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Square-Cube law and Birds

Wokistan

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Good old square-cube law. The classic method of multiplying your weight by eight and only doubling sizes. Clothing stores and doctors hate him. Never get a gastric bypass again with this one simple trick.

In all seriousness, there's been a bit of a kerfuffle regarding a calc recently with this, and I'd like to set a standard up.

As an overview, there's a huge birdlike creature. People calculated it's mass through square cube, I said that's bad, a circular argument ensued, so we got this. Why did I say it's bad?

A bird is reliant on its surface area to mass ratio to fly. They have hollow bones, their wings provide a lot of surface area, and they have strong chest muscles for their thrust. As we know from square-cube, your mass ramps up way faster than your surface area does. These birds should quickly lose their ability to fly, but don't. Instead, they function as normal, just upscaled a bunch. Because of this, I made the judgement that the birds are clearly not following the square-cube law, and people should not make calculations based around square-cube to get their mass. It makes absolutely no sense to me to unironically say "Yes, I agree this principle is violated and therefore not in effect in this scenario. To get an AP value, I will take this principle I just agreed does not apply here and calculate as though it does apply." That is the most direct contradiction possible. Square cube just shouldn't be defaulted to with birds, because they'd all have this issue.

Now, as for some counters that were given:

Enhanced strength should allow for the birds to fly despite their greater mass, and we already assume enhanced statistics for these characters due to surviving their own mass.

It's true that if you were strong enough you could just generate a massive amount of thrust per flap to stay in the air, but that would result in a much different style of flight than what's shown. The specific example that lead to this thread has the birds gliding. They're not even flapping to stay flying, that does not work. It is still a contradiction of square cube to not depict them flying in a way that would actually work.


We don't account for this elsewhere.

I'd like a source on that. Biology was brought up as an issue, but that can also be worked around with super stats. This can't really be. Even if it does turn out that Square-Cube is just generally not possible to use uncontradicted, shouldn't we just not use it in a place we know it's wrong as opposed to inventing literal falsehoods to support ratings?

This is just a suspension of disbelief thing, fiction has giant flyers all the time.

This one is just a misunderstanding of my argument. I'm not criticizing the example of giant flyers on a plot level, that would be needlessly pedantic and not really of note to the actual quality of a product itself. I'm simply stating we should acknowledge that this is a commonly ignored part of fiction, and as such we shouldn't be calculating shit as though it can be constantly assumed to apply. For an appeal to site policy:
  • We aren't allowed to calc stack, but calc stacking would be totally fine if we could assume physics were consistent. It's totally necessary for the real world, once you can control for margins of error.
  • We aren't allowed to get speed through AP or vice versa, because fiction often separates these in unrealistic fashion. A punch going too slow to be a certain tier might just be a certain tier, so we can't make calcs with the assumption that the physics behind this are in place.
  • We separate lifting strength from the general tier. There is a way to convert this pretty well, though it'll vary on the person, but it's complicated and not supported by fiction so we don't.
  • We don't calculate FTL KE despite verses having FTL characters attack with KE. Self explanatory.
  • We can't derive mass from an impact shown at a given speed, because again, lolinconsistentfiction.
  • With certain shows with bad art like Steven Universe, we can't even assume characters are of a consistent size between scenes, because they often just aren't and get incredibly disproportionate. This contradicts how things don't just randomly shift sizes in the real world, so with these verses we don't assume dudes sizes will be consistent.


The tldr to all this is to nerf square cube
 
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WeeklyBattles

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If mass is not as high as proposed then yeah this wouldnt work howevr that kinda flies in the face of creatures such as dragons, angels, and giant birds who are capable of flight despite being heavier than their wings should allow
 

Wokistan

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If the fiction gives some impossible mass for it's wing size directly, that's one thing. We've already established that what does happen trumps what should happen. However, there's no calculation done in that instance. There's just fiction giving weird values which is whatever.

That's different from fiction giving us stuff we can use to calculate values but simultaneously contradicting the methods we would use for those calculations.
 

Spinosaurus75DinosaurFan

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I mean for literal giant animals I think square cube law is still fine, but when it's some mystical weird creature or something I do see the issue. And when there are logical issues like for birds then it shouldn't be used.
 
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Jesus you literally renamed the thread as "Square-cube law and birds" LMFAO I'm fucking dead
 

Dargoo_Faust

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The square cube law drastically inflates any calc that has even a mildly large animal in it. Yet, despite ignoring it being one of the most common tropes in fantasy fiction, the site utilizes it to determine the "real" weight of fantasy creatures with no real-life equivalent. It seems many calc members are willing to put aside extremely obvious contradictions here for no particular reason.

I think "via large" calcs are just functionally impossible to work without making a buttload of assumptions that actively contradict the medium the creature is from. Obviously something like a Nevermore doesn't weigh the same as a building and the only thing really saying it does it a calc assuming RL biology laws apply to a fictional creature that clearly doesn't care about it.

What should be prioritized instead are stated weights and real feats. Let the fictional work explain itself first, and heck, if it brings up square cube to explain how heavy their kaiju are that's when you should use it. But most works don't care about this because "superpowers but some physics apply" is a very niche trope in fiction hardly any author wants to deploy, since it typically breaks the Rule of Cool (although some authors can pull it off).

At the very least ban it for birds, the way bird biology works gives the most hilariously bad examples of calc inflation.
 

Spinosaurus75DinosaurFan

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Does square cube law not apply for actual real animals in real life or is it just the values feeling too high for fiction? Because despite fictional work not caring about physics, the whole point of this wiki is to apply a degree of real life physics to fictional characters which is why we take feats before author statements of how powerful they are. I'm pretty sure it's also "obvious" authors never intended characters to be as strong or as weak as the way we rate them. I'd like to see more evidence that this is a widespread fictional trope like KE feats to completely invalidate it.

I agree, if there's a stated value that 100% comes first.
 

Dargoo_Faust

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Does square cube law not apply for actual real animals in real life or is it just the values feeling too high for fiction?

The values are too high for practically any large animal that exists in fiction. Just look at any super-large fictional species like Dragons and ask yourself if they're following the square cube law. Seriously, how often do we see anything actually objective that large animals are anywhere close to the weights we place them at? How often do we see striking/smashing feats that line-up with them?

Because despite fictional work not caring about physics, the whole point of this wiki is to apply a degree of real life physics to fictional characters which is why we take feats before author statements of how powerful they are.

Calculation methods that highly inflate feats and do not realistically apply to fiction based on trends (examples such as mass-energy) aren't used and I fail to see why this is any less problematic.

On another note calculations of "size = AP" are not feats. They're a loose assortment of fan assumptions that are all liable to be contradicted (and very often are contradicted) in the works themselves. This CRT puts into question those assumptions and not any real feats.

I'd like to see more evidence that this is a widespread fictional trope like KE feats to completely invalidate it.

Have fun. I think that's a few hundred or more examples? Didn't count.
 

Spinosaurus75DinosaurFan

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Does any of these issues apply to giant humans or other ground animals that are say superhuman and able to support their own disproportionate weight in terms of the manner of walking being significantly different? If it's merely an issue of them not literally smashing mountains with their weight then I don't think it's an issue considering say 7-A characters should cause way more damage in their clashes but they don't even break buildings, we still rate them as 7-A.

I 100% agree it should be banned for birds fra and also animals that rely on buoyancy in water and definitely prioritise canon weights.

If the fiction flat out says "this thing volume proportionate to a dog" then I think we should follow it because it's a given weight.

If say it's like literally a natural dog, and then a mad scientist or something magnifies it and it breaks physics and walks normally then I'm not sure how to treat that.

If the fictional trope says some Spider-Man dumb stuff like "oh giant ant is proportionately stronger" then it'll only make sense to follow the pseudoscience of that fiction in my opinion.

I'm neutral about size to AP calculations but if used it should be a "last resort" thing.
 
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I mean I won't lie, square cube law does inflate the results of practically anything that isn't a solid mass (by solid mass, I mean like a tree or a block of limestone or something), but given I couldn't readily think of an alternative to such a thing that's suggested or provided by the wiki, it feels like we're stuck with it. With birds, of course, aside from hollow bones they are pretty much the same thing as every other animal: hollow objects filled with fluids (look up extracellular fluid and you'll get what I mean).

While people are stating that given weights should be used, there's also the scenario where a weight isn't given, meaning we'd have to rely on using varying methods or just pure guesswork to figure out how much something weighs. In that case, how exactly does one make a proper estimate of a creature's weight? Like, for instance, here's what scientists got for the California Condor's size:

California Condor: 1.09 to 1.4 meters (length); 2.49 to 3 meters (wingspan); 7-14 .1 kg (weight)

And here's what was estimated for Argentavis' size based on a California Condor's body type:

Argentavis: 3.5 meters (length); 5.09 to 6.5 meters (wingspan); 70-72 kg (weight)

Both birds' statistics were sourced from their respective Wikipedia articles.

What I'm trying to ask is, given the size differences between a condor and Argentavis, how should we calculate or estimate a creature's weight, let alone a bird's weight.
 
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