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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:16 pm 
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Cyborg IM1 wrote:
So, how will you handle the Asians? They aren't represented in any of the Blocs, are you going to say that they are basically a non-factor in interstellar societies or are they minor players in one of the blocks?

I don't really have an opinion, but I think you need to address the current situation in China and Japan in 2170. If they are vast, radioactive wastelands, fine, but I think you need to be a bit explicit about that and explain why the billion plus people that were there are now not a major player.

One thought would be that there are still quite a few people there, but they after WW3, there was a strong push back towards insularity. That isn't going well, the government of China (or what is left of it) has to become more and more draconian to keep the population under control. IF they could get their act together politically, they could become a fourth Bloc, but they just haven't been able to do it yet. Maybe there is still an on-going civil war there keeping the area depressed.

If I still use WWIII, Asia and Eastern/Central Europe were ground zero for the worst fighting in the war and thus are devastated. What's left of China is a secondary power in the IC; most of other East-Asian nations belong to the UN.

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:44 pm 
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I want to think this over once more before I reach the verdict. My options are:

1. Fusion torch drives ala The Expanse and HOSTILE. More or less constant acceleration at approximately 1G. Shipboard fusion power. This means using HOSTILE-style fuel rules, i.e. 10% of ship hull per drive rating giving 100 hours of thrust. The advantage is that's simple (simpler travel equations due to constant acceleration/deceleration) and allows "tower" ships with thrust "gravity", as well as reasonably fast travel. It also seems to suit some of the source material (such as Alien and The Expanse) pretty well. The disadvantage is that it requires more handwaving.

2. Fission-based plasma drives. Potentially with the Coronal effect noted above. Thrust is limited; travel times are long; ships need spin gravity once they finish their "burn". The disadvantage is that it requires more complicated calculations for travel and fuel (that require abstracting), long interplanetary travel times, and more complex ship layout (using spin pods). The advantage is greater realism, plus making the players' life harder (as is the spirit of Hard Space).

What do you think?

EDIT:
This looks interesting:
http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/r ... ial_Fusion

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:25 pm 
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I find myself in this predicament a lot when thinking about game settings. YMMV but I usually start to worry that nobody is going to want to do all the number crunching and spend valuable game time figuring out how long it takes to get to where the adventure is.

Maybe if you provided a table with example distances that a group could use to eyeball something, that would work pretty well? Like N thrust hours available means a 1 AU trip takes X days. With 2N thrust hours available, a 1.5 AU trip takes Z days, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:06 pm 
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Matt Wilson wrote:
I find myself in this predicament a lot when thinking about game settings. YMMV but I usually start to worry that nobody is going to want to do all the number crunching and spend valuable game time figuring out how long it takes to get to where the adventure is.

This is the main argument for quasi-handwaved fusion torches; I can use much simpler tables, or a very simple equation. Otherwise you start getting into complex orbital mechanics.

I'm researching how Paul Elliott did this in Orbital: 2100...

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:32 pm 
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Golan2072 wrote:
2. Fission-based plasma drives. ... The advantage is greater realism, plus making the players' life harder (as is the spirit of Hard Space).

They are also not as readily converted to WMD, since the total delta-V is more limited.

Quote:

I'd be concerned that refueling the drive requires a shipyard, to replace the lining. That places some severe limits on what the PC's can get up to.

In my own hard sf campaigns, I just did the astrodynamics behind the scenes and provided the players with a list of travel times to destinations, with some options (e.g., pay this much for an expendable booster, arrive this many days earlier).


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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:55 pm 
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An interesting point I was offered on the CotI thread:

Quote:
That's not a bug, Omer. That's a unique design feature.

Hell, even with Traveller's maneuver drives thanks to Sol's jump limit there are times during the year when if you're leaving from Earth it's faster to jump to another system than it is to thrust to Saturn.

Having regions and planets in systems - even in the Solar System - which are visited less often because of the way the setting's FTL and "real space" drives work means that all those systems - including the Solar System - will have more places where the horror and other eerie shenanigans you want can occur. This provides the nooks and crannies your ghosts and ghoulies need.

An isochrone map of your setting's systems would be fascinating.

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:06 pm 
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I'm also researching fission-based engines. I'll probably handwave things a little, and abstract a lot. Zozer's excellent Orbital 2100 has some of the rules I need, though I'll probably want somewhat better (more optimistic?) drives than his NTRs.

Potentially Nuclear Lightbulbs?*

The kind of rockets I am looking for are:
1. Work with a fission power-plant ala MGT1/CE.
2. Relatively high delta-V and acceleration (and I'll probably add some "optimistic handwaving" to performance)
3. Work with hydrogen (or water?) propellant/reaction-mass

If possible - without too much radioactive exhaust.

___
* How often do you have to refuel the "bulb" itself, i.e. the uranium gas core? If this is not too often, this seems like an excellent engine for interface craft, as it lacks radioactive exhaust and there are already launch vehicle designs for this.

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:36 pm 
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Torchships, however... Still an idea I am toying with:
http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/r ... hships.php

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:43 pm 
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More Atomic Rockets goodness: NTR free trader!

https://eldraeverse.com/2015/04/10/the- ... -revealed/

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:39 pm 
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Constant Accel is my preferred method. It really does simplify things when it comes to game mechanics, and at the end of the day it really shouldn't matter too much to the players. If they are that picky, then they have a lot of other problems with any game systems.

Interplanetary travel using constant acceleration to mid-point then decel all at a constant thrust is actually a pretty simple equation if you squint your eyes:

T = 3*sqrt (D/G)

T in time in days
D is distance in AU
G is thrust in "G's" (assumes 10m/s^2)

So for a 1G thrust it gets really simple

T = 3*Sqrt(D)

It is accurate within about 20% but doesn't worry about differences in orbital velocities and docking maneuvers.

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