Monday, December 25, 2017

The physics (or lack there of) of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Hyperspace Kamikaze)

Let me first say, that I LOVED The Last Jedi. I think it is great. If you don't, then fine. But this is not the time or place to discuss whether the movie was good or not (though I probably have more posts coming on that). Now is the time how to, once more, explain how the latest movie RUINED ALL OF STAR WARS...

Needless to say, but... spoilers ahead!

A few Disclaimers
1- Let me reiterate, spoilers for the movie lie ahead, so if you haven't seen it, stop reading and come back after you do (go ahead and join us/follow us on facebook or twitter!)
2- The movie is AMAZING. Anytime here that I say that "Star Wars is ruined" I don't mean it literally.
3- I am not guaranteeing full accuracy of this. I do this just because I am really nerdy and think about these things... A lot of approximation and some rounding goes into this sort of math. I am not doing SCIENCE. I am writing a blog post. But I do try and make sure there is some "weight" to the numbers I do throw around.
4- And before you go "This guy doesn't know anything," or "I know physics better", I'll just say I have an MS in Applied Physics, so I have a decent grasp of this kind of stuff.

If you recall two years ago, I did a similar piece after the Force Awakens.

Let me say first you should probably read that, especially the part on the "Solo Maneuver". But in case you don't want to spend the time doing that I will sum it up here

1- Going Lightspeed through shields makes them useless
2- Even if "Hypserspace" allows you to not interact with matter, there has to be a transition speed between 0 and c (lightspeed).
3- Why slow back down? Why not just stay at .99c and run into things. Gives you LIGHT SPEED MISSILES.

So, I guess I predicted that didn't I... because that's EXACTLY what happened in Episode 8.

Vice Admiral Holdo takes her flagship, the Raddus (named after Admiral Raddus from Rogue One) and RAMS IT RIGHT INTO THE FIRST ORDER FLEET.
This. In space.
So four things to take away from this scene
1- This is the ONLY moment in Star Wars with NO SOUND. Everyone knows there is sound in Star Wars space! But seriously, its funny how this moment, despite every other flaw, actually does follow one real scientific truth. "In space, no one can hear you lightspeed kamikaze"

2- Why aren't lightspeed droid missiles a thing. SERIOUSLY. Even if they aren't that small. A-Wing sized I guess. That is big enough for a hyperdrive AND would be pretty devastating. Good enough to kill a Superstar Destroyer, good enough for me. Lets put it at  conservative 10 tons. That's as much as an F-16 fighter jet about, so seems good. So 9,200 kg ish.
Now I could go into alot more ballistics and impact physics. It's actually what I got my master's degree in. However, for simplicity here we are just going to go with the super simple equation for kinetic energy.
Next we establish what c is. Rounded up its about 300,000 km/s.

So going .99c puts us at 297,000 km/s.

Now do the math and we get 4.06 x 10^20 JOULES. Or 406 EXAJOULES. That's a lot of energy in that A-wing sized droid controlled missile.

So step that up to the Raddus. Extrapolating from some of the largest warships in the world, Nimitz Class aircraft carriers (100k tons-ish), I would put the 3500m long, 460m tall, 700m wide Raddus at about 1.5 x 10^11 kg. That's a lot of mass.

Rough math for its kinetic energy in the same situation, 6.6*10^27 joules. Or 6.6*10^15 terajoules. Or finally something manageable... 6,600 yottajoules. yodajoules? (1 yottajoule is 1 SEPTILLION joules).
The death star, well that operated at 225,000,000 yottajoules. So the Raddus ramming manuever is only 1/34,090th as powerful as the Death Star.

But that is still 17.36 TIMES MORE ENERGY THAN THE SUN PUTS OUT IN A SECOND. And we were AIMING IT AT A SHIP. For all its mass, the Supremacy is about one trillionth the mass of Alderann. So if Alderran was instantly obliterated by a weapon only 34,000 times more powerful, I think 1 trillionth the mass is no issue for instant obliteration of a weapon 1/34,090th the Death Star.

But even if it DID hit a planet, it would be a cataclsymic event.

To put this into perspective, a 1 megaton nuclear blast would be 418 Terajoules, making a 1 kiloton blast 4.18 terajoules. This would make the blast at Hiroshima about 63 Terajoules.

The A-wing hyperspace missile droid collision would be 6.4*10^6 times more powerful than Hiroshima. The Raddus is at 1.05*10^14 times more powerful than Hiroshima. A Turbolaser is suppossedly 200 gigatons around the time of the clone wars, so that makes it 8.36*10^19 joules, or 1.3*10^6 times more powerful than Hiroshima.

Directly comparing the two, the A-wing is 5 times more powerful than a Turbolaser and the Raddus is 7.9*10^7 times more powerful than a Turbolaser. And shields stop Turbolasers.

But for even more perspective, the Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was only 1x10^9 times more powerful than Hiroshima. That's right, an the Raddus running into Earth at 0.99c would be equivalent of 105,000 Dinosaur killing asteroids...
Really makes you wonder if the Death Star was necessary after all... (hint, it wasn't).

Now in both these cases, the A-Wing and the Raddus, imagine that much force being transferred in an infinitesimal moment. That's ALOT OF FORCE. Makes the lightside and the darkside insignificant in comparison.

It wouldn't just cut the ships in two. It would OBLITERATE THEM. Nothing would have survived on the supremacy. Sure there are other articles out there saying they aren't sure it would go down the way it did in the film. I am hear to tell you that it MOST CERTAINTY WOULD NOT. And not for the same reason as that other article. They have no clue about hypervelocity impacts. Because the real killer here is the shockwave propagation through the Supremacy. And with that big of an impact at those speeds, it would be tremendous. Nothing would have been left of either ship.

Though nothing would have happened to the surrounding star destroyers UNLESS spall shot off at near light speed into them.

Basically, Hyperspace Missiles are the single greatest weapon that can exist in Star Wars.

To reiterate from my last Star Wars phsyics post, they have the added benefit of
-You can strike from ANYWHERE IN THE GALAXY
-Your enemy cannot detect you
-You are moving too fast for anything to stop you even if it could
-There are no (known) defenses for this. Han proved shields don't work, so what else is there?

3- Objects in Hyperspace must not interact with mass, and only energy some how?

So its established in Episode 7 that to get through the shield (an energy field) Han has to be in hyperspace. And we know that gravitational fields can rip ships out of hyperspace or prevent them from jumping into it from back ground lore and the cartoons (Interdictor cruisers people).

And Holdo looks like she is only ACCELERATING to Hyperspace in The Last Jedi, and not yet at it (thus why I did everything above at 0.99c and not 1.0+).
Bust most importantly, even if my math above is just rough approximations and doesn't fully encapsulate the complexities of light speed collisions, I think it does well enough at demonstrating the energy involved is ENORMOUS.

So even if not specifically used militarily, why is this not used by Terrorists? Or more to the point... why does it never happen accidentally.

All it would take is a miscalculation or a computer error and BAM, Coruscant is gone as some lowly junk goods trader plows into the planet for coming out of hyperspace 2 seconds too late. But that never happens right? You never hear of the planets that are vaporized by accident.

To expect all calculations across the galaxy are always perfect to avoid such accidents is just too much to assume. It would require ultra precise numbers, and incredibly precise locations... in a Galaxy KNOWN to have uncharted star systems. Beyond that, it would require the impossibility of a perfect, synchronized time reference point. But we are talking about FTL and interstellar distances soooooo that can't happen. Relativity says that the clocks will never match.

Also, those computers would have to be BEASTLY. And based on what you SEE in Star Wars... they don't have computers that powerful. I mean, they have to access the Death Star plans on Scariff in Rogue One with an Analog System. The schematics for the Death Star have all the resolution of late 1970s computer graphics (lol).

So if these accidents COULD happen, they WOULD have happened, and you would see A LOT more precaution in regards to Space Flight, particularly around Coruscant in the prequels. The fact that you don't means it can't be a concern. Meaning that once at Hyperspeed, objects cease to interact with each other physically.

Its like it must be a parallel reality or something they travel through, where you can go faster than the speed of light and yet not have relativistic repercussions, maintaining a bubble of reality around your own vessel in order to return to the proper time, covering vast interstellar gulfs of space in a fraction of time it would actually take even at the speed of light...

Sound familiar?

Last take away from that scene
4- The tacticians and military scientists of the Star Wars universe are idiots for not realizing any of this.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Allies of Inconvenience- Episode 7: Codex Reviews and Dead Primarchs

I know we have lapsed a few months. But thats how life goes isn't it. To make up for it this episode has not 3, but 4 segments!

Happy holidays! Since it tis the season AND we have missed a few months, we bring you a longer episode with 4 segments rather than the normal 3! This month we cover our hobby progress per the norm as we work towards Adepticon 2018. Chris then dives into Codex Tyranids and Codex Craftworld Eldar, after which Jason and I discuss the Blood Angels and Dark Angels releases. Finally, we finish discussion with the status of all the Primarchs and the possibilities for their return to the game and universe. 

00:00 Intro
02:40 Hobby Progress
20:35 Codex Tyranids and Craftworlds discussion
44:40 Blood Angels and Dark Angels discussion1:16:42 Primarchs discussion

Songs and Soundclips
Blue Mark- Atlan
Urtag Kaap mere- Bugotak
Clip 1 - It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Clip 2 - Kingpin
Clip 4 - Microtouch Pro Laser System with Brett Favre (Aurlanauts Youtube)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Road to Adepticon 2018, The Necrons Part 1

Discordian here. I've been doing a lot of work on what I'd call a temporary army. It's something I plan to bring to Adepticon in 2018, but I don't plan to to really expand it past 1000-1500 points that I'm making.

As I've been working I've taken some pictures, and I figured I'd share.

Some Non-Traditional Immortals

Not a Fan of the the Goofy Necron Drivers

Really not a fan of those drivers

Everything ready for some primer

I'm also going to engrave my own bases

I've been in the building stages for a little while now, and I've finally gotten to a place were I felt comfortable thinking about starting to paint. When I make some progress there I plan to make a "Part 2".

I'm still missing a few planned things, but I'm holding off in case GW gives me a reason to buy something else before the Adepticon rules cut off.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sanguinius Returning: Possibilities and Plot Holes

Well, there is a lot of talk of my beloved Primarch, our most Glorious Angel Sanguinius, coming back. And while I am sure Hawk Boy would be an AMAZING MODEL and be SUPER AWESOME to play with, from a story perspective I am not so sure how I feel about it.
The first and biggest question surrounding his return is HOW? Well, turns out it would pretty much be the same as Guilliman.

See Sanguinius is in a sarcophagus in the Sepulchre of Heroes (thus why I am extra sensitive to this). Now Blood Angels sarcophagi are NOT what they are today, full of mummies and dead bodies in Egypt. These are slightly more akin to the tombs that the Vampires live in in the Underworld series, just not in the floor. They keep the occupants alive and can restore them and are similar to a dreadnought sarcophagus. Not only this, but they are also what Neophytes go into for a year to transform into battle brothers (which means there are likely BA recruits who were on Baal and missed its whole devastation. Funny extra thought). And Sanguinius' is the EXTRA SPECIAL Golden Sarcophagus, so who knows what that one can do.

But basically, it would boil down to "Sanguinius is in stasis, healing, in his Sarcohphogus. Lets open it up!" and then once they do, it would go something like this:
Point is, he MAY be in stasis. BIG BIG MAYBE, but possible none the less.

And lets just say for now he is, this opens a few cool doors
1- The visions Death Company get are actually psychic projections of the trapped primarch going mad.
2- If he comes out, he will be insane and we will have this Death Company-esque Lord of War choice for the game.
3- We'd likely get an answer to exactly WHAT the current Sanguinor is.
4- Probably give Cawl another chance to be AMAZING by bringing Sanguinius back to "Life" and making some really new spiffy amazing model for hawk boy.

"Cool, case closed" you may be saying. Well hold your horses there partner. This is where we start ripping open plot hole big enough to drive a land raider through.

So here is a list of all the holes opened with Sanguinius being in stasis and not DEAD.
1- Is Rogal Dorn really that stupid? Or is he just a massive MASSIVE dick.
So the story goes Sanguinius, the Emperor and Rogal Dorn all teleported onto Horus' flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, during the end stage of the Siege of Terra. Once onboard Sanguinius found Horus, fought him and was killed. Then Big E found them both, fought Horus, killed Horus and was mortally wounded in turn. Finally Rogal Dorn walked in, said "Oh crap," and then took Big E and Sanguinius off the ship.
Now Rogal KNEW the Emperor was still alive. And he KNEW Sanguinius was dead. Not in stasis. Not dying. D. E. A. D.
A Primarch should definitely be able to identify these things through their preternatural abilities (including PSYCHIC POWERS) and just general "I'm better than you at everything"-ness.
SO if Sanguinius WAS alive, Rogal should have, beyond a shadow of a doubt, been able to tell. HE WOULD HAVE KNOWN. Which means if he said nothing and just dumped the body off with the 9th Legion, then he is at best the galaxy's biggest jerk and at worst, a self centered traitor eliminating Sanguinius as competition.

2- Is every BA Librarian stupid, blind or inept? Psychic powers people. From the moment he fell all the way until M41, how would no one have psychically sensed that Sanguinius was alive? Mephiston is one of the greatest psykers of the 41st millennium.  He should at least be able to tell.  But in 10,000 years, NO ONE has said "Hey... wait a MINUTE," and figurered out that Sanguinius was in stasis and not dead and that the visions the DC experience or the noises the Sanguinary Guard hear when guarding his tomb  ARE ACTUAL REAL PSYCHIC PROJECTIONS OF SANGUINIUS.
 3- His psychic death scream. Supposedly this is the catalyst for the flaw. Every son was triggered the moment he died, and now that curse lingers in their blood FOREVER.
But the key thing here is it was a DEATH scream that did this. Not a "Mortally Wounded" scream or "Going into coma" scream. No. It was a DEATH SCREAM. Without it, what causes the flaw? I think the Black Rage/DC fluff would need to be reworked, and that really isn't an option is it....

More important than the plot holes though are the implications.

From a game persepective, we have potential Primarch Parity right now.
Horus and Curze are dead as can be.
So are Ferrus Manus and Sanguinius.
Now there is no way the first 3 are coming back. They for sure are dead, with no bodies left either. So that leaves 2 Traitor and 2 Loyalist gone and dead. Eventually, if they all get released, you would have seven loyalists and seven traitors. If you bring back one on one side, you HAVE to do it for the other for the sake of balanced numbers. And that would lead to some pretty awkward discussion surrounding the FOR SURE dead primarchs.

If Sanguinius lived, it would invalidate his visions of his own death against Horus,
It would largely invalidate the nobility of his Sacrifice. He is such a great hero because HE KNEW he was going to die, and faced Horus all the same. This sacrifice is a driving theme of the Blood Angels. This doomed nobility. To retcon the death would be to diminish the character of the legion.
It would also, diminish the current Heroes IMO. I've talked about this before, so I won't rehash too much, but really it comes down to lessening the achievements of mortals because gods now walk amongst them. What can they achieve when a Primarch can do so much more?

These last two points above all else, despite how amazing the model would be, are why I want to let the dead lie and leave Sanguinius in his tomb.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

5 Things I Hate/Love About Eldar, 8th Edition

Discordian here again, this time with my love and hate relationship with Alderannians... Ailerons.... screw it, Eldar in 8th edition thus far!

Here is the Love
1. Craftworlds being a thing
I've been playing long enough to remember that Craftworlds used to have rules.

Other than Iyanden jumping out of nowhere every once and awhile, its been a long time since Alaitoc, Biel-Tan, Saim-Hann, and Ulthwe actually had a table-top presence.

And its just such a really simple addition that helps create more unique armies. It also gives me hope Dark Eldar wont be as boring as they've been.

2. Points Changes/Rules Tweaks 
Several units got some really cool rules changes. Fire Prisms are actually a legitimate option.

The rules issues that plagued Shinning Spears had already disappeared with the edition change, but the points drop really makes them a viable unit. Same thing with most of the Aspect warriors.

Vypers gaining "Bike" and the Saim-Hann attribute was a real nice touch.

Crimson Hunters might be able to compete with Hemlocks! It just takes being 60 points Cheaper!

3. Relics/Warlord Traits
A big issue I had with 7th was that the war-gear and warlord traits were kind of useless.

My initial impressions are that they've both changed for the better, and have a variety of usable options.

Didn't hurt how relics are taken now and that you get to pick your traits.
4. Wraithlords
I can't tell you how much it pissed me off that my Wraithlords were getting wounded by bolters on 5+s. I had finally decided to start painting/playing all of my lords at the end of 7th and instantly that army was a more of a joke then it was.

I didn't really care about losing Soul-burst with them. Soul bursting is for chumps... or people desperately trying to make shitty models partially usable. But losing T8 was just mean, especially with he new wounding chart

Going back up to T8 and the Iyanden trait is almost tricking me into playing them again.

5. Breaking out of the Ynnari Shadow
This one was really important.

GW needed to put in places a reason for all Eldar armies to not be Ynnari, and thankfully they did that through craftworld rules.

Also nerfing Ynnari didn't hurt either.

Okay Now for the Hate!

1. Some Craftworlds kind of fell short
I'm not going to point a finger at the offender, but clearly someone is going to be more popular then the others.

I wished Ulthwe had gotten something that benefited psykers, that thing they are known for. +1 Casting/Denying wouldn't have been to much to ask.

Saim-Hann, would have been a great craftworld to give the ability to run after shooting. But that might end up being the thing corsairs do.

Biel-Tann, patron saint of rending bolters doesn't do to much to make aspects necessary
2. Wraithknight 
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Losing FNP and increasing the amount of weapons that can hurt them really did a lot to balance the Wraithknight. So much so, they shouldn't have increased as much as they did in the Index.

They did need a increase. But I didn't see a single one during the Nova GT, and I really expected GW to lower the cost with the new codex.

3. Points Reductions
Dark reapers needed a change. Of all the things I expected to happen, just having a points drop wasn't one of them. Having un-modifiable accuracy and such high ranged damage output, makes them such a joke in Ynnari 8th. I would have been okay with a points drop if something was diminished, but that just didn't happen.

The drops in Rangers and Dire Avengers was a bit to much. Especially considering they are two of  most benefiting units with the craftworld changes.

Hemlocks also dropped 10 points for some reason. Neat.
4. Wave Serpents
Wave Serpents are still the Main Battle Tank/Transport of choice for Eldar. They really shouldn't be competing with Fireprisms and Falcons, but they still are.

It has been worse but its still not better. Being able to just cause mortal wounds is really powerful, and now there is a stratagem that lets them keep doing it.

The tanks did come down in points, and fire prisms did get a some love. But Falcons and Weavers are still just floating in the why bother category.

5. Strategems
I think this is going to be more of just a pet peeve for me then anything. I hate the layout of stratagems in books.

If I wanted to look at cards I'd look at cards. I've started doing/adding things like this to my printed out army lists.

Mostly just so I know when/where things exist as options.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The New Vehicle Design Rules: A Gee Dub Flub

Well the Chapter Approved is here. By and large I like it I suppose. Wish it had Custodes stuff, disagree with some of their points decisions, etc. etc.

But there is one thing in there that had SOOOOOOOOO much potential and it was ultimately squandered

The new Land Raider Vehicle Design Rules.
I am not even upset that they ONLY did this for Land Raiders. I understand. There are just to many tanks out there to truly capture. Why not stick with something iconic with a lot of upgradability from a modeling perspective. Thats fine.

The problem isn't that it was limited to the Land Raider. Its the limitations they put ON said land raider. GW just had so much potential with these rules and a good deal of hype. The original ones even allowed you to recreate the infamous Deoderant Stick Grav Tank. The idea is just AWESOME. However, this iteration is just lacking effort in several areas...
I am glad they at least included Chaos Space Marines in the potential benefactors of these rules, but I think they still messed up. There are 4 other factions I think that SHOULD have had options present. Lets discuss them.

  • GREY KNIGHTS- How can you give this to other Astartes and NOT THEM. Where are the options for a GK LR with psycannons and inferno cannons etc. etc.
  • CUSTODES- Man are the boys in gold jonesing for options. This could have helped them if rules for Venerable were included. 
  • INQUISITION- There are numerous inquisitors that have LRs in the fluff and it is something they have had in the past. Why not give them some access to this. If anyone will have a custom raider, its and Inquisitor.
  • ORKS- SUCH AN OPPORTUNITY WASTED FOR LOOTIN'. My goodness, how awesome would that have been. Orks already lost their Looted Leman Russ in the transition to 8th.
WHY THE LIMITATIONS? Such a disappointment keeping me from making turly awesome unique conversions. I don't get it, you ask about conversions in your big survey, make VDR rules to encourage conversions, and then write rules that totally box in that creative potential. So many things should have been in here. Here are some Imperial options I can think of off the tap of my head:
-Plasma Cannons
-Conversion Beamers
-Quad Lasers
-Quad Heavy Bolters
-Thunderfire Cannons
-Single Assault Cannon
-Inferno Cannons
-Helios launchers
-Whirlwind Launchers
-Typhoon Launchers
-Demolisher Cannons

I mean, someone made this on their own!
I am sure the list could get bigger, but I think you get the idea. More options were needed. This really really breaks the section in the book for me. It is either lazy or reeks of marketing interjection into rules design. Just because only certain things are available in certain boxes, why limit the creativity of your customer?

These probably would have been best to be open play only, but instead of rubber stamping it in the book (like it is), a general statement up top would have been nice.  Basically say "These rules are for casual, creative fun for you to implement in all typse of play". Don't worry about making sure they aren't in tournaments. TOs would take care of that.
Lastly I also think all the choices should have impacted Power Level instead of a blanket 30. Make a baseline and then each weapon would add or subtract from that to help provide a little more resolution and balance for player to figure out how to use them in their game.

Ultimately, these rules are asking us to buy and already $80 model and ADD TO IT. They really should be letting the player have more creativity than they did. It just seems rushed and kinda lacking as is... hopefully they flesh it out better in in future...