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FreeFall
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Posted: 31 August 2001 at 11:05am | IP Logged Quote FreeFall

Interesting discussion. While I am of course a fan of Jacking In, I have to agree that the concept of rigging a combat vehicle to a human mind seems a bit daunting. That would imply that we have evolved to a point where we are using more of our brains and our mental capacities are significantly different.

However, what about someof the other races? Well, if you look at them, you'll see that most seem to be on an intellectual par wiht human development. No funky powers, etc. So I would make the assumption that this is true for the other races as well.

Now, let me break my own rule here and make a comparisson to Battletech and a little piece of obscure level 3 clan tech. Remember the combat interfaces that were implanted into some clan warriors to increase their performance? it worked, bu they wound up going crazy from sensory overload. This is because when you wire in, you bypass all the natural filters the body has created to protect the brain, and the brain can not handle it.

Beside, the VR thing is realistic enough to actually imagine it, if you have ever experienced playing a game using VR goggles. I think back to using some VR goggles one time with MW2, and I can kind of get a feel for what a wixxo might see. I htink that's a component that might be really cool and draw more people in.

Besides, it's kind of different fromt he systems other games use. I like that.

Now about these cool pilots. what are the controls like for a CAV? Joystick and pedals, flight yoke, tank like yokes?

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Posted: 31 August 2001 at 11:16am | IP Logged Quote MacAttack

Could be a body harness?

That way the pilot would "stand" and the CAV would move as he moves. May be exhausing though.

Or you can just go with the old HOTAS setup (but no foot controls).

Tank controls sound interesting too.



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ravezero
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Posted: 31 August 2001 at 11:32am | IP Logged Quote ravezero

Just by judging from the cover image it looks like the pilot and wizzo are packed in pretty tighly...I'm thinking HOTAS setup with VR goggles.

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Posted: 08 April 2002 at 11:43am | IP Logged Quote Frank Vickers

Yeah, I'd agree with the HOTAS and VR idea...but what about balance and inertial compensation. Akela mentioned there being AG fields to compensate for shifts inside the CAV, but if the shifts are that extreme wouldn't the CAV itself need something.

I wold assume the navigational computer (the one that helps the Pilot) would be programmed to execute humanoid-like foot patterns should a sharp turn or a crash stop be needed.

And I'm starting to think that plugging my brain into a CAV wouldn't be a good idea. What if I went to sleep in the middle of combat? That could be nasty :o)

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Posted: 08 April 2002 at 3:19pm | IP Logged Quote quester

well thats easy

you could use a simple force feel back helmet to send balance commands to the CAV.

as the CAV tips is pushs on the helmet and you pushing back sends control commands to the CAV for balance...

its so easy and simple, its scary.

and as for jacking in you don t use that to control the weapons just the movement

maybe thats why you need a pilot and a wizzo the pilot is jacked into the CAVs movement controls and the wizzo is working the scaners and weapons....





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Edited by - quester on 08 Apr 2002 15:24:53
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Posted: 08 April 2002 at 4:35pm | IP Logged Quote Tulku

Now we need more info on the pilot. How does the system for him work? Lets say, in terms of the game, how would a pilot handle Defensive Fire? I know Matt said that the WSO does all the firing and such...but lets say the enemy comes from behind the CAV. So the pilot has the CAV accelerated to max, and all the sudden the torso swings around to face the rear to perform DefFire when fired upon. Now unless the pilot has a VR helmet also, how does he pilot? Facing to the rear in this manner would be like flying a R/C aircraft toward yourself, all the controls would suddenly be reversed.

And what about those few CAVs that are supposed to only have a single crew. How specialized would a Pilot/WSO be? Because, aren't some of the smaller CAVs supposed to only have one?

This is good stuff Matt! Please keep it going. Since some of us are trying to write accurate fluff for our units, as well as some interesting fanfic, could you keep us to date on the current internal workings?

Thanks!!




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Posted: 08 April 2002 at 6:43pm | IP Logged Quote Chaos

All this is very interesting, however it would seem that to have a truely effective wso he would need to be able to see in any direction in a micro second. So perhaps instead of a harness, he is inside a bellar type sphere inside the cav Cockpit. It operates much like a VR helmet except that the entire wall before the the WSO display the forward aspect, and simply by changing his orientation he can change his perspective. With the free floating ability his targetting ability and ECM and Defensive fire ability would be almost instantanous. I don't know if anyone has ever seen the Video Game that rides on a cushion of Air and rotates using Gyros. But that is where I arrived at this idea. Please let me know if this has any merit.


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Posted: 08 April 2002 at 7:00pm | IP Logged Quote Akela

Wow, it's amazing the old threads that get found again.

As an update; we're still leaning towards the "Cyber-lite" view on human augmentation. Basically we're still looking at the universe from the perspective of "With nanotech and aggressive software/programs why in the nine hecks would you ever put hardware in your body."

So if we use trodes/jacking-in it's going to be rare and not the norm. Also we feel it lessens the "heroic factor" of the warriors of the universe some.

On to pilots...

The way we see it, Defensive Fire is one of those things Pilots just bloody well get used to. Realize of course the reason a CAV has a "humanoid shape" is specifically to cut down on torso spinning. If Defensivefire is off to the side, one arm rotates at the upper arm and the other fires across the front of the torso with missile pods spinning to point the correct way. If the cockpit area has to actually be spun around... the pilot just has to cope... and it's part of why a Scorpion Pilot and a Dictator Pilot aren't exactly "cross CAV" compatible.

(or in another vein... you're looking at this computer monitor. If you made two "bang bang pistols" out of your index finger and thumb... how would you point them 90 degrees to your right or left while continuing to view this monitor. You need shoulders and elbows... fancy that Superiority CAVs have the same. )

As to the actual controls... well... far less thought has been put into the Pilot's seating. The current thinking is that the pilot has two "throttle sticks" ...similar to a tank. These controls are for the legs and are set on a mount that will move forward, backward, slightly left, slightly right, up and down. These sticks also have buttons, levers, switches, etc. all over them. The "rudder pedals" are part of the hips as well and slightly go left/right/toe-in/toe-back (ankles) and mainly forward and back (hip rotation) and are magnetically locked to the pilot's boots (the release on ejection or power loss). Balance is primarily an exchange of the interplay of data between the CAV computer and the pilot's own inner ear (feedback provided by the helmet and head orientation just as Ron suspects). The way I see it, a really good CAV pilot can make that machine do things that almost seem human... crouch, skip, hop, shuffle-step...etc. (Don't think graceful like an japanime-style Mecha... a CAV doing a shuffle step is an ungainly and terrifying thing... but when you're trying to dodge a missile salvo you'll do whatever it takes).

The pilot helmet-visor assists the CAV's own HUD by overlaying a line drawn supplemental view of what's going on outside the CAV. The cockpit is the primary view of what's outside the CAV but the Pilot is also aware of what's going on to the side and behind (if he really needs the info) and topographical information of the terrain is also transmitted to the pilot. While the human eye might not notice the slight hillock on the center of the field... the pilot sees it since it might trip the CAV.

(it would be highly embarrasing to get your arse beat by your own WSO after the battle because you tripped on a pothole )

For most CAVs think of it this way.. the Pilot controls the waist down. The WSO and weapon systems control the torso and arms (main guns). And neither of them enjoy Defensive Fire (since they're not in control) but it's better than being killed.

Also I hope I'm conveying that there is absolutely no way a normal person can easily just "pick up" being a CAV pilot OR WSO. While the computer handles a lot... and you could probably start the thing and even shoot the guns if you had the right access codes (or it was a hacked pirate CAV or something).. you certainly couldn't win a fight against another CAV crew if you didn't know what in the world you were doing.

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Posted: 09 April 2002 at 12:49am | IP Logged Quote Tulku

Thanks Matt!!!! I see I have some rewriting to do. Tulku will still be a pilot, since he is commanding. I know now that a WSO would be entirely too busy to do his job and try to keep up with the rest of the battle. A commander/pilot would probably be nearly as busy as the WSO, since he will be piloting and checking his command board at the same time.

What do you think about the commander/pilot being nearly as festooned with equipment as the WSO? Cables, visor, and such? And I would think that the relationship between a C/P and WSO would be even tighter than regular...since the C/P also is in an immersive environment and really knows what the WSO's world is like during combat.

On a side note, I wonder if Reaper will have Mobile Command Vehicles or CAVs? I know they have Off-Board Command, since you can buy the OFC cards to insert into the initiative deck. But what about Commanders that prefer to command from the field? Will there be Command Suites that you can install in a CAV? (Perhaps, to justify the cost of installing a Command Cockpit, you get one extra card for the intiative deck?) The regular suite would be fine for a Section Commander to keep track of the three others under his command. But someone that needs to watch a whole company or perhaps batallion, needs something better. I know one person couldn't personally command every single soldier under his command, that's not what I am talking about...that's why you have Section Commanders and Company Commanders and what have you. But if you are trying to run the battle from the battlefield (since the battlefield of the future is SO fluid and fast), you need some form of Command Suite, either in the form of a vehicle or specialized CAV cockpit.

Thoughts??




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Posted: 09 April 2002 at 2:25pm | IP Logged Quote quester

quote:
On a side note, I wonder if Reaper will have Mobile Command Vehicles or CAVs?


that was my idea with the Bulldog, that its a command and control CAV with room for a CO and a com.officer inside and the pilot and wizzo in the cock-pit

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Posted: 09 April 2002 at 4:50pm | IP Logged Quote Tulku

quote:

that was my idea with the Bulldog, that its a command and control CAV with room for a CO and a com.officer inside and the pilot and wizzo in the cock-pit


Good to see someone else thinking along the same lines. Or, that I am thinking along lines that others have thought...LOL!

Anywhoo, if we had to go to more than just C/P and WSO, four people in a CAV seems a bit excessive. Possibly three would be about right, a pilot, WSO, and CO. We would have to reach into the wonderful world of AI for the commtech (something similar in nature to the AI that does DefF?). Or just give the CO specialized equipment and training to be able to operate his own Command Suite much the same way the WSO does the attack console? That way you could just install the Command Suite in just about anything...vehicle, CAV, aircraft, or even spacecraft.

And since the CO really doesn't need to see outside the CAV where traditionally one seat is higher than the other for this purpose, you could seat him back-to-back with the lower seat and just under the high seat, to conserve space. It would be cramped, but there wouldn't have to be much work done to the ejection tub to include the CO. On a realistic note, this arrangement wouldn't require you to change the minis in anyway, such as stretching the cockpit to account for another body.

Still thinking! Matt, Ron....keep it coming. LOL!





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Posted: 09 April 2002 at 6:25pm | IP Logged Quote quester

you could use the bulldog as an ACP if you wanted to
its got 4 legs and a big lower hull

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Posted: 09 April 2002 at 7:02pm | IP Logged Quote ravezero

Armored Personel Carrier - APC...you always say ACP! lol!

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Posted: 09 April 2002 at 9:41pm | IP Logged Quote Chrome

He could always call it "A CoP". Armored Carrier of Personnel.

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Posted: 09 April 2002 at 11:15pm | IP Logged Quote quester

sorry I was at school and trying to type fast

I ll call it an IT-CAV "Infantry transporting Combat Assault Vehicle"


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Posted: 10 April 2002 at 12:41am | IP Logged Quote Frank Vickers

Hehehe, I see I've re-opened a very stale can of worms here. Still cool though :o)

Okay, my thoughts on the issue of pilot and wizzo controls have changed recently, purley because the jacked-in scenario didn't seem likely :o)

How I see a pilot commanding his CAV and perhaps suborinated is like this:

The pilot controls the legs and hips, like someone has already said. To do that, he has a stick of some kind, which he can use to control the turning and throttle. Perhaps he has two. Either way, both would be adorned with switches, since he works the commgear and would need to access several pre-programmed HUD views.

The pilot has a VR visor similar to his wizzo, but on his is displayed the 'gun-camera' of the CAV - the view outside the cockpit. On the HUD he would also have perhaps a topographical view of the battlefield with different coloured 'tracks' to show him enemy from friendly on. On this he may have a cone of vision for the VR headset/cockpit window. This way, he can look at what's going on around him, this would be great for commanding units, but he could also see the terrain in front. If he had a monicle like in the Apache, then he'd not need to worry about whether the torso was facing the rear because the monicle would still show the view from the front.

I think this would allow him to command units under him, respond better to order from his own boss and still pilot the CAV. And since he has a terrain map and a simple radar picture of the enemy locations, he can move his CAV to try and anticipate where his wizzo wants to put the rounds....he could even direct the wizzo if there were a strategic target of opportunity such as an enemy commander or something.

Think of the HUD as similar to the way MW3 does radar, and his stick allows him to zoom in and out and get detailed info on different targets as an when he needs too (one stick with a thumb-wheel and a trackball style mouse thing would probably be best).

As for the wizzo, I see him with much the same system except his HUD would show the cross hairs for the weapons, since he'll most often have moved the torso to bring all his weapons to bear. However, since he has to direct the firing and still try and out-wit his opposite number then it may get tough. Yes, the wizzo controls we've been told of are excellent.

As for defensive fire, remember this is a computerised automatic sequence initiated by rounds being fire at them. So while the AI could swing the torso round and fire everything, or the arms could move across the torso, the wizzo and pilot never need to be jarred since their VR visors and/or HUD's are being fed from sensors and so they may experience a slight spinning sensation (although inertial and AG dampeners would negate even this) but their views wouldn't need to change from what the were before they were attacked.

As for hip and ankle control, well if you have an AI good enough to take control of the weapons and fire rounds down the aspect bearing to the attacker and then return to how the torso/arms were before, then why can't you simply have an AI that can simulate these things...although a feed from the pilot's helmet with balance instructions would be a good idea too.

This would still allow Elite or Ace pilots to hop, skip, side-step or even dodge/weave around enemy fire, and still allow the pilot to make squishies, he'd not be tied down with large numbers of controls. He's there to move the damn thing, and in battle the fewer the number of controls you have the better. Especially if he's got to watch those blue blips on his HUD to see if he's needed.

I liked the idea of a kind of ball turret with the wizzo in it, but since we know that a CAV's cockpit it like that of a Snake, I don't see that happening. I wouldn't mind seeing some CAV's come out with a small piloting compartment in the hips/waist (or even the 'abdomen') and have the wizzo in the torso (or thorax) and with control of the weapons. However, using sensor data and tying the computer functions together, I don't think it'd be needed like that. It might be fun though :o)

As for the third crewman, I don't honestly think it's needed. That has worked in other systems because you have one person moving and fighting the vehicle. In CAV, you don't and so a natural extension of the pilot's role would be to command others, since he must know where they are anyway in order to move effectively and the wizzo is emersed in the weapons systems so he couldn't do it.

Just some thoughts :o)

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Posted: 10 April 2002 at 3:44pm | IP Logged Quote Tulku

Interesting thinking, Frank. Some of what you said was already addressed by Matt in the two previous posts.

On the 'jacked-in' thing, I can see a few really good reasons why that would be unnecessary. With nanites, all you really need to do is inject them into the pilot/WSO's body with a program to build sub-dermal pathways. That way all you would need are helmets and suits with induction patches and there you go. Just use an AI as a filter and buffer, add a little feedback for resistance to stray thoughts so you have to concentrate to make things happen, and WHAM! you have jackless 'jacking-in.' I would keep the WSO's palm trigger as another safeguard/safety, since actually pushing it requires the WSO to commit to the action...this way "accidental" firing will be kept to a strict minimum. I guess I see it being alot like EI from 'Tech.

On the pilot thing, I think Matt said that the pilots have special boots that magnetically clamp into place and allow the CAV to mimic the movement of the pilot's legs and feet. This would account for the dexterity that CAVs seem to have on the battlefield (and mean that pilots would have to be extremely fit -like Ironman kinda fit). I like the idea of the twin joystick that you presented too. Probably situated at the end of each armrest and, as you said, festooned with switches for comm and several different HUDs along with power/armor/internal damage status. Which I think would be enough information to command a Section and possibly a Company, but not much more, IMO. I think it would require an immersive experience much like the WSO's to pilot and CO from the cockpit for Battalion and above. I think you could do it with just an immersed CO/P and WSO, but Ron offered another idea. While I think 4 people inside even his Bulldog CAV would be incredibly tight, I can see slipping ONE more in. Like I said above, perhaps seated back-to-back with the pilot and just below the WSO. It would be very snug but it could work. That way you could have a CO on the field conducting the battle. Instead of being to the rear and waiting for info to be relayed via sattelite or whatever, he could be on the battlefield and know instantly what is going on. My idea was that there would be a points cost for having a Command Suite added to a CAV but to offset the cost (and make it worth it), you get another OBCS card for the initiative deck to represent the CO getting the info so quickly. (Which you would remove if he has to eject or is killed.)

This is cool, guys! It really gets the old brain juices flowing. Heh! Guess my brain is drooling!





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Posted: 16 April 2002 at 4:48pm | IP Logged Quote Tulku

~bump~
::Just making this thread active again.::

What no comments? No rebuttals?

Matt? No illumination?





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Posted: 16 April 2002 at 7:32pm | IP Logged Quote Akela

Heh, I had figured yall would rather me be working on the JoR than wrapping my brain around cockpit crew issues.

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Posted: 16 April 2002 at 9:30pm | IP Logged Quote Tulku

quote:

Heh, I had figured yall would rather me be working on the JoR than wrapping my brain around cockpit crew issues.



Multi-tasking, Matt. Multi-tasking.
LOL!!





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Posted: 17 April 2002 at 12:16am | IP Logged Quote Tulku

quote:

Tulku, you've expanded on my stuff nicely. However, the clamped feet thing, I'm not sure how that would work so I'll need more info from Matt before I can comment on that properly...however I will say that there ain't no way I'd adopt a command interface that would require my pilots to act like they were walking while seated inside their vehicles!!! Imagine a route march to the battle, say 2 hours, then the battle itself, and then a pursuit to take advantage of your momentum and route the enemy. I'm sorry, I just don't see that happening. Perhaps I'm not clear on this.


Crystal, Frank. I happen to agree. I guess the idea was that there was no other way to get the agility necessary. In truth, if the mag boots was more successful than any other method, then I would use it. But, if you use my "jackless jacking-in" induction patches, then you could still get the same agility without the extreme stress on the physical body. That way, while 'jacked-in' the pilot would feel as if the CAV's leg were his own legs. There would be some chemical buildup causing fatigue, but if not working the muscles then no lactic acid would form.

quote:

As for the third man, I still don't agree. I think the Pilot would be able to handle it. Remember, officers are used to thinking for themselves AND for their men at the same time, it took me a while to unlearn that habit, and I personally would expect a commander to pilot his own CAV. Afterall, a Tank commander sits inside a tank and commands it. Yes the gunner has a slightly greater choice but wizzos are autonomous anyway so that wouldn't make much difference, in my opinion.


Again Frank, I agree. I would rather there only be two people in the cockpit, it would be too crowded otherwise. However, I still think that a CO/P would need more than just the regular interface if trying to command a Company or Regiment from the cockpit. I doubt the regular suite would have the necessary communications and command consoles to feed the CO the necessary info. Something of a larger and more complex nature would be required, IMHO. I have never commanded troops, though, and definately not a whole Company or Regiment. So, I cannot say what would truly be required. But from what I can tell by talking to some Navy friends and the small amount of research I have done, a large force requires alot of info to utilize properly. Thus, a Command Suite, requiring some refit to replace the normal command console in the CAV, would account for the increased computer/AI, increased comm, secure satlink, encryption/decryption machines, HUDs, overlays, etc., etc. All the goodies that a Company/Battallion/Regiment commander would need to replace the normal staff.


quote:

Matt. I'd much rather have an answer to my questions and e-mails, personally. The JoR was originally slated for 2001. It's now April, and while I'd like to see it and the firstbtch of miniatures (including the Mastodon, Ogre and Wyvern (IT'S A COBRA DAMMIT!!)) before Origins, it isn't going to drive me insane or anything.


Matt! Don't let Frank's prattle distract you. His head is nearing implosion from the lack of new CAV goodies. The problem here is if Frank were a REAL die-hard CAV fan, he would just go ahead and move across the pond so he wouldn't have to worry about CAV availiblity. Now that would be hardcore! LOL!!



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Posted: 17 April 2002 at 5:45am | IP Logged Quote Frank Vickers

Tulku, you've expanded on my stuff nicely. However, the clamped feet thing, I'm not sure how that would work so I'll need more info from Matt before I can comment on that properly...however I will say that there ain't no way I'd adopt a command interface that would require my pilots to act like they were walking while seated inside their vehicles!!! Imagine a route march to the battle, say 2 hours, then the battle itself, and then a pursuit to take advantage of your momentum and route the enemy. I'm sorry, I just don't see that happening. Perhaps I'm not clear on this.

As for the third man, I still don't agree. I think the Pilot would be able to handle it. Remember, officers are used to thinking for themselves AND for their men at the same time, it took me a while to unlearn that habit, and I personally would expect a commander to pilot his own CAV. Afterall, a Tank commander sits inside a tank and commands it. Yes the gunner has a slightly greater choice but wizzos are autonomous anyway so that wouldn't make much difference, in my opinion.

Matt. I'd much rather have an answer to my questions and e-mails, personally. The JoR was originally slated for 2001. It's now April, and while I'd like to see it and the firstbtch of miniatures (including the Mastodon, Ogre and Wyvern (IT'S A COBRA DAMMIT!!)) before Origins, it isn't going to drive me insane or anything.

But yeah, Tulku's right. Multi-tasking and smartworking. It's worked for us :o)

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Posted: 17 April 2002 at 1:11pm | IP Logged Quote ravezero

quote:
Tulku, you've expanded on my stuff nicely. However, the clamped feet thing, I'm not sure how that would work so I'll need more info from Matt before I can comment on that properly...however I will say that there ain't no way I'd adopt a command interface that would require my pilots to act like they were walking while seated inside their vehicles!!!


Modern fly-by-wire control systems don't actually move, but adjust based on pressure applied and direction. The way Matt described it, I imagine the pilot would only actually apply pressure or resistance to the pedals when balance coordination was called for. Simple movement would be controlled via throttle.

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Posted: 17 April 2002 at 2:06pm | IP Logged Quote Tulku

quote:

Modern fly-by-wire control systems don't actually move, but adjust based on pressure applied and direction. The way Matt described it, I imagine the pilot would only actually apply pressure or resistance to the pedals when balance coordination was called for. Simple movement would be controlled via throttle.



Good point Rave. Just trying to figure out how a pilot could get sufficient complex movement from throttles to make the CAV dance as Matt said it could. And if you kept the pilot sitting, it would require incredibly precise small motor control. Pilots would be a very rare breed, indeed. Drugs and nanite surgery would only help but not create pilots. Pilots of this sort would probably be incredibly fussy neat-freaks. When I lived in Florida, I lived close to Cape Canaveral. I knew a few of the crane guys that worked at the Space Center. Those guys were absolutely amazing with a crane. They could swing the Shuttle around in the bay and set it down on an egg without cracking it (don't ask how I know that ). And personaly, they were nitpicking, detail oriented freaks.
But to get the dexterity from the CAV, I think would require more direct control. I don't know. And I guess we won't know for sure until Matt or some of the Reaper people chime in.

My main concern is that I want to write correct fluff. I would hate to have to rewrite significant portions of my stuff to be accurate.




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Posted: 17 April 2002 at 2:22pm | IP Logged Quote Tulku

quote:

Modern fly-by-wire control systems don't actually move, but adjust based on pressure applied and direction. The way Matt described it, I imagine the pilot would only actually apply pressure or resistance to the pedals when balance coordination was called for. Simple movement would be controlled via throttle.



It just occured to me that it could be a mixture of the two. Say, for straight-line acceleration and gross movement (turn left, turn right, back-up, and such), throttles would work. But when the pilot needs more precise control, he hits an override switch that transfers complete control to his stirrups.

So, when XYZ pilot just needs to go across level ground trying to keep in cover and go from behind Building A to behind Building B, he just points the CAV in the right direction and rams the throttles to the stops. Since there is nothing complicated about running across the street, there is no need for fine control. But if the ground is rubble-strewn or if trying to climb a hill, the pilot could not trust the AI to choose the best footing. So he trips the override and uses his own dexerity to traverse the terrain.

Frank, I think this system would be the best of both worlds. What do you think? LOL! I know it really doesn't matter what we think since we aren't writing anything 'official,' but it makes sense in light of the fact that we don't have better info yet.





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