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Author Topic: What if omnimechs could replace engines  (Read 180 times)

Precentor Scorpio

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What if omnimechs could replace engines
« on: 21 October 2020, 19:17:31 »
Would anyone like this feature?  Downgrade your Hellbringer from a 325 engine to a 270?  If todays mission requires speed you go 325 but if you need staying power, you downgrade to a 270 and add armor pods?
Just curious

Alan Grant

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Re: What if omnimechs could replace engines
« Reply #1 on: 21 October 2020, 19:35:26 »
Would it be more expensive?

That could mean the engine in general, or the price tag of such an OmniMech in general. Because now we're at an insane level of customization, I feel like it would be more expensive. Like you'd have to design specific plug and play engines that work with such an Omni. An Omni 325, an Omni 270. Designed to be modular.

The internal layout of the Omni and the engine would have to match up, always.

Short answer, I dunno, it depends. But I feel like to keep things balanced you need a break point where there's things you can do with traditional 'mech cutomization or construction that an Omni can't do. Or some byproduct factor like cost that balances things out.

« Last Edit: 21 October 2020, 19:41:31 by Alan Grant »

Precentor Scorpio

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Re: What if omnimechs could replace engines
« Reply #2 on: 22 October 2020, 08:48:08 »
Regarding the internal layout, not being an engineer but for cheap fiction purposes I would simply but a box in the chassis.  The engine would fit in the box.  So I guess open up the chest, remove box, insert new box.  Plug box in.

Just curious if that is a feature that the players would consider if they were playing a campaign. 

Regarding engine sizes, I meant to say a 260 rated engine.  65 x 4

Alan Grant

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Re: What if omnimechs could replace engines
« Reply #3 on: 22 October 2020, 09:51:09 »
Is there a point where the engine is too big for the cavity?

My point is, the more I think about this the more questions it brings up. I'd rather use the rules I know and understand and everyone knows and understands and agrees with.

I've absolutely seen games and groups where there are certain house rules, but the good ones only exist when necessary to resolve a disagreement or problem. Introducing a house rule just out of preference and desire tends to beget even more preferred rules changes by the group and after a while you need your own game manual to keep track of it all.

As a for-instance I watched a game group once that decided the rule that says vehicles can't have double heat sinks was stupid. So they got rid of that rule. The result was a littany of "house" vehicle design vehicles that pretty much needed their own TRO and none existed. It was very "new player unfriendly." From there they started tinkering with a bunch of other rules. Rules for dropship carrying capacity and customization, rules for salvage, rules for a lot of things, new rules for how BA could hold onto BattleMechs for short duration without needing an Omni or magnetic clamps but it would slow the 'mech down and they developed a formula for that. It definitely got to a point where for a new player to join this ongoing group, you needed to relearn everything you thought you knew about Battletech. New people would get discouraged and quit almost immediately when confronted with a menu of new rules outside of their official books, and then eventually the old hands dropped off too, 'cause life, until the whole thing just came to a halt when there were too few people left to sustain a group.

I'm presenting a pretty extreme example. I'm not saying changing one rule would result in the same outcome. Just offering a cautionary tale on how this can become a slippery slope.
« Last Edit: 22 October 2020, 10:06:13 by Alan Grant »

Renard

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Re: What if omnimechs could replace engines
« Reply #4 on: 22 October 2020, 10:06:53 »
Regardless of the size of the mech and the size of the engine, they all take up exactly the same number of crit spaces on a record sheet.  So using lower powered engines gets you back tonnage but not space, and I suppose you could toy around with the loadout more.

More this gets us back to the problem with omnis in the first place: the more you can customize a chassis, the less reason for there to be many mechs.  At the point that I have a generic 50 ton chassis where loadout/engine/armor are all adjustable, I can rebuild it as a hunchback, a trebuchet, or a centurion, even though there are big differences between those mechs' roles and movement profiles.

Maybe the way to set up rules like this is to allow depowering or overpowering the engine to get tonnage back, but incurring additional penalties?  Like when you depower the engine, it really reduces sprint MP, so instead of 4/6 to 3/5, you have 4/6 to 3/4 or something.  When you overpower the engine, it leads to additional heat, so instead of 10 free heat sinks you only get 8 per extra point or something.

Then the rules keep the chassis unique, but allow some limited "jury rig" customization for specific missions where you just need some heavy or assault mech to be able to keep up with the rest of the lance for a hit-and-run, or you're willing to make a mech a sitting duck in order to load it up with more weapons.


idea weenie

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Re: What if omnimechs could replace engines
« Reply #5 on: 22 October 2020, 17:04:49 »
One concern might be that you wouldn't get as much tonnage back.  A Mech's engine might not be just the fusion plant, but also the myomers and strengthened internal structure.

There is no change in internal structure mass when a Mech changes its speed from 1/2 to 8/12, yet the force that will be getting applied to each leg is much higher.  To me that means the enhanced leg strength is part of the engine tonnage.  Similarly, the myomers are used to provide the movement speed, so they would be part of the engine too.  To fully refit the Mech's engine, you'd have to change out the myomers as well

SteveRestless

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Re: What if omnimechs could replace engines
« Reply #6 on: 23 October 2020, 10:51:09 »
I wouldn't mind it. I probably wouldn't use it much, save as an expedient form of repair.

Ideally, if this were to be a thing, I would prefer it require engines of approximately the same mass. Such as how a 300 Standard Fusion is within a couple of tons of a 375 Extralight. (with the 300 SFE being smaller) and compatible with the same chassis albeit at different speeds. if it were my decision to make, I'd also either limit it to the largest engine being the original, or institute a MASC style penalty for pushing a mech's motive systems past their original design specifications.

I could also see it requiring an omni being designed to swap engines from the get-go. a design that places the engine less at the heart of the mech and in a more swap-friendly position, perhaps making it more vulnerable from behind?

All told, I'd rather have an Omni I could reskin with different armors/different quantities of armor, than one with swappable engines
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Maingunnery

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Re: What if omnimechs could replace engines
« Reply #7 on: 23 October 2020, 12:18:19 »

I could see room for this if the engine type is kept the same.
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: What if omnimechs could replace engines
« Reply #8 on: 23 October 2020, 14:26:39 »

Design mechanics-wise, this could work under a couple limiting rules:

1) The weight of the new engine and its gyro match the weight of the old engine and gyro.  This means that lighter-weight and more vulnerable engine and gyro technologies (light engine, XL, XXL) would be necessary at higher speeds and that heavier-weight and less vulnerable engine and gyro technologies would be necessary at lower speeds (standard, compact, HD, armored components).

2) The design has the open critical hit slots in the relevant torso sections to accommodate the engine and gyro changes.

3) The design has the open critical hit slots necessary to accommodate any of the ten fixed heat sinks that fall outside the engine for engine ratings below 250.

So, for example, a 75-ton omnimech could:

— Move 4/6 with a 19-ton 300-rated SFE and 4.5-ton compact gyro (23.5 tons total) or
— Move 5/8 with a 19.5-ton 375-rated XLE and 4-ton standard gyro

Because both combinations total 23.5 tons.

But the 5/8 configuration will need enough open critical hit slots in the center, right, and left torso sections to accommodate the XLE and standard gyro.

These design constraints allow considerable versatility while still working within the existing design rules and imposing some limitations on possible engine swapouts.
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