike mechs they're not terrain dependent, are much faster, more mobile, etc.

The problem with the mech is that there really isn't a battlefield role for it to play that isn't done better by something else. You could aim for something close to infantry sized, and call it infantry support, but IFVs will generally be better for that because they can transport the infantry as well as providing them fire support.

Mechs would also be utterly terribad in any kind of restricted mobility conflict, because they would be horrifically vulnerable to IEDs and other similar ambush weapons because there is no way to up-armour the knee joints whilst retaining functionality (the joints also bring massive maintenance problems as they'll be highly susceptible to fouling with debris).

tensai_oni
2011-12-16, 10:08 PM
Discussing realism in giant robots is pointless. It's like going to a wrestling fan and saying "you know they're just faking it, right?"

Yes, I know. It doesn't make it less fun. And just like wrestling still requires a lot of acrobatic ability and fitness, mecha shows still can tell a convincing and dramatic story.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-16, 10:10 PM
For the people who reckon that any technology that could enhance a mecha could be better utilised in a tank design, I suggest being careful what you wish for, because some tanks using mecha technology become indistinguishable from mecha themselves:

Case in (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/msigloo2/rtx-440.htm) point (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/msigloo/ymt-05.htm)

TheCountAlucard
2011-12-16, 10:25 PM
I came to this thread with the intention of discussing Warstriders from Exalted, but seem to have lost track of everything I was going to say. :smallsigh:

warty goblin
2011-12-16, 10:25 PM
I don't generally mind mecha anymore. They used to annoy me, then I stopped worrying so much about realism. Mecha being arbitrarily massively better than tanks annoys me because I like tanks, but giant robots being useful does not, in principle, bother me.

Returning to realism, I've never been convinced that even huge advances in motion control and cybernetics that would allow one to pilot a mecha by moving/thinking would be that huge of an advantage. Driving cars for instance does not mimic any sort of natural motion, but people do just fine at that. They also do just fine with mice, piloting airplanes, boats and any number of other machines with non-natural interfaces. We're an adaptable lot, and my guess is there's more performance to be gained in optimizing the vehicle for the job at hand, then training the pilot on it than making a super-intuitive control system and hoping that makes your vehicle useful. If nothing else any giant robots are going to be horrendously expensive anyways, so you'd want trained people on them in the first place.

Aside from that, I've never been able to figure out what exactly mecha could reasonably be good at. They can't out-tank tanks for lots of reasons already listed, they can't out-artillery artillery, by any reasonable construction they shouldn't be able to fly or enjoy the speed and maneuverability advantage of aircraft, they're a walking bullseye for any sort of anti-tank weapon, and they aren't even gonna be stealthy. Maybe there's something I'm missing.

Their one supposed advantage of versatility through being able to change weapons easily doesn't even work out very well. If they're carrying a bunch of different guns/rocket launchers with them weightwise they really aren't ahead of a more mundane vehicle that mounts the same weapons, and the vehicle can use more than two of them at a time. If they don't carry the guns with them, they have to haul off to base to pick them up. Although this is probably easier than taking a gun out of a turret and replacing it with a different one, it's still hardly a logistical masterstroke.

Geno9999
2011-12-16, 10:29 PM
Things you need for a mech to be "realistic":

1) Small size. Bipedal units are desperately in need of a low center of gravity, and the square-cube law means that complex machines over a certain size simply cannot support themselves, at least not efficiently. I wouldn't make a mech more than 5-7 meters tall if I was paying any attention at all to physics. And this is to say nothing of ground pressure - you either need to make this lighter than we can today (see below) or give them enormous snowshoes.


I was thinking of a subversion of size by making them essentially powersuits. Have you seen The Batman (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/TheBatman?from=Main.TheBatman)? That series' MechaBat suit is the average height I would make a mecha.

If you REALLY want a subversion of size/scale, look no farther than Custom Robo (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CustomRobo), where the robots are less than a foot tall. So really, they're large action figures. Armed with real weapons.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-16, 10:35 PM
Yeah, honestly, in real life? The closest thing we're going to get to military mecha is power armor. That's almost a definite unless something comes along and revolutionizes engineering so as to make it pull almost a 180.

But that's okay, because Power Armor is also awesome. And Custom Robo is more Pokemon than military...

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-16, 11:53 PM
He said "or above cover," which is the definition of hull down. The entire point is that while the hull is tough, the turret is armored to a nearly ludicrous degree; if you only expose the turret, you might as well be behind a solid barrier, except you can still shoot.

You don't have tank height buildings, that the point to poke a gun around a corner and fire.


No ground vehicle can replace the role of the helicopter; the concept is absurd. There is no substitute for air mobility when you want the ability to traverse barriers and move at high speed.

Helicopters are also highly vulnerable platforms that would remain on a loosing side of an equation for armor versus a mech or a tank. Because they have to still fly at the end. Helos have a limited dwell time they are offensive but you can't say lay a trap or man a checkpoint with one. And there are limits on what a helo can enter. You could fly a helo down say NYCs canyons but you'd be a fool to do so. Of course most cities aren't quite as full as Manhattan but many have parts not dissimilar. And for lesser cities the environment doesn't improve because you are still flying over a nest of RPG snipers. Mecha can take advantage of a city's natural cover almost as much as an infantry. Which is probably the best way to think of them for the scale, ultra heavy infantry. Which is course where it started with Heinlein in Starship Troopers and power armor who also fun fact largely predicted the current force model ideology of the US military.

And remember this isn't a zero sum game. Mecha do not have to replace anything and should never be the be all of armies like anime loves.


Rough terrain isn't nearly so much of a problem for tanks as people seem to always claim when mecha are discussed. They're designed for off-road operations. Most terrain that can stop a tank will stop any large vehicle, a mech included; in fact, the predominant form of terrain that a tank can't handle, deep boggy ground and swamps, would be even worse for a mech because of it's smaller footprint distributing its weight over less surface area.

I'd loosely agree the answer for a bog is a boat though depending on depth a mech could still wade where a tank would sink. But I still feel there's a difference in my mind between degrees off road you don't hear great tank stories coming out of places with actual rough terrain that I've heard anyways. Though I have heard Russian tanks didn't amount to much in the 80s in Afghanistan.


As for terrain that's really so broken that you absolutely can't roll over it even with treads, there's a new set of obstacles for the mech. A human's (or quadruped animal's, for that matter) ability to climb and scrabble over rocks the way we can is as much a function of tactile sensation as body structure. We can react to the surface we're negotiating the way we do because we can feel it in a way that the pilot of a vehicle (barring some huge leap in neural interfacing) can't. So even if you overcame all the engineering barriers in the way of making a humanoid robot or vehicle as physically nimble as a human (our joints are a maintenance nightmare, a fact I forgot to include in the list of the disadvantages of mecha), you still wouldn't be to the point of athletic rock climbing in such a vehicle.

Or simply step over an obstacle with superior clearance I've known gorges that you simply could not roll through but would be able to step over with enough scale. Or clear obstructions with hands. Or heaven help us act like a human and use some supplementary tools. There still a wide variety between a hill and a canyon wall.

And its been mentioned that neural uplinks very likely are a reality.

And joints we would have to see. Though I've floated an idea in my head of the modular mecha. Joints acting, roll into base and the pop off the part or entire limb and plug in a spare. And maintenance nightmares are nothing new to the military. Human joints go life times with a a varying number going bad, a war scenario is looking at weeks and months.


Their one supposed advantage of versatility through being able to change weapons easily doesn't even work out very well. If they're carrying a bunch of different guns/rocket launchers with them weightwise they really aren't ahead of a more mundane vehicle that mounts the same weapons, and the vehicle can use more than two of them at a time. If they don't carry the guns with them, they have to haul off to base to pick them up. Although this is probably easier than taking a gun out of a turret and replacing it with a different one, it's still hardly a logistical masterstroke.

No you can't change one out period you'd have to send a tank back to the factory and you'd maybe get a new tank. Okay not as bad as that but I stand by the point.

And part of being able to say pick your weapon up would be say calling into base behind your lines and they put a weapon on any big enough truck bed, truck runs up to the front, and band there's your new weapon. Put the old on the truck bed and bang there you go fresh weapon.


Yeah, honestly, in real life? The closest thing we're going to get to military mecha is power armor. That's almost a definite unless something comes along and revolutionizes engineering so as to make it pull almost a 180.

The root of the genre though I still don't know if they have a power source I quite buy. Maybe I'm just not informed on what could be expect of battery performance

That in my mind is probably the bar to mecha no one really thinks about. We don't need much material advance to make joints for small scale mecha looking at construction equipment (its likely first source I agree) and computers are working out the balance issue but I don't know if there is a compact but powerful enough power sourcing which would only get worse for power armor.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-17, 12:44 AM
Fortunately, for fictional mecha, we can always just say "cold fusion" or "palladium" and be done with it. Those are far from far-fetched, and easily miniaturized. Though they would be put into tanks first, admittedly.

And I think the automotive industry is going to give us the financial impetus to make better and better batteries and/or fuel cells, as well, so that's not a problem for fiction to extrapolate for power armor.

warty goblin
2011-12-17, 01:19 AM
You don't have tank height buildings, that the point to poke a gun around a corner and fire.

You can, however, shoot through the building. Or just go around it.




Helicopters are also highly vulnerable platforms that would remain on a loosing side of an equation for armor versus a mech or a tank.

Helicopters are certainly less armored than tanks, but I find it dubious they'd come in much, if any, behind, a mech. The rotors and cockpit of an Apache for instance are armored to survive 20mm cannon shells, and the entire thing is carrying two and a half thousand pounds of armor. While that amount of armor could easily be put on a mecha, I'd be very surprised if you could proof the knees against 20mm rounds, the things do go through over an inch of steel after all.


Because they have to still fly at the end. Helos have a limited dwell time they are offensive but you can't say lay a trap or man a checkpoint with one. And there are limits on what a helo can enter. You could fly a helo down say NYCs canyons but you'd be a fool to do so. Of course most cities aren't quite as full as Manhattan but many have parts not dissimilar. And for lesser cities the environment doesn't improve because you are still flying over a nest of RPG snipers. Mecha can take advantage of a city's natural cover almost as much as an infantry. Which is probably the best way to think of them for the scale, ultra heavy infantry. Which is course where it started with Heinlein in Starship Troopers and power armor who also fun fact largely predicted the current force model ideology of the US military.

The key word there is 'flying.' Makes you a lot harder to hit than a very large ground target moving not appreciably faster than a human

And remember this isn't a zero sum game. Mecha do not have to replace anything and should never be the be all of armies like anime loves.
Well they either have to replace something, or else bring something entirely new to the ballgame. Otherwise they're kinda pointless, no?



I'd loosely agree the answer for a bog is a boat though depending on depth a mech could still wade where a tank would sink. But I still feel there's a difference in my mind between degrees off road you don't hear great tank stories coming out of places with actual rough terrain that I've heard anyways. Though I have heard Russian tanks didn't amount to much in the 80s in Afghanistan.

You're going to have a job getting enough power to make your mecha wade in a swamp that'll strand a tank. Since you need to lift one foot in order walk, the other one is going to sink in even further, the soft ground is going to close back in around the foot. This of course means it'll take even more force to pull it free, which means even more downward force on the other foot, so it sinks in deeper. Standing water isn't much of an issue for a tank, that's why they have snorkels.



No you can't change one out period you'd have to send a tank back to the factory and you'd maybe get a new tank. Okay not as bad as that but I stand by the point.
There's really no reason to change a tank's main gun. It's already generally the most powerful you can (afford to) put on that chassis with that level of protection, and what with HE, HESH, APFSDS, cannister and gun fired missiles is crazy adaptable as well. I also recall reading about, although cannot at this exact moment find, references to some IFVs having relatively easy to interchange weaponry.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 01:44 AM
I don't see how changing a gun on a mecha would be any easier, quite the contrary actually.
In fact, due to their greater complexity and fragility for the same level of technology, mecha would be harder to repair and modify in-field. After all, changing to a different weapon loadout means you just changed the centre of gravity, which means you have to recalibrate the control and walking system.
I am reminded of a story of a humanoid robot, not mecha sized, just human, that walked just fine at the factory, but couldn't at the presentation. Why? Because the it was a wooden floor at the presentation, while the floor of the factory where all the testing and programming was done was concrete. The differences were enough to throw off the programming, and this was a fairly recent humanoid robot.

It has been claimed that humanoid mecha are more intuitive to control, but I beg to differ.
Gravity is a constant. Things accelerate to ground at the same rate basically the same no matter your place on Earth. But this means that if you are controlling something larger, gravity will feel slower, because things are falling farther.
Remember how clumsy you were growing up during your growth spurt?
That was probably only a foot at most.
Imagine that scaled up to a 15 foot tall mecha, which is fairly on the small scale.
Intuitive?
Yeah right.
Combined with the extra complexity and difficulties of armouring joints, any engineering that would make mecha viable would, in my opinion, be better suited for making better tanks and other current types of vehicles.

Kinslayer
2011-12-17, 02:04 AM
The rotors and cockpit of an Apache for instance are armored to survive 20mm cannon shells, and the entire thing is carrying two and a half thousand pounds of armor. While that amount of armor could easily be put on a mecha, I'd be very surprised if you could proof the knees against 20mm rounds, the things do go through over an inch of steel after all.

Okay, I agree with the rest of your post, and the assorted commentary on Tanks v. Mech, (including the weak legs part that I'm about to comment on) but...

Rotors ; Very complex, lots of small moving parts
Knee ; Not complex, very few large moving parts

And somehow, it's the knee that'll break easier? :smallconfused:

warty goblin
2011-12-17, 02:06 AM
I don't see how changing a gun on a mecha would be any easier, quite the contrary actually.
In fact, due to their greater complexity and fragility for the same level of technology, mecha would be harder to repair and modify in-field. After all, changing to a different weapon loadout means you just changed the centre of gravity, which means you have to recalibrate the control and walking system.

The idea, I suppose is that the mecha holds the gun(s) in its hands. Changing weapons would therefore simply be a matter of giving a new gun to hold*. Obviously one would need a balance system that could dynamically recalibrate, but one would need that in the field anyways. One would after all presumably be operating on a variety of surfaces, all while burning fuel and expending ammunition. This is assuming you could engineer a 'hand' that could survive the recoil of any interestingly large guns, I'd imagine such a thing would have to be a good deal simpler than an actual human hand.

*Although reloading always seemed like a potential problem spot to me with this design.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 02:27 AM
*Although reloading always seemed like a potential problem spot to me with this design.
Just a little.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-17, 05:48 AM
The idea, I suppose is that the mecha holds the gun(s) in its hands. Changing weapons would therefore simply be a matter of giving a new gun to hold*. Obviously one would need a balance system that could dynamically recalibrate, but one would need that in the field anyways. One would after all presumably be operating on a variety of surfaces, all while burning fuel and expending ammunition. This is assuming you could engineer a 'hand' that could survive the recoil of any interestingly large guns, I'd imagine such a thing would have to be a good deal simpler than an actual human hand.

*Although reloading always seemed like a potential problem spot to me with this design.

You don't hold a take recoil with just your hand as a rule, that's why rifles have buttstocks and pistols are best held in two hands. So your hands don't have to be all that strong, because force is directed into the whole body. Now you want it to go gansta style you probably out of luck.

And reloading would either be handled by a feed mechanism similar to the ones the Navy uses for its heavier machine guns or exactly how humans do.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-17, 06:25 AM
And reloading would either be handled by a feed mechanism similar to the ones the Navy uses for its heavier machine guns or exactly how humans do.

Feed mechanism from where? There's no interior volume available on a mech to store the ammunition. (And before you say "well, make it bigger then", that means that you're increasing target profile and weight, the things your mech already has a problem with).

As for reloading from switchable magazines, you'll find that as you increase weapon calibre magazine size does not scale linearly, because the volume of shells doesn't scale in a linear fashion. So what you'll have is a mech that can shoot 3-6 times before it has to be reloaded (like the RARDEN 30mm cannon on the Warrior IFV, except the reload mechanism for that is internal within the turret and so protected). Never mind the fact that you won't get human-like dexterity from it anyway, joints, as discussed, are one of the major design weaknesses.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-17, 06:27 AM
Okay, I agree with the rest of your post, and the assorted commentary on Tanks v. Mech, (including the weak legs part that I'm about to comment on) but...

Rotors ; Very complex, lots of small moving parts
Knee ; Not complex, very few large moving parts

And somehow, it's the knee that'll break easier? :smallconfused:

Yes, the knee is subject to material stress from impact whenever the mech takes a step. The rotor is not. It's not just about complexity, it's also about the forces acting through the joint.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-17, 06:59 AM
Feed mechanism from where? There's no interior volume available on a mech to store the ammunition. (And before you say "well, make it bigger then", that means that you're increasing target profile and weight, the things your mech already has a problem with).

As for reloading from switchable magazines, you'll find that as you increase weapon calibre magazine size does not scale linearly, because the volume of shells doesn't scale in a linear fashion. So what you'll have is a mech that can shoot 3-6 times before it has to be reloaded (like the RARDEN 30mm cannon on the Warrior IFV, except the reload mechanism for that is internal within the turret and so protected). Never mind the fact that you won't get human-like dexterity from it anyway, joints, as discussed, are one of the major design weaknesses.

From a back canister of course. And seem to still be thinking like tanks and not like ultra-heavy infantry. You don't start with tank guns you start with heavy machine guns that are useful against vehicles. Something like this vulcan would have a hundreds of rounds (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/M61_Vulcan.jpg), though one wouldn't nessecarily want the max rate of fire but I'm talking starting points. There's a whole variety of heavy duty weapons that simply fall between being man portable while firing and tank gun. Many currently used on rather exposed mounts.

Another fun idea though I'm not aware of any real world equivalent would be the "semi-auto/auto" (rate of fire here not mechanism) RPG launcher. Tanks are great on an open field or otherwise where they can become artillery, in closed quarters they become hell risky. But its an open question whether they can keep pace with the changing nature of combat since their golden days in WWII.


Yes, the knee is subject to material stress from impact whenever the mech takes a step. The rotor is not. It's not just about complexity, it's also about the forces acting through the joint.

One would also point out knees are good for several decades. Helicopters see more maintenance and support crew then they do flying. Jets I believe are worse. A Navy supercarrier brings on-board 2,000 people... to field less then 100 aircraft.

Not that mecha wouldn't be maintenance intensive but I think this doesn't understand just how maintenance intensive military hardware actually tends to be.

Brother Oni
2011-12-17, 07:37 AM
If there's only two in your book, you should watch more series. I suggest VOTOMs or Full Metal Panic for starters, both of them have advantages of having good explanations and being good series. Also "it's magic/advanced tech" is not really realistic, it's just a plausible excuse. But as long as it works, who cares?

I don't mind magic/advanced tech as a reason for suspension of disbelief to make something work, it's just that the series has to make consistent internal sense to support that suspension of disbelief (for example, a pair of joysticks to control a gundam, which can make advanced melee manoeuvres compared to Escaflowne's entire battle harness which mimics the pilot's actions).

I haven't watched VOTOMs, but have watched Full Metal Panic. Nothing in there struck me as being more plausible than your average Gundam/Macross mech (Sagara's teddy bear power suits aside).

In any case, Sagara's behaviour in civilian life just annoys me. Spoilered as it doesn't directly apply to this thread:
I understand that Sagara has trouble adjusting, but if he's that gung-ho and liable to threaten violence at the drop of a hat, he's blown his cover inside of five minutes.
He should also know that revealing your capabilities and armaments in front of witnesses makes poor tactical sense.

Compare to another teenager who has similar issues - Himura Kenshin during the Bakumatsu civil war. Kenshin keeps his cover by staying very isolated from everybody else, even members of his faction, simply because he knows he has issues dealing with normal people.

It's as if the character designers for FMP decided to arbitrarily make Sagara incapable of handling civillian life, without considering other aspects of his character that would also have to be in place for this to happen - there have been a number of psychological studies on child soldiers, which have noted similarities between them, regardless of their culture and the conflict they've been involved in.


One would also point out knees are good for several decades.

One would also point out that you're talking about a biological knee, with extensive self repair and maintenance systems, not to mention automated mechanisms to adapt to increased workloads placed on them. :smalltongue:

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-17, 08:02 AM
Another fun idea though I'm not aware of any real world equivalent would be the "semi-auto/auto" (rate of fire here not mechanism) RPG launcher.

You mean like the Russian AGS-17 and AGS-30? Or the US Mk 19 AGL, which has been in service since 1968? (The former of which are installed as an option (with a 30mm cannon) on BTR-T
http://www.rusarmy.com/photo/bron0/btr_btr-t/btr_btr-t%20003.jpg

and the stupidly awesomly sci-fi but entirely real BMPT...?

http://www.rusarmy.com/photo/bron0/tnk_bmpt/tnk_bmpt%20001.jpg

(Which has two AGS-17s with 600 rounds, plus two 30mm cannon (850 rounds) plus fout Ataka-T ATGM and an almost superfluous 7.62 PK MG with 2000 rounds, armour as good or better than MBTs (the uncrewed turret means space weight to add to the armour) and apparently, additional weapons can be installed (specifially what, I don't know.) This, is incidently, designed as an urban fighting vehicle to support MBTs and deal with infantry...)

AGLs have been a round for a while.

If, however, you mean making an LAD anti-tank weapon like an RPG-22 (which is technically a rocket launcher, not a grenade launcher, when all's said and done) an automatic weapon, well, that would be pointless (without a fair amount of contrivance to rationalise it for rule-of-cool). You don't want (or need) rate of fire for anti-armour weapons, and warheads just don't work that way for dealing "damage" in the real world (like, say, a big gatling like the A-10's does, relying on hitting the exact same spot repeatedly at extremely high rates of fire). You'd either have a) a bigger and better full-on ATGM system, or, pushing it, a smaller one with lots of reloads (a bit like a MRLS or BattleTech's missile systems) for ammo longevity, but you wouldn't then fire them more than one at a time anyway. The former would be better, because you'd likely need to return for refueling/rearming before you ran out of ammunition.


Tanks are great on an open field or otherwise where they can become artillery, in closed quarters they become hell risky. But its an open question whether they can keep pace with the changing nature of combat since their golden days in WWII.

Artillery is a bad term to use when talking about realism, because artillery in the real world is not a weapon of destruction (especially against armoured vehicles, because the chances of a direct hit are very low and would also require the armoured vehicles to sit still for an hour or two while you chucked several reloads of ammo at them - there is a reason vehicles are only proofed to 155mm shrapnel at 30m), but one really designed to hold the enemy in place (i.e. keep them suppressed) so that troops (especially infantry) can move in for the kill.

Tanks are also NOT great on an open field - nothing is. Real armoured combat is about moving to a good hull-down position and fighting from there (and at that, properly supported by your platoon making sure they're watching in all directions) and spotting the enemy before they spot you. The Hollywood (et al) drive-the-tank-down-the-middle-of-the-street is very much as stupid as it sounds, as shooting an anti-tank gun at people (especially flying people, in the superhero genera, which the tanks cannot in reality raise their guns high enough to even aim at...) If you blithely ignore cover and some bugger is watching, you will likely get the crap killed out of you even in an MBT. The real world is much bigger and much, much more dense with terrain and obstructions than in media (it's worth noting you can hide a bloke with only a few inches.)



Mecha basically aren't practical in terms of realism, except as rule-of-cool, I don't think there's any argument. My problems with a fair chunk of them, are, as I say, is not that they are unrealistic , it's that they don't act like vehicles, they act like infantry and I just don't find that very convincing unless they are actually "people." Especially if this is lauded as being "better" than regular vehicles.

Yora
2011-12-17, 08:44 AM
The only situation in which humanoid shapes are more useful than other designs is to gain access to areas that are specifically designed to support humanoid shapes, which is buildings meant for people to walk around in.
When you have stairs and doors to deal with, then a human shaped weapon is actually going to be useful. But in that case it has to be small enough to actually be able to get through doorways and light enough to be supported by damaged stairs. And even Shirows Landmates are too big for that.

Spartan powered armor from Halo is probably the closest thing to mechs that will see any large scale military use.

warty goblin
2011-12-17, 10:23 AM
From a back canister of course. And seem to still be thinking like tanks and not like ultra-heavy infantry. You don't start with tank guns you start with heavy machine guns that are useful against vehicles.

Right, like autocannon or anti-tank missile launchers. Which you can put on a likely better armored IFV and still be able to move a group of infantry around the battlefield with reasonable security.


Something like this vulcan would have a hundreds of rounds (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/M61_Vulcan.jpg), though one wouldn't nessecarily want the max rate of fire but I'm talking starting points. There's a whole variety of heavy duty weapons that simply fall between being man portable while firing and tank gun. Many currently used on rather exposed mounts.
So basically autocannon, which, as I said, are routinely carried by IFVs, along with tons of other weapons.


Another fun idea though I'm not aware of any real world equivalent would be the "semi-auto/auto" (rate of fire here not mechanism) RPG launcher. Tanks are great on an open field or otherwise where they can become artillery, in closed quarters they become hell risky. But its an open question whether they can keep pace with the changing nature of combat since their golden days in WWII.
Due to the way shaped charge penetrators scale - penetration is essentially a function of warhead diameter - you get better results with fewer, larger rounds than lots of smaller ones. Given their weight and cost, I'm not sure firing super-fast is something you want even besides that.

Yora
2011-12-17, 11:07 AM
Firing very fast is usefull when you have fast moving targets and the weapon you are using is non-guided. Like guns mounted on aircraft. When you have really big or slow moving targets, it's a much better to carefully aim and make it a few well placed hits.

The only example of firing a hail of missiles I know about are soviet Katyushas, but they are pretty much an alternative to artillery to cover large areas of ground instead of being aimed at individual vehicles or soldiers.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-17, 11:11 AM
I haven't watched VOTOMs, but have watched Full Metal Panic. Nothing in there struck me as being more plausible than your average Gundam/Macross mech (Sagara's teddy bear power suits aside).

In any case, Sagara's behaviour in civilian life just annoys me. Spoilered as it doesn't directly apply to this thread:
I understand that Sagara has trouble adjusting, but if he's that gung-ho and liable to threaten violence at the drop of a hat, he's blown his cover inside of five minutes.
He should also know that revealing your capabilities and armaments in front of witnesses makes poor tactical sense.

Compare to another teenager who has similar issues - Himura Kenshin during the Bakumatsu civil war. Kenshin keeps his cover by staying very isolated from everybody else, even members of his faction, simply because he knows he has issues dealing with normal people.

It's as if the character designers for FMP decided to arbitrarily make Sagara incapable of handling civillian life, without considering other aspects of his character that would also have to be in place for this to happen - there have been a number of psychological studies on child soldiers, which have noted similarities between them, regardless of their culture and the conflict they've been involved in.

Arm Slaves have a much more believable control system than your typical mecha. It's a magnified full motion system, where a small gesture of the pilot gets translated to a much wider move of the same limb by the robot. It's fairly realistic, and if we ever have humanoid war machines in real life for some reason, they'd probably be controlled in the same way. Several of the characters also comment in-universe that mecha shouldn't really be feasable combat machines, but are due to Black Technology.

As for the spoilered parts... Sagara's civilian life is 90% comedy. Logic applies loosely.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-17, 11:51 AM
From a back canister of course. And seem to still be thinking like tanks and not like ultra-heavy infantry. You don't start with tank guns you start with heavy machine guns that are useful against vehicles.

So you're going to make a mecha, which already has problems with a high centre of gravity, even more top heavy, and even worse shift the centre of gravity back so that it doesn't even act cleanly through the legs by putting three quarters of a ton of ammunition on the back?

Man, your ideas for how to make a practical mecha get worse every time you try to correct the flaws in the old one.


One would also point out knees are good for several decades.

At human scales. You cannot naively scale up in the way you seem to think you can.


Not that mecha wouldn't be maintenance intensive but I think this doesn't understand just how maintenance intensive military hardware actually tends to be.

Yes, military hardware is maintenance intensive, and that is using systems which aren't brainachingly stupid for the role you want them for, like mecha.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-17, 11:58 AM
The only example of firing a hail of missiles I know about are soviet Katyushas, but they are pretty much an alternative to artillery to cover large areas of ground instead of being aimed at individual vehicles or soldiers.

Katyushas are artillery.

The principal difference between Rocket and Cannon for artillery is that rocket artillery delivers a great deal of fire all at once, whereas cannon can sustain fire for longer.

Renegade Paladin
2011-12-17, 12:47 PM
One would also point out knees are good for several decades.
Because real knees are made of the amazingly durable and self-repairing materials known as flesh, bone, and sinew. If you built an exact replica human body of plastic and steel and managed to wire an actual person's brain into it to gain exact and intelligent programming to make it act and move as a human, it would still wear out faster.
Helicopters see more maintenance and support crew then they do flying. Jets I believe are worse. A Navy supercarrier brings on-board 2,000 people... to field less then 100 aircraft.

Not that mecha wouldn't be maintenance intensive but I think this doesn't understand just how maintenance intensive military hardware actually tends to be.
I understand it perfectly. That it is so does not mean it is desirable, and introducing such a design would make the maintenance problem worse, not better.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-17, 01:35 PM
Okay, so one of the answers to this thread topic is "we hate mecha and want no one to enjoy it", so there's that. Can we possibly move on?

warty goblin
2011-12-17, 01:57 PM
Okay, so one of the answers to this thread topic is "we hate mecha and want no one to enjoy it", so there's that. Can we possibly move on?

I never said that. In fact I pointedly said pretty much the opposite. I'm fine with mecha, I'm fine with realism, but the intersection of the two has measure zero insofar as I can tell.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-12-17, 02:00 PM
I never said that. In fact I pointedly said pretty much the opposite. I'm fine with mecha, I'm fine with realism, but the intersection of the two has measure zero insofar as I can tell.

I was under the impression that this thread was about making mecha more able to allow for willing suspension of disbelief. "Realism" has nothing to do with it.

I was also not speaking specifically about you, though you do appear to be on the "mecha are stupid" side of the argument regardless of your initial post in this thread.

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-17, 02:21 PM
Okay, so one of the answers to this thread topic is "we hate mecha and want no one to enjoy it", so there's that. Can we possibly move on?

I don't think anyone has said or implied that. There has been a discussion on why mecha are tactical suboptimal when functioning from a heavily real-simulationist perspective and not currently plausible with modern technology (spinning off from the fact that there are some mecha that are too big, which is, I think fairly covered under the "bad points" in the title of the thread (though where "too big" comes in is subjectve matter.")

But no-one (myself included) has said that they hate mecha and certainly no-one has said that they are an affront to existance and should be ruthlessly burned like Vampires or something...

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 02:56 PM
It's not that we hate mecha, I love mecha, it's just that they are not an optimal solution to any military problems. Powered armour might have some uses, greater protection and carrying capacity for example, but that's really about as far as you can go before one must ask "um, why not send a tank? Or a helicopter, or infantry, power armoured or not, or an airplane?"
Sure, future advanced in technology might make them equivalent to modern tech, but those advances could also be applied to modern tech and make it better.

warty goblin
2011-12-17, 03:07 PM
I was under the impression that this thread was about making mecha more able to allow for willing suspension of disbelief. "Realism" has nothing to do with it.

I was also not speaking specifically about you, though you do appear to be on the "mecha are stupid" side of the argument regardless of your initial post in this thread.

Hey, I got halfway or more through Front Mission Evolved's campaign - right up to a particularly stupid boss battle, I can't think that badly of mecha.

That said, if we're going for willing suspension of disbelief, here's some things that come to mind.

1) Minimize moving parts. Ideally one would simply scrap arms and use standard alt/azimuth turrets mounted sideways on the shoulders, but certainly avoid the insane number of joints and rotators it would require to replicate human arm motion. You're not going to be doing a concert piano recital in the thing, there's no need for super fine motor control.

2) Have big feet. Like, proportionally way larger than a human's. Even if one ignores the square/cube law, the giant walking battle robot is made out of metal and we aren't.

3) Have loads of active defenses. It's tall, hard to hide and not very well armored. Put some radar controlled shotguns on there to at least make it a little hard for the RPG dudes. Radar jammers, flare systems, smoke grenade launchers and so on are also good.

4) You will never get me to suspend disbelief in anything but a 'that's slightly cool, maybe' way if you insist on having robots running around with lightsabers. If asked to even consider taking seriously beyond this, my thoughts inevitably stray towards anti-tank rifles.

5) Slope that armor sensibly. Admittedly hard to do for a mecha, but nevertheless if one assumes that you're mostly going to get shot at from the front, cant the leg armor.

6) Speaking of which, maximize leg length, minimize height. Let's put the hips in the armpits and sling the entire torso underneath, scrap the notion of a 'head' (that's where the AA machine gun goes), put the engine behind the leg mounts, and the two turrets in front of them.

TheCountAlucard
2011-12-17, 03:17 PM
Humorously enough, the Warstriders in Exalted are manufactured and used by the two biggest military powers in the setting, but are seen as actually pretty terrible by players, for a number of reasons:


Warstriders are mechanically treated as just really big armor that ups your Strength score to some ridiculous sum. Due to the "perfect-or-die" nature of the system currently, neither of these things is good.
For that nebulous "benefit," the warstrider needs insane amounts of costly maintenance by a skilled sorcerer-engineer, a hefty attunement cost, and (at minimum) a three-dot hearthstone to power it; even one of these things is no mean investment on the part of the player.
A warstrider only really provides any benefits with regard to fighting behemoths and the like - against ordinary-sized opponents, your attacks are even more unlikely to hit.


Ah, well - I think twenty-foot-high magitech mechs are pretty awesome. :smallsigh:

Fri
2011-12-17, 03:23 PM
Hey Fri, want to play a game of CthulhuTech if I get bored enough? I've wanted to do Masks of Nyarlathotep IN THE FUTURE forever now.

Also, your link is wrong.



Are you just teasing me, nerdo, or is that a real offer? If the former, you damn birdteaser, and if it's the later, you know already what's my answer would be.

Pbp, aim game, irc game, or even something more exotic/wackier all are fine for me. And whoops, edited the link, as if anyone still care about it.

Yora
2011-12-17, 04:04 PM
5) Slope that armor sensibly. Admittedly hard to do for a mecha, but nevertheless if one assumes that you're mostly going to get shot at from the front, cant the leg armor.
I think getting attacked from the front is one thing you can pretty much expect to happen very rarely. The point of mechs is moving through inaccessable terrain, which means lots of cover and reduced options to maneuver. Perfect conditions to be shot in the back.
At the same time, you probably have some huge ass weaponry and nobody wants to be in that direction from you, so everyone will first try to get away from your front and then think about how to strike back.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-17, 04:35 PM
Okay, so one of the answers to this thread topic is "we hate mecha and want no one to enjoy it", so there's that. Can we possibly move on?

No, the answer is that mecha are inherently unrealistic, and trying to treat them as realistic is silly. Mecha should be flying around, transforming, and beating each other up with drills, large hammers, and large hammers which are also drills.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 04:43 PM
A moving joint is extremely difficult to armour well. Armour smiths in the late middle ages faced the same problem when armouring the leg joints of humans with plate armour. I believe even with all their ingenuity, they still weren't as protected as the rest. Also, it's complicated and comparatively fragile.
Combine fragile and hard to armour and what do you get?
Target is what you get.
I think even in the Mech Warrior universe, mechs are more a knightly styled 'honour' thing rather than a fully fledged weapon of war. Tanks would take them out but good at a fraction of the cost.

Reverent-One
2011-12-17, 05:15 PM
No, the answer is that mecha are inherently unrealistic, and trying to treat them as realistic is silly. Mecha should be flying around, transforming, and beating each other up with drills, large hammers, and large hammers which are also drills.

So the only way to handle anything remotely unrealistic is to go out and make it as unrealistic as possible? By that logic, Star Trek should never have tried to come up with any explanation of the warp drive and just used the infinite improbability drive for interstellar travel.



I think even in the Mech Warrior universe, mechs are more a knightly styled 'honour' thing rather than a fully fledged weapon of war. Tanks would take them out but good at a fraction of the cost.

In the real world? Sure, but if we're talking about the real world it's not the mechwarrior universe anymore.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 05:26 PM
In the real world? Sure, but if we're talking about the real world it's not the mechwarrior universe anymore.
This is hearsay, but I believe this to be the case even in the Mech Warrior universe. It might take, say, five tanks, but five tanks might cost less than a mech.

Reverent-One
2011-12-17, 05:36 PM
This is hearsay, but I believe this to be the case even in the Mech Warrior universe. It might take, say, five tanks, but five tanks might cost less than a mech.

In-universe, Mechs are the kings of the battlefield and while it is possible for tanks to fight and even beat them in the right circumstances, it's not cost effective to do so. This is pretty much entirely for handwaved, word-of-god reasons, of course, but there are plenty of people in the BT universe who would be willing to zerg rush tanks if they could win that way.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 05:38 PM
I retract the in-universe statement then.

Brother Oni
2011-12-17, 06:31 PM
Speaking of Battletech in universe stuff, what's the handwave for the extremely short ranges (by modern warfare standards) for weapon systems?

Is it Minovsky particles again?


Okay, so one of the answers to this thread topic is "we hate mecha and want no one to enjoy it", so there's that. Can we possibly move on?

As others have said, I'm not opposed to mecha on principle, just where they intersect with realistic depictions of warfare. Mecha fighting in a mecha world, I'm perfectly fine with.
Mecha going up against modern armour without some significant phlebotinum to make them work (eg Black Technology in FMP), not so much.

As for my mecha loving credentials, I've played about half way (I think) through a Japanese SNES gundam strategy game, without being able to read a word of Japanese. :smallbiggrin:

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-17, 07:10 PM
Speaking of Battletech in universe stuff, what's the handwave for the extremely short ranges (by modern warfare standards) for weapon systems?

Is it Minovsky particles again?

Coughly loudly while muttering, I think...

I think someone mentioned something more concrete further back in the thread, though.

warty goblin
2011-12-17, 07:14 PM
I think getting attacked from the front is one thing you can pretty much expect to happen very rarely. The point of mechs is moving through inaccessable terrain, which means lots of cover and reduced options to maneuver. Perfect conditions to be shot in the back.
At the same time, you probably have some huge ass weaponry and nobody wants to be in that direction from you, so everyone will first try to get away from your front and then think about how to strike back.

I figure its like a tank: nobody wants to deal with one of them head on, yet that's where they concentrate their hull armor. One wants to attack and defeat the enemy after all, and this usually involves moving in their general direction, which makes up-armoring that line rather sensible. Very few people design their weapons solely for retreat after all.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 07:17 PM
Even with targeting computers been even vehicle portable, it still doesn't seem exactly plausible.
Many Russian tanks in World War 2 didn't even have radios, yet they kicked Nazi tail.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-17, 07:28 PM
So the only way to handle anything remotely unrealistic is to go out and make it as unrealistic as possible? By that logic, Star Trek should never have tried to come up with any explanation of the warp drive and just used the infinite improbability drive for interstellar travel.

Star Trek never did come up with an explanation for warp drive, at least in the show itself. It's just "go faster than light so we can visit planets" and operates at the speed of plot anyway.

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-17, 07:39 PM
Star Trek never did come up with an explanation for warp drive, at least in the show itself. It's just "go faster than light so we can visit planets" and operates at the speed of plot anyway.

I'm afraid I shall have to disagree with that logic. I am a great believer in the fact that is entirely possible to do unrealistic things and not just hand-wave it; in fact hand-waving, a-wizard-did-it logic is likely to make want to go hit the author with the but-end of my rocket launcher for being lazy. Heck, at the end of the day, I'll take a stupid explanation over no explanation at all, because it shows the author at least tried or at the very least thought about it... Not being entirely reality-based is not reason to give up and say "aw heck, anything can happen," in my opinion.



And, in fairness to the apparently fairly numerous fans of Lagurren or however it's spelled, I won't even get started on how drills are not effective weapons, except to say it is entirely rule-of-cool and I don't think it's cool.

Weezer
2011-12-17, 07:42 PM
Star Trek never did come up with an explanation for warp drive, at least in the show itself. It's just "go faster than light so we can visit planets" and operates at the speed of plot anyway.

Isn't Star Trek FTL an Alcubierre warp drive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive)? I know it wasn't shown to be possible until 94, but the explanation matches, Alcubierre just turned techno-babble into real (if extremely theoretical) physics.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-17, 08:13 PM
No, the answer is that mecha are inherently unrealistic, and trying to treat them as realistic is silly. Mecha should be flying around, transforming, and beating each other up with drills, large hammers, and large hammers which are also drills.

What's wrong with stories that assume a humanoid shape is a viable one for a combat machine, and then build a believable setting on that? Realism is a sliding scale, not an all or nothing matter.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 08:17 PM
@Weezer
That's a *warp*drive all right, but the canonical explanation, I believe, is that Star Trek warp drive works by shifting the starship to a space, subspace, where the laws of physics are different, where the speed of light is not the speed limit.l.
They may have changed that since, but it's not quite an Alucbierre (I love that I can spell that from memory) drive, which involves contracting space in front of the craft and expanding it behind it.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-17, 08:59 PM
Heck, at the end of the day, I'll take a stupid explanation over no explanation at all, because it shows the author at least tried or at the very least thought about it... Not being entirely reality-based is not reason to give up and say "aw heck, anything can happen," in my opinion.

See, there's a lot of missing ground here. It's better to have a fictional technology, like for instance Warp Drive, to define its capabilities and limitations and use that in a story, without once attempting to explain how it does what it does. Attempting to explain clearly fictional or unrealistic things just ends up as technobabble, which is really just filler that's trying to distract you from it's nature as filler by blinding you with sciencey sounding words. Why do you think the writers of Voyager get so little respect? Because they were too busy explaining made up bollocks to write real stories.

The thing that is to be avoided is to pretend that your blatantly unrealistic thing is actually realistic not just within the conceit of the fiction it appears in, but outside of it as well (this extends to the argument that, for instance Battletech mecha are "more realistic" than Gundams, they're not because both are 100% unrealistic). That's where the argument about mecha went in this thread. People were arguing, for actual reals, that they had a viable role on a battlefield.


And, in fairness to the apparently fairly numerous fans of Lagurren or however it's spelled, I won't even get started on how drills are not effective weapons, except to say it is entirely rule-of-cool and I don't think it's cool.[/QUOTE]

Drills as the weapon of choice for the gentleman's Super Robot predate Gurren Lagann by a long way. GL used them because they're an iconic Super Robot weapon.

Weezer
2011-12-17, 10:31 PM
@Weezer
That's a *warp*drive all right, but the canonical explanation, I believe, is that Star Trek warp drive works by shifting the starship to a space, subspace, where the laws of physics are different, where the speed of light is not the speed limit.l.
They may have changed that since, but it's not quite an Alucbierre (I love that I can spell that from memory) drive, which involves contracting space in front of the craft and expanding it behind it.

I could've sworn that the ST drive moved through the method of contracting space, but google has shown me to be wrong. *hangs head in geek shame*

Ravens_cry
2011-12-17, 11:06 PM
I could've sworn that the ST drive moved through the method of contracting space, but google has shown me to be wrong. *hangs head in geek shame*
It may be from reading popular science articles that the Alcubierre metric calling it a "warp drive" and comparing it to Star Trek.
But no worries, I get enough geeky 'facts' wrong myself.

TheThan
2011-12-18, 12:04 AM
I see mechs (well power suits actually) not as a replacement for tanks, but as a force multiplier. Think of this. A typical military squad of ten guys will have 8 riflemen, 1 machine gunner and maybe an ordinance officer (bazooka man if you will). If these guys are equipped with a typical modern load out, they’ll have 8-9 M4 carbines, 1 M249 squad automatic weapon, and possibly a javelin missile launcher or some such (not counting pistols, thrown and launched grenades and variant weapons like shotguns). I’m not too keen on what the military is currently using but this is just an example. This is more or less a US army load out, other countries will have differing but similar set ups I imagine.

With power suits, you can increase the amount of firepower you have in the field without increasing the amount of manpower. Imagine that instead of an M16, riflemen were equipped with M2 heavy machine guns instead. Instead of a single rocket soldier, every rifleman is equipped with say a “rack” of missiles or rockets. This is a huge increase in firepower without the increase of a presence on the ground.

Naturally since we’re dealing with powered armor, a single soldier should be able to take far more abuse without going down. Perhaps being able to shrug off shrapnel and small explosions as well as hits that would kill a normally armored soldier. They should have augmented strength as well as other very nifty advances. For example, voice controlled satellite communications with HQ, providing up to the second intel. They could integrate GPS “satnav” navigation, maybe even visual map overlays of the area in their HUD, with the friendly units marked with little blue circles, and the known enemy marked with little red “X”s. They could have IFF transceivers to cut down on friendly fire incidents.

The suits would naturally be hardened against EMP, chemical, nuclear and biological warfare. Heck they could include language translators so they can communicate with locals without the need of putting a translator in the field. Helmet cams can keep track of the activates of the soldiers, in case some sort of an investigation is necessary. “Jump Jets” would allow for rapid movement or at least the ability to get around obstructions easily (depending on what the jump jets are supposed to do).

All this should protect a single soldier more, give him a much greater amount of firepower, and make it easier for him to coordinate with teammates and allies. There is only three real drawbacks, battery life, training time and the potential of overloading the soldier with too much information. This is sort of like buying a new car, you can have too many distractions with all the cool technological gizmos they have available nowadays.

Felhammer
2011-12-18, 12:43 AM
Bipedal Mecha are not really practical for the military but they could potentially be practical for 0-G Construction environments. Hands make manipulating things easy. Legs and the power to bend over and pick large, heavy things up. The ability to seamlessly switch between magnetic boost and free control would also be advantageous (especially if something drifted away).

Having said that, these Mecha would not look like Gundams. They would be much more spindly.

For the Military - Tanks and Aircraft are solid units, both of which could be adapted to Space fairly easily. Lunar Tanks roam the moon like tanks do on earth, while magnetic-tracked Tanks scurry across the side of space colonies acting as highly mobile turrets. Aircraft-like spacecraft are a natural fit in the weightless void, especially once omni-directional thrusters are installed, allowing them to perform blindingly fast maneuvers unthinkable on earth.

The only way for a Bipedal Mecha to compete against these two units is to either fill a different niche, such as, Space Marine Power Armor or massive, neigh indestructible skyscraper-tall weapons doomsday weapons. One of those is fairly practical, the other will never be practical (since the same tech could be applied to Battleships and giant tanks and be far more sturdy and less cost-prohibitive).

mangosta71
2011-12-18, 03:29 AM
I think even in the Mech Warrior universe, mechs are more a knightly styled 'honour' thing rather than a fully fledged weapon of war. Tanks would take them out but good at a fraction of the cost.
Actually, the game rules in BattleTech make vehicles artificially fragile. Every time you roll a hit on a vehicle, you have something like a 1 in 3 chance of crippling (if not outright destroying) a tank.

And yes, the ranges in BT are a major problem. In particular, autocannons. A burst from an AC/5 weighs .05 tons (however tons are defined) and deals 5 points of damage. A burst from an AC/20 weighs .20 tons and deals 20 points of damage. Given the mass and damage, we can apply the laws of physics to find that the shells are travelling at the same velocity. They should, therefore, have the same range.

And, of course, targeting is another major problem in the BT universe. Or, rather, the complete lack of it. "Missiles" are, in actuality, unguided rockets. A Mech pilot basically points his weapons in the general direction of his target and hopes that they hit.

I see mechs (well power suits actually) not as a replacement for tanks, but as a force multiplier. Think of this. A typical military squad of ten guys will have 8 riflemen, 1 machine gunner and maybe an ordinance officer (bazooka man if you will). If these guys are equipped with a typical modern load out, they’ll have 8-9 M4 carbines, 1 M249 squad automatic weapon, and possibly a javelin missile launcher or some such (not counting pistols, thrown and launched grenades and variant weapons like shotguns). I’m not too keen on what the military is currently using but this is just an example. This is more or less a US army load out, other countries will have differing but similar set ups I imagine.

With power suits, you can increase the amount of firepower you have in the field without increasing the amount of manpower. Imagine that instead of an M16, riflemen were equipped with M2 heavy machine guns instead. Instead of a single rocket soldier, every rifleman is equipped with say a “rack” of missiles or rockets. This is a huge increase in firepower without the increase of a presence on the ground.

Naturally since we’re dealing with powered armor, a single soldier should be able to take far more abuse without going down. Perhaps being able to shrug off shrapnel and small explosions as well as hits that would kill a normally armored soldier. They should have augmented strength as well as other very nifty advances. For example, voice controlled satellite communications with HQ, providing up to the second intel. They could integrate GPS “satnav” navigation, maybe even visual map overlays of the area in their HUD, with the friendly units marked with little blue circles, and the known enemy marked with little red “X”s. They could have IFF transceivers to cut down on friendly fire incidents.

The suits would naturally be hardened against EMP, chemical, nuclear and biological warfare. Heck they could include language translators so they can communicate with locals without the need of putting a translator in the field. Helmet cams can keep track of the activates of the soldiers, in case some sort of an investigation is necessary. “Jump Jets” would allow for rapid movement or at least the ability to get around obstructions easily (depending on what the jump jets are supposed to do).

All this should protect a single soldier more, give him a much greater amount of firepower, and make it easier for him to coordinate with teammates and allies. There is only three real drawbacks, battery life, training time and the potential of overloading the soldier with too much information. This is sort of like buying a new car, you can have too many distractions with all the cool technological gizmos they have available nowadays.
One form of mecha that's been overlooked thus far is the Cyclone from the third generation of Robotech (or Mospeada, if you want the original Japanese source material). For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a motorcycle that transforms into power armor. Kind of puts an interesting spin on mechanized infantry.

Aircraft-like spacecraft are a natural fit in the weightless void, especially once omni-directional thrusters are installed, allowing them to perform blindingly fast maneuvers unthinkable on earth.
They'll still be limited by the endurance of the pilot. The reason pilots black out when performing extreme maneuvers in atmosphere is inertia. That's going to be a factor in zero-g as well. And changing inertia that quickly is still going to put enormous stress on the structure of the craft (early aircraft occasionally fell apart in midair because they couldn't withstand the forces that the pilots were trying to subject them to). Even if we assume an unmanned (automated, remote-controlled, whatever) aircraft to avoid the complications associated with a pilot, stresses on the frame are going to limit exactly what maneuvers the craft is capable of.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-18, 03:49 AM
The lack of air works against you almost, if not more so, as much it works for you.
On one hand, you can turn and shoot from any angle while still maintaining your trajectory. You can pull off that move seen in Babylon 5 when the Starfury does a 180 and shoots the guy following his tail while still moving forward.
On the other hand, changing your trajectory takes a significant chunk of the fuel it took to get that fast in the first place, a complete reverse takes all of it and then some ,and rockets are thirsty beasts.
And,barring some fairly experimental ideas, like launching the fuel at ahead of the spacecraft from a base and the spaceship collecting it with a downscaled Bussard ramscoop you got to carry all that fuel with you, which means you got to accelerate and decelerate all that fuel.
Even if we someday create net energy fusion reactors and put them in spaceships and use those gigawatts of energy to make plasma rockets with the thrust of chemical rockets and the ISP of plasma rockets, that's a lot of fuel if we want to go faster than "lets go to the moon and take a few days doing it."
Space is big, even in a single solar system.

Brother Oni
2011-12-18, 05:05 AM
Bipedal Mecha are not really practical for the military but they could potentially be practical for 0-G Construction environments. Hands make manipulating things easy. Legs and the power to bend over and pick large, heavy things up. The ability to seamlessly switch between magnetic boost and free control would also be advantageous (especially if something drifted away).

Having said that, these Mecha would not look like Gundams. They would be much more spindly.


Depends on what you count as military use. The Colonial Marines in Aliens used powerloaders as an upgraded forklift for logistics use and I know some work is in development for something similar for the military (exo-skeletons to aid lifting capacity and reduce fatigue on the operator).

The in-universe background information for Aliens suggests that forklifts are still used, although only in environments that favour their use over powerloaders (moving things over longer distances or where mobility is less required).

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-18, 07:33 AM
Depends on what you count as military use. The Colonial Marines in Aliens used powerloaders as an upgraded forklift for logistics use and I know some work is in development for something similar for the military (exo-skeletons to aid lifting capacity and reduce fatigue on the operator).

The in-universe background information for Aliens suggests that forklifts are still used, although only in environments that favour their use over powerloaders (moving things over longer distances or where mobility is less required).

Yes, I could definitely see mecha serving quite nicely in the logistics and possibly engineering corps- creating fixed defences and placing charges for example (and possibly equipped with basic weapons in case this needs doing under fire).

Ravens_cry
2011-12-18, 12:29 PM
We should probably distinguish between power armour, exoskeletons that take advantage of the extra 'strength" to put super duty armour around the subject, which are closer to what the Army is funding development on (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ4J69EEpu4) and a mecha, which are more or less piloted rather than worn.

TheThan
2011-12-18, 03:06 PM
Yeah, I’m taking the notion of power armor, suits of body armor that you wear. When you move, it moves. Not so much vehicles you pilot. Now I see the power suit I’ve described above as sort of a “heavy infantry”. They’re job is to attack and destroy enemy positions, as well as support armor.

In an attack roll they would be used for surgical strikes, where the mission is not to just attack and destroy a position, but possibly capture prisoners, rescue hostages and gather other intelligence (such as computer hard drives, documents etc). Use them in situations where air strikes, cruise missiles and other surgical ordinance aren’t appropriate. They could also be used in dense forests, jungles and other environments where vehicles are hindered. In this capacity they would act as your typical squad of troops, patrolling and working as fire teams.

In a support role they would be used to cover the flanks of vehicles like tanks, as well as actually flank enemy positions, ambush enemy forces and otherwise herd them towards your main force. I imagine they would compliment a tank squadron quite nicely.

Brother Oni
2011-12-18, 05:33 PM
Depending on the level of mobility, protection offered, visibility and comfort, it may not be feasible to outfit an entire unit with such power armour, either from a tactical or a cost viewpoint.

However I can quite easily see one or two members of a troop outfitted to take the most dangerous roles, for example the first out of the door of an APC or helicopter, or the first into a room after the flashbangs have gone in, where the casualty rate is typically high.


With regard to the power armour/mecha divide, there are a number of anime mecha which straddle the two - Appleseed landmates, Escaflowne guymelefs, Gasaraki Tactical Armour, among others.

I personally think that they would have to be considered on a sliding scale where one extreme is having the best of both worlds (ie armoured infantry) and the other is the worst (fragile vehicles).

Something like a Macross Veritech fighter is clearly a vehicle, nor matter what form it is, although interesting enough, their Zentradi opponents would have been classed as power armour, despite their size disparity.

Wardog
2011-12-18, 08:05 PM
I've always thought a "useful" mech could be something like the one from District 9 (assuming you could get one to work), which would do well in a recon or light raider role, in terrain where a jeep / humvee / technical would be likely to get stuck.

I'm not sure how feasible the design would be, but I also thought the idea behind the AMP suits from Avatar was quite interesting. Basically intended to be able to do anything an infantryman could do, but scaled up, whether that be lugging cargo around or punching aliens in the face.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-18, 08:18 PM
The difference between a power suit and a mech is that in the former, it's your limbs that move the whole thing. It might have some servomotors and other systems to increase your strength and help you move around, but ultimately it's your physical movement that cause anything to happen - just like when you're walking in normal clothes.

A mech is piloted. Even if it has a full motion system, that's just the way it's being controlled - your physical movements are translated into signals that cause the machine to do the same thing as you, they don't actually move its limbs.

Felhammer
2011-12-18, 09:21 PM
A moving joint is extremely difficult to armour well. Armour smiths in the late middle ages faced the same problem when armouring the leg joints of humans with plate armour. I believe even with all their ingenuity, they still weren't as protected as the rest. Also, it's complicated and comparatively fragile.
Combine fragile and hard to armour and what do you get?
Target is what you get.
I think even in the Mech Warrior universe, mechs are more a knightly styled 'honour' thing rather than a fully fledged weapon of war. Tanks would take them out but good at a fraction of the cost.

In the far future, Mecha will have electo-magnetic Shields to guard their poor exposed joints!

Renegade Paladin
2011-12-18, 10:30 PM
In the far future, Mecha will have electo-magnetic Shields to guard their poor exposed joints!
Good for them. We don't make bullets out of ferrous material. Problem solved. :smalltongue:

Weezer
2011-12-18, 11:21 PM
Good for them. We don't make bullets out of ferrous material. Problem solved. :smalltongue:

Don't you get it, it's the future, electro-magnetics will effect copper-jacketed lead rounds and depleted uranium by then. Didn't you get the memo?

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-18, 11:51 PM
Okay, so one of the answers to this thread topic is "we hate mecha and want no one to enjoy it", so there's that. Can we possibly move on?

Amusingly its all the complaints have convinced me they are not infact as valid as claim. Certainly matters to be aware of, but not taking things beyond all plausiblity. Earth has already seen bipedal constructions of mecha size who lasted millions of years. So something about the idea worked. I think science should be able to realize at least some type of gains over flesh and blood capacity.


It's not that we hate mecha, I love mecha, it's just that they are not an optimal solution to any military problems. Powered armour might have some uses, greater protection and carrying capacity for example, but that's really about as far as you can go before one must ask "um, why not send a tank? Or a helicopter, or infantry, power armoured or not, or an airplane?"
Sure, future advanced in technology might make them equivalent to modern tech, but those advances could also be applied to modern tech and make it better.

I find the notion that mecha are implausible while powered armor is not a bit interesting. Afterall powered armor has to be built around a core by definition less durable then itself. Which also leaves it almost no room mechanically speaking to put anything. And of necessity even more precise mechanisms then a mecha would need.

mangosta71
2011-12-19, 01:39 AM
Power armor will also have the same difficulty with providing adequate protection to joints that historical armors have. Knees and elbows are easy to cover - you simply extend the greave/vambrace beyond the joint. But putting armor around the shoulder, wrist, neck, and hip severely impedes range of motion.

Felhammer
2011-12-19, 02:10 AM
I find the notion that mecha are implausible while powered armor is not a bit interesting. Afterall powered armor has to be built around a core by definition less durable then itself. Which also leaves it almost no room mechanically speaking to put anything. And of necessity even more precise mechanisms then a mecha would need.

So... Remove to person, and make it a robot? I dread the day our Cylon overlords conquer us!


Good for them. We don't make bullets out of ferrous material. Problem solved. :smalltongue:

Drat! Super Science foiled again! :smalltongue:


Power armor will also have the same difficulty with providing adequate protection to joints that historical armors have. Knees and elbows are easy to cover - you simply extend the greave/vambrace beyond the joint. But putting armor around the shoulder, wrist, neck, and hip severely impedes range of motion.

Well, if you wanted a complicated (and prone to malfunction) solution, you could make the plates retractable. They would shield the joint when in a standing position and, when in motion, as best they can. Its not a perfect solution by any stretch, for the mechanisms controlling the retraction of the plates would have to be near instantaneous if full range of motion would hope to be maintained. Not to mention the fact that you're adding more fiddly bits to an already complicated piece of engineering.

Felhammer
2011-12-19, 02:40 AM
Good for them. We don't make bullets out of ferrous material. Problem solved. :smalltongue:

Drat! Super Science foiled again! :smalltongue:


Power armor will also have the same difficulty with providing adequate protection to joints that historical armors have. Knees and elbows are easy to cover - you simply extend the greave/vambrace beyond the joint. But putting armor around the shoulder, wrist, neck, and hip severely impedes range of motion.

Well, if you wanted a complicated (and prone to malfunction) solution, you could make the plates retractable - they shield when in standing position and as best they can when in motion. Its not a perfect solution by any stretch, and the mechanisms controlling the retraction of the plates would have to be near instantaneous if full range of motion would hope to be maintained.

TheThan
2011-12-19, 03:23 AM
I find the notion that mecha are implausible while powered armor is not a bit interesting. Afterall powered armor has to be built around a core by definition less durable then itself. Which also leaves it almost no room mechanically speaking to put anything. And of necessity even more precise mechanisms then a mecha would need.

It’s a matter of cost vs utility. Since militaries are on budgets, they will have to weigh the cost of building mechs or even powered armor, over what they already have available. We’ve already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of a tank over a mech (spoiler: mechs lose out). Now we should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a normal infantryman and a power armored infantryman.

Granted much of this depends on the technology involved. But here is a list of advantages and disadvantages of powered armor:

Advantages:

Force multiplier: with power armor, a single soldier can bring much more firepower into the field without increasing the amount of manpower you place there.
Communications: with a satellite data uplink, a soldier can have up to the minute intelligence on the enemy. Naturally this would be built into a helmet, so they don’t have to go fiddling with a radio. Knowledge is indeed power.
Mobility: powered armor troops should move just as quickly as regular infantry, but with jump jets a soldier can take to the high ground much faster, as well as leap over obstacles and debris much easier. With something like skates, a soldier can move into position faster and even perform high speed maneuvers against their enemy.
Defense: The heavier armor should provide protection from increasingly heavier weapons. I don’t expect these troops to take shots from the main gun of a tank. But they should be able to survive shots from say a .50 cal machine gun. Also if this battle armor is fully enclosed, then it should have built in protection from chemical, nuclear and biological warfare.
Alternative vision: if these suits are equipped with night vision, Infrared and other forms of alternative vision. Then they can not only perform at night and other lousy conditions. But also effectively see through walls, which would make breaching and hostage rescue operations far safer.
Strength: with increases strength, not only can soldiers carry heavier weaponry, but they can also perform alternative jobs, such as, engineering work, clearing debris and field maintenance of other vehicles.


Disadvantages

Cost: this is probably the biggest issue. How much is all this going to cost? Are the advantages worth the cost of buying and maintaining these suits? How much is a single soldier’s life worth (sadly, this is a question military commanders have to face).

Maintenance: all these fancy suits, while battle worthy, still take time and effort to maintain and repair, especially if they are going to be shot at. This means that a percentage of the suits you have in the field is going to be down for maintenance at any given time.

Battery life: this is another BIG issue. How long can these suits operate? How long do they take to recharge? What happens when a suit runs out of juice in the middle of an operation?

Training: training soldiers to use this armor takes far more time (and money) than it is going to take to train a standard infantry man. So do you train all your troops? Do you only train a special group?

Reaction time: it’s very possible that because these troops are wearing an exoskeleton around them, that they could very well not move as quickly (such as taking cover), providing slower reaction times to danger. This can not only cause additional injuries and death to your troops, but also prolong a single confrontation.


These are just the ones I came up with. If you can think up more advantages or disadvantages feel free to post them.

Brother Oni
2011-12-19, 07:23 AM
I find the notion that mecha are implausible while powered armor is not a bit interesting. Afterall powered armor has to be built around a core by definition less durable then itself. Which also leaves it almost no room mechanically speaking to put anything. And of necessity even more precise mechanisms then a mecha would need.

Technically speaking, that's true of any mecha as well, since the electronics and internal gubbins are less durable than the external armour. :smalltongue:

Further to other posts, the various exoskeletons are build around the operator and that link to the news article of the prototype aided lifting suit pretty much puts to rest the principle of feasibility.
Could we build a power armour the size of a modern infantryman in their armour? No, (at least not yet).
Could we build a power armour that is larger than a modern infantryman in their armour? Most certainly.

What I find interesting is that virtually everybody has been focusing on the military aspects of it (probably because that's what they've been mainly depicted in media). Nobody has really raised any objections to non-combat use, specifically construction or physical aids - there's a whole anime series dedicated to this (Patlabor).
Sure the police labors see lots of combat, but the most of the mecha in that series are for construction use.


These are just the ones I came up with. If you can think up more advantages or disadvantages feel free to post them.

As I mentioned earlier, comfort for the wearer is an issue. You've mentioned they should be NBC sealed, which makes things like sweat and heat from the user difficult to escape - in a hot environment, that quickly results in heat exhaustion for the user (every soldier I've spoken to hates wearing their gas mask and especially hate doing any sort of physical activitiy in them).
Conversely in cold environs, they have the issue of freezing, since all those big metal/ceramic plates are going to be an excellent conductor.

This would mean some sort of internal environmental control is necessary (or at least somewhere for the sweat to escape to), which in turn would reduce battery life.

I also think you may be underestimating the value of defence and its application into offence - if the wearer is pretty much immune to small calibre (and some medium/high calibre) fire, then they should make excellent stormers into entrenched enemy positions, or defensive points that the less armoured troops can rally around.
As an example, Jin-Roh has some excellent depictions of such armoured troop tactics (although they're not power armour).

Yora
2011-12-19, 07:40 AM
Working prototypes for walking aids have been around for years. And they are suprisingly compact. You would barely notice them being there, if they had gone for black plastic coverings instead of white. With some improvements in materials, you could probably even wear them under lose trousers.

This one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK-qsas8dqA) is made for people with complete loss of leg function, and it's already amazingly small.

TheArsenal
2011-12-19, 07:55 AM
Well we are close to producing battle suits. They are there to give you the sterangh and resilience of carrying heavy weaponry.

Yora
2011-12-19, 07:58 AM
One big problem is reliability. Something used at home or in the city will see a lot less abuse from the environment, like sand and mud, or being banged against rocks. And unless you fall badly, having a joint getting stuck or a motor stop working won't be a huge problem.
In a combat situation, it would be a catastrophy.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-19, 11:18 AM
Power armor will also have the same difficulty with providing adequate protection to joints that historical armors have. Knees and elbows are easy to cover - you simply extend the greave/vambrace beyond the joint. But putting armor around the shoulder, wrist, neck, and hip severely impedes range of motion.

For all of this when plate was in vogue didn't they practice in full armor with real weapons, because it was really hard to actually injure someone in plate.

Remember protection is relative, one can't cover a joint with equal amounts of protection but that doesn't mean its unprotected. A flexible material will suffice for all kinds of grime and sand as environmental protection. Over that could use a mail of some type, something like the Dragonskin ceramic scale mail. While the hip region could use of course a skirt of armor, and for that matter the outer edge of a knee and elbow could use an extend plate.

Its not like people shoot to kneecap, that would be difficult enough on a fully exposed stationary target much less one concealed or moving. So I think this objection is over stated as far as being meaningful.


It’s a matter of cost vs utility. Since militaries are on budgets, they will have to weigh the cost of building mechs or even powered armor, over what they already have available. We’ve already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of a tank over a mech (spoiler: mechs lose out). Now we should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a normal infantryman and a power armored infantryman.

Granted much of this depends on the technology involved. But here is a list of advantages and disadvantages of powered armor:

I'm referring less to the benefits of one versus another so much as the plausibility of actual engineering something that could operate long enough on a battlefied.

Particularly to me the powering disadvantage since about the only thing viable on a suit is a battery (Tony Stark's box of scraps aside) which would be fueling some serious electronics and machinery. While a mecha simply doesn't need a person filling 80-90% of its space so you can have an internal power device. Though I dare say both would probably need phlebotnium powered devices for any sort of long term performance here is something that traditionally scales up easier then scales down. But hey maybe cold fusion cells will be the 21st century's microchip.

As for power armor versus mecha, powered armor should also have a much harder time reaching superhuman capabilities. Because when one of those things runs the person in it has to run too. Though one could certainly make headway against the issues facing a current modern soldier with up 60 lbs of gear IIRC to carry even exceeding the old knights in plate.

(Also on a minor note one would have to be far more selective with operators on power armor, though at least you should realize some savings on uniforms since you'd only need order one size. :smalltongue: )


Technically speaking, that's true of any mecha as well, since the electronics and internal gubbins are less durable than the external armour. :smalltongue:

I'd hazard there's still a big difference in squishiness between a blood vessels and flesh versus metal/plastic/etc internals with metal wiring and fiber optics.


What I find interesting is that virtually everybody has been focusing on the military aspects of it (probably because that's what they've been mainly depicted in media). Nobody has really raised any objections to non-combat use, specifically construction or physical aids - there's a whole anime series dedicated to this (Patlabor).
Sure the police labors see lots of combat, but the most of the mecha in that series are for construction use.

We can blame the depiction. The root of the idea is Heinlein's cap troopers in power armor who were all soldiers and we just never heard that much about civilian life, intentionally. However there are at least a few sources that recognize that as the logic starting point for the tech.

In UC Gundam that's the root of the tech (zero-g construction machines) and probably second behind "mechanical genius" for where their implausibly young and skilled protagonists learned to operate mobile suits.

And I've seen a few others over the years. It sorta goes into a question of costs. If mecha are ridiculously expensive then like fighter jets only the military has the money to waste, observe that the only super-sonic airliner has been out of service for almost a decade.

That said I feel that something more like the cargo lifter exoskeleton from Aliens is a more likely source of mecha. Exposed hydraulics and low speed don't matter too much on a construction device (most of them have that) and one have no problem externalizing power. Plus plenty of places were having a forklift that could step over curbs would be useful.


As I mentioned earlier, comfort for the wearer is an issue. You've mentioned they should be NBC sealed, which makes things like sweat and heat from the user difficult to escape - in a hot environment, that quickly results in heat exhaustion for the user (every soldier I've spoken to hates wearing their gas mask and especially hate doing any sort of physical activitiy in them).
Conversely in cold environs, they have the issue of freezing, since all those big metal/ceramic plates are going to be an excellent conductor.

Kind of a side topic but I understand there are prototypes of personal heat exchanger suits with that in mind. Imagine a full body speedo with lots of plastic piping. Now all we need are heel motion driven moisture recapturing devices and we can all be Fremen.



I also think you may be underestimating the value of defence and its application into offence - if the wearer is pretty much immune to small calibre (and some medium/high calibre) fire, then they should make excellent stormers into entrenched enemy positions, or defensive points that the less armoured troops can rally around.
As an example, Jin-Roh has some excellent depictions of such armoured troop tactics (although they're not power armour).

Functional immunity to assault rifles would be huge however it was realized because while we've largely reached the technological limits of where one can go for offensive weaponry a man can carry while firing. Its why the AK designs and M14/16s aren't going anywhere and guns from pre-WWII are still perfectly respectable, there just isn't anywhere that meaningful to go with the technology.

Heck powered armor or mecha, I'd bet money on their first standard weapon being a variant of the M2 Browning that's 90 years old and counting

KnightDisciple
2011-12-19, 01:28 PM
Man, I thought this thread was gonna be more fun than this....:smallfrown:

Anyways, a few thoughts.

1.)I've taken to understand that BT ranges were shortened in game so that you could have a fight on a single game table, rather than needing a whole room. One way or another, I guess the shortened ranges were translated into fluff, and are now thoroughly entrenched. But originally, it was a "gameplay and story segregation" sort of thing.

2.)Targeting computers are more than just a computer (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Targeting_computer).
Relevant section, with me bolding and underlining for emphasis.

Recoil compensators and gyroscopic stabilizers are used to prevent normal weapon drift from factors such as recoil and movement while the computer accounts for atmospheric and other conditions to present an accurate "lead" on the target.
So you see, all that tonnage is actually a whole bunch of stuff going on. Just, you know, FYI.

As for "which looks cooler"....

I say: BOTH!!! :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

I love the Atlas (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Atlas_(BattleMech)) and the Wing Zero (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/endlesswaltz/xxxg-00w0.htm) and the Highlander IIC (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Highlander_IIC) and the Heavyarms (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/endlesswaltz/xxxg-01h2.htm) and the Blood Asp (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Blood_Asp) and the Dyames (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/00/gn-002.htm) and the GaoGaiGar (http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs51/f/2009/284/8/d/Genesic_Gaogaigar_by_Amami_Saito.jpg) and the Fafnir (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Fafnir) and so many more!

I love them all! Mecha! I need more mecha! ALL THE MECHA! :smallbiggrin:

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-19, 01:45 PM
As for "which looks cooler"....

I say: BOTH!!! :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

I love the Atlas (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Atlas_(BattleMech)) and the Wing Zero (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/endlesswaltz/xxxg-00w0.htm) and the Highlander IIC (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Highlander_IIC) and the Heavyarms (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/endlesswaltz/xxxg-01h2.htm) and the Blood Asp (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Blood_Asp) and the Dyames (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/00/gn-002.htm) and the GaoGaiGar (http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs51/f/2009/284/8/d/Genesic_Gaogaigar_by_Amami_Saito.jpg) and the Fafnir (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Fafnir) and so many more!

I love them all! Mecha! I need more mecha! ALL THE MECHA! :smallbiggrin:

Gives you a Kshatriya (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/unicorn-ova/nz-666.htm), try not to break it.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-19, 02:39 PM
Power armor will also have the same difficulty with providing adequate protection to joints that historical armors have. Knees and elbows are easy to cover - you simply extend the greave/vambrace beyond the joint. But putting armor around the shoulder, wrist, neck, and hip severely impedes range of motion.
That has always been the case with armouring the human frame with rigid plates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_armour).


I find the notion that mecha are implausible while powered armor is not a bit interesting. Afterall powered armor has to be built around a core by definition less durable then itself. Which also leaves it almost no room mechanically speaking to put anything. And of necessity even more precise mechanisms then a mecha would need.
They're working on that machinery (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ4J69EEpu4), and at least you don't run into the square cube law like you do with mecha. It is a bipedal machine designed the size bipedal meat machines are designed to be, human sized.
Armouring is going to be tough, but it's even worse the bigger you get and even more of a target. They also have the problems of mecha of power sources and high maintenance requirements in the field.
They are more plausible though than mecha.

mangosta71
2011-12-19, 02:43 PM
Functional immunity to assault rifles would be huge however it was realized because while we've largely reached the technological limits of where one can go for offensive weaponry a man can carry while firing. Its why the AK designs and M14/16s aren't going anywhere and guns from pre-WWII are still perfectly respectable, there just isn't anywhere that meaningful to go with the technology.
Yes, there are limits due to the amount of chemical energy contained in gunpowder. How far are we from alternative means of projectile propulsion? Or weaponizing light? After all, the Navy is already experimenting with rail guns, and the Air Force has lasers that can shoot down incoming missiles. Granted, in their current forms these weapons cannot be carried by an infantryman, even one with hypothetical augmented strength from power armor, but once the technology that allows them to be scaled down is available, firearms won't be the only things soldiers need to be protected from.

2.)Targeting computers are more than just a computer (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Targeting_computer).
Relevant section, with me bolding and underlining for emphasis.

So you see, all that tonnage is actually a whole bunch of stuff going on. Just, you know, FYI.
You realize that a modern desktop PC has more than enough computing power to do all that, while weighing less than 20 pounds?

I love the Atlas (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Atlas_(BattleMech)) and the Wing Zero (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/endlesswaltz/xxxg-00w0.htm) and the Highlander IIC (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Highlander_IIC) and the Heavyarms (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/endlesswaltz/xxxg-01h2.htm) and the Blood Asp (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Blood_Asp) and the Dyames (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/00/gn-002.htm) and the GaoGaiGar (http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs51/f/2009/284/8/d/Genesic_Gaogaigar_by_Amami_Saito.jpg) and the Fafnir (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Fafnir) and so many more!
How are the Epyon (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/w/oz-13ms.htm) and Deathscythe (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/endlesswaltz/xxxg-01d2.htm) not first on your list? You should be ashamed.

Felhammer
2011-12-19, 02:50 PM
I always liked the Methuss (http://gundam.wikia.com/wiki/MSA-005_Methuss). It was a work horse of a Mobile Suit that had a simple design and was easy to repair.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-19, 03:14 PM
Oh dear lord.
The thing has a hand.
That pulls a trigger.
On a gun attached to the Mecha.
I love mecha, I do, but sometimes, sometimes something makes you realize how silly the whole idea is.
I mean no disrespect to anyone, but . . .well, think about it.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-19, 03:34 PM
Dude, you haven't seen anything yet. Later UC Gundam has giant robots in hamster wheels and mecha that fly by holding a beam rotor in one hand, as if they're Mary Poppins.

Depressed Tomino's mind goes into strange places.

tensai_oni
2011-12-19, 03:42 PM
There is a reason Methuss sucks in combat...


Man, I thought this thread was gonna be more fun than this....:smallfrown:

This is a "how realistic mecha are" thread. And if it didn't start as one, it was derailed into one. Therefore:

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110513151244/vidyavidya/images/2/2d/Nofun_robot.jpg

I like designs by Masami Obari. Series he directed usually fall average but on the entertaining side, but he is a great designer. Look at Dancougar, Gravion and Dangaioh. No pics because easily available by google image searching... just be wary of blatant fanservice when googling Gravion.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-19, 04:15 PM
This is a "how realistic mecha are" thread. And if it didn't start as one, it was derailed into one.

It was not my intent that realism should be the be all and end all of this discussion. Please feel free to discuss areas other than realism.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-19, 04:36 PM
The trouble is you named the thread "Mecha in media- good and bad points"
That's going to get the engineering geeks out of the woodwork.


Dude, you haven't seen anything yet. Later UC Gundam has giant robots in hamster wheels and mecha that fly by holding a beam rotor in one hand, as if they're Mary Poppins.

Depressed Tomino's mind goes into strange places.
I'm sure, but this is especially so when this particular model is called out as a mecha that is "a simple design".

Felhammer
2011-12-19, 04:37 PM
Oh dear lord.
The thing has a hand.
That pulls a trigger.
On a gun attached to the Mecha.
I love mecha, I do, but sometimes, sometimes something makes you realize how silly the whole idea is.
I mean no disrespect to anyone, but . . .well, think about it.

The Gun is connected to the suit via hinge, its not exactly an integrated pice of machinery. Plus, the Methuss was designed as a prototype for all future transformable mobile suits, so its systems were made to be cheap and easily repairable. Integrating the firing mechanism of the gun into the suit would needlessly complicate the Mech, especially considering it gets torn to shreds every time it leaves the hangar bay. :smallsmile:

Ravens_cry
2011-12-19, 04:45 PM
The Gun is connected to the suit via hinge, its not exactly an integrated pice of machinery. Plus, the Methuss was designed as a prototype for all future transformable mobile suits, so its systems were made to be cheap and easily repaired. Integrating the firing of the gun into the suit would needlessly complicate the Mech, especially considering it gets torn to shreds every time it leaves the hangar bay. :smallsmile:
So, instead of sending a few wires to connect a circuit for a control system, many which would already have to be in place to power the thing, after all its an energy weapon, they add a magnitudes more complicated hand and trigger mechanism. Even if it was a manual reloading projectile weapon, like a revolver, a simple servo mechanism would have been so much easier than a scaled up model of a human hand.

Felhammer
2011-12-19, 05:55 PM
So, instead of sending a few wires to connect a circuit for a control system, many which would already have to be in place to power the thing, after all its an energy weapon, they add a magnitudes more complicated hand and trigger mechanism. Even if it was a manual reloading projectile weapon, like a revolver, a simple servo mechanism would have been so much easier than a scaled up model of a human hand.

The Methuss already has hands because it has to be able to properly wield a Beam Saber, not to mention other suit's weapons (which are activated via a trigger). So it only seems sensible to "go with what works" i.e. the Trigger system. I mean Integrating the mechanisms? What do you think this is, Sci-Fi :smalltongue:

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-19, 05:58 PM
Okay, something to focus the minds a little:

If you had to design a mecha of any sort (but were prohibited from simply copying something out of an anime/game/book/etc.) what would you design?

Ravens_cry
2011-12-19, 06:05 PM
The Methuss already has hands because it has to be able to properly wield a Beam Saber, not to mention other suit's weapons (which are activated via a trigger). So it only seems sensible to "go with what works" i.e. the Trigger system. I mean Integrating the mechanisms? What do you think this is, Sci-Fi :smalltongue:
You don't need a hand to wield a sword (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo79MeRDHGs). And why are those other weapons using a trigger?
Even if they are not attached like the beam weapon is, even if it used a "trigger" it would be far simpler to have a relatively simple servo mechanism. Ever watched Mythbusters? Frequently they have to fire a gun from a distance. Working Human Hand replicas are not what they use.

Okay, something to focus the minds a little:

If you had to design a mecha of any sort (but were prohibited from simply copying something out of an anime/game/book/etc.) what would you design?
This. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank) Or this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mil_Mi-24).:smalltongue:

The Glyphstone
2011-12-19, 06:23 PM
Okay, something to focus the minds a little:

If you had to design a mecha of any sort (but were prohibited from simply copying something out of an anime/game/book/etc.) what would you design?



This. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank) Or this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mil_Mi-24).:smalltongue:

Correction: This:
http://iislands.com/hermit/pictures/bolo/BOLO1_.JPG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolo_%28tank%29
:smallbiggrin::smallcool:

Tengu_temp
2011-12-19, 06:28 PM
This. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank) Or this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mil_Mi-24).:smalltongue:

"I love mecha", eh? Yeah right.

Prime32
2011-12-19, 06:35 PM
Okay, something to focus the minds a little:

If you had to design a mecha of any sort (but were prohibited from simply copying something out of an anime/game/book/etc.) what would you design?I've done a bunch of concepts for combiners, which I have since lost.

I remember one which had tanks for shoulders, with more guns coming from the sides of the threads, and which transformed into the arms of a larger mech by using those guns as fingers and the main turrets as thumbs... :smalltongue:

EDIT: No, wait, I still have that one. (http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd54/Prime32_temp/Rough/transformtankshoulderhand.png)

And here's a jet that transforms into an improbably human-looking robot (http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd54/Prime32_temp/Rough/needle_bot2.png), which I designed for that VN project which never went anywhere.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-19, 06:38 PM
"I love mecha", eh? Yeah right.
I love mecha, but I also love something I can touch and say "This thing actually works, this thing actually does its job as repugnant as I may find that job."
I love this (http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&q=flyingdebris#/d345p45) mech design with all my heart, though I have already gone over its obvious flaws (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=12260806&postcount=24).
But it is brute iron beautiful nonetheless.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-19, 07:05 PM
I love mecha, but I also love something I can touch and say "This thing actually works, this thing actually does its job as repugnant as I may find that job."
I love this (http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&q=flyingdebris#/d345p45) mech design with all my heart, though I have already gone over its obvious flaws (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=12260806&postcount=24).
But it is brute iron beautiful nonetheless.

Well, I'm pretty sure we're designing for fiction here, not reality, so there's no point in going all "mecha don't work in real life!" - everyone and their dog said it here a thousand times already, with varying levels of smug superiority in some cases.

I drew some mecha for my M&M campaign. Site's currently down though, gonna link them when it's back up.

Ravens_cry
2011-12-19, 07:10 PM
Actryally, the OP asked
"
If you had to design a mecha of any sort (but were prohibited from simply copying something out of an anime/game/book/etc.) what would you design?"
My answer was "I wouldn't."

Felhammer
2011-12-19, 07:42 PM
You don't need a hand to wield a sword (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo79MeRDHGs). And why are those other weapons using a trigger?
Even if they are not attached like the beam weapon is, even if it used a "trigger" it would be far simpler to have a relatively simple servo mechanism. Ever watched Mythbusters? Frequently they have to fire a gun from a distance. Working Human Hand replicas are not what they use.


Integration is all well and good but what happens when you run out of ammo and your beam saber is dead? The enemy is flying straight at you with his own Beam Saber, which will easily sear through your suit like a hot knife through butter. Luckily, you killed a few other suits before you ran out of ammo. One of their guns drifts towards you, its your salvation! But, wait, You don't have HANDS! So you can't pull the trigger! You're dead.

That is why Hands are good.

Plus, they also allow you to reload your guns' power/ammo packs with material your scavenge from the battlefield. :smallsmile:

Kinslayer
2011-12-19, 07:44 PM
If you had to design a mecha of any sort (but were prohibited from simply copying something out of an anime/game/book/etc.) what would you design?

Lets see it'd be a Timber Wolf

Sorry, right, not copying... So, a Mad Cat

... Nnnope. Can't do it.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-19, 07:48 PM
Lets see it'd be a Timber Wolf

Sorry, right, not copying... So, a Mad Cat

... Nnnope. Can't do it.

I suppose I'll have to assume minor- almost indistinguishable- changes in hull design, rated power output, etc. from you.:smallwink:

Prime32
2011-12-19, 07:50 PM
Integration is all well and good but what happens when you run out of ammo and your beam saber is dead? The enemy is flying straight at you with his own Beam Saber, which will easily sear through your suit like a hot knife through butter. Luckily, you killed a few other suits before you ran out of ammo. One of their guns drifts towards you, its your salvation! But, wait, You don't have HANDS! So you can't pull the trigger! You're dead.

That is why Hands are good.

Plus, they also allow you to reload your guns' power/ammo packs with material your scavenge from the battlefield. :smallsmile:

Wielded weapons are all well and good but what happens when your enemy runs out of ammo and his beam saber is dead? You're flying straight at him with your own Beam Saber, which will easily sear through his suit like a hot knife through butter. Unluckily, he killed a few other suits before he ran out of ammo. One of their guns drifts towards him, it's his salvation! But, wait, They don't have TRIGGERS! So he can't use them! He's dead.

That is why Hands are bad.

Plus, they also allow your enemies to reload their guns' power/ammo packs with material they scavenge from the battlefield. :smallsmile:


:tongue:

Felhammer
2011-12-19, 07:55 PM
Wielded weapons are all well and good but what happens when your enemy runs out of ammo and his beam saber is dead? You're flying straight at him with your own Beam Saber, which will easily sear through his suit like a hot knife through butter. Unluckily, he killed a few other suits before he ran out of ammo. One of their guns drifts towards him, it's his salvation! But, wait, They don't have TRIGGERS! So he can't use them! He's dead.

That is why Hands are bad.

Plus, they also allow your enemies to reload their guns' power/ammo packs with material they scavenge from the battlefield. :smallsmile:


:tongue:

I like my version more :smallbiggrin:

Fri
2011-12-19, 08:04 PM
"I love mecha", eh? Yeah right.

there... there *pats tengu*

here, have the best of both world.

Neon Genesis Tankgelion (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4621196/1/Neon_Genesis_Tankgelion)

tensai_oni
2011-12-19, 08:06 PM
Let's throw realism away and here is a mecha I would design. It's not for a real world setting, nor for something that you could strictly call war.

It's for a semi-feudal futuristic setting where conflicts are solved by mecha duels between noble "knights" who are trained to pilot their units since early childhood. Think G Gundam and its Gundam Fights, but even more ingrained into society.

That eliminates a lot of design and utility problems. How to deal with long-range weapons? You don't have to, because all fights except for dastardly ambushes by dishonorable bandits or whatnot are at very close range. This is why most weapons are melee ones, only scaled up for giant robot size. Motion control is the system used - efficiency does not matter, because what matters is to show that it's the pilot's skill that wins the combat, and what better way to prove it than by making the robot duplicate the pilot's movements?

Appearance-wise, we have very rare and thus heavily customized units used by the big fish; and very basic and poorly-performing "squire" units. The latter would be far more utilitarian, decorated maybe only with colors of their master or something. I like the design school of Warmachine (http://privateerpress.com/warmachine), and the mecha would follow it - only being more humanoid and slightly larger, both so the pilot can sit comfortably in and so his movements better translate to a humanoid frame. Also, I cannot draw.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-12-19, 09:42 PM
They're working on that machinery (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ4J69EEpu4), and at least you don't run into the square cube law like you do with mecha. It is a bipedal machine designed the size bipedal meat machines are designed to be, human sized.
Armouring is going to be tough, but it's even worse the bigger you get and even more of a target. They also have the problems of mecha of power sources and high maintenance requirements in the field.
They are more plausible though than mecha.

The square cube law is a relative thing, obviously it rules out a LOT of mecha. A mecha of fairly small height would be under what nature has achieved. I've seen height estimate of a T-rex around 5-6m and a humanoid shape would be more compact for similar heights.

Our yah know a mecha t-rex. Unless we are going to suppose that human science can't come up with a material to beat the capabilities of bone and flesh.


Yes, there are limits due to the amount of chemical energy contained in gunpowder. How far are we from alternative means of projectile propulsion? Or weaponizing light? After all, the Navy is already experimenting with rail guns, and the Air Force has lasers that can shoot down incoming missiles. Granted, in their current forms these weapons cannot be carried by an infantryman, even one with hypothetical augmented strength from power armor, but once the technology that allows them to be scaled down is available, firearms won't be the only things soldiers need to be protected from.

I'm referring less to the gunpowder as we should be able to realize a more powerful explosive for a propellant charge. The problem is that any basic Newtonian equal and opposite reactions means recoil. And recoil puts limits on automatic fire almost to the point of not being worth it in an assault rifle. Similar circumstances apply all over the place with firearms.

And the hypotheticals... ehh I'm not sure how efficient our batteries can get aside from the tech itself.

The Glyphstone
2011-12-19, 09:48 PM
Do our custom-designed mecha have to be bipedal? I do so love the Cybran Monkeylord, with its big stompy legs and laser doom cannon...

KnightDisciple
2011-12-19, 10:55 PM
You realize that a modern desktop PC has more than enough computing power to do all that, while weighing less than 20 pounds? Well, considering how heat-heavy Mechs get, add a lot of weight to the computer itself to keep it from frying.

Then add weight for the other things I bolded. The recoil compensators and gyroscopic stabilizers.


How are the Epyon (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/w/oz-13ms.htm) and Deathscythe (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/endlesswaltz/xxxg-01d2.htm) not first on your list? You should be ashamed.
I did forget Deathscythe, but then, that was by no means an exhaustive list.

Epyon's pretty cool, but not one of my faves. It's more of a "niche" design in my mental categories. It's one of the "would be just as cool if done as a power armor" (though that nixes the transformed mode, I suppose).

Tengu_temp
2011-12-19, 11:47 PM
Here are some flying mecha I made for my PbP game.

http://ffrpg.republika.pl/mechl.PNG
http://ffrpg.republika.pl/mechm.PNG
http://ffrpg.republika.pl/mechh.PNG
http://ffrpg.republika.pl/mechaa.PNG
http://ffrpg.republika.pl/condor.PNG
http://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz111/TehCubey/steeleyemech.png
http://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz111/TehCubey/dragonfly.png

tensai_oni
2011-12-20, 12:06 AM
I nominate Deathscythe as the coolest Gundam in general. Any contenders?

Ravens_cry
2011-12-20, 02:19 AM
The Timber Wolf AKA Mad Cat is my favourite mainstream mecha.

TheThan
2011-12-20, 02:32 AM
I think that Maxter gundam (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VevP_MB6O5A) is a pretty solid contender. Who doesn’t like a mech that boxes its opponents to death. Seriously, G Gundam has got to be one of the most awesome gundam shows ever. Its right up there with Tengo Toppa Gurren Lagan for shear ridiculousness.

Deadmeat.GW
2011-12-20, 03:40 AM
Artillery is a bad term to use when talking about realism, because artillery in the real world is not a weapon of destruction (especially against armoured vehicles, because the chances of a direct hit are very low and would also require the armoured vehicles to sit still for an hour or two while you chucked several reloads of ammo at them - there is a reason vehicles are only proofed to 155mm shrapnel at 30m), but one really designed to hold the enemy in place (i.e. keep them suppressed) so that troops (especially infantry) can move in for the kill.

Tanks are also NOT great on an open field - nothing is. Real armoured combat is about moving to a good hull-down position and fighting from there (and at that, properly supported by your platoon making sure they're watching in all directions) and spotting the enemy before they spot you. The Hollywood (et al) drive-the-tank-down-the-middle-of-the-street is very much as stupid as it sounds, as shooting an anti-tank gun at people (especially flying people, in the superhero genera, which the tanks cannot in reality raise their guns high enough to even aim at...) If you blithely ignore cover and some bugger is watching, you will likely get the crap killed out of you even in an MBT. The real world is much bigger and much, much more dense with terrain and obstructions than in media (it's worth noting you can hide a bloke with only a few inches.)



Mecha basically aren't practical in terms of realism, except as rule-of-cool, I don't think there's any argument. My problems with a fair chunk of them, are, as I say, is not that they are unrealistic , it's that they don't act like vehicles, they act like infantry and I just don't find that very convincing unless they are actually "people." Especially if this is lauded as being "better" than regular vehicles.

Ah, wel...I would be REALLY carefull especially with current day targetting tech about calling arty NOT a weapon of destruction and that arty cannot do anything to MBT's...

Especially since when arty was used (and blue on blue, as seems to be far too often a habit...) misses of a dozen yards did manage to knock Challengers out of action, they were not destroyed and the crew was fine but...
Anything sticking out was turned into Swiss cheese, loads of holes and firing a cannon with half a dozen extra holes in it really is not healthy.

Just for your information...

Test Results

The first test was conducted in 1988. Researchers confirmed that the US 155-mm HE round was a reasonable surrogate for the Soviet 152-mm HE round. An M109 155-mm howitzer battery using Soviet fire direction and gun procedures fired the test. The targets were manikins placed in fighting positions, US trucks, Ml 13 and M557 armored vehicles, and M-48 tanks. Several different computer models were used to predict results. The test was fired three times using 56 HE rounds with point-detonating (PD) and variable-time (VT) fuzes.

The resulting effects on the trucks and personnel were close to model predictions. However, the effects on the armored vehicles and tanks were significantly higher than model predictions. The model predicted 30 percent damage to armored vehicles and tanks; however, 67 percent damage was achieved. Fragmentation from the HE rounds penetrated the armored vehicles, destroying critical components and injuring the manikin crews. In addition, the HE fragmentation damaged tracks, road wheels, and tank main gun sights and set one vehicle on fire. Interestingly enough, none of the damage to the armored vehicles or tanks was the result of direct hits-all the damage was caused by near hits. This test confirmed that US Army models did not accurately portray artillery effectiveness. Direct hits were not required to damage tanks and other armored targets.

The second test was conducted over a period of seven months. It was designed to provide updated fragmentation damage data for modem armored fighting vehicles and tanks. An M109 howitzer fired 155-mm HE ammunition with PD and VT fuzes. One round was fired at a time, and a detailed analysis was completed on the effects of a direct or near hit of each round. A direct hit with an HE round with a PD fuze consistently destroyed the various target vehicles. Near hits damaged or destroyed road wheels, tracks, main gun sights and vision blocks. Aerial bursts of HE rounds with VT fuzes damaged or destroyed gun barrels, vision blocks, antennas, sights and engines and destroyed anything stored on the outside of the vehicle.

The third test was against a simulated US mechanized infantry team in defensive positions. The target area consisted of a forward defense area with a tank ditch 250 meters long, minefields and wire obstacles. The infantry was dismounted and had prepared positions with overhead cover. The fighting vehicles and tanks were in supporting positions, dug in with both "hull down" and "turret down" positions. For this test, a 24-gun 155-mm battalion was used to achieve the Soviet criteria of 50 percent destruction. To accomplish these effects, the fire plan for each of the three iterations of the test required 2,600 HE rounds with a mix of PD and VT fuzes. In each iteration, 50 percent of the infantry fighting positions were destroyed and about 50 percent of the personnel were wounded or killed.

The physiological and psychological effects on personnel could not be measured as Army regulations prohibit using humans or animals in this type of testing. However, research conducted in the first phase of the test documented battles of World War I and II where unmotivated or poorly trained soldiers did not stand up to large concentrations of artillery fire. This finding was confirmed during Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf in 1990 with the mass surrenders of enemy soldiers. The soldiers' will to fight was worn down by fire support from multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), cannons and air strikes.

In addition, during the third test, 50 percent of the infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and tanks suffered damage that would have prevented them from moving or firing, thus taking them out of the battle. Smoke and dust caused by the HE rounds would have reduced the IFV and tank crews' ability to engage targets at maximum range. This test demonstrated that an artillery attack using standard HE fragmentation projectiles is much more lethal against tanks and armored vehicles than US effectiveness data estimates had predicted. Based on the data provided in the second test, the modeling predictions were closer to the actual results but remained on the low side of the actual damage and destruction.

Artillerymen need to understand that databases used to drive force-on-force models are not always accurate. Many of the models have not been updated, and their databases do not reflect all aspects of lethality. The SAE tests clearly demonstrated that force-on-force models have not been portraying the effects of artillery fires properly. Near and direct hits cause significant damage to armored vehicles and tanks. The test results confirmed the validity of the published Soviet's report on the lethality of artillery. Even with an updated database, force-on-force models tend to be conservative. The models are not capable of measuring the complete effects of artillery fire, such as smoke, dust, weapons sights effects and the physiological and psychological effects on humans. The SAE live-fire tests proved that HE fragmentation rounds are very effective against the most modern US and Soviet stationary armored systems.

Artillery Lethality Myths. Because the databases in force-on-force simulations/models have not accurately portrayed the effects of artillery fires for a number of years, several myths have arisen. The SAE results dispell the following five myths.

Myth #1: It requires a direct hit with an artillery round to damage or destroy an armored vehicle. Not true; 155-mm rounds that impact within 30 meters cause considerable damage (Figure 5). Air bursts using VT or dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) can strip away communications, sights, vision blocks and anything stored on the outside of the vehicle. These air. bursts are especially effective against soft targets such as multiple-rocket launchers (MRLs). (See Figure 6.)

Myth #2: It takes 50 artillery rounds to destroy or damage a tank. Not true. It takes one round (Figure 7). If an artillery battalion engages an armored formation (54 rounds), more than one tank will be destroyed or damaged.

Myth #3: Artillery cannot engage moving targets. It is difficult, but it can be done. The issue is not lethality, but the tactics, techniques and procedures to hit the moving target. Units must train to shift fires.

Myth #4: Modern armor cannot be defeated by artillery. Tanks are designed to kill tanks, and most of the armor is designed to protect against direct fire. HE rounds. with VT or delayed fuze and DPICM are very capable of defeating "modern" armor (Figure 8).

Myth #5: Armored vehicles can button up and drive through artillery fire. Yes, they can. But as soon as they button up, their ability to see is reduced by approximately 40 percent. And as they drive through the artillery fire, there is a high probability they will have mobility and firepower damage or that the formation will change its direction of attack. The results are delay and suppression of armor.

Conclusion

The Field Artillery earned its reputation as "The Greatest Killer on the Battlefield" during World War II. That reputation was built on the artillery's ability to mass fires and respond with rapid, accurate fires for maneuver plus the belief that the artillery could destroy any target on the battlefield. The same capability exists today. It is the responsibility of every Field Artilleryman to know the branch capabilities--to reject the myths about artillery effectiveness against armor--and ensure the force commander makes the most of his firepower assets in combat.

__________________________________________________ _________________________________________________

Major (Retired) George A. Durham has been Deputy Director of the Depth and Simultaneous Attack (D&SA) Battle Lab at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, since May 1992. His previous assignment was as Director of the Soviet Artillery Effects Study in the Directorate of Combat Developments in the Field Artillery School, also at Fort Sill. George Durham was the Executive Officer for a Department of the Army Special Action Team for Corps Support Weapons Systems, developing the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). Before retiring from the Army, he served as the Executive Officer of the 4th Battalion, 4th Field Artillery, Ill Corps Artillery at Fort Sill and commanded two batteries. He's a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


Of course you may disagree with the US and USSR test results but you better need to find out some good reasons for that...

Felhammer
2011-12-20, 05:05 AM
I nominate Deathscythe as the coolest Gundam in general. Any contenders?

Which Deathscythe? The Original was cool but the Deathscythe Hell and the Deathscythe Hell (OVA version) are way cooler.

To be honest, I think its really hard to pin down the coolest Gundam in General since every series had some top class contenders. We can safely exclude shows that only showcased 1 Gundam (TOS, 0080, F91, etc.).

Now, if we were to do top 3... I no particular order...

- Talgeese I - Its refined, regal and fast.
- Zeta Gundam - Great transformation, solid suit, very rugged.
- Nu Gundam - Classic design made even better with the introduction of psycommu

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-20, 05:35 AM
Do our custom-designed mecha have to be bipedal? I do so love the Cybran Monkeylord, with its big stompy legs and laser doom cannon...

Nope, no need for bipedal- especially since I've referenced machines such as guntanks and zoids earlier in the thread (I am not a strict stickler for "mecha must be precisely humanoid)

tensai_oni
2011-12-20, 05:48 AM
Maxter gundam (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VevP_MB6O5A)

It boxes, it dual-wields pistols and it surfs on its shield like on a skateboard. The most all-American mecha ever. All it needs is a Statue of Liberty cannon.

Which appears later in G Gundam. And Getter Robo too.


Which Deathscythe? The Original was cool but the Deathscythe Hell and the Deathscythe Hell (OVA version) are way cooler.

There is a big fight between Gundam Wing fans who like the TV designs and the OVA designs. Mostly about Wing Zero itself, because of its feather-like wings in Endless Waltz. For Deathscythe I like all versions but let's go with the OVA version of Hell. It has bat-like wings, yet it cannot fly! Bat wings and a scythe - so fanboyish, but sometimes fanboyish works. And Duo is a fun character too.


- Talgeese I - Its refined, regal and fast.
- Zeta Gundam - Great transformation, solid suit, very rugged.
- Nu Gundam - Classic design made even better with the introduction of psycommu

I like both Tallgeese and Nu Gundam for their elegant simplicity. And Zeta for the same reason you said. It's rugged and you can tell where each part goes in its transformation. It also has a distinct head that is very easy to identify by fans.

There are many cool Gundams, so it is hard to choose. I even like the controversial moustachioed Turn A. But I stay by my choice of the favorite.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-20, 05:56 AM
I nominate Deathscythe as the coolest Gundam in general. Any contenders?

Coolest gundam, or collest mobile suit from a gundam series?

tensai_oni
2011-12-20, 06:04 AM
Gundams only. Otherwise we'd already know the answer (http://amelia.air-nifty.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/12/14/acguy2.jpg).

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-20, 06:07 AM
Ah, wel...I would be REALLY carefull especially with current day targetting tech about calling arty NOT a weapon of destruction and that arty cannot do anything to MBT's...

Especially since when arty was used (and blue on blue, as seems to be far too often a habit...) misses of a dozen yards did manage to knock Challengers out of action, they were not destroyed and the crew was fine but...
Anything sticking out was turned into Swiss cheese, loads of holes and firing a cannon with half a dozen extra holes in it really is not healthy.

Just for your information...

Test Results

The first test was conducted in 1988. Researchers confirmed that the US 155-mm HE round was a reasonable surrogate for the Soviet 152-mm HE round. An M109 155-mm howitzer battery using Soviet fire direction and gun procedures fired the test. The targets were manikins placed in fighting positions, US trucks, Ml 13 and M557 armored vehicles, and M-48 tanks. Several different computer models were used to predict results. The test was fired three times using 56 HE rounds with point-detonating (PD) and variable-time (VT) fuzes.

The resulting effects on the trucks and personnel were close to model predictions. However, the effects on the armored vehicles and tanks were significantly higher than model predictions. The model predicted 30 percent damage to armored vehicles and tanks; however, 67 percent damage was achieved. Fragmentation from the HE rounds penetrated the armored vehicles, destroying critical components and injuring the manikin crews. In addition, the HE fragmentation damaged tracks, road wheels, and tank main gun sights and set one vehicle on fire. Interestingly enough, none of the damage to the armored vehicles or tanks was the result of direct hits-all the damage was caused by near hits. This test confirmed that US Army models did not accurately portray artillery effectiveness. Direct hits were not required to damage tanks and other armored targets.

The second test was conducted over a period of seven months. It was designed to provide updated fragmentation damage data for modem armored fighting vehicles and tanks. An M109 howitzer fired 155-mm HE ammunition with PD and VT fuzes. One round was fired at a time, and a detailed analysis was completed on the effects of a direct or near hit of each round. A direct hit with an HE round with a PD fuze consistently destroyed the various target vehicles. Near hits damaged or destroyed road wheels, tracks, main gun sights and vision blocks. Aerial bursts of HE rounds with VT fuzes damaged or destroyed gun barrels, vision blocks, antennas, sights and engines and destroyed anything stored on the outside of the vehicle.

The third test was against a simulated US mechanized infantry team in defensive positions. The target area consisted of a forward defense area with a tank ditch 250 meters long, minefields and wire obstacles. The infantry was dismounted and had prepared positions with overhead cover. The fighting vehicles and tanks were in supporting positions, dug in with both "hull down" and "turret down" positions. For this test, a 24-gun 155-mm battalion was used to achieve the Soviet criteria of 50 percent destruction. To accomplish these effects, the fire plan for each of the three iterations of the test required 2,600 HE rounds with a mix of PD and VT fuzes. In each iteration, 50 percent of the infantry fighting positions were destroyed and about 50 percent of the personnel were wounded or killed.

The physiological and psychological effects on personnel could not be measured as Army regulations prohibit using humans or animals in this type of testing. However, research conducted in the first phase of the test documented battles of World War I and II where unmotivated or poorly trained soldiers did not stand up to large concentrations of artillery fire. This finding was confirmed during Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf in 1990 with the mass surrenders of enemy soldiers. The soldiers' will to fight was worn down by fire support from multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), cannons and air strikes.

In addition, during the third test, 50 percent of the infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and tanks suffered damage that would have prevented them from moving or firing, thus taking them out of the battle. Smoke and dust caused by the HE rounds would have reduced the IFV and tank crews' ability to engage targets at maximum range. This test demonstrated that an artillery attack using standard HE fragmentation projectiles is much more lethal against tanks and armored vehicles than US effectiveness data estimates had predicted. Based on the data provided in the second test, the modeling predictions were closer to the actual results but remained on the low side of the actual damage and destruction.

Artillerymen need to understand that databases used to drive force-on-force models are not always accurate. Many of the models have not been updated, and their databases do not reflect all aspects of lethality. The SAE tests clearly demonstrated that force-on-force models have not been portraying the effects of artillery fires properly. Near and direct hits cause significant damage to armored vehicles and tanks. The test results confirmed the validity of the published Soviet's report on the lethality of artillery. Even with an updated database, force-on-force models tend to be conservative. The models are not capable of measuring the complete effects of artillery fire, such as smoke, dust, weapons sights effects and the physiological and psychological effects on humans. The SAE live-fire tests proved that HE fragmentation rounds are very effective against the most modern US and Soviet stationary armored systems.

Artillery Lethality Myths. Because the databases in force-on-force simulations/models have not accurately portrayed the effects of artillery fires for a number of years, several myths have arisen. The SAE results dispell the following five myths.

Myth #1: It requires a direct hit with an artillery round to damage or destroy an armored vehicle. Not true; 155-mm rounds that impact within 30 meters cause considerable damage (Figure 5). Air bursts using VT or dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) can strip away communications, sights, vision blocks and anything stored on the outside of the vehicle. These air. bursts are especially effective against soft targets such as multiple-rocket launchers (MRLs). (See Figure 6.)

Myth #2: It takes 50 artillery rounds to destroy or damage a tank. Not true. It takes one round (Figure 7). If an artillery battalion engages an armored formation (54 rounds), more than one tank will be destroyed or damaged.

Myth #3: Artillery cannot engage moving targets. It is difficult, but it can be done. The issue is not lethality, but the tactics, techniques and procedures to hit the moving target. Units must train to shift fires.

Myth #4: Modern armor cannot be defeated by artillery. Tanks are designed to kill tanks, and most of the armor is designed to protect against direct fire. HE rounds. with VT or delayed fuze and DPICM are very capable of defeating "modern" armor (Figure 8).

Myth #5: Armored vehicles can button up and drive through artillery fire. Yes, they can. But as soon as they button up, their ability to see is reduced by approximately 40 percent. And as they drive through the artillery fire, there is a high probability they will have mobility and firepower damage or that the formation will change its direction of attack. The results are delay and suppression of armor.

Conclusion

The Field Artillery earned its reputation as "The Greatest Killer on the Battlefield" during World War II. That reputation was built on the artillery's ability to mass fires and respond with rapid, accurate fires for maneuver plus the belief that the artillery could destroy any target on the battlefield. The same capability exists today. It is the responsibility of every Field Artilleryman to know the branch capabilities--to reject the myths about artillery effectiveness against armor--and ensure the force commander makes the most of his firepower assets in combat.

__________________________________________________ _________________________________________________

Major (Retired) George A. Durham has been Deputy Director of the Depth and Simultaneous Attack (D&SA) Battle Lab at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, since May 1992. His previous assignment was as Director of the Soviet Artillery Effects Study in the Directorate of Combat Developments in the Field Artillery School, also at Fort Sill. George Durham was the Executive Officer for a Department of the Army Special Action Team for Corps Support Weapons Systems, developing the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). Before retiring from the Army, he served as the Executive Officer of the 4th Battalion, 4th Field Artillery, Ill Corps Artillery at Fort Sill and commanded two batteries. He's a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


Of course you may disagree with the US and USSR test results but you better need to find out some good reasons for that...

Apart from my comment on direct hit (which would have been better phrased as "proximity hit"), that is pretty much what I was saying, if you look at the myths section. While you can knock armoured vehicles out with artillery, it takes up a huge amount of time and resources. As I said, and as it says above, armoured vehicles are armoured to resist 155mm shrapel within 30m - which won't destroy the vehicle, but will, as it says above, cause non-fatal external damage to the more delicate bits on top.

(I know of an another test the US did to simulate a Russian barrage of 24 guns firing 2000 rounds on to a 250m frontage anti-tank ditch position, which acheived 50% casualties1 to armoured vehicles. (This would not only require over a hour of firing (rate of fire is about one per minute for many 155mm guns), but also three times the ammunition normally carried.)

It should also be noted that the above-mentioned 54-rounds in myth 2 is actually quite a bit; that's one M110A2's worth of ammunition or more correctly a twelfth the ammunition from a US Division's 12-gun Heavy Artillery battery, which has the most ammunition. (The three 8-gun regular artillery batteries only have 34 rounds per gun), the MLRS battery doesn't have much more, and that is the entire artillery available to a division (that's about 17000-21000 men all in, incuding vehicle crews and ancillery personell).

(Prior to 2007 when artillery was removed from the division structure.)

You would jolly well expect to knock out a fair number of enemy vehicles with that much fire!



The main point, as myths above say, is that it will cause the armoured vehicles to be delayed and suppressed. Yes, if you get lucky, you'll land a few hits that will KO the vehicles as well (as if armoued vehicles were completely impervious to artillery it would not be useful).

Artillery is, at the end of the day, and area-effect weapon, not a direct fire one (which is why it fires in batteries). Now, some of the modern artillery coming in is a bit more accurate, but generally, artillery is just not that accurate. Remember that you don't engage targets closer than about a couple of hundred yards at the closest because of the potential scatter (I'm not sure the actual number, but it's in the US field manuals you can look up online somewhere).

Even modern vehicles don't drive through an artillery barrage if they can help it, because while the chances of taking a hit close enough to knock the tank out is fairly small, it's still there and you won't get through it completely intact. Which achives the objective or making the enemy stop or change tactics.



1It should be noted, for the not-military-history minded, and for those who play RTS and so on, who may think that's not a lot, that 50% casulaties is HUGE. You virtually never wipe an army out to that level (usually because everybody has run off before it gets to that stage), and the occasions when this has occurred in history are usually the result of disaterous military blunders. 50% casualties is a decisive victory.

Felhammer
2011-12-20, 06:12 AM
There is a big fight between Gundam Wing fans who like the TV designs and the OVA designs. Mostly about Wing Zero itself, because of its feather-like wings in Endless Waltz. For Deathscythe I like all versions but let's go with the OVA version of Hell. It has bat-like wings, yet it cannot fly! Bat wings and a scythe - so fanboyish, but sometimes fanboyish works. And Duo is a fun character too.

I like the way the Deathscythe Hell from the TV show's bat wings drape over the suit, rather than simply being stiff shield-like wings as the Deathscythe from the OVA had. Having said that, the OVA version is very menacing and actually looks like a towering Grim Reaper.

I love the way the Wing Zero Gundam's Angel Wings look but they are very impractical. I think Wing Zero from the TV show is both more practical and more elegant.




I like both Tallgeese and Nu Gundam for their elegant simplicity. And Zeta for the same reason you said. It's rugged and you can tell where each part goes in its transformation. It also has a distinct head that is very easy to identify by fans.

I find elegant simplicity to truly be the hallmark of a good design. So many of the newer Gundams are kitted out with so many shiny baubles that its hard to focus on them and generate a clear picture in your heard.

I hadn't thought about the Zeta's head but, yes, it is very iconic. :smallsmile:



Coolest gundam, or collest mobile suit from a gundam series?

That opens up a whole new can of worms!

I'd say the Hyaku Shiki is probably the coolest non-gundam Mobile Suit in all of Gundam-dom. Its coloration, its unique look and its amazing pilot (Quattro), all make it memorable.

If we broadened our search to exclude suits that were darn-near-Gundams, I'd have to say the Rick Dom or the Gouf. Both are wildly successful and come with quite a few cool tricks to keep them interesting.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-20, 06:15 AM
Gundams only. Otherwise we'd already know the answer (http://amelia.air-nifty.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/12/14/acguy2.jpg).

In that case, I'll go with either the Unicorn Gundam (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/unicorn-ova/rx-0.htm) or the Fin Funnel variant of the v Gundam (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/cca/rx-93.htm)

Though to my mind, the Kshatriya (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/unicorn-ova/nz-666.htm) is more stylish than either of them.

Edit: Changed to a more generic and all encompassing thread title.

Deadmeat.GW
2011-12-20, 08:02 AM
(I know of an another test the US did to simulate a Russian barrage of 24 guns firing 2000 rounds on to a 250m frontage anti-tank ditch position, which acheived 50% casualties1 to armoured vehicles. (This would not only require over a hour of firing (rate of fire is about one per minute for many 155mm guns), but also three times the ammunition normally carried.)

It should also be noted that the above-mentioned 54-rounds in myth 2 is actually quite a bit; that's one M110A2's worth of ammunition or more correctly a twelfth the ammunition from a US Division's 12-gun Heavy Artillery battery, which has the most ammunition. (The three 8-gun regular artillery batteries only have 34 rounds per gun), the MLRS battery doesn't have much more, and that is the entire artillery available to a division (that's about 17000-21000 men all in, incuding vehicle crews and ancillery personell).

(Prior to 2007 when artillery was removed from the division structure.)

You would jolly well expect to knock out a fair number of enemy vehicles with that much fire!



Keep in mind that test with the 24 guns was about engaging a full defensive position with overhead cover...
Tanks and armoured vehicles in hull and turret down positions (fully dug in with other words...)...

And would have taken 72 minutes to complete.

A fully dug in tank would take a wee bit more time to get out off a defensive position, see last Desert war against Iraq about what happens to these kind of defensive positions...

As for the 54 rounds...that was for one firing plan with the battery, not with each gun...

<sarcasm on>

Of course the Challenger 2 is a lightly armoured tank as they are NOT able to withstand 155 mm arty shots landing nearby, unlike whichever armoured vehicle you're quoting...

I am sure the US armoured vehicles are all superbly armoured and out-armour with any of their armoured vehicles any MBT's from any other country...

<sarcasm off>

Your are NOT seriously claiming that CHallenger 2's are OUTPERFORMED in armour capabilities by US armoured VEHICLES?

I.e. if that is true your top of the line MBT's would not even NEED to show up, your other armoured vehicles are MORE heavily armoured than ANYTHING out there.
Heck, your APC's, which is what a lot of people think of (and which is also likely in the military to be looked at first given the phrasing of your response when I was talking about a modern MBT with chobham composite armour) when you talk armoured vehicle, would not be scratched by direct fire from most anti tank missiles in use across the globe now and only stuff like a Javelin (which incidently when tested on Challenger 2's had trouble cracking the thing on a top down attack and did not penetrate on a straight line attacks) would be even remotely having a chance of damaging slightly one of them if they are proved that much against 155 mm 'scrapnell'.

Keeping in mind that if the Javelin has trouble with the Challenger 2 and 155 mm arty can damage that, then your vehicles will be even less likely to be damaged by it.

Brother Oni
2011-12-20, 08:19 AM
Keeping in mind that if the Javelin has trouble with the Challenger 2 and 155 mm arty can damage that, then your vehicles will be even less likely to be damaged by it.

With regards to the durability of the Challenger 2, there's a recorded incident where one was immobilised by 14 RPGs and an anti-tank missile. It was later recovered and returned to service 6 hours later - if that's not tough, I don't know what is.

The fact that the crew was probably having a quiet brew up while waiting to be recovered, RPGs pinging off the hull, amuses me to no end. :smallbiggrin:

Edit: Apparently, according to wikipedia, there's another incident where one took 70 RPG hits and kept on trucking.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-20, 09:09 AM
Okay, I posed the question earlier about designing your own mecha of choice, and I never gave an answer of my own- so here it is:

Well, there are tons of mecha I would love to design, but right now I'm thinking in terms of a massive space-battleship sized mecha, with turreted gun batteries running down the length of the arms and legs, catapult launch systems with egress along the shoulderblades, and I haven't worked out any more of the details yet.

Sean Mirrsen
2011-12-20, 09:30 AM
If I wanted to design a mecha I would use, I'd probably design what I've already drawn. I.e., this:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4152380/Dynabot_001.PNGEffectiveness, stability and driver protection be damned.

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-20, 11:18 AM
Sorry about going off on a not-strictly-mech side topic...! (Aotrs derails the thread again...)

(I'll spoiler the remainder of the discussion.)



As for the 54 rounds...that was for one firing plan with the battery, not with each gun...

Yes, I know, I was merely using that as an illustrative example as compared to how much ammo 54 rounds was in comparison to the amount carried. Sorry if that wasn't overly clear.


<sarcasm on>

Of course the Challenger 2 is a lightly armoured tank as they are NOT able to withstand 155 mm arty shots landing nearby, unlike whichever armoured vehicle you're quoting...

I am sure the US armoured vehicles are all superbly armoured and out-armour with any of their armoured vehicles any MBT's from any other country...

<sarcasm off>

Your are NOT seriously claiming that CHallenger 2's are OUTPERFORMED in armour capabilities by US armoured VEHICLES?

I.e. if that is true your top of the line MBT's would not even NEED to show up, your other armoured vehicles are MORE heavily armoured than ANYTHING out there.
Heck, your APC's, which is what a lot of people think of (and which is also likely in the military to be looked at first given the phrasing of your response when I was talking about a modern MBT with chobham composite armour) when you talk armoured vehicle, would not be scratched by direct fire from most anti tank missiles in use across the globe now and only stuff like a Javelin (which incidently when tested on Challenger 2's had trouble cracking the thing on a top down attack and did not penetrate on a straight line attacks) would be even remotely having a chance of damaging slightly one of them if they are proved that much against 155 mm 'scrapnell'.

Keeping in mind that if the Javelin has trouble with the Challenger 2 and 155 mm arty can damage that, then your vehicles will be even less likely to be damaged by it.

I'm...not quite sure what you're getting at, or what you think I was saying.

When I said armoured vehicles (meaning in the general sense, i.e. AFVs generally), and when I say resistant to 155mm shrapnel to 30m, I mean rounds landing with 30m or further away from the AFV (which is exactly what it said here):


]Myth #1: It requires a direct hit with an artillery round to damage or destroy an armored vehicle. Not true; 155-mm rounds that impact within 30 meters cause considerable damage (Figure 5). Air bursts using VT or dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) can strip away communications, sights, vision blocks and anything stored on the outside of the vehicle. These air. bursts are especially effective against soft targets such as multiple-rocket launchers (MRLs).

Not all, of course, but a good chunk of AFV are nominally resistant to 155mm shrapnel to about 30 or more metres.

(Specific examples I was able to turn up in a quick google search: Rafeal's Enhanced Applique Armour Kits for the AAV7A1, preportedly 99% resistance to 155mm overhead shrapnel at as little as 15m, or Alvis Saxon APC which is also preportedly resistant to 155 shrapnel, though it doesn't way to what distance).

A 155mm is perfectly capable of taking out an MBT if it lands close enough. The trouble is, artillery is just not that accurate enough to reliably land one close enough without a serious amount of fire. The error margin is a pretty standard 1% of range, which (having consulted my Men What Knows) is in fact the error margin in which you don't call a barrage in near your blokes (which therefore may be less or more than the hundred yards-odd I said earlier.) An M109 Howitzer had an effective range of 18km, so at even half that range, that's a 90 metre error margin, which is a lot, even though you only have to get one within 30m of a vehicle to reliably knock it out. (And this is why, of course, you have lots of artillery guns firing in the general area, because the more shells you put in, the more chance you have of getting lucky and getting hits close enough to do the job.)

It's not an efficient anti-tank weapon (there is a wide chasm between "is feasible" and "is practially feasible"), because that's not what artillery is really supposed to be doing; it's for delaying and suppressing enemy forces by making them not cross the area of the barrage, button up and/or evacuate the area you're pounding (because if you DO sit still while being whomped by artillery it will kill you eventually), so your other forces can deal the killing blow.

mangosta71
2011-12-20, 11:27 AM
Then add weight for the other things I bolded. The recoil compensators and gyroscopic stabilizers.
The recoil compensators and gyroscopic stabilizers are included in the weapon housing (and are thus included in the weapon's mass).

Felhammer
2011-12-20, 12:42 PM
If it became possible to build mehca, would you prefer they be Humanoid in form (Gundam) or animal in form (Zoids)?

KnightDisciple
2011-12-20, 01:34 PM
The recoil compensators and gyroscopic stabilizers are included in the weapon housing (and are thus included in the weapon's mass).

I'm pretty sure the added mass for a targeting computer is supposed to be the system as a whole.

Also, I again point out that much of that weight might be cooling systems. Since, again, it gets really hot in mechs.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-20, 01:39 PM
If it became possible to build mehca, would you prefer they be Humanoid in form (Gundam) or animal in form (Zoids)?

Could go with either or both to be honest.

Felhammer
2011-12-20, 02:05 PM
Could go with either or both to be honest.

I guess the question is - do you want to be a man piloting a Manbot or a Man piloting a Tigerbot :smalltongue:

The Glyphstone
2011-12-20, 03:13 PM
I guess the question is - do you want to be a man piloting a Manbot or a Man piloting a Tigerbot :smalltongue:

I'm going with Man piloting a Spiderbot.:smallbiggrin: Extra legs = redundancy against an immobilizing leg hit, flat body = lower targeting profile, spiders = cool.

Prime32
2011-12-20, 03:34 PM
I guess the question is - do you want to be a man piloting a Manbot or a Man piloting a Tigerbot :smalltongue:What about a tiger piloting a Manbot?

Ravens_cry
2011-12-20, 03:36 PM
I liked the tachikoma, at least for city use, compared to a lot of other mecha. Very manoeuvrable and they don't do collateral damage with every step.
The cloaking is also nice.
I know they are technically robots, but they can be piloted I believe.

mangosta71
2011-12-20, 04:18 PM
I'm pretty sure the added mass for a targeting computer is supposed to be the system as a whole.
I have no idea what you mean by "the system as a whole". You keep talking about things that are (or, at least, should be) components of other systems as if they're part of the targeting computer. As near as I can tell, all the targeting computer does is improve on the Mech's accuracy with its weapons, presumably by being better at compensating for the movement of the attacker relative to its target and (possibly) subtleties in atmospheric conditions than the standard targeting software that's included in all Mechs. But modern tanks feature similar targeting capabilities, and I'm willing to bet that the computer in an Abrams doesn't weigh 5 tons.

Also, I again point out that much of that weight might be cooling systems. Since, again, it gets really hot in mechs.
Yes, it does get hot inside Mechs. But the rest of the internal circuitry also has to stay cool in order to keep operating, so this is hardly unique to the targeting computer. It seems strange to me that this one piece of hardware would be more sensitive to heat than everything else contained in the Mech.

TheCountAlucard
2011-12-20, 04:58 PM
What about a tiger piloting a Manbot?What about a tiger-man piloting a man-tigerbot? :smallamused:

In one Exalted game, we ended up with a number of Tiger Warrior Tiger Warriors under our command, and our Twilight ended up giving them some power armor and other fun magitech gear.

Another fun thing Exalted has is hellstriders, and they're a little better - basically, you melt down a bunch of demons over a metal frame, and it takes on magical traits from each variety of demon imbued into it.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-20, 06:01 PM
I guess the question is - do you want to be a man piloting a Manbot or a Man piloting a Tigerbot :smalltongue:


I'm going with Man piloting a Spiderbot.:smallbiggrin: Extra legs = redundancy against an immobilizing leg hit, flat body = lower targeting profile, spiders = cool.

If anything I'd pick a scorpionbot over a tigerbot or a spiderbot- because the stinger has real potential as a weapon hardpoint especially once you get as far as charged particle cannons

An elephantbot would also work nicely for heavy duty tank work...

The Glyphstone
2011-12-20, 07:53 PM
If anything I'd pick a scorpionbot over a tigerbot or a spiderbot- because the stinger has real potential as a weapon hardpoint

An elephantbot would also work nicely for heavy duty tank work...

Actually, I have to concede the point here - the only 'mecha' I ever built was a custom 40K superheavy Titan for my Necron army, and it was indeed on a scorpion-shaped frame.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-20, 07:54 PM
If it became possible to build mehca, would you prefer they be Humanoid in form (Gundam) or animal in form (Zoids)?

I prefer the animal-like mecha to be the exception, not the rule. See: G Gundam.

TheThan
2011-12-20, 08:19 PM
If anything I'd pick a scorpionbot over a tigerbot or a spiderbot- because the stinger has real potential as a weapon hardpoint especially once you get as far as charged particle cannons

An elephantbot would also work nicely for heavy duty tank work...

Let me introduce (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Guysak) you to the wonderful (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Liger_Zero) world of zoids (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Elephander). Some Zoids do indeed mount charged particle cannons, they tend to be quite devastating.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-20, 08:34 PM
Let me introduce (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Guysak) you to the wonderful (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Liger_Zero) world of zoids (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Elephander). Some Zoids do indeed mount charged particle cannons, they tend to be quite devastating.

Seen it years ago- and I was in fact referencing the Elephander and the Death Stinger (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Death_Stinger)...

TheThan
2011-12-20, 10:38 PM
Seen it years ago- and I was in fact referencing the Elephander and the Death Stinger (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Death_Stinger)...

Ahh, I wasn’t sure if you were or not. The Elephander is a pretty cool Zoid. I don’t recall actually seeing the death stinger, I didn’t watch all of Zoids: Guardian Force. I really don’t care for the larger zoids. Too ponderous for me I guess. I like the moderate sized multi-role zoids like the various Ligers, Command wolf, Saber Tiger (or is it Zaber Fang) etc. I hate combiner mechs of all sorts though.

Felhammer
2011-12-20, 11:34 PM
Ahh, I wasn’t sure if you were or not. The Elephander is a pretty cool Zoid. I don’t recall actually seeing the death stinger, I didn’t watch all of Zoids: Guardian Force. I really don’t care for the larger zoids. Too ponderous for me I guess. I like the moderate sized multi-role zoids like the various Ligers, Command wolf, Saber Tiger (or is it Zaber Fang) etc. I hate combiner mechs of all sorts though.

I always liked the idea that different animals fulfilled different roles on the battlefield, such as Tortoises (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Cannon_Tortoise) being artillery , Raptors (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Rev_Rapter) serving as Scouts and Whales (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Whale_King) serving as Transports.

McStabbington
2011-12-21, 02:37 AM
Sorry, still in love with Plog's old artwork, especially the Battlemaster (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/images/thumb/2/20/3025_bmaster.jpg/191px-3025_bmaster.jpg). It's a sweet, sweet looking machine.

tensai_oni
2011-12-21, 02:44 AM
Hey, it's a Roundfacer (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/dougram/dougram/h8.jpg) from Dougram!

TheThan
2011-12-21, 03:34 AM
I always liked the idea that different animals fulfilled different roles on the battlefield, such as Tortoises (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Cannon_Tortoise) being artillery , Raptors (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Rev_Rapter) serving as Scouts and Whales (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Whale_King) serving as Transports.

I totally agree. But I just like the quicker, more agile zoids better. The big ponderous zoids do have their place and if I was a military planner, I’d make sure to include them in my force (preferably a combined force). I still hate combiner mechs though.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-21, 05:32 AM
Ahh, I wasn’t sure if you were or not. The Elephander is a pretty cool Zoid. I don’t recall actually seeing the death stinger, I didn’t watch all of Zoids: Guardian Force. I really don’t care for the larger zoids. Too ponderous for me I guess. I like the moderate sized multi-role zoids like the various Ligers, Command wolf, Saber Tiger (or is it Zaber Fang) etc. I hate combiner mechs of all sorts though.

Has to be said that I thought zoids made a little too much of the dinosaur and feline designs over any of the others... But yeah, the Death Stinger was basically in from the beginning of the series climax (though I won't say any more because that would be spoilers in your current state of affairs).

mangosta71
2011-12-21, 10:21 AM
Hey, it's a Roundfacer (http://www.mahq.net/mecha/dougram/dougram/h8.jpg) from Dougram!
Actually, I think that's the design they lifted to make the Griffin (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/images/f/f1/Griffin.jpg). I don't doubt that the Battlemaster was also "borrowed" - I seem to recall all of the 14 (Locust, Stinger, Wasp, Phoenix Hawk, Griffin, Shadow Hawk, Wolverine, Rifleman, Crusader, Thunderbolt, Archer, Warhammer, Marauder, and Battlemaster) that came with my brother's boxed set being relegated into the Unseen during that little legal fiasco a while back.

Felhammer
2011-12-21, 01:21 PM
I totally agree. But I just like the quicker, more agile zoids better. The big ponderous zoids do have their place and if I was a military planner, I’d make sure to include them in my force (preferably a combined force). I still hate combiner mechs though.

I like the more agile ones as well, like the Command Wolf and the Shield Liger.

It'd be pretty cool to go to war with a legion of Zoids!

By Combiner do you mean like the Liger Zero or Voltron?


If anything I'd pick a scorpionbot over a tigerbot or a spiderbot- because the stinger has real potential as a weapon hardpoint especially once you get as far as charged particle cannons

If you like Scorpion Zoids, what about the Guyzak (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Guysack)? Its one of my favorite Zoids because I find it to be fairly realistic (for Zoids) and durable. The 6 lags means its hard to knock down, its two pincers mean it can fight in melee, and its tal gun can fire in just about every direction. All in all, a solid Zoid.

TheThan
2011-12-21, 01:55 PM
Has to be said that I thought zoids made a little too much of the dinosaur and feline designs over any of the others... But yeah, the Death Stinger was basically in from the beginning of the series climax (though I won't say any more because that would be spoilers in your current state of affairs).

I see where you’re going. But some designs seem impractical (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Stealth_Viper)… well ok, I take it back, I can see it being useful as an aquatic zoid, and almost see it’s use as an amphibious zoid.

as for combiners, I dislike the voltron and fuzors style combining. The Liger Zero, at least in New Century Zero, isn't really a combiner, sure it's CAS allows it to fill specialized roles on the fly. But it doesn't really combine with anything until the next series.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-21, 02:12 PM
Aren't Zoids robotic wild animals, at least in some continuities? I don't think if practicality of design enters the picture much.

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-21, 02:38 PM
I've never managed to get into the Zoids anime, since my exposure to the UK release (and even the Marvel comics, even though it was only one special) forever coloured my opnions of them.

Tain't right, not being Red Horn the Terrible, and Hellrunners and Slitherzoids... Many was the hours Red Horn and Serpent fought against poor old Tank (who, as I recall, did get help from some not-zoids).

By-the-by, Redhorn even occasionally still saw use, if I needed a model for a dragon... (Which has happened a couple of times..)

mangosta71
2011-12-21, 03:13 PM
...the Brainwave Control System on the YF-21 prototype was deeply flawed,
How was the system itself flawed?

prone to friendly fire, and tested out by a schizophrenic (a loveable one, but dude was crazy)...
Those were problems with the pilot (who, as noted, was a crazy mofo), not with the system.

But consider the mecha controls as they're portrayed in the various series. How many ways can you move a control stick? Sure, we've figured out how to make it work for an airplane in flight, but how do you use one to make a mecha perform the maneuvers that they routinely perform? Even if they have two control sticks, there are too many parts being controlled for the input devices. Control sticks for the arms, pedals for the feet, but how do you control torso movements (like when Isamu leans to look around a corner in the final episode of Macross Plus)? Control sticks and pedals just aren't enough (and they're too crude for what we see onscreen even for the parts they control), and beyond that point we're out of usable appendages. To get the kind of agility they display, you have to have some kind of neural interface.

This is all tied to the current subject by the fact that my dream mecha would be similar to one of the Valkyrie types from one of the Macross series (probably modeled after the YF-19 of Plus since it's the coolest-looking imo [and that's probably the cause of my beef with Seven - they took the coolest valkyrie ever designed, gave it that ridiculous control setup, turned it into a ******* boombox, and put that obnoxious twit that only knew ONE SONG {and it was a terrible song at that} in it]). Since it can't be armored like a conventional vehicle, any combat it sees will be a game of rocket tag. As shown in the series, pretty much any hit anywhere on the mecha completely destroys it (or at least causes significant bits to fly off), which is basically what happens to a modern aircraft. Heavy armor will just slow it down, and its primary defense is the time-honored "don't be where the incoming fire is landing". The ability to transform into a fighter both allows it to fill air superiority roles and simplifies battlefield deployment.

TheThan
2011-12-21, 03:25 PM
Aren't Zoids robotic wild animals, at least in some continuities? I don't think if practicality of design enters the picture much.
According to the wiki, they are biomechanical life forms. Apparently modern zoids are based off of these wild zoids; or are based off of designs that are based off of wild zoids. Still some zoids seem better suited to some rolls than others, or better suited for combat than others. Here's an example (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A7u86OyC_0)

Not all zoids are strictly combat zoids. Spinosappers are construction zoids (they also fill a battlefield engineer role), and sinkers are used for recreation (since they’re fast hovercraft).


I've never managed to get into the Zoids anime, since my exposure to the UK release (and even the Marvel comics, even though it was only one special) forever coloured my opnions of them.

Tain't right, not being Red Horn the Terrible, and Hellrunners and Slitherzoids... Many was the hours Red Horn and Serpent fought against poor old Tank (who, as I recall, did get help from some not-zoids).

By-the-by, Redhorn even occasionally still saw use, if I needed a model for a dragon... (Which has happened a couple of times..)
You should really give the shows a try. Zoids New Century Zero is about “sanctioned zoid battles”, think roman gladiators. It seems to be a spectator sport. The show follows the career of Bit cloud and his liger zero, as he and the blitz team climb up the ranking. Zoids Chaotic Century and Zoids Guardian force are about the wars that take place on planet Zi. I don’t have much to tell you since I never finished Guardian force. I’ve never seen Fuzors as they tend to irk me. its hard to tell of Zoids Chaotic Century and New Century zero are connected at all. they seem to be separate continuities.



How was the system itself flawed?

Those were problems with the pilot (who, as noted, was a crazy mofo), not with the system.

But consider the mecha controls as they're portrayed in the various series. How many ways can you move a control stick? Sure, we've figured out how to make it work for an airplane in flight, but how do you use one to make a mecha perform the maneuvers that they routinely perform? Even if they have two control sticks, there are too many parts being controlled for the input devices. Control sticks for the arms, pedals for the feet, but how do you control torso movements (like when Isamu leans to look around a corner in the final episode of Macross Plus)? Control sticks and pedals just aren't enough (and they're too crude for what we see onscreen even for the parts they control), and beyond that point we're out of usable appendages. To get the kind of agility they display, you have to have some kind of neural interface.

This is all tied to the current subject by the fact that my dream mecha would be similar to one of the Valkyrie types from one of the Macross series (probably modeled after the YF-19 of Plus since it's the coolest-looking imo [and that's probably the cause of my beef with Seven - they took the coolest valkyrie ever designed, gave it that ridiculous control setup, turned it into a ******* boombox, and put that obnoxious twit that only knew ONE SONG {and it was a terrible song at that} in it]). Since it can't be armored like a conventional vehicle, any combat it sees will be a game of rocket tag. As shown in the series, pretty much any hit anywhere on the mecha completely destroys it (or at least causes significant bits to fly off), which is basically what happens to a modern aircraft. Heavy armor will just slow it down, and its primary defense is the time-honored "don't be where the incoming fire is landing". The ability to transform into a fighter both allows it to fill air superiority roles and simplifies battlefield deployment.

The more I think about this, the more the zoid line makes sense. Since these mechs have some degree of intelligence and free will, it makes sense that the zoid itself is in control of the bits the pilot cannot feasibly control. So its not the pilot making the shield liger roar, is the zoid itself. It’s routinely shown in the various anime, that the pilot and the zoid are less pilot and machine, and more partners fighting together.

Knaight
2011-12-21, 03:31 PM
If you like Scorpion Zoids, what about the Guyzak (http://zoids.wikia.com/wiki/Guysack)? Its one of my favorite Zoids because I find it to be fairly realistic (for Zoids) and durable. The 6 lags means its hard to knock down, its two pincers mean it can fight in melee, and its tal gun can fire in just about every direction. All in all, a solid Zoid.

It's balanced on six tiny, spindly points. There is no way that it is going to do anything other than get stuck in the ground, completely immobile. Even by Zoids standards that is pretty bad.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-21, 03:53 PM
they took the coolest valkyrie ever designed, gave it that ridiculous control setup, turned it into a ******* boombox, and put that obnoxious twit that only knew ONE SONG {and it was a terrible song at that} in it]).

Hey! I liked that song. Besides, there were at least three.


It's balanced on six tiny, spindly points. There is no way that it is going to do anything other than get stuck in the ground, completely immobile. Even by Zoids standards that is pretty bad.

You're applying real life physics to a toy-based franchise about fighting robotic animals.

Knaight
2011-12-21, 04:06 PM
You're applying real life physics to a toy-based franchise about fighting robotic animals.

Yes, I know. It came up when the term "realistic by Zoids standards" started getting thrown around. I'm willing to put up with spindle legged point walking mechs, but they basically fail the "realistic by X standards" test immediately, for every X I'm aware of.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-21, 04:11 PM
According to the wiki, they are biomechanical life forms. Apparently modern zoids are based off of these wild zoids; or are based off of designs that are based off of wild zoids. Still some zoids seem better suited to some rolls than others, or better suited for combat than others. Here's an example (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A7u86OyC_0)

Not all zoids are strictly combat zoids. Spinosappers are construction zoids (they also fill a battlefield engineer role), and sinkers are used for recreation (since they’re fast hovercraft).


You should really give the shows a try. Zoids New Century Zero is about “sanctioned zoid battles”, think roman gladiators. It seems to be a spectator sport. The show follows the career of Bit cloud and his liger zero, as he and the blitz team climb up the ranking. Zoids Chaotic Century and Zoids Guardian force are about the wars that take place on planet Zi. I don’t have much to tell you since I never finished Guardian force. I’ve never seen Fuzors as they tend to irk me. its hard to tell of Zoids Chaotic Century and New Century zero are connected at all. they seem to be separate continuities.


The more I think about this, the more the zoid line makes sense. Since these mechs have some degree of intelligence and free will, it makes sense that the zoid itself is in control of the bits the pilot cannot feasibly control. So its not the pilot making the shield liger roar, is the zoid itself. It’s routinely shown in the various anime, that the pilot and the zoid are less pilot and machine, and more partners fighting together.

Also, though you didn't mention it, there's Zoids Genesis (only available Japanese or subbed to my knowledge), which is a post-apocalyptic equivalent of Chaotic Century/Guardian Force...

Felhammer
2011-12-21, 04:20 PM
It's balanced on six tiny, spindly points. There is no way that it is going to do anything other than get stuck in the ground, completely immobile. Even by Zoids standards that is pretty bad.


I hadn't considered that issue. I was mainly looking at it from a 'it would be hard to push over" perspective not a "its balancing itself on stilts" perspective. Definitely not realistic.

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-21, 04:25 PM
Hey! I liked that song. Besides, there were at least three.

I can name at least four off the top of my head- and I think there were more...
Planet dance, Totsugeki Love Heart, Submarine Street and Holy Lonely Night come immediately to mind, and I think Light the Light counts as well.

Felhammer
2011-12-21, 04:43 PM
How was the system itself flawed?

Those were problems with the pilot (who, as noted, was a crazy mofo), not with the system.

But consider the mecha controls as they're portrayed in the various series. How many ways can you move a control stick? Sure, we've figured out how to make it work for an airplane in flight, but how do you use one to make a mecha perform the maneuvers that they routinely perform? Even if they have two control sticks, there are too many parts being controlled for the input devices. Control sticks for the arms, pedals for the feet, but how do you control torso movements (like when Isamu leans to look around a corner in the final episode of Macross Plus)? Control sticks and pedals just aren't enough (and they're too crude for what we see onscreen even for the parts they control), and beyond that point we're out of usable appendages. To get the kind of agility they display, you have to have some kind of neural interface.

This is all tied to the current subject by the fact that my dream mecha would be similar to one of the Valkyrie types from one of the Macross series (probably modeled after the YF-19 of Plus since it's the coolest-looking imo [and that's probably the cause of my beef with Seven - they took the coolest valkyrie ever designed, gave it that ridiculous control setup, turned it into a ******* boombox, and put that obnoxious twit that only knew ONE SONG {and it was a terrible song at that} in it]). Since it can't be armored like a conventional vehicle, any combat it sees will be a game of rocket tag. As shown in the series, pretty much any hit anywhere on the mecha completely destroys it (or at least causes significant bits to fly off), which is basically what happens to a modern aircraft. Heavy armor will just slow it down, and its primary defense is the time-honored "don't be where the incoming fire is landing". The ability to transform into a fighter both allows it to fill air superiority roles and simplifies battlefield deployment.

As others have said, Zoids are semi-living beings, so they can control themselves and help execute complex moves.

Other anime, I'd actually say the complex maneuvers we see most likely pre-programed into a computer so they can be activated with a flick of a switch or if certain criteria are met, such as a Mecha holds up its shield when it senses its being fired at. At the very least, Mecha would need limited AI to help extrapolate what the pilot is doing, e.g. The Pilot is charging another mecha, the pilot selected "use beam saber", the pilot is pushing the arm up over his head. With this data, the computer would extrapolate that the Pilot wants to do an overhead chop with his beamsaber the moment he gets close to his enemy. The computer then carries this action out.

Another example might be that you are fighting in an urban area. You need to take cover. The only building around is about half as tall as your mech. You move over, begin to kneel and the computer extrapolates what you want to do.

Without AI (or a living consciousness), I don't see Mecha Working.

HFool
2011-12-21, 04:44 PM
Yo guys, favorite mech creative head? I'm going with Yasuhiru Imagawa. The guy did G Gundam, Giant Robo: The Earth Stood Still, Shin! Mazinger and that new Tetsujin/Gigantor OVA. Steping out of mechs, he also worked on some other good stuff like Berserk, Bartender and Pet Shop of Horrors.

What about you dudes?

Knaight
2011-12-21, 04:45 PM
I hadn't considered that issue. I was mainly looking at it from a 'it would be hard to push over" perspective not a "its balancing itself on stilts" perspective. Definitely not realistic.

With six anchors in the ground, it would indeed be hard to push over.

Tengu_temp
2011-12-21, 05:25 PM
I can name at least four off the top of my head- and I think there were more...

I'm talking about the common ones that you can hear in every episode, not the special songs for special occassions. Otherwise there'd be more.


Yo guys, favorite mech creative head? I'm going with Yasuhiru Imagawa. The guy did G Gundam, Giant Robo: The Earth Stood Still, Shin! Mazinger and that new Tetsujin/Gigantor OVA. Steping out of mechs, he also worked on some other good stuff like Berserk, Bartender and Pet Shop of Horrors.

I'm not sure. I have a soft spot for Tomino, even if I like to make fun of his writing. You can't ignore the impact this guy had on the mecha genre, he's very good at making strong, consistent settings, and Happy Tomino is amusing. Plus, Crossbone Gundam is great and possibly the best Gundam I know (08th MS Team is another strong contender).
I'm not sure if he's my favorite, though. The problem is that I don't know many writers by name.

tensai_oni
2011-12-21, 05:34 PM
If you are a fan of modern super robots then you are a fan of Imagawa-sensei as well, because high chances are you watched either one of his works, or something that was inspired by his works.

And now, let's listen to some awesome music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnr2-l4j2-k&feature=related).

The Glyphstone
2011-12-21, 06:18 PM
With six anchors in the ground, it would indeed be hard to push over.

Is the issue with a multi-legged mech in general, or simply because that particular mech has needle-point tips on the ends of its legs? I'm assuming the latter, because a mech with multiple 'feet' should be less likely to sink into the ground than a bipedal mech due to distributing its weight more evenly.

mangosta71
2011-12-22, 01:40 AM
That was my impression as well. Needle-point feet would exert tremendous ground pressure. Like, punch-through-concrete pressure. It's not a matter of balance - it's the fact that there's nothing the thing could stand on without sinking (at least) to its knees.

Knaight
2011-12-22, 02:58 AM
Is the issue with a multi-legged mech in general, or simply because that particular mech has needle-point tips on the ends of its legs? I'm assuming the latter, because a mech with multiple 'feet' should be less likely to sink into the ground than a bipedal mech due to distributing its weight more evenly.

Distributing its massive weight on something like 6 square centimeters (if that) is putting way too much ground pressure to stand on basically any material short of those generated in a strong enough gravitational field to crush the mech instantly.

Fri
2011-12-24, 01:01 AM
I've drawn a couple of mechs before

http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs47/f/2009/178/5/b/WotW__Amor_Fati_by_Fri_Freeman.jpg

http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs45/i/2009/125/b/e/WoTW__Cyclops_by_Fri_Freeman.jpg

My attempt on evangelion-style biological mechs

http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs22/f/2007/363/4/c/Shiny_Steamknights_by_Fri_Freeman.jpg

http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/345/f/0/ag_98_paladin_by_fri_freeman-d34n9mj.jpg

And some steam/magipunk mechs

But mechanical design is always my weak point. I really can't design mechs other than by using basic shapes.

But anyway, for something rather different. Have any of you ever heard of the manga series Break Age? It's uh... the most realistic mecha series we could ever have, and it's even within our technology.

Okay, that's because it's about video games. Basically in that manga setting, the most popular game in the world is Break Age, an online arcade game where you pilot mechs from a full immersion cockpit thingy... with real looking joystick and stuffs. you can imagine it yourself.

The main gameplay of that game is obviously, fighting game where you fight people in the arcade or across the world using the machine's online capability. But that game also let you design your own mechs in your pc and save it into memory cards to use in the arcade. There's even a community that doesn't do battle, they just design things like battle-incapable giant ship that they can ride just for fun. There are even mecha designer who don't do battle but sell mechs they design.

The thing that annoy me most is... we have the technology for this setting already. Why don't we have this game!

Ravens_cry
2011-12-24, 03:23 AM
Because games that force players to buy special hardware to use that they can't use for other uses have never really taken off?
There was (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BattleTech_Centers) something similar to this for arcades, but it failed commercially.
Something somewhat similar for home consoles also failed commercially (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel_Battalion).

GloatingSwine
2011-12-24, 11:33 AM
The thing that annoy me most is... we have the technology for this setting already. Why don't we have this game!

Because arcades died out about the time that internet gaming was taking off.

What you describe is, by the way, pretty much exactly how the Forza online community works, except with cars instead of mechs. (this arose in Forza 2, and was facilitated greatly by the way Forza 3 was developed to incorporate tools to do all the things people had been doing anyway)

I'm not sure as you'd really ever get the same thing to arise around a mech game because they're too niche, whereas cars have real-world popularity so who barely play games but will happily buy a car nerd game like Forza, so there's a significant potential playerbase for that community to arise in.

There's also a secondary reason that all the customisation-heavy mecha games so far have been, not to put too fine a point on it, broken as all ****. It soon becomes impossible to play them as designed because people figure out the one or two twink builds without which you might as well be throwing your shoe at the opponent (see: Chromehounds missile stacks, cockpit shield builds, pile-wagons, etc. Or Mechwarrior laser boats). Until someone with Blizzard's level of game balance OCD gets involved in making and supporting an online mech game we won't see one take off. (This will be the make or break for the new Mechwarrior Online, can they make the game balanced whilst retaining customisability).

Fri
2011-12-24, 12:19 PM
Because arcades died out about the time that internet gaming was taking off.


Only in the west. Arcades are still up and running in the east. But that's part of the problem anyway, how arcades are dying in the west. Anyway, this annoys me as well. What I think is, arcade is perfect to have ultra realistic super high def games with simple gameplay like shooting games, fighting games, or racing games. Also like steel batallion. I personally thought of it as stupid, they should've released it in arcade instead. I mean, rather than forcing console games to be as powerful as possible they could put those super heavy games in the arcade instead, but eh.

So yeah, I'm also holding hope for mechwarrior online.

TheThan
2011-12-24, 01:06 PM
Because games that force players to buy special hardware to use that they can't use for other uses have never really taken off?
There was (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BattleTech_Centers) something similar to this for arcades, but it failed commercially.
Something somewhat similar for home consoles also failed commercially (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel_Battalion).

Too bad. They're still really cool.

mangosta71
2011-12-24, 01:27 PM
I understand that there is a place you can go and play a version of BattleTech in full-size cockpit modules. At least, there was such a place when I was in high school (I knew a rich kid that had gone).

The thing about the BattleTech universe is that energy weapons are, by the rules, just plain better. Balancing them to be equivalent to missile/ballistic weapons would require the rules to be changed, and then it's not BattleTech any more. And yes, most stock designs make heavy use of missile and ballistic weapons, but everyone knows that 99% of the stock designs are garbage (the Warhawk is the 1% - OCCUPY STRANA MECHTY!).

Something else that raises difficulties - in BattleTech, weapons that hit the target strike in random locations. People playing a simulator are typically not happy with not being able to aim their shots for a particular location. Letting weapon fire trace the reticule makes players happier, but also allows for cheesers to not armor locations that aren't often targeted (such as the legs).

dgnslyr
2011-12-24, 02:28 PM
Something else that raises difficulties - in BattleTech, weapons that hit the target strike in random locations. People playing a simulator are typically not happy with not being able to aim their shots for a particular location. Letting weapon fire trace the reticule makes players happier, but also allows for cheesers to not armor locations that aren't often targeted (such as the legs).

Still, not armoring the less-targeted areas is the sort of thing that happens in real life, right? I mean, if you're building a tank, the front armor will be really strong, while nobody's going to bother even bullet-proofing the ice box inside.

That might actually add an element of mind-games. Nobody shoots the legs, so I won't bother putting armor there. But if nobody armors the legs, I could cripple him by shooting him there. Then again, if he knew that, his legs should be pretty well armored, so in that case, I shouldn't bother shooting the legs.

GloatingSwine
2011-12-24, 04:15 PM
Only in the west. Arcades are still up and running in the east.

Sort of. The arcade is the preserve of weird ass games these days, and if you went in one you'd have to carry stakes and crosses and garlic to ward off the fat sweaty Idolm@ster players. (Surely the only arcade machine where the operators have to keep towels on hand to wipe down the equipment after play. And not because of any strenuous physical activity...)

GloatingSwine
2011-12-24, 04:20 PM
The thing about the BattleTech universe is that energy weapons are, by the rules, just plain better. Balancing them to be equivalent to missile/ballistic weapons would require the rules to be changed, and then it's not BattleTech any more.


Real miniatures games (ie. ones that people still play and are relevant, not Battletech) change their rules when they figure out that the ones they have aren't working. Evolution of rules to remedy broken bits is one of the significant factors in keeping a tabletop game alive and playable.

Reverent-One
2011-12-24, 08:08 PM
Real miniatures games (ie. ones that people still play and are relevant, not Battletech) change their rules when they figure out that the ones they have aren't working

:smallannoyed:
Hey now, that's just uncalled for. I'm sure the people running and playing at all the tables of Battletech at Gencon would disagree with that assesment. Especially since Catalyst has made changes to the rules.

TheThan
2011-12-24, 09:04 PM
Playing mechwarrior on line is horrible (mechwarrior 4 mercenaries specifically). Long range jump jet capable mechs rule the day. So people hide behind obstructions, jump jet over them, fire their weapons at you and rinse/repeat. It’s boring and horrible. Also never play on mixed tech servers, they’re the worst when it comes to that.

Fri
2011-12-25, 10:12 AM
Playing mechwarrior on line is horrible (mechwarrior 4 mercenaries specifically). Long range jump jet capable mechs rule the day. So people hide behind obstructions, jump jet over them, fire their weapons at you and rinse/repeat.

Realistic then! Just like what people want :smalltongue:!

TheThan
2011-12-26, 02:51 PM
Realistic then! Just like what people want :smalltongue:!

It's so boring, though. I mean, seriously, I can't bring myself to play it anymore because its so unfun.

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-28, 06:47 PM
So, as this is now the redesignated mecha thread, so I thought - mostly becaue I like blowing my own horn - that you might be passably interested in seeing my latest project, which is sorta mecha-ish related.

I do 3D CAD modelling specifically for 3D steriolithe printing (mostly at Shapeways at the moment) for wargames models. I mostly do starships (my true obession1, but I've been moving into doing armoured vehicles over the last six months as well.

The main wargame we play, Manouvre Group, is one you tend to play at two different scales (144 and 72, i.e. 12mm and 25mm) - you play the former for mostly armour-based games and the latter for mostly infantry-based games (i.e. fighting over urban areas and whatnot). My trouble is, at the moment, I don't have an army for both scales, and doing people is WELL beyond my abililty (and probably wouldn't print anyway.)

So I've started work on a Secret Project (so called, 'cos I'm hoping to spring the whole army on my mod without them having the slightest warning...), which is basically going to be mecha infantry and mecha vehicles. Arguably, I suppose, they're more robots than mecha (being creatures rather than piloted vehicles), but I figured they might be some small amusement...

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u172/AotrsCommander/secretproj3.png

This is the very first prototype, which is the "infantry." Like all the ones that will follow, they have an alternate mode - in this case, they simply fold up a bit and can fly. (The "MBT" ones I'm planning to go from this sort of spider-walker to a turret emplacement.)

The details are exaggerated and a bit crude, since these models will in reality only be 10mm a side, and I have to bear in mind both material limitations and minimum detail tolerances (I'm not 100% sure they'll print, actually, seeing as they are a bit more close to the tolerances and complexity than my usual starships or vehicles!) I plan of refineing them a little bit when I scale them up to 25mm scale, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it...



1I'm not kidding, I do have a thousand plus of them, with about 1500 fighters...

Mercenary Pen
2011-12-28, 08:22 PM
So, as this is now the redesignated mecha thread, so I thought - mostly becaue I like blowing my own horn - that you might be passably interested in seeing my latest project, which is sorta mecha-ish related.

I do 3D CAD modelling specifically for 3D steriolithe printing (mostly at Shapeways at the moment) for wargames models. I mostly do starships (my true obession1, but I've been moving into doing armoured vehicles over the last six months as well.

The main wargame we play, Manouvre Group, is one you tend to play at two different scales (144 and 72, i.e. 12mm and 25mm) - you play the former for mostly armour-based games and the latter for mostly infantry-based games (i.e. fighting over urban areas and whatnot). My trouble is, at the moment, I don't have an army for both scales, and doing people is WELL beyond my abililty (and probably wouldn't print anyway.)

So I've started work on a Secret Project (so called, 'cos I'm hoping to spring the whole army on my mod without them having the slightest warning...), which is basically going to be mecha infantry and mecha vehicles. Arguably, I suppose, they're more robots than mecha (being creatures rather than piloted vehicles), but I figured they might be some small amusement...

*snip*

This is the very first prototype, which is the "infantry." Like all the ones that will follow, they have an alternate mode - in this case, they simply fold up a bit and can fly. (The "MBT" ones I'm planning to go from this sort of spider-walker to a turret emplacement.)

The details are exaggerated and a bit crude, since these models will in reality only be 10mm a side, and I have to bear in mind both material limitations and minimum detail tolerances (I'm not 100% sure they'll print, actually, seeing as they are a bit more close to the tolerances and complexity than my usual starships or vehicles!) I plan of refineing them a little bit when I scale them up to 25mm scale, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it...



1I'm not kidding, I do have a thousand plus of them, with about 1500 fighters...

Interesting indeed- but the first thing they remind me of are the droid fighters from the star wars prequels- was this a deliberate homage?

Aotrs Commander
2011-12-28, 09:03 PM
Interesting indeed- but the first thing they remind me of are the droid fighters from the star wars prequels- was this a deliberate homage?

Not conciously, at any rate (though sometimes I find my subconcious plumbs odd depths, so I won't completely rule it out); more a case of convergeant design. I always have rather liked the four-(to-eight)-legged-spider type posture. (The droidikas probably have quite a bit of influence on my generally thinking in that respect, for all they are tripods.) The "MBT" version was the first one I conceptualised, if not the first one to be designed. If you imagine that that large green sections of the leg will be basically a corner of the square turret. The leg joints - which the infantry one is indentical in form to - are pretty much an extension of practicality, and once I'd decided that was the first one, then the same design followed for the infantry.

The "transformed" mode in this one was also a logical extension for practicality. You can't see from this picture, but the flight-mode engine is located on the "belly" of the walker-mode, so to achieve flight, all she1 has to do is ignite her engine, raise her head and turret up 90º (or more likely, tilt her body down and head up to match) and invert the legs into flight position, which seemed about the most efficient way to do it. (In theory, they will change from running (either scuttling like a spider with the legs as shown or running/bounding by moving the legs more in line with the direction of travel) and flying in the same sort of ease as a human or horse would change gait.)

There's probably a bit of Volon ship influence in there as well, with the four "grasping" legs in flight mode. (Actually, some influence from the Shadows, come to that, as spider-likes might be present too...)



1In defiance to the typical standard, e.g. Daleks, Cybermen, (old) Cylons etc etc (and including at least one existant races we also play with), this race of evil technological killing machines is nominally "female" in the same way the aforementioned are nominally "male."

Sean Mirrsen
2011-12-29, 06:17 AM
Ooh, mech models. I was doing some modelling too a while back. Dropped it almost entirely nowadays, don't even have Lightwave installed anymore.

Here, see if you can recognize these. They're not completely original, more like refurbishings/reimaginings of the original units.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4152380/PWhi.png
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4152380/ARMKB1lineup.png

Clue: it was an RTS game.

The spiderbot infantry looks neat, Aotrs Commander. The transformation animation seems to involve the legs rotating 180 degrees though. It's probably no big deal, but it'd look pretty odd.

tensai_oni
2011-12-29, 06:36 AM
The first pic is a
Peewee from Total Annihilation

Isn't it?

Sean Mirrsen
2011-12-29, 08:27 AM
The first pic is a
Peewee from Total Annihilation

Isn't it?

Indeed. The second is basically the whole T1 lineup from the same.