|concept art by Pascal Blanche|
Weight vs. CountSpaceships is built with systems, each taking up 1/20th of the vehicles mass. When we add a system to spaceships, we are adding a set amount of mass. This is important to remember when adding leg or arm systems to a spaceship. A single leg system could represent a dozen small centipede like legs, or it could represent one half a a massive leg. While we can build any number of limbs from any number of limb systems, the mass spent does matter, and faster or more complex movement requires more systems.
|By Simon Liu|
LegsWe can find the Robot Leg System in Spaceships 4, which includes Mecha. It gives us a simple method to calculate basic move and top speed. However, it firmly ties these statistics to a number of legs, and we're counting systems rather than limbs. We will use the same equations, but use the number of systems rather than the number of legs when determining speed. The number of legs is still important when determining handling and stability. A robot may be built with any number of legs, choosing the combination of handling and stability that seems best for that design.
|Additional||no effect||no effect|
|actual 2019 working robot arm!|
Complex arms should be built using the extra arm advantage as a guideline, and using multiplicative modifiers (powers 102). Each Character Point weighs a 10th of a system (or 1/200th of the robot) and has a relative cost of 10. A weapon mount only costs 2 points, so it only weighs 20% of a system and has a relative cost of 20. An arm with the with the long modifier costs 20 points, and thus costs 2 systems of weight and has a relative cost of 200.
|Futuristic Human-like arm|
Most complicated arms will be found on robots that perform work of some kind. Modern examples include mars rovers, welding arms, hazmat robots, and some construction equipment. In the future, even more jobs may be performed by mechanical limbs. Two limitations are worth examining in this context:
|(from The Incredibles)|
Weak: Mathematically speaking, an arm with half the ST score should weigh a quarter as much, not three quarters. We're going to use smaller systems rather than use the weak modifier.
|Power Armor Concept Art|
While most vehicles are driven or piloted using a specialized skill, battlesuits and some walkers are designed to be intuitive, and to harness the user's innate muscle memory and thousands of hours practice walking. At least they are in a lot of fiction. This probably requires either a direct neural interface, or dozens of small sensors all over the body. A GM could justify this as handled by the control room: what is it if not a bunch of sensors integrated with the control of the vehicle? On the other hand, just as valid to insist on more expensive control systems. If neural interfaces are uncommon in the general populace, the vehicle will be built with one included. If built in a society were neural interfaces are as common as modern cell phones, the machine is likely to only provide the software needed to connect to the neural interface and drive the machine.
A set of sensors should cost no more than $500 and have negligible weight, unless the GM wishes the sensors to be expensive prototypes. The sensors must be embedded into the walker, into suit and helmet to provide structure, or stuck directly to the skin. The suit could even be worn outside of the vehicle and used to drive it remotely, or to control a robot that doesn't have space for a pilot.
An AI essentially has a neural interface as part of its basic functionality. What it lacks is years of practice walking, running, and jumping. An AI should probably treat driving any walker as a skill, in this case driving (Mecha). An AI that spends large amounts of time may, at the GM's option, use its native DX instead.
|mechanical shark by William Ye|
This article only lightly touched on movement speeds, which vary by size. We will come back to add more detail, but the basic numbers from spaceships 4 are "Good Enough" for most purposes, and we will consider them at the same time we consider wheels, tracks, and other motive systems for robots smaller than spaceships gives statistics for.
With these tools, we can now build a lot more robots, and to use this system for combat walkers and battle-suits as well. Happy robot building!