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Re: Re: Bio-Forces

From: Cachalot@a...
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 1997 13:23:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Re: Bio-Forces

In a message dated 11/4/97 6:39:35 PM, you wrote:

<<Sounds interesting except for one thing: Haven't you forgotten the
Status: RO

of relative scale? Eg if you made an elephant-sized mouse, it'd collapse
because it's legs would be too skinny to hold it up...that's why
elephants/brontosaur etc have such thick legs in proportion to body size
vs. a mouse's body/leg ratio.

To drag this kicking and screaming back on topic: the scaling problem is
one that bugs me about giant alien bugs/bio-freak animals...especially
bugs. A house-sized ant would break it's own legs when it fell on them,
all but the lightest gravity...but no-one wants to look at an 'ant' with
elephant-like proportions, so mini- and movie-makers ignore the
problem...see the teasers/ads for the new Starship Troopers movie...>>

True, as long as you give them those spindly legs with small joints (as
Starship Troopers, the cockroaches in Mimc, or GW BioTitans). However,
utilize the thick legged macrosize critters, or spread out the weight
over a
larger surface area, either with larger numbers of smaller, short legs
or a
large muscular foot. Another key point would be the gravity field--if
you did
get insectoids with spindly legs they'd either be spacefaring or only on
gravity worlds, and what kind of biological resources are available in
low-atmosphere worlds? They  certainly wouldn't be able to compete with
humans an a heavier world.

In any case, there are ways around the square-cube law of giant
critters, as
long as you stay within reason. Arachnoid/Insectoid critters could be
size of rhinos and elephants, well within the range of DSII vehicles.
Biologically you'ld have to provide an internal mesh frame to support
mass and proper legs to raise the body off the ground (unless you
combine it
with a muscular foot). By the way, "insectoid" is just a term of
convenience--just because they look like bugs doesn't mean they evolved
bugs. They could also be derived from an amalgam of ancestral forms.

<<The same problem would apply, as far as I know, to giant acid
spitters/electric eels etc. Their power supplies would swiftly get
ridiculiously unwieldy and huge, along with the muscles to move it,
to protect it, etc etc etc (Have to ask a biologist friend of mine about
this, but I'm sure about the size problem.)>>

Again, solved by not assuming that we're just not upsizing little guys.
Design them so that they could be supported by physically and
biologically. I
perhaps made my previous comments too simplistic, and I hadn't meant to
that I'd just be making a really big bombardier beetle. I was just
that the sentients could bioengineer the critters they need, with
ranged weapons. The electrical gradients in bioelectric batteries is a
plausible extension of that, as the tissues are derived form muscles
the only support would be nutrition and physical containment. I do
agree with you, though--you just can't increase its size 1000x and call
it a
weapon (Troopers, Tyrannids, the ridiculous Relic).

Along those lines, I would really have problems with amoeboid aliens in
gravity well -- wouldn't they just pancake out into pools of protoplasm
their own weight?

<<(regarding the new Starship Troopers movie mentioned above, does it
anyone else more of a DS2 game than Heinlein's book? the book only had
troopers, landing craft and a few hover-truck/jeep things, but the movie
is more of a combined-arms thing - infantry in APCs or assault shuttles,
fighter craft, and I think I saw a tank in yesterday's tv get
totally off-topic for this thread...)>>

I believe it IS a DSII game -- there's no acting from what I've heard,
it's just gotta be a scenario idea!

Anyway,  I'm working on developing  a reasonable bug race for DSII that
pretty much conforms to the laws of physics and biology; I'll post it
I'm done for critical review!


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