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What would be the practical mech of the future?

Mechs like MechWarrior
Mechs like Armored Core, Gundam, etc.

Author Topic: What would be the practical mech?  (Read 14291 times)

Offline NUMBERZero

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What would be the practical mech?
« on: May 08, 2010, 09:53:47 AM »
We've seen our fair share of mechs in the fantasy world. But if they were to be implemented into our future military, which type would be more practical?


As far as I can tell, there are two types:

MechWarrior/BattleTech style. Big, tough, and pack reasonable weapons. Weapons are not hand held, but are put into specific areas of a mech, i.e. missiles go into missile racks, etc. Controls are conventional joystick and throttle with a whole bunch of do-hickies.

Gundam, Armored Core, etc. style. These are extremely fast, even the large mechs. They are able to skim the ground with small thrusters, increasing their speed dramatically compaired to walking. They are also able to fly. They have special hardpoints for balistics, missiles, and lasers. They also have hands that can grip supersized guns and even laser swords. Sometimes, they can use ungodly superweapons. Controls are not conventional, but rather link with the pilot's mind.


What would be the practical mech of the future?




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Crash

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010, 06:46:58 PM »
Cool topic!
I think at first you'd have to produce something akin to your first group; effectively a walking tank with rocket launchers etc. built-in. I think it would also be tank-like in the sense that it would require a crew of more than one to manage weapons, torso/head/arm movement as well as directional movement across terrain.

However, it makes sense to me that you would aim to then go on to produce a vehicle belonging to the second group; one that had such automation and perhaps even fly-by-thought to reduce the crew to one.
Also, once these machines became prolific it would make sense to have upscaled hand-held weapons. This would make your machines easier equip mission-specifically and the further advantage is being able to resupply in the field by picking up an enemy's of fallen comrade's weapon. Hands would allow the machine to carry out a far greater range of tasks than just combat as well.

... Although I think the main reason is the increase in maneuverability. A warhammer-like plodding behemoth is all very well but there's no reason to expect that our ability to protect against damage will develop faster than our ability to inflict it. All it takes is one well-placed shaped-charge to disable even a Chobham-armoured Challenger-II main battle tank. So it's obviously preferable to have a more athletic, agile machine that could do on a larger scale everything that a human can. Even then such a machine could still be extremely durable. You wouldn't lose very much protection given that the bodies of an Apache Gunship can endure 28mm-caliber fire and an A-10 Thunderbolt cockpit can shield its pilot from 30mm fire, while the aircraft can have substantial amounts of itself destroyed and still remain operational.

That's what I reckon anyway from watching a little too much of the Gundam franchise and a good few others.

Offline Sapphirus

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2010, 09:56:41 PM »
My choice would be like Mechwarrior/Battletech.

I do also love flying mechs (like from Gundam, Robotech, etc.) but I decided to go for GroundPounders type of mechs.

BTW, NZ,
this poll just made my day.
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Offline Matthew

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2010, 05:41:18 PM »
Well I don't see why you'd need more than 1 pilot. With computerized controls a single pilot should be able to control it just as in the mechwarrior games.

Crash

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2010, 06:59:00 PM »
Oh yeah, in the future that probably would be less of a problem but if you were going to go about building it today, there's no way of making a computer 'guess' what supporting functions you want to carry-out in battle.
Otherwise you'd have a tank or a warship with one person controlling the whole thing.

At the end of the day, an Abrams M1 still has 4 people to run it when you have a games that control tanks with just a keyboard and a mouse. (That brings back memories of playing Recoil)

If you think of the complexity of a modern-day jet fighter's controls... that's just an aeroplane. A fully articulated robot would be almost impossible to control via one-person without some real thought going into it.

Even Gundam sometimes shows that mobile-suits are just too much for even trained people to handle without genetic engineering or prohibitively complex software.

Avatar had a good idea where the robots were controlled by scanning the movements of their pilots and then mimicking them. That seems good up to a point but something slightly bugs me about it. What would happen if you needed to throw a switch? It would have to emulate that as well, assuming that you had to pull an 'imaginary' the trigger to fire the gun.

Offline D2Disciple

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2010, 08:15:14 PM »
What's practical? Definitely the Armored Core/Gundam style mechs. I mean, what's not practical about flying, superpowered mechs being controlled by a pilot's mind? I mean, if you think like a ninja, then you'd fight like a ninja. In a gargantuan mech. You'd be like a fifty-foot Chuck Norris in that sucker. You win.  ;)

What's more feasible? The Mechwarrior/Battletech style mechs. In fact, I've often wondered if the military has ever played with this idea before - if done properly, I could realistically see something much like a Mad Cat Mark II being produced for military purposes due to it's all-terrain movement and high weapons capacity. Cost efficiency is probably much lower than your standard tank, though.  :-\
I, for one, hope this is much, much more than a reconnaissance mission.

Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2010, 05:39:07 AM »
Actually AFAIK there is an 8-legged tank in development with a planned finish date of... oh, 2050ish.
So basically we are going to get our mechs, but it won't be either AC/Gundam or Battletech style anytime soon. :P

Although I do feel Battletech mechs are more feasible.
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Offline Scyphi

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2010, 06:08:09 AM »
Would I be breaking the rules to mention a few Descent bots? 'Cause I think that with a few tweaks a lot of those would have practical uses too. :)
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Offline -<WillyP>-

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2010, 07:20:52 AM »
yeah, especially for mining or destroying Pyros. I mean, how many mech's have diamond tipped claws?
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Offline NUMBERZero

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2010, 04:55:05 PM »
I suspect that the battle armors from MechWarrior had diamond tipped claws. Those need to slice through battle mech armor, so diamond would be the reasonable thing to use since you need to take down something so large.

IDK if it is made out of diamond or not. It's just a guess.
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Offline SaladBadger

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2010, 05:17:20 PM »
I've worked out concepts for a giant Hill Gigas mech (based off the Final Fantasy II ones), and honestly it'd be more gundam-like. The thing would be so complex control via joysticks or other things would be feasable.

Offline Sapphirus

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2010, 06:23:07 PM »
@NZ
You know that In Battletech that mechs can punch, kick, and even slice with either Axes (Hatchets) or Swords, but too bad they didn't include those in the Mechwarrior PC games.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2010, 06:25:00 PM by SapphireWolf »
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Offline NUMBERZero

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2010, 06:40:11 PM »
True, I saw that in some of the BattleTech cartoons on YouTube. That would have been nice to have instead of running out of ammo for my ballistics and missiles and having to tell my idiots, I mean, lancemates to take care of everyone.
"I hate not being able to move in three dimensions. Cramps my style." -Cpt. Jack "Heartbreak One" Bartlett (Ace Combat 5)

Offline Scyphi

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2010, 11:55:34 AM »
Quote from: WillyP
yeah, especially for mining or destroying Pyros. I mean, how many mech's have diamond tipped claws?

Don't forget carrying things around, dropping mines, and ordering other bots around. ;)

And actually, I think only the Old Scratch from D3 and the Diamond Lifter from D2 were the only bots that were confirmed to have diamond plated claws. The Medium Lifter from D1 doesn't count, because it has tungsten claws. ;)

See, I actually take the time to read the mission briefings when playing. :P
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Offline Sapphirus

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Re: What would be the practical mech?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2010, 01:02:09 PM »
Guys, this thread is about Piloted Giant Bots (Mech/Mecha), not conventional Robots (e.g. Descent Robots, Transformers, etc.)
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