Plot element: Breacher suits

Hello everyone,

the definition of a Plot device is “anything that moves the plot forward”. In this case, “plot element” might be a better expression, it’s something I gave a lot of thought to. As you know, I am the author of the recent Armored Warfare campaign storyline. Obviously, other people were involved in the process as well – what happened was that I wrote the story text (fun fact: all three texts were written overnight due to killer deadlines), then two of my American colleagues did proofread it and then it was given to the Obsidian story superviser (not sure she’d be happy if I uttered her name openly, so let’s leave it at that).

But that’s just an explanation. As I said, I wouldn’t talk about Armored Warfare here. Instead, let’s have a look at a generic piece of storytelling.

One of the earlier drafts involves a character escaping from a besieged facility using a device called Breacher suit. There is no such thing in real life of course (yet), but it might very well be. You see, Breacher suit is a power armor. Obviously not the type in Fallout (actually, I didn’t even think of Fallout when I was writing about that), it’s something else entirely.

Power armor in movies is usually extremely mobile, super-protective (invariably with plate armor), can be operated for long periods of time and effectively turns soldiers into superhumans. That’s unrealistic bullshit of course – there is no power source or technology that would make such a thing possible. What is even worse – such suits would be really, really heavy. Think about it – you have a bipedal power suit that roughly copies the human anatomy and weighs at least 300kg (but probably more). This weight is then transferred to its legs, the soles of which that are – let’s say – 50 percent larger (when it comes to surface) have to bear 3 times the weight of an average human. This alone brings surface pressure and mobility issues. There are other problems with it which I don’t want to get into too much.

So, how would a realistic 2030 power armored suit look?

For starters, take an exoskeleton and add the best armor it could wear. Not some plating of course – but something like this:

Yup, that’s the MW Juggeraut suit alright. Just think away the stuff like grenades hanging outside, the gas bottles (what the hell are those for, it’s not like you can make such a suit pressurized anyway) and such.

Basically, an evolution of the extra armor with powered exoskeleton for arms and legs. Me and a few friends ran some calculations and it’s actually possible – the suit would weigh roughly 300 kilograms to make it extremely resistant to small arms fire. There are two problems with this:

- the operating time would be very short. Even with “sci-fi” batteries, I’m thinking 1-2 hours
- the problem with ground pressure
- the suit would be really slow, walking pace at maximum

These three disadvantages are… actually perfect. Ideal for this plot device. You see, the problem with powered armor from story POV is that it’s so cool it might make armored vehicles obsolete. What we have here is a suit that’s too slow to be used outside, resistant only to small arms fire (I’ll get to grenades and RPG’s later) so anything larger than a 7.62mm would destroy it. And most importantly, it’s extremely expensive (such a thing wouldn’t come cheap even at best of times).

Why is it expensive in 2030? Obviously the technology for such suits would be (if they use technology such as electroactive polymers for muscle fibres – thanks, Daigensui), but they would also be:

- used for very specific environments (I’ll get to that later)
- high-maintenance (even if you get one, you’ll spend fortune on running it because the electroactive polymers have to be replaced quite often)

Both of these conditions would make it attractive for a very narrow range of customers and limited production items are always extremely expensive. This is something a military would probably develop for taxpayer’s money.

Anyway, I mentioned specific environment.

Think about it. Too slow, high maintenance, limited operational time, resistant to small arms, poor ground pressure. Yup. These are siege weapons, the only environment they would be really useful for would be assaults on buildings and enclosed areas (that can support their weight) – bunkers and such. In close quarters (with proper armament), they would be absolutely murderous.

Á propos. Armament.

Close quarters, short range… I am thinking a rapid-fire (remember, powered arms and 300kg of weight) shotgun. But that’s not all. Such a suit would be really vulnerable to RPG’s and grenades. That’s why it would have to have two pieces of future tech – specifically two mini-APS on each shoulder, each on rotating extendable mount, angle of fire cca 270 degrees (not to fire into the head of the soldier), capable of reaching even behind the suit (so noone can hide behind it). Is that realistic? Yeah… there are such systems small enough even now. Not man-portable, but still. For extra rule of cool, the suits could carry (exoskeleton) a massive ballistic shield.

Anyway, what do you think? Realistic narrow profile power armor – yay or nay?

Of Bookwriting

Right, so – in my last post, I mentioned writing a book. Well, the bad news is that it’s currently only in Czech – I don’t really feel all that confident about writing in English, would need a lot of proofreading, but if there’s ever a demand, who knows?

I was actually thinking about starting from scratch in English. How hard can it be to hire a native speaker for proofreading, right? Last night I returned from Amsterdam, spent several hours on the airport thinking about it, wrote some notes on what I’d change. I am actually really bad this way – I do this a lot in computer games too, especially RPGs. I start something, get around to one third of the game – and then stop and start over again because I want to do every detail right in case something really hard comes later on.

Anyway, I am digressing again.

Writing a book (in your language) isn’t hard. Hell, it’s easy as long as you have something you like to write about and I enjoy writing about tanks and writing stories. This book (well, the drafted part I have now) has actually both. And pictures, never published previously, I am actually really proud of that. I’ve been on a writing break for a long time, with Armored Warfare consuming pretty much ALL my time, but I’d love to finish the draft until summer.

One thing I decided on however is that it’s going to be a paper book. Sorry, kindlers. I like paper. Publishing the book (in reasonable numbers) isn’t actually that expensive unless you want some fancy stuff (glossy hard covers and all that). So yeah, there’s that.

Should be fun :)

Thursday Musings

Yes indeed. It’s been a year since For the Record closed its gates and I started to work as a content manager on Armored Warfare. More than a year actually. I had this really long post drafted for a month about how things changed and WoT changed and I changed and how Rita’s doing on her blog. I kept opening it day after day, adding, editing stuff, wondering what to say. Today, I just deleted it all.

Because nothing changed. WoT’s the same old game I left a year ago plus new sounds, physics and the Czechoslovak tank branch I helped implement (Yeah I know, I talked enough about those for a lifetime, damn that was fun!). Rita’s doing an okay job blogging considering she doesn’t speak Russian, but she has help for that, which was one of the main reasons I prolonged my contract with AW for another year. Was considering returning to FTR and doing something else for living but hell, some aspects of my job are a lot of fun.

Obviously, I can’t and won’t talk about Armored Warfare here. That’s the deal with Edrard and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to. I think everyone can see the state of things for themselves.

But…

There were some recent changes in my life that allow me to spend more time with other things thank just work, so I’m gonna start writing again for Rita maybe (historical pieces, probably about Czechoslovak and Soviet vehicles and other stuff that interests me and yes, before you ask, there’s nothing preventing me running a blog or writing about things not related to my job) or – if she refuses – I’ll start publishing stuff here.

I’ll probably finish writing my book as well, that’s my personal goal for this year.

So that’s it. See you on the battlef… uck this, see you when I see you.

SS

Almost a Year…

So, it’s been almost a year since I stopped writing For the Record. Some things have changed – some, not at all. But before we get into that – let me ask you first:

Do you feel satisfied with how Rita took over? And if not – would you like FTR to return?

9.13, Czechoslovak Tanks and so on…

Hello everyone,

so, the day is finally here, right? The 9.13 Czechoslovak tanks are on the test server and I would really like to thank the few brave Wargaming developers who pushed this idea to their superiors. Especially one guy who doesn’t want to be named and his pony lover friend from balance department, both of who are seriously the coolest game devs. It was seriously cool to meet you guys in person (too bad I was so tired from the trip, I was babbling god knows what at that point). It’s not an understatement that without them, the branch would not exist – and this is how it should be, you know – the developers listening to and working with the community. Now, I am not saying that the community should be listened to in everything (that would end in a disaster) but when it comes to such things as introducing new vehicles?

Why not. In fact, it’s no secret that Wargaming is working on the Swedish branch with two community members, Renhaxue and sp15. Unfortunately, unlike me, they are limited in what they can divulge due to actual contracts (whereas me, Daigensui and Soukoudragon who helped with the Japanese branch were… let’s say less formal). But I think it’s going to end well.

Of course, Yuri Pasholok, Dmitry Shein and their colleagues from historical department did a lot of work too and it was really nice to meet them as well in Prague, I really liked the book Yuri wrote and gave me about the T-60 light tank (I wish this stuff was available in English). And finally, special thanks go to Pyotr Bityukov and of course Sergey Burkatovsky, who was involved in these decisions on the highest level.

With that being said, how well did the branch go?

Pretty well actually. Of course, nothing is perfect and multiple things didn’t the way I imagined they would, such as:

- the national sign with the blue triangle upwards: completely historical but not the variant I’d have picked
- camouflage: German camo? Really? Someone was lazy as fuck. I even made a post about possible camouflages.
- Kolohousenka has no wheels!
- LT vz.38 top gun has wrong mantlet, but… well, it’s a stretch anyway
- T-24 turrets (*sigh*)
- apparently the Konštrukta T-34/100 has busted armor (the armor model of the mantle for stock turret should be there for top turret and vice versa)
- the T 50 is really a stretch, some things are wrong (like the false side armor IS-3 style, where historically ammunition was supposed to be stowed above the tracks)

But what the hell. Tested the line, really liked it, good job :)

So, what now… now I work for My.com (Armored Warfare) so my focus lies elsewhere. I still follow WoT of course but mostly for job reasons. I am really curious as to what will happen with it in 2016. I think all the players and tank lovers will find 2016 very interesting due to the improvements the respective devs are making to AW and WoT both.

So yea. Should be fun :)

Posted in Q&A

“Give us For the Record for Armored Warfare!”

Hello guys,

lately, I keep getting the requests to actually make For the Record style blog for Armored Warfare or even re-open For the Record with AW content. Well, as I am sure you all understand, it’s not that easy.

For one, there already IS an excellent Armored Warfare blog, the Armored Talk.

http://armoredtalk.com/

It’s run by an American guy, a former soldier if I recall correctly and overly a very nice person to work with and talk to (in other words, an opposite of me). He does an excellent job, better than I ever could with the current workload (free weekends? lol, more like content writing time). Seriously, if you are interested in AW, go check that blog out. If you are not, well, then don’t :)

Now, about FTR. I got shitloads of questions about why on earth did I post that Terminator picture in the previous post. Yea, that’s a good question. At first it was just trolling. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if there’s anything I could actually do with FTR. When it comes to World of Tanks, Rita’s doing a pretty good job I’d say – considering she’s been at it for three months and doesn’t speak Russian. In a way she has it way tougher than I did even in the beginning.

So, the question is… what CAN be done? Is there something that would interest you related to tanks, tank history, Armored Warfare, maybe even World of Tanks? I think I’m gonna write some more reviews and notes about the assembly of the Czechoslovak branch in WoT but that’s more like Rita stuff (afterall, the branch is coming relatively soon, 0.9.12 would be my guess).

Anyway, catch you later guys.

Posted in Q&A