Number crunched the best 'Mechs

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08/12/19 10:22 AM

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I’ve been crunching numbers for BattleMech design, and I think I found the 12 most efficient designs. (see attachment)
1. Determine the movement speed you want your ‘Mech to travel in a turn.
2. Determine the amount of armor you want to mount

That’s it. Here’s the short version:
1mp/turn: 100 ton ‘Mech
2mp/turn: 100 ton ‘Mech
3mp/turn: 100 ton ‘Mech
4mp/turn: 85 ton ‘Mech
5mp/turn: 60 ton ‘Mech
6mp/turn: 50 ton ‘Mech
7mp/turn: 40 ton ‘Mech
8mp/turn: 35 ton ‘Mech
9mp/turn: 30 ton ‘Mech
10-12mp/turn: 20 ton ‘Mech

The funniest thing is the weights that never make the list. You should never design a ‘Mech that is 25, 45, 55, 65, 70, 75, 80, 90, or 95 tons. Those weights are worse in every way due to the construction rules (weight of engine, gyro, maximum armor allowed, etc)
There are no advantages to lighter ‘Mechs with the same max walk speed as heavier ‘Mechs. They start out with less available tonnage, they can’t mount as much armor, and they end up with less room for weapons.
For example, what is an Urbanmech? It is a ‘Mech that has a walk speed of 2, has 6 tons of armor, and 15.5 tons of weapons and equipment. If I took a 100 ton chassis, and gave it a walk speed of 2, and 6 tons of armor, it would have 70.5 tons of weapons and equipment. On top of that, the Urbanmech can only fit 2 heat sinks in the engine, while the 100 ton ‘Mech can fit 8, giving it 6 more critical slots than the Urbanmech.

Another example (this one makes me sad): AWS-8Q. Walk speed: 3. Tons of armor: 15. Available tonnage for weapons and equipment: 39.5. Any chassis heavier than 80 will do a better job, with 100 tons being the best.
One last example from the other direction: 100 ton ‘Mech with a walk speed of 4. Unless you are going to try and put more than 293 armor on the thing, you should use a lighter chassis to hold more weapons and equipment. Even a 50 ton ‘Mech going speed 4 can hold more weapons and equipment (but it could only have 11 tons of armor)

Does this all look correct?

Bonus question: 90 ton ‘Mech vs 85 ton ‘Mech. With a walk speed of 4, the 90 ton ‘Mech has the ability to mount 279 pts of armor at a cost of 17.5 tons, and the 85 ton ‘Mech can mount 263 pts of armor at a cost of 16.5 tons. The 85 tonner starts with 1.5 more free tons after engine/gyro than the 90 tonner. Assuming you wanted to max out the armor on a 90 ton ‘Mech, is the extra 16 pts of armor you are allowed to mount worth losing 2.5 tons of weapons and equipment? Attachment (59 downloads)
08/12/19 03:44 PM

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Your analysis has 2 inputs (movement speed & mech tonnage), and 1 output (left-over tonnage). The problem with making broad generalizations (like "You should never build a 70-ton or 75-ton mech") using 2 inputs is that Battletech, both the game and the universe, is far more multifaceted than 2 inputs.

(It's also quite interesting when you discovered that the 75-ton, 80-ton, and 85-ton mechs at 4/6 movement have the exact same payload, you picked the most expensive version as "efficient".)

First, C-Bills and BV. Increasing the weight of a 'Mech will increase both, even if it has the same armor and weapons. Going from a 65-ton chassis to a 70-ton chassis at a walking speed of 5 with an XLE gives you an extra 3.5 tons to work with at the cost of 2 million extra C-Bills and a bit more BV. Is a small performance increase worth the considerable C-Bill hike?

Then there's the transport issue. Dropships and Warships have a fixed amount of space in tonnage of 'Mechs they can carry. Lighter 'Mechs means more 'Mechs when you're transporting by Dropships. Exception being the dedicated 150-ton 'Mech bay that can rapidly deploy, but those are probably reserved for heavies and assaults.

Some equipment are weight or class sensitive. Jump jets and Improved Jump Jets have a weight hike after 55 tons, and another hike at 85 tons. Actuator Enhancement Systems (AES) increases in crit slots by 1 per mech class (1 for lights, 2 for mediums, etc). Drone systems increase in weight, Partial Wings both increase in weight and decrease in performance for heavies and assaults.

If I were to make a 55-ton IS Battlemech with a partial wing, 5 jump jets, 5/8 ground movement, and if I compare that to a 60-ton Battlemech with the same stuff, I would LOSE 2 tons, AND 1 MP. Even with just regular jump jets, the 55-tonner still comes out ahead by 1.5 tons. There's similar issues with taking a 3/5 85-tonner and using Improved Jump Jets and comparing it to heavier 90, 95, and 100 tonners, despite the 85-tonner allegedly being worse in every way.

Weight can matter in Urban environments. A 30-ton Urbanmech can safely jump onto most buildings without crushing them. A 100-ton Ultra-Urbanmech cannot.

If you use some of the advanced rules in Tac Ops there are small advantages and disadvantages to each 'Mech weight class. For instance, a light 'Mech is more accurate with its physical attacks, while heavies/assaults handle PSRs better.

Critical space can be a limiting factor instead of tonnage. If going heavier allows me to hide more heat sinks in the engine compartment, even though the lighter weight is more optimal in terms of tonnage, I may be able to add a weight-saving measure like Endo-Steel to offset the weight increase while keeping the weapon loadout I want.

And finally, this is just for standard fusion engines. Light and XL engines change the calculations entirely. The "optimal" 5/8 movement for an XLE would be a 70-75 tonner under your criteria.
08/12/19 06:40 PM

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Thank you for a very thorough answer.

I wasn’t concerned with C-Bills or BV. I’ll try looking at construction costs to see what I find later. I’ve tried using BV, and it is like poison and insanity. To accomplish a similar result, I looked at available tonnage because that is what you need to put armor, weapons and equipment on a ‘Mech. I was considering that more room for weapons and armor was better for the purposes of this exercise.I was looking at base tech only at this point.

There are some things that create non-linear problems, and one of those is jump jets (not considering the partial wing, that’s too advanced at this point). It is interesting that the 60-ton ‘Mech going 5/8 only has 1 additional ton to start out with, and its jump jets weight twice as much as a 55-ton ‘Mech with 5/8. Not really “fair”, but that’s part of learning the limitations of the design. I had noticed this, but forgot to mention it in my post.

I definitely picked the heaviest as the best because it has the most flexibility in armor placement. Not only does it allow more armor points total, it allows more in each section. I could decide to use the same amount of armor points as a lighter chassis, but still allow more to be placed on the arms than the lighter one, for example. Another armor consideration is that every ‘Mech has wasted tonnage if you “max out” the armor. Putting the same tonnage of armor on a heavier chassis results in more armor points for the same weight. (ex: 20 ton ‘Mech with 4.5 tons of armor only gets 69 pts, instead of 72pts like a heavier ‘Mech would get).

Dropship considerations are interesting. I remember playing MechCommander, and there were times where you had lots of drop weight you could use, but only 4 units total. Other times you could bring 12 units, but the drop weight had to be under 200 tons. It made you think. If your scenarios force the player to have to juggle information like this, it would be best if each scenario could be done to the best efficiency.

As for light ‘Mechs being able to jump on a building…That Ultra-Urbanmech could have 5 large pulse lasers, 52 heat sinks, and 17 tons of armor and still have the same walking and running speed. I know maneuverability is important, but that would be almost like an Urbanmech attacking a dropship.

I started with much more than two inputs and 1 output. The purpose of simplifying the data was to be able to generate a chart where I could look at all of the data at once. I feel like I'm on to something here. Maybe not quite there yet, but perhaps soon.

This was a fun exercise. I’m sure there are a lot of people who never noticed what I found here, and they never would have if I hadn’t done the work. I’m hoping that by looking at ‘Mech design this way, we can uncover the best design possibilities for base-tech, clan tech, and advance IS.

I’ll look into adding the following: Cost, Drop weight/# of ‘Mech combinations, jump jets, and advanced tech/clan tech.
08/17/19 10:36 PM

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I’ve updated my tables to account for cost.

Here is an example of how much better ‘Mechs can get when you optimize for speed and available tonnage.
A CGR-1A1 Charger has a walk speed of 5 and costs 7,520,370.
A 50-Ton ‘Mech can have the same armor pts (160) same weapons (5 small lasers) go faster (walk speed 6) and have more available tons for improvement (7.5 extra tons to play with) and cost less (3,870,375).
Now, I had to fudge the numbers a bit there, because the side torsos on a 50-Ton ‘Mech didn’t have room for 25 armor points, so I put 24 there and moved an extra point to each leg to keep the same 160 points.
But there are 8 other designs in between that wouldn’t even need to do that: 75-Ton (speed 5), 70-Ton (speed 5), 65-Ton (speed 5), 60-Ton (speed 5), 55-Ton (speed 5), 50-Ton (speed 5), 60-Ton (speed 6), and 55-Ton (speed 6). All of these ‘Mechs had between 1.5 and 16.5 free tons to play with, and they all cost less than a Charger as well.

The Banshee BNC-3E is another bad one. Reducing the weight to 90, 85, or 80 tons results in a cheaper ‘Mech with more tonnage left over. Same loadout, same walk speed.

I tried again with the Urbanmech, this time accounting for the price. There are a lot of better designs, but they all cost more money.

As far as I can tell, the Clans don’t use money in the traditional sense, particularly around the year 3050. I’m trying to fully implement Clan “Batchall” ideas to figure out efficiency for them, which seems to be largely based upon drop weight.

I’m working on polishing everything up. If I get this spreadsheet working really smoothly, I’ll share it with everyone.
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