A Treatise on the Weaponization of Balloons

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petroglyph
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A Treatise on the Weaponization of Balloons

Postby petroglyph » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:17 pm

In the alternate universe of Hobbitopia, the Hobbits have established a vast empire in the face of an host of implaccable artificially intelligent foes. As part of their devious Sarumanesque plans for world domination, the Grand Imperial Mayorate of the Shire recruited Archmaester Petroglyphius (yeah, totally mixing canons here) to explore the possibilities of a bold new technological innovation: the hot air balloon.

Petroglyphius of course knew that balloons are generally useful for intelligence-gathering prior to airplanes, but their purpose becomes unclear after the latter's development. His Majesty the Mayor also informed him that in one of Great Invasions by the AIs, a balloon had inadvertently found itself lodged in the path of an enemy rifleman. Although the dirigible and its valiant crew were lost, it nonetheless provided surprising utility as an obstacle-style defensive unit.

The question put by the Mayor to Petroglyphius, then, was whether the balloon could be deployed in an offensive manner. The Archmaester believed it indeed could, but with an important twist: by deploying a truly ungodly amount of the dirigible into enemy territory for the purpose of fouling up a foe's internal workings. And so, "Operation Hot Air" was concocted.

hot-air-01.jpg


In its essential conceit, Operation Hot Air was very simple: build a small fleet of aircraft carriers, fill them with balloons, park them off the coast of the despised enemy, unleash and observe. Yet, this seemed too simple.

First, the carriers needed to be protected from attack, and hence should be escorted -- hence, a fleet of battleships and submarines would be deployed alongside them.

Second, Petroglyphius intuited that the manner in which the target would respond could yield important intelligence -- and so, perhaps the balloons should also be accompanied by a carrier of bombers, as well as a detachment of paratroopers stationed within reach of the ancient foe's territory, so as to immediately exploit the newly-gained insight. Perhaps against a human opponent, the balloons might even serve to distract from one's true purpose, so wistfully mused the Archmaester.

The German Palatines were chosen as the target, largely due to the resemblance of their ethnonym to a certain Star Wars Emperor. The former Thai capital, renamed Chokepoint, was chosen as the base for the paratroopers, due to its proximity to the Palpatines, er, the Palatines. For good measure, one paratrooper was promptly dropped behind enemy lines so as to test both the AI's response to an incursion and the reach of the drop. To the surprise of Petroglyphius, the "hard" AI seemed quite content with the intruder, raising not a finger against it. Possibly, the machine was an idiot.

And with that, the mission was, as it is said, a "go"!

hot-air-02.jpg


Hobbit satellites captured the glorious moment of the the Palatine countryside drenched in dirigibles. Truly, a legendary moment, in the Hobbitopian timeline or any other.

The Palatines response was swift, and as hoped, revelatory.

hot-air-03.jpg


Although at the expense of countless Hobbit lives and inflatable materials, it was discovered that the AI had been hiding a rather decent-sized fleet of cruisers in its ports. Why it had been hiding those cruisers rather than, say, deploying them to attack the carriers that had been so obviously parked off the coastline, is a mystery only those initiated into the Algorithmic Mysteries may discern. As far as Petroglyphius was concerned, it was now beyond a shadow of a doubt: the machine was indeed, truly, an idiot.

So, the Archmaester decided to make use of this idiocy. Having carefully surmised the Palatine capital, he ordered the bombers to strike! They made quick work of the city's defenders, and soon a legion of paratroopers were calling Speyer -- to be shortly rechristened Montgolfier, in honor of the first balloon pilots (their universe can be found by first taking 170 iterations from the central finite curve and then turning left).

hot-air-04.jpg


Civil war promptly engulfed the Palatines. His Majesty the Mayor hoped to find an ally in the new AI leader, Unassigned of the Lorrain. Alas, it too soon proved to be an idiot -- but that is a tale for another time.

What, then, was the final summation of this vast and mighty effort? Those present at the great meeting of Archmaester and Mayor in the Shire report their dialogue as the following:

"It was funny, in a trollish sort of way," the Archmaester stated with a shrug. "I think we really need to explore the concept of the zeppelin, of the hydrogen-fuelled Hindenburg variety. Something that can attack, but more to the point, an accidental bomb, if you will -- something that would make the enemy regret trying to pop it."

"Pop it?" asked the Mayor.

"Oh yes, sire. 'Pop it.'" whereupon Petroglyphius revealed from amidst his cloak a photograph from another universe, grinning most devilishly as he did so...

300px-Hindenburg_disaster.jpg
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XYZ
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Re: A Treatise on the Weaponization of Balloons

Postby XYZ » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:30 am

zeppelin


Well, I never finished this but you could use the Zeppelin I added a while ago. Same for Trident.
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petroglyph
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Re: A Treatise on the Weaponization of Balloons

Postby petroglyph » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:41 pm

XYZ wrote:Well, I never finished this but you could use the Zeppelin I added a while ago. Same for Trident.


Exciting! What was the ruleset to which this was going to be attached?

And what was the intended idea for the dragon?!

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XYZ
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Re: A Treatise on the Weaponization of Balloons

Postby XYZ » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:02 pm

Exciting! What was the ruleset to which this was going to be attached?


No particular ruleset but there are many reasons:

-certain units like the tank went through massive changes between WWI and nowadays; yet there is only one single type of tank...
-missing type of units like transport aircraft, ground attack aircraft etc.
-a more global representation of units like Samurai and Dromedariis instead of the usual European ones.

My hope was an integration into main stream freeciv so you could easily integrate the new units into your ruleset without manually having to add the graphics. However, I kept on adding units and I was pretty much on my own, although I even provided 3D Cimpletoon/blender graphics.

Thought the dragon could be used either in a fantasy mod or as a natural desaster happening like godzilla in SimCity or the Barbarians in Freeciv everyone has to fight.

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petroglyph
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Re: A Treatise on the Weaponization of Balloons

Postby petroglyph » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:17 pm

XYZ wrote:No particular ruleset ... My hope was an integration into main stream freeciv so you could easily integrate the new units into your ruleset without manually having to add the graphics.


Oh so these are just sprites and I would need to somehow create the actual unit? (I don't know how to do that, and no time/patience at the moment to read up on how.)

XYZ wrote:Thought the dragon could be used either in a fantasy mod or as a natural desaster happening like godzilla in SimCity or the Barbarians in Freeciv everyone has to fight.


Very cool! I always loved the Godzilla in SimCity, and I like your dragon!

Hehehehe check out the evolution of the SimCity monster in the "What's Different" section here, it has its own unique history: https://gamehistory.org/simcity/