Federation Binoculars

When conducting reconnaissance on the bug home Planet P, Rico pauses to scan the nearby mountain crest with a pair of Federation binoculars. They feature two differently-sized objective lenses.


We get a POV for him and get to see the overlay. It includes a range-finding reticle and two 7-segment readouts in the lower corners. It looks nifty, but it’s missing some important things.

Rangefinding reticles typically place enumerated marks at regular angular degrees. The numbers make calculating angular widths easy. They also typically include small areas along axes of densely-clustered ticks for precision measurements at the edges of objects. Without these features, it makes the act of measuring angular width difficult.

What the numbers represent is a bit of a mystery. You’d expect it to be distance, but the readouts don’t match that. Even though the view passes from the near forward slope to the mid range peak to the distant grassland beyond—in that order—the lower left number continually increments from the 1500s to the 1600s. The lower right number fluctuates within the 2100 range somewhat randomly with no correlation to the apparent distance. So…no way to tell.


Lastly, the overlay is very subtle. So subtle, in fact, it’s difficult to see them when against the highly chiaroscuro background of the scarp. Ideally the overlay would dynamically adjust to the background to always remain at the same apparent contrast.


5 thoughts on “Federation Binoculars

  1. The thing has enough buttons that it should have a better reticle system. Perhaps it uses a laser range finder? That smaller lens is about the right size for one.

    • Yeah, you’d think. And yet those numbers don’t add up. I can’t think of any diegetic reason it would be this useless.

  2. Could one of the numbers be an indicator of the magnification being used? Just spitballing…

    • Tough to argue. If it’s an indication of optical magnification, that’s a huge number considering that a bug sweeps in on them in seconds and kills the scout. It might be that the units are smaller and therefore we’d expect higher numbers, or it could be that the bugs are everywhere all around them, but it’s a lot of speculation to tack on. It’s a reasonable guess. What would be most cool is if it could offer dynamic measurements of objects and distances as an overlay.

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