Looking for Energy Armor

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Looking for Energy Armor

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:01 pm

Traveller isn't too bad, vastly better than most SciFi.

Traveller makes no attempt to explain why things work, but is pretty clear and consistent on how it works practically with detailed design systems.

Yes, spacecraft and grav vehicles can end up with more energy than expended, but so can current aircraft. The apparent paradox is because we only look at a small part of the total system. By implication gravitic drives interact with the local grav field, as aircraft interact with the air.

CT and MgT does not detail how manoeuvre and grav drives work, but MT and TNE goes into more detail. Locomotive force is applied directly to the drive plates/modules by interaction with the local gravity field. The drives do not produce a grav field that accelerates the entire ship equally, instead inertial compensators are used to produce a shirt-sleeve environment. Inertial compensators are presumably just artificial gravity in the opposite direction to the acceleration from the drives.

Acceleration is force per mass as usual, dimensioning manoeuvre drives per volume is a simplification to allow us to design ships in a simple linear process, instead of an iterative process where every trivial change to the ship changes the needed drives. TNE and I believe T4 and GT calculate acceleration by mass. MT dimension drives per volume, but calculates agility by mass.

The MT design process can easily be modified to dimension drives per mass, rather than volume, but it changes little (except for heavily armoured ships) except increasing the amount of necessary calculation, making e.g. a spreadsheet essential. I have tried it.

But nothing of this was specified in '77 when Traveller first came out.
steve98052
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Re: Looking for Energy Armor

Postby steve98052 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:04 am

Moppy wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:26 am
. . .
edit: Although I kind of think I get what you're saying. Sometimes they invent a working system but then forgot to rule on the side effects? However I think that would be very obvious if your drive was using known physics to begin with. For example if cargo mass affected acceleration i.e. it wasnt a magic engine, the rock towing problem would not exist.
Yes, the analysis of side effects is a big part of what I was referring to.

Consider the canon of Star Trek. Sometimes a piece of technology that's routine in most episodes can break the plot of a specific episode, so the episode writer invents something that disables the routine technology. For example, a plot might become trivial if a transporter is used, so in the episode some kind of ion storm puts the transporter out of operation. Then the next time a plot requires the absence of transporters, a different effect disables them.

Alternatively, a plot might require some technology that doesn't exist elsewhere in the series, but using it routinely would break lots of plots. Another transporter example is the idea of rescuing people by recalling them from oblivion through the transporter, as a deus ex machina to rescue someone from death. But that can't be routine or no mishap would risk death. So it only works that once.

And why can there be only one artificial person like Data?

In short, Star Trek technology works the way the episode needs it to, whether that's how it works in another episode or not. (But at least there's more feeling of consistency than in the Star Wars setting.)
AndrewW
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Re: Looking for Energy Armor

Postby AndrewW » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:26 am

steve98052 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:04 am
And why can there be only one artificial person like Data?
His brother doesn't count?
Moppy
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Re: Looking for Energy Armor

Postby Moppy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:39 am

steve98052 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:04 am
Moppy wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:26 am
. . .
edit: Although I kind of think I get what you're saying. Sometimes they invent a working system but then forgot to rule on the side effects? However I think that would be very obvious if your drive was using known physics to begin with. For example if cargo mass affected acceleration i.e. it wasnt a magic engine, the rock towing problem would not exist.
Yes, the analysis of side effects is a big part of what I was referring to.

Consider the canon of Star Trek. Sometimes a piece of technology that's routine in most episodes can break the plot of a specific episode, so the episode writer invents something that disables the routine technology. For example, a plot might become trivial if a transporter is used, so in the episode some kind of ion storm puts the transporter out of operation. Then the next time a plot requires the absence of transporters, a different effect disables them.

Alternatively, a plot might require some technology that doesn't exist elsewhere in the series, but using it routinely would break lots of plots. Another transporter example is the idea of rescuing people by recalling them from oblivion through the transporter, as a deus ex machina to rescue someone from death. But that can't be routine or no mishap would risk death. So it only works that once.

And why can there be only one artificial person like Data?

In short, Star Trek technology works the way the episode needs it to, whether that's how it works in another episode or not. (But at least there's more feeling of consistency than in the Star Wars setting.)
As for star trek transporters ruining episode plots, there's a little bit of that everywhere. A significant number of Traveller adventures would be trivialised by a working, enclosed, air/raft.

Personally I don't understand why transporters can't be used as cloning machines. Why can't they copy the saved pattern?

Regarding Mr Data, "always have one exception" is a general tip I see given to authors. Some of the most notable fictional characters fall into this category. It makes them special. So long as you don't overdo it and make everything too special.

Or if you meant why can't Mr Data be backed-up and digitially cloned into a new computer? In their canon, that computer is very hard to manufacture, and tempermental to work on.

Back to the real world, I've often heard people speculating on whether you can back up a sci-fi AI and preserve its personality, or whether minute differences in the hardware will cause noticable behavioral shifts. In particular if I were to purcahse two "identical" laptops and run the same program on each, the execution times would differ by small fractions of a second. (And even from run to run on the same hareware). Now who knows how timings will work in such a brain program? If you have two ideas, maybe the one that computes first wins? (edit: I assume it's obvious that if your hardware is atomically identical, you may get more consistent results - but then you have to explain why there aren't nano-machines everywhere once you have that degree of precison).

While not as directly related to hardware as the example above, these days we have to go great lengths to synchronise programs that have more than 1 computational thread, and sometimes it's just not possible to do that and maintain performance. An example is that chess engines often have no randomisation in, but might not produce the same move twice, because of uncertaincy in how the OS and hardware schedule the move analysis. It's "fixable" but you lose most of the benefit of multiple cores. (This problem might get fixed by TL 15, of course, or it might not as it's quite fundamental logic in that if B depends on the result of A, you have to do A before you do B).

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