Ship Design Philosophy

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
locarno24
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby locarno24 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:00 am

I think the idea is something akin to the hyperdrive sled from Star Wars - the thing that jedi fighters latch onto for jumps.

As a minimum, such a 'jump sled' would need:

- Drone Command Suite, non-combat remote operations only, replacing 1 Engineer (1.5 dTons)
- Jump-A j-drive (10 dTons, 10 MCr)
- Fusion-A reactor (4 dTons, 8 MCr)
- Fuel for Jump-1 for a 100 dTon ship (10 dTons)
- Fuel for the reactor for 1 week (1 dTon)
- A docking clamp able to hold a 40+ dTon small craft (5 dTons, 1 MCr)
- A Model/1 (bis) computer running Jump Control/2 (no volume, 0.245 MCr)

That's 31.5 dTons - so up it to 40 dTons - an s4 class hull - and you've got 8.5 dTons to spend on ancillary systems like a little station-keeping drive, beacon, etc, or an internal fuel processor and scoops. Theoretically, 5 dTons for aerofins, 1 dTon of fuel processors and fuel scoops makes for a capability to perform refuelling dives whilst attached to the sled, allowing you to bounce through uninhabited systems

For just over 21 MCr, that gives 60 dTon medium-weight small-craft strategic mobility, although I'm not sure the crews would be wild about spending a week at a time in the cockpit - you'd need to ensure the small craft has life support and fuel for operations for that length of time....
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: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:55 am

Starships: Jump Sled

Okay, if I misinterpreted that, let me have another go:

The minimum hardware that we need for a clean transition would be:

1. Hundred tonnes of volume

2. Cramped bridge at seven point five tonnes.

3. Ship computer, inherent.

4. Jump drive, smallest legal aA, ten tonnes at tech level nine, seven point five at tech level twelve, fourteen of fifteen, depending on your interpretation

5. Power plant aA, four tonnes at tech level eleven, three tonnes at tech level fifteen

6. Drone pilot won't care about the cramped bridge, and you could discard the one tonne air lock and the one tonne ship's locker, assuming they were not scaled in the cramping

7. Ten tonnes of jump fuel, and you should have two weeks of power plant fuel, just in case, for warming up and the possibility of an extended stay in hyperspace

8. Docking clamp could be a single five tonner, or three one tonners

9. So it could range between thirty eight point five tonnes, to thirty one tonnes at tech level fifteen
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Subzero001 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:46 pm

thanks for the reply's.

I based my ideas off this " http://www.clockworksky.net/rp_travelle ... ughts.html " website :mrgreen:

for instance if I had barges with maneuver in-system drive etc for the trade items, the jump drop drives to jump, after the use it drops off and ballistics moves to a recovery and reuses area say near a gas giant with a flicker gas refinery from viewtopic.php?t=40371 to renew and prep for next use.

thx again...
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:34 pm

Drop Drives
TL 9 and above

An extension of the Drop Tank concept in which not just the fuel is external to the starship, but also parts of the Jump Drive. In particular, the Jump Drive fusion reactor is external to the ship, though the rest of the Jump Drive remains part of the ship. The external reactor is connected to the starship and charges the Jump Drive energy storage crystals before disconnecting, at which point the starship can jump. This is similar to the way drop tanks are used to charge the Jump Drive and are then dropped.

Because of how they work, this type of Jump Drive is also known as a 'Dump Drive'. As for ships that depend entirely on drop tanks, Drop Drive ships are very dependent on the presence of infrastructure to provide the energy they need to Jump, even more so than Drop Tank-dependant ships as they, at least, can use fuel bladders if required.

On the other hand, large concerns such as Megacorporations might like them because they allow a much higher utilisation of the expensive Jump Drive reactors than the less than once a week usage of the built-in type. This may be more of a factor than a saving on cargo space, as for a Far Trader-sized ship only a few kl of cargo space may be gained by using this approach.

Of course, because they are used much more frequently drop drives require more maintenance than the normal Jump Drive reactors, but given that they are likely to be located in stable, well-developed systems this may not be considered a problem.

The only potential problem with Drop Drives is the need to move the ship more than 100 diameters from the Drop Drive reactor before it goes into Jumpspace. Given that zuchai crystals can hold charge for at least two hours before starting to degrade this should not be an issue.


Maybe a jump grid, if all the jump drive has to do is punch a hole into hyperspace, and whatever residual energy charge just circulate in the grid, boosted by the power plant.

But I think that the jump drive is something that you actually want to take along.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:31 pm

Spaceships: Torpedo- And Dive-Bomber Concept

While torpedo-bombers seem a rather quaint term for the torpedo boat, it suits the Solomani view of a more dynamic focus on smallcraft carriers playing a more decisive factor in naval battles.

The Solomani also introduce a new smallcraft subvariant they term dive-bombers. The primary difference between torpedo- and dive-bombers is the variant of ordnance they carry, and the range that they release it.

While I don't see any stated acceleration on torpedoes, but I'll presume it's ten gees, which will provide a clean release from the torpedo-bomber, at the range of it's choosing.

Ortillery torpedoes do have the same speed as multi-warhead missiles, which is eight gees. Since they have to be released within close or adjacent range, dive-bombers tend to have an approach speed as fast as possible, meaning that it would be somewhat higher than eight gees. That might create problems with a normal release, as the torpedo would be travelling slower than the dive-bomber, so the bomb release is angled slightly away from the direction of approach, thus the appearance of the ortillery torpedo falling into it's target, while the craft pulls away.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby wbnc » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:57 pm

    Condottiere wrote:Spaceships: Torpedo- And Dive-Bomber Concept

    While torpedo-bombers seem a rather quaint term for the torpedo boat, it suits the Solomani view of a more dynamic focus on smallcraft carriers playing a more decisive factor in naval battles.

    The Solomani also introduce a new smallcraft subvariant they term dive-bombers. The primary difference between torpedo- and dive-bombers is the variant of ordnance they carry, and the range that they release it.

    While I don't see any stated acceleration on torpedoes, but I'll presume it's ten gees, which will provide a clean release from the torpedo-bomber, at the range of it's choosing.

    Ortillery torpedoes do have the same speed as multi-warhead missiles, which is eight gees. Since they have to be released within close or adjacent range, dive-bombers tend to have an approach speed as fast as possible, meaning that it would be somewhat higher than eight gees. That might create problems with a normal release, as the torpedo would be travelling slower than the dive-bomber, so the bomb release is angled slightly away from the direction of approach, thus the appearance of the ortillery torpedo falling into it's target, while the craft pulls away.
    Bombers are something missing from most Traveller sources. Small craft are a bit of a love/hate relationship for me in general. hey really ad to a game when you have them. But they are neither starships or vehicles so you have to do some foot work to get them to work properly in a survivable way against starships, and keep them from being overpowered against vehicles and structures.
    I've been working on a 100 Dton Jump bomber, which is tricky to pack any effective firepower into such a small starship. A single 5 ton bay, or barbette ( High guard rules) Make it a bit more effective than a triple turret....but it leave no room for defensive lasers and sand casters.
    The primary advantage of small craft fighters and bombers is you can group them together into groups and mass tier firepower...( treat as a barrage)
    I don't remember the exact rules off the top of my head but grouping small craft gives them a bit more sting for their size.
    Of course once again you have to give up offensive firepower to mount defensive weapons...
    However if you are going against ground targets you can use a sandcaster to attack with. It's pointless against starships with any sort of armor but it can do some significant damage to vehicles and ground troops.
    • Nomal Sand: 1 pt damage vs starships ( 50pts versus vehicle, 8d6 vs personnel)
    • Pebble Sand: 1d3 pt damage vs starships ( 50-150 pts versus vehicle, 8d6 vs personnel)
    A pebble barrel might as well be a cluster bomb when used against ground targets. of course you have to close to adjacent range band to use it but if your using a small craft or small starship for ground support you are in adjacent range when you enter the atmosphere.
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    Re: Ship Design Philosophy

    Postby AndrewW » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:58 pm

    wbnc wrote:
      Bombers are something missing from most Traveller sources. Small craft are a bit of a love/hate relationship for me in general. hey really ad to a game when you have them. But they are neither starships or vehicles so you have to do some foot work to get them to work properly in a survivable way against starships, and keep them from being overpowered against vehicles and structures.
      There is a small craft in Supplement 10: Merchants and Cruisers designed for a ground support roll.
      wbnc wrote:I've been working on a 100 Dton Jump bomber, which is tricky to pack any effective firepower into such a small starship. A single 5 ton bay, or barbette ( High guard rules) Make it a bit more effective than a triple turret....but it leave no room for defensive lasers and sand casters.

      Of course once again you have to give up offensive firepower to mount defensive weapons...
      You can also mount vehicle weapons on small craft.
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      Re: Ship Design Philosophy

      Postby wbnc » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:47 pm

      AndrewW wrote:
      wbnc wrote:
        Bombers are something missing from most Traveller sources. Small craft are a bit of a love/hate relationship for me in general. hey really ad to a game when you have them. But they are neither starships or vehicles so you have to do some foot work to get them to work properly in a survivable way against starships, and keep them from being overpowered against vehicles and structures.
        There is a small craft in Supplement 10: Merchants and Cruisers designed for a ground support roll.
        wbnc wrote:I've been working on a 100 Dton Jump bomber, which is tricky to pack any effective firepower into such a small starship. A single 5 ton bay, or barbette ( High guard rules) Make it a bit more effective than a triple turret....but it leave no room for defensive lasers and sand casters.

        Of course once again you have to give up offensive firepower to mount defensive weapons...
        You can also mount vehicle weapons on small craft.
        There are nice versions to be had. No doubt. I hope that if given the chance I can add a few more to the Mix :D I added a few to the Commercial Vessel source book(*) I just finished. I love small craft in games. They add a lot of flexibility/mobility to a small party and can give them some pocket close air support in a pinch.
        (*) for full disclosure, I have a book coming out for MGT, from Mongoose ...hopefully in the next couple of months.


        I was only commenting on the amount of finesse it takes to use them in a game without them looking lackluster, or overpowered compared to starships or vehicles. Unfortunately the system wasn't ever intended or expected to be a detailed space/vehicle combat game...hmmmm is there an opportunity there ...oh sorry scheming out loud again

        And yep you can mount vehicle weapons to small craft, and if you have the Central Supply Catalog, or other sources there are some lethal rockets, bombs, and cannons to be strapped to your small craft.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Condottiere » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:30 pm

        Spaceships: Bombers

        Bomber is a sort of catch-all term. But it implies that it's a platform for delivering physical ordnance to a target. At some point it's just PT boat, an arsenal ship, or a missile destroyer or cruiser.

        In terms of doctrine, committing the smallcraft is a matter of timing.

        The rules regarding weapon slots makes it hard to have a mixed armament, and speed, which would allow you to fight your way to the target and then drop a worthwhile amount of ordnance.

        Bomber by itself conjures visions of the Flying Fortress, the Stratofortress or the Lancer, which you might assign the word heavy to, and can assume they have bays and be heavily protected.

        It could also be a Hercules dropping a daisy cutter, or some transport aircraft dumping barrel bombs out of sheer desperation.

        Medium implies to me the words tactical or attack, so fairly fast and close to the action; maybe a thirty to fifty tonne missile bay.

        Light bomber might just be a turret, one or two weapon slots, or a heavy fighter with one slot given over to physical ordnance, which would make it a fighter-bomber.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Condottiere » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:14 pm

        Spaceships: Alphabet Engines

        Exactly what tech level are they manufactured at?
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Subzero001 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:15 am

        Spaceships: Alphabet Engines

        Exactly what tech level are they manufactured at? from HG
        Jump 1 drives start at TL 9
        Jump 2 drives start at TL 11
        Jump 3 drives start at TL 12
        Jump 4 drives start at TL 13
        Jump 5 drives start at TL 14
        Jump 6 drives start at TL 15

        So the manufacturing levels I would say starting around 12 to 15 dependent on the space-station / planet TL they are built at in the Imperium? (giving the common jump 1 and 2 drives a minor price brake to the max of 30%) We have the Dariens that have access to TL16+ along with a few planets at TL16 so these high grade units would cost more but have their advantages as well if building lower tech level units for instance for price break or higher prices for smaller units. I know the scouts prefer a lower TL units in-case of malfunction or maintenance.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Subzero001 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:56 am

        Spaceships and other:

        I understand how one refines fuel to make a "higher" grade fuel than the dirty fuel started with fuel processors.

        How does one "produce" anti-hydrogen i.e. antimatter in the traveller universe? from my understanding we can create small amounts of antimatter now and if used it would create 99.9% efficiency ratio to energy.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Condottiere » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:15 am

        Spaceships: Alphabet Engines

        With alphabet jump drives, you could have a paradox: how can the same drive that is limited to jump one at one tonnage, travel six parsecs at another? Unless the drive was built with tech level fifteen technology.

        And if all alphabet jump drives are built at tech level fifteen technology, they would have to be exported from planets that have achieved tech level fifteen.

        You'd lose standardization as each planet would start building their Adventure Class alphabet jump drives varying in tech level, size and cost, and you'd have to keep notes as to their exact capability at various tonnages.

        You can't really apply the tech level discounts or adjustments if you don't know at what base level the engines are constructed at.

        As regards anti-matter fuel, I'll speculate it's refined by a process that's from a technology that's discovered at tech level sixteen, maybe the same thing that creates black globes.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Condottiere » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:53 pm

        Spaceships: Gravitational Compensation

        Since not all ships are designed to go all out, commercial ships might get a hull discount if they have lower factored gravitational compensators.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Condottiere » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:18 am

        Spaceships: Launch Facilities and Gee Forces

        When your commanding officer is angered enough to have you catapulted off his ship, you get to experience between two and four gees.

        Add that to gravitational compensation of six gees onboard modern fighters, and you'll be departing that launch tube between eight and ten gees, which will get you out of the way of the fastest battlecruiser.

        Ordinary launch facilities don't give you that extra push, which may mean the launching ship may have to slow down to accommodate the launch, and would explain partially the additional time taken for the operation, as the smallcraft revs up it's engine(s) and the blast shields are deployed.

        Of course, it depends on the direction the launching vessel is travelling and the orientation of the launch facility.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby wbnc » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:07 am

        Condottiere wrote:Spaceships: Launch Facilities and Gee Forces
        Ordinary launch facilities don't give you that extra push, which may mean the launching ship may have to slow down to accommodate the launch, and would explain partially the additional time taken for the operation, as the smallcraft revs up it's engine(s) and the blast shields are deployed.

        Of course, it depends on the direction the launching vessel is travelling and the orientation of the launch facility.
        Reminds me of the launch tubes on the Battlestar Galactica. they fired the fighters out the side of the ship which allowed them to launch large numbers of fighters in short order but it also fired the fighter out of the way of the ship.

        Trivia ( related to discussion)
        The problem of a "cold shot" used to be a major hazzard for carriers. in short a malfunction of the catapult fired the fighter just barely hard enough for it to clear the flight deck, and hit the water just ahead of the ship.
        Resulting in a very small fighter getting ran over by a very large carrier...Bambi, meet Godzilla....
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Condottiere » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:57 pm

        Technically speaking, the ordinary launch facility would need a hot shot, the launch tube would throw you out before you hit the afterburners, so that might be considered a cold shot.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Condottiere » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:11 am

        Spaceships: Alphabet Drives


        Alphabet Fusion Power Plants

        Base technical level is eleven


        Alphabet Grav Drives

        Base technical level seems to vary between eight and nine, the safe number would be nine


        Alphabet Reaction Drives

        Base technical level is seven


        Alphabet Jump Drives

        Nine seems too low, fifteen would be the safe number, but too high, and while twelve is a nice compromise, doesn't really explain how those drives can still transition four, five and six parsecs in small enough hulls; unless you subcategorize as to exactly under what technical process/level each drives was manufactured at, which caps actual performance
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby Condottiere » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:50 pm

        Spaceships: Armaments

        Tractor and pressor beams are just focussed gravitation, artificial gravitation field in the case for tractor beams, that makes targets fall towards it, and gravitational thrust for pressor beams, which should make them available at tech level nine.
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        Re: Ship Design Philosophy

        Postby F33D » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:31 pm

        Condottiere wrote:Spaceships: Armaments

        Tractor and pressor beams are just focussed gravitation, artificial gravitation field in the case for tractor beams, that makes targets fall towards it, and gravitational thrust for pressor beams, which should make them available at tech level nine.

        Gravity is caused by a curvature of space. "pressor beams" would require creating a space curvature BEHIND the target. There is no "gravitational thrust" as you envision.

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