garrick lee (goner4sure@yahoo.com)
Sun, 3 Sep 2000 04:55:47 -0700 (PDT)


--- Alfred Urrutia <ledzep@d2.com> wrote:
> Dom Tetreault wrote:
>
> > For military mecha, if you're building on this
> huge scale, a humanoid is the
> > perfect shape for one reason: psychology.
> >
>

not really. the terror effect of a big humanoid mech
on the poor little civillians is because of size (and
what it can do because of the size difference), not
design. put someone in the same mecha, and he'd be a
whole lot less scared of someone else in a mecha.
with proper training, he probably wouldn't bat an eye
before pulling the trigger.

> You're trying to say that something familiar (human
> shape) would be more
> intimidating or psychologically damaging than an
> alien (bug, tank, etc.)
> shape? I disagree. Many guys I know are fully
> prepared to fight a guy who's
> bigger than they are but wig out when a smaller,
> weird adversary (snake,
> tarantula, octopus) makes a move towards them.

i know this to be true personally. with enough
provocation, an adversary's size doesn't matter. :)

the critter induces an "ew!" factor which slows many
peole down. however, this is a psychological factor
that is easily erased by familiarity (animal trainers,
as opposed to the ordinary city slicker).

> You
> know what to expect with a
> guy, even a huge, nuke powered 'guy' mecha
> (especially if you've been training
> in your own similar humanoid machine and have seen
> them repeatedly) but some
> metal "shape" coming at you that could, at any
> instant, fire at you with
> something you had taken for a side skirt or light
> instead of weapon would be
> far more nerve wracking, in my opinion.
>

i agree.

of course, the 'giggle' factor of some gundam mech
designs may also be effective. :P when attention
lapses in the few seconds of giggling to oneself, one
is good as dead in the battlefield.

(hey, i resent that valkyrie comment! :P the gerwalk
mode is by far the coolest vehicular non-humanoid
configuration i've ever seen on a mech :P)

> >
> > But the point is, humans are inspired and
> fearstruck by giant death-dealing
> > machines that have two arms, two legs and a head.

inspired, maybe. fearstruck? nope. granted, i'd be
fearstruck if a mark II rx-178 was stomping down the
streets after me. but that's only because of what it
can do to me, considering the ridiculous size
differential. put me in an rx-178, i'd call it even.
in that case, the next mecha i would be more afraid of
would be a psycho gundam. however, put me in psycho
gundam, i'd call it even again. ad nauseum.

however, even if i were in the humongous sdf battle 7
(from macross 7), i'd still be afraid of an angel from
evangelion. and with good cause. (good cause being
the butt ugly designs...:P...j/k! y'know what i
mean.)

> It just isn't the same
> > with tanks or planes or bizarre contraptions
> bristling with mega particle
> > cannons. (Besides, there's always the constant
> human urge to literally step
> > on enemies smaller than you.)
> >
>
> Then explain the complete absence of these
> battle-turning human shaped machines
> on any field of battle.

uh...alfred, i think the answer is because real-life
science can't yet produce humanoid war machines worth
employing in a battlefield. ;)

> What really causes fear is
> the knowledge that the
> other side is about to roll over you and that you
> can't stop them. This is the
> same on a football field as on a battlefield. When
> a group of tanks covered by
> helicopters and artillery is tear-assing through its
> opponents it wouldn't
> matter that the opponents have human shaped gear.
> Whoever's in the groove is
> the more intimidating presence. Works for ships,
> planes, whatever.
>

the bottom line: it's fear of the unknown that works
the ebb and flow of battle. as weird as a mech looks
like, once you're familiar with it's capabilities and
how to deal with them, the psychological edge is lost.
 of course...even if you're familiar with capabilities
and have no way of stopping them, you're still
screwed. :)

-garr

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