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Valk controls and limitations/range of motion.

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@Shizuka the Cat , I, and others were just having an off topic discussion in the new toy thread that I really want to continue, so I thought I'd make a new thread here.  To summarize, Shizuka was turned off by the anthropomorphization of (giving human characteristics to) the robots of Transformers, to which I replied that Macross was just as guilty of that.  (Please feel free to elaborate on my summary here Shizuka). 

I went on to ask why is it that the battroid mode is limited to human ranges of motion when a) the mechanical joints are obviously capable of much more, b) it would be tactically much better to use the extended range of those joints, and c) it's not like the human pilot is using his own body as a mirrored control of this form, as it seems mostly computer controlled with general flight stick and touchscreen control with intelligent background automation? 

Are there any instances in any Macross series of a valk going beyond the human range of motion?

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Posted (edited)
 

I went on to ask why is it that the battroid mode is limited to human ranges of motion when a) the mechanical joints are obviously capable of much more, b) it would be tactically much better to use the extended range of those joints, and c) it's not like the human pilot is using his own body as a mirrored control of this form, as it seems mostly computer controlled with general flight stick and touchscreen control with intelligent background automation? 

Well, apart from the obvious bit about it being way easier on the animators to have the robot limited to a humanlike range of motion...

From an in-universe perspective, there shouldn't be anything stopping them from a strictly technical standpoint.  The VF's limbs are controlled by its integrated airframe management and control AI1 in normal operation, unless the pilot opts to take direct control of a limb for a precision task like picking up something delicate.  I would expect that the reason they're not leveraging that has more to do with mental blocks on the part of the pilot, who would naturally expect a humanoid robot to have similar limits to joint and limb motion to human joints and limbs.  Exploiting that inhuman flexibility may require a thought process that is less than intuitive.

The human-like range of motion may be more justified starting in Macross Frontier, since EX-Gear aims to make piloting more intuitive with predictive and feedback systems that produce a piloting experience similar to "wearing" the VF.

The most obvious area where inhuman flexibility would come into play would be the shoulder joint... which would probably never be leveraged by a VF since windmilling one's arms in a fight is a stereotypical little kid tactic.  (Not that we didn't see Glaugs do exactly that late in the original series.)

A sentient artificial intelligence in a giant robot body shouldn't have similar mental blocks about using its limbs in ways that would be illogical or counter-intuitive to a flesh-and-blood person.

 

 

Are there any instances in any Macross series of a valk going beyond the human range of motion?

None that leap to mind, outside of transformation-specific motions like the knees switching back-to-front or certain VFs with rear-facing guns in fighter mode having the monitor turret rotate 180 degrees during transformation.

The only mecha anime titles I can think of offhand where the capability for mecha to exhibit a greater-than-human range of motion is explicitly acknowledged is Full Metal Panic! and one of the Mobile Police Patlabor shows.  Full Metal Panic! chalks it up to the use of a semi-master slave motion trace control system, where with a sufficiently high bilateral factor the pilot could easily produce inhuman ranges of motion without having to do the same to their own body.  Patlabor had a few cases where the Ingrams were shown to have 360-degree wrist range of motion for precision tasks, though that required a certain amount of precision control.

 

 

1. The ANGIRAS AI suite on the first three generations of Variable Fighter, later replaced by ARIEL on 4th Generation VFs and ARIEL II on 5th Generation VFs.

Edited by Seto Kaiba

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I can see a human limited mental block being a limitation, but certainly not an insurmountable one, especially with manual controls.  And the rear facing guns in other modes further that point as they would most likely be using the same controls (I would assume a small thumb stick on either/both hand controls).

 

The human-like range of motion may be more justified starting in Macross Frontier, since EX-Gear aims to make piloting more intuitive with predictive and feedback systems that produce a piloting experience similar to "wearing" the VF. 

I would also argue that, with proper training and considering the human brain's plasticity, even an EX-Gear pilot could learn to use his valk in wacky, unexpected ways (which I would also argue could really screw with your enemies head). 

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I can see a human limited mental block being a limitation, but certainly not an insurmountable one, especially with manual controls. 

Possibly... the main sticking point is going to be that, in normal operation, the pilot is not exerting manual control over any of the VF's limbs.  Manual control is somewhat slow and it requires concentration on the part of the pilot, which would tend to make it unsuitable for combat conditions where the VF is going to be doing A LOT of moving.  The VF can fight a lot faster and more efficiently with the airframe control AI handling limb control and balance, leaving the pilot to just set directionality, speed, and aim.  VFs are, by necessity, heavily automated so the pilot can focus on the business of fighting.  It took Alto something like a minute, despite being familiar with both EX-Gear and VF operations, to pick up Ranka with the right hand of Gilliam's VF-25F using manual control.

 

 

And the rear facing guns in other modes further that point as they would most likely be using the same controls (I would assume a small thumb stick on either/both hand controls).

Like most other weapons, the pilot designates the target and the airframe control AI handles everything else short of actually pulling the trigger.  All the pilot has to do is decide whose day he wants to ruin and when.

 

 

I would also argue that, with proper training and considering the human brain's plasticity, even an EX-Gear pilot could learn to use his valk in wacky, unexpected ways (which I would also argue could really screw with your enemies head). 

Quite possibly.  It'd just be a matter of programming the airframe control AI for inputs that would trigger those inhuman maneuvers.

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The only instance that pops out in my mind is from Macross Zero. While Fokker is Chasing his former mentor, the enemy SV-51 engages its head like a pariscope to track Fokker. And shortly after does a crazy behind the back burst from its hand held gun pod into the canyon walls to , hopefully slow down or kill Fokker from the falling boulders.

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Saving you from some heartache about the genre.

The topic is fair game for the kind of stuff we normally gather here to discuss. Seto's eagerness to respond in detail should be consistent proof of that. I would have too by now if not for my work schedule.

The logic in your statement, while it has an element of truth to it as the non-internalized reason for things like the original poster's curiosity is basically just a conformation of tropes... but that's ultimately not the point I think. We're here because we're fans of Macross and more to the point, huge frakking nerds. We love this stuff. To avoid this over some of the other overly detailed chats we've had in this forum alone suggests any endeavor discussing internal elements of the story is pointless. I'd prefer the so called heartache to the safety of Bellisario's Maxim.

I sincerely do believe you are trying to be helpful though, so I do not mean any ill will toward you in my counter-argument.

 

The only instance that pops out in my mind is from Macross Zero. While Fokker is Chasing his former mentor, the enemy SV-51 engages its head like a pariscope to track Fokker. And shortly after does a crazy behind the back burst from its hand held gun pod into the canyon walls to , hopefully slow down or kill Fokker from the falling boulders.

This may count indeed, though I think the SV-51 monitor turret was uniquely designed with that ability too, as most VF heads can't do all the same motions.

This whole thing keeps making me think.. while Battroid is constrained a lot to humanoid movement, largely as Seto notes due to human mental blocks, the mode for the most inventive movement is the very one that isn't of any natural form: Gerwalk. It's just a halfway stage, but it's uses are rather broad and despite being somewhat bird-like it is best used for those situations where a plane is too much but a humanoid form just doesn't quite cut it.

That's in all honesty, not an answer to Pontus' curiosity. It's merely a cross-observation that the more the battroid is made to do less human-like movement, the closer it may incidentally be to just doing stuff the Gerwalk already can. Food for thought perhaps.

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Interesting point about Gerwalk.. BD’s SV-51 is in gerwalk in both of those instances I mentioned..

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Posted (edited)

Although inhuman movement are rarely depicted, please consider Alto in EXGear protecting himself and Sheryl against the Vajra in Frontier Ep.1. The EXGear correctly interprets Alto arms gesture as a defensive position AND THEN EXGear put those wings in front on him as an additional shielding.

Also consider YF-19, YF-21, VF-19, VF-22 and VF-25 hip mounted cannons. It could be argued that if your intention is to walk while firing, ARIEL would accommodate for a forward motion while swaying hips enough to point at and destroy targets.

And take into mind that VF-1 try to translate human commands into expected Zentraedi sized kind of available motions: it was the whole point of Battroid configuration.

Edited by Aries Turner

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I'd prefer the so called heartache to the safety of Bellisario's Maxim.

Given the sheer amount of forethought and ink expended on figuring out how all the tech actually works, I think Bellisario's Maxim is probably not applicable here regardless.

 

 

This may count indeed, though I think the SV-51 monitor turret was uniquely designed with that ability too, as most VF heads can't do all the same motions.

We don't know that they necessarily can't... the VF-1s in DYRL? seemed to have a rather owl-like range of motion in the neck themselves.

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Given the sheer amount of forethought and ink expended on figuring out how all the tech actually works, I think Bellisario's Maxim is probably not applicable here regardless.

 

We don't know that they necessarily can't... the VF-1s in DYRL? seemed to have a rather owl-like range of motion in the neck themselves.

it should be nearly a range of 180 degrees motion that the Gun Camera Module have (at least in battroid mode) in order for the AMS laser to work (thank you, Macross Zero for making the purpose of those head lasers specific)…

 

I was hammer you with some inane nonsense but then I thought about it: The GCM does rotate 180 degrees in the opposite direction in Fighter & Gerwalk modes. I suppose that it turns a specific direction during transformation limiting it to a hard 359 degrees? maybe that's why they did away with the positioning of the GCM in all later models: maintaining those cables must have been a pain in the arse to fix...

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(thank you, Macross Zero for making the purpose of those head lasers specific)…

Macross Plus also used those for self-defense.

SDF used those as forward firing lasers and to cut an opening through a steel door.

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it should be nearly a range of 180 degrees motion that the Gun Camera Module have (at least in battroid mode) in order for the AMS laser to work (thank you, Macross Zero for making the purpose of those head lasers specific)…

 

I was hammer you with some inane nonsense but then I thought about it: The GCM does rotate 180 degrees in the opposite direction in Fighter & Gerwalk modes. I suppose that it turns a specific direction during transformation limiting it to a hard 359 degrees? maybe that's why they did away with the positioning of the GCM in all later models: maintaining those cables must have been a pain in the arse to fix...

I wonder if the tech of Macross ever evolved past heavy and delicate hydraulics and wires for power and data transmission.  But I think I'm stepping into a quagmire under the guise of geeking out about this stuff when I'm not even really familiar with technical canons. :ph34r:

I guess I need to rewatch everything to keep an eye out for what it looks like when a valk gets an arm/head ripped off. 

Speaking of questioning Macross tech, if these things have nuclear thrusters designed for use in space, why do they need intakes at all?

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I wonder if the tech of Macross ever evolved past heavy and delicate hydraulics and wires for power and data transmission.  But I think I'm stepping into a quagmire under the guise of geeking out about this stuff when I'm not even really familiar with technical canons. :ph34r:

I guess I need to rewatch everything to keep an eye out for what it looks like when a valk gets an arm/head ripped off. 

Speaking of questioning Macross tech, if these things have nuclear thrusters designed for use in space, why do they need intakes at all?

Hydraulics are largely replaced with electromagnetic linear actuators now. The 5th gen did the most with this to the point where transformation time is so fast due to parts literally separating and reforming in fractions of a second. That said hydraulics always will have serious power in some applications.. just perhaps not VFs.

As for the engines, that's easy.. they still use intake air when flying in atmosphere. The Thermonuclear engines super heat intake air into a plasma which becomes the exhaust. This is so fuel efficient a VF can fly in atmosphere for months non stop. In space the thrust is the ramped up fusion plasma from the reaction itself and is very inefficient... but power is cheap in the future and this is why FAST packs exist until later 4th and 5th gen engines allow for reasonable space sortie times (though still very limited compared to atmospheric).

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Posted (edited)
 

I wonder if the tech of Macross ever evolved past heavy and delicate hydraulics and wires for power and data transmission. 

Well, yes and no.

Hydraulics and pneumatics have had their lunch eaten by electromagnetic actuators, because when you're casually throwing around hundreds of megawatts of electrical power why the hell not?  Power transmission kind of depends on how much juice you're trying to move.  On the one hand, you'll end up with high-voltage wiring running everywhere unless an astonishing amount of juice is needed to do something in which case we've got plasma conduits.  Data transmission by wire - fiber optic in this case - is kind of preferable given the incredible amount of EMF going on inside of a VF.  Between the high-powered radar, communications antennae of various types, the active stealth system, the EMP generators that made the energy converting armor go, the actuators, and enough high voltage wiring to barbeque most of western Europe, the last thing you'd want to do is attempt wireless radio control over EMF hell.

 

 

But I think I'm stepping into a quagmire under the guise of geeking out about this stuff when I'm not even really familiar with technical canons. :ph34r:

There's a thread for that, complete with a not-entirely-joking accusation that it was an AMA for me.

 

 

I guess I need to rewatch everything to keep an eye out for what it looks like when a valk gets an arm/head ripped off. 

A surprisingly infrequent occurrence... things tend to get blown off instead.

 

 

Speaking of questioning Macross tech, if these things have nuclear thrusters designed for use in space, why do they need intakes at all?

It's all about fuel efficiency.

By using the waste heat of a thermonuclear reaction to heat intake air in a turbine made out of super-tough materials, you can create astonishingly high pressure in the engine and thus incredible amounts of thrust with a surprisingly small amount of fuel.  This is, in fact, Truth in Television according to NASA who estimate that powered a turbine engine using a fusion reactor can get you fuel efficiency in the vicinity of almost 90,000 kilometers on a single kilogram of fuel.  The engine's propellant is the very atmosphere you're flying through.

Rockets, on the other hand, are extremely inefficient but powerful means of getting around.  You can't leverage outside propellant, so all the reaction mass you're flinging out of the back of the engine has to be kept aboard the vehicle, leading to a delicate balancing act regarding the mass of the craft and its fuel vs. the amount of fuel you need to get where you want to go.  It's the delicate calculus of modern space flight.  You have to lift not just the vehicle, but the enormous amount of fuel you're burning to get the vehicle aloft.

So, where a VF in atmosphere can fly for almost a month between tank-ups by using the gravitational field of its reactor to repeatedly pinch the fuel and keep fusion going without needing to keep dumping fresh fuel into the reaction and thus achieve hilariously low fuel consumption on the order of 0.28mL/sec by using air as propellant, in space you've got to fling plasma from the reactor out the back of the engine as propellant like a Star Trek impulse engine, which is burning your fuel supply exponentially faster.

Edited by Seto Kaiba

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The only instance that pops out in my mind is from Macross Zero. While Fokker is Chasing his former mentor, the enemy SV-51 engages its head like a pariscope to track Fokker. And shortly after does a crazy behind the back burst from its hand held gun pod into the canyon walls to , hopefully slow down or kill Fokker from the falling boulders.

I don’t think this really counts.  That was Gerwalk for one thing and reae facing cameras are normal on cars today.  Plus, while not recommended, you could concievably fire a rifle over your sgoulder behind you if you wanted to.  It’s not an excuse nconceivable or unnatural motion, though you’d likely knock yourself out with a real gun.

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Posted (edited)

Firing a rifle. Over your shoulder ,behind your back with one hand is pretty difficult to pull off and not something soldiers are trained to do. In fact , would be scoffed and laughed  at for attempting to employ that as a combat technique.  It’s not ergonomically plausible. Possible yes, but as you said , would probably result in knocking oneself out. With mecha, different story. 

Notice the scene I’m talking about the gun pod is fully supported in one hand , not resting on anything else for support. And the gun pod is fired in a seeeping motion. For a sustained time. 

Yes , it’s gerwalk but I don’t see anything preventing this in battroid, iirc, the same joints and pivots are accessible for the arms in both modes..

Granted. BD Ivanov is an exceptional pilot and can make his Valkyrie do things most pilots cannot do with their SV-51 (or VF-0 for that matter!). Nevertheless, the machine is capable.

About the “rear facing camera “ thing. The scene right before that , the sv-51 head pops off the body and periscopes over the cover ivanov is behind. It’s at least a few meters. I’m not referring to valks being able to look behind them..

Edited by Bolt

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Posted (edited)

AFAIK, Battroid mode doesn't entirely match what you would do, but rather what you intend to do.

You can force yourself to a certain gait while walking, but most of the time you are not minding what foot you are advancing, left or right, you only have the destination in mind. Battroid is supposed to work that way all the time, with rare events where precise motion is required, and even that is sometimes made with inhuman extensions, like VF-1 "magic hand", a set of two to four precision tools in each forearm.

Moreover, only two Valkyries where ever depicted aiming a rifle the way a human would do: the VF-25G and a VF-171 in a flashback scene. All others are using FCS where the aim-point is calculated using a sensor embedded in every gunpod.

Edited by Aries Turner
Grammar

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1 hour ago, Aries Turner said:

AFAIK, Battroid mode doesn't entirely match what you would do, but rather what you intend to do.

You can force yourself to a certain gait while walking, but most of the time you are not minding what foot you are advancing, left or right, you only have the destination in mind. Battroid is supposed to work that way all the time, with rare events where precise motion is required, and even that is sometimes made with inhuman extensions, like VF-1 "magic hand", a set of two to four precision tools in each forearm.

The slightly amusing part is that, the way it's described, a Battroid maneuvers almost like a First Person Shooter video game.

The pilot is setting direction, posture, speed, and so on but pretty much all the actual fussing over how to achieve that is done by the airframe control AI.  Aiming is handled by optical pointing instead of mouselook, but it isn't all that different in principle.

 

1 hour ago, Aries Turner said:

Moreover, only two Valkyries where ever depicted aiming a rifle the way a human would do: the VF-25G and a VF-171 in a flashback scene. All others are using FCS where the aim-point is calculated using a sensor embedded in every gunpod.

Exactly why the VF-171AS and VF-25G do that isn't clear... the SSL-9 Dragunov 55mm railgun has an independent sensor tied into the FCS in addition to the enhanced optical sensors mounted in the monitor turret.  They shouldn't need to assume the same firing posture as a human marksman.

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7 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

 

Exactly why the VF-171AS and VF-25G do that isn't clear... the SSL-9 Dragunov 55mm railgun has an independent sensor tied into the FCS in addition to the enhanced optical sensors mounted in the monitor turret.  They shouldn't need to assume the same firing posture as a human marksman.

Storytelling.  Kawamori-san is very particular on certain things (E.g.: even the (main/sub-/enemy/etc.) mecha silhouettes all have to look different).

In this case, it's an instantly recognizable pose that tells the viewer what the character is doing (in this case: we aren't looking at just anyone.  We're looking at a sniper! [← even this term is Kawamori-approved.  You, I, and he all know they're called "precision shooter".  But the layman doesn't, and he visually designs his shows for them.])

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8 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

They shouldn't need to assume the same firing posture as a human marksman.

I thought that happened because of the thinking caps!

 

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12 minutes ago, JB0 said:

I thought that happened because of the thinking caps!

... ... ... 

 

30 minutes ago, sketchley said:

Storytelling.  Kawamori-san is very particular on certain things (E.g.: even the (main/sub-/enemy/etc.) mecha silhouettes all have to look different).

Well, yeah... that much is obvious.  I was talking more from an in-setting technical perspective.

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21 minutes ago, Seto Kaiba said:

Well, yeah... that much is obvious.  I was talking more from an in-setting technical perspective.

Well, we are watching an in-universe fictional representation of historical events.  We'll have to ask the in-universe director why. :lol:

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On 3/24/2019 at 12:03 AM, sketchley said:

Well, we are watching an in-universe fictional representation of historical events.  We'll have to ask the in-universe director why. :lol:

No end of trouble from that director Yawamori guy, eh? :p 

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