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Imperial / Alliance technology

Was the Alliance lagging behind the Empire in every field? I felt like the Alliance might have had better fighters and perhaps better computer knowledge. What do you think? FPA Forever 01:24, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Considering the Alliance essentially had to reboot society from a band of exiles on primitive spaceships with whatever information they could scavenge or remember, I'd say yes, the Alliance was behind. However, not to the point where it made any appreciable difference to for example the Battle of Dagon. Also Fezzan, founded with secret Terraist support, existed to prolong the conflict. This meant a flow of technology to the Alliance, such as hinted at in the Fleet File books where ships like Rio Grande have cannons built with technology imported from Fezzan. This kept any technology gap very narrow. In the timeline stuff I think there is also mention of a Goldenbaum royal that was sympathetic to the Alliance and was considering peace but he was assassinated, with implied Fezzan/Terraist involvement. Then of course there is the Fezzan funding of the Alliance economy by purchasing Alliance debt. All in all Fezzan was the key in preventing any gap from becoming too large. By the time of the main series, the only major technology the Empire really has an edge in is directional Seffle particles, and that was only due to Reinhard preventing the leakage of that information via Fezzan.
The Alliance did appear to be the first side to invent or at least widely use space fighters, and the first to make large dedicated carriers. The Alliance in general appears to get by with less while the Empire due to its greater size has more to spare on bells and whistles and a plethora of varied specialist designs, such as gunships. The ability of Alliance cruisers to run on a skeleton crew and the use of autopilot ships such as during the Battle of Shiva might seem to suggest greater automation capabilities, however I don't think it can be concluded that the Empire couldn't do this either, simply that the Empire has never been in such dire straits as to demand such inventiveness and jury-rigging. Essentially the story is about more or less equally matched sides, such that victory or defeat is via political, strategic, or tactical considerations instead of a technological wonder.Iracundus 14:44, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Which begs the question as to how the Alliance managed to field ships which equalled the Empire's by the time of the Battle of Dagon. My best bet would be a mix of hard work on the part of Alliance military designers and builders, and of stagnation on the part of the Empire. The Empire had had no real, organized resistance in nearly 300 years, while the Alliance knew they had one by default, and likely did their best to extrapolate how far the Empire's military tech would advance. Does that make sense? FPA Forever 16:12, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Although it is not said explicitly how as far as I know, some reasonable speculations might be possible. The original Alliance founders may have included military scientists (or descendants of people with such knowledge or databases). As already mentioned, the ossification and stagnation of the Empire after centuries of no serious large scale challenge. The designs of the Alliance ships parallel the Black Flag designs, meaning that design work might have been easier from a tried and true design instead of starting from scratch. Finally the no frills approach of the Alliance designs of emphasizing combat performance over crew comfort (and possibly cruising endurance), may have been a design sacrifice that allowed for the Alliance to maintain parity at Dagon. The Alliance ships could be viewed as being optimized for fighting a defensive war in their home territory, meaning that a network of friendly supply bases and supply convoys could be counted upon to be present.
In the end, the LOGH paradigm seems to show technological advancement as giving incremental change, rather than new stunning revolutionary developments, in keeping with its focus on the human characters and their actions. Everything from Seffle particles, to neutron beam cannons, to space fighters, to the new curved armor technology in the Brünhild, all may offer slightly new tricks but fundamentally the game is not really changed, while things like Iserlohn are really applications of large scale existing technology.
Still, the rise of the Alliance to be a credible opponent at Dagon is both a credit to the Alliance and also the hardest thing to explain given their founding population numbers and origins. Iracundus 16:54, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
As far as ship design went, we have to remember that they designed a viable escape ship with a hull made of dry ice, and then built 80 interstellar ships to escape Imperial territory. And then for half a century, they had to maintain those ships and make due with what could only be dwindling ressources. So I think the Exiles which first settled Heinessen had an unusually large and dedicated knowledge of space engineering. This likely helped them design ships and shipyards which allowed the Alliance to eventually field a powerful fleet at Dagon.
As for the population, well, we also have to take into account that the original settlers had been raised in a climate of fear. The eldest of the settlers had been imperial subjects and had a very goood idea what would happen if the fledgling Alliance was unprepared. So I'm thinking that they pulled out all the stops when it came to population growth. At least for the first two generations - after which the fear of immediate Imperial arrival would begin to settle down - I see a lot of artificial population growth added to families as large as possible. There'd been many in-vitros, thats for certain. And I don't see it encroaching on any civil rights, I see the Alliance populace voting for these measures and, when the fear would finally abate, voting them down.
We're talking about immense sacrifices for the first 50-60 years of Alliance history, which is why I don't see it past 60 years. By then, most surviving Generation 0 (Pre-Heinessen) citizens would be elderly and generally no longer in control of Alliance policy. Generations 1 and 2 would be in control, and would likely call for an end to the measures which certainly would severely strain Alliance ressources. The following Generations (I'd rate Lin Pao's generation as Generation 4) would thus have a stable society with a much larger population base than should have been. Its implied at several places in the novels that the early days of the Alliance were hopeful but also filled with many sacrifices. FPA Forever 18:00, 22 July 2012 (UTC)


Would it be worth it to add a laser section to this article, seeing as how the Alliance destroyers at least carry lasers for point-defense, rather than electron/neutron cannons? Fighters also seem to carry them. The one092001 17:47, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

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