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Unban 'Realistic' Mechs

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#1
Tanomas Graf

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Over the past week I've seen a rising debate on mechs and their place in the Factory, more specifically how they conform to Star Wars. Now, instead of just letting it sit and gather dust I've decided to propose an idea that I believe would sate both sides of the discussion:

 

Unban 'Realistic' Mechs, but keep the ban on 'Unrealistic' Mechs.

 

1. What Constitutes a 'Realistic' Mech

 

Even on Wookieepedia, both the Canon and Legends pages for Mechs usually classify them as a type of walker, with the latter claiming that some Mechs are 'robotic walkers that tried to imitate animals', and on both articles for Walkers, they're broadly classified as 'any vehicle, usually military, that used legs as its primary method of locomotion rather than the more common repulsorswheels, or treads'. A 'realistic' mech, by those standards, could be something that's vaguely humanoid (a human is an animal, after all) in shape and moves somewhat like a human (albeit slow and sluggishly, like its cousins in the walker world (i.e. AT-ST, AT-AP)) and still be classified as a walker. A small walker that can pick up a gun isn't unrealistic, because if it has arms then the pilot can definitely have that degree of control. If it can be power armour, then why can't it be larger?

 

Aesthetic Examples: Here, Here, Here

 

2. What Constitutes an 'Unrealistic' Mech

 

Stuff that's already mentioned in General Factory Rule #7 (All submissions need to conform to the general idea of Star Wars. No Gundam Wings, no Transformers). If it fully looks like a human, and moves faster than something of that size could, then it could be classified as an 'unrealistic' mech.

 

Aesthetic Examples: Here, Here


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#2
Eternal Cyan

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I'm not an expert on this particular topic but I like the aesthetic of realistic mechs and I believe they fit within the theme of Star Wars. However, I think some better examples of unrealistic mechs vs realistic mechs could be the ones featured in gen:Lock. For example, I think a Strider would fall under the classification of a realistic mech while the Holons that the main characters control could serve as examples of unrealistic/gundam style mecha (which we would ideally ban or severely restrict in some way).

 

+1!


Edited by Immortal Cyan, 21 April 2019 - 03:46 AM.


#3
James Justice

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Tanomas Graf

 

You mean you are pushing for "realistic mechs" but you won't let me do the Gurren Lagann riff I've been dreaming of for years?

 

 

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#4
Kaine Australis

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And so it begins...

 

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#5
Kor Vexen

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While I am kind of skeptical about mechs in general being a more commonly seen thing being on the board if it were to ever be officially 'unbanned' (I'd much rather see battles being fought with troops and vehicles like tanks and such), I do think that the rules are outdated and need to be updated to outline what will classify or be perceived as a mech so that people don't invest a lot of time and effort into making something only for it to be shot down based on opinion. You can't really preach allowing for 'creative freedom' only to say no even though there is literally a canon article in the Wookiepedia labeled as Mechs.

 

Especially with some recent events in the factory making me look back on previous submissions approved that are more or less mech while others are denied, I think that if someone is going to be selective about what is considered or classified as a mech needs to be greatly detailed so that everyone is on the same page. Just like how no one wants to deal with head canon when it comes to roleplaying with someone, the same should apply for rules, so any sort of thought process that is going behind it should be detailed for anyone who is attempting to make anything.

 

I have seen "walkers" that were approved even though they are easily perceived as mechs. I have seen "droids" that are piloted and manned by crews passed as walkers, even though they are extremely humanoid and large in appearance. And recently while I was looking back through approved submissions, I saw a very similar submission get denied even though something very similar in both aesthetics and function were approved. 

 

Even if the ban on mechs were never to be lifted (In which case 'realistic mechs' should be no more than limited production at best), I definitely think that the rule needs to be updated with some parameters because there are clear instances in canon where 'vehicles' move with the dexterity and speed of animals which would constitute them being mechs. We have AT-RT's that have the speed and maneuverability unmatched by anything else of its size and class, we have Impeding Assault Tanks which are just giant Umbaraan centipedes, Trident Class Assault Ships which are not only capable of hyperspace travel but terrestrial movement on both land and water. Even this guy could be considered a mech because he isn't even using his 'armored suit' as it's called like a suit where your arms and legs are operating each limb; he literally operates it from a cockpit in the chest with levers and consoles.

 

Just my thoughts and issues with what we currently have in place.

 

 


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#6
Cyrus Tregessar

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Speaking as a huge BattleTech fan, it's not an aesthetic I think fits for Star Wars.

 

But that said, what 'feels' Star Wars-y or not is fairly subjective. For me, it includes BattleMech's, 40k Titans, and Mobile Suits, but obviously YMMV.


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#7
Kor Vexen

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Cyrus Tregessar

 

But the same could be said for any of the other sections of the Factory. We have Halo Spartans, Warhammer marines, Mass Effect weapons, hell even real life weapons can be argued that they don't fit the Star Wars aesthetic. Literally anything from any other franchise has more or less been used as an aesthetic at this point. I am not even of the belief that any submission should be judged based upon its aesthetic design unless it is very clearly the core inspiration and a cut and paste from where it originated from. 


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#8
Cyrus Tregessar

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We have Halo Spartans, Warhammer marines, Mass Effect weapons, hell even real life weapons can be argued that they don't fit the Star Wars aesthetic.

 

Correct. My opinion on all of the above is much the same.

 

But I'm also a hypocrite, with my BSG ships and Helghast armor and so on. So overall I agree, I think it's just a matter of where one draws the line.


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'It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.'

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#9
Matsu Ike

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"Conforms to star wars" is actually fairly... vague. Star Wars has always been something in general that picked what was popular and made it work in. Goosebumps is popular... make the galaxy of fear series. Stargate is popular well makes hypergates and infinity gates, Dune is popular... we have spice creating sandworms on desert planets. Sandman is popular... what is this Neil has given us a pocket dimension where dreams are able to be manifested. Even now with the NuCanon from disney you are getting some things like the Open and Cloased mechs which look and feel more like mobile suits. THe Shadex are massive stone colossi on a world where most species are "gone" similar to Shadow of the Colossus. Replicators, Transporters, the borg collective, Q like beings are scattered around different species capabilities. Star Was has always taken what is popular and just made its own version of it because it could sell or be a staple of scifi in general. I wouldn't say I'd want a gundam flying around in space slicing up SSD's but... if it was popular enough, if it was marketable and something that would push comics or books or even merchandise for a chow. I honestly could see it becoming something in star wars.

 

added: hell we have direct copied pasted things in legends like a xenomorph or a firefly class transport. THey didn't even try and disguise them.


Edited by Matsu Ike, 17 April 2019 - 05:35 AM.


#10
Jerec Asyr

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Realistic/unrealistic is a false dichotomy with much subjective grey in between.

 

Here is a line.

 

Modded AT-STs (totally fine) as linked in post #1---------------Battletech---------------WH40k Titans--------------Gundams---------------Weird crap as linked in post #1

 

My question is this. At what point in the line should something be OK? And who decides, and when, and with what consistency?

 

I love the Battletech aesthetic and think it fits SW nicely, but there's a whole Pandora's box of stuff to consider first.


Edited by Jerec Asyr, 17 April 2019 - 02:55 PM.


#11
Gir Quee

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A bit of context is in order here before I delve too deeply into this discussion.

 

For starters, we don't technically have a "No mechs" rule in place.

 

But in true Star Wars Chaos tradition, we have been colloquially calling the"All submissions need to conform to the general idea of Star Wars" rulethe "No mechs" rule. And for the longest time, there was no difference, because there were no canon 'mechs' in the same way as we refer to them in pop culture. The Wookieepedia "Legends" article that defined Star Wars 'mechs' labeled the AAT as well as "modified domestic animals" as mechs. We're clearly not thinking of mechs in these terms in this discussion, and this really seems more aimed at the modern warfare concept of mechanized infantry based in IFVs and the like. Using "Mechs" in that context is and has been an non-issue for the board. This is for why a long time we have an operated on a "I know it when I see it" principle, but that will likely be changing soon.

 

 

Recently, there has been a Star War comic book that has come out with something that is very similar to a MechWarrior mech, and it looks like we'll be seeing another example soon with a new animated Star Wars film. The community will evolve to accept these and other very similar technologies. So to be clear, there is nothing right now to stop anyone from making something like the canon Carnelion IV mechs.

 

Here's where we start to have issues though.

 

Yes, mechs are allowed, but they are only allowed in the context of what a Star Wars mech already is. When people try to introduce mech technology that doesn't already neatly fit into the existing canon lore, we run into problems. We are a Star Wars board, and we will remain a Star Wars board. The Factory is not a backdoor means to change the setting and ambience of the Star Wars universe. I remember seeing one of these recent mech submissions trying to 'revolutionize' ground warfare. That's approaching this issue from the wrong direction, because the majority of the board (including some commentors here) aren't interested in turning this Gundam Wing. At the end of the day, we do prioritize conforming to current Star Wars universe ambience over personal freedom. This isn't any different than Americans valuing "freedom" but following rules and laws. Creativity isn't unlimited here, while we do encourage creative freedoms, these aren't unlimited rights. Our current approach does and will continue to limit some creativity, not only with mechs, but with other technologies and ideas as well. I realize that this is subjective, and that controversial subs have slipped by because we no longer review subs in the traditional manner (and it hasn't been reported yet), or because one judging team's subjective view was different on the matter compared to a different judging team.

 

Because of this, the Factory staff will be drafting a set of guidelines to make the issue of what is and isn't acceptable for a mech, and that will be included as a link within the General Factory rule section. In the mean time, I will be placing two already publicly commentaries on this issue here for ease of reference as a temporary substitute. I want to be clear of one thing that isn't in these commentaries. I currently do not see any biomemetic or articulated hands and arms on Star Wars mechs right now, and because of that, I do not want to see any of them on Chaos canon mechs right now either:

 

On human like mechas, such as Gundams:

 

Here's a handful of things to consider for your next design

 

 

1) General shape: If it is very close biomorphic in shape (shaped like a human, animal, etc) with fully functioning limbs, especially arms and hands, there's a good chance that this going to be considered a mecha. The further away it gets from looking like a person or animal aesthetically, the less of an issue that this is. As an example of this, you could make an argument that the AT-AT has a mammalian sort of shape, but it's pretty difficult to trace it back to one species of animal.

 

 

2) Skeletal Movement Pattern: Related to its body shape, we also think about how it moves. If it's particularly fast or agile, or otherwise uses the movement patterns of an organic being, it further increases the likelihood of it being considered a mecha by most people. The next thing to consider is size.

 

3) Size: If it's very biomorphic, but really pretty small in the grand scheme of things (usually no greater than 5 meters in its biggest dimension), this could be okay. If it's animal shaped, there's the <a data-ipb="nomediaparse" data-cke-saved-href="https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Bes"href="https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Bes" uliik"="">Bes'uliik andMULE Droid for canon predecence. It's notably that these are more like steeds rather than traditional vehicles, since the person 'rides' them from the outside. If the submission is humanoid shaped, it could be considered to be a type of power armor instead. The largest examples of power armor include Zero-G Trooper ArmorAV-1A Armor, and Phase III Darktrooper Armor. In general, power armor shouldn't be much larger than an actual person (probably about one meter taller than a typical person at most).

 

Usually, you can make a sub that one or two of these characteristics, and it could be okay. When you all three characteristics (biomorphic shape, animal movement pattern, and large size), it's likely to be considered a mecha. Some examples of okay combinations.

 

1) biomorphic shape and large size: AT-AT

2) biomorphic shape and skeletal movement pattern: Power Armor, Bes'uliik

3) Skeletal movement pattern and large size: AT-ST

 

 

 

 

Tanomas Graf | Immortal Cyan | Kor Vexen | Cyrus Tregessar | Jerec Asyr | Matsu Ike 


Edited by Gir Quee, 17 April 2019 - 10:11 PM.
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#12
Gir Quee

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On Animal-like Mechas:

In general, I personally think that there are two basic guidelines that can distinguish a biomorphic mecha from a war droid or vehicle in a Star Wars setting. Basically, if a sub has one of these elements, it's perfectly fine. If it has both characteristics, it's probably a mecha.

 

1) Large Size: There are a number of war droids that are roughly biomorphic and have riders or passengers (basilisk war droidX-1 Viper). These appear to be fairly small compared to other vehicles, with basilisks being between 2.98 to 5 meters tall. However, that's still quite large compared to a person, especially considering wiki's definition of a mech. Anything around this size or smaller is fine in my book. If we start talking about tank-sized droids or something comparable in size or role, it becomes iffy.

 

2) Animal-like Movement Patterns: Mechanical walking constructs in Star Wars (droids, walkers) are not known for being gracefully agile and fast. On a small end of the scale, consider C-3PO or the B1 battle droids walking around. On the large end of the scale, consider the plodding march of AT-ATs or the ungainly walk of AT-STs. Perhaps even more directly relevant to this conversation, wookiee describes Basiliks as "On the ground, Basilisk droids were typically slow and lumbering, but could move at faster speeds when required". This latter half of the sentence appears to have its origins in a single basilisk that can make short sprints as a boss in the video game The Force Unleashed. I don't necessarily see speed itself as an issue, as there are some fairly fast walkers out there in terms of straight-line movement, but I think how they are described as moving is important. Canon walkers generally aren't known for jumping about or being quick on their feet if they have more than two legs. Thus, in my opinion, if its described as moving more like an animal or seems like the aforementioned zoid, it's a no-go. 

 

 


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#13
Alkor Centaris

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I thought Tef wanted less rules, not more complicated ones.

#14
Kira Vaal

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I thought Tef wanted less rules, not more complicated ones.

 

My thoughts exactly, this just seems to be borderline obsessive rule imposing.

 

Because Beskar underwear is definitely "star wars", but forbid you even think of having a walker piloted by a person you can go and think again. The absolute state.  

I mean the factory is here for the enjoyment of the site and to deepen our role-plays, nobody should have to go into the factory thinking, "I wonder if I'll get banned today." 

 

It's a mech. Seriously. 



#15
Kaine Australis

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Kira Vaal That beskar bikini was a serious sub. :P


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#16
Huxy

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In general, I personally think that there are two basic guidelines that can distinguish a biomorphic mecha from a war droid or vehicle in a Star Wars setting. Basically, if a sub has one of these elements, it's perfectly fine. If it has both characteristics, it's probably a mecha.

 

1) Large Size: There are a number of war droids that are roughly biomorphic and have riders or passengers (basilisk war droidX-1 Viper). These appear to be fairly small compared to other vehicles, with basilisks being between 2.98 to 5 meters tall. However, that's still quite large compared to a person, especially considering wiki's definition of a mech. Anything around this size or smaller is fine in my book. If we start talking about tank-sized droids or something comparable in size or role, it becomes iffy.

 

2) Animal-like Movement Patterns: Mechanical walking constructs in Star Wars (droids, walkers) are not known for being gracefully agile and fast. On a small end of the scale, consider C-3PO or the B1 battle droids walking around. On the large end of the scale, consider the plodding march of AT-ATs or the ungainly walk of AT-STs. Perhaps even more directly relevant to this conversation, wookiee describes Basiliks as "On the ground, Basilisk droids were typically slow and lumbering, but could move at faster speeds when required". This latter half of the sentence appears to have its origins in a single basilisk that can make short sprints as a boss in the video game The Force Unleashed. I don't necessarily see speed itself as an issue, as there are some fairly fast walkers out there in terms of straight-line movement, but I think how they are described as moving is important. Canon walkers generally aren't known for jumping about or being quick on their feet if they have more than two legs. Thus, in my opinion, if its described as moving more like an animal or seems like the aforementioned zoid, it's a no-go. 

 

As mentioned by Kor Vexen, we have Impeding Assault Tanks, which are basically massive centipede-esque tanks, and they are canon. The argument that something that is very bimorphic in size cannot be big and cannot be fast is nulled by these things as these centipede tanks as I like to call them, are shown to be remarkably fast and very large in scope length-wise. This also nullified the argument overall about large walkers being a no-no. Although not overly tall, the Impeding Assault Tanks were recorded as being 54.78 meters as recorded in canon, or 179.72 feet. This makes them far, far larger than most walkers and tanks alike in canon and yet, despite this, and despite them having more than two legs, they can move remarkably fast over uneven terrain as demonstrated in the Umbara Arc of the Clone Wars television show where they were first introduced

 

This same massive length size of ~54.7 meters (~179.7 feet) can likewise be applied to height. Though let's say the larger something is height wise, the slower it is. Logistically speaking and military tech wise speaking, engineers in Star Wars are very capable of creating walkers and droids alike that are massive in scope. While there are not overly many examples in current canon, such such example does exist from Chaos Canon, the Princeps Walker which stand's at ~140 meters (450 feet) and the Audax Walker which stands at ~15 meters (49 feet) and the Sekhmet walker which stands at ~40 meters (~131 feet) and the Soloman Walker which is 180 meters long (~590 feet) and 100 meters tall (328 feet) and the All-Terrain Heavy Enforcer which is 15 meters tall (49 feet). And then there is the Harangir Walker which was just approved today, although no specific height was given, it was listed as 'Extreme' and it's form greatly resembles that of a humanoid, which is biomorphic...yet it was approved. We have all of this existing so why does size matter, and why should it matter and be such a need to regulate in regards to walkers and 'mechs' now? It had never been an issue in the past, and biomorphic design are clearly visible in canon and on this site as well as demonstrated in the aforementioned links. On top of that, there was an approved mech worker droid which is crewed, crewed by three people that greatly resembles a mech.

 

Gir Quee


Edited by Kraken Society, 20 April 2019 - 05:38 PM.


#17
Gir Quee

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I thought Tef wanted less rules, not more complicated ones.

 

Rules come and rules go. I have simplified and eliminated rules far more than I've added, but as with anything, sometimes things have to be addressed. 

 

The current draft of what the Factory staff looking at and discussing for our guidelines on mechs is two sentences. It's not terribly complicated.

 

The other option that someone has put forward to me would even be simpler: ban all mechs.

 

Because Beskar underwear is definitely "star wars", but forbid you even think of having a walker piloted by a person you can go and think again. The absolute state.

 

Mechs haven't been ever been approved on Chaos until recently. I'm fairly certain that I'm the first administrator to explicitly allow them. 

 

But I think that the heart of what we're getting at is where do boundaries with subs begin and end. Sure, I can see the harmlessness of the beskar bikini and probably dozens of other similar subs (comlinks, stuffed animals, jewelry, etc). I'm not interested in them because by in large, they don't affect the community adversely. If you want to have some creative fun and it doesn't really affect anyone, where's the issue? In many of these instances, people probably aren't even aware of their existence, for better or worse.

 

That's not necessarily true with mechs.

 

Mechs undoubtedly will be used in PVP settings, where other writers and players will have to encounter them, nor will they have the option to simply ignore them. I have to strike the balance between individual freedom and the community's overall happiness/wellbeing. In the grand scheme of things, this struggle is common issue at heart of many legal issues across the world. And like those issues, I have little doubt that whatever decision I make going forward with this, some people will be unhappy with it. It won't be strict enough, loose enough, or fit their grand perspective on what's really "Star Wars". And I'm okay with that.


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#18
Kirchenhof

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That's not necessarily true with mechs.

 

Mechs undoubtedly will be used in PVP settings, where other writers and players will have to encounter them, nor will they have the option to simply ignore them. I have to strike the balance between individual freedom and the community's overall happiness/wellbeing. In the grand scheme of things, this struggle is common issue at heart of many legal issues across the world. And like those issues, I have little doubt that whatever decision I make going forward with this, some people will be unhappy with it. It won't be strict enough, loose enough, or fit their grand perspective on what's really "Star Wars". And I'm okay with that.

I disagree, writers can 100% ignore another Author's content if they want to there is no explicit rule against that and no writer can force another writer to dispose of characters they don't want or receive "Damage" they don't want, Chaos isn't D&D, Chaos isn't an MMORPG. Your statement is based on an assumption that is rendered invalid by the roleplaying rules.

 

Mechs are apart of Disney's Star Wars Canon now as being apart of the Walker family, the author's intent is reinforced in the source material by their selection of the name "Mech" For these walkers which are operated by a single pilot and in scale appear to be comparable in size if not larger than an AT-ST putting them at or in excess of approximately fifteen meters tall.

The only place where I would draw the creative line on the Mech family of Walkers is hands and accompanying digits, not this other arbitrary standard I find utterly unpalatable and intolerable as it would unfairly discriminate against large bipedal Paenungulatan and Hominid-types of locomotion in the legs based on nothing more than "We haven't seen this locomotion design in star wars before" which is an utterly ludicrous position to hold on Walkers but not other classes of vehicles or technology on Chaos.


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#19
Kaine Australis

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 And then there is the Harangir Walker which was just approved today, although no specific height was given, it was listed as 'Extreme' and it's form greatly resembles that of a humanoid, which is biomorphic...yet it was approved. 


The Harangir is listed as being two and a half times the size of the AT-99 which is about 50m tall, so around 125m.


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#20
Garza

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I disagree, writers can 100% ignore another Author's content if they want to
And Staff could outright ignore any post you make about the rules and stamp a no on it. Secondary to that, ignoring someone's attacks in a thread, most of the time, earns you a report from the person interacting with you. Im probably sure there have been cases where the person who ignored an attack, was told to accept it by the staff after their rulings. Yes, you can try to ignore an attack, but it won't go unnoticed, and others will not want to thread with you any longer or fight you in a thread, because they know all you will do is "Lol nope."

 

However, not everyone wants to be "that guy" who won't move and wont accept that things change. However, what you use as your rebuttal, is not as accurate as you may believe it to be. Many times in my own DnD games if we don't like the outcomes of where a session is going, we, as a group, scrap the session as a learning point and restart. Either we had an off day, or whatever. 

 

And that is what Gir is doing. He is entertaining the idea to broaden the term of "Mechs" in our current Factory Chat *using wrong account for this but I could care less* because the site is on the current road of removing more rules and to make it open to more avenues of play. There is a balance to find with the rules. You cannot have your Transformers or your Gundams. Specifically it states that. Because those are not Star Wars. Its 1, nearing plagiarism, and 2, again, not star wars, and doesn't fit into the context of this site. 

 

The Factory staff are working to come up with a line in the sand to draw between what is acceptable in Star Wars Canon, and Lore as "Mechs" and Gundams, Transformers, Evengelion, etc. The rule will stay, however, altered to fit the changing time. 

 

Not everyone will be happy with the outcome. Some will welcome the change and see growth. The site currently has the lowest record of Restricted Materials currently. and may even have more taken off of the list. Rules have been changed, and many topics have been gone over in the Factory Chat about making it better not just for Veterans of the site, but also for new people. Trying to change up some stuff so its not so confusing and daunting. Gir is right in saying as Head of the Factory Staff, he has removed more rules than added. As well as changing some to better fit the 5.0 factory setting. 

 

Changing rules that have been on the site for 5+ years takes time. 


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