Ship Design Philosophy

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

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:08 pm

1. Sub-10t hulls

Should be possible, may require 5% given to Reinforced Structure.


2. Compactest Capital Ship

I guess you can't game around actual physical structures with virtual values.

Assuming you have to locate the second command module in another section, where would that be in a dispersed structure? I'd stick it into the escape module.

It also brings up the question why the bridges don't match with those in the Core book, since I assume the 11 ton bridge can control a 2kT ship, with the other bridges acting as relays.

Considering Smallcraft design, that's probably three comfortable workstations and four guys standing around.


3. Compactest Bridge

Again, harking back to Smallcraft:

a. As stated, 8.25 tons
b. Probably 3 x 1.125 tons equals 3.375 tons, plus 4 x 0.5 tons, which would be just short of 5.5 tons.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:07 pm

I'll have another go at the smallest fighter possible.

1.125 ton compact cockpit (dm-1), model one computer (or an iPad), 1.2 ton sA power plant, standard electronics, apparently you don't need fire control for fixed weapons. 0.25 tons for an sA fusion rocket, and half a ton for a missile rack, you get 3.075 tons. 0.258 tons fuel, which is around 7.7% of 3.333 tons.

So you have a 3.333 ton ultra light fighter, which will require an experienced pilot (skill 1), armed with smart missiles (therefore no gunnery) and an acceleration of six gees with ten turns.

So that's 140'000 credits for the cockpit, probably 500'000 for the hull, 1'450'000 for the drives. 2'090'000 credits for a barebones fighter with six to ten missiles.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:16 am

Smallcraft and Carriers

The Solomani. following the MgT rules, are correct in the heavy emphasis on carrier warfare, as the gravity drive powered smallcraft have more endurance than fusion rocket powered adventure and capital sized ships, where their primary tactic would be to make their opponents use up their fuel in endless manoeuvrings.

They are wrong in their heavy reliance on battlecruisers, unless their Navy Staff believed all they faced were border skirmishes and Cold War posturing.


Light Fighters

Under MgT, between ten to twenty tons, and manned variants would seem to be limited to ten gees. This is one of the occasions where you build around the engines, rather than let the hull dictate the performance, which makes fourteen tons the ideal size for an energy equipped interceptor.

Rocket fusion driven examples only make sense sub ten tons, and then only as point defense interceptors, but open the possibility to emphasizing on pilot training and using the craft as a platform for smart missiles, making it essentially a point and click weapons system. You could call them Mouse fighters.


Medium Fighters

Start at forty tons, since you can have two weapon slots.


Heavy Fighters

At fifty tons, more expensive and yet not much greater performance wise than a medium fighter. It probably ranges to sixty tons, but would require minimum two crew. I'd keep it at fifty, both due to lower crew requirement, and standardizing launch tube size, since the same argument goes for utility craft.


Sixty ton Smallcraft

Largest size that can exceed six gees. That extra crew member should give pause.


Seventy ton Smallcraft

Smallest size that can carry a fifty ton bay; while this seems attractive, I'd skip this size, even for military variants, except possibly planetary bombardment and as a rather large armed satellite.


Eighty ton Smallcraft

Have no opinion one way or the other; could be if there's an attractive combination of performance and drive costs.


Ninety ton Smallcraft

As shuttles, due to their size matching up to the maximum allowed for five ton docking clamps. Possible military variants. Long range patrol boats; also would use this size for bay equipped gunboats.


Hundred ton Smallcraft

Largest recipient of grav drives, also with five weapon slots makes this an attractive gunship. Grav drives make this the most economical for commercial usage.

Though my calculations indicate that sZ only provides 4.8 gees.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Bardicheart » Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:59 am

Well the above certainly gives me plenty to chew on for a bit.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:42 am

Thirty ton Smallcraft

Too large for light fighters, too small for medium.

It's primary benefit would be that it can dock with one ton clamps, which indicates it's widely used commercially, which may mean that it's useful for the military as a utility craft, possibly as a light assault shuttle or dropship, since external docking means that it wouldn't require use of tubes for a mass launch.

I can see this size being used as a general purpose craft for smaller escorts.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:21 am

Adventure Class Ships

Seems pointless to use the Core Book system to design anything beyond a thousand tons, as both costs and space utilization do not compare favourably to capital ship design system.

It's obvious that Naval Design boards would recognize this, and hack the capital ship system to get components into sub-2K hulls, as they have both the capacity and need to mass produce large numbers of standard starships.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:45 pm

What is the cheapest possible freighter?

1. Hundred ton hull at 2 Mcr.
2. Hundred ton drop tank at 2.2Mcr; 4 tons docking ports; drop tank not ejected.
3. Bridge ten tons at 0.53 Mcr; standard electronics suite.
4. One two ton stateroom at 0.25 Mcr; hot bunking.
5. Two ten ton docking clamps at 4 Mcr.
6. Power plant fuel fourteen tons for twenty four and a half days, or twelve tons for twenty one days.
6. Drive suite D; j25/m(reactionless)14/p13 at fifty two tons and 96 Mcror; or j25/m(reactionary)7/p13/f at forty five tons and 88 Mcr with manoeuvring fuel of five tons.
7. Flight crew of Pilot and Engineer.

You have a a one parsec cargo hauler with two three hundred ton pods at 96.98 or 104.98 Mcr.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:50 am

Fixed Missile Launcher

If I recall correctly, a turret in CT had three launchers and could have three missiles each before it needed reloading. Assuming this still holds true in Mongoose, though I doubt it, if there are only twelve missiles available in a ton, and if you assume crew space takes up half a ton, you still have three launchers and six missiles.

While digesting Traders and Gunboats, I came across the Antique Fighter which separately lists the fixed missile rack launcher as one ton.

1. At a maximum, it would seem that generic turret weapons cannot be individually larger than 166 kilos.

2. That the space accounts for either a missile already in the launcher, with one spare, or it does not. this brings up the question of what happens during an extended engagement, since even if there's an automated loading mechanism, from the magazine, that would require more space.

3. Of course, in a fixed installation, without that rotating turret, that's easier to accommodate. If the one ton is for the autoloader, how does that relate to turret launchers, since it would mean you'd need to add that mechanism, unless you're going to do it by hand, and I believe that would be more awkward than 155mm artillery shell.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:05 pm

Jump Fuel: Where does it go?

While researching drop tanks, it occurred to me, that all that fuel has to go somewhere, since you have a sudden separation of the space it rested before, to another space within the starship, and assuming the molecules aren't super compressed.

So I wonder that if there isn't a pocket dimension created within the Jump Drive to contain all that mass, just short of the actual jump when it's vomited back.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby IanBruntlett » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:13 pm

Condottiere wrote:Jump Fuel: Where does it go?
I am not a space scientist... but consider E=mc2 (E equals mc squared).

Here is a suggestion:-
The Mass of the jump fuel is converted into Energy.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby locarno24 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:49 am

Supposedly it's used to 'inflate' the jump bubble - a ship's jump engine produces a little pocket universe, 'blows it up' by injecting hydrogen, then sails off inside it until the bubble pops a week or so later.

Kind of a random mental image, but that's more or less my understanding.
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 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:22 pm

1. Browsing through another forum the concept that ships were upgraded as TL crept up arose. Personally I think, that outside electronics and other relatively small items this seems a waste of time and money for an interstellar navy to bother with, though a colonial fleet might be willing to finance the refurbishment.

2. While attaching drop tanks to battleships and/or battle riders must have occurred to at least half the readers of the Trillion Credit Squadrons, the tactic of using them to jump into a system as a reserve to jump back out again seems to me secondary to using them for strategic movement from one theatre of operations to another.

3. I'm not an engineer, but I can't imagine it's feasible to upgrade a ship's armour by welding on additional layers internally, nor stripping it of it's shell and replacing it with a new one. However, you cold bolt on armour on the outside. I thought I'd call this practice ironcladding.

4. Finally found a use for eighty ton smallcraft; since the drive table only goes up to sZ, this is the largest size that will fly at six gees, assuming you're not allowed to fractionalize performance with ninety tons at five and one third.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby locarno24 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:09 am

Browsing through another forum the concept that ships were upgraded as TL crept up arose. Personally I think, that outside electronics and other relatively small items this seems a waste of time and money for an interstellar navy to bother with, though a colonial fleet might be willing to finance the refurbishment.
I dunno. Pulling a particle bay mount and replacing it with a high yield, accurate one doesn't strike me as a bad idea if you have the cash to do so.

Electronics installations and software are the primary things you can upgrade, and you may find the command and control systems get a work-over (enough to promote it to a holographic bridge if it wasn't before), but guns are a potential.

As you say, armour is a bit too structurally fundamental to upgrade most of the time. At least, certainly replacing one armour type for another is a massive job (not least because cutting through crystaliron plate in a drydock must be a bloody nightmare).
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 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:05 pm

1. Which is why I think that welding on armour on the outside, especially for Merchant Armed (Armoured) Cruisers sounds feasible. In theory, since they've made ship weapon systems nicely modular, upgrading doesn't seem problematic. However, I think that missile launchers need to be specific to the exact size of the missile, and presumably the mountings for other reduced size weapon systems as well.


2. I came across something called a High Burn Thruster, that only works for an hour, but is one fifth the size of the equivalent Fusion Rocket, and apparently only burns twenty five percent of the net volume of it's specific fuel of the craft's Thruster. Seems to be the afterburner I'm looking for.


3. For TL12 navies, purposely building ships of commercial specs above Jump H, Man K and Power K would seem of limited utility, unless commonality of components would be the deciding factor.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Reynard » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:12 pm

Condottiere wrote:What is the cheapest possible freighter?

1. Hundred ton hull at 2 Mcr.
2. Hundred ton drop tank at 2.2Mcr; 4 tons docking ports; drop tank not ejected.
3. Bridge ten tons at 0.53 Mcr; standard electronics suite.
4. One two ton stateroom at 0.25 Mcr; hot bunking.
5. Two ten ton docking clamps at 4 Mcr.
6. Power plant fuel fourteen tons for twenty four and a half days, or twelve tons for twenty one days.
6. Drive suite D; j25/m(reactionless)14/p13 at fifty two tons and 96 Mcror; or j25/m(reactionary)7/p13/f at forty five tons and 88 Mcr with manoeuvring fuel of five tons.
7. Flight crew of Pilot and Engineer.

You have a a one parsec cargo hauler with two three hundred ton pods at 96.98 or 104.98 Mcr.
I wish you could detail the actual construction so I could see how you conceived it.

A drop tank that isn't a drop tank is a fuel tank that but you add 4 tons fuel and cost an extra 2.2Mcr to the ship. Since you carry this tank with the ship and the ship regularly carries 2 * 300 cargo tons, this is an 800 ton ship which would need a 20 ton bridge at 4.0Mcr. You also only need 80 tons for one jump. You have 20 tons waste.

Assuming a free trader willing to sub-minimize the crew requirement see HG pg 69 Crew Strength (since drop tanks are High Guard). I can't find 'hot bunking' in either the Core or High Guard books though I though it was once used only on small craft. Double bunking is the worst condition Traveller puts a crew under and that's a least one full stateroom at 4 tons and 0.5Mcr.

I assume Drive suite D means J-1, M-1, P-1 which is reasonable for a cheap freighter. J-1 is 25t/40Mcr, M-1 is 7t/16Mcr and P-1 is 13t/32Mcr plus 2 week fuel of 8 tons. That's 45 tons and 88Mcr.

The docking clamps are no problem and we'll assume the 300t pods are common but remember the 600 tons of regularly carried cargo pods do count as total ship displacement.

Someone check my math and references. I think I got it right.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:52 pm

1. Drop tank - it was an intellectual exercise, since I'd have paid the extra 3.8 Mcr for a two hundred ton hull; much more interesting when tonnage costs 0.1 Mcr/ton. Also, bridge size would have remained the same and you'd get an extra hardpoint. It does allow me to offshore the twelve to nineteen tons of fuel allocation, which would again give more breathing space to the crew. I'd also save four tons of explosive bolts.

2. Bridge - I've wrestled with this question, and the answer is, the bridge is an interface with the actual ship, not attachments. Consider the ship the equivalent to an interstellar tug, and the pilot really only needs to keep an eye what's going on with the hundred ton hull's electronics and mechanics. I would, of course, install webcams and motion detectors on the attachments, and all those need is to be fed to a laptop.

3. Speaking of tugs, originally I had planned to shift a thousand tons, then somehow I ended up with all the drives on one hull; in theory, in a two hundred ton hull, I could use the spare twenty tons to fit in a couple of staterooms. IIRC what stymied me was having to find place for an extra power plant to power the grav drives for the smallcraft tug, then the realization sZ was only gong to have enough thrust for 480 tons. One option would be to install two sZs in the smallcraft tug for 960 tons thrust, and the other would two tugs; unfortunately, that would raise the eventual cost by more than a hundred million, which is probably why I restuffed everything back into the hundred ton hull.


1. Hundred ton hull at 2 Mcr.
2. Hundred ton drop tank at 2.2Mcr; 4 tons docking ports; drop tank not ejected.
3. Bridge ten tons at 0.53 Mcr; standard electronics suite.
4. One four ton stateroom at 0.5 Mcr.
5. Two ten ton docking clamps at 4 Mcr.
6. Emergency power plant fuel of one ton; twenty one tons of fuel for thirty six and three fourth days.
6. Drive suite D; j25/m(reactionless)14/p13 at fifty two tons and 96 Mcror; or j25/m(reactionary)7/p13 at forty five tons and 88 Mcr.
7. Flight crew of Pilot and Engineer.
8. Nine to sixteen tons unallocated; with a two hundred ton hull, I could lower fuel tankage to two weeks and add back sixteen tons.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:37 am

1. While the above is an intellectual exercise, one of my real interests is the creation of the cheapest possible starship, that a group of adventurers could afford on their own.

2. Marc Miller seems insistent that the smallest jump drive is ten tons, possibly in reaction to the FF&S formula, which if I recall correctly, postulated the minimum at one ton. Since Jump technology is highly mystical, it's hard to go against the Word Of God, though you run up against the interesting possibilities of manufacturing ten ton capital jump drives, that could push five hundred ton hulls one parsec, to one hundred sixty-six ton ones at six parsecs.

3. With sublight drives and fusion plants, we know they can be miniaturized, so placing minimums seems arbitrary. We also know that grav drives should be an option for large craft considering they are mentioned in smallcraft design, but most mention of them have been deleted from Mongoose.

4. By the same token, we should be able to install adventure class components in smallcraft; in fact, early versions had A suites installed for thirty tons (six gees), forty tons (five gees) and fifty tons (four gees).

5. Ten ton smallcraft hulls cost the same per ton to construct as capital ships, and construction costs decline in relative terms until they reach hundred tons, and then start up again.

6. Is it possible to construct sub ten ton smallcraft. It should, but structural integrity might be an issue, so five percent can allocated to that.

7. In non-militarized smallcraft, the largest costs will be the drive and power plant, so the ideal would be to manufacture ones that are just large enough to accomplish what they were purposed for. This also saves space if they are intended to be integral to the adventurer's mothership.

8. In CT and Mongoose, the smallest adventure class bridge is ten tons; interestingly enough, the smallest capital class bridge is a tad over ten tons. The difference might be that all adventure class bridges are modular, whereas capital class ones are customized to the ship/batch they were designed for, which makes them more efficient in layout and operation.

9. The smallest section of capital class ships is a tad over a thousand tons, which would indicate that you could construct thousand ton single shell escorts around a ten ton bridge. Whether you could construct a freight hauler around that and attach drop tanks and cargo pods is another matter (but still interesting to consider).

10. But back to what I'll call the Venture class: a hundred ton hull with J1/M1/P1 that was cheap enough to buy and maintain, and large enough to take everyone to the next adventure. The sticking points are the Jump drive, since every extra ton counted, even if you could only scrape up two or three tons, or possibly four tons, if you could isolate the jump governor in the five ton overhead and assume removal will add another ton.

11. The other problem is the Fusion Rocket reaction drive since it sucks up a fortieth of the tonnage in fuel per gee/hour. Even if you argue that grav drives can't scale into large craft, you know that you could install one with sufficient thrust upto four hundred and eight tons. This avoids trying to bypass this rule by installing a docking clamp and getting a smallcraft to act as a tug.

12. To outrun pirates or Imperial entanglements, you could install a High Burn thruster, which is only one fifth the size of the equivalent fusion rocket, though consumed a rather high priced fuel.

13. Adding a drop tank and other attachments complicates matters for jumps if the subA Jump drive is installed. If this path is followed, cleanswept is your mantra.

14. Flattened sphere seems to have been dropped from hull configurations, though I always felt that it offered the best of all possible worlds, streamlined and cheap. I always pictured my larger creations looking like clamshells, and the smaller ones like the Jupiter 2.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby SSWarlock » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:16 am

Condottiere wrote:Thirty ton Smallcraft

Too large for light fighters, too small for medium.

It's primary benefit would be that it can dock with one ton clamps, which indicates it's widely used commercially, which may mean that it's useful for the military as a utility craft, possibly as a light assault shuttle or dropship, since external docking means that it wouldn't require use of tubes for a mass launch.

I can see this size being used as a general purpose craft for smaller escorts.
Back in August of this year, I posted a 30-ton fighter design that can be a rather effective fighter against non-capital ships (i.e. non-capital warships and merchants). The thread starts at viewtopic.php?f=89&t=56635

There's also a Space Superiority Fighter thread I started at the same general time at viewtopic.php?f=89&t=56561

The discussions in that thread seem to indicate that the best combination of cost-effectiveness and combat-effectiveness in a fighter may be a design around 40 tons. I'd be interested if anyone has come up with a larger design that's more combat-effective while costing as much or even less as any of the designs in the Space Superiority Fighter thread.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby Condottiere » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:44 pm

1. Raider/Fighter
a. You're paying 141 MCr for a T/PA weapons platform.
b. While PA sniping has occurred to me, it would be as part of an extended long range swarm attack.
c. I'm not a physician, but I'm fairly sure that sixteen gees would be fatal to human pilots.
d. A twenty four window doesn't leave much time for raiding.


2. Space Superiority
a. Cheers on broaching a compelling subject.
b. Forty tons allows two weapon slots on a six gee plus single-pilot single sensor single computer platform.
c. Two medium fighters probably could take out a single high end high cost fighter.
c. Will start reading the thread.


3. Jump Drive sE
a. When the Solomani started fooling around with going where no Solomani has gone before, they must figured out soon that a hundred tons was the minimum size needed to penetrate hyperspace.
b. TL8 prototypes must have been refined to production models in TL9. The incentives must have been there, as hundred ton hulls were cheaper and faster by ton to manufacture, smaller engines need less resources to produce and take up less space on starships.
c. Since then, every isolated world that managed to reproduce the feat of hyperspace travel, must have gone through the TL8/9 phase of prototype/production models.
d. Since most commercial spaceship components seem generic at TL12 (presumably), a TL9 Jump One drive must be possible to manufacture for a hundred ton hull, and that after three Tech Level advancements, must be appreciably cheaper and smaller than a generic TL11 Jump Two drive, which by TL12 only had a single generation to be refined.
e. While I thought it would be possible to eliminate the Jump Governor, further consideration brought me to the conclusion that it controlled the more or less exact distance to travel and thereby the point of arrival. Removing it fixes the amount of energy released and the distance travelled, which could be rather far from the optimum distance to the desired planetary starport.
f. A new Jump sE drive built at TL12 would be fifteen percent cheaper than at TL9, and possibly thirty percent smaller. Extrapolating from the alphabet drive list, I'd put the cost at 7 MCr, and the size at eight tons.
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Re: Ship Design Philosophy

Postby SSWarlock » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:46 pm

Condottiere wrote:1. Raider/Fighter
c. I'm not a physician, but I'm fairly sure that sixteen gees would be fatal to human pilots.
Only if they're uncompensated for (as in inertial compensation). Given that the drive selected itself provides the Gs, I'm having to assume (uh, oh) its Gs are compensated for in the same manner the 1G to 6G drives for non-small craft are compensated for. Otherwise, why would there be 7G+ capable drives in use in small craft in the first place? Any of those drives would kill any occupant, not just humans, over a relatively-short period of time if there wasn't some kind of default inertial compensation in place.
d. A twenty four window doesn't leave much time for raiding.
True. The 30-ton fighter is less of a raider and more of a fast-moving interceptor and customs force support craft.
2. Space Superiority
a. Cheers on broaching a compelling subject.
Thank you! It was quite fun and educational for me while it lasted.
b. Forty tons allows two weapon slots on a six gee plus single-pilot single sensor single computer platform.
Or, as you'll see in the thread, it allows the use of heavy barbette-based weaponry which can turn a small craft into a very nasty brawler which non-capital warships would rather avoid.
c. Two medium fighters probably could take out a single high end high cost fighter.
Mmm..yes and no. It all comes down to the capabilities of said fighters.
c. Will start reading the thread.
Excellent! Whether or not you agree with the postings in it, I hope you find it entertaining and thought -provoking.
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