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Author Topic: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs  (Read 3247 times)

grimlock1

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Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« on: 02 December 2017, 05:06:18 »
So far as I understand, if you want a mech that doesn't have a person in there, you have two options, drones, or autonomous robots.

Drones require constant connection with their controller, Any ECM in the equation and they freeze.

Robotic units like the Lich or Revenant, which basically do their own thing, based on a limited instruction set, Interstellar Ops 154.


Is there anything in between?  Is there a system where I can give two unmanned mech orders like "recon to the North," or "proceed to way point," and they will do that job, regardless intervening ECM(I know the bots themselves won't work properly if in and ECM field).   Then if they encounter something interesting, I take direct control of one unit?
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marauder648

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #1 on: 02 December 2017, 05:14:06 »
I thought the Liche and Revenant were both Drone systems.  The B-Tech drone system isn't too dissimilar to what we do with modern military UAV's now, obviously the data being transmitted is of far higher density and the controller has a lot more work to do but its basically the same.
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grimlock1

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #2 on: 02 December 2017, 07:26:22 »
I thought the Liche and Revenant were both Drone systems.  The B-Tech drone system isn't too dissimilar to what we do with modern military UAV's now, obviously the data being transmitted is of far higher density and the controller has a lot more work to do but its basically the same.
They are.

At least during the early parts of Iraq II, Predators were literally flown by pilots on the ground. Upgrades eventually let the operator click "Take off," then click "Do The Thing," and click "Land," when the UAV got back to base. But so far as I'm given to understand, even with the newer automatic stuff, there is still a stick and throttle on the control panel and the operator can still take direct control.

I went back and double checked some stuff and it seems like Jihad Conspiracies and Jihad Final Nightmare give the player a lot more control over robotic drones than Interstellar Ops.  IO makes it seem like Robotic Units MUST behave according to the decision tree, or roll dice for reaction to ECM.
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Red Pins

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #3 on: 02 December 2017, 11:42:57 »
I've been planning a new type, mixing Robotic decision trees for Drones affected by ECM for my AU, but as far as I understand the current rules I believe you're right.

Frankly, I like the idea of these - after all, we saw Arnie in Terminator in 1984 - and properly done, these could be a real boost to any military just like RL.
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Empyrus

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #4 on: 02 December 2017, 14:11:55 »
I don't remember about the Lich but the Revenant has both robotic and drone variants. The robot variants were used by WoB, while RotS opted for drones.

As for how BT drones control, the description is actually rather vague. A drone requires uninterrupted link to the controller, but there are no clear indications whether drones are directly remote controlled or given generic orders. Given how poorly they tend to perform, i would assume it is less about direct remote control and more about general orders. But at the same time, each drone requires an operator, which indicates direct remote control.

I figure the state of BT's drone and robotic tech is what it is since BT is the future of the 80s, its drone and robot systems are deliberately clunky, though they're also kinda advanced at the same time.

That said, BT has had its very advanced systems: CASPAR (and its successors) could do a lot of things. Not 100% sure but pretty sure it could execute "fire and forget" orders (ie "go to X and do Y and don't bother me"). But CASPAR was limited to aerospace applications.


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glitterboy2098

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #5 on: 02 December 2017, 16:07:59 »
I don't remember about the Lich but the Revenant has both robotic and drone variants. The robot variants were used by WoB, while RotS opted for drones.

As for how BT drones control, the description is actually rather vague. A drone requires uninterrupted link to the controller, but there are no clear indications whether drones are directly remote controlled or given generic orders. Given how poorly they tend to perform, i would assume it is less about direct remote control and more about general orders. But at the same time, each drone requires an operator, which indicates direct remote control.

I figure the state of BT's drone and robotic tech is what it is since BT is the future of the 80s, its drone and robot systems are deliberately clunky, though they're also kinda advanced at the same time.

That said, BT has had its very advanced systems: CASPAR (and its successors) could do a lot of things. Not 100% sure but pretty sure it could execute "fire and forget" orders (ie "go to X and do Y and don't bother me"). But CASPAR was limited to aerospace applications.
Caspar's had computer brains the size of skyscrapers, so i would hope they were more flexible AI's. main reason AI mechs are so limited is they just can't carry very powerful computers (at least, BT tech computers).

it is worth noting The Broken here.. Caspar inspired AI being used to control drone mechs.

Empyrus

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #6 on: 02 December 2017, 16:42:25 »
Good point about the computer size for Caspar. Should've thought about it...

Speaking of large computers, BT tech should allow for combo (robo-)drone/robot 'Mechs. Like, you have a static Drone Control System that is controlled by a large AI computer, and the 'Mechs have robot cockpits. Should the connection break, the robot cockpit could takeover.
Though perhaps this would be weight-prohibitive, having both remote-control system and robot cockpit would eat considerably into payload mass. The end result would be a bit like a LAM, a unit that has its special uses but can't stand up to standard style unit in a fight.
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Red Pins

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #7 on: 02 December 2017, 16:47:37 »
Good point about the computer size for Caspar. Should've thought about it...

Speaking of large computers, BT tech should allow for combo (robo-)drone/robot 'Mechs. Like, you have a static Drone Control System that is controlled by a large AI computer, and the 'Mechs have robot cockpits. Should the connection break, the robot cockpit could takeover.
Though perhaps this would be weight-prohibitive, having both remote-control system and robot cockpit would eat considerably into payload mass. The end result would be a bit like a LAM, a unit that has its special uses but can't stand up to standard style unit in a fight.

The idea for my own rules is something that can follow the old Wing Commander game commands; "Follow Me", "Attack my Target", "Return to Base", that kind of thing.

I was thinking about making the drone-player write directions a Turn ahead, in the initiative phase for the following Turn (ex. Turn one Initiate Phase order written for action in Turn 2 Movement/Firing Phase) with longer lead times depending on distance, etc.  Encountering ECM it would carry out one of 2 or 3 preset commands; "Retreat along path", "Destroy source", and maybe "Charge and detonate engine" or something.  After all, these aren't the Battletech versions of Bolos or Berserkers, you know.

And about ECM; there are other methods of control that an ECM suite can't interfere wit, like frequency-hopping audio (not radio) and Infra-red laser code, among others.  The problem with the I-R laser code might be the way it has to be two way; an enemy could lock on easily.  Still thinking about that.

*Edit - Perhaps call it a 'dumb robotic system'?
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Empyrus

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #8 on: 02 December 2017, 17:05:32 »
BT ECM is pretty magical, nearly infinite power sources help. (Pretty sure some offer this as explanation for BT's short ranges, any longer and ECM is simply too good overall.) Bypassing it is can't be easy. Assume they got light-ECM too, shining laserlight everywhere where they thing the enemy might be, laser com receivers probably have their limits.
Do note that there could exists "hardened drone systems" in an alternate universe, based on Boosted C3 (ie normal ECM is not enough to break the connection).
This would also create realistic tech progression:
Robotics/drones->use of Communications Equipment to block signals->development of proper ECM->Boosted control links->boosted (Angel) ECM.
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Sabelkatten

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #9 on: 02 December 2017, 17:19:07 »
Technically any tight-beam comm system should be essentially immune to ECM. But of course they suffer from the problem of requiring to controller to have direct line-of-sight, removing the primary reason to use a drone in the first place.

But any wide-beam comm system is vulnerable to interference, and the way I figure CBT ECM is that is that it's a brute-force "blanket everything!" type of system. It might easily include loudspeakers and flashing lights just in case... ;)

Empyrus

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #10 on: 02 December 2017, 17:52:11 »
ER2750 actually describes the Guardian ECM as more or less a brute-force ECM. Detect signal? Fire noise at it.
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mbear

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #11 on: 08 December 2017, 09:51:44 »
I don't remember about the Lich but the Revenant has both robotic and drone variants. The robot variants were used by WoB, while RotS opted for drones.

As for how BT drones control, the description is actually rather vague. A drone requires uninterrupted link to the controller, but there are no clear indications whether drones are directly remote controlled or given generic orders. Given how poorly they tend to perform, i would assume it is less about direct remote control and more about general orders. But at the same time, each drone requires an operator, which indicates direct remote control.

FWIW, I think it's more of the relationship between an officer (human) and a squad sergeant (drone). The officer says "Sergeant, go take that position" and then the sergeant figures out how to deploy the squad to do it. The human pilot tells the drone what to do, and the drone tries to do it. If it can't, the human takes over and does the direct control thing.
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anastrace

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #12 on: 21 December 2017, 12:29:23 »
Technically any tight-beam comm system should be essentially immune to ECM. But of course they suffer from the problem of requiring to controller to have direct line-of-sight, removing the primary reason to use a drone in the first place.

But any wide-beam comm system is vulnerable to interference, and the way I figure CBT ECM is that is that it's a brute-force "blanket everything!" type of system. It might easily include loudspeakers and flashing lights just in case... ;)

I'm just imagining the prototypes of the guardian systems blanketing the airwaves with white noise, flashing like a disco ball, and blaring heavy metal off the external speakers. They'll never see us coming!
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Sabelkatten

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #13 on: 22 December 2017, 03:50:55 »
But how are they going to see WHAT is coming...? ^-^

grimlock1

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #14 on: 22 December 2017, 19:44:45 »
FWIW, I think it's more of the relationship between an officer (human) and a squad sergeant (drone). The officer says "Sergeant, go take that position" and then the sergeant figures out how to deploy the squad to do it. The human pilot tells the drone what to do, and the drone tries to do it. If it can't, the human takes over and does the direct control thing.
If that's the case, shouldn't airborne drones be able to fly straight and level if the control link is interrupted?  The way VTOL and aerospace drones crash when they lose the control link suggests to me that BT drones are totally controlled by the operator.
I'm rarely right... Except when I am.  ---  Idle question.  What is the BV2 of dread?
Apollo's Law- if it needs Clan tech to make it useable, It doesn't deserve those resources in the first place.
Sure it isn't the most practical 'mech ever designed, but it's a hundred ton axe-murderer. If loving that is wrong I don't wanna be right.

Red Pins

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #15 on: 23 December 2017, 12:57:49 »
If that's the case, shouldn't airborne drones be able to fly straight and level if the control link is interrupted?  The way VTOL and aerospace drones crash when they lose the control link suggests to me that BT drones are totally controlled by the operator.

Frankly, it's one of the problems I have with the system as written.  I realize too much RL in a game of giant stompy robots isn't realistic either, but hey.
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VhenRa

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #16 on: 28 December 2017, 23:08:13 »
That sorta "You go to [X] and do [Y]" is more SDS/Drones under ATACS/DTACS control.

SCC

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Re: Talk to me about Drone mechs v robotic mechs
« Reply #17 on: 29 December 2017, 16:47:18 »
If that's the case, shouldn't airborne drones be able to fly straight and level if the control link is interrupted?  The way VTOL and aerospace drones crash when they lose the control link suggests to me that BT drones are totally controlled by the operator.
VTOL Drones don't crash

 

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