Integrated circuits are LosTech, and all computers are analog.
- This would explain why an additional targeting computer takes up several tons and a lot of hull space. It might also explain the Short-Range Long-Range Weapon thing.
- Despite the name, there's actually a lot more to a functional targeting computer than just a bunch of chips to be plugged into an existing system as-is. It's all the extra peripheral performance-enhancing gear that takes up the tonnage and space (and yes, that's canon).
- Indeed, such things as additional recoil/motion compensators would take up a fair bit of room and tonnage. Additional sensors attatched to the weapons allso adds more tonnage/crits, though for ease of gameplay/design, all those bits were lumped in with the actual computer.
- It's also heavy and bulky for game balance reasons. Game balance explains a lot of the other weirdness in the game. Remember the Autocannon/20? The book establishes that an AC/20 is somewhere in the 185mm to 200mm range, and yet, its maximum range is less than 300 yards. Guns of that size exist in real life... an example would be the MK-71 naval 8-inch gun (200mm is just shy of 8 inches). The Mk-71 has an effective range of about 25 MILES, about 150 times the range of an AC/20, but as it stands, the AC/20 can already destroy most Light Mechs with one or two shots. If you combined that kind of damage with a realistic range, game balance would go out the window.
- I've always considered it less of an absolute range problem and more of an accuracy problem. Mechs are big, but compare the gun/space ratio of a mech's arm or torso, then look at the gun/body ratio for a ship; the ship has a lot more room for recoil compensation and such. It's not that they can't fire far; it's that they can't fire far and do so accurately.
- The short range of the larger A Cs probably can be explained by low projectile speed. If it was higher, the 'mechs wouldn't be able to handle the recoil.
- Speaking of recoil, there is also the matter that most Autocannons are literally cannon-scale machineguns. Accuracy 25 miles is not so easy when you're firing a good 60-200 rounds a minute.
- Adding to the previous note, each hex on the map is 30 meters across. If you used the REAL range of guns that size, the map would have to be close to 1,500 hexes long. You'd need a Segway to get from one end of the map to the other.
- Also in one of the more recent rulebooks (not sure which, mind) there's a note from the designers that for the sake of effective gameplay, the ranges in game are much shorter than what they would be in the fluff.
- This point seems to have been addressed in a very roundabout way in Alpha Strike, where units are given two more range bands in expanded rules — Extreme (21-30 hexes, or 42-60 inches), and Horizon, the latter being effectively Exactly What It Says on the Tin. However both of those have insanely high to-hit modifiers, meaning that even an ace pilot would need a good bit of luck to actually hit anything at Horizon Range. It's a +8 modifier, modified by movement and terrain. It'd be insanely easy for even a skill 0 pilot to need a 12 or above on 2d6 to hit. Also, it's only weapons already capable of actually dealing damage at long range that can qualify, so the 200mm AC-20 mentioned above still is restricted to 300 yards...
- There's actually a realistic answer to this conundrum: Bore length. The biggest factor in range of a gun is not weight of projectile, it's the amount of propellant and length of barrel, which must be matched to avoid wasted energy. An 8-inch naval gun as mentioned above, has a barrel 11 meters long, plus an extra 2-ish meters for the breech, and that's not including the space behind the gun needed to load the shell, and into which the entire gun recoils upon firing. Added to that, the autocannons in Battletech are all autoloading burst-firing guns, so the rear of the gun must have a relatively complex loading system! The upshot of all this is that AC/10s and AC/20s are quite short barreled weapons for their caliber, akin to howitzers - but being used in a direct-fire role. By a top-heavy fighting vehicle that cannot spread it's recoil across a set of spuds or even four wheels. Howitzers get their range by firing in a high arc. AC/s don't do this, and probably can't use as heavy a propellant charge either. So, the AC/2 is akin to a real life anti-aircraft gun, AC/5s to many tank and tank destroyer guns, AC/10s to a high(er)-velocity version of the KV-2's 150mm howitzer, and AC/20s are basically an 8-inch mortar loaded with armor-piercing shells.
The Player's merc band in the 2018 game is influenced by Comstar in some fashionLet us count the ways:
- We have the Argo, a Lostech (civilian) Dropship of great value.
- During the Story campaign, we recover Star League knowledge in the form of a memory core...
- ...and commandeer Royal-class SLDF mechs recovered from a Castle Brian.
- Our campaign leads us to play Kingmaker, pitting us against a Directorate that resorts to brutalities that might remind some people of the Usurper Amaris in order to put a grateful and more moderate princess on her throne.
- A Poison Oak hypothesis that ties in to this is that the Kamea Arano the player interacts with after recovering the Argo is NOT the real Princess but is in fact a Comstar doppleganger. This hypothesis has its roots in the canon novel The Sword and the Dagger happening in the same time period, where Comstar influences Capellan black ops into running an attempt to Kill and Replace Hanse Davion with a body double imposter. Naturally, Madeira is a Comstar agent running as a handler for both her and yourself, as you are groomed into being effectively a Comstar-loyal successor for Mastiff. The coup was really the opportunity that Comstar took when Victoria's forces actually did kill the original Kamea shooting down her dropship, with the doppleganger neatly reappearing after a sufficient time period to pretend that she faked her death. Lord Karosas may be complicit in this plot, passing her the SLDF Codebreaker utility that "was taken from a dead (ROM) Precentor".
- It's unlikely Kamea would be the subject of a Kill and Replace because the major players in the war all know her personally. She's working with old friends and fighting family members, meaning an imposter would have to be exceptionally good to fool such close personal relations consistently. It would be much safer and easier for Comstar to have an unknown ingratiate themselves with the movement's key players than replace someone everybody involved knows on a personal level.
- Another possible hypothesis is that Farah Murad, specifically, is an undercover Comstar operative:
- She's described as a "wunderkind" skilled in bringing dead ships back to life - exactly the sort of person that Comstar would either kill or recruit.
- Her skills could have made her an enormous asset for any of the Successor States, but she was somehow able to freely move between the Free Worlds League, Lyran Commonwealth, Capellan Confederation, and Magistracy of Canopus, without ever be tied down by one of those factions. She's also something of an expert on Lostech, which is highly valuable everywhere, but especially to Comstar.
- She effectively sabotages the mission to Castle Nautilus by unleashing the locura, attracting the attention of the Taurians and forcing Yang to destroy the facility (and the potential Lostech inside it) in order to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.
- She traps the locura inside the black box that led you to Castle Nautilus in the first place, rendering it unusable.
- Yang may also be in on it. He just happened to have been carrying enough explosives with him to obliterate the SLDF cache "to keep it from falling into the Taurian's hands" despite the fact they didn't show up until he and Kamea were already inside. This would be consistent with Operation Holy Shroud, keeping such advanced technology out of the hands of the periphery. The fact Kamea is clearly unhappy about this turn of events would seem to go against the above theory that she's a Comstar plant, unless of course she's either not part of the same chain of command as Yang or else is some kind of Manchurian Agent who isn't even aware she's not the real Kamea (either of which wouldn't be out of character for an organization like Comstar).
As an extension of the idea that Comstar has a deliberate hand in the Aurigan Reach politics, they also hid as much knowledge about the region as they could.Star charts of the Inner Sphere in the later decades would continue to hold a small region between the Capellans, the Canopians, and the Taurians that would remain outside their control all the way into the Dark Ages - perhaps Comstar decided to keep a significant portion of the politics there under control and out of sight of the Federated Commonwealth and the Clans. This region also implies that the Aurigan Reach ceded some worlds to the Taurians at some point, then claimed other worlds that were lost when the Taurian Concordat broke up in the Dark Ages.
Poison Oak - The Locura would later go on to cause the Dark Age in the 32nd centuryInstead of merely going down with the Iberia, the rampant Locura drone AI would find a way to keep significant portions of its code alive and fragmented in the Aurigan Reach's communications space. Years later, a Word of Blake Dropship, one of the last ones left, would flee in the direction of the Reach with a HPG on board. It picks and and broadcasts the Locura, and the signal slowly but surely engulfs the rest of the Inner Sphere, taking out HPG stations everywhere.
Urban Warfare and/or the final DLC will add a second Drop Ship and/or playable tanks and possibly other combined armsThe Argo clearly has space for a second Leopard or similar-sized craft but you never get one. They may be saving it for the DLC. Maybe Urban Warfare will have one that carries not mechs but other vehicles and possibly infantry to support your lance, while the final DLC will focus on larger scale battles and give you access to an Overlord class that finally allows you to deploy a second lance.
- Jossed with regards to Urban Warfare, but there's hope for Heavy Metal yet.
Heavy Metal will let you acquire Unseen MechsThe blurb for it on the video game's Steam page makes it seem like the third DLC's primary aim is adding more Mechs to the game (compared to Flashpoint adding a few but mostly focusing on, well, Flashpoints, and Urban Warfare adding cities and ECM), and the wording kind of goes out of its way to explicitly use the word "unseen". Given how comprehensively Harmony Gold have been slapped down recently in lawsuits related to the Unseen, and Catalyst has already showed off new designs for several of them, it seems pretty likely we're going to see Mechs like the Marauder.
- CONFIRMED! The Marauder, Phoenix Hawk, Rifleman, Archer, and Flea are among the Mechs being added, along with a brand new one created specifically for the game.