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Plasma Pistol

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 12:29 am 
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Here I go again, hijacking this thread. :(

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I draw a pretty big distinction between powered armor and what equates to an Appleseed Landmate or Tau battlesuit.
Powered armour is simply worn, while the landmate or battlesuit are closer to being 'piloted' or 'driven'. They're more or less one-man bipedal armored fighting vehicles, while power armored troops are heavy infantry.

Huh. I know the Tau Battlesuits are piloted, the operator is seated in a cockpit wholly contained within the suit's torso - or at least that's the way some artwork or conversion I once seen depicts it. I'm not even sure if it's official, but, with the way those suits are configured, there's no way it really could be different. So they're in fact what I call, after some anime, battlemovers, and not powered armor. But Appleseed Landmates are different. They're so big the operator's legs only reach to about their knees, and he needs those interface glove second pair of arms (IMHO the most ingenious and functional solution to operating the arms of a big battlesuit), but he still in essence wears the suit. Landmates move by following the operator's body movements instead of being operated by cockpit controls, so, at least in my world, that makes them powered armor without doubt. Of course with their size rules-wise it may make sense to count them among small vehicles instead of infantry.

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In my rules, powered armor is covered by the normal infantry rules, and anything big enough to carry its operator's dead-weight is covered by vehicle rules, much of its performance statistics being detached from the pilot's.

What do you mean by "carry its operator's dead-weight"? I'm not sure how to understand that. I always imagined (because of CP2020 powered armor design rules) that a suit of PA does carry the pilot's weight. When the pilot just stands around, it's the suit that supports him almost completely (instead of, e.g. the suit supporting only itself leaving the pilot to use his own leg muscles to stand), so a person wearing PA can stand up for hours and hours on end without their legs getting tired, and the same goes for any other physical activity. The pilot becomes winded much slower, when operating powered armor fatigue comes mainly from different factors (like enclosement, heat and unscratchable itches :D ). As I understand it, most of a Landmate's performance statistics are still dependant on the pilot, just like any other powered suit’s - how fast it can run depends ultimately on how fast the pilot's legs can pump, reaction time is also dependant mainly on the pilot, with the suit just providing a (usually negative) modifier. It's just the strength that comes from the suit - it does not matter if it’s worn by a world champion weight lifter or a whimpy, anorectic office worker, they can both bench-press a car in it. :D

But I guess all that is just difference in our personal visions of powered armor.

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"When it's done." :P
I may distribute the Plausible Deniability rules file when I update it to beta 1.7, but if you have any questions about how things work or if there's anything you want me to try and make sense of, just ask.

I’ll compile a list of queries and get back to you. Should I make it a PM?

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 5:07 am 
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As far as mass-reactive warheads, another simple way to make certain your round is inside something when it explodes is to give it a 1/4-second delay between impact and explosion. The US Military used to have rocket propelled "bombs" called durandils (misspelled, I'm certain) that had a 1/2-second delay. When they were dropped, they'd point themselves at the ground before the rocket motor fired up, accellerating them toward the target. When they hit, they'd penetrate 2-3 meters before eploding. They were primarily designed for breaking up concrete or destroying bridges.

Now for a bolter round, you might need a much shorter fuse. a quarter second could have the round clear through a lightly armored trooper and be 50 ft behind him before it explodes. So you probably need a 1/20th of a second delay, or something like that (haven't done the math)

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 3:57 pm 
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I think any good bipedal armoured fighting vehicle design would use the pilot's own movements to control it where possible, though I don't see that being practical with a landmate sized suit with its external master arms.
I think the external master arms would be a good way of controlling a large set of robotic arms, but the master arm design used on the landmates is pretty poor. It creates huge shot traps where you least want them, and makes the armour thinnest and leaves the pilot most vulnerable where you least want it. Same goes for the front-loading design, which almost without fail, always seemed to get the front hatch ripped off whenever Deunan saw combat. Plus, if the suit falls over it's quite likely the master arms would be crushed. And finally, having closely studied anatomy and the master arm configurations on numerous landmate illustrations and cutaways, as depicted, a person just wouldn't fit into the system, and if they did, they'd likely get their shoulders dislocated.
Maybe you could have a master/slave arm system rigged up to more static controls inside the crew compartment, but for a combat model, I don't see the external master arm system ever being practical.

That being said, with a unit of the size, weight and complexity of a landmate, even with their best efforts to make the controlling of the suit intuitive, I doubt it would ever be as easy as simply as slipping into it, moving around and interacting with your environment as though it's a second skin.
With an advanced suit of powered armour, I think that's just the end result you'd be aiming for. You're standing on your feet, your holding things with your hands, and you're using your normal movements to interact with everything. You'd just have a somewhat restricted range of movement, armoured gauntlets on your hands and platform shoes on your feet.

Kathara Khan wrote:
What do you mean by "carry its operator's dead-weight"? I'm not sure how to understand that. I always imagined (because of CP2020 powered armor design rules) that a suit of PA does carry the pilot's weight. When the pilot just stands around, it's the suit that supports him almost completely (instead of, e.g. the suit supporting only itself leaving the pilot to use his own leg muscles to stand), so a person wearing PA can stand up for hours and hours on end without their legs getting tired, and the same goes for any other physical activity. The pilot becomes winded much slower, when operating powered armor fatigue comes mainly from different factors (like enclosement, heat and unscratchable itches :D ).

That would all depend on the particulars of the powered armour.
In its most basic form, I envision powered armour doing nothing more than supporting its own weight, so that it does not encumber the wearer. From there, you may have different levels of strength enhancement, speed increases, leaping ability, etc., and I'm sure at some point the armour would be strong enough to carry and move an 85 kilogram wearer without them contributing anything. Perhaps the first practical use of such technology we may see will be in exoskeletons to allow quadriplegic people to stand up and walk.

So what I mean when I say carry the operator's dead-weight, is that the pilot isn't contributing anything to the system's movement and support, other that controlling its movements. So if the wearer strength at least helps move anything interacted with, I'd call it powered armour, and if the suit does all the work I'd call it a bipedal armoured fighting vehicle.
But I suppose that creates a situation where you may well have a figure-hugging minimalist exoskeleton that completely supports the wearer, but isn't at all large or bulky.
To put it another way, if the wearer could conceivably move in the suit when it isn't powered, I'd call that powered armour, and if the suit is so big and heavy and bulky that the operator would essentially be trapped inside it if it wasn't powered, I'd call that a bipedal armoured fighting vehicle.

Kathara Khan wrote:
As I understand it, most of a Landmate's performance statistics are still dependant on the pilot, just like any other powered suit’s - how fast it can run depends ultimately on how fast the pilot's legs can pump, reaction time is also dependant mainly on the pilot, with the suit just providing a (usually negative) modifier. It's just the strength that comes from the suit - it does not matter if it’s worn by a world champion weight lifter or a whimpy, anorectic office worker, they can both bench-press a car in it. :D

I can recall Mr Shirow talking about how if the operator of a landmate is slow, the landmate will be relatively slow as well, since it's just replicating their movements at a slightly larger scale. But, I can also recall him talking about landmates having different 'riding modes' or 'gears', which would determine the speed and type of movement, which to me sounds like a contradiction.
So if it is capable of carrying the pilot's weight, and moving faster than the pilot can tell it to move by moving his/her legs, it would be silly to limit it to that speed, when it can manually or automatically 'change gears' to be faster or slower.
In my rules, a bipedal armoured fighting vehicle replaces the pilot's movement and strength characteristics, obviously replaces their resistance to being damaged, and uses their ranged combat, close combat and initiative, and gives them a bit of a morale boost, but they're all modified negatively if they're not a properly trained pilot.
Whereas powered armour is entirely dependent on the wearer's statistics, positively or negatively modifying them.

I made rules for landmates by the way, several years ago. As well as Ghost in the Shell Think Tanks, ED-209 and Robocop-2. :P

Kathara Khan wrote:
I’ll compile a list of queries and get back to you. Should I make it a PM?

May as well post it as a new topic in the RPG section, so that that part of the forum actually gets some use.

Adoni-Zedek wrote:
Now for a bolter round, you might need a much shorter fuse. a quarter second could have the round clear through a lightly armored trooper and be 50 ft behind him before it explodes. So you probably need a 1/20th of a second delay, or something like that (haven't done the math)

Hmm. If the bolt is travelling at about 875 metres per second, and we want it to blow up about 100mm into the target, and we assume the target doesn't effect the velocity that much, I think somewhere around a 0.0001 second delay would be in order.
But yeah, I think a delayed fuse would be a lot more practical than some kind of 'mass-sensing' one.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 3:15 am 
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RobbieBuckshotLaFunk wrote:
I think any good bipedal armoured fighting vehicle design would use the pilot's own movements to control it where possible, though I don't see that being practical with a landmate sized suit with its external master arms.
I think the external master arms would be a good way of controlling a large set of robotic arms, but the master arm design used on the landmates is pretty poor. It creates huge shot traps where you least want them, and makes the armour thinnest and leaves the pilot most vulnerable where you least want it. Same goes for the front-loading design, which almost without fail, always seemed to get the front hatch ripped off whenever Deunan saw combat. Plus, if the suit falls over it's quite likely the master arms would be crushed. And finally, having closely studied anatomy and the master arm configurations on numerous landmate illustrations and cutaways, as depicted, a person just wouldn't fit into the system, and if they did, they'd likely get their shoulders dislocated.
Maybe you could have a master/slave arm system rigged up to more static controls inside the crew compartment, but for a combat model, I don't see the external master arm system ever being practical.

That being said, with a unit of the size, weight and complexity of a landmate, even with their best efforts to make the controlling of the suit intuitive, I doubt it would ever be as easy as simply as slipping into it, moving around and interacting with your environment as though it's a second skin.

... I hate you, Milkman Dan. :D (I've been dying to use that phrase sometime).
But seriously now, all very true I guess. But I still like the way they look and I'll keep using it that way. That's just another example of me drawing my personal line beyond which realism and logic gets in the way of my fun too much for me to accept (in a gaming/viewing context at least). Call me stupid if you want to (shrug). Still, I know the difference between fantasy and reality, and I like knowing such things (I had my own suspicions about Landmates). I can then spread silliness knowingly (much better than spreading it unknowingly - much more satisfying :D ). I think there is a difference between ignoring logic entirely and just putting it by the wayside for the sake of a few fun hours...

RobbieBuckshotLaFunk wrote:
So if the wearer strength at least helps move anything interacted with, I'd call it powered armour, and if the suit does all the work I'd call it a bipedal armoured fighting vehicle.
(...)
To put it another way, if the wearer could conceivably move in the suit when it isn't powered, I'd call that powered armour, and if the suit is so big and heavy and bulky that the operator would essentially be trapped inside it if it wasn't powered, I'd call that a bipedal armoured fighting vehicle.

I personally wouldn't really bother with such distinctions (I think it's a fluid scale rather than a rigid division), unless I felt it was strongly justified from a game mechanic point of view.

Anyway, I see now how you do things and I could work with that. You certainly have it all thought out - more then can be said about me. :D

RobbieBuckshotLaFunk wrote:
I made rules for landmates by the way, several years ago. As well as Ghost in the Shell Think Tanks, ED-209 and Robocop-2.

I suspected it, actually. I still have the Hecatonchires Cyborg you posted on HotH somewhere on my HD. I'd be interested to see how you handled the rest, even if, obviously, lacking a proper rules context I don't get everything. Which leads us to...

RobbieBuckshotLaFunk wrote:
Kathara Khan wrote:
I’ll compile a list of queries and get back to you. Should I make it a PM

May as well post it as a new topic in the RPG section, so that that part of the forum actually gets some use.

I'll do that.

Adoni-Zedek wrote:
As far as mass-reactive warheads, another simple way to make certain your round is inside something when it explodes is to give it a 1/4-second delay between impact and explosion.

Doy! (slaps forehead) The simplest, most obvious solutions are the best, and most frequently overlooked, aren't they?

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How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.


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