Blackeagle (
Fri, 21 Jul 2000 14:14:49 MST

>Ah, see this gets back to what I was originally saying.
>Civilian/Consumer technology is most certainly not well suited to
>revolutionary development, because consumers are primarily concerned
>with getting the "best buy" they can. In the early days of civilian
>aviation, it was a novelty, only appealing to people who were either
>in an extreme hurry, or wealthy enough to want to experience the
>newest mode of transportation. In both cases, the people designing
>the vehicles had the freedom, and at times obligation, to push the
>envelope, because the customer base was looking for the fastest,
>newest thing. However, today air travel is the most common form of
>international travel, and in many nations it is the number one form
>of consumer travel for even relatively short journeys.
>There have been several attempts at modern revolutionary developments
>in consumer air travel, but much like the most notable example, the
>Concord, none have really caught on. It is not that airplanes are
>such a mature technology that there is no room left for improvement.
>It is that commercial air travel has become a big business, and as
>such has to cater to the consumers' expectations. If you design an
>airplane that has a radically different airframe, but is five times
>as fuel efficient, or ten times as fast, you still have a hard time
>getting people to book flights on the plane, because it doesn't look
>like it is "suppose to." However, if you design a plane that looks
>just like a 747, but has a larger interior cabin, then no one notices
>anything but the extra leg room.
>I don't know how old you are but I still remember communities
>picketing about not wanting the Concord to come to their airport,
>because they were worried about what effects the sonic boom of the
>plane would have on their property values, and environment. It
>doesn't make sense, it is not rational, but it is how people are. I
>also remember quite a few civilian planes in the '80s that used
>radical airframe designs to achieve better fuel efficiency, but none
>of those designs really took hold, because the materials needed to
>construct them were more expensive than what the civilian market
>would bare, and at the high end of the market, the shape of a
>Gulfstream had come to be a status symbol.
>I don't really think the maturity of a given technology really has
>much to do with its possible progression. I mean, look at the field
>of medicine. It is one of the oldest technologies mankind has ever
>had, yet it is the only field producing more patents every year than
>the computer industry!

I don't know if I would consider medicine a technology, per se. Rather it
is a collection of different technologies with a common use. Some of those
technologies, like genetic engineering are very new, and those are where a
lot of this rapid progress comes from.

>I think the important factor is where the focus of the "market" is.
>If the focus of the "market" is for the "product" to do a better, or
>less expensive, job of whatever it is doing currently (as is usually
>the case in consumer markets) then evolutional development is the
>best path to follow. If, however, the focus of the "market" is to
>make a "product" that exceeds the capabilities and mission of the
>current version, then revolutionary development is often the best
>path to take.

Again, this brings us back to where we started (or one of the places
anyway). The philosophy of maximizing performance of each individual unit
is the western concept of military technological development. The
Russian/Soviet and Chineese concept is to maximize the quantity of units.
Each unit only needs enough performance to complete the mission it is
assigned. As they say, quantity has a quality all it's own.

>In Gundam they were faced with two factors that had not been present
>before, in the personal experience of the generals in charge of
>1- The loss of radar as a homing/targeting system,which required
>combat to be conducted at relatively close quarters.
>2- Humans with unprecedentedly fast reflexes, learning times, and
>heightened "senses."
>In an environment like this, a revolutionary approach is the only one
>that makes any sense. To try to just keep improving the same suit
>would have been suicidal! Imagine what would happen if only one side
>ever researched new alloys, or psycomm control systems, or handheld
>beam weapons, while the other side just kept making evolutional
>upgrades to the same suit.

I think we may not be talking about quite the same thing here. The way I
define it, evolutionary development does not necessarily mean that you don't
research new technologies or that all you do is improve the same design.
However, it does affect how you bring improvements like beam weapons or
psycommu systems into service.

The big difference between evolutionary development and revolutionary
development is the time between new generations of weapons and the increase
in performance between this generation and the last.

A nation pursuing a revolutionary development model might bring out a new
generation of hardwar every 20 years which has twice the performance of the
previous generation. A nation pursuing a evolutionary development might
come out with a new generation of weapons every 5 years, each with a 20%
improvement in performance over the previous generation. This adds up to
the same rate of development, a doubling of performance every 20 years
(1.2*1.2*1.2*1.2=2). It's only the way you get there that differs. The
revolutionary nation would probably have an advantage when it's new
generation of weapons came out, but gradually the evolutionary nation would
catch up and eventually exceed it's performance. Then the revolutionary
nation would bring out a new generation of weapons and the cycle would start
over again.

Basically, revoutionary development involves stuffing all your advances into
a single new type of unit, then sticking with that unit until your next
revolution. While evolutionary development involves making one change at a
time, while constantly bringing out new or improved designs.

Looking at this in the context of the Gundam universe is difficult, because
both sides pursued both evolutionary and revolutionary development. I think
the Federation fundamentally planned to pursue revolutionary development.
That's why the Gundam was a giant leap forward, packed with lots of new
technology. However, the war forced them to first dumb down the Gundam into
the mass produced GM. Then the GM was evolved (into the Command, Sniper and
Custom variants) in order to match Zeon technical advances.

Zeon had a more evolutionary development scheme. They evolved from early
prototypes to the Zaku I, then the Zaku II, then the Gouf. Even the Dom
wasn't all that revolutionary. The only really new tech was the hover
thrusters, it had no beam weapons, no luna titanium. The Rick Dom was
obviously an evolutionary development of the Dom. However, in order to
match the Federation, the were forced into some revolutionary developments
with the Gyann and Gelgoog (beam rifles, beam sabers, big performance
improvements). Of course, the Elmeth was a revolutionary development, but
IIRC that project was created and managed outside the normal mobile suit
development agencies.

But what if the war didn't happen in 0079 and both sides were able to stick
with their original plans? Development would have been slower (as we
discussed in an earlier round of e-mails), but even if Zeon pursued an
evolutionary strategy while the Federation pursued a revolutionary one, I
think Zeon still would have been able to keep up.

To illustrate this, here's a hypothetical series of suit designs that might
have happend in a alternat universe with no One Year War. The Federation
pursues a revolutionary development strategy (bringing out a vastly improved
new generation of suits every four years) while Zeon pursues a evolutionary
strategy (bringing out a new generation of suits every year with some
improvements). I have neglected newtype units, since newtypes only seem to
develop during wartime. I have also concentrated on space units, since
without immeadite prospect of terrestrial combat this is where both sides
would have concentrated their resources.

0078 Zeon introduces the Zaku II
0079 Zeon introduces the Gouf (High Manuverability)
0080 Zeon introduces the Improved Gouf (High Manuverability, Beam Saber)
      Federation introduces the Gundam (High Manuverability, Luna Titanium,
Beam Rifle, Beam Saber)
0081 Zeon introduces the Gouf II (High Manuverability, Beam Rifle, Beam
0082 Zeon introduces the Hi-Gouf (High Manuverability, Luna Titanium, Beam
Rifle, Beam Saber)
0083 Zeon introduces the Gelgoog (Very High Performance, Luna Titanium,
Beam Rifle, Beam Saber)
0084 Zeon introduces the Improved Gelgoog (Very High Performance, Luna
Titanium, E-Clip Beam Rifle, Beam Saber)
     Federation introduces the GP-01fb (Very High Performance, Improved Luna
Titanium, E-Clip Beam Rifle, Improved Beam Saber)
0085 Zeon introduces the Gelgoog II (Very High Performance, Improved Luna
Titanium, E-Clip Beam Rifle, Beam Saber)
0086 Zeon introduces the Hi-Gelgoog (Very High Performance, Improved Luna
Titanium, E-Clip Beam Rifle, Improved Beam Saber)
0087 Zeon introduces the Rick Dias (Limited Movable Frame, Improved Luna
Titanium, E-Clip Beam Rifle, Improved Beam Saber)
0088 The Federation intriduces the Gundam Mk. II (True Movable Frame,
Improved Luna Titanium, E-Clip Beam Rifle, Improved Beam Saber)
0089 Zeon introduces the Type 100 (True movable frame, Improved Luna
Titanium, E-Clip Beam Rifle, Improved Beam Saber)

If you work it out, Zeon is ahead some of the time (0078, 0079, 0083 and
0087), the Federation is ahead some of the time (0080, 0081, 0084, 0085 and
0088) and they are essentially tied some of the time (0082, 0086, 0089).
However, Zeon would be able to keep up quite well using an evolutionary

Chris Upchurch a.k.a. Blackeagle

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