Case Study: Iterative Design

Sometimes I get inspired and sometimes that inspiration needs some work.

That’s what happened here when I saw part of Theo Stylianides’s AutoBots, Scattershot:

Scattershot from AutoBots by Theo Stylianides

The thought that come to mind: “Cool! Put a 5-inch naval gun on a truck! Suppress tanks with rapid fire, stability, and elevation, not to mention artillery support and modular design.”

The way I think is in pictures. Names? I ‘see’ it written. Someone says ‘cat’? Fuzzy cat face that is probably no feline I’ve ever seen. Truck with a cannon? A drawing:


Looking at this, we need to consider street fighting and firing the cannon perpendicular to the axis of the truck. If that cannon fires, the truck will tip over or at least be rocked mightily.

So what can we do? Start simply: Make it so all sides are equal, that the cannon’s force in any direction is supported by the vehicle.


That’s more like it!

Though exposed, the cannon’s firing and reloading mechanisms are automated (see earlier in the video above for how that is done). We can stick a binocular camera set on it and seat the driver and gunner within the vehicle’s hull here.


We’ll give it six-wheel drive for the streets and rubble present in urban fighting. On the back is a rack for additional ammo, fuel, or whatever we want. Ammunition is kept under the turret between the crew cabin and the engine at the rear of the vehicle. (A heavy engine’s weight can be made up for with thicker front armor to protect personnel.)

Objectively, this vehicle is pretty big as a target. Point-defense smoke for enemy sensors, lasers for missiles and ablative armor for kinetic rounds should do it. Let’s finally add a remote antipersonnel turret (yes, the lasers could selectively cook baddies too, but what do we do if it’s cloudy?):


Viola! We have a truck with a naval-grade, rapid-fire, ready-to-be-modularized cannon!

This shows how I value function over form despite function being inspired visually. Have a problem? Change or add to the design to fix it, regardless of aesthetic.

As a happy accident, the weapon platform can join a small, personal fleet of ground fighting vehicles that fit a sci-fi ‘block’ theme:


Thanks for getting this far. How do you get inspired? What do you do when that inspiration hits roadblocks? I’m always looking for ways to improve my problem-solving ability!

Published by

Jimmy Chattin

Processor of data, applier of patterns, maker of games and stories.

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