Last year Arma 3 [official site] was in the process of getting AT-ATs, thanks to a Star Wars-themed mod. The mod was eventually abandoned by its creator, McRuppertle, but he’s uploaded footage from the first in-game test for people to peer at:
Now, obviously this year is going to involve an escalating level of Star Wars talk thanks to The Force Awakens and Battlefront so before we dive into that I’m just going to tell you what’s bothered me for decades about AT-ATs.
The name AT-AT stands for All Terrain Armored Transport. All terrain. The Empire needed something that would go across all manner of terrain without incident and their solution was to build a ponderous metal camel instead of a highly stable futuristic megatank.
Battlefront has it plodding through the forest and everyone’s all “Ooooh, an AT-AT” and I’m staring at fallen trees wondering if it’s just going to trip up or something.
Like, I get that it’s supposed to be able to crush stuff under its footpads and toe flaps and that they’re clanking round in extreme armored glee but it just seems like such a needlessly complex design, with so many bits that can go wrong. Also there will be elements of terrain which can’t be crushed. What about steep hills covered with unstable rocks? There are also a whole bunch of obvious weak points AND a ridiculously high centre of gravity which renders the entire thing stupidly unstable.
Luckily for the walker in McRuppertle’s video the terrain is flat and unproblematic. Unluckily there is a plane which is all too happy to demonstrate the high centre of gravity issue.