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The Spacy Thread


Ghost Train
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Yup, I guess designs for TV/movies are more readily accepted by the audiences when they rely on "traditional" frames of reference, i.e. features like a distinct nose, tail, "wings" or control surfaces, and a distinguishable cockpit (ideally that affords the audience an identifiable view of the hero/villian at the controls).

I like designs like the Morningstar

wc2morningstar4.gif

it's uncanny how a video game design from the early 90's bears such strong resemblance to the real-world Mig 1.44 technology testbed of the mid-late 90's...

mig1-44.jpg

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Just to clarify, this discussion is going beyond my initial criticism and into detail such as reaction time and situational awareness. I'm not concerned with such scrutiny, especially if it can't be quickly described visually. If some series/film/video game creates a space fighter without a traditional transparent cockpit canopy, all I need to see some BDI-like system or Wrap-Around Imaging system ala Macross Plus. The super robot cockpit if you will, for lack of a better term. A virtual environment display is an easy and visual way to substitute for the obvious lack of a high visibility cockpit. At that point, my suspension of disbelief is satisfied and the design can be embraced. If there's never any need to show the cockpit interior at all, so much the better. My imagination for necessity can fill the gaps in the fiction (like in the case of the Hiigaran Interceptor I posted from Homeworld 2).

Btw, the audience can see advanced tracking technologies onscreen in Macross, it's not some obscure written piece of trivia. My whole point was that a visual cue be provided to explain things to the audience without exposition. In Macross, enhanced technology is shown visually in the animation. In fact, as early as DYRL a scene depicts Hikaru gazing rearward in his VF-1 Super Valkyrie to see an enemy Reguld displayed upon the inside of his cockpit canopy despite being physically obscured from sight by a FAST Pack booster. Point is even in rare circumstances where the pilot's vision is obscured, the technology in Macross is there to pick up the slack. Is electronic tracking worse than direct line of sight in the Macross universe? I doubt it, given how well the Battroid can be piloted on electronic tracking only.

Digressing, I personally don't have any issues with pilot visibility in Macross since nearly all the Valkyries feature high-visibility cockpits by default. Even if a given piece of fiction does show the technology is wanting, I can usually substitute my own imagination in to take up the slack. It's when the viewer is hit over the head with a glaring problem in fighter design (to use Battlestar Galactica Reimagined as our whipping boy yet again) that it becomes difficult for me to ignore the issue and enjoy the physical design.

If Electronic/Instruments is so precise and intuitive for a valkyrie pilot, to the point where it becomes 100% of the pilot's environmental input while in Battroid, then why not just go ahead and armor up the canopy and seal the pilot in with a 100% digital feed like Gundam's panoramic cockpit post-0083 :D ?

What would be better?

A) Big visual obstruction, but you have excellent visualization tech to get around it?

or

B) Less visual obstruction (perfect bubble canopy), and you have excellent visualization tech to supplement the pilot's eyesight?

It's cool to say that tech overcomes problems, but to suggest that there is no hindrance to sight whatsover is ridiculous.

Edited by Ghost Train
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If Electronic/Instruments is so precise and intuitive for a valkyrie pilot, to the point where it becomes 100% of the pilot's environmental input while in Battroid, then why not just go ahead and armor up the canopy and seal the pilot in with a 100% digital feed like Gundam's panoramic cockpit post-0083 :D ?

What would be better?

A) Big visual obstruction, but you have excellent visualization tech to get around it?

or

B) Less visual obstruction (perfect bubble canopy), and you have excellent visualization tech to supplement the pilot's eyesight?

It's cool to say that tech overcomes problems, but to suggest that there is no hindrance to sight whatsover is ridiculous.

I think we're diving away again. I will briefly say you're stumbling upon one of the inherent contradictions of the Macross fiction: the Valkyries don't need transparent cockpit canopies. The Valkyrie pilot doesn't suffer any appreciable deficiencies operating the Battroid vs. the Fighter/GERWALK. Even if Macross distinguished performance between natural vision vs. electronic operation, it's not an aspect of the fiction that impedes my suspension of disbelief. For me, appreciating a fictional space craft design depends upon criteria like whether the creators leave pilot visibility to the imagination of the audience or supply a visual cue which can explain away an obvious physical flaw in the craft's design. That's it.

Back to some spacy goodness I do enjoy, the UD-4 Cheyenne Dropship from Aliens :)

ships-ud4-cheyenne.jpg

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Mr. March,

I would agree with you about the dropship design, except for one point... the overhead fold-out munition clusters (Not sure if they're missiles, rockets or bombs) are really, really bad. Every time I see them fold out, I get this image of the loaded weapons spilling out onto the support arms, and onto the body of the ship.

Other than that, it's a descent design.

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The poor cockpit visibilty and lack of a HUD bugs me the most about most classic Western sci-fi starfighter designs.

Pretty much any star fighter from Star Wars is guilty of this. Not only do they have poor to lousy front visibility, but they have little to no rear visibility and then to top it all, the pilot has to look down into the cockpit to aim, losing his situational awareness.

SW pretty deliberately posited that pilots needed to look down and use their instrumentation, since everyone (even Vader and Luke, before he "let's go") uses their vector-based targetting computers to aim. IIRC they're supposed to be going way too fast for visual acuity to help them, which renders the visibility from their cockpits irrelevent for anything except landing (and given the smooth ride we see the X-wings taking off at, with their repulsors don't need alot of visibility, either)

I've always been most fond of the advanced biotech from B5, specifically the Vorlon and Shadow ships

babylon5_vorlon.jpg

Edited by Uxi
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Oh yah, of course, the Aliens Dropship (I don't use the fan retcon designation...sounds...corny).

That was my first sci-fi love, and is still one of the best designs ever (despite it's somewha tubby appearence and the insanely unaerodynamic weapon pods).

To accompany the above CG image (which seems based on the Halcyon kit dimensions), I will provide this pic of one of the studio models, which are somewhat sleeker:

post-659-128381215417_thumb.jpg

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Sulaco & Dropship are my favorite designs.

Special OT mention for the APC and the Power Loader.

I actually saw a large scale screen used one a couple of months ago. I think it was about 1/18 scale... like 6 feet long. I'm estimating that scale because I was imagining the size of the APC that would fit in there.

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STILL not saying anything, heh heh......

SHADO-interceptors-UFO.jpg

Taksraven

Just saw that on DVD recently too. It held up far better then I thought it had, with storylines focusing more on the stresss of the jobs people were doing rather then just the situation. The wooden acting didn't help though.

The ships themselves, were they supposed to have guns in addition to the big honking missiles on the front? I can't remember.

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STILL not saying anything, heh heh......

SHADO-interceptors-UFO.jpg

Taksraven

interesting design... you don't have to say anything, because I don't want to know... :D

And another yes vote on the awesomeness of the Aliens dropship. It made the drop-ship cool, and at least in part inspired the Starcraft & Halo dropships, complete with cool as ice female pilot.

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If Electronic/Instruments is so precise and intuitive for a valkyrie pilot, to the point where it becomes 100% of the pilot's environmental input while in Battroid, then why not just go ahead and armor up the canopy and seal the pilot in with a 100% digital feed like Gundam's panoramic cockpit post-0083 :D ?

What would be better?

A) Big visual obstruction, but you have excellent visualization tech to get around it?

or

B) Less visual obstruction (perfect bubble canopy), and you have excellent visualization tech to supplement the pilot's eyesight?

It's cool to say that tech overcomes problems, but to suggest that there is no hindrance to sight whatsover is ridiculous.

Yes, this would definitely give the pilot a great deal more info than the traditional HUD of old...

vf-1-dyrl-cockpit-fighterhud.gif

Presumably, there are small "projectors" across the top of the console? (that's what I always figured)

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MIGHT say something eventually. Ah, what the hell.

Starbug, interesting ugly design......

Starbug1.jpg

The Liberator, another interesting design.....

Liberator.jpg

CAN'T BELIEVE that this ship hasn't been mentioned yet though....

andromeda700.jpg

Taksraven

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Some great Lone Sloane stuff from the French cartoonist Druillet. The ship just below the face at the top of the pic is the Siddhartha, a fantastic looking battlecruiser, the ship at the right hand side of the pic is a gigantic pipe organ/spaceship. A very unique combination.

philippe_druilet_sloane.png

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Oh yeah, it's like the vast majority of the season 1 Starblazers/Yamato designs get an automatic "in" when it comes to a favorites/best list. Andromeda, Yamato and the like are a cool, romanticized homage to the early 20th cent era when "battlewagons" still reigned supreme, and the carrier had not yet ascended...

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Mr. March,

I would agree with you about the dropship design, except for one point... the overhead fold-out munition clusters (Not sure if they're missiles, rockets or bombs) are really, really bad. Every time I see them fold out, I get this image of the loaded weapons spilling out onto the support arms, and onto the body of the ship.

A rather odd reaction to the design. If one can accept under-wing hard point mounts in Macross (and reality), I can't see why the rocket launchers (they are 150mm unguided rockets) would bother anyone. But I suppose we all have our quirks, like cockpit designs :)

SW pretty deliberately posited that pilots needed to look down and use their instrumentation, since everyone (even Vader and Luke, before he "let's go") uses their vector-based targetting computers to aim. IIRC they're supposed to be going way too fast for visual acuity to help them, which renders the visibility from their cockpits irrelevent for anything except landing (and given the smooth ride we see the X-wings taking off at, with their repulsors don't need alot of visibility, either)

I was going to mention this, but then figured the tech/canon nazis would cry foul. Surface to orbit in under five seconds obviously requires the Millennium Falcon to be going many hundreds of kilometers a second. Course, the Star Wars films never depict any star fighter pilot under acceleration stress (only jostled by impacts). We're simply left to assume technology somehow protects the crew from turning into paste when their craft accelerate to lightspeed :)

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Star Wars tech employ "inertial dampeners" that protect against g-forces. One of the novels makes a point of saying how wedge or someone prefers to fly with some sensation of g-force as to have a better sense of spatial awareness and not end up like that guy who plowed his X-Wing into the Death Star all the whiles yelling, "I can make it, I can make it!"

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I really miss the old Wing Commander games. I'm still itching to see someone attempt a complete remake of 1-3 (and possibly 4 and 5) in a new engine, using all computer cinematics (more like Mass Effect). I made a few WC ships for X-Wing Alliance back in high school, and still love those designs.

Despite the obvious polygon-ality of the designs from 3, and the gaudy colors from 1-2, I always loved some of those designs (and really hated a couple others :p). I love the Panther and Vampire from Prophecy too. happy.gif

Just for fun, here's some rendered cinematic versions that smooth out the hard polygon edges.

post-907-128390771707_thumb.jpg

post-907-128390776286_thumb.jpg

I also always loved the Excalibur, boxy brute that it was.

post-907-128390783004_thumb.jpg

I've got a soft spot for a few SW designs too, mostly the X-Wing, no matter how impractical it is. To me, nothing from the prequels even comes close to approaching the designs in the original trilogy.

After modding X-Wing Alliance for several years, some of my favorites are ones I wound up making up myself. I always released everything open-source, and it always cracks me up when I find one of my designs ported to another game. :lol:

This one, sadly, never got made, but was designed to fit into the WC: Prophecy era.

post-907-128390878306_thumb.jpg

The one I had the most success with started as this:

post-907-128390883027_thumb.jpg

And after getting ported from X-Wing Alliance to Freelancer, ended up like this:

post-907-128390922742_thumb.gif

post-907-128390923977_thumb.jpg

I forget when I made it, but I'd never seen Babylon 5 at the time, and people only pointed out how much it resembles the Thunderbolt years later. :lol:

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I've always thought a canopy on a star fighter is a poor idea, purely because it weakens structural integrity.

Far better to have the pilot in a solid armored cockpit, with view relayed to him, by external cameras and sensors, which are displayed either on 360 degree wrap-around screens ala Gundam MS cockpits, or though goggles/visor worn by the pilot, which allow him to see anywhere outside the craft simply by looking in the relevant direction.

Graham

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Redundant camera arrays would be the way to go.

Any other type of imaging technology that scans out your fighter's surroundings and constructs the situational awareness for the pilot could work too, but at the risk of making the craft more detectable. Consider the fact that in modern aerial warfare turning on your radar makes you instantly vulnerable to tracking (hence the F-117 was radar-less), or the amount of radiation emitted by medical imaging such as X-Rays or MRI's, which can certainly give a projectile a nice beacon to follow.

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Just saw that on DVD recently too. It held up far better then I thought it had, with storylines focusing more on the stresss of the jobs people were doing rather then just the situation. The wooden acting didn't help though.

The ships themselves, were they supposed to have guns in addition to the big honking missiles on the front? I can't remember.

No, the Interceptor only had that one missile, no guns. If it missed, that was it.

Graham

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Redundant camera arrays would be the way to go.

Any other type of imaging technology that scans out your fighter's surroundings and constructs the situational awareness for the pilot could work too, but at the risk of making the craft more detectable. Consider the fact that in modern aerial warfare turning on your radar makes you instantly vulnerable to tracking (hence the F-117 was radar-less), or the amount of radiation emitted by medical imaging such as X-Rays or MRI's, which can certainly give a projectile a nice beacon to follow.

Then again, the fact that your temperature is quite a bit higher than the background 3 kelvins (-270 degrees Celsius, -454 Fahrenheit) by the mere fact of existing means that you'll light up like a supernova in any infrared camera. Might as well start emitting away.

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A rather odd reaction to the design. If one can accept under-wing hard point mounts in Macross (and reality), I can't see why the rocket launchers (they are 150mm unguided rockets) would bother anyone. But I suppose we all have our quirks, like cockpit designs :)

I've actually never liked the rocket pods on the Alien dropship either, although for a completely different reason. the pods themselves where never a problem but rather the way they attach to the hull of the craft. I just think the extremely long, thin arms that they sit at the end of and the way they unfold across the top of the hull was really awkward and goofy looking.

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I've seen 'The Last Starfighter', and thought it was a crap-fest... but yeah, I have seen it.

Heh, given the number of Last Starfighter and Gunstar fans on this forum, that is lynchin' talk.

Graham

Going old school here. Love both of these ships.

eagle.jpg

hawk.jpg

The Eagle & Hawk are fantastic designs, definitely look like something real that NASA would use in Space. I used to hate it i the show when they flew them in an atmosphere though.

Just a pity the rest of the scince on Space 1999 was so hokey.

Graham

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seeker1.jpg

The other two I know, this one was from a Saturday Morning kids show if I remember correctly. Looks like an Apollo booster with some kind of minivan on the front. And where did they get the Super America gas station decals from?

Then again, the fact that your temperature is quite a bit higher than the background 3 kelvins (-270 degrees Celsius, -454 Fahrenheit) by the mere fact of existing means that you'll light up like a supernova in any infrared camera. Might as well start emitting away.

That's easy though, shoot out a hundred drones making the same temperature.

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