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Does somewhat unrealistic mecha controls ruin the fun for you?


JLYC
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I can suspend my disbelief pretty well...I think we all have to do that to be a sci-fi fan, especially in the realm of anime mechas.

However, as time goes on, I wish animators would make more effort in making the mecha controls more realistic. I think they started in the right direction with Macross Zero..and I understand that for the sake of continuity they can not make the tech 'more advanced' in Zero than in the original Macross series. However, in Macross Frontier, the pilots are still controlling the Valks with complex arm/leg/wrist/ankle/finger movements with joysticks. A little OOT, but I just watched the trailer for Gundam Thunderbolt and it looked like a great realistic military scifi series but then a shot of the gundam pilot pushing his joysticks back and forth just ruined it for me.

If anyone has seen MADOX- that's an example for great realistic anime armor controls and that was in the 80's. Hollywood also does mecha controls more realistically, think District 9, Avatar, Pacific Rim, even Aliens.

So can we expect more realistic controls from Macross Delta? Heck even if they made up some virtual brain-waved powered UI (like in Evangelion) it would make more sense than controlling a giant robot with 2 joysticks and footpedals- that type of outdated simplistic offering is acceptable in the giant robot or power ranger genre but is just lazy design to me in series like Macross and Gundam where some sense of realism has always been attempted.

Thoughts?

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I've always assumed it was a mix of auto controls and pilot input. Advanced computers know how to "walk" when the environment variables are right. The pilot doesn't need to specifically do this. So on this case, joystick input telling battroid mode to go forward, initiates a walking action from the computer. In the same way, more complex maneuvers like a kick or a punch, would involve targeting a point on your enemy and using whatever button is assigned for punch or kick, with the computer picking the best way to do that. Think old school street fighter arcade games - you can do some cool stuff with nothing more than a joystick and six buttons.

It's still lacking, but gets me over the suspension of disbelief that I'd otherwise have.

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It's off topic but I found it interesting::

https://www.quora.com/Mecha/Why-do-mechs-in-Western-movies-cartoons-tend-to-be-more-real-than-Japanese-movies-cartoons#!n=12

Back on topic.

What would define more realistic? Is it like Patlabor , Landmates , or Steel Battalion? More pilot movments with the UI or more mechanical controls? Being realistic like those Hollywood examples, wouldn't that make the pilot's job a bit more tiring unless they had a mind link UI like you said? I dunno about you but I wouldn't wanna be at the controls for prolonged periods of time swinging my arms and legs around when I could be doing the same thing sitting still . Also, you would need a larger cockpit to account for those movements.

Also, maybe it's like what mickyg said where the computer takes over maybe using eye tracking sensors to see where or what you want to do and by either pressing a specifically assigned button or a "combo" of buttons it will do a certain task.

Interesting topic.

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The VF-1 controls, if I remember correctly, are a combination of brainwave sensors, traditional stick/pedal combos, that silly by our standards three-mode toggle levers, and eye-tracking software (the first and last of these being implemented by the helmet). It's not so much "unrealistic" as "unexplained." And as someone famous said, sufficiently advanced tech is indistinguishable from magic... or something like that.

Move onto Frontier, and it appears there's now a bit of a master-slave system going on, with the VF-25 mimicking the physical movements of the pilot. A similar mechanism is detailed in the anime Full Metal Panic, where those mecha (called Arm Slaves, or "Armored Mobile Master-Slave System") are controlled by a similar system: the pilot can individually configure the scaling of master-to-slave movement. A one-degree bend of the pilot's arm can translate to 30, 60, 90, etc. degrees of corresponding bend in the Arm Slave's arm. This allows for a wide variety of movement without needing a lot of space.

But wmkjr's link is also relevant. It's not that Japanese mecha are any less realistic, but rather that they just have and accept a wider diversity and a longer history.

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The VF-1 controls, if I remember correctly, are a combination of brainwave sensors, traditional stick/pedal combos, that silly by our standards three-mode toggle levers, and eye-tracking software (the first and last of these being implemented by the helmet). It's not so much "unrealistic" as "unexplained." And as someone famous said, sufficiently advanced tech is indistinguishable from magic... or something like that.

Move onto Frontier, and it appears there's now a bit of a master-slave system going on, with the VF-25 mimicking the physical movements of the pilot. A similar mechanism is detailed in the anime Full Metal Panic, where those mecha (called Arm Slaves, or "Armored Mobile Master-Slave System") are controlled by a similar system: the pilot can individually configure the scaling of master-to-slave movement. A one-degree bend of the pilot's arm can translate to 30, 60, 90, etc. degrees of corresponding bend in the Arm Slave's arm. This allows for a wide variety of movement without needing a lot of space.

But wmkjr's link is also relevant. It's not that Japanese mecha are any less realistic, but rather that they just have and accept a wider diversity and a longer history.

Bold emphasis, mine - I think these were specifically described and used in the Robotech universe, in order to explain how it all worked so well. I don't think Macross ever utilised a helmet system that interfaced with the pilot's brain in any way. Well, actually that was covered in Plus and Frontier, but in Plus, it was an experimental system (used in the YF-21) that ended up being deemed too dangerous and discarded (the VF-22 that was based on the YF-21 didn't have it). And for Frontier, only cyborgs from the Galaxy fleet were flying the brain interface Valks.

Edited by mickyg
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I guess due to the restraint of the physical space in cockpit of valks I could give the limited use to joysticks a bit more of a pass in the macross universe...but in a mobile suit physical space should be less of an issue and cockpit controls more like the Gunbuster would be more realistic (although Newtypes prob control the suits to some extend with their psychic power than just buttons and joysticks).

Edited by JLYC
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I think these were specifically described and used in the Robotech universe, in order to explain how it all worked so well. I don't think Macross ever utilised a helmet system that interfaced with the pilot's brain in any way.

.....

And for Frontier, only cyborgs from the Galaxy fleet were flying the brain interface Valks.

I do seem to remember those books being where I saw the brain-helmet idea used, so you might be right. Then again, the 21/27 seemed to imply solely piloting by thought (with the controls for redundancy), so it doesn't completely rule out the idea... But blah, I'm inclined to agree. It makes the pilots seem cooler, at any rate.

but in a mobile suit physical space should be less of an issue and cockpit controls more like the Gunbuster would be more realistic

In G Gundam they use a master-slave system with 1:1 input. But then you get Shining Finger chi blasts and then you just sort of scratch your head and say to yourself, "Sure, why not." Then you go to the UC series thinking that surely they must be more realistic, but there you see Psycho Frames and Newtypes and even Moonlight Butterflies, and Wing has angels and demons and dragon fangs, and X has gimmicky moon microwaves, and finally you just throw up your hands and make peace with it all.

But anyway.

Edited by kajnrig
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Interesting topic, madox does rank up there frm the anime perspective. To add to that thk the mechs/landmates from appleseed had also an element of realism to it. Its basically and armored shell mimicing the wearers movements.

realism helps to spice things up, cos its easier to imagine yourself pilting it if you somehow know how it works :p

however if we went down the realism route i thk most mechs would end up the same, as realistically it doesnt deviate from the mimic pilot's movement concept.

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In honesty, I don't think motion-tracking is really all that realistic.
The vehicle may be humanoid, but it's NOT a human body. The mass distribution is all way off from what your brain expects, and there's no real way to feed information into your inner ear, so your sense of balance is all totally off.

Also, it'd be tiring.

That said, Frontier DID have motion capture control.

Move onto Frontier, and it appears there's now a bit of a master-slave system going on, with the VF-25 mimicking the physical movements of the pilot. A similar mechanism is detailed in the anime Full Metal Panic, where those mecha (called Arm Slaves, or "Armored Mobile Master-Slave System") are controlled by a similar system: the pilot can individually configure the scaling of master-to-slave movement. A one-degree bend of the pilot's arm can translate to 30, 60, 90, etc. degrees of corresponding bend in the Arm Slave's arm. This allows for a wide variety of movement without needing a lot of space.

FMP is an interesting example, actually. There's a lot of thought put into how an arm slave works. And they take the time to note that the motion capture system they use ISN'T an intuitive and natural control scheme. It takes a lot of training to be any good with an arm slave, and learning to not use natural human movements to control a machine is an important part of it.

Yes, a trained pilot can exert amazing levels of control over his machine thanks to the interface, but it takes a lot of experience to get there, and an untrained pilot is a danger to themselves and everyone around them.

Also, much of the secondary controls in FMP are relegated to voice commands or automation because the pilot's hands are occupied 100% of the time. Which is a serious drawback to motion-tracking control systems.

G Gundam is Dragon Ball Z with robots. It doesn't have to make sense. :p

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FMP is an interesting example, actually. There's a lot of thought put into how an arm slave works. And they take the time to note that the motion capture system they use ISN'T an intuitive and natural control scheme. It takes a lot of training to be any good with an arm slave, and learning to not use natural human movements to control a machine is an important part of it.

Yes, a trained pilot can exert amazing levels of control over his machine thanks to the interface, but it takes a lot of experience to get there, and an untrained pilot is a danger to themselves and everyone around them.

Also, much of the secondary controls in FMP are relegated to voice commands or automation because the pilot's hands are occupied 100% of the time. Which is a serious drawback to motion-tracking control systems.

G Gundam is Dragon Ball Z with robots. It doesn't have to make sense. :p

Bold for emphasis, and basically everything there was a good point. Regarding the hand controls, those never go explained I don't think, and I've mixed and matched the ideas that they were pressure-sensitive controls to operate the manipulators or controls to interface with the computer system. Probably a mixture of both, or neither.

I said this wasn't something worth thinking too much about, and yet here I am posting the most about it. -_-

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However, as time goes on, I wish animators would make more effort in making the mecha controls more realistic. I think they started in the right direction with Macross Zero..and I understand that for the sake of continuity they can not make the tech 'more advanced' in Zero than in the original Macross series. However, in Macross Frontier, the pilots are still controlling the Valks with complex arm/leg/wrist/ankle/finger movements with joysticks.

You'd probably get a kick out of Dai-Guard then... it's a send-up of super robot tropes, and one of them is that the giant robot the private security company in the show bought secondhand from the military is interface hell for its three-man crew. (They have a crew member whose sole job is to manage the damn thing's transmission.)

Though, really, Macross has taken a relatively Gundam-inspired take on mecha controls... the pilot's only really specifying direction, velocity, and posture. It's the computer that's turning those joystick waggles, button presses, and pedal pressures into something approximating human movement. They aren't controlling the motions of the robot directly, they're just giving approximate input to the motion management software that controls the actuators and auto-balancer, which takes all that data and converts it into the physical motions of the robot.

So can we expect more realistic controls from Macross Delta? Heck even if they made up some virtual brain-waved powered UI (like in Evangelion) it would make more sense than controlling a giant robot with 2 joysticks and footpedals- that type of outdated simplistic offering is acceptable in the giant robot or power ranger genre but is just lazy design to me in series like Macross and Gundam where some sense of realism has always been attempted.

I doubt it. The VF-31 has been shown in the trailer to have a fairly traditional cockpit (with EX-Gear, as on the VF-25).

The Sv-262 might have a cyber-cockpit like the VF-27.

The kind of agility these mecha exhibit would be straight-up impossible if they weren't using a control system that had been greatly simplified for the operator. Take a gander at Dai-Guard or Patlabor for a good look at how clumsy robots get when the operator's got to worry about four hundred different levers, switches, pedals, and so on.

The VF-1 controls, if I remember correctly, are a combination of brainwave sensors, traditional stick/pedal combos, that silly by our standards three-mode toggle levers, and eye-tracking software (the first and last of these being implemented by the helmet). It's not so much "unrealistic" as "unexplained." And as someone famous said, sufficiently advanced tech is indistinguishable from magic... or something like that.

The VF-1 never had brainwave sensors... that technology first appeared on the YF-21 prototype, was relegated to a backup system on the VF-22, and only finally adopted as a primary means of control via direct cybernetic interface on the VF-22HG and VF-27.

Move onto Frontier, and it appears there's now a bit of a master-slave system going on, with the VF-25 mimicking the physical movements of the pilot.

Only when the VF-25 is being controlled externally by a suit of EX-Gear (Connect-Slave mode).

When the EX-Gear is mounted in the cockpit, it forms a traditional set of controls.

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Kajnrig, you are right. You are thinking of the Robotech novels explanation of how the system worked. Seto is absolutely correct though. Even in present day 4th and 5th generation aircraft a lot of the controls receive input and translate it to the corresponding system measured as pressure. The sidestick controller on an F-16 barely moves. Most of the flight control movement is the result of the amount of pressure applied by the pilot to the stick. The input is read by the flight control computer and is transmitted to the ISA (intergrated servo actuator) in the fly-by-wire system. The ISA then moves the surface in reference to the amount of pressure applied. I actually brought this thread up in another forum topic a while back. I realized with a fly-by-wire system that the amount of movement on the sticks in the series could cause a pilot to over fly the aircraft into the ground or some object. Even the throttles are going to "auto-throttle" systems. There is no direct mechanical linkage between the the throttle and PLA on the engine. It is done with sensors like the control stick. It does bug me a bit though but someone else in the other forum pointed out that a lot of what you see is also for dramatic purposes. It just doesn't have the same impact watching a guy barely move his hand or foot on a controller while he is in what is supposed to be a high g knife fight in a Valk or Gundam.

Edited by grigolosi
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I'm not bothered by it, but most mecha anime do require a suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer for a number of common tropes. Giant robot control is definitely one such trope.

From what I understand, the control systems in Macross are not a 1:1 input/output schema. The control movements of the pilot are translated into much more complex (but pre-programmed) movements of the robot itself. Granted, such an automated control system is likely to limit the number of "available moves" any given destroid or valkyrie might perform but makes for a very simplified interface and operation of such a complex vehicle. I assume a lot of the movement of a destroid or battroid is automated for the sake of both simplicity and efficiency. For example, why would one want a control system that forces the pilot to individually perform every arm/wrist/hand/leg/knee/foot movement required for a destroid/battroid to simply stand upright from a prone position?

One could argue that pre-programmed movements also makes performance much faster and reduces reaction time compared to more fully controllable but "linear" movement system. After all, if one flick of the pilot's wrist immediately activates ten different individual movements, just think of the advantages and speed one could achieve. A fully active pilot performing vehicle control at his peak would effectively be able to double or triple the number of actions his own body could perform in the same amount of time. Exceptional pilots might even tax the control system of their destroid/valkyrie by forcing it to move faster than is mechanically tolerable for the vehicle. Such nuances in control might explain why AVF prototype mecha like the YF-19 and YF-21 were so dangerous and difficult to control during their development cycles (ie, the YF-19 test pilot roster in Macross Plus)

The official trivia does make mention of onboard Super AI systems for the Macross Plus era valkyries, which would confirm that at least some automated design for the destroid/valkyrie control systems.

The Brain Wave control systems were not a part of the first few generations of valkyries (and still are very limited in modern valkyries). Such systems play little to no part in the majority of valkyrie control.

Edited by Mr March
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Thinking of it in terms of how one can achieve so many movements with a character in a modern video game, and how those characters have pre-programmed responses is a simplified analogy, esp for a pilot who is in a seated arrangement- but it's very limited, too limited for practical application, IMO. Pacific Rim (minus the shared brain system), and Ripley's Power Loader had much more practical control systems- direct translation of physical movement from the pilot to the machine. If I had to pilot a mech with our current tech, I think I'd favor the latter.

However, in so many shows both live and animated, I've seen characters use very simplified controls to control complex systems. I still laugh when characters push the same button, or move the same switch, and different things happen in different scenes. It's just one of those things. I realized long ago that a proper control system to achieve human-like motion control would be so cumbersome in reality, and too difficult to animate, that a simple joystick to basically do everything was a good simple compromise for story's sake. I can suspend my disbelief.

I thought the BDI system in M+ was a good idea...it's pure sci-fi, but with enough science behind it to make it a plausible future development...and Guld still had physical controls to fall back on. I think for a system as complex as an anthropomorphic mech, an extremely sophisticated and intuitive AI would be essential, to the point where the AI would have to be fine tuned to a specific pilot. It would have to be a nuanced system, so that it knew what motions to follow and which ones to ignore, since people have nervous tics, fidgeting, muscle spasms, etc that the system would have to learn to filter out.

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Just to beat the dead horse some more, the Robotech novelization does state that the VF-1 used a neural link system to operate, which is how it went about explicitly justifying Max putting on a Zentradi outfit. Kind of like midichlorians. However, in Macross proper, the VF-1 is controlled solely by control input by the pilot. Further, it is noted that the early VF-1 seen in Macross TV had its entire control scheme replaced by the Block 6 cockpit by the time Do You Remember Love? was filmed in-universe. (The official retcon for the difference in control systems) This suggests that the much more complex Block 1 cockpit was the result of a less-refined automated controls system than was available by the 2040s when DYRL? was said to be made.

But all in all, it's an intuitive enough assumption to make: the pilot pushes on the controls, which correspond to various movements in the machine, as interpreted and implemented by the flight computer. For example, when Roy tells Hikaru in the second episode to slowly press on the pedals in order to right the VF-1D battroid after struggling to figure out how to control a plane that's just turned into a giant robot. We see that a simple, defined movement signals a much more complex movement in the actual battroid, which is also dealing with numerous other factors outside of an ideal situation. It was, after all, leaned up against a building, having fallen while trying to get out of the building it had just fallen into before that. It's easy to see that the Valkyrie's controls are acting as a fly-by-wire system, where the pilot inputs a simple command, like what direction to go or how quickly to move to that position, and the computer generates all the highly complex outputs to make that happen. As has been said previously, the F-16's stick barely moves at all and responds to pressure rather than travel distance to determine what the pilot intends to do with the plane. The aircraft then commands its various control surfaces to perform a certain way in order to create the desired outcome. And it's not always the surfaces you'd expect. For example, a fly by wire system might command ailerons to act as elevators if the elevators are not responding, or vice versa. They can even perform collision avoidance, automatically operating control surfaces to maintain flight a certain level off the deck, or artificially limit performance due to the potential for the aircraft to react uncontrollably. And this is just actual FBW on real aircraft that don't have overtechnology aiding them. And, of course, since VFs tend to start out as aircraft, you can see this same kind of effect in Macross. Namely, when Shin is fighting against Nora with the Ghost Booster attached. In order to generate movements beyond the flight control limiters, Shin uses the pedals in conjunction with the stick to control the thrust vectoring nozzles. While it's not stated why this works (and it's obvious it was just for dramatic effect in real life) it's easy to extrapolate that inputting both hand and foot commands of the same kind would signal to the flight computer that the performance limiter for the demanded maneuver is to be bypassed. Otherwise, the flight control system would have only used spoilers at that speed to generate a much larger but gentler set of movements.

Really the concept isn't foreign once you think about it. Manually controlling an F-16 would be impossible, because controlling all of its flight surfaces with the speed and degree of accuracy needed to maintain flight would outstrip a pilot's abilities. But, delegating direct control to a computer that is very good at taking in a bunch of numbers, crunching them, and putting out a bunch of outputs on the fly, and leaving the pilot to determine the tactics of how the plane needs to move while the computer determines the best way to make movement happens, it turns out is highly effective. It's not unreasonable to take it several steps further and apply that to giant robots which are inherently even more complex to control. It's certainly no more unreasonable than anything else in mecha anime.

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https://youtu.be/YMqu-iHKaT0?t=33

the above is what bothered the heck out of me...that GM pilot just pumping the joysticks back and forth which ruined an otherwise intense scene...i think the controls look the same as the arcade virtual-on and we all know how many moves the mechs can make in that game vs a mobiel suit (are there special buttons for 'cool poses' btw?). ...maybe they are just trying to stay faithful to the 70's Gundam UC esthetics...but new Macross should strive for better :)

Edited by JLYC
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I always thought the most realistic form of mecha control would be a combination of an automatic function (to mimic human like movements), physical input via hands and feet controls, and a nerve / muscle / brainwave response system similar to how the Bioroids from Southern Cross work..

What is certain in most advanced mecha anime (Macross included) is that us mere mortal humans simply wouldn't have the physical or mental capability to control these things and that the "anime magic" factor takes over to help make anything possible! :rolleyes:

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One thing I noticed in Macross Zero though was that the arm movement was tied in with what appeared to be Roys head movement. In the scene when Roy rescues the other VF-0 only to watch it get shot down by Ivanov, D.D. dives at him. As Roy turns his head and looks up the battroids arm also moves to point the gunpod muzzle in the same direction. The control system more than likely incorporates helmet mounted systems based initially on JHeMCS also to aid in certain actions of the battroid while in that mode. I see what you are saying Spanner, it looked more like the pilot was working that Gundam like a steam shovel than a moving spaceborne/airborne aircraft.

Edited by grigolosi
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https://youtu.be/YMqu-iHKaT0?t=33

the above is what bothered the heck out of me...that GM pilot just pumping the joysticks back and forth which ruined an otherwise intense scene...i think the controls look the same as the arcade virtual-on and we all know how many moves the mechs can make in that game vs a mobiel suit (are there special buttons for 'cool poses' btw?). ...maybe they are just trying to stay faithful to the 70's Gundam UC esthetics...but new Macross should strive for better :)

Oh, that's hilarious. He doesn't even have two joysticks. He has two THROTTLES.

Those are both one-axis inputs as near as I can tell.

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I hate to say it but he looked like a little kid playing with the cockpit controls in an aircraft museum piece set up to let folks sit in the cockpit.....it is hilarious to look at.

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Oh, that's hilarious. He doesn't even have two joysticks. He has two THROTTLES.

Those are both one-axis inputs as near as I can tell.

I hate to say it but he looked like a little kid playing with the cockpit controls in an aircraft museum piece set up to let folks sit in the cockpit.....it is hilarious to look at.

haha! spot on guys! Have to admit that sequence looked pretty terrible! :lol:

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I think folks are overeacting to this video. According to the official trivia, mobile suits in the Gundam universe have several different "system/operation modes". Gundam's resident online expert, Mark Simmons, long ago translated this description from Entertainment Bible No. 1. In addition to confirming the operation of a mobile suit are almost completely computer controlled, it also specifically describes what are known as "system modes" used within operational "sequences" depending upon the part of the mission in which the mobile suit is being piloted. There are numerous system modes, like "shooting", "melee", "cruising", etc. The pilot in the video to Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt that's being linked in this thread could simply be operating his mobile suit in a single mode in which the controls act like simplified flight or throttle controls. Hence the animation.

EDIT: found the exact thread on the MAHQ forums

http://www.mechatalk.net/viewtopic.php?p=111784#p111784

Very informative :)

Edited by Mr March
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Meh. I assume the sticks are multi-function, so the pilot pumping the throttle may not be doing what you think they're doing.

https://youtu.be/nKXSn1ZxrLE?t=57

yeah maybe so but it does look very silly! Like they added those movements simply to make the scene more interesting to look at. Or... he's using the throttles to steer the thing like pilots do in planes when the encounter a dead stick situation?

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Less about the controls themselves, but one thing I have also noticed is the lack of 3-point stability in Battroid and Gerwalk modes in recent series.

Traditionally, we've seen a main thruster in each leg, and a third thruster in the backpack that helps maintain balance (same way Iron Man has to commit two feet and at least one hand to hover). It isn't needed for walking, but when Hikaru tripped into building #2 it came on to try and help his Valkyrie stay upright.

I noticed in Frontier that the stock VF-25 lacks the back thruster, unless the little nodules where the shield attaches are supposed to be this (the show implies it with a light glow in the few Gerwalk scenes we can see clearly). The 30 and 31 also lack even a feature that could be interpreted as the third thrust point. We only see the balancing thrusters on the Tornado packs and the more advanced models with pivoting wing engines.

I can't recall if the 21 had any thrust points other than the two backpack thrusters (maybe in the legs?), but it seems like two hard-aligned thrusters would be even worse to balance on than two leg jets.

Has this ever been addressed?

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My theory on stability is that the VF's use gyros in the way we use our inner ear. The gyro feeds positional information to it's computer essentially telling it which way it is standing or positioned in either mode. The thrusters used on the VF-1 I think were along the lines of a safety feature. If the computer received erroneous input from the pilot which put the battroid in a situation as Hikaru was in, then the thrusters would be activated in a an attempt to assist in righting the battroid. But I am curious as to how the new gen Valks actually move in 0 g without the back thrusters when not equipped with super packs.

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I noticed in Frontier that the stock VF-25 lacks the back thruster, unless the little nodules where the shield attaches are supposed to be this (the show implies it with a light glow in the few Gerwalk scenes we can see clearly).

they're thrusters.

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The VF-25F does have backpack thrusters, six of them in two banks of 3 thrusters each. But they are small and mounted underneath the rear fuselage just in front of the shield-mounting section. There is almost no art for them, so I don't blame folks for being completely unware the thrusters exist. The only image I have is from Macross Frontier Archives: 3D & Setting Document Collection which I think is more for the plastic models than actual line art. There has still yet to be any mention of the backpack thrusters in the official trivia, although the Variable Fighter Master Files may provide details I've not yet read or seen.

Image attached.

post-114-0-76607500-1448634011_thumb.gif

Edited by Mr March
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One thing I noticed in Macross Zero though was that the arm movement was tied in with what appeared to be Roys head movement. In the scene when Roy rescues the other VF-0 only to watch it get shot down by Ivanov, D.D. dives at him. As Roy turns his head and looks up the battroids arm also moves to point the gunpod muzzle in the same direction. The control system more than likely incorporates helmet mounted systems based initially on JHeMCS also to aid in certain actions of the battroid while in that mode.

Bingo... the arm with the weapon was responding to the optical pointing system incorporated in the helmet.

I noticed in Frontier that the stock VF-25 lacks the back thruster, unless the little nodules where the shield attaches are supposed to be this (the show implies it with a light glow in the few Gerwalk scenes we can see clearly). The 30 and 31 also lack even a feature that could be interpreted as the third thrust point. We only see the balancing thrusters on the Tornado packs and the more advanced models with pivoting wing engines.

I got you a picture (from Macross Frontier Ep2) that shows the VF-25 in GERWALK burning its backpack engines.

post-2536-0-57896000-1448640221_thumb.png

I can't recall if the 21 had any thrust points other than the two backpack thrusters (maybe in the legs?), but it seems like two hard-aligned thrusters would be even worse to balance on than two leg jets.

Has this ever been addressed?

The YF-21/VF-22 has additional nozzles in the feet... it's just the main nozzles that migrated to the backpack.

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I was looking at the line art Seto and didn't even notice those on the trailing edges. They are definitely low profile. They did a good job at blending them into the frame to make them less prominent and keep the frame a bit more aerodynamic in Gerwalk.

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