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joshuaslater

Our vision of the future.

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We're talkin' general sci-fi here. When we look back at the old Flash Gordon movies/shorts in black and white, with the ships that look like a sparkler was inserted into the derriere of the spaceship, and everything was art deco, we see how dated the vision of the future was in the 1930's. When we see the 1970's Battlestar Galactica, we see how dated the special effects are from that period. Will this happen in TTG's like Battletech, CAV and Rackham's AT-43?

 

It seems currently we have a fetish for big hulking, walking machines, whether it's from Star Wars, the aformentioned games, Japanese cartoons, etc. Even the steampunk Warmachine is based on this model. I'm wondering if any vehicles/robots like this will ever be used in warfare in the far future.

 

Now I may be coming across as the guy who said "the automobile is a passing fad", but so far, I'm not seeing the logic in any walking warmachine at all. We've seen recently the Merkava battle tanks of the IDF blown apart by some determined Hizballah fighters with anti-tank rockets. How can a walking warmachine like we see in these games survive with a leg blown off? Will gyroscopes and computers allow for robotics sophisticated enough to walk, and will the cost of their production be possible like the current tanks and fighting vehicles today? I'm guessing no.

 

Thoughts?

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Now I may be coming across as the guy who said "the automobile is a passing fad", but so far, I'm not seeing the logic in any walking warmachine at all. We've seen recently the Merkava battle tanks of the IDF blown apart by some determined Hizballah fighters with anti-tank rockets. How can a walking warmachine like we see in these games survive with a leg blown off? Will gyroscopes and computers allow for robotics sophisticated enough to walk, and will the cost of their production be possible like the current tanks and fighting vehicles today? I'm guessing no.

 

Thoughts?

 

IMHO, probably not. The big disadvantage of big hulking robots is one of silhouette. They present a much better target than a track-laying vehicle close to the ground. In combat today, not being seen is life. In any engagement on the modern battlefield the first to be seen is the first to die. Being conspicuous (and a 100t giant robot is, if anything, conspicuous) is usually not endearing to your prospects of a long and healthy life. This is one reason why I really don't believe future combat vehicles will be painted cherry red, no matter how "intimidating" you may think it is (and BTW, that sort of thing works once; after that it becomes an aiming aid) or how many justifications you can make for sensors.

 

I think the future, if there is one along this route, will be battle armor. The technology already exists in one form or another, but such suits are limited by battery capacity (there was mention of a DoD progect to make exoskeleton legs for the infantry, allowing them to carry more longer...wish I had the link). Infantry that is more mobile, better protected, better armed and the like will be the closest we come to 'mechs on a practical ground...

 

Damon.

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I, personally, vote for going back to art deco.

 

Form and function can co-mingle. :)

 

I have much to say about this, but so little time right now. :(

 

Peep dis though -

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3502194.stm

 

These would also be good for anyone who has to hump a ton of gear.. ie firefighters legging their equipment up a hi-rise? Me cleaning out my closet of shame?

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The problems with giant mecha are many and varied. I think the point of them is that they are anthropomorphic, playing to the subversive, semi-conscious fantasy of technology making us into old-school pagan gods of war, striding across the battlefield cloaked in power and arrogance, laying waste to the armies of our cowering, terrified science teachers. I mean, enemies. Cowering, terrified enemies.

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Pulp minis are getting closer, but we still don't have a solid line of art-deco, art nuevo, victorian sci-fi minis.

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Whle I don't seem them being used anytime in the near future, the answers given don't look at the question fully.

 

The reason as given in the fluff for mechs evolving was the need for combat vehicles that work in almost all terrain, because as Mankind (or Alien raceof choice) explores space there is the potential for all kinda of worlds to be discovered and colonized. How well would tanks function on a world which is primarily swamp, snow or forest. Take the Forest Moon of Endor from Starwars, how well would tanks do there ? Mechs were envisioned as units that could go anywhere foot infantry could go.

 

So for me a major feature of mecha type armour is the need to fight in a vast range of different terrain types.

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Smokingwreckage - Amen. :)

 

I know that human type mecha are horribly inefficient and aren't the optimal configuration for weapons platforms - but SW is completely correct. There is something wonderful about the thought of towering over the battlefield, marching across enemy lines laying waste to everything you see like a titan of mythology.

 

Realistically blasting the heck out of someone from miles and miles away from a little command post made of of various missle launchers tied to air, ground and satellite target designation doesn't have that visceral appeal to it.

 

Odds are in the future, if you are going to get blown away, you'll never see or hear it comming. Well maybe in a "what is that sound of rushing wind....." sense. One minute you are standing there, and the next minute all hell breaks loose.

 

On the otherside, it's more of a push-button affair. Maybe there are concealed units on the ground designating a target for you (currently there is some really interesting work with joint-ops between the airforce and army) and you just select the most appropriate type of weapon system (smart bomb, cruise missle, cluster bomb, bunker buster.. etc) and let fly.

 

Makes for really terrible and unfun tabletop wargames. There you need towring monsters, behemoth tanks, infantry in hand -to- hand etc...

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Whle I don't seem them being used anytime in the near future, the answers given don't look at the question fully.

 

The reason as given in the fluff for mechs evolving was the need for combat vehicles that work in almost all terrain, because as Mankind (or Alien raceof choice) explores space there is the potential for all kinda of worlds to be discovered and colonized. How well would tanks function on a world which is primarily swamp, snow or forest. Take the Forest Moon of Endor from Starwars, how well would tanks do there ? Mechs were envisioned as units that could go anywhere foot infantry could go.

 

So for me a major feature of mecha type armour is the need to fight in a vast range of different terrain types.

 

All the terrain types you listed are ones that already exist. I would forsee those (or similar terrain types...swamps made of methane mush FREX) existing on alien worlds too. On a Endor type setting, you normally wouldn't take heavy armor into that setting. Jedi comically demonstrated why, but in the RW, taking something with limited vision capabilities, or is otherwise a large imposing target...and remove from it its chief advantage (mobility) sets it up nicely for concealed infrantry to knee-cap it. SO far, we have seen that infantry works ANYWHERE, are small enough that they can easily conceal themselves, and can disperse enough that they are not terrebly vulnerable to be taken out with a few well-placed shots (with proper spacing and tactics an infantry platoon can survive quite a bit by benefit of superior numbers). So no, I still don't buy the idea of mechs being developed because of superior motive capabilities...

 

ANyone ever do the physics of the ground pressure per square inch for a 100 ton mech?

 

Damon.

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Just don't make mechs in stillettos.

 

While infantry can go anywhere, they need special training to cope and be effective in some of areas. Most infantry would not survive fighting in Arctic conditions. The point I was making that when you have to design war machines to cope on worlds with a huge possible number of terrain types, the weapons manufactorers may have to look at new concepts. One month you are fighting in arctic conditions the next searing heat and after that a world with no breathable atmosphere. Not much that is currently available can cope in all 3. Also one has to go with the sci-fi advances that most of these games include for them every to be feasible.

 

Do I think it will ever happen not when mankind only has to worry about fighting on planet Earth.

 

Also I think more likely are multi legged designs before walkers ever come into usage.

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It's partially why tanks are somewhat ineffective in the jungles. :)

 

Tanks have a rough go in cities as well - look to Stalangrad and current conflicts for this.

 

But I don't think mechs can go where infantry can go. In the cases of endor, I think you'd want something much smaller that give the infantryman enhanced survivability and a sensor suite that eleminates the advantages woods/jungle provides. ie.. if you can see through and behind trees, the enemy can't hide behind them. So linking all the grunts together in a netowrk would give those in command a better tactical awareness of the situation. Also, sharing this information would be valuable - so if your command, or squadmates can see what a grunt is seeing - there is a better chance of understanding and eliminating that target.

 

I see things like lightweight, or powered tactical armor for the individual infantryman. Think (I hate to use the example) - Space Marines, or aliens with all the grunts linked back to the APC.

 

Taking it a step further, make the armor the transportation and delivery system, like the suits in the Starship troopers novel. Basically big, armored gorillas who get dropped into a zone, blow it to pieces and bounce out before anyone knows what is going on. They are big enough to carry a ton of weapons and electronics into the battlezone, but small enough to still be really manouverable and mobile.

 

the Nitto SF3d (Maschinen Kreiger now) - is another good example of tactical armor.

 

 

Just don't make mechs in stillettos.

 

 

If you wanna be anime, you NEED to make the mechs in stillettos - with really spindly arms and legs. :)

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Of course if I'm in a Mech and my targets are hiding in some forest, I'm just going to shred it with IFM's and gauss cannons. :devil: Its not just the size of the mech that makes it impressive, its the amount of firepower and ammunition it can bring to bear.

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That's some pretty big woods to shred. Unless you're using nukes, you could fire all day and never do anything but trim the foliage...

 

And SOldcorn, SaintRigger has exactly what I'm talking about (pairing nicely with my first post). In this vein, battle armor troops would be the infantry...and presumably the battle armor would have the environmental systems to protect the soldier too!

 

Damon.

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In our own age of precision guided munitions, a mech would be taken out very quickly. I don't see why our vision of the future doesn't take this into account, except for the fact that it would make a boring table top game.

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Josh - yeah, thats the big tradeoff. What is fun to play, or watch isn't always what the most efficient way to do this may be.

 

 

Hehe - set up your mechs on the table.

 

Then the other player rolls a d10. On a 1 or 2 there was bad intel and the mech was missed. All others are a hit and the mech is destroyed. Rinse and repeat. ;)

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So linking all the grunts together in a netowrk would give those in command a better tactical awareness of the situation. Also, sharing this information would be valuable - so if your command, or squadmates can see what a grunt is seeing - there is a better chance of understanding and eliminating that target.

Didn't they do that in one of the Alein movies , I think it was "2" ? :unsure:

My vision of the future of warfare goes along the same lines as others have suggested , personal enviromental/battle armour .

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