Researching New Technology

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
hiro

Re: Researching New Technology

Postby hiro » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:56 pm

I'm not so sure that when The Original Hand was waved all the way back in 1977 that these numbers were crunched!
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Reynard » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:27 pm

Makes absolutely no sense....
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby dragoner » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:25 pm

NASA uses liquid hydrogen.
hiro

Re: Researching New Technology

Postby hiro » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:29 pm

Which considering the NASA obsession with health and safety is quite surprising :wink:
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby dragoner » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:35 pm

I understand why, it's also easier to get water and use H in fuel cells; and why water isn't efficient as fuel.
hiro

Re: Researching New Technology

Postby hiro » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:44 pm

Yup and I'm guessing when I say for the foreseeable future, the fuels we use are going to come with dangers.

Coming back in spirit if more than substance to the OP, I get that Traveller as a period SFRPG isn't so easy to break new ground on the tech front but if for the sake of argument we see MgT as a rule set that can be applied to many settings, is there a place or demand for a book(s) detailing say TL16-20?
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby dragoner » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:52 pm

Write 'em. I think there is some interest, I have expressed interest, as well as someone else did on fb. Though I think that Traveller (and 2300, but they are both by the same people) uses tech in the way it does because it is easy to grasp for a layman. I have used ideas like a vacuum tap, for energy and players have just looked at it like magic. Oh well.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Reynard » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:28 am

NASA uses hydrogen and oxygen because they are the most efficient we have at the moment but they are not water until ignition. Hydrogen also has the best specific impulse rating of any fuel.

They don't use hydrogen as a fuel as we know it in Traveller until we develop a practical fusion plant then create a working gravitic engine and, later, the jump drive. At those moments, hydrogen fuel will become THE fuel. We won't look to our oceans or the ice asteroids when there are ships that easily sail out and scoop practically unlimited fuel. Anti-matter fuel? Seriously? Carry water you can't process fast enough or is in very little supply compared to hydrogen.

Compared to the other alternatives mentioned, the out of date concepts make far more sense.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby dragoner » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:01 am

Can't say how many times I've had to explain the shuttle's exhaust is steam.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Reynard » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:05 am

Which I did say in the first paragraph.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby dragoner » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:09 am

Yes, you did.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:47 am

Reynard wrote:Water has more density because the molecule has a whooping huge oxygen atom attached to it, not because there's somehow more hydrogen. There's going to be a lot more H2 molecules at 33 Kelvin in the same space occupied by a water molecule which must be at 277 Kelvin to be at its densest state.

Even if water some how has more hydrogen in the same volume as pure liquid hydrogen, the cracking and purifying process in the game system would never allow anything close to efficient use of the hydrogen, it takes a long time to make constant quantities. Same goes for the hydrogen needed to feed the jump drive quick enough create the bubble. For Traveller, water stinks.

As to water being more available than hydrogen, what are those gas giants in the majority of systems and how much purer in hydrogen?
You could always fission the oxygen atoms into 8 hydrogen atoms, so a Water molecule becomes 10 hydrogen atoms. ;)
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Mirja » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:14 am

Epicenter wrote:
Okay, to stop being a killjoy:

Now as a GM I like to work with players and not flat-out tell them "no." I've given you the reasons why you shouldn't do it. Now I can give you some reasons how you could integrate something like this into your game:

1) Inform your player that success is not certain and unlikely.
She already knows this and understands why. I did not have to say it as she herself brought it up.
Epicenter wrote:2) If you enjoy letting your players be extraordinary individuals, you should let everyone be extraordinary in some way, not just one player.
To me it appears that you think that I will let her succeed and shower her with praise and status and let the other players have nothing. This player wanted a campaign-long or life long quest that made her stay with this rag-tag team of players who take her on as an engineer and let her tinker as she please in her workspace, as long as she does not alter their ship. She does not really expect it to be solved in the time-scope of the campaign.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby simonh » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:44 am

Reynard wrote:Water has more density because the molecule has a whooping huge oxygen atom attached to it, not because there's somehow more hydrogen. There's going to be a lot more H2 molecules at 33 Kelvin in the same space occupied by a water molecule which must be at 277 Kelvin to be at its densest state.
Intuitively you would think so, but it doesn't work out that way. Water molecules are tiny compared to most other compounds. The hydorgen atoms are bound in very closely to the oxygen atom.

Molecular size isn't the only factor though, diatomic hydrogen moleculesare actualy smaller than water molecultes, but in their liquid state the molecules are on average much further apart than in water. In fact, water molecules in their liquid state are very closely associated with each other and are constantly exchanging hydrogen atoms, a process that contributes to it's effectiveness as a solvent. That doesn't happen in liquid hydrogen.

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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Jacqual » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:18 am

So I have read in this very subject that a TL 12 J-3 jump drive can be reduced by 25% if made using TL 15 design and materials/components which is all fine and dandy. This can even help the player and GM with the characters goal of reducing fuel requirement. Just have the Jump Drive be very finicky and the player needs to constantly work on the drive to get the desired result.

This way the player can even feel like she is working towards the goal she wants lower fuel and space requirments, but the drawback is an unstable jump drive that needs constant love from the designer. This results in no longstanding changes in the OTU, as if the engine is reproduced the maintanance cost is so high it is not a viable option for shipmakers to use this drive.

The campaign ends up with 1 ship with a 75% requirement for jump drive and fuel. GM can even keep the jump drive stable enough that they don't have to worry about a misjump just maybe a short jump.

This would also if word got around potentially put the PC in danger of kidnapping if someone thinks it might become a feasable idea, this of course is just one possible adventure hook as mentioned earlier in the thread by someone I forgot who.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby AndrewW » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:51 pm

Jacqual wrote:This would also if word got around potentially put the PC in danger of kidnapping if someone thinks it might become a feasable idea, this of course is just one possible adventure hook as mentioned earlier in the thread by someone I forgot who.
Or someone after the ship.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:05 am

The main difference between magic and technology, if a wizard casts a bolt of lightning, that one bolt of lightning that he can cast after years of studying that spell, and if its a D&D wizard he needs to prepare that spell again before he can cast it again, but if a scientist invents a "bolt of lightning" anyone can have that "bolt of lightning". Each item of technology that gets invented changes the whole setting as technology is part of the setting, but a spell a wizard cast's is particular to that wizard, he can cast it, but as most people aren't wizards with that spell, it doesn't change the setting. A scientist in combat is pretty much like anyone else, he can fire a laser pistol, but he is not about to invent something at the spur of the moment that will save the day. New technologies drive the plot, so an NPC scientist can invent something which can turn into an adventure, but a PC scientist isn't going to say, "Okay, my scientist tries to invent something, what dice do I role to determine success?"
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Jacqual » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:40 am

The whole wanting to do this for a PC without destroying the OTU, is just make each jump cost more in actual cost per jump.

The new Jump drive requires only 75% of the fuel of the old drives, but the fuel costs 300% by each ton of the fuel (or even more). It also requires much more then an annual maintainance job, maybe every month to keep the drive from malfunction. It may require 2x the number of engineers to just keep it running.

If you make it so that the new better jump drive is not a cost effective solution, it will not have a long term impact on the OTU. Just for the simple fact it is different, but to expensive to use widespread.

For a real life example I say look at Muscle cars from the 60's and 70's they were fast, awesome as awesome can be. But not fuel efficient, not maintainance efficient either. Now the improved jump drive is going for efficiency in size and fuel requirements. But the fuel needs to be super unleaded instead of regular unleaded, and the jump drive needs working on all the time.

So basically in the end works out to a labor of love for the character, might even make a small note in the tech books. But basically ends up going to the side as something that is cost prohibited, now this might effect the OTU in 2 or 3 hundred years as maybe another breakthrough is made somewhere else.

I say if you want to let her do it then go ahead, just make it a non-viable alternative to the OTU standard. She gets what she wants but doesn't break the OTU rules.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby Mirja » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:26 am

Guys,

You don't have to worry aout the storytelling aspects of this (People want to kidnap her, pay her off, the emperor wil shower her in titles and money.) I already have all that covered.

I have gotten the answers i need and will buy the Comspolite book. SoI am now leaving this thread behind. Keep discussing the chemistry and what you guys wouuld do, but I will no longer read it.
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Re: Researching New Technology

Postby simonh » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:47 am

Tom Kalbfus wrote:...New technologies drive the plot, so an NPC scientist can invent something which can turn into an adventure, but a PC scientist isn't going to say, "Okay, my scientist tries to invent something, what dice do I role to determine success?"
All sorts of thing can drive a plot. The PCs could find themselves in the middle of a war, that's great for soldier characters. They could be embroiled in corporate espionage, fantastic for trader or espionage type characters. They might go on an expedition to discover a long lost colony or civilization - scout characters will be like pigs in s**t. So why can't the characters be involved in a great scientific discovery?

Nobody makes combat characters make a skill roll to see if the game will revolve around a battle. Nobody makes secret agent characters roll to see if they get involved in an espionage campaign. The GM hands the situation to them on a plate, and makes the characters pivotal to the plot by fiat. It's what they do once they are in that situation that makes the game. Loads of SF stories work this way. Zharkov invents the rocket that takes Flash Gordon to Mongo. Sam Carter is the foremost expert on Stargate technology. Dr. Sam beckett in Quantum Leap invented the time travel device. Dr Emmett Brown invented the time travelling DeLorean in BTTF. Is it really inconceivable to play such a character in Traveller, within the reaonsbale confines of what may be possible in any given traveller setting? I absolutely fail to see why such roles have to be reserved for NPCs.

In any case, the subject of this thread is actually just about some incremental technological advance. Nothing revolutionary. But I don't really see why a campaign couldn't arc around such a discovery, any more than any other great event or achievement.

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