Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

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silburnl
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Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby silburnl » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:34 pm

Per HG p47, when fitting out the engineering space for your new ship design you can take the budget option on a power plant for a 25% discount in price but you also need to take a disadvantage to justify the lower price on the kit you've installed.

The disadvantages for power plants, are either 'energy inefficient' (25% fewer power points) or 'increased size' (25% more tonnage required). But power plants are priced per ton and generate power points per ton so if you take increased size you lose most of the 'budget' discount paying for the additional tonnage imposed by the disad, whereas if you take 'energy inefficient' then you need to spec additional tonnage of PP to cover the shortfall in power output - larger tonnage = increased cost and again you've lost most of your budget discount.

I guess that's why ships still follow the 'jump dimming' custom - they might say it's a spacer tradition, but actually head office specc'ed an energy inefficient budget power plant that can't handle the draw...

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Luke
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Welf
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Welf » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:59 pm

I believe increased size means:

You want to buy a plant generating 150 Power. A TL 12 Fusion Power Plant will normally do that for 10 tons and cost you 10 MCr.

Now you take increased size, reducing the cost by 25% to 7.5 MCr.
As a result your Power Plant will be 12.5 dtons.

The bigger Power Plant still generates 150 Power, has a size of 12.5 dtons and costs you 7.5 MCr (20 points of power per MCr, but only 12.5 power per dton).
Old School
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Old School » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:10 pm

I use Welf’s interpretation, but I know others with closer ties to the publisher have argued otherwise.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:51 pm

Cost is based on current size, so Siburnl is correct: it makes little sense to use a Budget PP.

The real budget choice is to use a TL8 PP, but it costs a bit of tonnage.

You can also use a High Efficiency Battery to power the jump drive, using a smaller PP to charge the battery over several rounds.
Welf
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Welf » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:02 pm

Okay after comparing the possibilities I would agree that the 25% size increase goes with an increased base price. Otherwise the 25% bigger size option would always be more useful.

Using 10 dtons of TL 12 PP as an example:

25% size increase with increased cost:
size: 10 dtons * 1.25 -> 12.5 dtons
base cost: 12.5 MCr
actual cost: 12.5 MCr * 0.75 = 9,375 MCr
power: 150
power per dton = 12
power per MCr = 16


25% size increase without increased cost:
size: 10 dtons * 1.25 -> 12.5 dtons
base cost: 10 MCr
actual cost: 10 MCr * 0.75 = 7,5 MCr
power: 150
power per dton = 12
power per MCr = 20


25% less efficient:
size: 10 dtons
base cost: 10 MCr
actual cost: 10 MCr * 0,75 = 7,5 MCr
power: 150 * 0,75 = 112,5
power per dton = 11,25
power per MCr = 20


So in the end those options grant you more power per Credit. If you are on a budget you can use one of those options but need to shut down systems depending on the situation.

The TL 8 PP generates:
power per dton = 10
power per MCr = 20


And is therefore less efficient than the TL12 PP with 25% less efficiency.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:21 pm

By default (unless you house rule it) drive cost is based on actual size, not base size, as confirmed by the author:
AndrewW wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:49 pm
Yes, reduced size drives can be cheaper. It is based on the tonnage of the drive, not what it would have been without the size reduction.
See the System Defence Boat (HG, p142) for an example of a Budget power plant with Size Increased.


So, a TL-12 power plant of 150 Power:
Base: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 10.0 Dt, MCr 10 _ (=10 Dt × MCr 1)
Budget, Energy Inefficient: _ _13.3 Dt, MCr 10 _ (=13.33 Dt × MCr 1 × 75%)
Budget, Increased Size: _ _ _ _12.5 Dt, MCr _9.375 _ (=12.5 Dt × MCr 1 × 75%)

TL-8, Power 150:
Base: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _15.0 Dt, MCr 7.5 _ (=15 Dt × MCr 0.5)
Reduced Size × 3: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 10.5 Dt, MCr 7.875 _ (=10.5 Dt × MCr 0.5 × 150%)
Old School
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Old School » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:27 pm

When the actual rules don’t make sense, house rule it!
baithammer
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby baithammer » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:58 am

Budget power plant has the advantage of being one tech level lower so can be built and maintained with lower tech level yards.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:20 am

baithammer wrote: Budget power plant has the advantage of being one tech level lower ...
No, Budget systems are available at the same TL as the base system, see table HG p48.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:21 pm

It's a shame that we don't see such a huge variety in equipment price and quality in rulesets like this.

I was looking at electric generators the other day, and for the same specification prices of new units varied from 150 to 600. Physical size, fuel usage, noise level, stability of output power (for the ones I could find data for - it's hard to measure), and weight was within 10%.

What's the actual difference? I don't know, and I understand engines and electricity. Because one unit was branded, one assumes that it might be more reliable and easier to find repair parts and schematics for, but ... ?

edit: In a game I'd rule that one had a negative DM to repair rolls, something like this on a power plant might be worth a good fraction of the price of a starship, since if it break's you're late for your mission or you die.
Old School
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Old School » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:33 pm

Eh, Traveller has enough accounting in it already without turning it into a trip to Home Depot.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:14 pm

Having covered this territory earlier this year, my opinion and approach for my designs is the wargaming one, in that when it comes to these design mechanics I'd follow official errata and rulings, despite disagreeing with the logic of the ruling.

Despite the times I advise house ruling something, I'd only personally would do so in the role playing aspects of the game, or if the design mechanics don't cover the issue.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby phavoc » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:51 pm

Generally speaking I don't bother with budget or improved or whatever type of equipment unless I'm trying to create something with a clear differentiation that has meaning behind it. If I specced out a trading ship and I had the Ohm & Voss power plant, which is know for building cheaper and less efficient ones, then I'd like to use the rule. But if it only appeared as a line-item on the ship worksheet, then nah, it's not worth it.

If you are building a min/max design, as some players are likely to do, you'll quickly find that these designs start bearing fewer and fewer resemblances to the "common" designs found in the books. While it can be a nice thing to have alternative design rules to allow multiple flavors in a game, it can also get abused.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby GenericSuperhero » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:12 am

Old School wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:33 pm
Eh, Traveller has enough accounting in it already without turning it into a trip to Home Depot.
^ This. ^
Unless specifically needed, I'd stick with standard versions.
Players want to have unique custom build fancy spaceship? Ok, let'em have it within ruleset. Rest of the galaxy (maaaaybe with a an exception or two for special entities) fly standards.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:15 am

It's a lot easier to brand equipment within a narrow band of technological levels to flavour campaigns and settings.

Corporations and militaries can customize generic technology to obtain some form of competitive advantage or overcome certain shortcomings.

It makes commercial and military sense to figure out the best bang for buck.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:41 am

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:15 am
It's a lot easier to brand equipment within a narrow band of technological levels to flavour campaigns and settings.

Corporations and militaries can customize generic technology to obtain some form of competitive advantage or overcome certain shortcomings.

It makes commercial and military sense to figure out the best bang for buck.
For military, COTS (commerical off the shelf) offers cost savings but creates problems with obsolescence and security.

Using Home Depot generators is easy and cheap while they're still available, but one day they'll stop making or carrying that product and then you have a repair problem. Or maybe they were made abroad in a factory controlled by people that don't like you. COTS is a very big talking point for military electronics right now - primary for embedded chips (the computers that are built into vehicles etc), and also for mobile apps.

I've noticed with engines that defense tends to contract with the engine manufacturer for a militarised version of a civilian engine. Which is the basically the same engine except that it's allowed to ignore noise and pollution regulations, and therefore gets more power, and it's OK if it needs maintenance every 7 days because Pvt Smith will do it instead of asking for a refund, so they can sometimes make a cost saving in some parts of the design.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:38 pm

Generators may be specific to their intended use and workload, or combined to take advantage their best performance envelopes.

You can have one generator that's always on, that's fuel efficient but takes forever to get started, and another one that can light up in an instant to power a sudden sprint, but drinks gas like a hog.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Linwood » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:03 am

Turbines at coal-fired power plants can take as long as 8 hrs to come up to speed. Industrial brazing furnaces often take a week to get the atmosphere right from a cold starter. “Peaker” power plants come online in 30 minutes.

It all depends on what you’re trying to do and what you’re working with.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby phavoc » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:36 am

It's not really a fair comparison between the smaller generators and industrial-sized ones. Small generators face a different set of issues and challenges than far larger ones. Just like peaker power plants aren't built like base-load ones because their function is to run for short periods, not many months at a time with no downtime. The consequences of scaling will vary depending on what you are scaling and what your options are by doing so.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:08 am

Linwood wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:03 am
Turbines at coal-fired power plants can take as long as 8 hrs to come up to speed. Industrial brazing furnaces often take a week to get the atmosphere right from a cold starter. “Peaker” power plants come online in 30 minutes.

It all depends on what you’re trying to do and what you’re working with.
Technically, none of those are generators. The closest would be a generator set, which is a generator linked to a turbine or engine.

I suppose I should have said I was shopping for a petrol genset but they call them generators at that size and price point. Once you get into industrial and heavy duty commerical, it's not the same.

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