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Seto Kaiba

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    Auburn Hills
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    Anime (duh), Antique Firearms, Cryptography, Mechanical Design

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  1. Dial the snark back, mate... it's in under-bridge territory right now. It's not like the design staff at Tatsunoko's in-house design group Ammonite weren't trying to do a good job. Designing a mecha that transforms while still looking slick in each of its modes is ridiculously hard and requires a very specialized skill set and mindset they didn't have. It's noted in one of the few interviews they did on the series that work on designing the Spartas's transformation alone took Ammonite's three professional anime production designers a whopping THREE MONTHS to resolve despite being fairly basic. There's good reason Kawamori is one of the few designers out there who makes transformation design their specialty. It would, in all fairness, be accurate to say that the designs were not well-received either in Japan in its initial/only broadcast and abroad as part of Robotech. ... snark aside, kinda? More like driving a cheap convertible with no seatbelts. When the emigrants found Glorie, it was basically analogous to Hoth from Star Wars V: the Empire Strikes Back... albeit as the result of a nuclear winter. If you take Wookieepedia seriously, it's still mostly in Hoth territory in winter (daytime temps at the equator on Hoth supposedly reach a balmy -32C, eight degrees warmer than Glorie's winter average) and is basically in American Northern-Midwest winter mode in Spring and Autumn. In Earth terms, it's kind of like driving a convertible in the antarctic three seasons out of four. It's only in summer that Glorie really becomes a not-unpleasant place to live. That, in and of itself, is kind of rare in sci-fi. You normally see humans only attempt to settle on planets that are conveniently so Earthlike they resemble central California. 😜
  2. Wait, what? Since when were the other eleven Constitution-class ships lost? IIRC, the official line on the Enteprise-A was that she was one of Enterprise's sister ships that was rechristened for the purpose. Gene Roddenberry's original explanation for how the Enterprise-A was available so quickly after the original's loss was that she was a rechristened, previously-decommissioned, Yorktown. Some unofficial works claimed she was originally named Ti-Ho. EDIT: IIRC, Gene Roddenberry's original plan for Jean-Luc Picard's old command, the Stargazer, was for her to also be an old Constitution-class ship.
  3. There is that, yeah... though the fleet flagship that became Gepernich's home base was the centerpiece of that defensive strategy, with eight Macross Cannons and gigatonnes of thermonuclear ordnance to make branch fleets "go away".
  4. Eh... according to Southern Cross's creators, it's definitely a tank: The Spartas's "Sniping Clapper" mode (hover mode) is a high speed light tank. "Walker Cannon" mode (the gerwalk-analogous mode) is an anti-aircraft piece. "Battle Sniper" mode is an infantry combat mode. One of the glaring holes in the development of Southern Cross is that it's never really explained why there is a standing army in the first place when the whole reason they had to abandon Earth was a world war that destroyed the planet's ecosystem so badly it couldn't support life anymore and why they're armed with giant robots when there's nothing on Glorie they'd need them for. Mind you, the Spartas has a multiply-referenced design flaw in that its open cockpit also lacks restraints for the crew. On at least two occasions people are flung from a moving Spartas due to clipping terrain or a nearby explosion. It also leaves the pilot and controls exposed to the weather, which on Glorie was not exactly nice. According to the show's creators, Glorie was in the closing phases of an ice age when humanity found and started terraforming it and it's actually quite nasty with the temperature hovering around the freezing point most of the year (-5C/23F in autumn, a balmy 2C/36F in spring) dipping down to -40C/F in winter and shooting up to over 40C/104F in summer. And that's at 40 degrees latitude... so imagine that being the norm in Kansas if we were talking about Earth. Robotech also acknowledged this rather glaring issue in its own material on it, but omitted the extreme weather in favor of just mentioning that weather in general tends to make the pilot's life unplesaant. It doesn't, but needs must as the devil drives... and they had to get over 65 episodes somehow. Robotech's attempt to justify it, as I've mentioned in previous posts, was that the Southern Cross Army was basically the dumping ground for the personnel its leadership felt were least likely to be missed on the front lines of an actual conflict. It was what happened to you if you didn't make the cut for the real military - the Expeditionary Forces - and got told you had to stay home and mind the house while the grownups were away. Post-2001, Harmony Gold's official setting took it even further by establishing that the leadership of the Southern Cross Army was just as inept as its rank-and-file soldiery, that the top brass were holding an idiot ball the ENTIRE war because their leader was an absolute xenophobe (and onetime terrorist), and that their equipment was entirely subpar because the brass were so salty about being left behind that they refused to use the same equipment as the UEEF and developed their own with inferior resources as a result. (Now consider that in both versions of the story, 15th Squad is considered a dumping ground for problem soldiers even by those standards... they're basically Delta House, but in uniform.) Color me surprised... normally, as in "almost invariably", it's legal holding up the show. I remember their marketing chief having to beg to be allowed to use social media so that he could get news out in a timely manner. It is. It really is. You can count the number of highly vocal defenders of the Masters Saga... well... "on one hand" might be pushing it, but you're definitely not going to need all ten fingers. Unfortunately there also seems to be a very close correlation between how vocally one defends the Masters Saga and how overall toxic they are as a fan, with a lot of that group's members having been banned from many Robotech fansites and Facebook groups for their tendency to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. Doesn't stop me from trying to help them with their translation requests, even though I don't really get along with most of them. Mind you, they do occasionally make a good point... but even Harmony Gold generally turns a blind ear to their theories. (The UEEF is nowhere near as big as many Robotech fans believe it is, based on OSM and RTSC sources it was only ever about 600 ships in total, most being small escort warships with crews barely large enough to be a side in a football match. The entire return fleet modeled in the RTSC animation was only 395 ships, only 31 of which being large warships.) (It does not help that even Southern Cross's creators are pretty down on the Southern Cross Army as a whole, with what little coverage the series officially got typically taking the time to mention how ineffectual the Southern Cross Army's weapons were in actual combat. The Logan gets this A LOT, as one of the few things said about it officially is that its combat effectiveness barely rated as an annoyance to the Zor... and the Zor hadn't fought a war in centuries, if not millennia, to the extent of literally forgetting how.) Yes, but having your marrow flash-boiled until your bones explode like frag grenades is a fate that really REALLY ought to stay confined to the pages of grimdark RPGs, and yet it's something mentioned as a possible fate in safety briefings I have to attend. >_<
  5. Eh... Robotech RPG Tactics undeniably did a bit of damage, but because it was backed mainly by the long-time Robotech and Palladium faithful and neither brand was exactly in great shape reputationally the long term damage was pretty minimal. It is believed that it hurt the prospects of Robotech Academy, but that was already kind of a cynical stinker dependent on the "do it for Carl" vibes and I'd have been stunned if it met its funding goals either way. That said, "huge"... well... this feels like a repeat of the same critical mistake Palladium Books made with RPG Tactics. Namely, judging the success or prospects of a Kickstarter purely on the total funds pledged. Kevin Siembieda was so gobsmacked by the unexpectedly huge pledge total on the RPG Tactics Kickstarter that was certain the game was an enormous hit in the making that he failed to consider that information in its proper context. He saw $1.44M and jumped to believing he had a huge hit on his hands, not noticing that princely sum was due not to widespread support but a high cost of entry and the 5,342 backers making disproportionately high pledges to secure multiple game boxes and stretch goal minis. The average pledge was nearly 3 1/2 times the cost of entry. The same is true for Minitech's new DOG FIGHT game. Yeah, they raised an impressive pledge total ($232,730 US), but due to an even more disproportionately high average pledge from a much smaller pool of backers (just 795 people, about 1/7th as many as RPG Tactics got). The average pledge was more than five times the cost of entry. When you get right down to it, the numbers don't show Robotech becoming more commercially viable... they show a smaller (and shrinking) number of fans that skews heavily to collector tendencies, willing to buy multiple copies of a game or book and willing to pledge extremely high for backer reward extras. SMG's Homefront Kickstarter had only 546 backers, 1/10th what Palladium's RPG Tactics got. That's kind of the expected result, though, given the franchise's persistent failures to get a new series launched to bring new fans in and the dissatisfaction with various sequel efforts and the like. Some people like the crunch, what can I say? Then again, I am a lousy example since I'm an engineer (math nerd) and a translator of mecha anime publications (tech nerd) so the crunch is just WHERE I'M AT. One of the most common houserule fixes to the Palladium Mega-Damage system is to address the weirdly unbalanced levels of granularity in skills. Some border on being Swiss Army skills that can do almost anything, like the pilot boats skill that lets you sail anything from a dingy to a dreadnought with equal ease as long as it's not a sailboat, or the ones that give you proficiency in operating just one system on a complex integrated vehicle like a robot or aircraft (e.g. the radar skills). Leveling that out and applying common sense there is usually the first fix a GM makes after trying to run Mega-Damage. (That said, I have seen real-world... incidents... that justify certain limits like not letting just anyone perform maintenance on heavy or specialized machinery. It is with good reason that they say the safety regulations are written in blood. There are some systems I've worked on on a daily basis where the servicing is limited to highly trained and safety-qualified personnel only because special tools and training are absolutely necessary to minimize the risk of the system you're servicing maiming you horribly or killing you messily. Even the relatively mundane appliances around your house like a microwave or TV contain components that can easily kill you if you don't know what you're doing, and heavier machinery can often be exponentially more dangerous. It's all fun and games until your workplace safety training warns about the kind of injuries you'd normally think belonged exclusively to the critical hit tables in Dark Heresy.) My good fellow, that is one of the most common opinions in the Robotech fandom as a whole. Harmony Gold actually ran a series of official polls on that topic back in the 2000s, and responses were... well... let's just say a significant majority of the fanbase thinks the ASC is basically where the United Earth Forces sends the soldiers who would be least missed on the front lines, and the leaders most likely take a "lucky" shot when the enemy forces are suspiciously far away. The idea had some canonical traction even before HG officially canonized it, with the ASC being made up of troops that didn't make the cut for the Pioneer Expedition in Sentinels and their equipment and training later being identified as subpar compared to the UEEF's. The Spartas gets some richly deserved flak for being a tank that has no protection for its driver, but the Auroran/AGACs gets a LOT of undeserved flak for being a "space helicopter" even though it isn't actually one. The "No love for Southern Cross?" sentiment extends well into the Robotech world as a result... Based on my past experiences there, it's almost certainly not him. It's legal. Because of the complex nature of their licensing situation, Harmony Gold's legal counsel gets a distressing amount of work because they have to vet everything to make sure that they won't step on any toes at Tatsunoko, at Big West, or anywhere else. Their situation might've improved slightly since they bent the knee, but it was so bad back in the day that the official Robotech website was usually the last place to have Robotech-related news because everything had to be multiply signed off on by legal first.
  6. Two episodes in, and I have to admit... this ain't bad. It has potential. I really feel like if the writers can resist the temptation to delve into the kind of cheap drama Discovery and Picard used, this could really be what saves Star Trek.
  7. And more's the pity... But two and a half feet long is pretty darn small when the neighbors are doing 18m.
  8. I'm surprised they went so small with it, since Gundam has been beating on the 1:1 scale.
  9. Careful, you'll be the next one the trollish types brand as "not a fan". 😉 Yeah... as I'd mentioned previously, I suspect the difference there is that Harmony Gold is a lot less serious about Robotech's future prospects now that the cat's long since out of the bag on the Shadow Saga's cancellation, the last gasp attempt to save animated Robotech failed on Kickstarter, and they've all but sold the franchise to Big West. Back in the early-to-mid 2000s, Harmony Gold was taking Robotech seriously for the first time in the franchise's history. They'd just hired a new creative staff and given them the herculean task of relaunching Robotech as a credible mainstream sci-fi/mecha anime property like Gundam or Macross. That was actually a pretty damned exciting time to be a fan of Robotech. They sat down and went through the licensee-created materials from the 80's and 90's and after much review concluded there was no way to incorporate those materials into Robotech proper because the overall level of quality of those works was too poor (and later admitted most, if not all, would never have seen the light of day if there had been editorial oversight back then), that there were too many inconsistences and contradictions, and way too much blatant copyright infringement from Macross and others. That led them to make a clean break with that old material, disowning all pre-2001 materials except the 85 episode TV series. I was on the call where they announced that, and I remember the furor that provoked. But they opted to start fresh, and we got comics at higher levels of quality than we'd ever had before. They sat down with fan translators and worked out an official setting and reference for same based on the Japanese source material and the Robotech TV series. There was the promise of a new animated title in the works (what became Shadow Chronicles), and of course the 2006 announcement that Palladium Books reacquired the RPG license with the caveats that their game had to stay firmly within the bounds of the official Robotech setting. It ended up not panning out, since Shadow Chronicles was supposed to launching point for a new era of Robotech literally and figuratively. Fans were ambivalent towards it and ultimately it never attracted the investors they needed to fund part 2. Harmony Gold tried to use the then-recent announcement of the live-action movie license to attract some investors, but that never went anywhere and eventually c.2012 they had to finally come clean that Shadow Rising wasn't happening. Management shifted its attention to the live action movie proposal, and efforts related to maintaining animated Robotech stagnated or were suspended... before ultimately being abandoned altogether with the crash-and-burn failure of Robotech Academy on Kickstarter in 2014. I don't doubt for a second that Harmony Gold is fine with what Strange Machine is doing. The difference between then and now being that Harmony Gold is no longer trying to present Robotech as a professionally-done mainstream anime property the way they were when they were working with Palladium Books. Standards are much more lax, since animated Robotech exists mainly to maintain the Macross trademark in the US and HG's focus is entirely on the proposed live action movie. I totally understand... there is a running joke that Palladium's system - esp. RIFTS - is the best game nobody actually plays for exactly those reasons. You basically play one game using the rules-as-written, and then you start houserule-ing to paper over the cracks and smooth over the speedbumps in the game system. Once you do that, it's eminently playable and quite enjoyable. It does, however, have a decidedly simulationist bent as you've noted though that seems to be what a lot of mecha enthusiasts are looking for in an RPG for a mecha anime. My own homebrews are extensively embroidered with houserules and so much errata (esp. for Macross II) that my players used to joke there was more red ink than black in my copies of the Macross II RPG. (If I had actually written my notes directly on the books themselves, they would probably be completely right.)
  10. Your recollection is correct. The first time an Enterprise was referred to as the Federation flagship was in TNG, for the Enterprise-D. Twelve, according to TOS "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and development materials for the series published in The Making of Star Trek. Mind you, Star Trek has never exactly been using the term correctly either. In its proper context, a "flagship" is a temporary designation denoting the ship an admiral in command is embarked aboard. Its more informal meaning, as the lead ship in a group of ships, also doesn't quite fit because the Enterprise - all of the Enterprises - generally operate alone. So it's pretty arbitrary, and the term has never been required to mean a unique or distinctive ship either. Flagships historically tend to be the largest classes simply because the fleet's admiral needs more room for the bureaucratic busywork of coordinating a fleet. Eh... a very definite "maybe", IMO. Her namesake, CV-6 USS Enterprise, was an Admiral's flagship at Midway... so one could argue Enterprise was probably always the nominal flagship even if the topic is never brought up prior to TNG. So, that's actually a popular misconception. StarTrek.com definitively settled the matter last year. All of Starfleet was always supposed to be wearing the Enterprise's arrowhead delta, the other emblems were a goof by the wardrobe department. (The letter is very tongue-in-cheek, with Bob Justman signing as "Chief Inquisitor" and imploring wardrobe lead Bill Theiss to ensure uniforms for future episodes used the proper emblem "Under penalty of death!", with a postscript asking for a litearlly-engraved apology.) https://www.startrek.com/article/starfleet-insignia-explained Archer's Enterprise being a retcon aside... even in its own era it didn't actually end up as the flagship. (The novelverse ran with the idea of the Enterprise getting trashed in the final battles of the Earth-Romulan War and Starfleet's first true flagship being the Columbia-class USS Endeavour.)
  11. You're assuming that designation was official in-universe. It was likely just the name the design had during the film's development.
  12. The early 2000s "2nd Edition" RPG was actually pretty good... they (involuntarily) went to some pretty considerable lengths to develop a game that is actually pretty accurate to the setting and story of the Robotech TV series. It's a massive improvement over the one from the late 80's and early 90's and systemic differences aside it's also way more accurate to the show than the new SMG game is as well. Well, if you need a whale biologist I know a guy... (no, really) One method that various content creators have historically had great success with making their content more believable and consistent has been to involve subject matter experts from various fields in their development. Star Trek was infamous for having a whole panel of consultants for that kind of thing. Macross drove its development in part with the help of engineering experts. MOSPEADA, likewise, had a motorcycle enthusiast designer behind the Ride Armor (Cyclone) whose expertise made the design more believable in terms of its presentation. Harmony Gold tried to do something similar for developing its official setting by tapping experts on the Japanese source material in the 2000s, with some hit-and-miss results due to the incomplete nature of the Southern Cross OSM and some guesswork some of them did. I got tapped for a few points related to the Macross Saga back in the day, having at the time mostly focused on Macross for my translations. I'm sure with a bit more thought a few more plausible explanations could be found. Gotta think about engineering problems like an engineer. That would make you pretty unusual as a Robotech fan. Most are still very much hung up on the incomplete Robotech II: the Sentinels series and their desire to see it completed played a pretty significant role in the failures of Robotech: the Shadow Chronicles and Robotech Academy. I was definitely well in the minority being happy to see Robotech finally mostly divorce itself from the Macross Saga characters and Sentinels arc via Shadow Chronicles, and got a lot of crap for my (admittedly lukewarm) support for the new OVA as an attempt to make a clean break with Sentinels and have the franchise get on with its life. That's padding for ya... You're drawing on materials Harmony Gold explicitly disowned and labeled as non-canonical and "Robotech in name only", so I don't think you can make that claim with a straight face.
  13. With the exception of the "new giant aircraft carrier", the ships used by the Varauta Forces in Macross 7 are modified versions of warships developed by the Varuata colony for their local New UN Forces defense force. We have only indirect statements on why, but it seems like the colony was pretty determined they wanted the ability to repel or outright destroy a Zentradi branch fleet and built the flagship of their defense force with a level of firepower appropriate to the task. Rather than the stealth-focused designs used by the mainstream New UN Forces, the ships that the Varauta colony designed seem to focus more on defensive ability with large amounts of energy conversion armor and on heavy firepower. Once the Varauta colony was captured by the Protodeviln that had accidentally been unsealed by the special investigative unit dispatched to the system's ice world by the New UN Gov't (in the short Spiritia Dreaming), the Protodeviln had the designs of the Varauta NUNS modified and upgraded to their standards/tastes/preferences and then mass produced to accommodate their conscription of mind-controlled colonists to expand their forces. We don't know if it was the first time... we've seen only a fraction of the total number of emigrant fleets and planets out in the galaxy. Only a dozen or so of at least 160. It is possible that Fasces has some sympathizers among the Varauta New UN Forces, but the Varauta colony itself was liberated in 2046 by the Macross 7 fleet and as far as we know has remained free ever since. The mind-controlled Varauta Forces that fought the Macross 7 fleet NUNS no longer exist, as those troops were freed from mind control and returned to their normal lives. So you could say the former Varauta Forces aren't a threat to anyone anymore. Fasces simply found and gained access to the factory satellite the Protodeviln had used to build the ships and mecha used by their mind-controlled minions, and used it to build more of the Protodeviln's modified versions of the VF-14, VA-14, and VAB-2D. The factory satellite in question is a special type that needs a special type of spiritia to work, and it isn't functioning properly without it, so its operation is very limited. Fasces is dependent on it because support for their cause dried up following the Second Unification War. Dude, stay on topic... those massive tangents unrelated to the original question just confuse people.
  14. On an individual level, that's a bit more mundane since that's all down to material strength and computer automation... which gets less implausible every time another carbon nanomaterial with metallic properties is invented, and the more AI-based technology integrates itself into daily living. So... slight nitpick as an engineer... running the cooling system harder would exhaust more heat, making it easier to spot. What you'd want if you intended to stay hidden while you were using a high energy demand system would be a heat sequestration system to store that heat internally in some sealed system until stealth was no longer necessary. That'd reduce the thermal profile a bit. (This can be achieved with heat pumps and various kinds of vacuum-sealed thermal vessels, though they have a finite heat capacity and you run the increasing risk of an overheat as long as you're running as a closed system.) (VFs in Macross do this in space operations, with cryogenic coolant tanks functioning as coolants and heat dumps since radiative cooling is more difficult in space.) So it's written as sort of an all-or-nothing where once you're spotted you stay spotted? A lot of the discontent was, I think, primarily just because it wasn't the Sentinels designs fans have been so attached to for so long. IMO, the new designs look a lot less distinctive.
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