Realism in Transformers: Speech and Shooting

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Goaliebot, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. Goaliebot

    Goaliebot All Makes and Models

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    So, I've been thinking recently about what "alien robots in disguise" would be like in more realistic terms than we've seen in the cartoons. Don't get me wrong, I know they had to have speaking and poor aim in the cartoons or they'd be unwatchable, but its a fun discussion to have anyway I think.

    I think we can accept easily that the main concept of TF's is solid - alien robots end up fighting on earth, but need to avoid being constantly shot at by humans (humanity having some weapons capable of causing real damage - large missles and cannons). So they can disguise themselves and hide when needed. Mobility is needed, so cars and jets and such make sense.

    Two things that would not make sense in reality are a) that they verbally speak to each other and b) that they have problems actually hitting each other in firefights as depicted.

    A] Verbal Speech

    The first problem is that they speak to each other verbally - i.e. creating soundwaves in the air. This would involve voice encoders and recievers/decoders, which are well within reality and in fact they would need to have in order to communicate with humans. So *having* spoken voices and using them to talk to humans makes sense. But using them to talk to other TF's does not, including the communicators on Prime's arms and such. Robots would surely communicate digitally on massively highspeed, encrypted wireless long range networks. Data, such as enemy movements and strategy would be transmitted and recieved in nanoseconds across vast distances, and would have no verbalization. They would only activate vocal encoders to communicate with humans or any other lifeform that relies on audible noise for communication. Having massive data libraries would also mean they could audibly mimic and decode animal noises if that were useful to them in a situation (causing a stampede, detecting bird warnings).
    Now, wireless data networks would mean vulnerability to hacking by Decepticons, I imagine Soundwave would be a pro at this, but transmission range could be altered to reduce interception and insanely complex encryptions would be necessary. Still, there would be a constant secondary warfare of data and network hacking and counter security going on that would be pretty cool.

    Summary: Transformers should never *talk* to each other audibly, only to humans. TF to TF communication would be over wireless networking.

    Afterthought: Since verbal speech would not be thier normal form of conversation between each other, likely the TF's would quickly scan frequencies on a planet to find out how to communicate with the dominant lifeforms. Likely they would pickup radio/TV/phone signals quickly and thus it is quite possible they'd adapt different accents depending on what they learned from.


    B] Shooting / Aiming

    Highly advanced warfare robots would have perfect or near perfect aim. Within 1 to 2 shots they'd be able to nail anything stationary or moving in a predictable pattern - no question. Therefore the only defense against enemy TF shots would be either 1) avoid or 2) withstand. The ability to avoid would rely on very high maneuverability coupled with advanced avoidance programming. Basically the software and computational power to counter-predict and avoid the incredibly precise shooting of the enemy. This would spur the enemy on to develop better and better aiming and prediction algorithms and thus the "avoiders" would also constantly need to improve avoidance capabilities. But such a firefight would look like a high speed ballet, with neither TF stopping moving for an instant and both appearing to shoot and move randomly to an onlooker. Option 2 - withstand - would depend on the TF having one of 2 types of armour - physical or energy. So this other class of TF would generally be much bigger and slower, either due to significant physical armour plating or to increased energy storage and output to fuel "shields" of some sort.

    Summary: Thus we end up with 2 primary classes of TF's - the smaller and highly mobile ones that dodge and the slow, larger ones that take the fire. We would not see the two sides standing basically still firing at each other and missing as in the cartooons. TF's would only ever miss the dodging TF's, and not always at that.


    Again, I know why the cartoons talk (otherwise most of the show is silent!) and why they shoot like Stormtroopers (so that they can have battles with almost no losses and the appearance of vulnerability). But nonetheless, I think its an interesting conversation to have. Maybe we'll see these things addressed in this summer's movie?
     
  2. ILoveDinobot

    ILoveDinobot Arise Rodimus Prime

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    If they had near perfect aim the show would have ended with the first episode. lol we just have to assume that it's impossible to lock on to a moving target.
     
  3. Locke

    Locke Team Vanguard

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    I think verbal speech is more 'realistic' with the Quintesson origin than the Primus origin.

    If they were originally built as products, it's entirely plausible that they would the ability to communicate in a form that works for a given customer. It's even conceivable that they talk to each other because that is more pleasing to the customer. Imagine being surrounded by robots communicating silently all the time; robots might be more acceptable if they communicate to each other in a way familiar to their owners.

    If this is accepted, then the only leap (granted, it's a big one) is that an advanced species with the means to purchase transformers communicates in a way like humans.

    Additionally, a consumer product origin explains why they have cockpits and crew compartments, even while on Cybertron; these might be vestigal remnants of their first function. Unfortunately, all of this falls apart if they were built by Primus solely to combat Unicron.
     
  4. Rodimus Major

    Rodimus Major Custom User Title

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    I know that in the G1 Marvel comic, the autobots communicated with an "inter-Autobot radio" when out in disguise, so their conversations wouldnt be heard by humans or others. They also seemed to have used such a device during the fight between Blaster and Grimnlock on the moon. I the animated show, one must assume they communicated that way while in the vacuum of space (such as when Megatron / Galvatron talked to Unicron) but it's audible merely for the audience's sake.
    As for sharpshooting skills, maybe there's some kind of inherent programming flaw that prohibits that, which is why they ended up needing living guns (Targetmasters). Perhaps waaaay back in their history, they were programmed by Imperial Stormtroopers.
     
  5. Aaron

    Aaron Master of Crystalocution Moderator Content Contributor

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    I remember seeing a similar thread a long time ago dealing with the speech aspect. Someone along the way put forward that speech could be a preferred form of communication because sound waves are harder to eavesdrop/hijack than electronic communication. Sure if you're in the room with someone that's speaking you'll be overheard, but a room or two away and much speech becomes unintelligible. However a broadcast electronic signal propagates much easier, and it is also easier to take said signal, modify it, and rebroadcast it than it would be to take that sound, come up with an alternate sound, and transmit your sound as to obscure the original.

    All handy features when you're dealing with an enemy that is capable of shape changing.
     
  6. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    You forget that these are not 'manufactured' robots. They are not built with the best intensions of war in mind. They speek to each other because it's useful in conversations and such, to add enphasis and tone.

    As for aim, again they're not built, they are created. I keep hearing this "they are highly sophisticated alien battle machines" statment, and it's garbage. No creature is born perfect, why should Transformers be?

    Also, if they are designed to shoot perfect, they they obviously are designed to evade.
     
  7. SharkyMcShark

    SharkyMcShark Hi. I'm better than you

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    The only plausible reason I can think why they'd a) miss so often and b) use audible language when talking to one another is that they are some what organic (and therefore fallible to some degree) in background. I know this isnt the case and doesnt fit into any of the continuities, but its the only theory that seems to make sense.
     
  8. Rodimus Major

    Rodimus Major Custom User Title

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    Actually, now that I think about it, they actually hit their target quite regularly, only it had no real effect until TFTM.
     
  9. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    QFT! I was going to say basically the same thing. Remember that Transformers are not machines in the traditional sense... at least no more than humans are organic machines. TFs have certain abilities that exceed normal human limits... they have an enormous range for modification and "biodiversity", and their "biology" allows them to interact with unliving machines on a much more natural level. However, they have emotions and hopes and dreams and all that stuff... they aren't perfect pre-programmed tools. TFs use unliving technology for the same reasons humans do... because specialized machines do the job better.

    There are exceptions to this rule... Prowl for example, has a highly complex computer-like brain that can intuit multiple probabilities almost instantly (not that he ever used this on the cartoon)... however this IS an exception amongst his brethren, not unlike math prodigies among humans.

    smog
     
  10. Spekkio

    Spekkio Master of War

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    Something that may be worth remembering: when G1 was first dreamt up, computers and computing were nowhere near as sophisticated as they are now. Watch an episode of the original Star Trek as another example, where the Enterprise's crew controls the ship using dials and switches, they don't have a lot of monitors, and all of their data is stored on tapes.

    Of course, knowing what we know now about computers, and considering that androids (which is what Transformers obviously are - albeit sapient ones), the original poster makes good points. However, others in the thread have made other good points, too. Vocal and other nonverbal communications (hand gestures, facial expressions, etc) have advantages that wireless communications (which, we have to assume in the case of androids, would be text) does not.

    As for weapons fire - computer-targeting, while an improvement over manual targeting, isn't perfect. Modern Terran technology has proven that - aiming for one building and hitting another. And in addition to energy shielding and dodging, there's also the possibility of other countermeasures - flak cannons, internal repair/diagnostic systems, system re-routing....

    Oh, and I just wanted to make a correction: not all autistic humans have the good fortune of being "idiot savants" as in the film Rain Man. Sad, but true.
     
  11. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    The aiming could be explained by the development of scrambler technology. They've been at war for a long time, so they'd probably have come up with all kinds of gizmos to interfere with automatic lock on aiming and the like, leaving the only option as the old fashioned way.

    I suppose you could also explain the fatality rate of successful hits this way. Transformers in flashbacks seem to die really easily, especially in War Dawn's flashback, while later on TFs seem to be able to take a few hits. I'm thinking perhaps somewhere along the way, a type of body level personal shielding was developed - something that extends across the outer body of a TF and disperses any energy weapon impact across the body of the TF who is attacked, minimising damage. By the movie, you could say that the Decepticons had developed something to negate this on the Autobots, which the Autobots overcame in time for season 3. These surface level shields aren't capable of resisting repeated or prolonged fire though, I'd imagine. A bit like how Superman's invulnerability was meant to have broken down during his fight with Doomsday - it couldn't stand up to the prolonged nature of the fight.

    Beast Wars was pretty good on things like this. It didn't cover all the bases, but a lot of stuff got covered pretty well.
     
  12. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    You're right... I should have written that up as "autistic math prodigies". I know that autism is a disability and not an automatic marker for genius. It occurred to me that I could rephrase it, but I was lazy and told myself "ah, they'll know what I mean". My bad. Post edited.

    In context though, I'll observe that Prowl does have some autistic-like traits, where not only does he have a preternatural focus, but if anything confounds his logic, he just shuts down mentally. Again, this is based on his tech specs... I've never seen them play this aspect of Prowl in the comics or cartoon.

    smog
     
  13. Driftbot

    Driftbot Well-Known Member

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    well, because...

    god created man...

    and well, man created, um, the transformers.

    so...

    in a way, transformers... are like a gift from GOD!
     
  14. Locke

    Locke Team Vanguard

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    With regards to aiming, I think the bigger question is why aren't the Decepticons much more effective than the Autobots at combat? In most, if not all, the origin stories, the Autobots started out peaceful and the Decepticons were drawn from the best warriors. If this were actually the case, I would expect the Autobots to significantly outnumber the Decepticons but to lose many soldiers for each Decepticon they managed to bring down.

    A possible explanation is that the Autobots have adapted more than the Decepticons after many years of warfare. If the Decepticons began as state of the art, they might not have had as much room to progress as the Autobots, and now they are both roughly state of the art.
     
  15. Maximo Prime

    Maximo Prime Bassist of Ill Repute

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    i just want to throw in - someone made the distinction between robot and mechanical alien (though I don't think it was phrased that way)...this would explain their non-computer, non-perfect ways. (i also just had to explain this to my fiancee...) They are not robots in the Earthen sense; they are mechanical aliens. and on their homeworld, merely mechanical beings.
     
  16. Driftbot

    Driftbot Well-Known Member

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    and to add to that, i dont think verison was available on cybertron.

    haha
    makes for a funny mental image though.

    Wheeljack: Can you hear me now?.. Good.
     

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