Btech canon question

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AncientxFreako
01/18/18 05:26 PM
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Just wanting to pick some brains in here.
I'm sure I've seen it debated many times in various forums over the years...sometimes heated debates (the old mektek forums come to mind) but lately some of the players in the 'MechWarrior 3 community have been asking why LRM's in battletech only have 800 meter range. When considering the idea that missile weapons in reality can go for miles and miles...what is the actual battletech explanation for this? I could've sworn I'd seen such an explanation on a site somewhere and just can't remember it.
CrayModerator
01/18/18 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Just wanting to pick some brains in here.
I'm sure I've seen it debated many times in various forums over the years...sometimes heated debates (the old mektek forums come to mind) but lately some of the players in the 'MechWarrior 3 community have been asking why LRM's in battletech only have 800 meter range. When considering the idea that missile weapons in reality can go for miles and miles...what is the actual battletech explanation for this? I could've sworn I'd seen such an explanation on a site somewhere and just can't remember it.



Speaking as a writer who's had to fill in a lot of explanations about how things work in BattleTech...

There's no good in-universe explanation for ranges. There were some arbitrary decisions made when the game was first being hashed out over beer and pretzels in the early 1980s and they didn't fit well with even later-1980s real world weaponry. Maps were made big enough to fit into a reasonably sized box, hex grids were sized for nice wargaming minis, and 30 meters sounded big enough for a hex size. But in universe? Consider the following:

1) The same LRMs with a 630m range on a ground map have a 10,500m range in low altitude aerial combat and 360,000 meters range in space.
2) According to their space-to-space range and 60-second turns, an AC/20 is firing shells with at least 3,600m/s muzzle velocity (twice that of an Abrams' fastest shells) and probably quite a bit faster. However, when it fires at a nude, unarmed civilian on the ground, those shells disappear at 271 meters distance and absolutely cannot hit even civilian targets, who have no excuses like "built in ECM." Even with optional rules for extreme ranges, the shells still have ridiculously short ranges for their velocity.

You ain't going to find good explanations for BT's weapon ranges, especially if you try to get realistic with what 24th+ Century technology could accomplish.

There are times and places where BattleTech adheres surprisingly well to real world physics, economics, and other hard numbers. There are other times where it's just a fun game of giant, stompy robots shooting each other up.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.


Edited by Cray (01/18/18 06:04 PM)
AncientxFreako
01/18/18 06:37 PM
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I thought I'd seen an explanation somewhere that said some things about the (future) evolution of missiles' power/payload/sizes/propellant all getting to the point where the ranges become limited. In other words, that's the way they evolved over time as "battlemech" functional weapons....vs capital weapons and other, larger weapons made for larger vehicles.
Karagin
01/18/18 07:08 PM
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Depends on things as far as game play goes, table top or living room floor minus the furniture. The ranges are not realistic by any means, and some are a bit back wards, AC2 traveling further then a AC20 in real life wouldn't happen, but at the same time as I said game balance is the key.

Really no computer on a tank or anything will weigh multiple tons but in Battletech they do again it's a balance issue. At one time the idea was the Houses had based each other back to almost 1950s era technology with somethings like mechs and hovercraft and spaceships being the exception not the rule, then as the game changed it was more of well it's because of the closer ranges of almost point blank combat etc...

Yes missiles can go on for miles and miles but LRMs are similar to both tactical weapons and limited long range weapons, in that they double as both Anti-Tank or Mech weapons as well as area bombardment weapons, so they and the SRMs are more of dual purpose system.
Karagin

Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything.
Wrangler
01/22/18 08:08 AM
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I remember years and years ago, someone told me that the reasons most Battletech weaponry is so short range is the density of the weapons needs to penetrate the magic armor that came about and known as Standard Armor. That and ECM became so powerful, the weapons were dumbed down to the point that they only work in short ranges reliability.

Honestly, I've never seen or read anywhere the reasoning. Frankly, i don't think we ever will. It be nice treat if did.
When it hits the fan, make sure your locked, loaded, and ready to go!
wolf_lord_30
01/30/18 02:15 AM
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I was reading Wolves on the Border and here's a quote. Still not satisfactory though as to weapon ranges, but more on the lines of sensors.

"Minobu was 200 meters ahead of his lancemates when he came onto the smoother floor of the valley. Though his target was well within the theoretical range of his Lord’s Light PPC, he knew the targeting system’s limitations too well. It was an irony of thirty-first century warfare that incredibly powerful weapons were used at ranges that warriors of a millennium ago would have considered ludicrously short. Targeting circuitry was among the technologies lost to almost three hundred years of warfare among the five Great Houses of the Successor States."
csadn
01/30/18 04:25 AM
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There's also the realities of the battlefield. The wars against Sadaam Hussein were pretty-much "best case" for the weapons involved -- unobstructed views for *miles*. Contrast with the Ardennes, or the hedgerow country in northern France.

The same problem exists right now with Infantry Rifles: Practically speaking, an infantryman will not hit a target much past 100 meters; yet the pointy-heads in Five Sides By The Potomac *demand* rifles with ranges 4-8 *times* that.

This would explain the conundrum upthread of how the same weapon in atmosphere has a range in the hundreds of meters, and in space has a range in the tens of thousands of meters....
CF

Oregon: The "Outworlds Alliance" of the United States of America
CrayModerator
01/30/18 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Targeting circuitry was among the technologies lost to almost three hundred years of warfare among the five Great Houses of the Successor States."



Except...the 28th Century Star League, which had no technology loss, used weapons with ranges scarcely better than the Houses of the Succession Wars. The Clans, which had better technology than the Star League, had few weapons that could hit targets at 1000 meters over clear ground - conditions where good WW2 tanks could expect 50% hit rates.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.
Karagin
01/31/18 12:31 AM
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Again...table top vs the entire garage floor.
Karagin

Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything.
ghostrider
02/01/18 12:54 AM
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There is an issue here that has gone unnoticed.

Normal lrms only have a range of 630 meters. 21 hexes times 30 meters per hex.
So depending on the reference to mech warrior 3 needs to be clarified as well.
If the video game, then it is programmed wrong.
If the role playing game, someone got their math wrong.

We have had a few discussions why they are so short ranged in the game, and it seems to come down to size and weight. 120 missiles is a ton of ammo.
Using 2000 pounds as the ton, each missile comes out to a little under 17 pounds. Seems like a pipe bomb with some thrust.
Guess I really didn't think about that before, as I questioned the stupidity of it myself.
wolf_lord_30
02/01/18 03:57 PM
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I would have to say that is just a board game mechanic issue. If everything is weighed in tons to make the mech, you don't deviate from that. But you want to make it seem balanced and fair at the same time.

LRM5/10/15/20. Good numbers easy numbers.
Having limited shots to make it seem fair.
Make it long range, okay 21 hexes seems good.
Okay, now to make sure its balanced. Seems to be. Moving on to SRMs. And repeat until all the weapons seem to make sense and work in game..

I know I wouldn't worry about the real world physics and weight in this case. Do I know how much a missile weighs or how far it goes? No, I don't. Can I research it, yes. Do I care enough to make a sci fi game work with real world stats? I would say no. I am keeping it within my mechanics of the game. It is just simpler.

Is this what really happened? I have no clue, but it is how I would approach it. Of course I would have done autocannons a bit differently. Or lasers. But I didn't design it, so I get no say.

As far as the range, if they had longer ranges and spanned the whole map or maps, please see Karagin's response above. I happen to like that. MW3 probably just added range to it so you could hit further away. I would say that this is to make the video game work better. Video games need different tweaks to work than board games.
Wrangler
02/10/18 10:49 PM
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Funny thing, Herb our former Line Developer did this wonderful Experimental Technical Readout 1945. Which has real World War II era ground and air vehicles which have longer ranges (more realistic ones). It has the weapons and their Battletech equivalents in the book. Really nice product. It was originally published as a April Fools joke. DaMn good one.
When it hits the fan, make sure your locked, loaded, and ready to go!
Karagin
02/11/18 04:37 PM
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Oh you mean the one where they used the support vehicle rules to make combat vehicle and added to issue of the two rules not being fully compatible.
Karagin

Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything.
Karagin
02/11/18 04:40 PM
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I have played in games where folks have taken the given ranges and either doubled them or borrowed from Traveller for weapons range. Outcome, game was still fun, just spread out over larger area of play and took longer since movement was now doubled to keep the game from being a month long event.
Karagin

Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything.
ghostrider
02/11/18 05:08 PM
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Honestly, it would seem the developers wanted physical combat, as any thing with longer ranges would almost negate the possibility.
And they kept out any of the extremely long ranged weapons that might be as heavy as the capital weapons ammo. Granted, I do agree with one of the things cray said about a real invasion of a world. Anything in range would pound the landing site the moment they went to touch down. That would stop the game before it started.
Still seems too short of range to be a futuristic game.
Though a thought just came to mind about the original game. They may have wanted to keep from having to provide more then maps the box set came with. Anything longer, and they would not have been able to play.

Now Karagin. Is there a reason to double movement in those games?
It seems like you suggested longer ranges slowed the game down dramatically.
Was this an unlimited battle ground situation, or just everyone did the normal sit out at extreme ranges until someone screwed up, and then rushed in to exploit it?
Karagin
02/11/18 05:58 PM
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The double the movement was to keep things moving, other wise yes it would sit at extreme range and wait, kind of boring for that.

Also I 100% disagree with Cray's assertion about an invasion landing point, UNLESS you know for damn sure where it's at you will NOT be bringing everything you happen to have to bare on it. First off NO ONE lands at one point, and since we are taking about real world, if you have a coast you have to defend it, also you have to defend key areas in the interior from airborne or air assault attacks, so tell me Cray how are you going to bring your full might to bear on a single point, and not cover everything else? And are you sure what you are attack again with everything you can is the actual invasion or feint to draw you forces away from the real target. Again tactical and strategical thinking needs to be applied not hey they landed at the local beach by River City so we should all just rush there and attack them game logic or as I like to call it FASA logic similar to their one Lance or Star can defend a whole world against an enemy invasion logic.
Karagin

Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything.
ghostrider
02/12/18 10:36 PM
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He did not say you would blind fire on the area. He brought up the scenario that knowing the enemy had landed drop ships in an area, anything like artillery, missiles and even the old biplane with ordinance strapped to the wings would target the area, and never really have to send in the ground troops.
I will assume you forgot that conversation in a previous thread.
Damn. If I knew how to put of the link to the thread, I would do so. It was a while back.
He did NOT say every mobile force would respond to one point.
And it was pointed out, that in a real world, there would be camera's, eyes, sensors and almost anything else you could use to target areas in position to show just what is where.

And Cray didn't say this, but it is much like the sds systems around terra during the WOB war. I hate the shorter ranges, as well as horrible targeting systems, but there would be no game if they had them. Simple factory would be so heavily armed, even warships would not get close enough to the planet to bombard them.
What gets me is the way they try to use real life physics to say you can't do one thing, but then break that very rule with the next set of things coming out. But then this is not a new thought either.

Which does bring up the sensors. If they were anything worth a damn, you would know exactly when ground forces dropped where, with the exception of units that could fly like lams, or wiges (just to change flight paths down).
Karagin
02/13/18 12:17 PM
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He is wrong in his thinking. Unless you can get there with your forces and not leave another area unprotected, he is falling into the same thinking that ALL of the writers do, that a planet can be defended with bare minimum, which is not the case, planets are big, just because you know they landed doesn't mean you can get to them, yes you can harass them, but unless you can pin point every landing site and take them out all at once they are not going to be driven out or stopped as easy as Cray claims.
Karagin

Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything.
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