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Reverent-One
2012-08-23, 07:59 PM
Well, how you mount your weapon (suspensions, gyroscopes, etc.),

Eh, this one I'll say is close enough.


and when to fire are part of your weapons system, obviously.

No, when you fire your weapons is part of your shooting ability unless the guns fire automatically, which they don't in BT.

The Random NPC
2012-08-23, 08:04 PM
(said in jest)

A tank, however, cannot use a sword...

Oh really?

http://500motivators.com/plog-content/thumbs/motivate/me/large/474-drive-me-closer-i-want-to-hit-them-with-my-sword.jpg

jseah
2012-08-23, 08:06 PM
No, when you fire your weapons is part of your shooting ability unless the guns fire automatically, which they don't in BT.
Surely computer-assisted targeting is present and helps?
But of course, some element of *your* gunnery skill will come into play. (I just know he's going to go... there! Blam!)

It still doesn't change the fact that your weapon accuracy zone, being where your shot can end up when you fire, will contain the legs when you aim at the torso if your shot has any chance at all to hit the legs.

Reverent-One
2012-08-23, 08:09 PM
Surely computer-assisted targeting is present and helps?
But of course, some element of *your* gunnery skill will come into play. (I just know he's going to go... there! Blam!)

It still doesn't change the fact that your weapon accuracy zone, being where your shot can end up when you fire, will contain the legs when you aim at the torso if your shot has any chance at all to hit the legs.

Helps doesn't mean making the shot itself. And even with that, the target's ability to make itself a harder target to hit comes into play as well.

awa
2012-08-23, 08:10 PM
ohh fighting on an alien world with low gravity and lots of ravines.
now weight issues matter less and jumping mechs are possible.
lots of ravines means tanks are at a disadvantage to things with legs.
energy weapons and other recoiless weapons mean the mech can carry bigger guns then normal.

jamming tech vastly exceeds communication and sensor tech so fights are line of sight and being able to crawl, crouch ect means you can actually sneak up behind enemy tanks.

frequent storms of great power combined with the need for line of sight shooting render aircraft nearly useless.

out of combat mechs are used to help build forward bases and load cargo.

mechs are a symbol of mankind a rallying cry the pr of them planting that giant flag is an invaluable recruitment poster.

direct brain interface allows a single man to operate the entire vehicle and it's human shape allows them to lean the operation more quickly

jseah
2012-08-23, 08:17 PM
Helps doesn't mean making the shot itself. And even with that, the target's ability to make itself a harder target to hit comes into play as well.
10ft tall death machine trying to make itself a harder target? =D

Not like similarly sized tanks can't do the same since walking/driving around the corner of a handy building/rock is the best you can do.


Awa:
Energy weapons are mostly a wash though, you still want the biggest gun you can manage.


Still, we're now fighting aliens with variable energy shields requiring fast weapon chances and transdimensional weapons that ignore armour...
-on a tiny Venus-like planet with an incredibly ravaged terrain. (massive electromagnetic storms make radar useless, thick atmosphere makes planes slow and very vulnerable to air currents)
Also, we have nanotech (sort of) and are mind-interfacing (or directly uploading) our soldiers into the mech.

See? Possible! Tanks are kinda useless in that scenario.


EDIT:
Venus-like planet reminds me of another point. Hostile atmosphere means you cannot exit your vehicle to make repairs or apply goo. Mechs are flexible enough to do that to other mechs, tanks are not.

The Glyphstone
2012-08-23, 08:19 PM
That might be overkill in the stacking-odds-against-tanks department, we don't need all of that.

Reverent-One
2012-08-23, 08:19 PM
10ft tall death machine trying to make itself a harder target? =D

Not like simiarly sized tanks can't do the same since walking/driving around the corner of a handy building/rock is the best you can do.


It's called moving. It's light vehicles (mechs, tanks, vtols) main survival tool when facing heavier opponents.

jseah
2012-08-23, 08:26 PM
It's called moving. It's light vehicles (mechs, tanks, vtols) main survival tool when facing heavier opponents.
Ok, fair enough. Although its still at the level of screwing with targeting, not with shot accuracy. Once the shell is in the air, there's not much moving to be done.


Gylphstone:
Sure, I think it's overkill too. (frankly, all you need is the nanotech and ravaged terrain. Although you'd need to justify lack of airpower, perhaps with a ground AA buff of some sort or superradars)

But I meant to demonstrate that we mech-detractors do accept that mechs can be useful under certain situations and technologies.


Now do it again without changing the situation. Technology only. ^^
Urban combat, desert combat, open plains + rivers combat, forest/jungle combat, mountains combat; on Earth. Surpass tanks in all of them.

Reverent-One
2012-08-23, 08:30 PM
Ok, fair enough. Although its still at the level of screwing with targeting, not with shot accuracy. Once the shell is in the air, there's not much moving to be done.


I haven't really been distinguishing between the two, which might be why we're arguing. In my mind, you mess with their ability to target you, you reduce their accuracy.

jseah
2012-08-23, 08:33 PM
Messing with their targeting generates clean misses, and screws with their attempts to hit any particular part equally (roughly).

Shot accuracy is what lets you shoot legs instead of torso (or the other way around).

Basically, targeting is the ability to point your weapon in the right way. Shot accuracy is the unavoidable error in the direction your weapon points and the direction the shell flies.

Reverent-One
2012-08-23, 08:41 PM
Not necessarily, if their targeting is only slightly off, it could result in hitting a different part of the mech. The options aren't just "you hit the exact spot you were trying to hit" and "you miss by 5 meters".

Knaight
2012-08-23, 08:49 PM
Not necessarily, if their targeting is only slightly off, it could result in hitting a different part of the mech. The options aren't just "you hit the exact spot you were trying to hit" and "you miss by 5 meters".

Generally speaking, at the sort of ranges vehicles normally engage in*, if the targeting isn't there you will just miss.

*For reference - your shots will be arcing, but you can't model this as a parabola, as the curvature of the earth will cause your shots to miss.

hamishspence
2012-08-24, 01:04 AM
That doesn't make sense. You just build a bigger turret.

Even seen a naval cannon? The turrets on those are the size of multiple tanks. Turrets scale quite well, thank you very much.


Yes- but those aren't fitted to a tracked vehicle.

tyckspoon
2012-08-24, 01:22 AM
Yes- but those aren't fitted to a tracked vehicle.

It should also be noted that (at least in 40k) when you hit the point where the tanks stop having turrets you're talking about systems that are built to fire upon stationary targets or things that are so large and so slow that they may as well be stationary in a combat situation - fortified emplacements and mobile-fortress grade superheavy units. The restriction of having to turn the whole tank's body for horizontal aim isn't as big a deal when you're aiming at something that has no practical capacity to dodge, and the important thing is instead bringing the biggest 'efin gun you can to bear to bust through the armor/forcefields/whatever of the thing you need cracked.

Haruspex_Pariah
2012-08-24, 01:32 AM
The main problem with a lot of mechs, battletech in particular is their size. Logic dictates that a combat vehicle only be as large as it needs to be. When you have a 14-meter 100-ton monstrosity that destroys roads just by walking then there's a problem.

The ability to have human-like hands would be most useful in a field like construction, as a scaled up arm with human-like dexterity would be much faster than existing cranes and whatnot. Or if they're armored, use them to reach into dangerous stuff. Search and rescue is also an option.

Alternatively, human-like arms and hands with mech-scaled rifles. If the mech can reload the rifle as a human would, you don't have to bother with autoloaders. Changing weapons would also be easier. You could have anti-tank rifles, anti-air guns/missiles, anti-infantry guns.

If mechs could move like agile giants as opposed to clunking around like Tobor the Great, it'd be a bit more feasible. Japanese mecha tend to be better at this. The ability to shift position and orientation quickly in close terrain would be useful. A human holding a rifle can track 360 degrees horizontally and vertically. Give that ability to a mech capable of wielding tank-class guns and you might be on to something.

Ravens_cry
2012-08-24, 02:09 AM
The only technology I could think of that would really make this a good idea is digital uploads of people's brains.

You could take a group of the perfect soldiers, copy them a half million times, and put them in massive robotic bodies. These bodies would be humanoid, so that they could be more easily controlled, and they would dominate the battlefield as their reaction times are orders of magnitude better than human.

In terms of machine specs the mechs would always fall behind tanks and aircraft, but the human brain is just too good at piloting humanoid bodies. Even with digital pilots, other vehicles couldn't compete with mechs in terms of reaction times; this ensures they have a place on the battlefield until true AI renders human warfare irrelevant.

That's how I would do it anyway.
Except, remember your growth spurt? Remember how clumsy you were when you only grew maybe a foot, more or less?
Gravity will be constant, so moving something so much larger will be by no means intuitive. By scale ,things will fall much slower relative to your size, and running is basically controlled falling.
Intuitive?
Doubtful in my opinion.
If anything, your muscle memory will work against you.

Brother Oni
2012-08-24, 02:27 AM
Ok, fair enough. Although its still at the level of screwing with targeting, not with shot accuracy. Once the shell is in the air, there's not much moving to be done.


You'd be surprised on both counts.

Modern tanks have gyrostabilisers to enable them to fire accurately on the move, to the extent that an Abrams can reliably hit an enemy tank at ~5 miles out while travelling at near max speed cross country (from what I remember of the Gulf War reports anyway).

While tank shells can't currently adjust their trajectory inflight, I know that there has been some work for fighter jet munitions to do so, and I can't see why the technology can't be imported over. After all, if an APFSDS shell already has some fins on it, it shouldn't take too much modifcation to enable those fins to be able to move inflight.

That said, rockets would probably be a much simpler solution.


I forget who asked, but I believe the Shadowsword is the 'one big gun' variant of the Baneblade. It's not often used as it's inefficient at engaging multiple targets compared to a baneblade and the IG don't run across titans too often.


Going back to weapon systems, does battletech have a fluff reason for the ridiculously short ranges of their weapons? I think even LRMs have a range of ~1km, so pilot accuracy doesn't really matter that much.

Ravens_cry
2012-08-24, 02:40 AM
Because it is meant to be a visceral battle of warrior against warrior.
They are called mech warriors after all.
In one of the few fan fictions I genuinely liked, a Tom Clancy Jack Ryan-verse Battletech crossover, the ability to engage at scarily long ranges (and our nukes) was Earth's biggest advantage against the heavily armoured Battletech technology.

Serafina
2012-08-24, 03:20 AM
That fic is called "An Entry with a Bang", and it does indeed show that. Despite having much worse weaonry and armor than BT, contemporary earth armies utterly beat BT-forces once they get their **** together, mostly due to superior C&C-structure and accurate BVR-weaponry.

Earth does attempt to acquire mechs in that fic - but only from existing BT-factories, they stop production-attempts of Mechs on Earth almost completely after a while. They build tanks instead. The only reason they try to buy mech-factories is that they can use existing infrastructure that way - kinda like you might continue building an outdated tank model rather than retool the factory and have less tanks that way.


As for brain-uploads piloting the machine:
Why couldn't you simulate a cockpit alongside which allows the conciousness to pilot a vehicle that is not human-like?
Granted, that is extra effort, and so that technology might be a reason to have mechs.

Ossian
2012-08-24, 03:26 AM
Wouldn t the mech s ability to alter (i.e. reduce) it s profile a plus over the tanks? Tanks are roughly brick-shaped, and they stay that shape.

Whether a mech is bigger or smaller thana given tank, it can still crouch, duck, fold arms, bend, kneel, drop flat on back/belly etc etc...

Maybe at actual warfare speeds that does not count for much, but we are talking urban guerrilla (few units vs few units, not massive scale invasions) it could give them an edge.

Also, arms/legs are basically "multiple joints cannons" (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee ankle). That must count for versatility (shoot down through the hatch as you jump over the tank, shoot around a corner with the rifle mounted camera linked to the targeting system etc etc etc). For legs, it could mean switching to different kinds of propulsion and changing direction of movement in a way that I find more difficult for tanks to imagine (although proper jets all over the chassis might make up for it)

o.

PS
Ciapas Cain's image was awesome :smallsmile::smallsmile::smallsmile:

Ravens_cry
2012-08-24, 03:31 AM
That fic is called "An Entry with a Bang", and it does indeed show that. Despite having much worse weaonry and armor than BT, contemporary earth armies utterly beat BT-forces once they get their **** together, mostly due to superior C&C-structure and accurate BVR-weaponry.

Earth does attempt to acquire mechs in that fic - but only from existing BT-factories, they stop production-attempts of Mechs on Earth almost completely after a while. They build tanks instead. The only reason they try to buy mech-factories is that they can use existing infrastructure that way - kinda like you might continue building an outdated tank model rather than retool the factory and have less tanks that way.

Yeah, that was it. One of my favourite parts was the Mech warrior finding that Earth still has Mecca. It was bittersweet, especially with the old man, but made me a little teary eyed, and I am not even Muslim.
And, in that fic, it also makes sense since they don't want to show too much of Earth's not-lost lostech.



As for brain-uploads piloting the machine:
Why couldn't you simulate a cockpit alongside which allows the conciousness to pilot a vehicle that is not human-like?
Granted, that is extra effort, and so that technology might be a reason to have mechs.
I was also thinking of a virtual cockpit.
Assuming that piloting human shaped mech actually is intuitive compared to driving a tank or piloting a fighter. I gave some reasons for my doubts.
@Ossian: That ground hugging box shape most tanks possess is actually a pretty darn good profile. Your acrobatic ballerina mech doesn't resemble what animation I've seen of Battletech mechs, though Gundam might pull it off, but even still, it's not going to be much less than a tanks profile and most times its going to be much worse. Dropping prone to the ground sounds like a great way to get your mechanic mad at you and damage something to be honest. Almost a hundred tons or more coming down from about a story, or more, isn't going to do you, or the machine, any favours.

hamishspence
2012-08-24, 06:15 AM
It should also be noted that (at least in 40k) when you hit the point where the tanks stop having turrets you're talking about systems that are built to fire upon stationary targets or things that are so large and so slow that they may as well be stationary in a combat situation - fortified emplacements and mobile-fortress grade superheavy units.

There are smaller "turretless tanks" but those are usually Tank Destroyers.

Emmerask
2012-08-24, 07:13 AM
Wouldn t the mech s ability to alter (i.e. reduce) it s profile a plus over the tanks? Tanks are roughly brick-shaped, and they stay that shape.

Whether a mech is bigger or smaller thana given tank, it can still crouch, duck, fold arms, bend, kneel, drop flat on back/belly etc etc...

Maybe at actual warfare speeds that does not count for much, but we are talking urban guerrilla (few units vs few units, not massive scale invasions) it could give them an edge.

Also, arms/legs are basically "multiple joints cannons" (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee ankle). That must count for versatility (shoot down through the hatch as you jump over the tank, shoot around a corner with the rifle mounted camera linked to the targeting system etc etc etc). For legs, it could mean switching to different kinds of propulsion and changing direction of movement in a way that I find more difficult for tanks to imagine (although proper jets all over the chassis might make up for it)

o.

PS
Ciapas Cain's image was awesome :smallsmile::smallsmile::smallsmile:

Well there is nothing from stopping a tank to have multiple turrets for different guns if we create a similar sized tank.
And if the multiple joint cannons are so awesome, whats stopping engineers from attaching two arms to a tank, most of the armament of a mech is not on multiple joint cannons though but mounted in the torso/shoulders ie very similar to the tanks main turret.

Overall the way I see it is that a similar capable tank would roughly be the size of the similar mechs torso without the limbs, except for stuff above the tank it has the lowest profile possible...
It also does not need to armor the underside that much, doesnīt need to armor joints and limbs which practically means such a tank would have about 33% more armor on the sides exposed then the similar mech.

As for the mechs can easily adapt via the hand cannons, just create a universal turret that can attach a multitude of guns very easily in 10 minutes of work in a workshop, thats not really that hard to achieve ^^
It would of course only work for smaller stuff, but the mech handguns are only small stuff too ^^

Again the more I think about I just donīt see any reason at all for mechs ^^

Reverent-One
2012-08-24, 08:19 AM
Going back to weapon systems, does battletech have a fluff reason for the ridiculously short ranges of their weapons? I think even LRMs have a range of ~1km, so pilot accuracy doesn't really matter that much.

At this point, the fluff reason is that they aren't that short, they've just been shortened for game purposes so you don't need multiple maps to play the game.

jseah
2012-08-24, 08:25 AM
You'd be surprised on both counts.
Well, yes, if your tank gun is long enough ranged, then the target CAN dodge while your shell is flying.

At BT ranges, and ESPECIALLY with laser cannons, this is irrelevant.

@Emmerask:
See this post, we stack the deck against tanks here pretty damned hard.

Still, we're now fighting aliens with variable energy shields requiring fast weapon changes and transdimensional weapons that ignore armour...
-on a tiny Venus-like planet with an incredibly ravaged terrain. (massive electromagnetic storms make radar useless, thick atmosphere makes planes slow and very vulnerable to air currents)
Also, we have nanotech (sort of) and are mind-interfacing (or directly uploading) our soldiers into the mech.

See? Possible! Tanks are kinda useless in that scenario.


EDIT:
Venus-like planet reminds me of another point. Hostile atmosphere means you cannot exit your vehicle to make repairs or apply nano-goo. Mechs are flexible enough to do that to other mechs, tanks are not.
Some corrections made for typos.

Teron
2012-08-24, 08:33 AM
For all its contrivance, that actually sounds like a pretty cool setting, or at least a hell of a setpiece.

Reverent-One
2012-08-24, 08:39 AM
In one of the few fan fictions I genuinely liked, a Tom Clancy Jack Ryan-verse Battletech crossover, the ability to engage at scarily long ranges (and our nukes) was Earth's biggest advantage against the heavily armoured Battletech technology.

But they have nukes too, they just don't use them for the same reasons we don't. All starting to throw around nukes would do is get both sides wiped out in a nuclear war.

Emmerask
2012-08-24, 09:09 AM
Hm maybe on that particular kind of planet mechs would actually have an edge.

Though not the 2 legged versions, with rough terrain (pilot checks if I remember correctly) and wind speeds of 400+ mph I would very much go with spider/scorpion designs, not as tall and more legs^^

Beleriphon
2012-08-24, 09:28 AM
Okay, so to take up the challenge of reasonable mechs on Earth I'll suggest the following:


Artificial muscle fibre bundles are currently in development at a variety of research labs. The most recent I saw was MIT. Provided they eventually work correctly there is the possibility to make machines that operate a manner similar to human muscular-skeletal structure (also easier to fix). Assume these work well and are the basic component of movement in a mech.
The very first mechs are large loading and mining units with crude hands and next to no sensory systems beyond visual, and what amounts to a bar code reader.
The loaders however are immensely strong capable of lifting well over a ton. The largest are only slightly more than twice the height of person.
Mining units have drills and other appropriate tools for mining attached to them.
Something happens people take the loaders and outfit them with basic armour (rolled steel sheets bolted on to the frame) and weapons like .50 cal machine gun, or RPGs, are modified to allow the loader to wield them.
Ambush tactics are used to attack tanks by having several loaders surprise one and attack it at close range, possibly by using mining equipment to bore holes in tanks or damage critical components. Optionally if possible have them climb onto the tank and attack the turret and hatches.
From there you have somebody dedicate the time and energy to building a military grade mech unit. This would at least amount to better armour, targeting systems, and some kind of radar.
Something like this is probably going to be ten to twelve feet tall, mount upsized version of small arms (20mm rifles for example) and be used as super-heavy infantry. It would exist somewhere between normal infantry and tanks. Field them in squads of five and you have the fire power of a heavy weapons squad, the armour of an APC and more mobility than a tank.

The Glyphstone
2012-08-24, 10:34 AM
Well there is nothing from stopping a tank to have multiple turrets for different guns if we create a similar sized tank.
And if the multiple joint cannons are so awesome, whats stopping engineers from attaching two arms to a tank, most of the armament of a mech is not on multiple joint cannons though but mounted in the torso/shoulders ie very similar to the tanks main turret.

But is that still a tank, or a mech on treads? Is the top half or the bottom half of the resultant construction the more important detail?



As for the mechs can easily adapt via the hand cannons, just create a universal turret that can attach a multitude of guns very easily in 10 minutes of work in a workshop, thats not really that hard to achieve ^^
It would of course only work for smaller stuff, but the mech handguns are only small stuff too ^^

Again the more I think about I just donīt see any reason at all for mechs ^^
That seems kinda presumptous, or at least generous - a 'plug-and-play' turret would be really hard to design - look at an Abrams main cannon, that is not something you can just swap in and out very easily with ammo, auto-loading mechanisms, etc. Possible, but not 'very easily' - and you would still need a workshop to do it in, compared to a mech's theoretical ability to just carry all three/four/more of its guns to the battlefield, dump them in a pile or fortified bunker or something, and pick-and-choose at will. It'd be easier to design a tank chassis with interchangeable turrets, and the mech remains superior in the time/energy/resources cost for weapon exchange.

Serafina
2012-08-24, 10:34 AM
But they have nukes too, they just don't use them for the same reasons we don't. All starting to throw around nukes would do is get both sides wiped out in a nuclear war.Not really - Earth right now (after all the disarmament we had) has way more nukes than all BT-factions combined, and better ones to boot.
Add going back to cold-war production rates and we can simply outproduce anyone else period.

More relevant though is the difference in delivery systems.
Earths JumpPoints are (in that fic, obviously) proteced by nuclear-armed sattelites at each of them, and it has plenty more satellites that are capable of intercepting any launched nukes. BT doesn't have the right missiles to bombard Earth from afar. Earth does.

But as you may figure by now, Nukes are mostly a defensive armament in the current scenario. The second raid on Earth (and the first major one) was fended off with jury-rigged nuke-launching sattelites around Earth, which blew a bunch of dropships away and scared the **** out of the invaders. That simply makes any invasion too costly to contemplate - and once Earth has the jumpship capacity to spare it can threaten the destruction of your homeworld in return to boot.

Whats worse though - albeit no BT-faction realizes it yet - is that Earth is simply not conquerable by BT-forces, period.
The reason for that is rather simple: Its too big to conquer.
Unlike most BT-worlds, Earth is covered with nation-states - citizens have a rather high loyalty to their country (if not necessarily to the current government), and the nations can raise millions of soldiers. That's too many to defeat with a BT-army - even if your mechs are good enough that you win any engagement, you will run out of supplies, have your supply lines destroyed, are unable to occupy any cities and so on.
Now obviously you can conquer nation-states. But that needs a torough struggle that exhausts the occupied nations will to resist. The allies did that in WWII to Germany and Japan, and the United States were in the process of doing that in Afghanistan and Iraq. It takes many years even if you crush their military, and it needs to inflict a good amount of suffering on the populace (which the USA avoided in their current wars, but BT won't have a problem with that).

BT-forces are essentially feudal - if you beat their leaders they'll shut up and let you rule.
Earth is not - even if you beat their leaders and crush their military, the populace will very likely resist you for a long time.
That's comparable to fighting a duel vs. fighting for your life and loved ones. A combatant who does the former will yield once hes beyond a certain point - a combatant doing the latter will only stop when he is utterly exhausted or dead.

Emmerask
2012-08-24, 10:40 AM
That seems kinda presumptous, or at least generous - a 'plug-and-play' turret would be really hard to design - look at an Abrams main cannon, that is not something you can just swap in and out very easily with ammo, auto-loading mechanisms, etc. Possible, but not 'very easily' - and you would still need a workshop to do it in, compared to a mech's theoretical ability to just carry all three/four/more of its guns to the battlefield, dump them in a pile or fortified bunker or something, and pick-and-choose at will. It'd be easier to design a tank chassis with interchangeable turrets, and the mech remains superior in the time/energy/resources cost for weapon exchange.

I was not really talking about the main cannon, those are indeed hard if not impossible to easily replace, but then again so are those on the mechs.
The only thing really easily replaceable on mechs are handguns on the very humanoid bots ie the small sidearms.

If we have a tank with similar capabilities to a mech, a tank with more turrets and guns then just the main gun we could create small plug and play turrets on the tank which are used for the same purpose as the handguns on a mech.

Reverent-One
2012-08-24, 10:45 AM
That just makes it worse, violation of the Ares convention that blatant is about the most sure fire way to get everyone to stop shooting each other and beat up on you instead. Clancy Earth wouldn't survive to get jumpships, they'd be pounded into the ground by basically the whole Inner Sphere combined, specifically because if they're that free with nukes, the IS can't trust them to exist.


Whats worse though - albeit no BT-faction realizes it yet - is that Earth is simply not conquerable by BT-forces, period.

Nah, it would simply take longer. Like you said, it's possible, you just have to deal with lots of resistence.

The Glyphstone
2012-08-24, 10:51 AM
I was not really talking about the main cannon, those are indeed hard if not impossible to easily replace, but then again so are those on the mechs.
The only thing really easily replaceable on mechs are handguns on the very humanoid bots ie the small sidearms.

If we have a tank with similar capabilities to a mech, a tank with more turrets and guns then just the main gun we could create small plug and play turrets on the tank which are used for the same purpose as the handguns on a mech.

Not really. The entire design concept here is a mech with hands, that doesn't need to have built-in weaponry. A main tank cannon would be the equivalent of rifle/longarm for a mech, while their sidearms would be the lighter weapons. The tank does gain an advantage here in that they can fire the main weapon and side gun together, but the specific scenario was that only one or the other can be useful at one time.

Note that I am very much more in favor of supersizing tanks, I've mentioned the Bolos at least once in this thread already, but I think you're overestimating the ability of a tank to be versatile like that.

awa
2012-08-24, 11:17 AM
if its a battle between a space faring civilizastion and a planet bound one you dont need nukes just rocks.

The Glyphstone
2012-08-24, 11:24 AM
And if you can shoot down the rocks, you can easily shoot down the nukes, so in either case it becomes a necessity to hold the high orbitals in order to 'conquer' a planet.

Oracle_Hunter
2012-08-24, 11:27 AM
if its a battle between a space faring civilizastion and a planet bound one you dont need nukes just rocks.
Well, you also need a spot to drop them from.

If the Defender has booby-trapped your entry-way with Nukes and you can't just 'port rocks then it depends on whether the Attacker runs out of delivery devices before the Defender runs out of nukes.

Consequentially, this is why "massive retaliation" isn't feasible in the fic-verse. Nuking invading drop-ships is different from nuking planets -- particularly since the Attackers are unlikely to get info on what blew up their ships. Even positing that the IS would unify over the defensive use of nukes on JumpShips the next question is who gets to use up their JumpShips to deplete Earth's defensive nuclear supply; something tells me that argument could go on long enough for Earth to develop JumpShip technology.

In any case, the IS would need to devote a lot of resources to re-colonizing Earth -- specifically the resources of several planets. How long do you think it would take for the alliance to break-up once the non-contributors notice that several of their rivals are tied down far away? :smallamused:

Reverent-One
2012-08-24, 11:50 AM
Well, you also need a spot to drop them from.

If the Defender has booby-trapped your entry-way with Nukes and you can't just 'port rocks then it depends on whether the Attacker runs out of delivery devices before the Defender runs out of nukes.

Booby-trapping every entry point into the system is a ridiculous idea in the first place. The closest entry points to the planet, sure, but even assuming there are no usuable pirate points, you can just jump into the system from further out. From the wiki on Jump Point (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Jump_Point):


Beyond a proximity limit, all of space is a valid jump "point". It is quite possible for a JumpShip to jump into deep space light-years from any star system. Indeed, when imagining jump points, it might be best to consider most of space one giant, valid jump point but for tiny bubbles near stars and even more microscopic bubbles near planets.



Consequentially, this is why "massive retaliation" isn't feasible in the fic-verse. Nuking invading drop-ships is different from nuking planets -- particularly since the Attackers are unlikely to get info on what blew up their ships. Even positing that the IS would unify over the defensive use of nukes on JumpShips the next question is who gets to use up their JumpShips to deplete Earth's defensive nuclear supply; something tells me that argument could go on long enough for Earth to develop JumpShip technology.

In any case, the IS would need to devote a lot of resources to re-colonizing Earth -- specifically the resources of several planets. How long do you think it would take for the alliance to break-up once the non-contributors notice that several of their rivals are tied down far away? :smallamused:

You don't understand how the IS treats the Ares conventions. Clan Smoke Jaguar and Word of Blake both broke them, both were smashed by the combined forces of the entire IS. Not one or two contributors, every major faction.

Philistine
2012-08-24, 12:28 PM
That just makes it worse, violation of the Ares convention that blatant is about the most sure fire way to get everyone to stop shooting each other and beat up on you instead. Clancy Earth wouldn't survive to get jumpships, they'd be pounded into the ground by basically the whole Inner Sphere combined, specifically because if they're that free with nukes, the IS can't trust them to exist.
What you're missing is that Earth, right now, is more heavily armed than every faction in the IS combined. (Yet another example of SF Writers Fail To Comprehend Scale. Which happens a lot, even in SF franchises which weren't created solely to provide context fluff for a game system.)


Booby-trapping every entry point into the system is a ridiculous idea in the first place. The closest entry points to the planet, sure, but even assuming there are no usuable pirate points, you can just jump into the system from further out. From the wiki on Jump Point (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Jump_Point)
The ability to Jump in light-years away from the real destination is useless in practice, though. First, DropShips aren't FTL; and second, JumpShips need enough incoming solar energy to recharge their batteries - and due to the Inverse-Square Law, moving even a little farther away from the source drastically cuts down the amount of energy coming in. So... yay?


You don't understand how the IS treats the Ares conventions. Clan Smoke Jaguar and Word of Blake both broke them, both were smashed by the combined forces of the entire IS. Not one or two contributors, every major faction.
Nonsense. The destruction of CSJ had nothing to do with the bombardment of Turtle Bay; when the new SLDF decided that the way to forestall further Crusader attempts to conquer the IS was to utterly smash an Invading Clan, the Smoke Jags were simultaneously in the most exposed position and known as the most virulent of the Crusading Clans. (Note that Bulldog/Serpent was nearly a decade after the Edo massacre, and a very eventful decade at that.) A few years later, everyone ganged up on the Wobblies because the Wobblies attacked everyone.

Reverent-One
2012-08-24, 12:36 PM
What you're missing is that Earth, right now, is more heavily armed than every faction in the IS combined. (Yet another example of SF Writers Fail To Comprehend Scale. Which happens a lot, even in SF franchises which weren't created solely to provide context fluff for a game system.)

Even if that's the case, orbitial bombardment says hi.


The ability to Jump in light-years away from the real destination is useless in practice, though. First, DropShips aren't FTL; and second, JumpShips need enough incoming solar energy to recharge their batteries - and due to the Inverse-Square Law, moving even a little farther away from the source drastically cuts down the amount of energy coming in. So... yay?

It shouldn't have to be light years away, did the Clancy-verse earth coat the solar system and the next few thousand AU in nuclear satilites? Going back to SF have no sense of scale, space is big, and a short distance in space can be a loooong distance for practical purposes for say, a 2000s era earth.


Nonsense. The destruction of CSJ had nothing to do with the bombardment of Turtle Bay; when the new SLDF decided that the way to forestall further Crusader attempts to conquer the IS was to utterly smash an Invading Clan, the Smoke Jags were simultaneously in the most exposed position and known as the most virulent of the Crusading Clans. (Note that Bulldog/Serpent was nearly a decade after the Edo massacre, and a very eventful decade at that.) A few years later, everyone ganged up on the Wobblies because the Wobblies attacked everyone.

BS. CSJ was choosen because of Turtle Bay. Further, if Clancy-verse Earth is as much a threat as you claim in the first paragraph, it's going to get similar attention.

The Glyphstone
2012-08-24, 12:38 PM
Still, the idea of managing to surround the entire solar system in a spherical shell of booby-trapped satellites at any appreciable density and distance is absurd on its own level, just in terms of sheer materials needed (plus, I don't think we have enough nukes). Though that might be a fault of the fic's writers in forgetting space is 3-dimensional.


It's still a great story - I like Clancyverse and Battletech, and this is like blending two of my favorite ice cream flavors into a sundae. But there's as many holes in its premises as plenty of other crossovers and general sci-fi stories, professional or otherwise.

Reverent-One
2012-08-24, 01:14 PM
It's still a great story - I like Clancyverse and Battletech, and this is like blending two of my favorite ice cream flavors into a sundae. But there's as many holes in its premises as plenty of other crossovers and general sci-fi stories, professional or otherwise.

I'll take your word for it. It sounds too much like the "The Salvation War"-esque fanwankery for modern day tech, though maybe I'm just underestimating the Clancyverse too much.

The Glyphstone
2012-08-24, 01:18 PM
I'll take your word for it. It sounds too much like the "The Salvation War"-esque fanwankery for modern day tech, though maybe I'm just underestimating the Clancyverse too much.

TBH, I haven't read it. Its TvTropes page sounds good though, and I don't mind tech fanwankery as long as it's entertaining and well-written fanwankery.

Ravens_cry
2012-08-24, 01:55 PM
TBH, I haven't read it. Its TvTropes page sounds good though, and I don't mind tech fanwankery as long as it's entertaining and well-written fanwankery.
Unlike, at least the first half I never got to the second, of Salvation War Clancy Earth has set-backs and problems, particularly of resupply when they decide to invade the planet that invaded them right back. BT tech also has advantages, fusion power, armour, direct energy weapons, that are but slowly being teased out by Clancy-Earth R&D, it's not an overnight thing.

The Glyphstone
2012-08-24, 02:04 PM
The unfortunate part being that it is apparently a deadfic now, the brief look at the forums I took had nothing but flame wars and arguments and months since the last story post.

Asheram
2012-08-24, 02:55 PM
Well... Mecha > Tanks because Mecha is man's romance.

Ravens_cry
2012-08-24, 02:56 PM
The unfortunate part being that it is apparently a deadfic now, the brief look at the forums I took had nothing but flame wars and arguments and months since the last story post.
Ah well, it had a good run with a pretty satisfying story arc.

Philistine
2012-08-24, 08:02 PM
BS. CSJ was choosen because of Turtle Bay.

LOL no. There's not even a shred of truth in that.

Dig up a copy of Grave Covenant and turn to Chapter 11, which comprises pages 89-97. This chapter is the scene where the decision of which Clan to attack is taken, and the primary candidates considered are the Jade Falcons (built up as the early favorites) and the Smoke Jaguars (the eventual choice). A number of military and political arguments are presented - but in all that, do you know how many times Edo and Turtle Bay are even mentioned? NO times. I mean ZERO times. That is to say, Not. At. All. Not only that, but the Smoke Jags were chosen as the target to be attacked after the decision was made to utterly annihilate a single Invading Clan; if not for the Nova Cats' defection, CJF might just as easily have been the Clan chosen for obliteration.

Furthermore, consider that the Ares Conventions (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Ares_Convention) were formally abandoned even before the fall of the Star League. And remember that first the Draconis Combine, then every other Great House, violated them wholesale during the First and Second Succession Wars. That's the entire justification (weak though it is) for the technological regression of the setting! So no, no, a thousand times no: Earth-based forces violating the Ares Conventions isn't going to result in the entire Inner Sphere banding together to take down the upstart, any more than every other violation of same in the setting's history has.


Further, if Clancy-verse Earth is as much a threat as you claim in the first paragraph, it's going to get similar attention.
The whole point is that "similar attention" Is Not. Going. To Do. The Job. Not against military forces which, within the Earth's atmosphere, both outnumber (remember that these people seriously think that four to twelve 60kph vehicles are sufficient force to secure an entire planet - the English word for that is Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha) and outclass (... and their maximum weapons range is under 1km - see the previous note for the English translation) the military might of the entire Inner Sphere. And if they actually prized the ideals of the Ares Conventions as highly as you've claimed, it would be extremely unlikely that they themselves would resort to orbital bombardment. (In fact, they probably would resort to dropping rocks. In revenge. After they realize that bsically their entire armed forces just disappeared with barely a ripple.)

Rockphed
2012-08-24, 10:50 PM
So lots has been said about the huge added surface area a mech will have compared to a tank of similar mass. What if that is a desirable outcome?

Given realistic ranges for ballistic and missile weapons, the only reason to use energy weapons is if you are shooting at things in space, or they give much better damage to weight ratios and you are restricted to line of sight combat anyway. If combat were predominately in narrow, twisty canyons (or was in narrow canyons frequently enough), suddenly PPCs and lasers become much more attractive.

So, why does this matter? A mech naturally has much more surface area than a tank, meaning it has more surface area to radiate heat through. Furthermore, the energy weapons in battletech all run really hot. So, mechs, using their legs as heat sinks can run bigger energy weapons than a similarly massed tank.

Oracle_Hunter
2012-08-25, 12:04 AM
So, why does this matter? A mech naturally has much more surface area than a tank, meaning it has more surface area to radiate heat through. Furthermore, the energy weapons in battletech all run really hot. So, mechs, using their legs as heat sinks can run bigger energy weapons than a similarly massed tank.
That only matters if the mech is made out of a superconductor that can migrate the heat away faster than the spot melts (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2011-07-10). Otherwise the only "surface area" that matters is the diameter of the energy impact.

Reverent-One
2012-08-25, 01:14 AM
LOL no. There's not even a shred of truth in that.

Dig up a copy of Grave Covenant and turn to Chapter 11, which comprises pages 89-97. This chapter is the scene where the decision of which Clan to attack is taken, and the primary candidates considered are the Jade Falcons (built up as the early favorites) and the Smoke Jaguars (the eventual choice). A number of military and political arguments are presented - but in all that, do you know how many times Edo and Turtle Bay are even mentioned? NO times. I mean ZERO times. That is to say, Not. At. All. Not only that, but the Smoke Jags were chosen as the target to be attacked after the decision was made to utterly annihilate a single Invading Clan; if not for the Nova Cats' defection, CJF might just as easily have been the Clan chosen for obliteration.

Furthermore, consider that the Ares Conventions (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Ares_Convention) were formally abandoned even before the fall of the Star League. And remember that first the Draconis Combine, then every other Great House, violated them wholesale during the First and Second Succession Wars. That's the entire justification (weak though it is) for the technological regression of the setting! So no, no, a thousand times no: Earth-based forces violating the Ares Conventions isn't going to result in the entire Inner Sphere banding together to take down the upstart, any more than every other violation of same in the setting's history has.

Fair enough, it's been awhile since I've read those books.


The whole point is that "similar attention" Is Not. Going. To Do. The Job. Not against military forces which, within the Earth's atmosphere, both outnumber (remember that these people seriously think that four to twelve 60kph vehicles are sufficient force to secure an entire planet - the English word for that is Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha) and outclass (... and their maximum weapons range is under 1km - see the previous note for the English translation) the military might of the entire Inner Sphere. And if they actually prized the ideals of the Ares Conventions as highly as you've claimed, it would be extremely unlikely that they themselves would resort to orbital bombardment. (In fact, they probably would resort to dropping rocks. In revenge. After they realize that bsically their entire armed forces just disappeared with barely a ripple.)

Outnumber is one thing. But outclass is not proven. The in-game weapon ranges are explicitly stated as shortened so you don't need a dozen maps to play the game. The in-game version of modern day weapons (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Heavy_Rifle) are worse off. 4 to 12 mechs is considered enough for a smaller world, when Victor attacked New Avalon or Peter Steiner-Davion hit Tharkad, they brought far more than that. And my point was that by violating the Ares Conventions themselves, they're just prompting the IS to take the kid gloves off as well.

Wardog
2012-08-25, 11:06 AM
An open free society isn't likely to want one of them in other words.

Dictatorships will want them, but mechs are expensive and to have enough of them to make a difference will cost.
Dictatorships are not known for being rich.

But dictators are known for squandering their country's wealth on ego projects.

I can easily imagine a dictator having a bodyguard squad of mechs (to accompany his motorcade when he rolls into town). He may even have his own personal one.

And while less likely, and could also see a dictator (stupidly) giving mechs to his elite army brigades (Republican/Revolutionary Guard equivilents).

As long as they are only used to keep the populace in line (or maybe, to keep the deliberately underequipped rest of the military in line), then they may even be useful.

Just because they would go down like chumps in a real war against a properly equiped nation doesn't mean a dictatory wouldn't want or use them.

Rockphed
2012-08-25, 12:26 PM
That only matters if the mech is made out of a superconductor that can migrate the heat away faster than the spot melts (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2011-07-10). Otherwise the only "surface area" that matters is the diameter of the energy impact.

Um, I was talking about radiating the heat put off by firing energy weapons at your opponents, not radiating the heat induced in your mech by your enemy's weapons. If you can radiate heat from a laser impact faster than said impact can melt your mech, then energy weapons are useless.

tyckspoon
2012-08-25, 01:47 PM
Outnumber is one thing. But outclass is not proven. The in-game weapon ranges are explicitly stated as shortened so you don't need a dozen maps to play the game. The in-game version of modern day weapons (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Heavy_Rifle) are worse off.

Erm.. that Heavy Rifle has stats reasonably comparable to an AC/10, and actually outranges the standard model. That's still a respectable weapon even compared to 'modern' Battletech weapon stat lines.

Reverent-One
2012-08-25, 02:21 PM
Erm.. that Heavy Rifle has stats reasonably comparable to an AC/10, and actually outranges the standard model. That's still a respectable weapon even compared to 'modern' Battletech weapon stat lines.

It's closer to an AC/5 since it does 3 less damage to anything with real BT armor, and on top of that I'm showing how the game shortens ranges.

jseah
2012-08-25, 05:20 PM
Still, the idea of managing to surround the entire solar system in a spherical shell of booby-trapped satellites at any appreciable density and distance is absurd on its own level, just in terms of sheer materials needed (plus, I don't think we have enough nukes). Though that might be a fault of the fic's writers in forgetting space is 3-dimensional.


It's still a great story - I like Clancyverse and Battletech, and this is like blending two of my favorite ice cream flavors into a sundae. But there's as many holes in its premises as plenty of other crossovers and general sci-fi stories, professional or otherwise.
I just came back to this thread after reading all of the core stories. >.> Pretty cool stuff, although I have a couple of quibbles. (Fusion torch drives? Microfusion reactors? No understanding of how they work? Really? How do they even maintain the things? etc. etc.)

A point to note though is that from my single-pass high-speed read, Earth only mined the "standard" jumppoints with nukes. Apparently, despite being able to jump anywhere, everyone apart from Earth deems it too risky to jump anywhere other than the close Lagrange points (for a rather flimsy reason of "it's just not done that way")

EDIT: And yes, the Earth people totally freak out over the fact that BT engineers don't understand the theory behind the maintenance/manufacture they do. Also over the Lagrange point jumping thing.
I think the technical term in the fic is "I think I need a stronger beer".

Philistine
2012-08-26, 05:46 PM
Outnumber is one thing. But outclass is not proven. The in-game weapon ranges are explicitly stated as shortened so you don't need a dozen maps to play the game. The in-game version of modern day weapons (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Heavy_Rifle) are worse off. 4 to 12 mechs is considered enough for a smaller world, when Victor attacked New Avalon or Peter Steiner-Davion hit Tharkad, they brought far more than that. And my point was that by violating the Ares Conventions themselves, they're just prompting the IS to take the kid gloves off as well.
Sure, out of universe, "we shortened the ranges from what they ought to be to keep the game playable on a tabletop" is the official WoG reason why ranges are so short. In universe, though, that's just the latest (and weakest) of many attempts to justify the system's absurdly short weapon ranges. Weakest, because of the decades of novels which have explicitly described combat taking place at those ranges. Probably the most famous is Phelan Kell's reaction in his first encounter with the Clans, when he sees a Timber Wolf-Prime engage a pirate 'Mech and destroy it from the unthinkably long range of over 700 meters! So, yeah - in-universe, the weapon ranges really are that short. The only way around that would be to discard all the existing fluff.

Also remember, we have two critical problems with the weapons - they're light on damage as well as range. We can handwave them both, but it takes two separate applications of handwavium to do so. Or we can think about it for a change, because one simple explanation accounts for both of these effects: Battletech Weapons Are Massively Underpowered. The best part is, this explanation also fixes additional unanswered questions, like the recoil issue - because by rights, a 'Mech like an HBK (or worse, a Hunchback-IIC) cutting loose with the big 20cm should be knocked on its keister... unless said 20cm is in fact really, really underpowered by modern-day standards. So, we have one simple technological explanation which fits all the known facts and requires zero handwavium; or, we have a whole bunch of issues which each need to be handwaved separately, but which are sufficiently interconnected that every wave of the hand presents additional complications, such that each subsequent item requires more and more handwavium. One of these things makes sense; the other is just - what did you call it? Ah, yes. Fanwankery.

Finally, the "Heavy Rifle" described isn't even particularly representative of WW2-era tank armament, much less modern-day weapons - the "cannot fire alternative ammunition loads" claim is simply, absolutely wrong. Multiple types of ammunition have been standard since at least the early 1940s, as even in WW2 tanks would carry a mix of HE and AP rounds for the main gun. Today, large-caliber smoothbore tank cannon can fire the current generations of those, plus canister rounds, and even ATGMs in some cases. But what's even worse is the claim that modern-day weapons achieve "insufficient armor penetration" compared to Battletech autocannon, which is actually insane from both sides. First, DU- or tungsten-cored APFSDS rounds don't achieve enough penetration? Compared to what? The HE rounds BT ACs load up as standard? Horse apples. Second, BT weapons as a rule don't penetrate armor. At all. Oh, you have AP rounds for SRMs - and probably for autocannon as well, it's been a while since I looked -and there's a ~3% chance per hit of scoring a through-armor critical on a 'Mech's torso... but the vast majority of the time (including all of the time for head and limb damage), you have to blast every single scrap of armor off an entire location before you can start on the internal workings. That. Is NOT. Penetrating. The target's armor. Thus based on the evidence, the article's claim that Battletech weaponry is superior to modern-day armaments really is nothing but pure fanwankery. So what was your objection to the Clancyverse again?

Reverent-One
2012-08-26, 06:14 PM
Wait, you mean the details of a setting from the 80s with interstellar travel and combat primarily done by giant mechs isn't realistic? I am shocked. Your feelings on the matter change nothing. Modern day-ish tank guns are meant to be at best roughly equivalent (and all in all, somewhat inferior) to an AC/5. As for range, given that the exact same weapons fire a heck of a lot farther in aerospace combat and get magically shorter ranges once you're near ground level, either interpretation has problems with consistency, so I'll take the designers statements on the matter. And the Classic Battletech: Tactical Operations book had rules that gave basically all energy weapons with a base range longer than a small laser and ballistic weapons with a base range longer than an AC/20 a range of Line-of-sight. Just remember the MST3K mantra, it's just a game/novel series, relax.

Tavar
2012-08-27, 12:27 AM
I prefer the reason some people over on spacebattles figured for some of the unrealistic parts of the system(such as the weights):


As for autocannons, the water explanation is exactly it. B Tech armor is made of vampires, therefore the rounds use holy water as a payload to ensure maximum damage dealt.


But they have nukes too, they just don't use them for the same reasons we don't. All starting to throw around nukes would do is get both sides wiped out in a nuclear war.

Isn't the convention for Ground Based Combat only? None of the nukes in question were used on the ground, plus they were used against a pirate force, with likely mitigated things.

Also, the biggest concern with Earth's Nukes is that they have such a large number and large creation capacity.


Wait, you mean the details of a setting from the 80s with interstellar travel and combat primarily done by giant mechs isn't realistic? I am shocked. Your feelings on the matter change nothing. Modern day-ish tank guns are meant to be at best roughly equivalent (and all in all, somewhat inferior) to an AC/5. As for range, given that the exact same weapons fire a heck of a lot farther in aerospace combat and get magically shorter ranges once you're near ground level, either interpretation has problems with consistency, so I'll take the designers statements on the matter. And the Classic Battletech: Tactical Operations book had rules that gave basically all energy weapons with a base range longer than a small laser and ballistic weapons with a base range longer than an AC/20 a range of Line-of-sight. Just remember the MST3K mantra, it's just a game/novel series, relax.
Yeah....so we ignore both the fluff and the mechanics? What's left then?

Parra
2012-08-27, 02:30 AM
Yeah....so we ignore both the fluff and the mechanics? What's left then?

Well..... Mechs of course. In all their glory :smallcool:

Reverent-One
2012-08-27, 08:28 AM
Isn't the convention for Ground Based Combat only? None of the nukes in question were used on the ground, plus they were used against a pirate force, with likely mitigated things.

Just using them against a pirate force is one thing, if for no other reason than who's going to hear about it, true.


Yeah....so we ignore both the fluff and the mechanics? What's left then?

Ignoring certain fluff != ignoring all fluff. Especially when we have contradictory fluff. We're not ignoring the fluff that BT weapons have longer ranges, not ignoring the fluff that they're superior to modern day weapons, all we're ignoring are some game rules and retconning some range values in the novels.

Oracle_Hunter
2012-08-27, 08:56 AM
Ignoring certain fluff != ignoring all fluff. Especially when we have contradictory fluff. We're not ignoring the fluff that BT weapons have longer ranges, not ignoring the fluff that they're superior to modern day weapons, all we're ignoring are some game rules and retconning some range values in the novels.
This sounds like some rather intense cherry-picking :smalltongue:

Reverent-One
2012-08-27, 09:08 AM
This sounds like some rather intense cherry-picking :smalltongue:

More like going with WoG in the case of contradictory material that occurs in a setting that's been around for decades, has had dozen(s) of writers working on it, and has switched companies like 3 times. Going with "ranges are short, guns suck" is also cherry picking, just against WoG.

Oracle_Hunter
2012-08-27, 10:17 AM
Going with "ranges are short, guns suck" is also cherry picking, just against WoG.
Dunno, Philistine's quotes from the novels about combat taking place at the ranged listed in the rules books seem to collaborate that particular claim. Ditto with the low penetrating power of the guns gained from the BT rulebooks -- armor piercing shots pierce armor, not ablate it.

Do you have any actual evidence to the contrary aside from the apparent meta-note that the designers included somewhere?

Reverent-One
2012-08-27, 10:42 AM
Dunno, Philistine's quotes from the novels about combat taking place at the ranged listed in the rules books seem to collaborate that particular claim. Ditto with the low penetrating power of the guns gained from the BT rulebooks -- armor piercing shots pierce armor, not ablate it.

Do you have any actual evidence to the contrary aside from the apparent meta-note that the designers included somewhere?

To begin with, the note from the designers is all that should be needed. Still, there's also the fact that putting the same weapons on aerospace fighters gives them far longer ranges in combat between fighters (which is then shortened to the ranges of ground units whenever those same fighters attack ground units), as well as the increased range options provided in Tatical Operations. And the "penetrating" argument is at best an semantic argument over the precise wording, with the point being that "Rifle" weapons have reduced, or in some cases zero abilty, to damage mech/heavier tank armor.

Philistine
2012-08-27, 01:32 PM
The note from the designers is a real thing - I've seen it myself, though I can't immediately lay hands on it. The problem is that it's just the OOC explanation (or at least, for many, many years it was exclusively considered to be the OOC reason, with various alternatives proposed as the "official" IC rationale - apparently now people are claiming otherwise), whereas this thread from the very first post has been about looking for IC reasons why the setting is the way it is.

Worse, going with "nah, weapon ranges are really much longer" creates even more problems. Like the inverted range table for autocannon - the only way the relative ranges make sense is if all autocannons use the same propellant charge regardless of the size of the projectile fired. Which is absurd. Word of God on that topic is, We know it doesn't make sense. We did it for game balance reasons, there is no in-universe justification for it. So there's certainly precedent for just saying "Eh, the weapon ranges are short, and that's just how it is."

Another problem, and this is pretty significant on the game-mechanical end of things, is that extending weapon ranges completely invalidates some basic assumptions of the tactical minis wargame that the fluff is supposed to be describing. (Because, y'know, that's the whole reason said fluff exists.) Without a proportionate increase in mobility, long range weapons would become radically more dominant than they are. Currently, the longest-ranged weapons reach roughly twice as far as the fastest 'Mechs can run in a turn: thus the speedsters need only endure a turn or two of long-range fire before they reach their own effective range and are able to reply in kind. Even average-to-slow 'Mechs can cover 20-30 hexes in a more or less reasonable time. But multiply weapon ranges by 5 (for instance), and the balance changes. Drastically. As in, it's not even the same game anymore. Again, remember that the fluff exists to describe and flesh out the minis wargame - this isn't Star Wars where you have a body of fiction and you're trying to make game rules that fit the setting. So if you change the fluff in such a way as to invalidate the minis game, then Ur Doin It Rong.

Reverent-One
2012-08-27, 02:00 PM
The note from the designers is a real thing - I've seen it myself, though I can't immediately lay hands on it. The problem is that it's just the OOC explanation (or at least, for many, many years it was exclusively considered to be the OOC reason, with various alternatives proposed as the "official" IC rationale - apparently now people are claiming otherwise), whereas this thread from the very first post has been about looking for IC reasons why the setting is the way it is.

Of course, to do that, we first have to establish what the setting is like. Which is where the designers note comes in, as it means we don't need to determine why ranges are so short because they aren't actually so short.

Pointing out there are still problems when using "the range is longer in-universe" interpertation doesn't prove much, becuase no matter how you slice it, there's going to be technical problems with the BT universe. Whichever interperation you pick, if you try to examine the universe in detail from a realistic, scientific perspective, it explodes (I'd say implodes, but, y'know, fusion engines...). It is like Star Wars or Warhammer 40k in that it is more science fantasy than science fiction. One could say it's more realistic than either of those (or at least tries to look more realistic), but that's like saying <insert mech here> is smaller than an Overlord class dropship. The universe is held together by Word of God, which puts Word of God on the top of the heap when examining the universe.


Again, remember that the fluff exists to describe and flesh out the minis wargame - this isn't Star Wars where you have a body of fiction and you're trying to make game rules that fit the setting. So if you change the fluff in such a way as to invalidate the minis game, then Ur Doin It Rong.

Depends on whether or not you're ok with the game being an abstraction and not a literal interperation of the universe, which from the designers note, they are. You may dislike that approach (as it seems from your posts on that topic both here and in the battletech threads), but until you're part of team writing the rules, you don't have a whole lot of say in the matter.

jseah
2012-08-27, 03:51 PM
Actually, if you consider the game to be an abstraction, then one should be able to write a less abstracted form of the rules. IE. one with the proper ranges.

The point about speed vs range is one that cannot be ignored however. Unless you make speedy mechs have top speeds around those of slower planes...

Philistine
2012-08-27, 03:51 PM
Nope. "The ranges would be longer" - the actual WoG on the matter, unless it's changed recently - means something rather different from "The ranges are longer," as you keep asserting. The former equates to "Yes, we are aware that weapon ranges are ridiculously short compared to RL weapons - even compared to decades-old RL weapons. The game is what it is." The latter is just a bunch of post-hoc BS fanwankery.

And again - if you're writing fluff for a game system, and your proposed fluff completely invalidates the mechanics of the system it's supposedly describing, then your fluff is broken. It's bad fluff. It fails at the one thing it was created to do. Maybe that's why "Weapon ranges are secretly much longer" isn't, as far as I can tell, the official fluff - just your complete misreading of a designer statement that actually said something completely different.

Reverent-One
2012-08-27, 04:15 PM
Actually, if you consider the game to be an abstraction, then one should be able to write a less abstracted form of the rules. IE. one with the proper ranges.

Sure, but they don't want to make a game like that, so just because they could doesn't mean they will.


The point about speed vs range is one that cannot be ignored however. Unless you make speedy mechs have top speeds around those of slower planes...

Like I said, given the issues the exist regardless of your interpertations, that can't sink using the "ranges are longer" one.


Nope. "The ranges would be longer" - the actual WoG on the matter, unless it's changed recently - means something rather different from "The ranges are longer," as you keep asserting. The former equates to "Yes, we are aware that weapon ranges are ridiculously short compared to RL weapons - even compared to decades-old RL weapons. The game is what it is." The latter is just a bunch of post-hoc BS fanwankery.

:smallconfused:

That's just a ridiclously nitpicky interpretation of that statement that I can't agree with. And even if we go with it, it doesn't provide much support for weapon ranges must be at most 900 meters in-universe either, since it still says that such "real world" terms like 30 meters in a hex are abstractions when applied to the board game. It simply makes things very vague. And for the record, I find your continued assertions that modern day tech must be more powerful than the same tech after hundreds of years of advancement/modification to be far more fanwankery than the reverse.


And again - if you're writing fluff for a game system, and your proposed fluff completely invalidates the mechanics of the system it's supposedly describing, then your fluff is broken. It's bad fluff. It fails at the one thing it was created to do.

Again, your opinion on how exact the game mechanics should match the fluff. You're free to it, doesn't mean everyone agrees with you.

jseah
2012-08-27, 04:41 PM
^I am actually rather more inclined to believe that the ranges should be longer. I don't see lasers being at all short ranged, especially at the insane working power levels. And having a maximum range for shells at about 1km is kinda strange if you also want them to significantly damage buildings.

They do damage concrete buildings pretty well right? (I am not familiar with BT rules)


So they ought to just make a ruleset with the correct ranges. It's not like you'd need larger maps, just smaller scales (and perhaps point sized mechs), so that justification isn't going to fly.

The line up of mechs also ought to change since super-speedy mechs are ridiculous.

Reverent-One
2012-08-27, 04:48 PM
They do damage concrete buildings pretty well right? (I am not familiar with BT rules)

Yeah, they can blow **** up pretty good.


So they ought to just make a ruleset with the correct ranges. It's not like you'd need larger maps, just smaller scales (and perhaps point sized mechs), so that justification isn't going to fly.


Eh, that creates other problems. For example, it's somewhat possible to justify a single mech controlling a 30 meter hex and keeping other mechs out. Expand the size 5 or 10 times, and it doesn't really work at all. At which point you'll need subset of rules dealing with in-hex combat and movement, ect. Which isn't to say it would be impossible, but they have little reason to do so.

jseah
2012-08-27, 05:15 PM
Increase the resolution? You don't need to have hexes (or just have tiny hexes 50 meters across?) That's all implementation, not the actual rules. The same way that grid systems are implementations of rules, while the radius of fireball is not.

Like you mention (and as I see it), the rules are an abstraction of the in-game reality. A necessarily inaccurate abstraction, but it should reflect the game world.

If weapons have 20km ranges, then they ought to have 20km ranges.

Reverent-One
2012-08-27, 05:31 PM
Increase the resolution? You don't need to have hexes (or just have tiny hexes 50 meters across?) That's all implementation, not the actual rules. The same way that grid systems are implementations of rules, while the radius of fireball is not.

Like you mention (and as I see it), the rules are an abstraction of the in-game reality. A necessarily inaccurate abstraction, but it should reflect the game world.

If weapons have 20km ranges, then they ought to have 20km ranges.

Like I said to Phil, you're free to your opinion, and if you make your own game, more power to you for doing it however you like, but not everyone is going to agree.

Dead_Jester
2012-08-27, 07:00 PM
^I am actually rather more inclined to believe that the ranges should be longer. I don't see lasers being at all short ranged, especially at the insane working power levels. And having a maximum range for shells at about 1km is kinda strange if you also want them to significantly damage buildings.

Ironically, lasers are the weapons that suffer the most from distance; dispersion, moving focal point as well as things like unpredictable air temperature throughout the target distance make lasers hard to use from a distance in an atmosphere. The power level of the lasers does not affect this, but does mean that a higher powered laser should still have more power at a distance than a lower powered one.

Knaight
2012-08-27, 07:03 PM
Ironically, lasers are the weapons that suffer the most from distance; dispersion, moving focal point as well as things like unpredictable air temperature throughout the target distance make lasers hard to use from a distance in an atmosphere. The power level of the lasers does not affect this, but does mean that a higher powered laser should still have more power at a distance than a lower powered one.

As long as we are talking about ground weapons, lasers also have issues due to the curvature of the earth. Modern tanks can take shots at each other from far enough away that the curvature of the earth would prevent direct fire even if they were both on a completely flat plane, in practice there are likely hills, sand dunes, rubble, and whatever else in the way. Lasers don't do well with obstacles.

jseah
2012-08-27, 07:08 PM
We shoot artillery shells out of the sky and there were plans to do ICBM defense using lasers. They clearly have ranges more than 1km and at lower power/focal size than the BT ones.

Given that light is instant and goes in straight lines (good approximation for normal combat time and space scales), there should be no problems targeting a large laser array at 10-30km ranges apart from "weapon problems".
And a huge laser mirror is also a very good telescope.

...
Actually, perhaps a better justification for short ranges is that BT doesn't have good sensors/computers. It's not that their guns don't go that far, they certainly do. They just can't hit anything.
EDIT: or they have poor weapon mounting. Clearly a tank turret is more stable and better suited to deal with recoil than an arm cannon (assuming identical weapon specs).

holywhippet
2012-08-27, 10:53 PM
Finally, the "Heavy Rifle" described isn't even particularly representative of WW2-era tank armament, much less modern-day weapons - the "cannot fire alternative ammunition loads" claim is simply, absolutely wrong. Multiple types of ammunition have been standard since at least the early 1940s, as even in WW2 tanks would carry a mix of HE and AP rounds for the main gun. Today, large-caliber smoothbore tank cannon can fire the current generations of those, plus canister rounds, and even ATGMs in some cases. But what's even worse is the claim that modern-day weapons achieve "insufficient armor penetration" compared to Battletech autocannon, which is actually insane from both sides. First, DU- or tungsten-cored APFSDS rounds don't achieve enough penetration? Compared to what? The HE rounds BT ACs load up as standard? Horse apples. Second, BT weapons as a rule don't penetrate armor. At all. Oh, you have AP rounds for SRMs - and probably for autocannon as well, it's been a while since I looked -and there's a ~3% chance per hit of scoring a through-armor critical on a 'Mech's torso... but the vast majority of the time (including all of the time for head and limb damage), you have to blast every single scrap of armor off an entire location before you can start on the internal workings. That. Is NOT. Penetrating. The target's armor. Thus based on the evidence, the article's claim that Battletech weaponry is superior to modern-day armaments really is nothing but pure fanwankery. So what was your objection to the Clancyverse again?

Couldn't you hand wave this to some extent by assuming that armour technology in BT has outstripping weapons technology enough that AP rounds don't exist simply because they just can't make anything that will cut straight through the armour they have.

Oracle_Hunter
2012-08-27, 11:12 PM
Couldn't you hand wave this to some extent by assuming that armour technology in BT has outstripping weapons technology enough that AP rounds don't exist simply because they just can't make anything that will cut straight through the armour they have.
See, that's not a bad idea right there.

Of course, it means that you really would rather coat tanks in this stuff were it not for the inexplicable resilience of Mecha to penetrating shots.

Tavar
2012-08-28, 12:11 PM
Like I said to Phil, you're free to your opinion, and if you make your own game, more power to you for doing it however you like, but not everyone is going to agree.
Can you explain how your opinion actually deals with the topic, though? You seem to be stating that as long as you throw out the internal, in character setting logic it works fine. Well, great, but since the questions was how to make internal, in character setting logic fit, it seems just a tad beside the point.

Reverent-One
2012-08-28, 12:32 PM
Can you explain how your opinion actually deals with the topic, though? You seem to be stating that as long as you throw out the internal, in character setting logic it works fine. Well, great, but since the questions was how to make internal, in character setting logic fit, it seems just a tad beside the point.

I'm saying there is no perfect detailed explanation that can truly justify the universe, it relies too much on handwaves, and have primarily been arguing for one (flawed) interpertation over another (flawed) interpertation. Including whether certain facts even were in-character setting logic or people taking game mechanics too seriously. The discussion has changed somewhat over the course of several pages, but I still stand by previous answer to the OP's question (quoting myself since it was a bunch of pages ago).


Mechs are actually used in Battletech because they are better than tanks in that universe. Full stop. If lt_murgen is remembering correctly, this may be because myomer is much more energy effcient than tank powertrains. Or maybe not.

Ravens_cry
2012-08-28, 12:56 PM
One word. Crankshaft. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crankshaft)
If Myomer was the uber-hax, tanks would use them and convert the reciprocating motion into circular motion

Reverent-One
2012-08-28, 01:01 PM
One word. Crankshaft. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crankshaft)
If Myomer was the uber-hax, tanks would use them and convert the reciprocating motion into circular motion

Which is why I said maybe, and have said multiple times the universe isn't meant to be realistic and relies on handwaves. Though last time your point mentioned, the point was not left unchallenged.


As an engineer, I have to call out that statement. Convering linear motion to rotational is not efficient. You add extra weight compared to a linear-only system with the additional components, friction and inertia eat cycle efficiency, etc.

I'm no mechanical engineer, so I have little else to say on the matter.

Tavar
2012-08-28, 01:06 PM
So, then, you're agreeing with Philistine?:smallconfused:

Reverent-One
2012-08-28, 01:11 PM
So, then, you're agreeing with Philistine?:smallconfused:

No, Philistine is the one I was arguing with in the aftermentioned argument "for one (flawed) interpertation over another (flawed) interpertation".

Tavar
2012-08-28, 01:26 PM
No, Philistine is the one I was arguing with in the aftermentioned argument "for one (flawed) interpertation over another (flawed) interpertation".

No.....

Philistines point is that you can't make a good, IC reason for Battletech, only out of character ones.