Well my move is over, though I'm not "moved in" yet. We had a LOT of vendors, and $25K in improvements to the house, and are STILL waiting for our new privacy fence to go in :( I do have a lot more space, and it'll be going to good use soon :)
Onto the BT stuff:
For the longest time I have wanted to make a computer game that allows one to take control of a house, and fight out the succession wars. This would be much like the old Avalon Hill type games from the 70s and 80s.
We are finally starting to get some products to help me out, like Age of War and the Reunification war. The Jihad also has quite a bit of data and a scenario could be made for it as well.
However, populations/military sizes are just completely stupid, period. I accept its fantasy, but its contradictory. You may as well say humans all look like the Aliens or Predators. It is one thing to do the mandatory magic hand-wave, it is another to completely contradict what we know about ourselves to be absolutely true.
Earth, right now, has about 70M active and reserve soldiers. Using regiments of 756 troopers, assuming that there are 9 non-combat support troopers per grunt, that gives earth about 9,000 infantry regiments. This doesn't include police forces. This force is pretty capable of taking on the entire Inner Sphere with its 500 or so mech regiments and 7500 or so support regiments... assuming technologies are equal and it was just about manpower (and there would be more regiments if one thinks of armor/artillery/aerospace having less troops per regiment). Now, that alone isn't the issue, if the entire IS population was around 7-10B, that'd be totally acceptable.
However, we have populations on quite a few worlds, and most are in the *billions*. This alone is logical, right now the world has a 1.14% birth rate, If we cut the birth rate in half from right now, about 1.07%, the average population is about 3.3B for 3025 and 6.4B in 3120. This number seems to fit what is published pretty well, though is probably a bit high based on where modern nations are heading (closer to .4% to .5%).
When you combine these 2 statistics you either get armies that are unbelievably small, or populations that are grossly too large. The universe started with more of a mad-max feel, with water raids, ice ships, a company of mechs taking an entire planet, century old mechs protecting towns, etc. So I think it is safe to say if you were to modify just one of these 2 figures, pick the one that is written about and acknowledged far less, has no real impact to the universe, and doesn't change everything ever written about books. So we gotta rule out populations...
I just can't accept the excuse "it is just fasanomics" anymore. TPTB are doing a great job at keeping the universe alive, with products rolling out almost weekly, but this one thing not only comes up as a forum topic consistently, but its one thing that just throws a wrench into the believability of the entire universe. They could fix it, easily, and move on.
I don't think we want to screw with military sizes, those units are ingrained into the history, and making a regiment into an army or corps looses too much from the universe. To say 6B on a planet don't like the new invader, and do nothing, is ludicrous based on what we know about humanity.
To make my game, I'm making the following assumptions:
#1. There was a eugenics program, massive plague, huge loss of life during space exploration, critical decrease in fertility due to space travel, etc, etc. Basically, a LOT of people either died, or were never born. This can easily be assumed as some things would just never be mentioned, like eugenics or population control, even though one will eventually be mandatory for humanity.
#2. All previously published planetary population numbers were the total number of travellers that had ever passed through that system, not the total number living ON that system.
#3. System populations in 3025 vary from 10,000 (minimum for mention) to up to 10M on worlds like New Avalon or Luthien. The average population is about 500K, or roughly 2% of currently published figures. About a third of the worlds have under 100K population, and only about 100 have over a million.
#4. Aside from the few major government facilities, most people live in small villages of a few hundred to a few thousand. These villages have a couple of police officers, plenty of farm land, and manufacturing facilities to produce necessities. They are pretty self sufficient, but rely on major cities/planets to provide them with really complex or luxury items. Most of these villages fit on the concrete area on a city tech map. The villages are easily raided by a mech lance, and many planets have less than a regiment defending. The biggest planets (Tharkad, Luthien, etc) would have about 100 regiments defending (25 armor, 60 infantry, 20 militia), which falls close to Tikonov in the 4th Succession War with its 80 militia regiments. Each of these towns has things like a fusion reactor, water purification plant, farms, and possibly repair facilities for vehicles/agromechs.
#5. Each major faction would have about 9000 combat regiments, about 3000 of those are the active regiments (equivalents, not actual #s, a mech regiment may = 10, armor = 2, etc), the rest are the militia.
These changes make populations/militaries make sense, makes the citytech map make sense, makes raids make sense, allows a mech company to easily take over everything important on a minor world, explains water raids, explains how technology can be lost (it really only existed in major cities, aka targets), and the only thing we have to assume is population figures were different.
My thought is that humans just decided to stick with 2 kids, rarely 3, and often 1, per couple. That in itself would dramatically cut populations considerably. There are some countries in Europe with negative growth rates, and most modern nations are around .5% now and its decreasing. Once the population of Earth hits 10B or 15B, less kids will become commonplace.
I'll probably post this on the BT forums at some point, but for now it is the numbers I'm sticking with. I'll write an app later that'll randomly create the 2500 or so worlds, and plug in the new populations. I'll then use that as canon, and ignore the official stupid numbers.