Oaksoul Elite wrote:
2) What the hell is wrong with non-magical force fields? It works in sci-fi all the time. And what is steampunk? Retro sci-fi. Hello? Mechs? Or The Time Machine? If it doesn't have technology we don't/can't have, it's not sci-fi. It's not steampunk.
It seems like something from Gundam or NGE, not an Steampunk creation. It seems too advanced for a society that still hasn't realized that mounting a city on wheels would be stabler, and more powerful than attaching it to a poorly walking rickety machine.
I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. From my experience, steampunk almost always has more advanced technology than we have today, and it's just the trappings that make it retro. Taking the example of more traditional Victorian era sci-fi steampunk, I don't think it would make much of a difference if we set it back then with more advanced technology or set in an alternate history future where cultural changes and a few scientific discoveries didn't happen, leaving the world more Victorian in feel.
As for a city on wheels being stabler, I'd like to offer a counterpoint. Due to all the craters created by the lunar rain, the terrain is often quite rough, and wheels wouldn't work so well - especially rough terrain is probably off-limits, which I'd call a bad thing, and I'd expect mid-roughness terrain to be a bumpier ride on wheels. I could be wrong, but it sounds plausible enough to be justified in sci-fi. Keep in mind, sci-fi =/= science, and if you limit yourself to stuff you've researched enough to be physically possible, the work may suffer. As another example: take the Mythbusters - they're always busting myths from Hollywood special effects. That doesn't make the movies that created the myth bad. Anyway, point is, a rougher ride is really bad for city-mechs - mechsickness is already a really bad thing - maybe wheels would have made them too difficult to live in?
I could see the wheel issue being worked around with treads or the like - after all, tanks use them and can operate in considerably un-smooth terrain. But there's a trade-off there - you're forced to put a lot more of your volume into the horizontal plane and not the vertical plane. Come to think of it, that might be the same issue for wheels - you can't build too high if you're going to be moving by rolling. And if you increase the horizontal component of volume, you're raising the surface area. Why were city-mechs made? Because of the lunar rain. A larger surface area means more of the city-mech is exposed to the ravages of the lunar rain. First off, there's now an increased chance of getting hit by a large and severely damaging meteor. The advantage of city-mechs is fitting a lot of people into a small surface area, making it hard to get hit. Even if we ignore this, more of the city-mech is going to be hit by the small stuff, increasing the maintenance cost.