Ship's computer

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
haveahappy
Stoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:44 am

Ship's computer

Postby haveahappy » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:50 am

So I am messing with the core rules and trying to design a ship that pretty much "flys itself".
As in, it has the full kit in regards to automation software for the various roles on board.

I have two dilemmas here -

1. The Intellect program on the ship is rating 10 and it says this gives the ship the ability to understand and obey verbal commands. But does this consume all 10 points of it's rating for the purpose of running expert programs? Or can the Intellect also run programs up to it's rating just like other types of Intellect software?
I'm thinking about things like medic programs for automated operation of low/cryoberths and, astrogration and pilot programs.
So a completely untrained joe schmoe could just say "SHIP! Take us to Mora - NOW!" and the Intellect would start astrogating and piloting out to the 100 diameters limit before jumping you there while you play chess with yourself?
If not, could you install additional intellect programs for this purpose?

2. Am I correct in thinking that only ONE computer can be connected to the ship's systems? I mean, you can't just slave additional ship computers to a main one to provide more rating? It seems not in the spirit of the rules as computers take up no space and the cost/rating curve is quite sharp. eg: two rating 20 computers are 10Mcr, the same cost as a single rating 25 computer.
EDIT: I found the sidebar that says you can only connect additional computers as backups - so this point is cleared up for me.
dragoner
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:37 pm
Location: Indiana, US

Re: Ship's computer

Postby dragoner » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:58 am

The other solution is to use robots, which the 13mann robots book does have an autopilot robot.
Jeraa
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 552
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Jeraa » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:06 am

The Intellect program from the starship chapter is not the same kind of Intellect program from the normal equipment chapter. They don't work the same. The starship version (Rating 10) only lets the computer follow verbal commands, nothing more.

Though I don't know why anyone would use the MCr1, rating 10 starship Intellect program when they can use the Cr100, Rating 1 Intelligence Interface normal computer program.
haveahappy
Stoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:44 am

Re: Ship's computer

Postby haveahappy » Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:51 am

Jeraa wrote:Though I don't know why anyone would use the MCr1, rating 10 starship Intellect program when they can use the Cr100, Rating 1 Intelligence Interface normal computer program.
See this here is why I am confused. It seems really odd that something like the ability to issue voice commands would have such a huge computing overhead and costs so much.
You can run four turrets at once with 8, but it takes 10 for it to understand voice commands?? This is why I thought it might also be able to run expert programs up to it's rating like the normal intellect programs 1/2/3.
dragoner wrote:The other solution is to use robots
I thought about installing integrated robots with intellect programs and task specific software loaded to perform things like astrogation and piloting - using the autodoc from the core book as the basis - just swapping out the tools and software.
That would get me there mechanically, but I ideally wanted the lot to be run by a single intellect. I suppose It's mechanically identical anyway (an intellect is an intellect) the rest is trappings.......
dragoner
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:37 pm
Location: Indiana, US

Re: Ship's computer

Postby dragoner » Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:00 am

haveahappy wrote:
dragoner wrote:The other solution is to use robots
I thought about installing integrated robots with intellect programs and task specific software loaded to perform things like astrogation and piloting - using the autodoc from the core book as the basis - just swapping out the tools and software.
That would get me there mechanically, but I ideally wanted the lot to be run by a single intellect. I suppose It's mechanically identical anyway (an intellect is an intellect) the rest is trappings.......
Without personality, they could be just like subroutines, and not truly independent.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:15 am

Depends on how much money you want to throw at the problem, though I suspect a revision and a graded scale of intelligence/interaction/capacity would be the best outcome.

Or you look for loopholes and/or creative interpretations of the text.
User avatar
alex_greene
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3821
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:29 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Ship's computer

Postby alex_greene » Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:27 am

At a high enough tech level, you could have entirely automated ships with bridges staffed by sessile robots: a robot Astrogator, robot pilot, robots on avionics and the computer. A robotic engineer crew remotely operating repair and maint drones, and a security bot monitoring internal sensors and running a team of mobile security bots.

No need for staterooms - such vessels would be designed to carry freight only. No passengers.

The only way one could make such a ship remotely interesting would be to have the Travellers board and hijack such a vessel.
Board moderator. Product List [DriveThruRPG]: Blood Path [Legend]; Cosmopolite [Traveller]; Castrobancla [Traveller]
User avatar
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Reynard » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:02 pm

Oh yeah, fully robotized vessels! Be still my piratical heart! No concern for human life that's not there so let's take it down with those radiation inducing particle beams, fusion guns and meson guns especially meson flickers. Robots are highly vulnerable to radiation effects (Book 9: Robot page 65) let alone EMP devices with circuit protection making theses cheap human replacements more expensive and bulkier.

Whether or not you microwave the target vessel, once you deal with those pesky security bots, those crew bots are prizes that don't need to be iced until ransomed. Robots are easier to market and cost effective prizes. Keep a robotics technician on retainer.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby phavoc » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:48 pm

I would err and say that Intellect is just that, Intellect. It's more than just accepting routine voice commands. It should be a baseline, more-than-rudimentary AI program that monitors ship systems, pilots, monitors sensors and communication and lets the crew person know when they need a human in the decision loop process.

Hell, Siri and Cortana run on friggin phones and they are more capable than that. For something with access to that kind of computing power it should be damn more capable.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Condottiere » Sat Sep 05, 2015 7:24 am

Hardwired with personality implants.

"Have you called your mother lately? The communications logs show that your last one was six months, three days, fifteen hours, two minutes and twenty seven seconds ago, and lasted five minutes and forty-five seconds."
Annatar Giftbringer
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:35 am
Location: Uddevalla, Sweden

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:17 pm

haveahappy wrote:
Jeraa wrote:Though I don't know why anyone would use the MCr1, rating 10 starship Intellect program when they can use the Cr100, Rating 1 Intelligence Interface normal computer program.
See this here is why I am confused. It seems really odd that something like the ability to issue voice commands would have such a huge computing overhead and costs so much.
You can run four turrets at once with 8, but it takes 10 for it to understand voice commands?? This is why I thought it might also be able to run expert programs up to it's rating like the normal intellect programs 1/2/3.
dragoner wrote:The other solution is to use robots
I thought about installing integrated robots with intellect programs and task specific software loaded to perform things like astrogation and piloting - using the autodoc from the core book as the basis - just swapping out the tools and software.
That would get me there mechanically, but I ideally wanted the lot to be run by a single intellect. I suppose It's mechanically identical anyway (an intellect is an intellect) the rest is trappings.......
I must say, I've never thought of looking at ship intellect the same way as personal scale intellect (i e let it use expert programs up to its rating, which in this case is 10) but I really like the way you think :)
dragoner
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:37 pm
Location: Indiana, US

Re: Ship's computer

Postby dragoner » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:23 pm

alex_greene wrote:The only way one could make such a ship remotely interesting would be to have the Travellers board and hijack such a vessel.
It could be the Nostromo, and just wake the characters up when something interesting happens.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby phavoc » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:32 pm

For a million credits I do expect an Intellect program to be more than what my phone does. Maybe back in 1970 this seemed awful gee-whizzy, but today we know better and since the game is getting update this should get one too.
Infojunky
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2202
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 10:19 pm
Location: North of Center California

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Infojunky » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:18 pm

Well, y'all manage to hit on one of the real wonky parts of the game. Computers and their ratings. Every time Computers are addressed within the various rules sets they get handled differently. Heck there two different system in the core book.

I personally use the 13Mann Robots rules as my baseline, with the CT software selection grafted on.
Evyn
dragoner
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:37 pm
Location: Indiana, US

Re: Ship's computer

Postby dragoner » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:36 pm

My players never have dug into too much, but generally I quietly hand-wave away a lot of the rules for computers except that the rating is for the jump drive number, Fire Control, etc.; as phavoc accurately stated, there's no reason that the ship's UI would be worse than a phone's today.
haveahappy
Stoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:44 am

Re: Ship's computer

Postby haveahappy » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:54 am

Annatar Giftbringer wrote:I must say, I've never thought of looking at ship intellect the same way as personal scale intellect (i e let it use expert programs up to its rating, which in this case is 10) but I really like the way you think :)
It's for an adventure inspired by "The Mad Ship" by Robin Hobb (a fantasy novel).

In it, there are special sentient ships that "absorb" the experiences of everyone on them.
One of these sentient ships is hijacked by some really brutal pirates and it becomes suicidal, stretches it's timbers to take on water and kills everyone on board.

Think of an artificially intelligent ship with PTSD. It's pretty dark actually - a ship that has suicidal thoughts is not going to be a fun ride. Especially if the ship is the one calculating the jumps and running the repair drones....
The adventure is the player characters finding such a ship and perhaps making it their own - or just blowing it up (as players are wont to do).
Rikki Tikki Traveller
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3438
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: Arlington, TX USA

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:02 pm

Regarding your question about only ONE computer, I have never seen a rule that says you cannot have more than one computer. In fact, HG seems to imply that you can have "backup" computers etc. as they have Command Bridges, Battle Bridges etc. which will all need their own computers.

So, I allow multiple computers. I often have a main computer and a Fire Control computer...
My friends call me Richard.
You can call me Sir.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:28 pm

One computer operates the spaceship at any one time, usually the highest factor.

Then a more pragmatic approach makes you wonder about parallel computing.
simonh
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1527
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:56 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby simonh » Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:57 pm

phavoc wrote:I would err and say that Intellect is just that, Intellect. It's more than just accepting routine voice commands. It should be a baseline, more-than-rudimentary AI program that monitors ship systems, pilots, monitors sensors and communication and lets the crew person know when they need a human in the decision loop process.

Hell, Siri and Cortana run on friggin phones and they are more capable than that. For something with access to that kind of computing power it should be damn more capable.
Siri runs in a massive data center in Carolina. Try using it in airplane mode.

I agree there's a world of difference between the basic voice command module and the Intellect system. Compare the old voice command modes phones used to have 5 years ago with intelligent agents like Cortana and Siri, then magnify that by a handful of tech levels.
condottiere wrote:One computer operates the spaceship at any one time, usually the highest factor.

Then a more pragmatic approach makes you wonder about parallel computing.
The rules are pretty specific that you can't do that. As for parallel computing, I assume ship's computers are already massively parallel. Maybe there's a limit to how extensively you can parallelize a system and still maintain co-ordinated control over it, like a law of diminishing returns. You can't just add more computers, because the ship's computers are already designed that way and hitting the limits of what you can do with that approach.

Ok, that doesn't make a whole ton of sense, but the rules are what they are. You can always house rule it, but then you need to re-visit and re-optimize all the standard designs out there.

Simon Hibbs
Check out StarBase, the open source science fiction campaign mapping application.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's computer

Postby Condottiere » Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:31 pm

I already have a loophole, but might as well explore all possibilities.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 46 guests