Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
paltrysum
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Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby paltrysum » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:48 pm

Using a standard design gives a 10% discount on a starship. Where do you draw the line in your campaign? For example, does the Lancer-class corvette in "Last Flight of the Amuar" get the 10% discount for using the Beowulf design? If someone takes a basic, existing design (e.g., a Gazelle, Broadsword, Suleiman) but modifies it, possibly adding enhanced drives, removing a ship's vehicle, installing more powerful weapons, etc., do they get the discount?
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Old School » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:20 pm

If they can take the basic deckplan and show how they make it work in a reasonable fashion, yes. For example, if the drives and/or power can be easily expanding byshrinking the adjacent cargo bay, thats easy. Swapping out other interals for staterooms is another easy example. I would expect this kind of internal customization of a popular hull design to be fairly common. Perhaps not give the full 10% depending on how much things are changed. You could go a little crazy with the calculations and charge a design fee on just the customized sections.

If your travellers wants a customized broadsword, are they really the first ever to want s jump-2 broadsword that can carry more troops? I doubt it.

One thing I wouldnt allow is extra armor. That shrinks the deckplan all the way around, which means it changes the ship entirely, and is no longer a stock design.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:46 pm

Trillion Credit Squadron is your friend:
MgT1 TCS, p8 wrote:In order to remain part of the same class of vessel while creating a new batch of vessels, there are only a limited number of ways in which the subsequent vessels can differ from the original. The power plant, manoeuvre drive, jump drive, armour and hull configuration may not change. There may be no change in the number or size of bays, although a new batch may change their contents. The size of a spinal mount and launch facilities (such as launch tubes) may not increase but they can be decreased. Any other components such as fuel tankage, crew quarters and command facilities may be modified. Any further alteration beyond these allowances, such as an increase in the size of the jump drives, creates a new class of ship rather than creating a new batch within a class.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Reynard » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:07 am

A standard vessel follows the same design and is produced at those specs for all construction. Mass producing a design means a stable part supply and a specialized production procedure allowing efficiency and cost savings.

Taking that design and ordering customization or submitting an entirely new design means new architecture schematics and non-standard parts ordered outside of assembly line production. You have to find a facility with yard space it can spare for a one of a kind (or maybe several) ship. It costs a lot more both for retooling and ordering parts for a one shot.

A referee has all the right in the (Traveller) universe to draw the line and declare any design as commonly produced and available creation so it become Standard.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby locarno24 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:42 am

The TCS ruling is a good one - drives, armour, launch tubes and spinal weapons are all so key to the structural design that you can't change them without rebuilding to the point it's a different design.

Pretty much anything else is fair game. Certainly swapping weapons in a turret is fine - quite a few standard designs come with empty turrets, after all...buying some guns at the same time and expecting them fitted when you pick your ship up is entirely reasonable.


Note that you can buy a standard ship (with discount) and additional parts and then have the modification done in a yard somewhere, using the construction times and dTonnage of the removed and replaced bits to figure out how long it would take to 'unbuild' and rebuild the appropriate chunk of ship.

You'll be left with the removed drive, which you may or may not be able to turn into cash.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Bardicheart » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:45 am

I'll just +1 the TCS rule.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby baithammer » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:21 am

Or use physics, where the item upgrade needs to be the same or smaller displacement.

Anything that goes out of spec requires a redesign.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Baldo » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:46 pm
The power plant, manoeuvre drive, jump drive, armour and hull configuration may not change.
But "configuration" here does include the Hull Options (High Guard, p. 12-13) and the various Advantages and Disadvantages (p. 48-49)?
If I want an Empress Marava-class far trader with Radiation Shielding, a jump drive with Decreased Fuel x 3 and a bridge on the LEFT side of the ship (because the driver seat *must* be on the left-hand side, driving on the right-hand side is the natural way of the universe even in deep space :lol: ), I'm still getting the 10% discount for a standard design?
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby paltrysum » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:27 pm

Baldo wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm
But "configuration" here does include the Hull Options (High Guard, p. 12-13) and the various Advantages and Disadvantages (p. 48-49)?
If I want an Empress Marava-class far trader with Radiation Shielding, a jump drive with Decreased Fuel x 3 and a bridge on the LEFT side of the ship (because the driver seat *must* be on the left-hand side, driving on the right-hand side is the natural way of the universe even in deep space :lol: ), I'm still getting the 10% discount for a standard design?
Seems to me that a gracious and magnanimous referee would still grant you the 10%, perhaps exempting your advanced jump drive.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:29 pm

I would be reluctant to allow a TL-14 jump drive in a TL-12 standard design. Possibly if some manufacturer specifically makes a drop-in replacement for that standard design.

Hull options are a judgement call. Anything built into the hull, like stealth, would be a new design. Anything that is just added to the outside of the hull, like Reflec, should be OK?
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:31 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:48 pm
Using a standard design gives a 10% discount on a starship. Where do you draw the line in your campaign? For example, does the Lancer-class corvette in "Last Flight of the Amuar" get the 10% discount for using the Beowulf design? If someone takes a basic, existing design (e.g., a Gazelle, Broadsword, Suleiman) but modifies it, possibly adding enhanced drives, removing a ship's vehicle, installing more powerful weapons, etc., do they get the discount?
No. Stock ships get the discount.

But if you are assuming that ship builders are not all clones of each other in the vastness of space, then any pricing and ship design goes.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Condottiere » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:56 am

That's why we had alphabet drives and preconfigured hulls.

The Dungeon Master can demonstrate flexibility on this issue, but be subsequently consistent.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby dmclean62 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:49 pm

I think the future of manufacturing is 3D printing and, to a large extent, the whole notion of "stock" spaceships reflects the outdated thinking of the 1970s.Spacships are too expensive to be mass produced so there's no reason to be stuck with standard designs. Except folks who like to stick with designs that have been used extensively and have known performance and maintenance profiles.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Reynard » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:17 am

I'm beginning to believe 3D printing is becoming the new science fantasy of universal creation. Reminds me of creating any item, large or small and no matter how complex, using transporter technology in Star Trek.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Welf » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:43 am

I don't think 3d printing will just replace known manufacturing completely. Differrent methods have different advantages as well as disadvantages. This also applies to 3d printing. It won't be the optimal method for everything.

Spaceships are expensive but so are airplanes today. Those are mass produced but allow certain types of modifications. i expect the same for spaceships. It will always be more reasonable to have stock designs that are produced in large amounts and are therefore cheaper than custom designs.
Even if only small changes in the configuration are necessary it costs extra time to do those changes. And this means its more expensive. You only want to swap two sections of the ship that have exactly the same dimensions? Sounds easy but might result in a lot of background changes. You might need to change the whole wiring, tubings and so on that no one normaly sees because its hidden behind panels. Other changes might compromise the structural integrity and so on.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Linwood » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:32 pm

I agree with Welf. As an analogy, think of a simple metal bracket. You can certainly make a single bracket by cutting the blank out of sheet metal, drilling holes, and bending by hand. You could also 3D print the bracket in its final shape from metal (or plastic) powder; it won’t have the residual stresses induced by the metal-forming process (which could be good or bad) but otherwise would be functionally the same. The 3D process would be faster and may allow tighter control over dimensions.

But if you want to make millions of simple metal brackets 3D printing may be too slow. Let’s say your 3D printer can churn out 1 bracket every 15 seconds (which sounds optimistic to me compared to current rates...). That works out to 240 pieces per hr - roughly the lower end parts/hr rate of a CNC machining center making a relatively complex steel fitting. But with a progressive die stamping operation (including hole punching and bending in the dies) you may be able to double or triple that rate. (And that may be low - if I remember correctly the run-rates for things like aluminum soda cans are well into the thousands of parts per hr.) Capital costs could even be less than the costs to acquire enough 3D printer capacity to keep up.

So unless there’s a very specific reason to utilize 3D printing I think there will still be a place for more traditional mass production methods. Likely the supply base of manufacturers of the future would create components using a blend of such methods, depending on capabilities and costs.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Condottiere » Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:03 pm

Mass production of military/paramilitary ships/hulls, especially those using cheaper commercial specifications.

Emptied out shells of surplus military vessels.

That would be pretty standard.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Old School » Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:22 pm

For my own amusement I’m considering a redesign of every ship in MgT2 Highguard. There are too many errors, inconsistencies, and head scratching design flaws. If I ever got that done I think then i’d be more strict around what constitutes a standard design.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Pyromancer » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:25 pm

dmclean62 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:49 pm
I think the future of manufacturing is 3D printing and, to a large extent, the whole notion of "stock" spaceships reflects the outdated thinking of the 1970s.Spacships are too expensive to be mass produced so there's no reason to be stuck with standard designs. Except folks who like to stick with designs that have been used extensively and have known performance and maintenance profiles.
Standard designs aren't cheaper because they are cheaper to actually build, they are cheaper because you don't have to pay a huge team of highly qualified engineers to draw up the plans. That's even spelled out in some version of the rules, and it makes perfect sense to me.

But apart from that, as soon as you operate more than one ship (be it a military fleet or a merchant fleet), a standard design makes perfect sense. Being able to transfer crew from one ship to another, and they instantly know their way around is a huge advantage, as are stockpiles of standardized spare parts.
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby AndrewW » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:02 pm

Pyromancer wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:25 pm
Standard designs aren't cheaper because they are cheaper to actually build, they are cheaper because you don't have to pay a huge team of highly qualified engineers to draw up the plans. That's even spelled out in some version of the rules, and it makes perfect sense to me.
Book 2 Starships wrote:Naval Architecture: Small design corporations can produce design plans for any vessel type once given the details of what is desired. The design procedure is followed to determine what is available and allowed, and the results are presented to the naval architect firm. They produce a detailed set of design plans in about four weeks for a price of 1% of the final ship cost; they can be hurried to finish the job in two weeks if paid 1.5%. Once the design plans are received, the shipyard may be commissioned to produce the vessel desired.
Book 6 Scouts wrote:Naval Architect: The individual has been trained in the design of starships and small craft. Knowledge of the requirements for accurate, usable ship design plans and of the details of ship design are part of this skill. The character is capable of acting as a naval architect, subject to the level of skill attained. Naval Architect-1 is sufficient to occasionally design ships, especially for personal or group use, but generally requiring three or four times the time called for by a professional (about 16 weeks). Naval Architect-2 allows design of a ship in 10-12 weeks. Naval Architect-3 indicates a level of skill approaching professional. Naval Architect-4 + allows the individual to function as a professional naval architect.

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