Pilot curriculum

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False Prophet
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Pilot curriculum

Post by False Prophet » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:09 pm

One aspect many mecha shows tend to overlook is pilot training - it seems to me that becoming mecha pilots is as easy as born under the right parents.

Of course, we all know that is a load of bollock - If anything, mecha are way more complex than our modern tanks, APC, helicopters, etc Just imagine all the system that went into a several-meter tall bipedal machine so that it could, on the least, be able to walk with its two foot, is maddening. The situation will get worse if the machine in question is a transformable (or god forbid it, combination) mecha, as the pilot basically is trained to use TWO different platforms.

And so, what do you think about mecha pilot training? Realistically, how should it happen - For how long, starting from which age, etc.

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by ShadowCell » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:18 pm

i think it depends on the universe, for instance here's a syllabus for OZ pilots:

MS Piloting 101: Gundams And the Various Ways They Can Kill You, Ranged Section

MS Piloting 102: Gundams And the Various Ways They Can Kill You, Bladed Section

MS Piloting 103: Gundams And the Various Ways They Can Kill You, Exotic Section

MS Piloting 115: The Perfidious Myth of Moving During Combat

MS Piloting 119: Space Suits: When to Wear Them, When to Not Wear Them, Why It Doesn't Really Matter Either Way

MS Piloting 121: Ejection Seats and Other Survivability Techniques and Equipment [this course is not offered for MS pilots]

MS Piloting 125: An Introduction to Cool Poses

MS Piloting 153A: Death Screams, Part I

MS Piloting 153B: Death Screams, Part II

MS Piloting 153C: Death Screams, Part III

MS Piloting 153H: Honors Death Screams

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Dark Duel » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:20 pm

Think of a modern combat pilot training program, how much you have to go through before they'll even let you behind the stick of even a training aircraft on your own - the academic and theoretical instruction, the physicals, the tests, the simulator training, survival courses, and of course the military training, navigation training, familiarizing yourself with the myriad rules, regulations, and procedures that govern the process of flying what amounts to a ten-plus-ton rocket with wings.
Then there's the flight training itself - the training flights first in prop-planes, then smaller training jets, with an instructor first before eventually being allowed to do it solo. And then, eventually, finally being assigned to and trained for the plane you're going to fly once you make it through all that.
All in all, you're talking about a good two and a half to three years, at least.

And that's just for learning how to pilot what, in Gundam, amounts to near-worthless cannon fodder.

Now imagine how much more complex it has to be to learn how to control a twenty-meter-tall, sixty-ton giant, humanoid robot. On top of all the stuff above, you have to worry about the even more daunting challenge of piloting what has to be, objectively, the LEAST efficient possible design for a mobile weapons platform. A giant-sized human - high center of gravity, low stability, aerodynamically lousy profile. The best that can be said about a mobile suit is that most have surprisingly high speed and maneuverability relative to their size, but even that presents its own unique set of challenges.

I would not be surprised, realistically, if three years was the absolute minimum period of time needed to train a mobile suit pilot properly.

Of course, the series regularly imply far shorter time periods(The original series itself, for instance. I doubt the first generation of GM pilots had more than a few months to familiarize themselves with the GM's controls, if even that much).
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by False Prophet » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:40 am

Dark Duel wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:20 pm
Now imagine how much more complex it has to be to learn how to control a twenty-meter-tall, sixty-ton giant, humanoid robot. On top of all the stuff above, you have to worry about the even more daunting challenge of piloting what has to be, objectively, the LEAST efficient possible design for a mobile weapons platform. A giant-sized human - high center of gravity, low stability, aerodynamically lousy profile. The best that can be said about a mobile suit is that most have surprisingly high speed and maneuverability relative to their size, but even that presents its own unique set of challenges.

I would not be surprised, realistically, if three years was the absolute minimum period of time needed to train a mobile suit pilot properly.

Of course, the series regularly imply far shorter time periods(The original series itself, for instance. I doubt the first generation of GM pilots had more than a few months to familiarize themselves with the GM's controls, if even that much).
You forget to mention that Gundam pilots are actually expected to fight in both indo- and exo-atmospheric conditions, which are two environments with completely different play rules.

I remember that during OYW, there are many GM pilots who were Saberfish pilots at the onset of the war. I actually fail to see how could their prior experience shorten their MS training by an astonishing degree.

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Dark Duel » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:49 am

False Prophet wrote:
Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:40 am
You forget to mention that Gundam pilots are actually expected to fight in both indo- and exo-atmospheric conditions, which are two environments with completely different play rules.
Absolutely correct, and thank you for pointing that out. Most mobile suits, even the ones that are capable of operating in both atmospheric and zero-gravity conditions, are incapable of atmospheric flight, and can only operate in ground combat.
So you have the added complexities of needing to be able to operate on the ground in the atmosphere, and in zero-gravity, which are totally different environments with totally different conditions. Even the pilots of machines, like the Gaplant for instance, that CAN fly in the atmosphere have to be able to adapt to very different conditions for space combat because there are so many factors that are completely different that have to be taken into account. And that's on top of everything else.
False Prophet wrote:
Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:40 am
I remember that during OYW, there are many GM pilots who were Saberfish pilots at the onset of the war. I actually fail to see how could their prior experience shorten their MS training by an astonishing degree.
I agree here as well. While I think prior military experience might be helpful in terms of shaving maybe a few weeks of necessary training at best, the GM is such a completely different type of machine that it strains suspension of disbelief beyond the breaking point IMO to believe that this prior experience alone would be all that helpful in shaving down what has to require months of practical training to master.
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by MythSearcher » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:26 pm

Well, computer assist and more computer assist.

At least in UC, AE manufactured military MS has pretty much the same controls as small worker bots like the MMS and JMS manufactured by AE. Convinient, isn't it?

I assume you can always decrease the assistance rendered by the computer, but almost anyone with the basic knowledge of MMS controls can do so(I assume that is even easier than car driving nowadays, more like scooter driving, since most high schoolers seemed to have that ability)

The controls are highly modulized actions(which is in the settings), so it will be like controlling fighting game characters when in semi-full auto controls. You can likely switch to manual control if you like, but not necessarily.
You choose what you want to do and the computer does the rest for you, like executing a move in a fighting game.
Of course the accuracy varies, and if you are that good, you can utilize all those extra buttons to be much more precise controls.

It would not be that hard to adapt to both ground and space combat, you won't be necessarily good in both, but at the same time, we can see that most people can adapt to video games that has both. Yes, I know all game don't give you real space Physics, but it is just a matter of adaptation (especially most spacenoids in UC should be pretty used to space)

Automation is the key, you really don't need a lot of controls if the computer does most of the balancing and pointing for you. All you need to care about is which direction to move(or where to go) and what target you want to interact with(either friendly or hostile interaction). The computer can likely figure out the distance and switch weapons for you.

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Seto Kaiba » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:22 pm

False Prophet wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:09 pm
And so, what do you think about mecha pilot training? Realistically, how should it happen - For how long, starting from which age, etc.
Gundam's got a bad habit of having technically-proficient teenagers who are either natural pilots or kids who'd been playing with mobile suit simulators (or equivalents) from a young age due to parental neglect. That experience seems to cover an awful lot of ground.

(Kou Uraki getting PWNT in space because he did his own AMBAC math is probably an example of what we would be expecting in a realistic scenario... with a pilot that has little to no space experience trying to "wing it".)



Macross, I know, is actually pretty straightforward about its pilot training programs... outside of the Super Dimension Fortress Macross TV series, anyway.

Hikaru Ichijo, the protagonist of the original series, seems to have skipped a fair chunk of the training program due partly to him already being a licensed and experienced stunt pilot. It being wartime probably had something to do with that as well. Assuming Max Jenius and Hayao Kakizaki (his future wingmen) joined up around the same time, then their training probably took about seven months (March to October).

Later Macross titles established that the typical (peacetime) training program for a (New) UN Forces variable fighter pilot is a three year stint in flight school after basic training. The same rules apply as in the real world for military enlistment... you either have to be a legal adult, or have parental consent and be old enough to be a legal adult by the time basic training ends. The only difference there is that the New UN Government defines the age of majority as 17 instead of 18.

Macross Frontier established that the three-year pilot training program is also available to civilians as a form of vocational education at the high school level, via schools like the private Mihoshi Academy. It's a feeder school of sorts for the New UN Forces Academy and for civilian commercial space pilot licensing, with graduates having three full years of pilot training in the simulator and on real variable fighters (old VF-1Cs) before joining up with the New UN Forces or going into the private sector as cargo ship pilots.
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by MythSearcher » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:22 pm

Gundam's got a bad habit of having technically-proficient teenagers who are either natural pilots or kids who'd been playing with mobile suit simulators (or equivalents) from a young age due to parental neglect. That experience seems to cover an awful lot of ground.
I must protest.

It's space age, the majority of people in UC lived in space for over half a century, and at least most of the earlier protagonists are pretty familiar with space before they hop onto the pilot seat.
Amuro is probably the one with mostly just simulator training. Kamille pilots MMS/JMS and is a champion in it, I'd assume the competitions will involve space piloting since it is a major working area of MMS/JMS. Judah and Banagher also works with MMS in space for quite a long time. 0080, 0083 and 08th all had fully trained pilots except Barnie, who got rushed through training because they are losing the war.
Seabook and Uso are probably the worst offenders in UC.

G, they are all pretty well trained martial artists, even for Rain.

W, they are all trained soldiers or at least had experience in piloting MSs.

X, haven't watch, but I've heard that the protagonist starts out pretty like Judah of ZZ, with previous experience for better or for worse.

SEED and SEED-D, while Kira maybe also one of the worst offenders, most of the other teenagers had finished pilot training before piloting any MS.

00, all well trained.

AGE, the whole family are offenders. Wait, part 2 got the kid enlisted and trained for a while.

G-reco, they seemed to be in training and can pilot MS before falling into the cockpit of more powerful ones.

IBO, they had training in MWs and actually had combat before hand. Their simulation also contains direct manipulation of nerves and likely much more realistic than any other series.

Out of the whole franchise, it seems like only 8 of them (Amuro, Seabook, Uso, X, Kira, AGE family of 3) had really dubious training, Kai and Kobayashi if you count they as well. While 9 of shows (0080, 0083, 08th, G, W, SEED-D, 00, G-reco, IBO) had a reasonably trained protagonist and antagonist group who are either in the military or at least military organization. Z, ZZ and Unicorn got them in worker models and likely licenses for those with sufficent experience before hand, so they needed conversion training instead of full training to adapt to the space environment.

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Seto Kaiba » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:18 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
I must protest.
Methinks you doth protest too loudly? (In a strictly friendly-debate sense, naturally...)

MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
It's space age, the majority of people in UC lived in space for over half a century, and at least most of the earlier protagonists are pretty familiar with space before they hop onto the pilot seat.
Granted, every Gundam series is set in some version of the spacefuture... but having been born or raised in space, in the interior of a space colony where rotational gravity isn't constant, isn't any guarantee that the person will have learned about operating a spacecraft or AMBAC-based maneuvering system. Mobile Suits are, in every Gundam show that I've watched so far, been a commodity largely inaccessible to Joe Average and thus your typical schmuck off the street's not likely to have any real experience using one. Something like a petite mobile suit might help them get a grasp on the basic principles, but that's like assuming training on a family sedan with a 4-cylinder engine would be enough to let you drive a Formula One car like a pro.


MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
Amuro is probably the one with mostly just simulator training. Kamille pilots MMS/JMS and is a champion in it, I'd assume the competitions will involve space piloting since it is a major working area of MMS/JMS. Judah and Banagher also works with MMS in space for quite a long time. 0080, 0083 and 08th all had fully trained pilots except Barnie, who got rushed through training because they are losing the war.
Of the UC lot, most of them are either mechanically-inclined teens who are somehow naturals in Mobile Suits as a result of that mechanical inclination (the White Base pilots, Kamille Bidan, Seabook Arno, Oliver May, Arlene Nazon, Quess Pariya, Hathaway Noa, etc.) or ones who'd been trained in part on Petite Mobile Suits or playing with simulators growing up (Uso, Judau and his crew, Banagher). With the exception of Judau's lot, who were complete screwups living a "Reality ensues" version of Voltron's combination half the time, the only one who had any kind of combat-oriented mobile suit training was Uso... but they all fought well enough to demolish professional soldiers by the dozen.

UC is hands-down the worst offender of untrained=awesome.


MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
G, they are all pretty well trained martial artists, even for Rain.
G Gundam is... different. There's nothing more to controlling a Mobile Suit in that than doing Kung-Fu moves in front of a super-futuristic Kinect sensor. A horse can operate a mobile suit in that series.


MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
W, they are all trained soldiers or at least had experience in piloting MSs.
Some of them, maybe... Heero and Trowa were both child soldiers purpose-trained for Operation Meteor before it ended up subverted by the doctors, but Duo, Quatre, and Wufei all have "fell into the cockpit" backstories predating their ending up as Gundam pilots in which they were able to fight effectively enough to repel trained soldiers. All that was on Duo's resume was gang violence, Quatre's being a regimental mascot for the Maguanacs, and Wufei trying to save his wife when she came down with a bad case of Leeroy Jenkins-itis.


MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
X, haven't watch, but I've heard that the protagonist starts out pretty like Judah of ZZ, with previous experience for better or for worse.
Yes and no... he's in the "natural pilot" category, and had his "Fell into the cockpit" backstory before the series started, but by the time we see him he has significant practical experience operating as a professional mobile suit thief.

MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
SEED and SEED-D, while Kira maybe also one of the worst offenders, most of the other teenagers had finished pilot training before piloting any MS.
I refuse to count anyone from SEED (or acknowledge that Destiny exists) because most of them are genetically-engineered bullet time supermen who were either already involved in the military or with superhuman awareness and cognition beyond even the normal supermen. Most of them could probably read the manual faster than a trained normal pilot could swing the beam saber.


MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
00, all well trained.
Well, everyone except Saji... though about all he does is sit in the 00-Raiser and whinge himself inside-out, so it's all good.


MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
AGE, the whole family are offenders. Wait, part 2 got the kid enlisted and trained for a while.
Never saw that one, and got no plans to see it.


MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
G-reco, they seemed to be in training and can pilot MS before falling into the cockpit of more powerful ones.
Reconguista in G... they're pretty much all trained soldiers. The one time I can recall that someone who wasn't one is dropped into the cockpit, the result is believably awful. Manny Ambassadra and Noredo Nug got into the cockpit of the G-Rach, and almost killed themselves a few times fumbling around.


MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:10 pm
IBO, they had training in MWs and actually had combat before hand. Their simulation also contains direct manipulation of nerves and likely much more realistic than any other series.
IBO is a mixed bag... most of them are enhanced "natural" pilots whose innate talents are boosted by their cybernetics and they have some practical experience in a non-analogous tank-type vehicle with a similar control setup, but on the several occasions Tekkadan pilots fall into the cockpit of a mobile suit that DOESN'T have an Alaya whatever (I can't spell it, so sue me...) they still do VERY well... unless their name is Akihiro Altland, in which case they become a butt monkey until there's an upgrade.


There are a lot of Gundam titles where you have civvies or students who fall into the cockpit with no formal training and acquit themselves with suspicious natural proficiency sufficient to humiliate trained soldiers... MS Gundam, MS IGLOO 2, Zeta, Char's Counterattack, Unicorn, F91, Victory, X, Wing, Reconguista, and arguably IBO.
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Dark Duel » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:14 am

I should comment that for all its flaws, AGE is probably one of the least egregious examples of Insta-skill in the franchise, and of the three Flit is perhaps the least excusable...and he's not only the Amuro, he is simultaneously that Verse's Amuro AND Tem Ray in that he was directly involved in designing and building the Gundam.
Meanwhile, Asemu IIRC had some experience with competitive petit MS construction/piloting and was established as being very good at it, even before he had formal military training. As for Kio, IIRC Grandpa Flitler had him operating MS Combat simulators disguised as a video game since he was a toddler.
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Zeonista » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:20 am

I think a lot of the "Gundam hero" criticisms are confusing ability and training, which are different things. Training and enabling the average guy to become a mecha suit pilot is good. Training and enabling the guy with exceptional ability is better! That is the baseline difference between Mecha Ace and 'Splody Fodder. Most mecha anime have the mecha suit made with simple operation systems, so that a basic degree of training creates a technically competent pilot. The anime hero who climbs into the cockpit then becomes a phenomenal pilot, because his ability allows him to make use of the operation systems to better effect.

I said that because in all the "real robot" mecha anime, or at least the ones pretending to some degree of technical realism, piloting a mecha suit is not presented as rocket science or the provenence of a chosen "special forces" unit. Operating a mecha suit is analgous to operating a personal motor vehicle or small aircraft or powered boat. A little practice and passing an examination grants a person a qualified operator's license. (Do you, dear MAHQ member, have a driver's license? Congratulations! You have the potential to become a mecha pilot! :lol:) A little more practice brings confidence and a fuller appreciation of the personal vehicle, and allows the pilot to use further and more powerful types. Sure, not everyone in a mecha suit cockpit is an ace pilot, but a large number of qualified pilots raises the chance for an ace, or at least a suadron where more of the pilots will return than not. The aces cannot win the battles by themselves, even if they are popular pretty boys with flash OP rides. The guys & gals in the similar-colored MP units are required to clench the victory. :P

Now, for a good mecha suit pilot, here is what I, the commander with the Big Hat, want to see in a good pilot.
1. Confidence in operation. This generally comes with practice, but a n00b pilot who is sure in his operation will do better than someone who is hesitent.
2. Information processing. HUD, radio, battlefield noise, snooty bridge bunnies, some cutie singing away.... My goodness, the mecha anime battlefield is a busy place! The better pilot is good at quickly identifying & sorting incoming stimuli to locate and eliminate priority targets.
3. Closing with the enemy. Putzing around at long range is not useful, unless the pilot is the team sharpshooter or support cannon gunner. The pilot that closes range for effective hits or beam saber blows is likely to win.
4. Teamwork. Unless the pilot is a bioengineered uberman army of one, he is not winning the battle by himself. Most mecha anime have heroes who are team players. At least that is what I keep telling my MEKTON campaign players! :D
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Seto Kaiba » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:56 am

Zeonista wrote:
Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:20 am
I think a lot of the "Gundam hero" criticisms are confusing ability and training, which are different things. Training and enabling the average guy to become a mecha suit pilot is good. Training and enabling the guy with exceptional ability is better! That is the baseline difference between Mecha Ace and 'Splody Fodder.
Ironically enough, the criticisms were largely about the franchise's writers confusing (raw) talent and training... to the extent that it's a recurring trope in most Gundam timelines that a kid who's never even seen a real mobile suit outside of pictures or maybe a museum display piece ends up in the cockpit of the latest state of the art mobile suit and proceeds to brutally curbstomp highly trained, experienced soldiers. (So stereotypical is it that Bright himself hangs a lampshade on it in Gundam UC.)

The idea that Junior/Petite Mobile Suits are a viable substitute is kind of silly on the face of it... that's like being able to hop in a Formula One car, sight unseen, and leave every professional driver eating your dust because you used to play with bumper cars or go-karts.


Zeonista wrote:
Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:20 am
Most mecha anime have the mecha suit made with simple operation systems, so that a basic degree of training creates a technically competent pilot. The anime hero who climbs into the cockpit then becomes a phenomenal pilot, because his ability allows him to make use of the operation systems to better effect.

I said that because in all the "real robot" mecha anime, or at least the ones pretending to some degree of technical realism, piloting a mecha suit is not presented as rocket science or the provenence of a chosen "special forces" unit. Operating a mecha suit is analgous to operating a personal motor vehicle or small aircraft or powered boat.
... honestly not sure what mecha anime series you're thinking of here, since many of the titles I've seen that fall in the "real robot" genre, and even a fair few super robot titles, depict piloting a giant robot as something you need a lot of specialist training to do. Months, in a pinch, or more commonly years of training... and even that isn't necessarily a guarantee that those skills will be portable when the operator transitions to a new model. Probably my favorite example is Chikyū Bōei Kigyō Dai-Guard, where piloting a giant robot is interface hell for three people who have a boatload of specialist training (and at least one has a college degree in robot piloting), but the idea that giant robots aren't easy to pilot is in full force in Macross, Full Metal Panic!, Heavy Metal L-Gaim, Five Star Stories, Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Mazinkaiser, Combattler V, Voltres V, MOSPEADA, Eureka Seven, Patlabor, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Blue Gender, several Gundam titles including Gundam ZZ, Crossbone Gundam, Stardust Memory, MS IGLOO 2, Reconguista in G, Iron-Blooded Orphans, etc.

Shows or manga where piloting a robot is depicted as the sort of thing you'd pick up as casually as driving a car are not nearly so common... I can only think of a few offhand, and several of those are ones where the mecha is either empathic or wired directly into the pilot's mind.
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by False Prophet » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:08 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:26 pm
Well, computer assist and more computer assist.

At least in UC, AE manufactured military MS has pretty much the same controls as small worker bots like the MMS and JMS manufactured by AE. Convinient, isn't it?

I assume you can always decrease the assistance rendered by the computer, but almost anyone with the basic knowledge of MMS controls can do so(I assume that is even easier than car driving nowadays, more like scooter driving, since most high schoolers seemed to have that ability)

The controls are highly modulized actions(which is in the settings), so it will be like controlling fighting game characters when in semi-full auto controls. You can likely switch to manual control if you like, but not necessarily.
You choose what you want to do and the computer does the rest for you, like executing a move in a fighting game.
Of course the accuracy varies, and if you are that good, you can utilize all those extra buttons to be much more precise controls.

It would not be that hard to adapt to both ground and space combat, you won't be necessarily good in both, but at the same time, we can see that most people can adapt to video games that has both. Yes, I know all game don't give you real space Physics, but it is just a matter of adaptation (especially most spacenoids in UC should be pretty used to space)

Automation is the key, you really don't need a lot of controls if the computer does most of the balancing and pointing for you. All you need to care about is which direction to move(or where to go) and what target you want to interact with(either friendly or hostile interaction). The computer can likely figure out the distance and switch weapons for you.
A coincidence, this article on Japanese scientists talking about mechas does mention a high-level of A.I-assistance in piloting: http://www.anime-now.com/entry/2017/04/ ... mpaign=ANN

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by MythSearcher » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:56 am

Ironically enough, the criticisms were largely about the franchise's writers confusing (raw) talent and training... to the extent that it's a recurring trope in most Gundam timelines that a kid who's never even seen a real mobile suit outside of pictures or maybe a museum display piece ends up in the cockpit of the latest state of the art mobile suit and proceeds to brutally curbstomp highly trained, experienced soldiers. (So stereotypical is it that Bright himself hangs a lampshade on it in Gundam UC.)

The idea that Junior/Petite Mobile Suits are a viable substitute is kind of silly on the face of it... that's like being able to hop in a Formula One car, sight unseen, and leave every professional driver eating your dust because you used to play with bumper cars or go-karts.
Amuro hopped on Gundam, and is pretty bad at it. He wasted most of the 60mm vulcan magazine and didn't score a hit, went in for melee and only overwhelmed opponents likely because no body is well trained in MS close combat, much higher spec and with the beam sabre.
He only survived his first battle because of the superior specs of Gundam that Zaku(even S type) didn't have anything equipped to even hurt it.
And then he trained really hard on Gundam's Computer in between battles to get better. He is kinda lucky that he got the time before Zeon sends in MS with weapons that can actually hurt Gundam(or before the lunar titanium fatigued)


The JMS is a bit different.
You cannot hop in a F1 car and be good at it be you are just a normal driver and the UI is rather different.
Most of the kids are not normal drivers to begin with, and the JMS/MMS/MS are all designed and built by the same company, which was stated to have the same UI. So Kamille had ample combat training in a MMS before he saw real combat, and being the champion of the competition, it is more like switching from F3 Champion to F1 racer.
... honestly not sure what mecha anime series you're thinking of here, since many of the titles I've seen that fall in the "real robot" genre, and even a fair few super robot titles, depict piloting a giant robot as something you need a lot of specialist training to do. Months, in a pinch, or more commonly years of training... and even that isn't necessarily a guarantee that those skills will be portable when the operator transitions to a new model. Probably my favorite example is Chikyū Bōei Kigyō Dai-Guard, where piloting a giant robot is interface hell for three people who have a boatload of specialist training (and at least one has a college degree in robot piloting), but the idea that giant robots aren't easy to pilot is in full force in Macross, Full Metal Panic!, Heavy Metal L-Gaim, Five Star Stories, Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Mazinkaiser, Combattler V, Voltres V, MOSPEADA, Eureka Seven, Patlabor, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Blue Gender, several Gundam titles including Gundam ZZ, Crossbone Gundam, Stardust Memory, MS IGLOO 2, Reconguista in G, Iron-Blooded Orphans, etc.

Shows or manga where piloting a robot is depicted as the sort of thing you'd pick up as casually as driving a car are not nearly so common... I can only think of a few offhand, and several of those are ones where the mecha is either empathic or wired directly into the pilot's mind.

I really doubt you need that many specific training to just pilot a giant robot.
In the older days, piloting a jet fighter is hard, but nowadays we have fly-by-wire and simplify the piloting by a lot. Another good example is landing a large passenger jet, Mythbusters actually tested the notion that a complete newbie can just sit behind the wheels and land a plane safely with instruction from the tower; and more, actually you only need to hit 2 buttons and the plane lands itself.

I don't see why you need specific training to pilot a giant robot, anything that moves and combats basically breaks down to 3 direction axis, 3 rotational axis and weapons usage. In fact, ground combat is harder to automatize, since the ground isn't a smooth and even space and usually have pits and hills that are potentially unwanted when you cannot focus in movement. I'd say that is at least one of the reason why you need a larger crew for tanks than for figher jets eventhough tanks are cheaper and you really want more of them.
In a more real world situation, melee combat is also useless in a space battle field with long range weapons and high relative velocity. I can even design a combat motion module that automatically switches combat action by detecting the range of the selected target.(using simple laser ranging technology that existed all the way back to WWII)
The training you needed should be more general, about the survival skills in combat(like stop being brave and not drawing attention to yourself) and actual aiming skills(how to predict the movement of your target and aim with a lead space; create situations where you limit your target's ability to evade). You will also need body training to increase the g-force torlerance and operational time.
They spend months of training in real life in a machine mostly because they want to be more familiar with it, but that doesn't mean that you can't be still be decent if you move onto another similar UI machine.

A day in battle is better than months of training, you need training to keep your sense when you do not have a war going on, but once you are forced into a battle, you either get better or die trying.

Making piloting a giant robot hard in shows are more like a dramatic scene that shows the competence of the characters, or the technology level just hasn't caught up with modern computerization due to some special reasons.
False Prophet wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:08 pm
A coincidence, this article on Japanese scientists talking about mechas does mention a high-level of A.I-assistance in piloting: http://www.anime-now.com/entry/2017/04/ ... mpaign=ANN
Not really coincidental, since I read quite a lot of related articles and papers about AI control.

BTW, some anime use interface hell because some of the animators believed in the college-drop-out scammer Yanagita Rikao of the Kuso Kagaku fame, who published a series of books pretending to be using science to poke fun at all series, yet his analysis cannot face real science nor his own analytical methods. He admitted he sticks more to dramatical effects than science, which is what his books are attacking in the first place.

Shunned or even blasted by the Science community, the problem is that he was still used as the Science advisor in some anime, like Aquarion.

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Areku
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Areku » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:20 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm
I'd say that is at least one of the reason why you need a larger crew for tanks than for figher jets eventhough tanks are cheaper and you really want more of them.
A much more relevant reason would be that a tank's main weapon is a cumbersome, generally direct line-of-sight cannon that is often at a completely different orientation from the main motive structure when in use, necessitating either an extreme amount of automation or a minimum of 2 operators to get the most out of a tank's mobility and weapons simultaneously (and since these operators are thinking in terms of completely different orientations and perspectives, might as well add a commander to keep things operating smoothly). Plus the much more lenient weight/performance tolerances of ground vehicles can more easily support a larger crew.

In contrast, even fighter-sized aircraft with equipment/tasks complex enough to require two operators at least have the advantage of a shared perspective/orientation.

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by MythSearcher » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:55 pm

Areku wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:20 pm
A much more relevant reason would be that a tank's main weapon is a cumbersome, generally direct line-of-sight cannon that is often at a completely different orientation from the main motive structure when in use, necessitating either an extreme amount of automation or a minimum of 2 operators to get the most out of a tank's mobility and weapons simultaneously (and since these operators are thinking in terms of completely different orientations and perspectives, might as well add a commander to keep things operating smoothly). Plus the much more lenient weight/performance tolerances of ground vehicles can more easily support a larger crew.

In contrast, even fighter-sized aircraft with equipment/tasks complex enough to require two operators at least have the advantage of a shared perspective/orientation.
Well, I don't really find a weapon that aims at a different direction that hard to work with if most of the directions you are moving towards are just empty space.
Using games as example, althought I didn't play WoT, I did played a more simplified tank game on the PSP called simple series, Navy Field, Warship Gunner and WoWs(no, not Warcraft) and tanks are just that much harder to control simply because of the complexity of the ground. (And simple series' Tank game even grossly simplified that part so you don't really get that much rocks and ditches to hit or fall into) I encounter much more situations where I have trouble controlling a tank by myself like hitting a wall or falling into a ditch. Yes, I ram into other ships or ground quite often with a warship when not looking at the direction I am going, but in a more real life situation, you have a much open area at sea. Of course in real life a warship have much more crew on it, but the fact that you don't really find it hard to control by a single person compared to the tank eventhough the main weapon can point to directions other than the way you are going.

I actually support having 2 operators in one vehicle to lessen the burden, but in tanks, or any ground combat vehicle, that just seems to be more of a necessity rather than a add on bonus.

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Areku » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:56 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:55 pm
Well, I don't really find a weapon that aims at a different direction that hard to work with if most of the directions you are moving towards are just empty space.
It's actually pretty friggin' hard to make effective use of both your turret and your vehicle without the surprisingly-impactful advantage of a videogame's 3rd-person perspective.

As for the control of a large warship, deciding where the ship is going to go, identifying possible obstacles/complex conditions (much more common than you'd expect even in blue-water operations), translating the desired path into relevant commands, operating the rudder (steering the ship), controlling the outputs of each engine/propeller, and various levels of communications and command/supervision were all separate tasks performed by separate people. Using the Nimitz-class as an example, even in the most low-intensity situations there are 7 people in direct physical control of how the ship moves and 6 others with significant command/control/communication roles, plus ~25 others performing supporting roles like watching over important equipment (that doesn't require human intervention when things are going well but can quickly disable a portion of the ship's propulsion if something goes wrong) or acting as lookouts. And I'm speaking strictly in terms of visual navigation and the ship's motor functions in calm conditions; more intense activities involve more operators, more communications redundancy/distribution etc, and none of this is even touching radar, tactical/weapons readiness, flight operations or any other functions. Newer designs like the Ford greatly simplify the process, but it still requires a significant number of people just to make the ship move competently.

Anyway, more on-topic, the training curriculum for a mecha pilot is probably both more- and less-complex/extensive than what one would expect. In peace time, there would be extensive academic training on mechanical/electrical/computer engineering, thermodynamics, whatever branches of physics are most applicable to the mech's power source and operating environment (nuclear, radiological, chemistry, kinematics etc) and many other subjects that the typical adolescent/layman might not associate with operating a complex machine. While not strictly necessary to make the mech do what you want, this training would be important in helping the pilot adjust to abnormal circumstances, correct/compensate various types of battle damage and equipment failures, eek out a little extra performance or more competently push the mech to its limits, and generally avoid causing an ecological disaster. There would also be a meticulous, incremental increase in the kinds of vehicles the trainee operates/is trained on, advanced combat/tactics training, operational communications and command structure and coordination, interface with support equipment, maintenance and inspections, weapons control and safety, and thousands of hours of physical training and flight/control experience including practical emergency actions... to give just a partial list.

However, much of this would probably be truncated in wartime scenarios, especially on the losing side of a prolonged conflict. When you need pilots and you need them now, you don't have the luxury of the kind of training that's really appropriate for the operation of such a complex and dangerous machine (of course, this is all assuming that you absolutely need to use more mechs and that these mechs must have an onboard pilot). After all, this is what led to the employment of kamikaze tactics in WW2 when Japan was losing experienced pilots too quickly to replace them, so they shortened training to focus on the bare essentials of flying a plane and used new pilots like biological control equipment in plane-shaped missiles. Things probably wouldn't be quite so extreme now that computer-controlled missiles and computer-assisted automated controls are much more feasible, but a return of broad-scale kamikaze doctrine is an especially concerning possibility in a setting like UC's Minovsky-centric warfare.

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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by BrentD15 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:19 am

Zeonista wrote:
Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:20 am
Do you, dear MAHQ member, have a driver's license? Congratulations! You have the potential to become a mecha pilot! :lol:
That's all I wanted to hear. :mrgreen:
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Re: Pilot curriculum

Post by Seto Kaiba » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:23 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm
Amuro hopped on Gundam, and is pretty bad at it. He wasted most of the 60mm vulcan magazine and didn't score a hit, went in for melee and only overwhelmed opponents likely because no body is well trained in MS close combat, much higher spec and with the beam sabre.
He only survived his first battle because of the superior specs of Gundam that Zaku(even S type) didn't have anything equipped to even hurt it.
Granted, Amuro panicked and wasted a bunch of ammunition in his first outing in the Gundam... but, all the same, he was still able to rout a platoon of enemy mobile suits while still reading the instruction manual. That's no amateur hour stunt that just anyone could fumble through... especially not with a mobile suit with controls based on a at-the-time virgin learning computer.



MythSearcher wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm
The JMS is a bit different.
You cannot hop in a F1 car and be good at it be you are just a normal driver and the UI is rather different.
Most of the kids are not normal drivers to begin with, and the JMS/MMS/MS are all designed and built by the same company, which was stated to have the same UI. So Kamille had ample combat training in a MMS before he saw real combat, and being the champion of the competition, it is more like switching from F3 Champion to F1 racer.
Other than the lack of power steering, the UI in a Formula 1 car is not significantly different from a normal car or even a go-kart. The performance, however, is massively different and it requires no small amount of training and practice to adapt to that greater performance and the strategic realities of racing at that level of capability.

The same is true for the JMS/PetitMS... sure, the parts are supplied by Anaheim and some of them are used by the colonial maintenance workers, but their performance is so far below that of a military mobile suit that the idea a JMS/PetitMS experience is going to be viable on a military mobile suit is pretty comical. That, of course, ignores that the military mobile suits have a lot of capabilities and systems not present on a civilian market junior model, and that these kids who fall into the cockpits and kick ass aren't falling into a stock mobile suit either... they just about always manage to fall into the cockpit of a super prototype with performance that would test even veteran mobile suit pilots.


MythSearcher wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm
I really doubt you need that many specific training to just pilot a giant robot.
In the older days, piloting a jet fighter is hard, but nowadays we have fly-by-wire and simplify the piloting by a lot.
Almost a perfect example to demonstrate my point above... sure, the fly-by-wire system has made piloting a fair bit easier on the pilot, but it still requires significant amounts of training just to get a pilot's license, and more in the bargain to qualify on a high-performance military aircraft. It's not just the performance, it's all of the many features built into military hardware that aren't available to civilians that you need training to use effectively (or in some cases, use at all) and how to employ them and the aircraft strategically and tactically. As often as new features and gimmicks crop up in mecha shows between models, the learning curve is sure to be sharp and not at all pleasant.


MythSearcher wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm
Another good example is landing a large passenger jet, Mythbusters actually tested the notion that a complete newbie can just sit behind the wheels and land a plane safely with instruction from the tower; and more, actually you only need to hit 2 buttons and the plane lands itself.
Kind of a gross oversimplification... the autopilot IS capable of landing the plane, but it doesn't guarantee a safe landing on the correct runway at the airport. Without being properly programmed for the right heading, altitude, etc., having a good signal from the airport beacon, and a hundred other fiddly little details, it'll put the aircraft down regardless of whether it's actually safe to land there.


MythSearcher wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm
I don't see why you need specific training to pilot a giant robot, anything that moves and combats basically breaks down to 3 direction axis, 3 rotational axis and weapons usage. In fact, ground combat is harder to automatize, since the ground isn't a smooth and even space and usually have pits and hills that are potentially unwanted when you cannot focus in movement. I'd say that is at least one of the reason why you need a larger crew for tanks than for figher jets eventhough tanks are cheaper and you really want more of them.
... we're talking about a bipedal ground vehicle here, barring the ability of quite a few of them to fly or take an enormous flying leap with rocket assistance. It's not like a first person shooter (OK, not completely), since the terrain is as much as factor in operations as anything else.

Tank drivers, for instance, have a relatively simple set of controls to work with but they still go through months of training so that they can acclimatize themselves to their vehicles and gain a proper understanding of how it would handle on different types of terrain. While you CAN just grab the steering levers and go, only a cretin would, as a single mistake in judging the terrain you're driving over in a vehicle with that kind of ground pressure can get your vehicle stuck in soil/sand/mud too soft to support its weight, get the chassis hung up on uneven terrain, foul the treads or break track links on obstacles or razorwire, or find the anti-tank minefield the hard way.

A mobile suit is going to be nowhere near as forgiving as a tank because 1. you don't have the benefit of multiple sets of eyes on the ground, 2. it has a MUCH higher center of gravity, 3. it's going to have an equivalent or higher ground pressure than the tank (not helped by it having to lift and set down its traction surface), 4. it's damn near impossible to use terrain for cover in an 18m tall robot, 5. bipedal walking is actually pretty bloody hard for a machine to do, and requires a lot of compensation and computation to keep something like that from tipping over when it's moving at all, let alone moving at speed. 6. It's only going to get worse if target selection and/or aiming isn't automated.


MythSearcher wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm
In a more real world situation, melee combat is also useless in a space battle field with long range weapons and high relative velocity. I can even design a combat motion module that automatically switches combat action by detecting the range of the selected target.(using simple laser ranging technology that existed all the way back to WWII)
Most mecha shows that have a dependence on close combat usually have some kind of macguffin that renders the long-range weapons ineffectual... so while arguably true, it's probably not a valid point for many of the fictional universes we'd be considering.


MythSearcher wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:11 pm
Making piloting a giant robot hard in shows are more like a dramatic scene that shows the competence of the characters, or the technology level just hasn't caught up with modern computerization due to some special reasons.
By having a bipedal giant robot that can walk on broken terrain at all, let alone do things like sidestep or sprint, they're way, WAY ahead of modern computerization... our best effort at a walking robot with auto-balancing is slow enough and hesitant enough that it walks like it has to take a dump, at a pace it'd be hard pressed to outrun a tortoise at.
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