Report #00035: Technological Advancements in Modern Azeroth

It’s been some time since I filed a report concerning my work as an engineer. Engineering and myself have always had a passionate love/hate relationship.  I suppose several years of near-crippling technophobia didn’t help that any. Being an engineer is something I do well, though, and I can’t help but look at a sturdy defense tower and think to myself, “Adding a device to make the cannons also work as high-speed personnel launchers would get those shaman to the other side of the battlefield much faster. A self-deploying parachute should make it safe enough, and if it also sent out a powerful electrostatic charge when it deployed, the shaman would land safely in the middle of stunned enemies, instead of folks swinging axes at them. Plenty of time for a drink before fighting.”

I suppose that’s the influence of the sort of engineering everyone seems to expect from us. Weapons. Transportation. Something with clear battlefield potential to turn the tide in our favor. It seems like everyone loves having gyrocopters and flying machines so that aerial assault isn’t limited to those of us who can work as one with a gryphon, but few take the time to think about what a great achievement it is simply to be able to make something constructed from several wagonloads of adamantite get up in the air in the first place! Khorium is not the easiest material to work with, but certain properties make it well-suited for a power core on a machine like that. Adamantite is heavy, and it only gets heavier when you’ve got enough of it to make something that big.

At least the folks flying them appreciate them. I sometimes wonder how many bloody gits drive those motorcycles around and think of it as nothing more than a way to show folks that going bald and having to take herbal supplements just to get out of bed every day doesn’t mean they’ve become any less fun-loving or wealthy.

I’m not opposed to weapons. I’d hate for anyone to think that. I’m still partial to the feel of a finely crafted short blade in my hand, but I’ve gotten used to running around making use of  whatever good sized stick I can find. For a while, it was a murloc trident. It’s not as though I go looking for folks to club in the head, anyhow, and if I’m pressed into a fight I’m much more likely to back up a bit and start shooting. And thank Gilneas for guns! Make no mistake, it’s the dwarves you can be thanking for the development of an accurate ranged weapon far superior to elf bows. And it’s the draenei who brought us a decent bow to use if you absolutely must. I’m not ashamed to use a crossbow. But dwarven gunsmiths haven’t changed the gun too much over the years. I understand why, of course… if the original basic design works so bloody well, why tinker it into something it doesn’t need to be? But that part of myself that wants to invent something new, whether it’s need or not, is just a wee bit giddy over seeing that some new gun designs showed up right about the same time our Gilnean allies did. I’m given to understand that the Gilneans take a certain pride in their hunting, and it shows in the weapons.

There’s more to engineering than weapons and transport vehicles, though. Some folks seem to be surprised that I’m a scholar, an explorer, and have thrown myself into being an archaeologist. What they don’t understand is that it’s all really one thing in my own mind… it’s all part of being a Quantum Mechanical Engineer. My work is about understanding not just how the universe works, but why it works that way. And then replicating it through carefully designed and expertly crafted machines. It was a Quantum Mechanical Engineer who designed the World Enlarger. It was a Quantum Mechanical Engineer who designed the Mechanical Sheep. It was someone working in Explosives Research an d Development who turned it into an Explosive Sheep. Same thing happened with the Mechanical Rabbits. They got tinkered into Explosive Decoys. I’m a wee bit surprised they didn’t bother with blowing up the Mechanical Squirrels.

I’m pleased to see that engineering advancements seem to be creating more of a place for those gadgets, gizmos, doohickeys, and wotchamadoogles that usually get quickly left behind or turned into a weapon. I don’t see any sign of weapons being left behind, and that’s all well and good, but some of us have needed a place for our work to be admired without being immediately blown up. Unless it was designed to be blown up. I’m glad to see the Dragonling Project has been revived. Sure, you can use a Dragonling as a weapon, but that’s more a side-effect of the creation than the purpose of it. It’d be bloody silly to build a mechanical dragon of any size that couldn’t fight its way out of a linen bag. I don’t know who thought up the Loot-a-Rang, but I giggle every time I thorw the thing! And it seems the goblin “engineers” have finally done something right… I’m only disappointed that we’re cooking with Goblin Barbecues instead of Dwarven Barbecues. But we dwarves have had our hands a bit full, whereas the goblins have just had their hands full of gold.

My personal project recently has been a bit of reverse engineering something that was created through reverse engineering. Which is to say, I suppose, that it’s finally been engineered the way it was intended. Reverse engineering the universe can’t be done all in one day. It requires working on it in bits and pieces. The Mechanical Rabbit was one of those pieces. Or maybe it was a bit. I don’t know… I wasn’t working on the development for that particular project. There doesn’t seem to be much interest in blowing them up anymore, so they’re now being converted back to something that’s harmless unless you stick your hand too close to the joint just when it kicks a foot. At worst, you might bleed a bit. It’ll wash off.

My only trouble was that the Explosive Decoys were built with fairly sensitive detonation triggers. Sure, they look convincing enough, but you need them to blow up fast when someone walks up because the ticking could give it away. I blew up about ten of them just trying to deactive them. Then another engineer suggested I try crafting some new ones without detonators, and perhaps upgrade the materials. It made sense enough. If the thing’s not going to be blowing up, it won’t hurt to give it some durability. I intended to give it a similar look, with the fur and all, but I can see why other engineers working on this haven’t been doing so. There’s something beautiful just about seeing the creature hop around, twitching its little wire whiskers, and those jeweled eyes sparkling. It’s nearly as much a living being as any flesh and blood creature. And isn’t that what the Titans did to all of Azeroth… engineered and tinkered things into being? So I just stuck a fluorescent bulb in for a tail and let the wee critter hop around.

I’m not so sure about the official designation for this, though. De-Weaponized Mechanical Companion? It lacks something. I’ve been thinking B.U.N.N.13 works better.

~ by Fizzy Stouthammer on 01/10/2011.

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