Tsa R&d Update 01 (huge)

Marik_SteeleMarik_Steele To rule in hell... Join Date: 2002-11-20 Member: 9466Members
edited November 2004 in Fan-Fiction Forum
<div class="IPBDescription">flamethrower prototype and alien species</div> <span style='color:orange'>Putting in this colored edit while moving into fan fiction. Read a post of mine further down for details on when/why this was written, why it's important to me, why it's written as if I'm such an amateur fan fic maker, etc.</span>

<please read note on bottom regarding how this is unofficial, despite how much time went into it>

For immediate release to Trans-System Authority Scientific Personnel:

Like many of the militaries in the human race’s history, the TSA takes advantage of cutting edge technology to maintain as comfortable an advantage as possible over any opposition. Part of this process is both theoretical and applied research into new equipment to be used in the field.

In extremely simple terms, this is a two-part process. Lower-ranking personnel, including most scientists, soldiers, and commanders, document ongoing in-the-field experience and make equipment requisition applications in a forum publicly available to all TSA personnel. Higher-ranking scientists and research experts, led by such well-renowned people as Dr. Cleveland, PhD., take this information and place it on a list; new pieces of equipment (or changes to existing standard equipment) are researched in order of priority before declaring them safe for general use in the field.

The following are entries in research journals from several lower-ranking scientists who intend to submit their works for review.

Database ID# 2864.1; prototype flamethrower theoretical requirements/uses; entry 001:
Operatives in the field have been demanding more and more potent weapons for use against the Kharaa that I’ve started calculations on how to make it as field-worthy as possible. The main goal, of course, is to make one that gets the job done, but this won’t happen consistently unless it’s safe for use alongside other agents, which encompasses a hefty number of requirements.

I’ve already consulted the standard field documentation and several works by soldiers such as Sergeant Justin Havervill, and come to some initial conclusions: the most important is the complications with the current standards of FriendlyFire and actual flame. In order for safe use of the flamethrower alongside fellow operatives, at least one of two things needs to happen. Option 1 is to upgrade the standard nanotech for all sets of armor to prevent burn damage as well as current protection against projectiles. Option 2 is to add an apparatus to the flamethrower itself to automatically prevent a soldier from inadvertently firing upon his own comrades within the flame burst’s range. Given that flames themselves do have a certain amount of unpredictability that changes based on the size of the room it is fired in, how it is used, etc., both options will need extensive research before one or both is decided upon. Since applied research is left to the prototype testers higher up, I’ll leave the resource expense optimization up to them.

Database ID# 2864.1; prototype flamethrower theoretical requirements/uses; entry 002:
Soldiers who have heard rumors of the flamethrower’s inherent weaknesses compared to standard firearms have expressed concerns about the probability that the Kharaa will adapt to the new weapon. Estimations have already predicted that if a design is approved that leaves an exposed, vulnerable fuel tank, adaptation will occur in most “hot spots” within a few hours, and across the species within a week at best. The field manual description of a xenociding skulk already puts a good deal of fear into newly-recruited personnel; the idea of any skulk (regardless of the number of online hives, no less) being able to make an equally damaging attack to a squad by using their own equipment against them will be unacceptable in the field. Any new flamethrower designs will have to take into account the possibility of a xenoform making an attack with a literally explosive result. In addition, exposing any tubing or internals during the reloading process could make the system vulnerable to a puncture during even a failed attack; in this case, even a skulk parasite could render the system unsafe.

Database ID# 2864.1; prototype flamethrower theoretical requirements/uses; entry 003:
The usual system of having a commander drop ammunition in the field will not work for fuel canisters unless the higher-ups do a lot of research on fixing some problems.
AI routines were run on some of the distributed calculation systems to see how commanders and new recruits may react to two additions to their equipment rosters: canister-reloaded flamethrowers and droppable canisters. For one of the tests, we made the canisters significantly cheaper by reducing the amount of material devoted to the container during nano-materialization from ceiling nodules.
What we found was initially amusing, but brings with it a few troubling realizations. The AI-controlled marine simulants requested flamethrower ammunition in a large room with a high ceiling. When the AI routines for the commander dropped them with some inaccuracy a bit away from the marines, the new container exploded upon impact with the floor. The simulated emotional response from one of the more sadistic marines led to a request for the commander to continue to do this closer to a hive—effectively, he was calling in for airstrikes, and all of us here at R&D realized that with less competent commanders and soldiers, this was a very possible scenario.
It is also one that must be avoided. The simulated commander, in its airstriking frenzy, wasted countless resources and ignored the rest of the battle by trying to attack xenoforms with a combination of scanner sweeps and flamethrower ammunition drops. We didn’t even need to run calculations to come to the conclusion that a squad is far more efficient in resources, time, and combat effectiveness if operatives stick with their respective jobs; the soldiers should have been given grenade launchers, and the commander should have been more professional in general.
AI routine prototype tests have been put on hold until further notice. The Comp Sci department is trying to blame the anomaly on our hardware while they come up with an upgrade or workaround; apparently their supposedly 95% accurate AI routines aren’t as good as they claimed. In addition, scientists in Applied Research will have to do some investigations as to how fuel canisters should be materialized in the field.

Database ID# 2864.1; prototype flamethrower theoretical requirements/uses; entry 004:
Nano-materialization of fuel canisters may not even be necessary. It’s been noted that the easiest way to make sure nothing is exposed during the reloading process is to have the process be as quick and automated as possible. This is easily accomplished by outfitting all Advanced Armories with the ability to recycle fuel canisters of any size. This fixes many problems previously considered. It would be fully compatible with back-mounted canisters, allowing for more ammunition than smaller “magazine
Fed” canisters. No internal components would be exposed in the field, and costs of fuel canister drops don’t have to be considered.
The obvious problem is that it limits how far away a soldier can safely go away from an advanced armory without worrying about being unarmed. With AI-routine tests on hold, we’ll let Applied Research test all such possibilities.
This also brings up the fact that someone will have to decide whether the tank is enclosed in heavy armor, must be worn with lighter armor due to weight and mobility concerns, or a separate heavy armor set specifically for the weapon should be made.


Database ID# 2865.1; biological research on the Kharaa and possibilities of location-based damage; entry 001:
Soldiers have expressed concern that TSA budget cuts will eventually go down the line to armor; as it is, it’s a wonder that we’ve been able to so inexpensively materialize helmets that protect marine’s heads well enough for an attack above the neck to be equally damaging to an identical attack on the torso or one of the marine’s limbs.
My colleagues and I practically jump for joy when we hear of an amazing comeback in a battle with the Kharaa, not just because it’s another success, but because it means at least one xenoform corpse was cleaned off the floor of the starting base to be stored and sent to us. Autopsies on these aliens have come up with more new questions than answers because of the level of mutilation some trigger-happy marines deliver, but we’ve solidified a lot of theories previously only backed up with stories from scared marines.

Skulk data:
The current predominant theory about retractable microscopic spines shooting from each limb-spike to allow wall-running is gaining further support. In addition, studies of the muscles of the hind and front legs, particularly during a planned leap, suggest that hind legs are the stronger pair (allowing for more height and distance in a leap). Meanwhile the front legs and the retractable spikes within are the more precise. It is expected that during a leap attack, the same retractable spines used in wall-running are extended in the front limbs to further pierce the armor of a target. Whether or not shooting a rear limb or front limb will affect leap and wall-running effectiveness, respectively, will need further testing.
Current information on the Skulk xenocide attack suggests that a chemical reaction takes place in the “torso” before explosion. It would be most interesting to see how (if at all) a well-placed shot (or even more interesting, a flamethrower burst) affects this chemical reaction before or during the xenocide “warmup.”
Our research on the skulk still can’t pinpoint whether the primary sensory glands are the externally visible eyes or this new membrane inside the mouth. Perhaps one system is used for hive-sight, the other for better aiming of bites or parasites. Pinpointing which is used for what is particularly necessary for the Skulk because of the Kharaa’s nature of evolving all higher species from Skulks.
In any case, we’ve further proven that the Skulk nervous system and/or brain has far more evolved sensory abilities compared to a human’s. Human eyes actually “see” the world upside-down due to the nature of lenses and light; the human brain then converts it to a right-side-up image we can more easily relate to. Even if a person tilts his/her head to the left or right by a significant angle, the brain compensates enough that the image still seems “right-side-up” enough for them to operate. Skulks have evolved this to the point that no amount of running on walls, ceilings, etc. will ever disorient their vision; they always view “downwards” as being the largest nearby source of gravity.

Gorges are the only species for which we are almost completely certain the primary sensory glands are the externally visible “eyes.” Our current theories suggest that part of the evolution to a Gorge changes the inner-mouth membrane to facilitate the creation of structures by either contributing enzymes, generally speeding up the process of bringing its stomach contents to the outside, or both. At the same time, it would make sense for the Gorge to primarily use the external eyes, as situational awareness is necessary in the building process; having the sensory membrane be blocked by the goop in its mouth making a building wouldn’t help the gorge at all in this regard.
The fact that Gorges can’t run as fast as Skulks goes well with theories on the muscle capacities of the Gorge stomach. How this transfer of muscle tissue actually occurs during the gestation process goes beyond our current abilities of research. In any case, it seems to be that the enormous amount and strength of muscle tissue surrounding the digestive tract is what allows Gorges to continue building just as easily as when first done gestating, despite suffering so many bullet impacts to the stomach area.

We’re fairly certain that the Lerk uses the inner-mouth membrane as its primary visual system. It’s almost on the same axis as its center of gravity, making orientation during flying easier, and it would help with all of the Lerk’s attacks because they all involve the mouth.
What we find most surprising is how Lerks currently witnessed in the field have not yet been able to use their feet claws to latch onto ceilings. For the moment, our theories state that the two mostly-unused claws on the wings themselves are the evolutionary counterpart of the front legs from when the creature was a Skulk. The hind legs (the ones that for a Lerk are still legs) would thus be the ones with the lesser strength per microscopic retractable spike, and aren’t strong enough to hold the Lerk to a ceiling in a batlike position.
The problem with this is that it is a weak theory which could be disproved the moment someone comes up with a better explanation as to whether or not the microscopic spikes in the front limbs of a Skulk really are stronger than those in its hind legs. In any case, all TSA personnel should be aware that an adaptation in the Lerk species to allow ceiling-clinging may be possible in the future, and would add to its deadliness.

Research is still in progress on the Onos and Fade species.

/me temporarily turns off over-enthusiasm for writing stuff in the NS universe
Interpret this into game balance terms however you want. I just think that flamethrower and locational damage stuff should be both balanced in terms of gameplay and stick as close as possible to making the NS universe feel more and more "real." Perhaps Flayra and others will like my ideas, perhaps they already have their own, but here's my input.
Note I tried to stay as neutral as I could towards all topics. In addition, NONE of this is "canon" and official until it has been stickied and/or approved by forum moderators, playtesters, programmers of NS, etc. They made the world for us to play in, they decide what's in it and what works in what ways.

I may write in the future about health in the field, seige turrets and their (in?)effectiveness in some cases, etc.


  • TerrTerr Arthritic Skulk Join Date: 2002-11-07 Member: 7486Members
    (Full marks for enthusiasm.)

    Supplementary reports from the dedicated researchers in Arms Developmen Laboratory C3 have suggested any prototype flamethrower weapon may be able to be adapted to use a mix of semi-corrosive and flammable fuel, as well as a mix of catalytic nanites. In order to produce a stable fuel mix for safe application in the field, the nanites are required to catalyze the reaction before the fuel will quickly heat to a significant temperature. Work is underway to determine if the current catalytic nanites can be converted to incorporate FriendlyFire systems, to keep the main body of the 'flame' away from other troops in the field, at least to an extent that the natural resilience of their armor units will make the close brush little less than a passing discomfort.

    However, given the fast catalytic nature of the current combustion process, the fuel mix will not continue to burn for long, and quickly extinguishes itself should it be attached to a wall, in which case the availible surface area to the nanites is greatly reduced, as well as inhibition of the nanite function due to metallics within possible wall substances. In short, the flamethrower mix cannot be used to set areas alight, although it should remain a useful tool at close quarters.

    As for setting Kharaa alight, the researchers postulate that Kharaa bacteria may have an inhibitory effect on the reaction, suggesting that the fuel mix will not burn for long on a xenoform without a constant flow.
  • TyphonTyphon Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 1899Members
    big round of applause. great read. Hope to see more from you in the future.
  • ThatOneDudeThatOneDude Join Date: 2002-11-15 Member: 8846Members
    Good job man, very convincing. I hope the dev team uses your idea, since you put so much hard work into it. Also very creative, makes it look like boring scientists typed it <!--emo&:D--><img src='http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/html/emoticons/biggrin.gif' border='0' valign='absmiddle' alt='biggrin.gif'><!--endemo-->
  • Marik_SteeleMarik_Steele To rule in hell... Join Date: 2002-11-20 Member: 9466Members
    This thread contains the very first post I ever made to these forums. It originally went into I&S, then called S&I. It's name has since been changed (by me...something I probably never would've guessed would happen the day I joined, but I digress <!--emo&:D--><img src='http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/html//emoticons/biggrin-fix.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin-fix.gif' /><!--endemo--> ) but even back then it was still a place where ideas that were expressed in too many words were often ignored.
    I'd enjoyed the manual for 1.0x so much that I decided to write my idea post from a similar perspective, so I should've been smarter and posted into Fan Fiction. Now that old threads from I&S have been moved by Zunni and may eventually be deleted, I've decided to move it here, its rightful home, so that it can be saved.

    Kinda brings back memories of when the game was only a month old, and I was just a young, naive little casual player instead of a staff member.
  • KhaimKhaim Join Date: 2002-06-28 Member: 841Members, NS1 Playtester, Constellation
    Wow, Marik, best bump ever. ; ) J/k, although a 2 year bump is pretty nice. ^_^ Anyways, nice first post.
  • VerthandiVerthandi Join Date: 2002-12-12 Member: 10687Members, NS1 Playtester
    I was going to report this when I saw the huge time gap between the posts. <!--emo&:p--><img src='http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/html//emoticons/tounge.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tounge.gif' /><!--endemo-->
  • That_Annoying_KidThat_Annoying_Kid Sire of Titles Join Date: 2003-03-01 Member: 14175Members, Constellation
    wow marik, very nice and best bump evar!

    I like the part about the over zelous marine calling in airstrikes via canisters on the hive.

    It works very well as a fan-fic, write more!
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