GDC 2011: EMP Expert Supports Realism of Homefront

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Dude, he wrote the absolute best Wing Commander Books back in the day. End Run, Fleet Action. It all played out like macho-right-wing bullshit, but they were still friggin awesome.

I'm glad to see commenters think like me. My title for this piece of news would be 'Writer claims Homefront is totes possible, people remain unconvinced.'

Jabberwock xeno:
I'm confused...

Are EMPs directly harmful to human life? IE: can they kill, regardless of what is going on around you?

What? No, EMPs are the opposite of that. They fry electronics, but other than that they wouldn't topple a brick. The 90% death rate he predicts comes out of the infrastructure collapse.

what's everyone worried about? We've got Dr. Manhattan, remember?

This is my take on the Homefront story. Is it plausible? Yes. Is it likely? Not at all.

And as for this guy claiming imminent catastrophe, it sounds like a lot of fear mongering to me. Sure, a large enough EMP strike would wreck all kinds of havoc, but who would fire it? In Homefront's scenario, North Korea is now large and powerful enough to launch a conventional land invasion, while America is suffering from major economic collapse, disease outbreak, and civil unrest.

If North Korea were to attempt such an attack today (assuming they can not only create an EMP device powerful enough to cause that kind of damage, can launch it into space without the rocket crashing over Japan, and missile defense systems not intercepting it), their asses would be grass in very short order. Whether it be from retaliatory missile strikes, invasion by American/South Korean forces, or perhaps both, they're looking at a textbook case of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Simply put, North Korea would be the only nation crazy enough to attempt an EMP attack on America, and not only do they not even have the ability to launch a satellite into orbit, I don't think even Kim Jong Il himself is that bonkers.

Edit: Also, I'm not inclined to call a guy who wrote a work of fiction about an EMP attack an "expert".

For people who are claiming that HF is a US nationalistic/patriotic work of propaganda, you should dig a little deeper. For example, after it became known that the US was EMPed by the GKR, race riots occurred against Korea-Americans and generally against anyone who looked Asian, a situation not unlike the days after 9/11. Not exactly one of proudest moments in American history. In fact, one of the main characters in HF is a Korean-American with scars from the race riots on his face. Not to mention the videos of an American resistance cell and a San Fransisco suicide bomber in the style of conventional jihadists... but apparently the videos have been taken down...

cheywoodward:
A nuclear strike on an American city would have a casualty rate far greater than the 90% Dr. Forstchen predicts would exist a year after an EMP strike mere hours after the nuclear missile hit said city.

Actually, no, a nuclear attack on a city wouldn't have anywhere near those level of casualties (Stuart Slade, one of the people whose jobs it is to decide where to initiate nuclear devices for the most damage (!) mentioned how a 1 megaton device being used on London would leave 85% of the people, and 90% of the property).

However, the EMP attack that kills 90% of the US's population in a year would only work if it can somehow blanket the entire US simultaneously. Hit one city with it, and it'd mess things up, but the rest of the US sends help before too many people die...I'd compare the situation to New Orleans after Katrina.

I think the funniest thing is that they show that Japan is the first country to be annexed. I had myself a little chuckle at that. Go after the south eastern islands, south of china? It'll be more like Vietnam, with talk of the US 'not belonging there' or 'sticking their nose into other countries' business. If it's Japan, one of our closest allies? No way. The war won't even get to American soil, Kim Jong Il will have lost right there.

The whole theory falls apart in the delivery. There's no feasible way to blanket the entire US with an EMP shock-wave at the same time.

And even if somehow their was; even in the crazy implausible scenario where they DO manage to EMP out the entire continental US... that's not all of us. Not by a long shot. We still have many many military bass in places like Japan, Europe, Hawaii, and others. And even those remote bases contain more than enough firepower to ensure the destruction of our enemies and return home to help stabilize the mainland

And, while yes, getting all of our infrastructure fried would be a mite inconvenient... how do you think it all got there in the first place? We built it. We would build it again. And for the stuff we didn't build, we'd just ask Japan to send us replacements ;)

I love crazy people. They make me chuckle. Every weapon made will be used ... I put a match on a hammer one time ... Firehammer! ... I don't think the army's going to take me up on the offer

I like that guy.
He knows how to market his game.
EA could take a few pointers from him.

You can all tell I'm being sarcastic right? Because if there's even one of you that doesn't think I'm being sarcastic I'm killing my self right now. Before the EMP goes off.

1. EMP weapons are far far away from being a reality.
2. Why do some Americans hate other nations so much ? And why the need to induce fear in their compatriots ? No trolling intended I just don`t get that. I`m from a eastern European country that has been through hell it`s entire history but we don`t have the same hate and fear inducing techniques. Where do those people draw this mentality from ?

wow somebody actually looked deep enough to get it this time

I'm not going to get into too much detail here, I just simply wanted to put this out there for those curious about the back story.

Here is the timeline pulled from the Homefront website. It helps fill in a lot of questions surrounding how all of this takes place.
http://www.homefront-game.com/#/timeline

yay for living in England i guess. Also really really people? some of you are acting like the cold war is still on

I was interested in this game, now I'm not. I respect developers taking on taboo and controversial subject matter, but if the message they're trying to get out is, "The only good communist is a DEAD COMMUNIST!", I will not indulge them with this jingoistic bullshit. Oddly enough, it was the two videos of the suicide bomber and the captured Korean soldier that had sparked my interest because it drew such obvious parallels to what has happen in the wars in the Middle East. It turns those wars on its ear and reverses the role of the Occupying Force that America so often finds itself and could change the way we Americans, who have never been through an occupation by a foreign military, look at war. But after watching this, I'm only filled with contempt and disgust.

As for Dr. Forstchen, I'll admit that I don't know enough about EMP's or electronics's to challenge his theories on a weaponize one. That said, his statement that all weapons are eventually used is just not true. There are lists of weapons that were developed, tested, and manufactured for war but were never actually used, like the Ekranoplan. People might say I'm picking apart words, but claiming to be such a "Military Historian" I would think he would choose his words a little more carefully. Otherwise, I assume he thinks people who play games aren't very bright. What really turned me off was his advocating the U.S. congress to impose a more aggressive foreign policy on a country we already put intense sanctions on to the point where the people living there have to eat grass to survive and have openly express going to war with said country.

This man may be an expert on a lot of things, but foreign policy is not one of them and making such claims without some hard facts is totally irresponsible. I'm no fan of the Korean Workers Party or the "Dear Leader"(who deserves a bullet in the brain), but using this or any other medium to entice fear and xenophobia is deplorable and boarders on propaganda. I only hope that Kaos studios puts little more class and consideration into their finale product and THQ won't bring out any more "experts" to promote their game.

lowkey_jotunn:
The whole theory falls apart in the delivery. There's no feasible way to blanket the entire US with an EMP shock-wave at the same time.

And even if somehow their was; even in the crazy implausible scenario where they DO manage to EMP out the entire continental US... that's not all of us. Not by a long shot. We still have many many military bass in places like Japan, Europe, Hawaii, and others. And even those remote bases contain more than enough firepower to ensure the destruction of our enemies and return home to help stabilize the mainland

And, while yes, getting all of our infrastructure fried would be a mite inconvenient... how do you think it all got there in the first place? We built it. We would build it again. And for the stuff we didn't build, we'd just ask Japan to send us replacements ;)

but.. least in the story i got the us pulled all its outside forces back into the country.
and some how i doubt you'll get a lot of help from japan after its been annexed by korea :p

Does scare mongering really have to be used to sell a video game? Isn't that why we have Politicians? They're the ones who are meant to make us shit scareless...

Btw, the sun will zap our electricity as well in a few years. Yes, the world seems grimmer than ever. Atleast we don't have the bubonic plague and life expecancy is the longest ever.

thaluikhain:

cheywoodward:
A nuclear strike on an American city would have a casualty rate far greater than the 90% Dr. Forstchen predicts would exist a year after an EMP strike mere hours after the nuclear missile hit said city.

Actually, no, a nuclear attack on a city wouldn't have anywhere near those level of casualties (Stuart Slade, one of the people whose jobs it is to decide where to initiate nuclear devices for the most damage (!) mentioned how a 1 megaton device being used on London would leave 85% of the people, and 90% of the property).

However, the EMP attack that kills 90% of the US's population in a year would only work if it can somehow blanket the entire US simultaneously. Hit one city with it, and it'd mess things up, but the rest of the US sends help before too many people die...I'd compare the situation to New Orleans after Katrina.

Is Mr. Slade talking about the immediate effect of the bomb or is he also including deaths from long term radiation poisoning?

cheywoodward:
Is Mr. Slade talking about the immediate effect of the bomb or is he also including deaths from long term radiation poisoning?

Immediate effects, I think, though apparently the most effective way of killing people immediately (initiating the device high above the ground) is also less effective at generating fallout.

lowkey_jotunn:
The whole theory falls apart in the delivery. There's no feasible way to blanket the entire US with an EMP shock-wave at the same time.

According to these scientist, a single large nuclear device detonated 400-500km above Kansas would cover all of CONUS, contiguous United States. So it's quite the opposite of 'not feasible'.

Slycne:
According to these scientist, a single large nuclear device detonated 400-500km above Kansas would cover all of CONUS, contiguous United States. So it's quite the opposite of 'not feasible'.

The plausibility of such a weapon still leaves the problem of delivery. I.E. how is an enemy going to launch an ICBM over Kansas without us noticing and stopping them.

According to the speaker in the video, this is a very real possibility in our lifetime. Considering NK can barely muster a missile with range to hit Japan, I'm going to file that claim under "doubtful". Their best public test (and it's kinda hard to hide a missile test that covered several hundred miles) is about 400 kilometers, just under 250 miles. Launching one ~7500 miles to central US? Not exactly an eminent threat

Maybe a long long time in the future, NK or some other enemy might have that kind of range, but by then, our defenses will have improved significantly as well. And of course, you've gotta know that anything you or I have thought of, the military has thought of, tested, revised and perfected ;)

Therumancer:

Blayze2k:
IT *WILL* HAPPEN AND EVERYONE WILL DIE!

-_-'

That's some pretty intense sensationalism, there. Not to mention propaganda.
Fear-based politics are disgusting.
And while the game seems like it could have an interesting premise, this crap makes me not want to buy it.

Well, as far as that part goes he's right to an extent. Truthfully the USA is not as assertive as it needs to be, in that we are allowing foreign space programs and such to go ahead unopposed, making it increasingly probable that nations like North Korea, China, and others are going to put things in space. We already have China using lasers to blind our spy satellites.

I'm sorry. Allowing foreign space programs? What exactly do you plan on doing? Invading every country with a space program? If you tried that, I'm quite certain you'd regret it very quickly.
That attitude of yours really does disgust me though. That americans eve think like that just make me dislike the country as a whole even more than I usually do.

Kalezian:
I refuse to live in a world where we are pushed back into 1950's-1970's nuclear weapon fears, and if that is fear-based politics, then we are officially screwed.

I'd like to see, 30 or 40 years after this "EMP hysteria" if someone develops a new "Fallout" with a post apocalyptic world with it's new Pip-boy and everything. "EMPtiness" would be an appropriate name.

OT: Heh, fear invoking prapaganda to sell a game?, I can't see this going well, another reason for me to not buy this game.

Feriluce:
That attitude of yours really does disgust me though. That americans eve think like that just make me dislike the country as a whole even more than I usually do.

Don't blame America, it's a great continent. Just Blame the US, not the continent.

What a lot of people don't seem to understand here is that Homefront takes place in a scenario where the U.S. has lost most of its wealth. America wouldn't have such a strong military, no bases around the world from which it could respond to hostility.

SupahGamuh:

Feriluce:
That attitude of yours really does disgust me though. That americans eve think like that just make me dislike the country as a whole even more than I usually do.

Don't blame America, it's a great continent. Just Blame the US, not the continent.

Why are you insulting such a massive country based on what some random person over the internet said? You don't see me saying that I hate all of Denmark or Mexico just because I met two of those country's citizens who generalize about 310,000,000 people.

Feriluce:

Therumancer:

Blayze2k:
IT *WILL* HAPPEN AND EVERYONE WILL DIE!

-_-'

That's some pretty intense sensationalism, there. Not to mention propaganda.
Fear-based politics are disgusting.
And while the game seems like it could have an interesting premise, this crap makes me not want to buy it.

Well, as far as that part goes he's right to an extent. Truthfully the USA is not as assertive as it needs to be, in that we are allowing foreign space programs and such to go ahead unopposed, making it increasingly probable that nations like North Korea, China, and others are going to put things in space. We already have China using lasers to blind our spy satellites.

I'm sorry. Allowing foreign space programs? What exactly do you plan on doing? Invading every country with a space program? If you tried that, I'm quite certain you'd regret it very quickly.
That attitude of yours really does disgust me though. That americans eve think like that just make me dislike the country as a whole even more than I usually do.

That's fine, your entitled to your opinion.

However, understand the context here. We're talking about a video game that is dealing with the possibility of satellite based EMP weapons. My point was that while the EMP portion of it isn't likely, the possibility for satellite based weapons being used on earth based targets has been a concern since The Cold War. Back then though we only had two groups capable of doing it, the USA and the USSR and we managed to keep each other in line since there were only two powers of note. Technology has progressed though and we're dealing with a lot of nations that are not culturally or ethically evolved enough for what they have, nations like North Korea are one of those nations, and the thing is that if Kim Jong Il *DID* gain the abillity to launch satellites he would probably try something very similar to what your seeing in this game, albiet he'd probably just put some nuclear missles on it as opposed to a fancy EMP weapon. Right now he's already trying to get to the point where he can hit Hawaii with missles so he can try and strongarm the US that way.

Now, I do understand that a lot of the world doesn't like the US, we're basically the "world police" and like cops we're never appreciated in doing our jobs and maintaining order until someone needs us, then the same people that do the complaining are first in line to come screaming to us for help. In a case like this with space programs, I don't think there is going to be much of a complaint about it, because anything that could be used on the US can be used on anyone else as well. I don't think ANYONE with half a brain thinks that guys like Kim Jong Il with orbital platforms is a good idea. Or at least none of the nations that really matter and are in a position to do anything about it do.

I was being brief in my post, and perhaps made it sound more inclusive than I was thinking. Nations like the UK, France, etc... placing satellites is fine, and that's been going on for a while. Russia has had one from pretty much the beginning, and was part of the initial balancing act. On the other hand nations like North Korea, China, Iran and others getting seriously into space is something that should be policed, and probably will be as they make further progress in that direction, the bulk of that policing like anything is going to fall to the US. The UN can't do it, because a lot of those nations are part of the UN and as such can stonewall any action there, which is why the UN is totally ineffective (ie the people it's supposed to have been policing are members).

I think you might be letting anti-US sentiment get ahead of you though. The bottom line is that games like "Homefront" in their premise show exactly why such policing is nessicary and why even going to war, or doing something like intercepting and destroying anything launched by certain nations, is a matter of nessecity. For something like "Homefront" to happen, people first have to be stupid enough to let a nation like North Korea develop a space program and launch a satellite entirely on their own.

For the most part second and third world nations *can* and do have a space prescence, but generally it happens by comissioning other nations to design, build, and launch the satellites so the civilized world knows what they can do before we put them up there. Some countries run a good business by doing that.

... and yes, I understand that everyone on the planet wants to see their people as having a hope for the future, and being part of space exploration when it happens. Unfortunatly reality is a bit differant, though I imagine the big steps will happen as a species after we eventually unify the planet into a single global unity. If that never happens, we're dead anyway, so it no longer matters.

Therumancer:

Feriluce:

Therumancer:

Well, as far as that part goes he's right to an extent. Truthfully the USA is not as assertive as it needs to be, in that we are allowing foreign space programs and such to go ahead unopposed, making it increasingly probable that nations like North Korea, China, and others are going to put things in space. We already have China using lasers to blind our spy satellites.

I'm sorry. Allowing foreign space programs? What exactly do you plan on doing? Invading every country with a space program? If you tried that, I'm quite certain you'd regret it very quickly.
That attitude of yours really does disgust me though. That americans eve think like that just make me dislike the country as a whole even more than I usually do.

Stuff

Wow. Just wow. If this is the thought process of the majority of US citizens, I think we should all welcome a scenario like the one displayed in homefront.

Edit: And now I cant get this song out of my head.

If all the electricity went off, that'd end America as we know it?!

JUST LIVE LIKE THE AMISH THEN YA BLOODY YANKS. No need to threaten other nations into submission. Just cut back your reliance on frickin' electricity! PROBLEM SOLVED.

Feriluce:

Therumancer:

Feriluce:

I'm sorry. Allowing foreign space programs? What exactly do you plan on doing? Invading every country with a space program? If you tried that, I'm quite certain you'd regret it very quickly.
That attitude of yours really does disgust me though. That americans eve think like that just make me dislike the country as a whole even more than I usually do.

Stuff

Wow. Just wow. If this is the thought process of the majority of US citizens, I think we should all welcome a scenario like the one displayed in homefront.

Edit: And now I cant get this song out of my head.

Oh your trolling, got it. :P

Though I admit it would be kind of amusing if North Korea did do that because with the US out of the way, the rest of the world would be in the same shape soon after (I mean if he's going after the US, and has that much power, why wouldn't he just use it on everyone else as well?).

I'm also kind of partial to this song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lAENxSMH6o&feature=fvst

Not the best version/performance of it though.

Therumancer:

Feriluce:

Therumancer:

Stuff

Wow. Just wow. If this is the thought process of the majority of US citizens, I think we should all welcome a scenario like the one displayed in homefront.

Edit: And now I cant get this song out of my head.

Oh your trolling, got it. :P

Not really to be quite honest. That song and the movie its from is satire, but it seems you take it seriously. If you seriously believe that america is supposed to be some kinda world police, then your world view clearly needs some heavy adjusting.

Feriluce:
[
Not really to be quite honest. That song and the movie its from is satire, but it seems you take it seriously. If you seriously believe that america is supposed to be some kinda world police, then your world view clearly needs some heavy adjusting.

Well, the song and the movie is satire, however it was a satire for greatly exagerrating the reality of the situation.

The bottom line is as I explained, nobody elected us to that role, but at the same time whenever something needs to be done, we're the people the world goes to. It's just that nobody wants to be on the receiving end of what amounts to a police action. Attitudes about America vary greatly depending on how much whatever we do interferes with their immediate interests.

That said, we're not likely to agree in a general sense, and I'm used to that. However I would be VERY surprised if you think that there is no problem with someone like Kim Jong Il running a space program so he could mount weapons like that. Especially seeing as those weapons could be used on anyone, not just us. Heck, he would probably get further targeting nations other than the US (subject of the video game aside) for the reasons I pointed out. If it isn't the US that stops it, who do you think is going to do so? Who else has the resources or the leadership to pull it off? To be honest if it did come to something like this, the US isn't likely to intervene alone, I think we'd be insturmental in it, but I think a lot of other nations would be right there behind us.

See, that's the problem with screaming about the whole "OMG, someone needs to stop America" thing and making jokes about the "Team America" movie. In the end I don't think many sane people want these little despot nations to be wielding that kind of power, and somebody has to stop them.

Let's say you got your dream, North Korea wipes out the USA with EMP and for some reason none of the things I mentioned happen in retaliation. Now what happens when Kim decides to come for YOUR country? The weapon is just as powerful and devestating to everyone else as it would be to us, and if it brings down the dominant global superpower, less powerful nations are going to have no chance at all. Is it not better to prevent a situation like that from ever arising in the first place?

Even if you really hate the USA, consider that even most of our critics tend to admit we're the lesser of evils. Despite poking our noses into things, we pretty much leave most nations to their own devices. I think anyone who thinks Kim Jong Il blanketing the world with EMP and taking over is an improvement, might want to reconsider their priorities a bit.

When it comes to comments about potentially invading countries to stop the development of things like satellites which can carry weapons, it's not like they are just going to stop because they are asked nicely. Again, what's the lesser of two evils, the invasions and limited scale conflicts, or someone wiping out the civilized world one region at a time with orbital death weapons?

Of course this is a purely academic arguement because nobody is really developing that kind of thing right now, the closest to becoming a real space-based threat is China and it remains to be seen what is going to happen on that front. I think an East Vs. West war is inevitable for a lot of reasons, and liable to break out for other reasons before anyone gets concerned about the possibility of orbital EMP weapons or people putting missles in orbit over each other's heads, with those things being developed as part of the war itself if at all.

gee ... considering that most of our electronic toys come from asia ,korea ,japan i seriously dout they would use an emp to destroyour toys ... it would be away to get us to buy new stuff

as for me , if it happened the labor rates i charge would be so high i'd survive ... yes i am a mech tech ,turning a wrench is my life and passion ... go learn a trade

HAHAHAHAHA, and people said North Korea wasn't crazy enough to do it:

http://www.newsroomamerica.com/story/107944.html

Just so that everybody can be clear on what an EMP actually does, im going to run over it.

An Electromagnetic pulse is a pulse of electromagnetic radiation, essentially just a pulse of light across a wide spectrum. Radio waves produced by an EMP induce a huge voltage in electronic devices, shorting them out. Sounds complex? Ever left a phone next to a speaker? Heard the sounds produces when the phone sends out a signal? Your phone has just induced a voltage in the speaker when it produced radiowaves. A quick burst of this, several million times more powerful, and you have a pretty good simulation of an EMP pulse.

While the Expert is right when he says that an EMP strike could devistate America, he conviniently forgot to mention something known as EM shielding. That thing that virtually all nuclear weapons are protected with. The thing that would allow America to keep all of its nuclear capabilities intact after an EMP strike.

So North Korea disables all of the civilian infrastructure of America, which if its invasion is successful it is going to have to replace anyway, but leaves Americas nuclear capabilities intact, allowing for massive retaliation. Realism ftw.

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