Dichotomy of maintenance

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phavoc
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby phavoc » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:15 pm

First off, thanks for all the feedback and ideas. They are very welcome!

The issue of filters and such breaking down in a week doesn't quite mesh well with the idea that they are able to create other items that take far more punishment that can last through a century of use (i.e. starship hulls). We already know that ship maintenance in the future is more or less the same as it is today, and that ships have to undergo somewhat rigorous annual maintenance to stay fully functional.

The dichotomy that I was wanting to point out is that somehow all those increased material sciences efforts skipped things that we can already do today. In v2 of the rules the life support equipment for a cabin is supposed to be self-contained, with air and water recycling taking place inside of each cabin area (that leaves out the rest of the ship, but hey, baby steps here). If that's the case modern equipment (i.e. the real stuff) is far superior, since we know from actual experience you can let a system idle for days or weeks while incurring zero costs or breakdowns. In the Traveller universe that's not the case, as the equipment atrophies and degrades apart even when not in use. Our low-tech space station appears to have a better life support system than a Traveller starship.

So the very high costs of life support have always seemed a bit wrong to me. It makes more sense to have life support integrated into the normal maintenance costs of a ship rather than calling them our separately. Also, since they costs include food, that skews the whole cost model. A starship crew member, regardless of their SOC level, is going to eat the same as the next person. But on a ship that has passengers, their ticket price will include more expensive food and drink for a trip. While all of that can be waived away it's always better to make models that make sense and scale both up and down.

Biospheres are great for passenger liners, or larger ships, but smaller ones could/would not afford the space cost for them. Standard life support equipment would be a better investment space-wise.

So the question would be how could we make the model better?

Buehler? Buehler??
Condottiere
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:52 pm

1. Warships have a maintenance cost of about ten percent, rather than one tenth of a percent, so having to pay that wouldn't disturb me.

2. MySpaceBook

Cargo prices probably vary on early booking, and perceived need; brokers probably harvest all personal and compaby data, and AI programmes predict how high customers are willing to pay, or how low in order to incentivize a sale.

These programmes also predict your propensity for interstellar adventure, and if they have unbooked bunks, will eMail these prospects with an attractively priced proposal.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby phavoc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:37 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:49 am
I agree that freighters are not always full to capacity, but when you are is when you make your profit.

Traveller freight is a very marginal business.
Totally agree there. Most freight would be handled by already existing space lines and regular service between systems and inside systems between planets and stations. Tramp freighters will pick up some smaller cargo lots here and there to be delivered to minor ports, or from minor ports to major ones. I've actually written up something on bonding authorities, as nobody is going to entrust their cargo to someone who has no history in the area. Well, few legitimate cargo lots anyways.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby NOLATrav » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:24 am

I find the life support costs in MgT to be quite high. IMTU I've reduced it to Cr50 per ton of ship per month, which can support 1 adult human per month per 20 tons of ship. Food and drink is not included.

So your average 200 ton free trader needs 200x50 = Cr10,000 per month, which allows the entire ship to maintain environment, atmo, heat sinking and power for up to 200/20 = 10 adult humans per month. 50% discount to RAW. Food and drink and steward perks depend on the passage purchased, and staterooms cost more if they must carry high passengers. Likewise, Steerage and mid passage staterooms are cheaper to install than RAW. It seems to be working at the PC level, I have not yet extrapolated upwards to large liners/freighters/military vessels.

This has reduced the overall cost of ships, and therefore the mortgages and monthly maintenance/op costs, but only on the order a few tens of thousands of credits per month. Still, it makes the PCs think about a quick Cr250,000 job (adventure) that they might not consider if their overhead was Cr380,000.

And yes, I've reduced a few trade DMs here and there to avoid Monty Haul runs but most trade IMTU is pre-determined based on world codes - they have to roll/ROLEplay to get the good cargoes/pax to their next destination.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:16 am

Condottiere wrote: 1. Warships have a maintenance cost of about ten percent, ...
Not maintenance, that is the total operating cost including crews, life support, fuel, ammunition, etc.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby Condottiere » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:31 am

One reason major navies are willing to replace them every twenty years; as I recall the ten percent doesn't include crewing and depreciation.

Crewing is too complex, because some specialities can cost hundreds of thousands or millions in training infrastructure per candidate, and then you have after market care.

Operational cost is mixed with maintenance (use or lose it), and probably, or very likely, depends on operational tempo and expendables (not the crew).

I'm not quite sure I understand the modern economic arguments in favour of life extension programmes, but it seems to be based on financial costs, though with the larger and expensive vessels like carriers and nuclear submarines, whose lifespans could be fifty years (if you're willing to risk it for a submarine hull), okay.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby RogerMc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:29 pm

All we have to go on for freight volumes are the rules as written - and if you find yourself a couple of high tech, high pop, starport A or B worlds within jump-range to shuttle between (which is what most freighters will be doing) you can even fill a J-6 freighter's hold.

And re maintenance costs these cover minor repairs particularly to the drives and jump nodes covering the ship.

The Cr2,000 life support cost per passenger however always struck me as ridiculous however - are your crew bathing or rather showering in champagne and dining on caviar imported all the way from Terra?

(and if atmosphere scrubbers etc are what is so insanely expensive then you need to massively increase the living expenses of people on most inhabited planets that don't have an untainted breathable atmosphere...).
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby phavoc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:45 pm

NOLATrav wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:24 am
I find the life support costs in MgT to be quite high. IMTU I've reduced it to Cr50 per ton of ship per month, which can support 1 adult human per month per 20 tons of ship. Food and drink is not included.

So your average 200 ton free trader needs 200x50 = Cr10,000 per month, which allows the entire ship to maintain environment, atmo, heat sinking and power for up to 200/20 = 10 adult humans per month. 50% discount to RAW. Food and drink and steward perks depend on the passage purchased, and staterooms cost more if they must carry high passengers. Likewise, Steerage and mid passage staterooms are cheaper to install than RAW. It seems to be working at the PC level, I have not yet extrapolated upwards to large liners/freighters/military vessels.

This has reduced the overall cost of ships, and therefore the mortgages and monthly maintenance/op costs, but only on the order a few tens of thousands of credits per month. Still, it makes the PCs think about a quick Cr250,000 job (adventure) that they might not consider if their overhead was Cr380,000.

And yes, I've reduced a few trade DMs here and there to avoid Monty Haul runs but most trade IMTU is pre-determined based on world codes - they have to roll/ROLEplay to get the good cargoes/pax to their next destination.
Interesting take on the life-support issue. A much more reasonable set of costs.
Condottiere wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:31 am
One reason major navies are willing to replace them every twenty years; as I recall the ten percent doesn't include crewing and depreciation.

Crewing is too complex, because some specialities can cost hundreds of thousands or millions in training infrastructure per candidate, and then you have after market care.

Operational cost is mixed with maintenance (use or lose it), and probably, or very likely, depends on operational tempo and expendables (not the crew).

I'm not quite sure I understand the modern economic arguments in favour of life extension programmes, but it seems to be based on financial costs, though with the larger and expensive vessels like carriers and nuclear submarines, whose lifespans could be fifty years (if you're willing to risk it for a submarine hull), okay.
Retiring a ship is a complex question. Just like airliners you look at the overall costs and operating costs. There is no depreciation for naval vessels. Depreciation is a private-sector tax issue, and no government pays taxes on vessels. The concept of 'paid off' is present, but that's generally just a decision about a vessel reaching it's useful lifetime within a navy. It can then be stricken and sold to another navy, scrapped, or placed in reserve. Plus naval ship lifetimes vary and aren't set at any specific interval. We've seen examples of this where carriers receive SLEP's of 2-3 years because the cost of replacement is less than the cost of a newer vessel. Plus there is always the political dimension when it comes to more expensive vessels.

Newer vessels have been adding in more automation and machinery, thus the crew complements have been lowered, thus newer vessels are more cost and crew efficient (excluding some of the more outrageous weapon costs). There is also the issue of newer weapon systems not fitting within a hull, or that the ship itself is not capable of mounting the more modern weapon systems. For example take railguns and lasers. Both are energy hogs. The average non-nuclear destroyer like the Arleigh Burke simply does not have sufficient excess electrical capacity to power the weapons. Plus they currently have no place to mount them. That's why the newer class of destroyers (the Zumwalts) have scads of excess electrical generation capacity - to power future railguns. currently they are equipped with cannons, but the goal is to replace those. And the ship was built with the excess power generation with that in mind.

You also have to consider things like metal fatigue for the hull itself. Traveller magical hulls don't seem to have that, but today they do. Hulls can only take so much stress, just like aircraft. And at some point they simply wear out. The F-105 in Vietnam was literally flown to pieces. It had a very high operational tempo rate and by the time the war ended many airframes had reached the end of their operational life without complete rebuilds. And it wasn't worth the cost for an aircraft that first flew in 1958. Kind of like the Tomcats that had been upgraded to F-14D but the Navy didn't want to spend the money to make them F-14D+. They opted instead for the F-18.
RogerMc wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:29 pm
All we have to go on for freight volumes are the rules as written - and if you find yourself a couple of high tech, high pop, starport A or B worlds within jump-range to shuttle between (which is what most freighters will be doing) you can even fill a J-6 freighter's hold.

And re maintenance costs these cover minor repairs particularly to the drives and jump nodes covering the ship.

The Cr2,000 life support cost per passenger however always struck me as ridiculous however - are your crew bathing or rather showering in champagne and dining on caviar imported all the way from Terra?

(and if atmosphere scrubbers etc are what is so insanely expensive then you need to massively increase the living expenses of people on most inhabited planets that don't have an untainted breathable atmosphere...).
Even a pair of high-pop, industrialized worlds would be hard-pressed to regularly keep a J-6 freighter running. The cost is simply too high for any average good. And anything perishable could survive two weeks as well as one week in transit. There would be SOME freight between them, as someone is usually willing to spend credits to get something there that fast. Beyond that the additional costs make 99.9% of all goods economically unfeasible. It's like people were always willing to pay 1st class fare for the Concorde to save 4hrs. But it was as much of a status thing as it was a time thing. Flying on the Concorde meant you were someone - even if you were crammed into a noisy aircraft. A 747 1st class trip was far more pleasant, but also more urbane and ordinary. Only the most uber wealthy would ever have a J-6 yacht. And maybe a few megacorps as well. And, of course, governments and the Imperium itself.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby RogerMc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:08 pm

I can't remember what thread it is here but I calculated that on average there is 943 tons of freight available between any two hi-pop, hi-tech and Starport A worlds and used the example of Mora and Palique as they are J6 apart.

And no the rules don't give any effect to jump distance other than massively inflating the freight cost for J6.

And given the Cr86,000 freight charge at J6 there is apparently no faster way to become a multi-billionaire in known space than building a J6 freighter with a 900 ton cargo hold and jumping it between Mora and Palique for a few of years.

Which may be stupid - but are nevertheless the rules as written...
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby RogerMc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:30 pm

I also in that thread suggested a simple fix which is to divide available freight by the jump distance to destination.

Although even this rules change doesn't make a J6 freighter truly uneconomic to run as that Mora-Palique run will still generate an average of 157 tons of J6 freight and Cr13.6 million per trip and the rules as written already have a J6 transport (the type TJ from the Aramis Adventure) which at least under MGT 1 rules will cost you only Cr4.6m per month in mortgage payments and has nearly twice that much cargo space.

So generate your characters, take them to Mora with a business plan for your J6 luxury freight service between Mora and Palique and based on the RAW the banks will fall over themselves to finance your ship...
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby phavoc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:42 pm

... and once the players arrive at Mora they find the J6 route already locked up. In their haste to get work they offer a lower bid to take on the traffic, thus setting up a war to the bottom in rates. Sounds like reality! :)

This is an unintended consequence of all game economic systems - they don't really model economics well. If this was possible every Tom, Dick and hairy Aslan would retire millionaires after running a couple of runs.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:19 pm

The original trading rules in CT were for a 200t to 400t trader to just about make ends meet. To get rich they would have to build up enough of a stake to start carrying speculative trade rather than freight.

People tried to extrapolate that to the economic model of the whole Imperium.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby RogerMc » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:34 am

Except even under the original trading rules you could get rich very quickly even if you had quite a small stake to start trading with.

And original little blacks and early supplements only Traveller was also such a small ship universe that a 1,250 ton Kinunir was a battle cruiser and a 5,000 ton transport would get called a Leviathan and I think this was the key to how the original rules were scaled.

A Merchant Prince in early CT would have been someone who ended up with a small fleet of type As, A2s and R's and could contemplate building or buying a type M - and the rules will support that.

And as for MGT2 while the J6 freight cost is at least in my view broken excepting that glitch you really won't prosper from hauling freight and passengers if your ship is that much bigger than a type M as available freight and passengers do cap out.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby Condottiere » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:38 pm

1. Major stress for airframes are landing and taking off; submarines would be diving at depth.

2. Unless freight charges (and passenger rates) are fixed by a cartel and/or external entity, you should be in the middle of a price war.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby Sigtrygg » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:41 pm

Within the Third Imperium setting the pricing is indeed fixed - by the megacorporations.

They operate the merchant shipping that travels the established tradelanes carrying passengers, 'freight', and 'speculative goods'.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby steve98052 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:24 pm

phavoc wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:45 pm
. . .
Retiring a ship is a complex question. Just like airliners you look at the overall costs and operating costs. There is no depreciation for naval vessels. Depreciation is a private-sector tax issue, and no government pays taxes on vessels. . . .
Depreciation applies to private sector and government. The difference is that the accounting is handled differently. Private owners of property that is subject to wear and tear -- anything except land, including structures built on land -- receive tax recognition for wear and tear according to rules defined by law and regulations. But in government, depreciation is recognized in a mix of pragmatic observation of wear and tear (mileage on tanks, flight hours and pressurization cycles on aircraft, machinery hours and obsolescence in naval vessels, etc.) and politics (one political faction wants to bring jobs to a repair shipyard, another wants to build new aircraft, yet another wants to cut costs by deferring maintenance, another wants to cut costs by eliminating overcapacity, and some just want to build stuff to boast about strength). But the pragmatic side of government maintenance works a lot like private depreciation.
. . .
Even a pair of high-pop, industrialized worlds would be hard-pressed to regularly keep a J-6 freighter running. The cost is simply too high for any average good.
. . .
The one commodity truly worth urgency at any cost is data. And megacorporations will grab that market to sell the data, or for their own advantage. But a mid-sized merchant line could use data to find a niche in tramp freight, possibly enough to justify the high cost of a few tiny packet ships, which tell what world pairs have profitable disparities in shipping volumes that megacorporations are not nimble enough to exploit.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby phavoc » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:15 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:24 pm
phavoc wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:45 pm
. . .
Retiring a ship is a complex question. Just like airliners you look at the overall costs and operating costs. There is no depreciation for naval vessels. Depreciation is a private-sector tax issue, and no government pays taxes on vessels. . . .
Depreciation applies to private sector and government. The difference is that the accounting is handled differently. Private owners of property that is subject to wear and tear -- anything except land, including structures built on land -- receive tax recognition for wear and tear according to rules defined by law and regulations. But in government, depreciation is recognized in a mix of pragmatic observation of wear and tear (mileage on tanks, flight hours and pressurization cycles on aircraft, machinery hours and obsolescence in naval vessels, etc.) and politics (one political faction wants to bring jobs to a repair shipyard, another wants to build new aircraft, yet another wants to cut costs by deferring maintenance, another wants to cut costs by eliminating overcapacity, and some just want to build stuff to boast about strength). But the pragmatic side of government maintenance works a lot like private depreciation.
Depreciation itself (as a definition) is related to value. I was referring to the IRS defintion - Depreciation is an income tax deduction that allows a taxpayer to recover the cost or other basis of certain property. It is an annual allowance for the wear and tear, deterioration, or obsolescence of the property. Most types of tangible property (except, land), such as buildings, machinery, vehicles, furniture, and equipment are depreciable. Likewise, certain intangible property, such as patents, copyrights, and computer software is depreciable. And yes, paying off a naval vessel is a complex question. Opportunity costs are just one of the many ideas that relate to paying off a naval vessel. But for that sort of cost, depreciation has no relationship since it's related specifically to taxes (at least in this particular case).
steve98052 wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:24 pm
phavoc wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:45 pm
. . .
Even a pair of high-pop, industrialized worlds would be hard-pressed to regularly keep a J-6 freighter running. The cost is simply too high for any average good.
. . .
The one commodity truly worth urgency at any cost is data. And megacorporations will grab that market to sell the data, or for their own advantage. But a mid-sized merchant line could use data to find a niche in tramp freight, possibly enough to justify the high cost of a few tiny packet ships, which tell what world pairs have profitable disparities in shipping volumes that megacorporations are not nimble enough to exploit.
That's true. Information is very valuable. The X-boat network would be the one to distribute information between worlds. One might be able to profit in the market based on information from a planet 6 parsecs away, but the opportunities would be few. Megacorp stocks would have to be traded at an Imperial-wide level (I haven't a clue how'd they balance all the markets from Capitol to Spinward Marches/Solmani Rim). Local companies might be affected if they traded that far away, but the opportunities would be relatively small. Disasters or other wide-ranging changes could generate a possible market for specific widgets and sprockets (based on future predicted scarcity). I don't think there's any question about there could be opportunities. But I think the best model for this would be looking back in history and at old-world actions affecting the new world, before the advent of under-ocean telegraph cables. However, because of the long delay in getting a letter across the Atlantic, changes in Europe really didn't have a wholesale effect on commerce in the US because the markets were independent of one another. Two planets 6 parsecs distant would be trading, but because of the high cost of transport, bulk goods are more or less out of the picture - at least with as little of the economic model available. There are source books out there that talk of worlds being the breadbasket for the subsector, though the cost of transport doesn't quite make this a reality, especially for far-distant worlds.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby Condottiere » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:02 pm

Maintenance costs are virtually non existent, and technology changes are more of a matter having access to the requisite industrial base. Depreciation and obsolescence are more of a rounding error.

Equipment degradation isn't mentioned, presumably that's corrected by regular maintenance.

Technological level ten hulls are self sealing, but not self repairing. That could be a job for Artoo Detoo.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby steve98052 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:54 pm

phavoc wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:15 pm
steve98052 wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:24 pm
Depreciation applies to private sector and government. The difference is that the accounting is handled differently. . . . But the pragmatic side of government maintenance works a lot like private depreciation.
Depreciation itself (as a definition) is related to value. I was referring to the IRS defintion - [. . .] But for that sort of cost, depreciation has no relationship since it's related specifically to taxes (at least in this particular case).
The US tax law meaning is just a small piece of the overall idea. Even withinthe US, there's also an accounting meaning, distinct from tax accounting in some ways too complicated for meto have the patience to understand. (I've done tax depreciation though, and it's complicated enough.)

In the Imperium, or other empire, things like business depreciation might apply, in situations like the imperial government applying accountingrules to member worlds for purposes of measuring whether local auxiliary forcesare contributing their share to the greater empire.

Additionally, any government could apply accounting rules to its own operations. A present day school district might use depreciation rules in its long-term budgeting, for example, using depreciation tables to model the effects of wear and tear on buildings and equipment, or even things like books.

Likewise, a starport might depreciate its highport like a ship, and its downport like real estate improvements, whether it is a privatized operation, a local government operation, or an imperial property.
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Re: Dichotomy of maintenance

Postby phavoc » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:17 pm

Getting back to the idea of maintenance, the USAF is facing a bit of a pickle itself. There is a severe lack of spares in the system. A pilot of an F-35 broke the plastic clip that holds his mask to his helmet. He requested a spare but was told it would be weeks, if not longer before a clip would be available. Another pilot was out for 2 months and he proposed swapping the clip from the other pilot's helmet for his. This was denied since it was against regulations. Undeterred he escalated the issue up through the chain and someone at the Pentagon responded with a temporary exception. Within 24hrs he was flying again.

Never underestimate the regs and an inadequate supply system.

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