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Talroth

'Space Marines', good or bad design/storyline?

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Sort of a spinoff from the StarCraftII thread in the lounge, a question I asked wasn't really addressed too much and I figured may as well pull it out so as not to clog up the thread with off topic chat. I have seen many times people saying that "Space Marines" in their large bulky pressure suits, with their large automatic weapons are 'cheap rip offs' of other works. Yet when some company makes a game based on recent wars, they get praised for how accurately they recreate the uniforms, and the effort that goes into getting weapons and stuff 'just right' even if they're horribly wrong. (Doesn't happen that much really, but a little hyperbole never hurt too much) And why do some people seem to dislike calling them 'marines' and state that they should have been more creative when making them up. They're soldiers that fight mainly from ships, just spaceships in this case, and that is what a marine is. Do people expect developers to call them "Spaceies" or something? (which might get CHUM lawyers giving you the finger) So, people's thoughts on the matter? I personally see no reason to NOT use the large armoured pressure suit that keeps the soldier alive inside, and I don't see a reason to not call them marines. Only thing I can see dropping from their name is the Space part in a universe that lacks ocean going navies and large scale planet side troop movements that would involve different classes of soldiers between those that were on sea ships and those on space ships.

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Space marines are a great idea, but, are you trying to imply that using space marines now is not a ripoff because they make so much sense it's almost a fact they will exist?

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Original post by Talroth
I have seen many times people saying that "Space Marines" in their large bulky pressure suits, with their large automatic weapons are 'cheap rip offs' of other works. Yet when some company makes a game based on recent wars, they get praised for how accurately they recreate the uniforms, and the effort that goes into getting weapons and stuff 'just right' even if they're horribly wrong. (Doesn't happen that much really, but a little hyperbole never hurt too much)


When you recreate recent history, that's a shared perspective which it is reasonable to imitate in search of authenticity.

When you recreate what you saw in an existing game based on fiction, you're ripping off someone else's creative idea. There's no authenticity in cloning another person's arbitrary vision.

The two aren't really comparable.

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Too bad the Starcraft space marines are the crappiest ones ones of the lot. As Starcraft was originally based on WH40k you'd suppose the marines would omgwtfpawn everything. From genetically engineered zealous supersoldiers with powered armour and automatic rocketlaunchers (yup, bolters are rocket launchers) into paperarmored (What, a bug slashing through steel with no effort?) colonial marines with crappy weapons. So sad. :'(

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The more games have bulky power-armoured space marines with big guns, the better... I'm not complaining. They look cool [lol]
But the ones in SC (or SC2) certainly don't look anywhere near as good as the WH40k ones.

As for "cheap ripoff"? Yeah, and we don't have a problem with the three hundred games featuring magic, elves and orcs that come out every single month?
I really don't see the problem here.

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As Starcraft was originally based on WH40k

It was? Have they said this, or is it your guess?

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Well, perhaps not a fact, as I cannot find any official material, but I think it is a common belief (in the WH40k playerbase) that it was originally set in WH40k universe, but then Games Workshop forbid them to use the setting as they we're then afraid of translating the idea into video games. And of course the settings have so much in common that it would be stupid to say that there is no link. :)

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Original post by Ilmuri
And of course the settings have so much in common that it would be stupid to say that there is no link. :)

Every intergalactic-multi-race-war setting has "so much in common." Doesn't mean they're necessarily linked.

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It's true that the terran space marines look superficially similar to the WH40K marines. If you squint a bit.

So what? How many times have orcs and goblins been 'ripped off'? And the similarities there are usually much less superficial.

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Warhammer 40K has orks and eldar (elves). Warhammer has the whole spectrum of typical fantasy races.

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I am one of those who thinks that the term "space marines" is silly, because it is necessarily one of two things: 1) inappropriate, or 2) redundant.

If you assume space and spaceships to be equivalent to water and marine vessels, then it is redundant... like saying "marine marines". If you don't, then it is innappropriate.

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Original post by smitty1276
I am one of those who thinks that the term "space marines" is silly


Yes.

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Original post by Sandman
It's true that the terran space marines look superficially similar to the WH40K marines. If you squint a bit.

So what? How many times have orcs and goblins been 'ripped off'? And the similarities there are usually much less superficial.

Well, Protoss are roughly equivalent to Eldar (the lost superadvanced races behind them, pride, both have fallen brethren etc) though they look more like Tau. Zerg are perhaps a hybrid of Orks (Eldar and Orks are both made by the same ancient race if I remember it right), Tyranids (the racial theme) and the zergzerg-routine reminds me of Imperial Guard (throwing so many men with flashlights on you that you are bound to drown in them).

EDIT: Oh, forgot, the void and the Warp seem somewhat similar..

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The concept of a vacuum-suit soldier makes sense, but I would recommend not trying to define what exactly soldiers of that type would be like in your universe until you've decided other things about that universe, since they'll necessarily determine certain factors of your soldier design. For example, has your starship tech resulted in the development of various unusually-strong metals? If so, then odds are that your soldiers will be using them as armor. If not, then they'll probably be wearing practically no armor at all, in favor of having armor that can self-repair against vacuum and is lighter to move in. And what about energy generation capabilities? If you can miniaturize your reactors, then you could let each soldier carry his own power, allowing for long-term missions away from resupply. If you can't, then each soldier has to carry his own batteries, which could mean extra weight (or possibly not, compared to a reactor and fuel supply) and will certainly mean that he can't afford to make every part of the suit "powered". That means muscular assistance wouldn't be always-on, and probably his gun would be lighter too.

All of the above will dictate a lot of what your soldiers look like. And, all the better, they'll help make certain that your universe is internally consistent.

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I'm a Heinlein fan, so I naturally trace every hard-shelled space soldier back to the Mobile Infantry of Starship Troopers. It's a dumb fight, and everything's frekaing derivative. It's not too hard to liken zerg to demons and 'toss to angels and wind up with a biblical parallel. Raynor = Peter?

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So, for those that feel a soldier that wears a hard shelled/large bulk soft, pressure suit with internal air supply is a ripoff.


How would YOU design your humanoid soldiers? And what would you call them?

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I think there are three ways to do it:

1: Space Marines. Sexy, magical, entirely up to the designer in terms of resilience and mobility, with the added value of human souls for drama.

2: Robots. Space Marines sans souls, they're customizable and versatile, but they aren't people, so they're more like resources than soldiers.

3: Soldiers. Just guys in suits, they're limited to human capabilities and are little more than little faces with little guns. The Starship Troopers movie (bleck!) is a good example of this. Squishy meat.

The space marine/mobile infantry/Mjolnir-equipped Spartan is the perfect blend of man and machine to work in narrative, tactical and dramatic situations. I dig it.

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I don't have much of any knowledge of current warfare tactics, but the impression I get is that soldiers are largely intended to fight other soldiers, go places that heavier units can't go, or get specialty gear into place to take out heavier units (or large groups of enemy soldiers). Thus the default gear should be light and emphasize mobility, while having the capability to add special-purpose gear.

Thus, if I were going to design soldiers intended to operate in vacuum, without any other universe considerations to worry about, I'd personally go for speed over power. Give the soldier some method of flight, keep the suit flexible and lightweight, and drop the size of the gun. Heavy special-purpose gear would attach directly to the flight unit, so that it can compensate for the weight when in a gravity well. Armor would be relatively lightweight ("proof" against weapons fire of similar calibre to the guns the soldiers carry, but no more) and largely focused on rapidly closing holes in the suit, to avoid decompression problems.

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Give the soldier some method of flight, keep the suit flexible and lightweight, and drop the size of the gun. Heavy special-purpose gear would attach directly to the flight unit, so that it can compensate for the weight when in a gravity well. Armor would be relatively lightweight ("proof" against weapons fire of similar calibre to the guns the soldiers carry, but no more)

And then the first thing I'd do was give my guys better guns. If your armor is only just proof against the small guns you insist on carrying, then your guns are useless. And if people start using bigger guns, you might need bigger armor too, and then I'd need bigger guns and so on.
[grin]

Anyway, I'd say a big bulky space marine looks a hell of a lot cooler than some guy with a small handgun wearing a kevlar vest (or the spacesuit equivalent) [wink]

I think the reason today's soldiers are relatively lightweight is more to do with the fact that there aren't really other options. If we could make Fallout/WH40k-styled power armor (and do it at an affordable price), I'm pretty sure you'd see them widely used. Keep in mind they tend to be designed for mobility *as well* as protection (You said yourself you'd use the flight unit to take the weight of speciality equipment, so why not use the same trick to take the weight of a bigger, heavier suit? And why not add in a bunch of little servo engines to help move around in the suit? And presto, instant 3-ton suit that's as flexible and mobile as your little wimpy soldiers... Well, more or less. [lol]

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Yes, things you have to keep in mind while designing soldiers to fight off on other worlds:

1. Men have to breath. That means air, and likely a 're-breather system' where there isn't a lot of air, usually only a few minute's worth, and the CO2 is scrubbed out and you breath the same gas again.
This means your suit needs space to hold this, likely inside any armour.

2. Suits that split open and leak all your air out if you brush too close to some sharp scrap metal are going to mean a lot of dead men either from accidentally cutting their suits, or from not taking cover quickly for fear of ripping their suits. This means your sit has to be highly cut and puncture resistant.

3. Soldiers that can be patched up and sent back to the front lines are likely cheaper and faster than training a whole new soldier. Soldiers that take a bullet or shrapnel to an arm or a leg can usually be healed up fairly fast, Unless of course all their air and blood leaks out through that hole.

4. Not all planets that might have desired resources have earth's lovely protection from the sun, not all are as far from our sun either. Some might be far hotter, others might be rather icy. Life support systems need to be designed to cope with this, either with easily swappable systems or a system that can handle either. (and given that some planets might lack atmospheres, and thus could be +400C in the day, and -100C at night, having both heaters and coolers at the same time is a 'good thing') I don't know how many of you have worn those skin tight suits you see skiers and bobsledders wearing, and while they keep you from freezing, they're not exactly warm.

Suits need: Space for life support systems. Protection against being cut. Be able to close off holes if cut. Can stand up to a wide range of temperatures.


Now, issues with classic 'space marine' styles I can see are: Overly thick in the legs/boots/shoulders. I can defend the use of oversized shoulders and helmets, as if a soldier is firing from behind cover, what part of him is most likely exposed? Being able to take multiple hits to the head and shoulders from normal 'small arms' fire is a good thing in my book.

Biggest issue is the over sized guns. I agree that these usually need to shrink down a little more, for the general purpose weapons that all soldiers carry. Could be larger than modern day rifles, but still something that looks to have a barrel I can put my fist in, and is as tall as the soldier that carries it, likely can't have all that much ammo going along with it.

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Spoonbender: your bulked-up marines could take my lightweight ones in a fight, sure, but presumably I'm aware of this and would use different tactics. Certainly if you can manage to fit armor and flight and heavy weapons in, then you'll be "better" pretty much everywhere it counts; I was assuming some limitations on what can be carried, though, such that you couldn't fit all that into one suit. After all, tradeoffs are what make design interesting. If we assume that my marines were faster but lighter-weight than yours, then I'd go in for some kind of ambush tactics, trying to get you into situations where you couldn't take cover or get a good firing angle as quickly as I could. You'd probably respond by simply destroying all the cover so I can't hide effectively. Different designs, different tactics. Both can be fun!

I'll note that even now, body armor doesn't let you get shot with impunity, and armor in general has never been proof against weaponry going back the last 2000 years; it's just been to give you a chance to not die. I doubt that this will change much in the future; better armor will be countered by better weapons, while both staying more or less the same size. Used to be that a steel plate could stop a handgun bullet; now it's a kevlar vest doing the same. In either case, though, the person that got shot is going to be in a fair amount of pain. I don't want to discount the value of armor, but in my opinion it's far more important to give the soldier the mobility to avoid getting hit at all than it is to give him the ability to absorb a shot or two.

Talroth - I wouldn't worry too much about having the suit survive in a wide range of environments. The US military has different uniforms for arctic, jungle, desert, etc. environments, and not just in terms of what kinds of camouflage are used. I see no reason why different suits wouldn't be developed for different environments. What I described earlier would be a vacuum/general-purpose suit, but you'd probably have different needs in a gravity well, let alone one with atmosphere or, say, sulfuric acid continually raining from the sky.

Edit: spelling

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If you think armies will keep using living people as soldiers for long you must have really low expectations for the improvement of artificial intelligence.

Starships before a decent killer bot? I'd like to see that time line.

2010 - For some unknown reason the walking automatons that can already jump, run and follow simple orders are considered the peak of robotics and it's investigation is forbidden in all earth.

2350 - Finally the light speed barrier is broken and the first ships can travel to the stars.

2370 - The first interplanetary battles start and everybody tries to remember why they stopped making better and better robots, quite more prepared than people to survive space, 260 years before.

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Are these 'Space Marines' going to be doing any beach landings? If not, then they won't really be Marines will they? The Marines name will just be a vestige of their ancient roots as terrestrial maritime combatants. "Spacies" doesn't sound good. Cosmo-Commandos - Cosmandos - Cosmoteers - ...

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Original post by LessBread
Are these 'Space Marines' going to be doing any beach landings? If not, then they won't really be Marines will they? The Marines name will just be a vestige of their ancient roots as terrestrial maritime combatants. "Spacies" doesn't sound good. Cosmo-Commandos - Cosmandos - Cosmoteers - ...


Are the US Marines no long considered Marines once they are in the middle of a desert?

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Original post by tstrimp
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Original post by LessBread
Are these 'Space Marines' going to be doing any beach landings? If not, then they won't really be Marines will they? The Marines name will just be a vestige of their ancient roots as terrestrial maritime combatants. "Spacies" doesn't sound good. Cosmo-Commandos - Cosmandos - Cosmoteers - ...


Are the US Marines no long considered Marines once they are in the middle of a desert?


And appear to spend more time on land than ships, not to mention seem to be moved more by air than sea?

Marine (military): a soldier serving aboard a ship and/or whose primary function is to assault the land from the sea in amphibious warfare.

Is changing the location of their ships really that big of an issue? (if you look at the roots of 'amphibious' it works just as well for space and land as it does water and land.)

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Original post by LessBread
Are these 'Space Marines' going to be doing any beach landings? If not, then they won't really be Marines will they? The Marines name will just be a vestige of their ancient roots as terrestrial maritime combatants. "Spacies" doesn't sound good. Cosmo-Commandos - Cosmandos - Cosmoteers - ...


Are the US Marines no long considered Marines once they are in the middle of a desert?


No. If they never landed on a beach again, if they never served to defend ships at sea, then they would no longer be Marines. They would be something else with roots as terrestrial maritime combatants.

(if you look at the roots of 'amphibious' it works just as well for space and land as it does water and land.)

Then call them amphibian assault troops. Ask yourself where the word Marine comes from (hint: mar == sea) and then ask why you would call such assault troops Marines when they no longer have anything to do with the sea.

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