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

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

Postby Pyromancer » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:52 pm

I just looked in CT book 2: "The following list indicates the standard starship designs which most starports can produce using plans on file and available free of charge." But this "free of charge" seems to refer to the 1% fee for the naval architect, and not to the 10% discount for standard designs. So I misremembered that...
Old School
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Old School » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:48 pm

So here's my question:

If you were re-designing the classic OTU ships we all know and love using Mongoose 2 rules, and NOT under orders to keep the designs as consistent as possible with prior versions and with T5, what design paradigms would you use?

- Would you keep to the 6G max for ships >=100 tons, as the designs do but Mongoose Rules do not? (within the OTU, I would stick to 6g)

- what turret weapon systems would you allow, disallow, or change? e.g. MgT2 allows for fusion guns in turrets, and I think at least one ship design uses them. Let 'em in (balance issues), throw them all out (disallows a current design), limit them to single turret only? (wasn't this the rule somewhere along the way?)

- Missiles: classic designs are big on missile bays. When a ship has hardpoints to spare, however, missile barbettes (and even triple turrets) are far superior. Do you disallow the missile barbette, or increase the firing capacity of bays? do you redesign the ship around the new rules, or just leave what is obviously an inferior design in the current ruleset?

-How much technology do you allow? biggest example is relatively low tech weapons that can easily and cheaply be shrunk (missile and torpedo bays), or have range extended (lasers). A ship with these relatively inexpensive improvements will have a large advantage over one that does not. A small ship with equal or greater thrust that has extra range on its lasers vs. an otherwise equivalent ship that does not is invincible.

- do you fix the power issues inherent in some of the designs? For example: the broadsword mercenary transport has enough power to fire all 8 triple turrets with lasers, use all systems, and full acceleration, with 212 of its 750 power to spare. Put missiles in a couple of those turrets, and you can have full 3G of maneuver and all weapons while in jump. (I would absolutely change those power plants).
Reynard
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Reynard » Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:14 am

I already mess with the 1e and 2e versions of ships. CT and 1e ships go through some major changes with 2e so I keep it as close to the original design as possible then fill the gaps with what would be logical and keeping to the spirit of the designs. Anything after that is a customization of a standard design and not eligible for the discount unless you purchase the stock model but then perform after market modifications at full prices.


My corsair is way different, logical and workable at a slightly higher price.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:40 pm

Old School wrote: - Would you keep to the 6G max for ships >=100 tons, ...
In general I would use the new system fully. So I would use 9 g if I considered it advantageous.

Old School wrote: - what turret weapon systems would you allow, disallow, or change?
Use the new system. I have never been wedded to a particular turret configuration for any ship, turrets are easily changeable.

Old School wrote: - Missiles: classic designs are big on missile bays.
For a good reason, in the HG system. I might keep the spinal primary + missile secondary armament paradigm, but not the individual launchers.
Note: Bays are an effective use of hardpoints, Fixed Mount launchers are an effective use of space. The combination is generally more efficient than barbettes.

Old School wrote: -How much technology do you allow?
All. A TL-15 ship should be vastly superior to a TL-12 ship.

Old School wrote: - do you fix the power issues inherent in some of the designs?
Basically all default designs are inefficient, and have always been (except small LBB2 designs). Let the players design better ships for themselves, if they care.

Warships are so comically bad that I have used better designs since the 80's, possibly with the artwork and story of the official designs.
Condottiere
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Condottiere » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:51 pm

Optimize the designs, whether for efficiency, budget or for warships, to fulfill a specific or series of roles, if not to counter a specific threat.
Baldo
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Baldo » Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:58 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:40 pm
Old School wrote: - do you fix the power issues inherent in some of the designs?
Basically all default designs are inefficient, and have always been (except small LBB2 designs).
A thing bugging me: why nobody uses High Efficiency Batteries (High Guard, p. 37)? Every ship with a Jump Drive would benefit from those! You enter jumpspace/hyperspace/whatever with your battery power and recharge those same batteries with "excess Power not being used by other systems" while in jumpspace. Or am I missing something?
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:47 pm

Baldo wrote: A thing bugging me: why nobody uses High Efficiency Batteries (High Guard, p. 37)?
Batteries are not a long term solution. In 1 Dt you can store 1 turns worth of 60 Power. That is 60 Power for 1 turn or 1 Power for 60 turns, or anything in between.

So 1 Dt battery can give 1 Power for 6 hours. 4 Dt gives 1 Power for a day. 28 Dt gives 1 Power for a week.

A Scout needs about 40 Power. To power the Scout for a week would take 40 × 28 = 1120 Dt batteries...


Batteries are excellent to accumulate low Power for some time to give high Power for a short spike, e.g. to power a jump drive.
Baldo
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Baldo » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:15 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:47 pm
Batteries are excellent to accumulate low Power for some time to give high Power for a short spike, e.g. to power a jump drive.
Yeah, I had this on mind, can't believe only the Express Boat uses batteries for the Jump drive.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:37 pm

I think the basic idea is to give ships power enough for both M-Drive and J-Drive at the same time, so that ships have some power reserve for e.g. weapons or other ideas the players may have.
Reynard
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Reynard » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:50 am

The Express Boat is charged by an external source. It's a slave to the tender. That's a big cost for a specific advantage.

I've used batteries as a backup for certain systems such as weapons when there's a chance they could lose access in battle. Allows you to keep fighting until things change.

My automated defense platform normally uses solar panels for everyday power including keeping the batteries topped off. When shooting is imminent, they fold the panels behind armor and go on batteries until the battle is resolved one way or another. The space saved without a power plant and fuel means decent battery capacity.
baithammer
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby baithammer » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:14 am

If using 9g thrust for ships, you should adjust thrust for missiles / torpedoes.
Condottiere
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Condottiere » Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:45 am

For that you need to be able to customize ordnance.

You can use batteries on a starship, as better of a wider energy ecosystem, and power conservation plan, that would probably consist of shutting off power to unused sections, solar panelling, and minimal sized fission or fusion generators.
steve98052
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby steve98052 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:35 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.
. . .
Exactly. I think Boeing spent something like five billion dollars designing the latest version of the 737, and that's an adaptation of their best-selling airplane going back decades. Yet they sell for a few tens of millions each. If they sell a thousand of the new version, that's five million each in amortized design cost, on top of whatever it costs to build them.

Although high-technology design tools reduce design and development costs somewhat, engineers (in the design sense, as opposed to the shipboard job category) are educated professionals who will always be expensive, particularly compared to manufacturing that's heavily automated.

The economic law known as Baumol's cost disease says that as technology, people like design engineers, software developers, teachers, medical professionals, and (per the original formulation of Baumol's) live performance musicians will all become more expensive to employ relative to manufactured goods, because robots are cheap.

Taken to the extreme, at a Star Trek level of technology, almost all of the cost of the Enterprise would be design. Repairs would become extremely expensive, to the point that if the ship is significantly damaged, the best thing to do is repair it just enough to return to the shipyard, and if the damage is more than minimal, just build a new one and have everyone move their personal effects from the old ship to the duplicate.
Condottiere
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Re: Standard vs. custom design: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:10 pm

If you take the Boeing example of a forty year old design, though at various times modernized, the advantage of it's widespread use are standardized parts, and aircraft handling and pilot training.

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