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 Post subject: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:30 pm 
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[Moved from another topic to avoid off-topic noise.]
atpollard wrote:
My personal pet peeve is "Why doesn't the 20 dT bridge on a 200 dT ship look just like the 20 dT bridge on a 1000 dT ship? - either the ships require the same bridge size and crew or they do not."

Pagan priest wrote:
The ships require the "same" bridge size, but I have always seen that as including various other things besides just the actual bridge. Stuff like the ship's locker, airlock, a bit of corridor leading up to the bridge, etc, etc, etc.
[I just came back from a very nice week in the Carribean, and was happy to see some activity in the Gearhead's Corner.
So this topic is just for some fun banter. I expect to solve nothing of substance.]


Sorry, but the 'Various other things' argument really doesn't work very well. I use it myself in creating deckplans but at its core it fails the basic 'smell test'.

A 200 dTon, 500 dT and 800 dt ship all require 20 dT of "Bridge" (whatever that means). If we assume, as you state, that the actual "control stations" Flight Deck (just to call it something other than bridge) is smaller than 20 dT and the rest of the 20 dT is used for 'other stuff', then one would expect a 200 dT ship to have a smaller Flight Deck than a 500 dT ship, and a 500 dT ship to have a smaller Flight Deck than a 800 dT ship. Just to use some numbers for an example, lets say that the Flight Deck is 2% of the ship:
... 4 dT for a 200 dT ship, 10 dT for a 500 dT ship, and 16 dT for a 800 dT ship.
This means that the 'everything else' part of a 20 dT Bridge (airlock, ship's locker and landing gear) is:
... 16 dT for a 200 dT ship, 10 dT for a 500 dT ship, and 4 dT for a 800 dT ship.
Why does a 200 dT ship need 4 times as much 'airlock, ship's lockers and landing gear' as an 800 dT ship?


Using a fixed tonnage for the Bridge implies that all starships have certain minimum requirements that must be met in terms of crew stations and ship's lockers, and (if true) then the 20 dT bridge on a 200 dT ship should be about the same as the 20 dT bridge on an 800 dT ship. This is similar to the case on real world watercraft where the Bridge of a 1000 TEU ship is nearly identical to the Bridge on a 10,000 TEU ship because it serves the same basic navigation and control function, requires the same equipment and is manned by the same crew positions. This is what the Traveller Bridge Tonnage implies, but not what the deckplans show.


I don't expect a logical correction to the rules, so I just learn to live with it and hide the tonnage in the deckplan in the grand tradition of all the deck planners who have come before me. On a 200 dt ship, the stairs are part of the '20 dT bridge' and on an 800 dT ship the stairs are part of the 'Stateroom' tonnage ... or perhaps 'Engineering'.

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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:46 pm 
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Frankly, I have deleted the rules concerning the size of the bridge from my ship
design systems. Based upon GURPS Traveller, there is a basic bridge (mostly
used by merchant ships, 2.5 dtons) and there is a command bridge (mostly used
by military ships, 5.0 dtons), and that's it.

In my view the idea that the size of the bridge increases when the size of the ship
increases is extremely unconvincing, unless for some bizarre reason the two or three
people on the bridge of a multimegaton freighter can only do their job when they
have enough space for a bycicle race around them.


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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:24 pm 
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IIRC, FFS1 gave some info on bridge sizes. Each workstation for specific areas require 1 dton apiece.
Or some stations can be combined and its called a "flight deck" and there are penalties involved for operations/combat.
I can look it up later tonight if needed.

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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:16 pm 
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I agree with Arthur here. I think that if Traveller is going to use fixed bridge sizes, then the Flight Deck should be the same.

So a 20-ton Bridge has 4 work stations period.

In real life, the Landing Gear IS larger on bigger ships, so if Landing Gear is included in the Bridge tonnage, then it should change with size. Also, if you include 1 airlock per 100 tons (MGT states this), then an 800-ton ship has 8 airlocks and a 200-ton ship has 2 airlocks...

So, for different size ships, you actually have LESS space for Landing Gear etc, as size goes up. Counter Intuitive.

IF you go with something straightforward like 2% of the ship, with some minimum size (say 10 or 20 tons), then MAYBE you can justify that the Landing Gear, Airlocks, etc are included in the Bridge Tonnage. Avionics volumes DO increase with the size of the ship, but not by as much as you would think, and that would be counteracted by increasing Tech Level.

But why then isn't the Bridge tonnage less on an unstreamlined ship?

Traveller screwed up when they did not assign a Tonnage for the Skin of the hull sizes. Instead, I think they tried to use Bridge tonnage to cover this, but it just doesn't work and they don't ever explain it.

Traveller has NEVER properly accounted for different tech levels in any of their equipment (ships included) properly.

(Rant over)

I think there is a logical fix (but it would "break" the traditional designs and probably be rejected by the old guard)

I would assign a percentage of the ship's hull volume for the "Structure" of the ship. Modified by configuration and hull material. So Bonded Superdense costs more, but takes up less volume, so you get a benefit for that extra cost. Streamlined designs both cost more and take up more volume (wings etc).

Bridge sizes would be Fixed to a few standard sizes and the Structure volume would be where airlocks, landing gear (if needed) etc, would be accounted for.

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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:38 pm 
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Cyborg IM1 wrote:
I would assign a percentage of the ship's hull volume for the "Structure" of the ship. Modified by configuration and hull material. So Bonded Superdense costs more, but takes up less volume, so you get a benefit for that extra cost. Streamlined designs both cost more and take up more volume (wings etc).

I seem to remember that FF&S for TNE did it that way, although bridge workstations,
airlocks, landing gear and thelike were treated and calculated as separate components.


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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:19 pm 
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IMO, the size of the 'Flight Deck' should be based on the size of the Flight Deck Crew, and the size of the Flight Deck Crew should be based on complexity and upgrades - in other words Job Functions.

In a single pilot aircraft (like a one-seat fighter or a Piper Cub class sportplane), the pilot can control the craft, monitor the (usually single) engine and watch the limited radar/avionics (Traveller Sensors) all by himself. Once you add advanced radar or ECM, the craft tends to need another crewmember dedicated to 'Sensors and Electronics'. In Traveller Terms, basic sensors can be operated by the pilot but 'improved' sensors need a 'Sensor Tech' in the Flight Crew.

As the number of engines on an aircraft increases, the amount of data to be monitored tends to require a dedicated 'Flight Engineer'. The best analogy within the existing Traveller rules is the requirement for 1 engineer per (x) tons of drives and power plants. I don't know what tonnage is offical or appropriate, but it seems to me that up to 1/2 of the critical tonnage should be handled by the pilot, from 1/2 to 1.5 times the critical tonnage should require a Flight Engineer and Multiple Engineers might be needed for very large drives and power plants (perhaps 1 Flight Engineer on the Flight Deck and additional engineers at the actual drives).

The concept of a 'Bombadier' closely associated with the Flight Deck might suggest that Spinal or Bay weapons add to the Flight Crew as well (but Turret gunners are typically associated more closely with their weapon than with the Flight Deck). Bay Weapons could actually go either way. I like to view them like the main guns on a Battleship - important enough to almost define the ship - so I would lean towards at least one Flight Deck member to coordinate the Bay Batteries with the Ship movement (like the relationship between the officer in charge of the aircraft on an aircraft carrier and the captain of the ship itself). If you view Bay weapons more like the Secondary (40 mm) Guns on a battleship (just a big turret), then no Flight Deck member should be required.

Air locks, landing gear and Ship's Lockers should get their own tonnage (although I have no problem lumping them together into one 'slop' category). I could see the slop being a fixed percentage of the ship - perhaps 0.5% or 1%.

Just some general ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:51 pm 
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Automation should reduce those numbers. Early aircraft needed a "Flight Engineer" to monitor the engines. As automation improved (computers), that position became unnecessary. We now have planes that are considerably larger with more engines than before, but we don't have more people on the Flight Deck, due to automation, based on Tech Level. In Traveller terms, I would say that if you have a bigger computer than is needed for basic operations, then you could reduce the number of crew. I think they actually account for that in MGT using the Agent and Expert programs, although I really haven't seen a design yet that takes full advantage of these capabilities.

Even without special computer programs, which don't come in until TL11 anyway, it should be possible to reduce the crew size just based on Tech Level.

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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:12 pm 
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I think that piloting a high technology spaceship with computer assistance cannot
be more complicated than piloting one of the current airliners, which can be done
safely by a single person. Therefore, in my view, most commercial ships will need
no more than two persons on the bridge, while military ships may require additio-
nal operators for sensors, weapons and perhaps shields. For two persons and their
workstations the 2.5 dtons / 33.75 cubic meters / 3.35 x 3.35 x 3 m of the GURPS
Traveller system seems sufficient, if not luxurious (compare it to an airliner cock-
pit).


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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:23 am 
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Just an eyeball guesstimate, but the four engines on a 747 look like about 1-2% of the total volume, while the drives and power plants (most of which involves technologies which are currently unknown but probably more complex than a jet turbine) on a starship are closer to 20% of the total craft.

Do you think that a 40 engine jet with an internal nuclear power plant might need more than a 1 man crew?

I could see it going either way with computers, crew size and drive complexity.

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I really love Classic Traveller, especially without the Imperium ... There, I said it.
Now pass me a laser carbine and a couple of extra battery clips.


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 Post subject: Re: Size of Bridge
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:21 am 
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atpollard wrote:
Do you think that a 40 engine jet with an internal nuclear power plant might need more than a 1 man crew?

I do not think so, but if more than one engineer would be required, the engineering
personnel would probably have its own workstations in or close to the engine room,
not on the bridge at the other end of the ship. Having to run through the entire ship
from the bridge to the engine room whenever there is a problem seems a bad idea,
because much of the time the engineer would be neither here nor there. Therefore
I would see the engineering crew as separate from the bridge crew, unless the engi-
nes really are of the kind which can normally be remotely controlled by one person
on the bridge without any problems.


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