How are you doing hard sci-fi?

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alex_greene
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby alex_greene » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:51 am

So in truth, the answer to "How are you doing hard sci-fi?" is "We're not. Why should we? Traveller's supposed to be space opera. Here's a hook by the door to suspend your disbelief."
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Spartan159 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:55 am

alex_greene wrote:So in truth, the answer to "How are you doing hard sci-fi?" is "We're not. Why should we? Traveller's supposed to be space opera. Here's a hook by the door to suspend your disbelief."
Ah! Thanks! That's where I left that little rascal.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Reynard » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:03 am

I have a strange feeling 10 people here will have 11 descriptions for hard science fiction and say the others are wrong.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby alex_greene » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:17 am

Reynard wrote:I have a strange feeling 10 people here will have 11 descriptions for hard science fiction and say the others are wrong.
And not one of them adds "... and given sufficient supporting evidence, even I might be wrong."
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Sigtrygg » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:15 pm

A hard sci fi setting breaks as few laws of physics as we understand them or introduces as few magic technologies as needed to tell the story.

2300 qualifies as a hard sci fi setting since the only really implausible technology is the stutterwarp. Man portable laser weapons and plasma guns are semi-plausible, as is the way powered armour is presented.

Artificial gravity and jump drive and reactionless thrusters and acceleration compensation fields could be handwaved as all being part of gravitic technology. That still leaves meson guns and screens and nuclear damper technology as magic; these too could be handwaved as variants of the same technology - but then we add psionics to the mix...
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby alex_greene » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:01 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:A hard sci fi setting breaks as few laws of physics as we understand them or introduces as few magic technologies as needed to tell the story.
Jules Verne wrote hard science fiction.
By the way, it's "SF" or "science fiction," never"sci fi."
If you want your science fiction setting to be as hard as possible, ditch the space combat. If you're playing 2001: A Space Odyssey without the Stargate sequence, then you've got to stop pretending you're also going to be playing Star Wars. The lasers and bombs, capital ships, all of that - it's got to go.
Good luck pitching your game where the Travellers spend the rest of their lives travelling in a sublight ship between the stars on a mission that will take them longer than their lifespans.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Reynard » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:04 pm

"A hard sci fi setting breaks as few laws of physics as we understand them or introduces as few magic technologies as needed to tell the story."

Such as great big black dominos that manipulate life for intelligence and create/ destroy stars?

Oh, scifi is only wrong to those who take science fiction too damn serious. I think scifi should be fun.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby alex_greene » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:12 pm

One definition of soft science fiction is SF which focuses on soft sciences such as anthropology, sociology, psychology and political science. When people here go on about hard science fiction, you all go on about the technologies which will be available. Never on the people - your Travellers, the NPCs. Why is that?
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby dragoner » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:32 pm

I use all sorts of stuff from 2300 in my Traveller game, it's good stuff.

Hard science fiction, should posit a plausible future scenario. However I will admit to a pet peeve of being in a STEM field, "Hard Science" and "Fiction" is a bit of an oxymoron; games aren't as bad as television in abusing physics, where it gets most annoying from a STEM point of view (there's that frame thing) is having to explain "that's not how it works". Space Opera is also a hard thing to define, c'est. RPG's are about the players and their characters, and I have never seen anyone hot to be doing relativistic equations in game. Whatever works though, works, that is the best thing.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Solomani Jim » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:40 pm

Reynard wrote:I have a strange feeling 10 people here will have 11 descriptions for hard science fiction and say the others are wrong.
Exactly. It's why I encourage people to focus on what works for their game story.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Reynard » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:57 pm

The use of the descriptor 'fiction' means it actually hasn't happened whether current events, historical or science. Science fiction is a story based around a theme and/or plot where science is the focus. The movies Outbreak and Contagion can be considered hard science fiction. Just about everything is real and possible but they are stories heavily based on the science of diseases that are imagined rather than reported. Terminator: Genisys is heavily based on science of robotics and time manipulation but, for now, are considered highly improbable for modern science and becomes a soft science or science fantasy. 2001: A Space Odyssey could be a space fantasy just because of the Monolith. Neither are space operas defined in Wikipedia as "Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare and melodramatic adventure." which is a science fiction still but defiantly separate. Traveller is heavily space opera. The stutterwarp and the alien creatures could make 2300AD a space fantasy. The Martian is probably the closest example for a hard science fiction.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby fusor » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:26 pm

alex_greene wrote:So in truth, the answer to "How are you doing hard sci-fi?" is "We're not. Why should we? Traveller's supposed to be space opera. Here's a hook by the door to suspend your disbelief."
A lot of people on this thread seem to be wanting to pigeonhole Traveller as one or the other, but it's not.

Traveller can easily handle hard science fiction - you have to tweak the technology assumptions, but it can handle it. It's not "supposed" to be space opera, it's supposed to be a science fiction roleplaying game that can be adapted to many settings. One of the default settings (the OTU) is definitely space opera. 2300AD is definitely more "hard science fiction", and generally succeeds at it and that still comes under the Traveller ruleset.

Also, it's not "just a matter of "Soft scifi = anything goes" vs "Hard scifi = ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING MUST BE REALISTIC AND PLAUSIBLE". There's a continuum between those. A lot of hard scifi has a few elements that we currently consider unrealistic (e.g. FTL drives), but that doesn't mean that the overall setting can't be considered as "hard science fiction".
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:10 pm

alex_greene wrote:By the way, it's "SF" or "science fiction," never"sci fi."
What setting are you in?
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby fusor » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:44 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
alex_greene wrote:By the way, it's "SF" or "science fiction," never"sci fi."
What setting are you in?
People can call it SF, sci fi, sci-fi, or science fiction. They all refer to the same thing. People who think they're "purists" will claim that one way of saying it is better than the others, but it's really just pretentious divisiveness for its own sake.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:36 pm

fusor wrote:
ShawnDriscoll wrote:
alex_greene wrote:By the way, it's "SF" or "science fiction," never"sci fi."
What setting are you in?
People can call it SF, sci fi, sci-fi, or science fiction. They all refer to the same thing. People who think they're "purists" will claim that one way of saying it is better than the others, but it's really just pretentious divisiveness for its own sake.
I see.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby alex_greene » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:08 am

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
alex_greene wrote:By the way, it's "SF" or "science fiction," never"sci fi."
What setting are you in?
I playtested in Lanth subsector, so I've done some 3I setting stuff - but my homebrew's more like Firefly. At least, in terms of how it feels.

There are some weird technologies that are taken for granted in the setting - the Ship's Locker only stores a handful of stock Body Pistols with ammo; any other guns of higher calibre have to be 3D printed. They have ammo for some heavier weapons but no big heavy cannon. The ship's medic has a similar technology which 3D prints pharmaceuticals for treatments. She also has files to allow the generation of artificial bones to replace smashed organic bone.

I kept the emphasis on the technology to a minimum. You know how, when you come to Canada to work and they ask you if you can do work that no Canadian can do? That's what makes the Travellers in such high demand - if the Patrons could do the job with some automated drones and local muscle, that's who they'd hire. It's not about the toys. It's about the Travellers.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Moppy » Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:51 pm

Even Traveller's maneuver drive is impossible. For any drive that obeys the laws of physics, you are looking at a multi-year trip around the solar system (unless you can continually refuel: the problem is you must obey energy conservation laws w.r.t the mass of your fuel -> your ships added momentum).

We ran hard SF once only, but didn't do it in Traveller. Our hard SF didn't allow the m-drive or j-drive and once you do that, you have no Imperium, and most of the stuff that ties you to Traveller is gone.

Interestingly Traveller doesn't have FTL computers (I assume they can't send singals at FTL speed, or they'd have FTL radio) so the "Imperial Internet" likely won't be any less laggy than ours. :-)
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Reynard » Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:45 pm

Reaction rockets only. Fission power plants. Possibly solar cells and solar sails. You are playing Traveller in the confines of the solar system. Bases on the moon and Mars and the belt or elsewhere. Working lasers for tools and weapons. Tell me you haven't seen plenty of movies and shows that feature adventures only here and they are pretty exciting. Even then, you have to decide if alien artifacts are hard science, just because we can't create or conceive the technology doesn't mean it can't exist.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Solomani Jim » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:14 pm

Moppy wrote:Even Traveller's maneuver drive is impossible. For any drive that obeys the laws of physics, you are looking at a multi-year trip around the solar system (unless you can continually refuel: the problem is you must obey energy conservation laws w.r.t the mass of your fuel -> your ships added momentum).

We ran hard SF once only, but didn't do it in Traveller. Our hard SF didn't allow the m-drive or j-drive and once you do that, you have no Imperium, and most of the stuff that ties you to Traveller is gone.

Interestingly Traveller doesn't have FTL computers (I assume they can't send singals at FTL speed, or they'd have FTL radio) so the "Imperial Internet" likely won't be any less laggy than ours. :-)
So? NASA's real world engines seem to break the laws of physics and are supposedly impossible yet they work. And forget the fuel.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/ ... f-emdrive/

Maybe we now know what Traveller's drives are and they are hard science too... lol.
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Re: How are you doing hard sci-fi?

Postby Moppy » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:40 pm

Solomani Jim wrote:[So? NASA's real world engines seem to break the laws of physics and are supposedly impossible yet they work. And forget the fuel.
http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/ ... f-emdrive/
Did you for one second stop to consider why science sites don't carry this story, why they only sell it to the tech and popsci community, and why they can't seem to publish a peer-reviewed paper?

Coverage on science-focussed sites is around the fact that it *doesn't* work - but that they're not going to say no to the research grant money, because chances are that they'll learn something useful from it, either way.

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