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Apr 15th 2014 at 6:48:43 PM •••

Recently, Awesome Yet Practical was cut by TRS(Link: {{}} ) As the reasoning included "awesome" be subjective, i am nominating Cursed with Awesome and Awesome, but Impractical to YMMV banner in the 'Pages that need the YMMV banner' thread.

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Aug 24th 2013 at 2:36:24 PM •••

I wish to submit some images of craft of mine that I believe qualify. Specifically, The Arkingthaad Lander, ht-tp:// 4 Hoa A 5.png The Arkingthaad Lander (Lite), ht-tp:// Early Prototype of the Arkingthaad Colony lander, ht-tp:// Bm W Fo W.png Unnamed colony prototype, ht-tp:// An Exercise in Absurdity (Mk5?), ht-tp:// X 2 NHH.png An Exercise in Absurdity (Mk3 or 4), ht-tp://, ht-tp:// 8 Q Mi D.jpg, ht-tp://, and ht-tp:// Gv 1.jpg.

Actually, just look up "Whackjob" on Imgur and peruse my photos. Most, if not all, I think would qualify.

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Aug 25th 2013 at 10:38:47 AM •••

I'm not going to bother to put in that effort, but if these are from a work, feel free to add them. If they're not, then don't.

Jul 3rd 2011 at 12:43:37 AM •••

A lot of tech was absolutely useless when it first was invented, sometimes leading to It Will Never Catch On and in many cases would slip into Lost Technology. Most of these things were invented in the 1800s. Look at submarines, used in the Civil War and were utterly pointless, pedal-powered curios. Or airships, invented in 1854(possibly a long, long time before that), but the steam engine that drove it weighed almost a quarter ton and produced only 4 horsepower! That's 50% less than my lawnmower

Apr 5th 2011 at 7:06:41 PM •••

I was thinking that a panel or two from this comic will make a good page image.

Mar 18th 2011 at 10:37:12 AM •••

A refutation of the following:

  • Or not. When people think mecha, they think mecha using infantry tactics. Mechas using tank tactics technically have a cover advantage as they can switch between hull-down and turret-down at their convenience (in layman's terms, mechas can take cover by crouching down) whereas tanks must choose a good vantage point first where they can quickly turret-down by going reverse; treads are the most vulnerable point of a tank since if it's shot, the tank is immobilized and is a sitting duck. Tank crews are taught to try and hide their treads; mechas could do the same with their legs. Tanks would still beat mechas on flat terrain by sniping their legs from long-range, however on hilly terrain where mechas can use the ridges as hard cover, the tanks would lose. It's so obvious this troper is stumped how the militaries didn't realize it yet.

It's all nice and easy to think of a weapon system and it's theorized capabilities, but the above point misses one very critical aspect of military practicality: maintenance. Any robotic leg system required to make a spider-tank capable and agile enough so that it doesn't move around slowly and sluggishly in the battlefield is going to be very complex in terms of hardware and software.

A single leg is going to have more moving parts than the transmission and drive system of a wheeled or tracked vehicle. The design as proposed above has several of such mechanical legs. Any engineer will tell you — especially Army field engineers — that the more moving parts something has the more maintenance it will need. More moving parts also means a more complex replacement process of any single part that breaks down. Contrast this with a tracked vehicle where the tracks, one of the most complex parts to replace, are still composed of a link of several uniform parts. A single mechanical leg would still have a variety of differing mechanical parts and, many of those parts will be positioned in such a way that replacing them will necessitate disassembling most of the leg. Much more time-consuming and labor-intensive than a wheel or track-link replace. This is a bad thing for field vehicles which are supposed to spend a lot of time in the field, and thus are exposed to conditions which cause things to break down.

Then there's the weight issue to consider. A tank's role is to be an armored vehicle, and that armor can make it weigh tons. Consequently, the legs have to be able to support all that weight. The reinforcement necessary to make it capable of that also makes the legs themselves pretty heavy, much heavier than a wheel or track system needed to support an equivalent weight. Why? Because a wheel and track system, by design, has more surface area in contact with the ground, meaning better weight distribution. Weight distribution for legs, however, is a more complicated problem. Only the tips of the legs are in contact with the ground, which means less efficient weight distribution unless the feet are wide, but too wide feet means slower movement (which is why flat-footed people find it much harder to run as fast). Then there's the legs' joints to consider, which would be subjected to a lot of the stress of supporting that weight.

Then there's also the problem of speed. Sure, people like to make a big deal of animals being able to sprint up 60 or so miles per hour, but most people don't consider that theses animals are sprinting. They can't run as fast for too long (cheetas, for example, have excellent speed but poor endurance). These animals also are not weighed in tons. Legged performance does not scale up, which is why insects can do ridiculously awesome things with their legs that larger animals can't. A heavy vehicle would face even worse problems. Modern materials technology simply does not have anything light enough to make legged vehicles run as fast as wheeled vehicles of equivalent weight. Animation makes it look easy and cool, but physics doesn't care about cool.

Now, consider the problem of power consumption. As stated, legs are more mechanically complex than wheels or tracks. Something that's more mechanically complex (meaning more moving parts) has more fiction, and more friction means more energy lost due to said friction, which means more power spent having it do the same task as a system with less friction. Meaning that either your legged vehicle will consume more fuel than usual, or it will need a bigger and more powerful power system (which brings us right back to the weight problem).

Finally, there's the software issue. If the legged vehicle is to be capable of complex battle maneuvers, then the legs must be capable of complex coordinated motion. Complex coordinated motion which you will need to program computer systems to do. Additional software (and expense) which would not be needed on a wheeled or tracked vehicle.

All in all, for a legged vehicle to equal or surpass a wheeled vehicle in its weight class, it has to be more mechanically and systematically complex. This makes it more expensive and much more difficult to maintain. The Germans in WW 2 was an abject lesson on how having vehicles which are harder to maintain and more expensive than is a costly thing to military logistics, draining what little resources they had.

Eventually, materials science may improve that the aforementioned issues won't be be as big problems as they are now. However, there's also nothing to stop the application of those same advances to wheeled and tracked vehicles, which will still be less mechanically and economically maintenance-intensive, will mean that they can glean more practical performance out of the same materials advances. Which means that they still have an edge in practicality.

Edited by Malchus
May 5th 2010 at 2:05:06 AM •••

Am I right in assuming that this trope is for when something is clearly impractical in-universe (or due to gameplay), rather then any element of fiction that simply wouldn't work as advertised in real life?

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Sep 27th 2010 at 10:31:42 PM •••

httx:// (we could use this picture.... Impracticality: By the time you finish drawing the sword, you are already dead). (replace x on link with p)

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