Author Topic: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking  (Read 8032 times)

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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
I find stuff that makes me wonder what the heck were they thinking when I'm going through and checking on issues.  Ran into an interesting one today for instance while checking on fighter bay paths.  The EA Skylark has a hanger at the front of the ship.  Not a bad thing in itself until you try to launch anything from it.  There is no ship small enough to actually fit in the hanger.  The only thing that comes close is a life pod and it could only dock to the front of the ship not actually enter the hanger.  So why put a hanger on a ship if it can't launch anything?
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Offline Slasher

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
The weapon-less, subsystem-less B4 comes to mind.

Curiously tipped EA Lifepod.

EA Phalanx engaging targets outside its effective range.

The Maintenance Bot having a primary weapon but no weapons subsystem.



 

Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
The weapon-less, subsystem-less B4 comes to mind.

Yea I think this one never made it out of placeholder status.  It's not the only ship without subsystems. Most of the first ones ships didn't have any.

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Curiously tipped EA Lifepod.

Have to check this one.

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EA Phalanx engaging targets outside its effective range.

Well "out of range" is relative in FS2.  Range is primarily determined by the radius of the ship so if your target is long and you are firing from the side it's in range even if no piece can be actually hit.  Just an engine limitation. 

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The Maintenance Bot having a primary weapon but no weapons subsystem.

I've noticed this on at least 4 of the last 5 ships I've worked on.  They have been fixed.  I'll fix this one right now. 

Anyway this really wasn't meant as a TBP project specific topic more of a general B5 show itself topic.  The ship clearly has opening doors on the front for a hanger but no real use for it. 
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Offline niffiwan

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
Hmm.. I don't recall when the Skylark was 1st seen in the show.  Was it in the FI days (season 1-3?), or ND (season 4-5?)?

edit: this site seems to indicate the design was pretty early on, pilot/season 1.  From the pics here it kinda looks like a docking clamp rather than a hanger, but I don't know how "official" these pics are...
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
The maintbot was given a weapon to stop a particularly nasty AI bug caused by the bot trying to strafe but not having any weapons to use for the calculation.
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Offline Slasher

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
Sorry, that probably came off as some angsty bug rant and it was not supposed to.  I know you addressed the "tipped" lifepod thing a few months ago.  I was thinking of things that somehow made it into TBP 3.4b.

I do think that in the show those doors on the front of the Skylark are probably some kind of docking hatch.  I don't know why the TBP model would have launch paths.

 

Offline wesp5

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
Anyway this really wasn't meant as a TBP project specific topic more of a general B5 show itself topic.  The ship clearly has opening doors on the front for a hanger but no real use for it.

This could be a size issue in that the ship was made to small for a shuttle to fit in there.

As for other more common issues with ships on the show, what really bugs me are all these exposed command bridges. First example would be the EA Hyperion cruisers, worse is the White Star bridge and much worse the Vorlon Dreadnaught bridge. Worst of all the fact that the latter even shows windows, which I am very certain the Vorlons wouldn't need at all! The latters engine are not consistent with the other Vorlon engines too, but when you check the B5 Scrolls site you will recognize that most of issues like these developed when younger animators created ships without Ron Thornton or someone else checking them for inconsistencies.

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
That is a typical Sci-Fi thing. Come on, realistic space combat has only been featured in books thus far since it would be boring. No sounds, vast distances, incredibly high speeds and I don't want to start talking about the physical properties of lasers and stuff.
Bottom line, this is typical of design. When creating something visual, you aim for the following: It has to look good, sound good, needs a recognizable shape and appeal to our intuitive understanding of things. It usually does not make sense, especially for something technical.
Although I do agree on the Vorlon "Windows". My guess is that it is probably related to the changes on the Vorlon's nature, in the pilot ambassador Kosh has a hand! Back in the day, they were probably just another alien race.

Regarding our approach to such problems...    Zathras fixes. Poor Zathras always fixes.
In that case, a removal of the hangar is probably most appropriate (potentially replacing it with a dock point).
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Offline wesp5

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
That is a typical Sci-Fi thing. Come on, realistic space combat has only been featured in books thus far since it would be boring. No sounds, vast distances, incredibly high speeds and I don't want to start talking about the physical properties of lasers and stuff.

I know, but Ron Thornton and FI really tried something different. Just think about the Starfury design or Babylon 5 itself, for which they allegedly calculated the size and rotation speed so the gravity would be right. They did it much better than ST and SW :)!

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Although I do agree on the Vorlon "Windows". My guess is that it is probably related to the changes on the Vorlon's nature, in the pilot ambassador Kosh has a hand! Back in the day, they were probably just another alien race.

I don't think so. Ron designed the cruisers and fighters himself and there were no visible bridges or windows. As far as I know the dreadnaught and the planet destroyer were designed by others later who improvised on his design, but didn't get the real alien-biotech-feeling of the ships. I agree that in other cases, like the White Star, it probably looked better with something recognizable like a bridge on top though...

 

Offline Slasher

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
Did the Hyperion really have an external/exposed bridge structure?  Like other EA ships, I always figured it was deep inside the hull.  Earthforce seems to have shied from the idea of vulnerable Star Destroyer bridge structures. 

 

Offline wesp5

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
Did the Hyperion really have an external/exposed bridge structure?  Like other EA ships, I always figured it was deep inside the hull.  Earthforce seems to have shied from the idea of vulnerable Star Destroyer bridge structures.

I always thought the round structure on top in the picture below was the bridge. It's marked as sensors in TBP, but the yellow ring looks like windows to me. On the other hand, in ITB I can't remember a windows on the bridge at all, or am I mistaken?

http://www.starshipmodeler.com/b5/cc_breheny_06a.JPG

 

Offline MatthTheGeek

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
Things that look like "bridges" on starships (especially in universes where the bridges are usually said to be deep within the ship) are usually just observation towers.
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Offline BritishShivans

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
For god's sake, the Star Destroyer's "tower" isn't the goddamn bridge. The bridge is this tiny thingy in the middle of the tower's hexagon.

 

Offline Slasher

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
This is true, but doesn't change the fact it's an odd place to put a command and control center on a ship that may have been designed to see some shooting.  I guess it's good the Rebels never exploited this potential design flaw.

One place we do know where the EA made that Star Destroyer mistake was Babylon 5 itself.  Though to be fair, it wasn't built as a warship.  And they at least had the sense to install some armor plates that could be brought up over the windows during battle situations.

The Excalibur on the other hand...

 

Offline wesp5

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
This is true, but doesn't change the fact it's an odd place to put a command and control center on a ship that may have been designed to see some shooting.  I guess it's good the Rebels never exploited this potential design flaw.

They did: A Rebel fighter crashed into the bridge of the Super Star Destroyer in ROTJ and brought it down on the Death Star II!

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One place we do know where the EA made that Star Destroyer mistake was Babylon 5 itself.  Though to be fair, it wasn't built as a warship.  And they at least had the sense to install some armor plates that could be brought up over the windows during battle situations.

Exactly. I always assumed the window was there to overlook the main trading vector into the docking bay.

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The Excalibur on the other hand...

...didn't fit into the B5 universe at all, because all the really competent CGI designers had left with FI at the time. Just compare it to the White Star or Warlock Destroyer, those are valid Babylon 5 ISA and EA ship styles! Also what were they thinking when they included the stupid-drama-plot-device-main-cannon that leaves the ship dead in space after firing? What a joke compared to the way all other ships were using beams in B5 itself! Almost as stupid as the Liandra virtual-reality-firing-room...

 

Offline -Norbert-

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
I wouldn't call the A-Wing crashing through the SSD bridge "exploiting" anything. That guy lost controll of his (burning) fighter and was clearly panicking.... he was obviously not intenting to crash through there.

As for the Hyperion, the few shots we see from inside the ships main command room (CIC, bridge, command center... whatever you wanna call it) doesn't show any windows at all, so it must be somewhere inside.

As for the Victory main gun... yeah pretty much. If anything they should have done it the other way round, that they have to shut down most systems before firing, in order to gather enough energy for the shot. You can't use more energy than you have and then reload the negative amount after using it up as if it were some mathematical equation.
Also the artificial gravity still worked even after shooting... which doesn't make sense for two reasons. 1) From the episodes where the EA get's artificial gravity and gravity drives from the Minbari (as a bonus to joining the ISA) we know that the two are linked. So why is the gravity working, but the engine not? 2) Isn't the ability to defend yourself far more important than gravity on the decks? Just put on some seatbelts and re-route the energy from the artificial gravity to the weapons or engines, so you aren't a sitting duck!

 

Offline wesp5

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
I wouldn't call the A-Wing crashing through the SSD bridge "exploiting" anything. That guy lost controll of his (burning) fighter and was clearly panicking.... he was obviously not intenting to crash through there.

I disagree. For me the guy was screaming because he was aware that he will die in the crash. Remember that the people of the bridge were following him all the way towards the collision, this looked like done on purpose!

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As for the Hyperion, the few shots we see from inside the ships main command room (CIC, bridge, command center... whatever you wanna call it) doesn't show any windows at all, so it must be somewhere inside.

Okay! But then they shouldn't have used those token white/yellow window lights on the sensor array. They were too easily confused with bridge windows and we didn't get an inside view until In the beginning IIRC.

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As for the Victory main gun... yeah pretty much. If anything they should have done it the other way round, that they have to shut down most systems before firing, in order to gather enough energy for the shot.

I agree completely! Also what annoyed me as much about the Excalibur were those big useless wings to the engines. The whole ship design looked like a lot like wasted space just to give it form, which is untypical for B5.

Another thing connected to the external bridges and windows on the Vorlon dreadnaught and the White Star: Why does the latter use only a partial hologram for information? The Minbari sure know how to do a real one and having half a hologram over a window must have been confusing, together with the security issue of having a window in the first place. Of course the hologram tech of the Vorlons must be even better so an external bridge with windows, on their station too, makes no sense!

Speaking of the White Star, why did it have those classical engines on the side and pulse cannons besides the main beam too? Minbari and Vorlon tech never needed either, so this too looks to me as if they were added just to have some cool effects, which made no sense in the internal logic of B5 ship design technology.

 

Offline Woolie Wool

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
The "big useless wings" are for the technobabble gravity drive (compare to similarly advanced ships like the Sharlin, Vorchan, etc.).
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Offline wesp5

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
The "big useless wings" are for the technobabble gravity drive (compare to similarly advanced ships like the Sharlin, Vorchan, etc.).

That's exactly the problem, because these are no gravity drives, they show the typical EA exhaust engines at their ends!

 

Offline Woolie Wool

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Re: Things that make you wonder what were they thinking
The Centauri use both regular and gravity drives in conjunction so I assume the ISA does the same.
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