Thursday, October 21, 2010

Functional, Practical, Fictional

Back when I created Alcovia as a colonial era country for my VSF games, I never worried too much about making their equipment feasible. Later when I brought them forward to a 1930s interbellum nation, this became a bit more important, but at that time they were still a bit tongue in cheek and the general wackiness of that time allowed for much more flexibility. Still, I tried to maintain some sense of continuity and rationale behind their equipment and troops. If Alcovia had a relationship with Russian then that would reflect in its hardware and what equipment that came from elsewhere would not do so out of thin air.

Developing a modern conflict seems to require a bit more of an adherence to reality, even if Alcovia is a fictional country set in a world that is somehow stretched to allow for the insertion of additional countries, rivers, and mountains that were never there before. This is especially true, once again, of the hardware of the nation. After all, it is the hardware that defines a country in times of war as much as ideology or uniform.

When developing the modern arsenal of Alcovia, I initially wanted to gear them up with backwards technologies. This seemed right ta first, but the more I read about other small nations in Europe, including former Soviet states, the more I realized that I had sold my little country short. It seems that in modern days, just about every nation is developing its own homegrown weapons systems and variants of long-time standards. So, why should Alcovia not be the same?

Here is the tricky part though. In developing unique technologies and variations on real world hardware, I was running the risk of drifting into the realm of science fiction. Alcovia could have some of its own goodies, but they should still make sense. No giving Alcovia personal gyrocopters or T-72s with freakin' lasers. Anything I made that was not already in the catalog of the world market had better be believable.

The best way that I could figure out to do this would be to look at things that other countries had done and simply copy them or the themes behind them. Older weapon systems upgraded to or near to the standards of more modern equipment was one way. Another would be to equip vehicles with alternate weaponry than that which it was intended. Borrowing design philosophies from other nations was also a way to add a bit of spice to Alcovia's armaments.

As is demonstrated in my post about Alcovian tanks, Alcovia shows a desire to modernize, though it is having trouble. The ability to bring T-55s into the late 20th century is no great feat when you consider how commonplace laser and IR technologies are. Allowing Alcovian T-72s to have ERA is not far fetched when every nation seems to have figured it out. In some cases I placed limitations on these modernizations, such as the reliability of the T-55s and the fact that Alcovian APFSDS rounds use tungsten instead of Depleted uranium. Alcovia has access to industrial metals but it does not have nuclear power or the money to buy quantities of spent uranium.

As you read through the articles on vehicles and equipment, I hope this will help you understand the reasoning behind some of my choices. However, because this blog is as much a brainstorming place as it is a chronicle of a gaming project, I do welcome feedback and input.

Take care,


No comments: