Sunday, May 27, 2012

IMTU: Basic Infrastructure of Colonies

I've broken down the Shipbuilding Rules into a bunch of ratios that would be useful for building a Space Colony.

survey stations
medical stations
life support systems
power plants
Infra supplies
Colony demands
Hard infra

Workshops are the backbone of any colony and infrastructure. These help maintain all equipment related to basic infrastructure (these have a -2 penalty for the engineer for more sophisticated and specialized needs)

  • Manpower: Enough space for one engineer per shift. 3 engineers a month.
  • Cost:   
  • Volume: consumes 15cu.m including workspace
  • Mass: 2.5 tons of equipment, 
  • Energy: monthly energy consumption
  • Role/Uses: Need one to support 2000 tons of the same TL of equipment per engineer. 
    • Can support twice as much, 4000 tons, of TL9 equipment (workshops count as 400x more mass; can only support 4 TL9 workshops).
    • Can support five times as much of TL8 equipment (workshops also count as 400x more mass; can only support 10 TL8 workshops).
    • Can support 20 TL7 workshops. 
    • Can support 50 TL6 workshops. 
  • TL9 versions: same capacity, volume, mass, energy consumption and supports 2000 tons of TL9 equipment. 
  • TL8 version: same capacity, volume, mass, energy consumption and supports 2000 tons of TL8 equipment.
I've mentioned in a previous post that Labs are important in cultivating and developing gene-gineered organism for mining, farming and terraforming. these are basically Bio-labs.
  • Manpower: 1 scientist per shift. up to 3 scientists per month.  
  • Costs: $1,000,000.
  • Volume: consumes 30cubic feet including workspace
  • Mass: 10 tons of equipment, 
  • Energy: 0.3MW
  • Role/Uses: Supports the gene-geneered ecosystem of 100k sq km. 
Medical Station.
Same Stats as the Sick Bay.
  • Manpower:  2 medical personnel. 
  • Cost: $200,000.
  • Volume: consumes 15cubic feet including workspace
    • additional bedspace consumes 10cu.m. this includes passageways. 
    • B242, one doctor can handle 200 patients at a time as long as there at least 1 nurse bot or nurse for every 20.  
  • Mass: 1 ton of equipment, 
  • Energy: 0.01MW
  • Role/Uses: 1 Medical Station every 80 people.

Survey Station.
Same Stats of the Survey Module, its mean to maintain a cluster of satelites and roving survey robots. When build deep underground, the station has many and diffuse networks to protect is true location. The Survey station can help detect incoming ships.
  • Manpower: Enough space for 4 scientists per shift. 12 scientists a month.  
  • Cost: $15,000,000
  • Volume: consumes 60cubic feet including workspace
    • additional bedspace consumes 10cu.m. this includes passageways.
  • Mass: 12 tons of equipment 
  • Energy: 0.3MW
  • Role/Uses: Detect any ship in the system.

Power Plant.
Power Plants are typically compartmentalized for Redundancy.
  • Manpower: 1 engineer for every 80 tons. 
  • Cost: $200,000
  • Volume: consumes 15cu.m including workspace
  • Mass: 4 tons of equipment per 15cu.m  
  • Energy: Output 20MW (4MW at TL9, 0.2MW at TL8)

Life Support
Life Support are typically Compartmentalized for Redundancy.
  • Cost: $50,000
  • Volume: consumes 15cu.m including workspace
  • Mass: 2.5 tons of equipment 
  • Energy: 0.01
  • Role/Uses: Can generate environment for 1250cu.m (88dtons) or 50 people. Provides 1/5 less at TL9.  

Infra supplies
These are equipment replacement parts. There is a mass, volume, and cost ratio for Precision Equipment, Tools and Equipment, and Bio or Medical Supplies. These are the equipment typically brought to Colonies. These also have a TL rating.  Colonies would be buying such supplies for the purposes of support, which is seperate from their own Commercial Transactions.
These materials can be used to maintain or expand a colony. Peg colony growth in ISW 2170CE at around at least 5% per year, and averaging 10% per year, and up to as high as 20-30% per year.
  • Cost: Precision and Bio/med $2M; Tools $0.5; Supplies $0.2
  • Density: 1dton:10 tons for Precision; 1dton: 5tons Tools and Biom/med; Supplies 1dton:3tons
Annual Maintenance and Resupply.
Take down all the Cost of the Infrastructure and multiply it by 0.0005 to get the total cost of maintenance supplies. The same maintenance supplies is used to for growth, take all the total cost of Infra and multiply by rate of growth 5% to 20-30% to get the annual amount of infra structure imports the colony needs. To simplify and average just use Tools at 1dton:5tons and 0.5M

Example, a $2,500M Colony will need about $125,000 worth of equipment to maintain themselves and if they are growing at 10% per year, $250M of supplies (500dtons of supplies a year). This is ONTOP of the Going Trade in the System.  
Note that there can be Multiple Colonies in a system. 
Note2 that the cost of 2500M for a colony is pretty cheap in our TL8 perspective, this is thanks to assumption Technology = higher level of productivity with cost efficiency. 

Commercial Demands
Commercial trade is up to the WTN and such rules of the game. Although its easier to simplify with Biz Net worth in Tradable goods using the same 1dton:5tons at $0.5M. 

Colony Hard Infra
Underground Infra, miles/km deep enough to survive TL10 warship bombardment, is in 25cu.m increments.This increment is reinforced with organic and sealed concrete and compartmentalized. Each unit is worth about $100 worth of time and effort assuming the most basic TL10 infra such as 20ton mining robots and a bio-lab.

Dungeon Map Generators. I used ISO mage's map generator and made each square equal to 25cu.m or 3x3m.  

Spreadsheet to simplify this to follow when I get around to it. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

IMTU: Mining = Farming

IMTU colonists use genetically engineered plants that are designed for the particular planets to trap, concentrate, synthesize, and mine mineral and chemical resources.

The turn around time for such plants really depend on the variety of nutrient and conditions in the planet. The more variety flowing around the more resources the biologists have at their disposal. The gene-gineers will be creating several varieties intent to create an ecosystem and economics. In the course of a Solar Year and enough resources, a planet like mars (barren, thin atmosphere, few resources and with little light) would have several nurseries of the plant itself.

Plants and Biological tools go as far as being part of the underground infrastructure. Living cement can help slowly reinforce underground infrastructure and naturally seal cracks and fissures. The same cement can be a medium for underground emergency lighting, life-support (air, heat, water etc.), and more farming application when there are veins of useful material.

Plant tools have the ability to create Infrastructure while the colonists are focusing their resources and energies other things. They can be left to their own devices, which an ecological plan mapped out by the gene-gineers.

Some plants can be powered, allowing powerplants to boost their growth and accelerate the process.

IMTU, in 2170CE the very active Terraforming of Venus is thanks to aggressive plants that are designed to trap dense atmosphere into a solid and liquid form. Because of how exponential plants can grow, it has been almost a hundred years of bio-terraforming that temperatures in Venus dropped by half and density by also as much. The plants have shaped much of the planets surface, creating giant tendrils all around the planets as great as canyons. Venus is a giant jungle of mega flaura.

update: added is the introduction of hydrogen through mega freighters continuously supplying venus as in the Biological Approach of terraforming Venus in the wiki. 

At around the same time, Mars surface is heavily terraformed with plants that try to increase the greenhouse effect on the planet. Much of the plants try to bring the heat and the energy deep underground. There are roots and runners in mars that act as underground rivers, that move resources and water in the vast underground network of the planet.

Because of the thin atmosphere, Mars is an underground colony and highly resistant to orbital bombardment. Mars is often intentionally the target of much asteriods diverted to add to the resources of the planet: injecting minerals and water for the plants to catch and feed deep into its underground ecosystem.

The most cutting edge biotech can be found in Sol, both in the colonies of Venus and Mars. many other planets are being terraformed like Ganymede, Io, and Titan but average at about half the amount of time being developed. Many planets in the terran systems have gene-geneered plant life that is as visible as Terra's. 

IMO the best Mental Model for Strength is Work

The best Mental Model for Strength is Work in my opinion. What I mean by work, the SI unit or Watts. There is a an amount of Work or Strength relative to what counts as Endurance.

I personally use work as a mental model of strength and endurance or constitution. It helps me in working out and planning my activities in a day. It is not that I measure every activity precisely to the Wattage, but I just have the principles in mind when I consider an activity. I know that rushing something expends more work over time, concentrating work in a limited amount of time has its inefficiencies especially given the nuances of the human body.

I also keep in mind that the body can perform certain tasks more efficiency than others. Lifting with certain muscle groups can take more effort while some muscle groups are so specialized, that we don't realize the work they do (also how the skeleton plays a role in all of this). Consider the amount of work walking vs lifting the equivalent weight as one's legs are carrying constantly.

There is a maximum work out put and there a minimum work output. By maximum, examples are an activity like Power Lifting consuming all the energy in few actions over a span of time or the same as more extreme feats of power and energy. As for minimum, there is an amount of energy that is consumed regardless of inactivity, the way a person sitting on a desk and doing light mental activity can still be tired at the end of the day (but much later in the day than a person doing a heavy mental activities). 

Other Usefulness of Strength as Wattage

  • How much Watts an Oar Rower Can generate for Ships. 
  • Marching and Logistics.
  • Measuring Degrees of Labor for measuring PC activities. 
    • Digging
    • Carrying loads
    • Simplifying a Variety of Work
  • How much Force can be generated by an Action, and how many instances of that action can be repeated. Imagine using this to find out how much force a character can generate throw an object with variable mass and bulk. See below for various forces. 

Off the top of my head I can think of several examples of Force or Joules.

  • 1-2J Legal Limit Airsoft
  • 7J Paintball
  • 50J Commotio Cordis
  • 180J A Swung Bat or Sword
  • 550J typical 9mm Pistol

More Comparisons

Anyway that is my thesis for Strength, and it applies to Endurance as well. While strength is more of Maximum Outputs, Endurance is energy Storage and replenishment ability. You will notice it in the methodology of Fatigue Saves.

I find Strength and Endurance, effort in general, is like a "cashflow problem" or what my brother-in-law calls a "money sync" situation. Having the mental model present in my thinking helps me judge activities and strategies of actions and efforts. I know this is a an "acquired taste" among gamers so I don't hard sell it to players. Still there is a benefit in being able to juggle the concept.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Updates, Opened up my Gaming Assistant Biz Notes

I made public my Gaming Assistant Notes, as well a whole set of notes related to it. My purpose is to gain visibility and hopefully crowd source some suggestions. If it gets mature enough create a self-employed package so that working students can probably provide the service as work while studying.

See my Shared Gaming Folder from my Google Drive.

Real World Work Skills/Tools useful in Gaming

I get more practice in using these tools and skills thanks to gaming, that it actually makes it a natural for me to use such tools. Although I sometime wish the data on the tools is gaming related. Feel free to add your own.

  • Making Lists - More of a habit than a skill, it became a stronger habit because of gaming
  • T Accounts - for Traveller and medieval economics
  • Income Statement - for Traveller and medieval economics
  • Mind Mapping - plotting stories, relationships, and developing complex plots
  • Process Mapping - explaining complicated rules and mapping doctrine and dominant strategies. Practice makes it easier to make mental process maps.
  • Case Studies - Scenario Building
  • Gant Chart - Tracking my GM and World Builder Workload.
  • Time and Motion - Mentally having a time budget for every activity, keeping note of various activities and looking for similarities so that I can better budget every action in time, resource, and effort.
  • Negotations / deal-making - a wo
  • Using Mental Models to make Forensically Determine Unknowns - I got this more from gaming and applying to work. It is working back Process mapping to understand the limitations of others.

Got this idea from Nyranth's post (its from G+ don't know how to link directly to the post).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mental Models = RPG System

I believe an Open RPG System is almost the same thing as a Science Based Mental Model of how the world works. I'm working on an Open RPG System, there are many Open RPG systems but this one caters to the simulation-ists and those who want to use RPGs as a medium of learning real world skills. I hope my creative commons writing can create a foundation for something that can be easily shared improved on and used in education and fun.

Now I did a quick google search about gamers talking about Mental Models and RPGs and my search turned up research material instead of other gamers.

Mental Models in Learning.
There is a whole lot of merits to growing up gamer, one of these is the use of Mental Models and RPG system in creating structure or framework so that one is ready to learn, adapt and change mental models of how things works in the world. Growing up Gamer, we experience a lot of Rules which are like "Models" of how things can work out in the world. We are used to changing, learning, improving, modifying and memorizing assumptions. The experience conditions a mind to be able to quickly memorize, understand, and comprehend incredible amounts of models, by having a Core Pattern or Intuition of how things work and keeping notes of differences and exceptions.

When we to min-max we learn about how to create results by manipulating the arrangement and relationship of certain metrics. In the end we can simplify things to Quotas, Key performance Indicators, and Utilization. It becomes natural for us to stat out things and continue to manipulate the abstraction of various scores to measure, observe and track almost anything.

Mental Models and Visualization and Process
Another use of Mental Models is that you can visualize the extremes where these rules break down and exceptions begin to occur. Mental models are Imagination tools, allowing us to simulate and empathize a situation or circumstance. Mental Models allow us to Visualize, mapping out processes and events as in the order they occur and many of the possibilities that can happen in between every crucial point in time. Visualization is also an important part of role-playing and later on strategy (definition from game theory) as we navigate through options, decisions, and risks.  

Skills in ORGS, Hope they can be Considered Open Source / Creative Common 
How skills are in an Open Role-playing Game System. I'm describing more of the nature of a skill in the Real World (or RW). One can say Skills as a Mental Model for use in a game or for work.
  • There is no difficulty type for skills( unlike gurps). See below why.
  • Skills are made up so many sub-skills and techniques, in ORGS skills are made up of routes, routines,  knowledge, principles, mechanisms, and experiences that can be summed up as information about a specialty designed for an actor.
  • Skills blend and bleed into other topics, themes and categories, because of this nature GMs and world builders have to narrowly define a skill for a specific time and scope. Over times and eras, skills may change in scope and composition but serve a similar purpose. The purpose changes slowly compared to its composition and scope.
  • There is a set amount of activities, time, effort, and risk to skills that have to be defined an elaborated. There are benchmarks and assumptions in performance, as well as default or typical circumstances. 
Crucial points of skills in the RW according to my studies (mostly from how we learn from the Teaching company and all those othe lessons to many to name)
  • repetition and practice. Measured in time, activities, quality, either virtual, visualization, simulation, or on-the-job.
  • defining and categories. Naming and defining aspects of a skill, and categorizing it.hyhj
  • Aspects of Pro or Con circumstances both Inherent in the Actor, or the environment around him, and circumstances of the past. 

As I define skills, I hope my contribution makes the content open and sharable. Slowly and with a process I'll elaborate skills at a given time and era, create benchmarks and examples, and allow for both a mental model and ORGS to arise from it.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Gaming Projects Monitoring Sheet

Too many projects and to many distractions from life and work, so I might as well be organize and track them all. Here is a sample project monitoring collaboration sheet we use at work. I just finished cleaning it up and I'm going to start filling it up and planning when I get the time. 

Right now Gaming Projects are in Hibernation Mode because of work needs, not just my gaming but also my studying has a definite pause. 

I noticed anything really worth doing and a relatively small project takes weeks, since we have ongoing operations day-to-day to take care off. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Prepping a Game Session for our Sales Team

Ok, I tend to blend work and games to a fault. So much that I've become rather an alien kind of gamer in the game-o-sphere. I've thrown out rules that don't mix well with what I've observed in my work experience and continue to embed "rules of thumb" at work in so much of my gaming and my studies that it is this whole confusing and unattractive mess.

So it is only natural that my Spreadsheets and Spaceships is actually more useful applied to our sales team than to find players for such an experience. I don't know what word can best describe the situation where my GMing is tailoring more to social situation simulation and strategic biz management that I've alienated players and begun to be more accommodating to people in our company?

One of my favorite GMs is a professional lawyer who followed the Old School path, the kind of gaming where more of the problem solving came from the players than the characters. That characters and stats held less and less meaning and the players were able to push the limits of what would be a "mundane" character.

There was that narrowing focus on problem solving ability, resourcefulness, multi-tasking and attention to detail that made the game overly complex and strangely unattractive because expectations were changing and not symmetrically and at the same direction. That widening gap was a problem because as we all got older much of us changed and so did our priorities.

Now it seems I'm slowly going full circle. The game has helped me so much in work, I have several projects all lined up both in this blog and at work: ambitious, experimental and seeking criticism to ground expectations and assumptions. Now it appears that really, my games may be only suited to people at work and maybe that is the direction I should focus if I want to get my gaming fix.

Moving forward, I really have to change how I see what could be my potential players. I think the sooner I move toward Case Studies and Scenarios, and find a way to inject my desire for humanistic narrative, empathy, economics, tactics and strategy and love for problem seeking and solving in those sessions the sooner I can build on that and learn to accept the limitations of my circumstance and probably learn to love it.

Looking at it this way... at least I don't need a battle map and tokens anymore. All the news and speculation regarding competitors, other industry, and much of the forensic accounting analysis regarding their operating conditions can be transformed into NPC organizations with the potential to be partners, suppliers, clients and competitors. All the tricks in gathering information, and skillfully asking questions and trying to tease out clues will be what these games and scenarios are going to be about.

Probably end up using GURPS Social Engineering, GURPS mysteries, together with the Sales Certification and Training techniques and develop a method of discrete analysis and questioning playbook for the sales and key managers. Of course I'm eliminating a lot of the rules that don't really apply and use it a framework to build a foundation. I wonder if I could insert mastery of biases or fallacies in the skillset, and exercise framing techniques? Its like building a Social Simulation Game system... but the GM has some sales and dealing experience.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Space Warfare Doctrine on a Budget Doc.

Moving forward I have to consolidate my notes and the comments, so I just made a Google Doc that is editable. There are a lot of considerations so I might as well be organized and process oriented moving forward.

Right now I'm just collecting notes and references as I move forward.

Learning by Doing; Sci-fi is the ultimate Project Based Learning

Just a thought. I listed my ideas in the link and realized after writing it that I found an interesting way to teach people some engineering, math, physics, economics etc... similar to how I learned some of them by Gaming.

If there was a program that made this easier and allowed us to build up a data infrastructure for more ambitious projects, maybe I can start brainstorming the goals now and contribute reality testing the budget, manpower and timelines.

I just posted my ideas, its an editable doc. Feel free to add, remove, and improve on it. I plan to keep an eye out for the costs and skillset to make that kind of project happen and how to fund it here in the Philippines. if ever there is a way to fund that project, I'll help vett it and provide transparent crowd sourced/vetted medium of tracking and contributing.

So the market is Sci-Fi writers, GMs, amateur film-makers, students and their teachers. They learn by doing and making their own sci-fi worlds, ships, doctrines etc.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sci-fi on a Budget

In the discussion of scanners with ken and nyranth, working a setting without stealth is not such a bad thing. I think the sooner we move stealth away from being "invisble" the sooner we can build a new technical doctrine in space warfare that accomodates the science.

Stealth does not have to  be undetectable, it can be deception. This deception depends on how much trade volume happens in your scifi setting and how much heat generating junk fills a system. Just looking at the potential GDP and waste we make in our backyard on earth, i wouldnt be surprised that we have a potential to litter a system with old fission rods and unrecovered drones.

So combat is about overwhelming the other sides sensors.  It makes sense that on the most basic level a civilian ship scanner has a resolution of ~4 frames per minute. This gets better as we get better bridges. With a Standard or Large Cockpit we can ~40 frames, and at the Command Bridge Level  ~6 Frames per Second. The data and the resolution gets better with more computers and sensors act in gestalt. 

In "silent running" crewmen can put on their vacc suits and turn off life support, reducing their heat signature. I don't know yet how much to change things in the rules as i mentally walk through considerations. I don't know how much shielding can hide heat yet. Although I'm am more certain that these factors can be figured out. 

Defending should be easier with decoys, drones and pods roaming a system. Fortification is creating a mess of heat signals and follows the same mindset as underground shelters, confuse the enemy. Prevent them from determining the true nature and extent of the defenders. 

Pod or Drone launchers are a kind of ship that will be very useful in such a setting. They are useful in efforts in deception and misdirection serving q-ship or system defense vessels that come with a special surprise. They specialize in adding confusing signals in combat encounter.

With so many decoys, stealth hulls are about appearing as something else and presenting a misleading profile to the enemy. 

Asteroid fields, rings and clouds of debris are the best defensible position in a system. There may be efforts to set about artificial rings as a source for cover for planetary space fortresses, and a resupply source. 

Moving forward I guess I have to peg my assumptions and re-imagine my naval combat. I'm currently sticking to RAW for maximum user support, but I guess down the line If I can, I'll have to develop a better ship building method. Out of curiosity I'll ask my friends who can sketch out in "back-of-the-envelope" calculations what it would cost to make a Blender Game Program that just builds Ships, Star Systems and Planets for Sci-fi writers and GMs. One of those things I'd like to do if money was no problem and there is sufficient demand.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Scanning Limitations of Technology

Scanning Limitations of Technology

I was doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations with regards to scanning. So TL10 is 10,000 times better processing than our own computers to weight in TL8. Still, the scanning area of ships are incredible. I was imagining a ship entering a system in the default of 5AU from final destination in Traveller and i was wondered what was the base sq area of a cone with the height of the diameter of the entire system and with a arc of 90 degrees.

One can imagine that it needs more than 10,000 more processing power than a server cluster/ data cabinet worth of computers if you consider that every object in that volume of the cone has to be tracked second by second, identified, updated, analyzed for threats, and etc.

In fact, if you consider the 20min turn in GT space combat with the processing power of what may be a mainframe with 500k passmarks x 10k or 5B passmarks the best resolution would probably be 3-20 min updates. Each object is given a probability halo just to compensate for the slow processing.

I begin to see the proficiency in manipulating this in a different light. I realize statistics and programming is PART of the standard skillset of a sensor officer, particularly sub fields and formulas specific to scanning operating systems. These operators master how to optimize their machines through the gestalt of these skills, natural affinity or augmentation.

Transhuman terrans with their cyber augmentations can specialized and optimize themselves for these tasks. As for Vilani, i think castes specific to ship operation and their family backgrounds give them genetic and early learning advantage. I think i should start considering family / eugenic lines for vilani professionals and their castes.

Ill maybe have to make my professional templates Talent packages for vilani. Ill have to figure out how to add that in the char gen process.

Oh and i also forgot to mention how this data mess is great for stealth tech. If you dont know where to start, even with the inefficiencies of stealth tech there is just so much crap to sort through.

Another mental comparison is how sparse the data we get now, even if you increase what we can process in a day 10,000 times it not enough considering ships that enter systems have to work. There is a serious hard limit by which we can process data in a system, even if we work with maps and high density data compression.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Add this Project: Make Complicated RPGs easier to run

There is that love hate relationship between complexity and convenience in science, business and life. Some of the best things in life are truly complicated, but people naturally and intuitively grasp these things.

The way I run my games and the level of detail can be annoying to some. I cannot fault anyone for not liking the same things, everyone has their own intrinsic value for everything. The same reason I cannot fault them for liking what they like, that individuality is what makes people very human and very interesting.

What I can do is bring down the Information Overload barrier, I can create charts, spreadsheets, and detailed explanations... which appears to add to the detail, the primary purpose of my extensive notes and calculations is to find a simplifying set of rules of thumb. Rules of thumb that make the complex RPG as simple as a Board Game. My goal is to make into a board-game-like situation, then embed all those interesting notes into the Board Game rules so that they grasp the economics, logistics and the infra intuitively.

Only the min-maxer will go into the details, and Gamers are encouraged to min-max something that can be used as exercises in real world problem solving.

Added in my list of projects is to make board game equivalents of them. to make board-games Mass Combat, Ancient Era Imperialism or Feudalism, and Space era System Colonization. Using open source tools, printing services and a well documented and priced set of tools as well as the Time it takes for a DIY GM can make their own settings into Board Games for casual fun. Use their terrain map to recreate a time of war and intrigue, use their IMTU for a strategic space battle and colonization, etc.. activities that can have a lot of embedded context to create the premise of their next RPG.

IMTU: Updating the Ops Cost per Ship.

Just an update of ship expenses, all commercial shipping found in ISW.
Note that these are the costs per Dton, there is no margin and no Total-Cost-of-Ownership for Manpower. These all assume HT8 ships or what is IMTU default costs for regular ships.

Notice the Sharushid Ships have 50 years to pay and at the $1400 per dton make enormous profits. Their economies of scale are what private merchanters should not go head to head with. I've given a formula how to estimate the amount of shipping traffic a route has.

I've included HT8 microboats for every 250dton of cargo.

This should be enough of a play book for the adventures in ISW. We can just assume terra has the same ships as the Imperium for freighters, the difference is in the details... particularly operational costs. If Terrans use Androids for V.AI Crewman slots, thats 1/5 salary according to UT.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

IMTU Book keeping Assumptions

These are typical practices, the dominant practice. Its just good biz sense because it protects both parties. There are always exceptions, because many times biz is rushed and we work with so very little information.

Employment Contracts are for 6mos to 3 years.
Biz's don't pay out all of the spacer's salary per month, contracts are for a duration and many employers. Employees get fully paid at the end of contract and the money is held in Escrow. If you are a biz then you want predictability and these long contracts allow the GM or Players to see the costs before going-on.

Crewman with 1 year contract with $300 allowance bi weekly allowance, totals $34,200 and 26 payments of $300 (totaling $7,800 payout).

In my previous post cost of manpower is twice is pay. The assumption includes required gov't taxes/contributions, union contributions, made by the Biz for the crewman.
Employment Negotiations Mini game.
Employment Negotiations are a fun mini-game to play. GM has a stack of NPC "resumes" with no skill rating. There is a Due Dilligence Roll, and Interviews. 
Finance on the Side.
Biz owners can try to invest those earnings for the Crew. Ideally if that Biz Owner has finance skill. He can invest all his liquid assets in an account with interest equal to finance margin of success in % + 2%. Failure is only 2%, very bad failure (margin of 5 or worse) is 1d6-1% loss, and critical is at a 2d6% loss.

These all take time to mature and be pulled. cash here is "Locked".

Assumed Due Diligence.
In real life this is a hard activity, in the game it is a simple as a secret roll of the GM (insert diabolical laughter here).

Open Source Equipment
Open Source equivalents never lose support but hey need a workshop and access to raw materials to maintain. They need an appropriate Workshop TL to keep them maintained. They are considered Cheap  and perform effectively 1TL lower. they are also bulkier at 50% the mass and diminished performance because of that. They occupy 20% more Dtons of space.
Ex. TL10 Open Source Cargo Bot needs a TL10 workshop to maintain, but performs at TL9 (a TL9 robot needs weekly maintenance).  

  • Vehicles Depreciate in 8 years to 10% value. Depends on HT and Quality. Luxury Vehicles depreciate at a slower rate; cheap vehicles depreciate faster. Heavy Tools depreciate at the same rate. by Heavy I mean, tools half a ton and heavier; this includes robots. These equipment lose manufacturer support in 10 years.  Just divide the cost by 10 for calculating depreciation.
  • Vacc Suits, Computers, and Precision equipment in 3 years to 20% (20% is the biz selling price for resellers, resellers will sell at 50% the original prices after refurbishing). No more support at 6 years. Typically these equipment costs are divided by 3 for depreciation and replacement. Because they are sensitive and lifesaving they are replaced very quickly.
  • Weapons have a Use Life. very hard to track, but the GM can just handwave this.    

250 dtons or less needs a hauling Vehicle. A microboat is sufficient per 250 dtons worth of cargo containers. It should be able to haul 2x6dtons in about an hour Out of the Ship. Assume 250dtons in 1 hour plus trip-distance*42 (forty trips; 21 trips to and 21 trips back). This can be done by the ship AI.

TL9 microboat can only hold 1 cargo container. It takes twice as long as the TL10 microboat.

Work Note: I can just see the crest, after this major hurdle I can look forward to studying and tinkering some more for gaming.

Monday, May 7, 2012

IMTU Cost of Energy and the Future.

I hopefully make it clear that No Game System has a copyright in using Economics used as a World building tool. That said, you can use GDP and GDP/C to mark Technological Advance since this represents Productivity. Its easy to make your guideliness and work the numbers back and forward. 

This leads me to another Technological Indicator: the Cost of Energy and the Future.
Currently in this Technological Era the cost of 1MW is $2M. In Traveller's TL10 1MW is $200k. In my calculations to make space shipping more cost efficient, in my previous posts, the cost should be 1MW is $40k. 

TL is used here to mark a level of GDP/C level of productivity.

TL or Era and the Cost of Power for 1MW
6 $50M (renewable); $1,250,000 (non-renewable)
7 $10M (renewable); $250,000 (non-renewable)
8 $2M (renewable); $50,000 (non-renewable);
9 $400k (renewable); $10,000 (non-renewable)
10 $80,000* (renewable); $2,000 (non-renewable)

You will notice that TL 6, 7, and 8 occur about the course of 100 years and all tech advances are much slower. It is not a fair assumption to think that the rate of growth in the 20C and the start of the 21C will be the same. These are rates of growth and they can be malleable depending on the setting and situation; what is the "Snapshot" GDP/C in a given timeline. Imagine GDP/C as a diagonal line, instead of a curve and that is what measures technology. The rates can change in various setting; Vilani Imperium had extraordinary GDP/C growth in their earlier eras and slowed down in 2170CE, while we are experiencing a slow down right now in our own TL regarding renewable energy. 

You can have setting stretch out their TL5, or TL6, or TL7 because of the many hindrances that are affecting their science (like what is happening now with the many science hindrances; the anti-science possibility we have today thanks to politics and those who muddy the water). 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fictify Kickstarter: For the GM who needs a little more prodding

Plugging this Kickstarter,
Basically its a program that keeps your eye on the ball. So if you know how distracted you can be and you really need to have your material ready, this is for you. Check it out, cause I'm not exactly the best explanation.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

IMTU: TL or Era Level is GDP/C; Gini Coeffcient IMTU

IMTU TL will be used for GDP per Capita. It also has the added use of determining the technology support capacity of the State. Wealth modifies this, it simply measures degree of infra investment or maturity.

GDP and GDP/C will be in my system stat Block. I will also need to make a state creation system, that rolls for Resources, Population, GDP, GDP/C, GC (see below), Wealth, and a few of the economic details. If I could I'd put HDI.

GDP per Capita by TL (edited May 6 2012)
  • TL1 $300
  • TL2 $500
  • TL3 $700
  • TL4 $1,000
  • TL5 $2,000 
  • TL6 $5,000
  • TL7 $10,000
  • TL8 $20,000
  • TL9 $50,000
  • TL10 $70,000
  • TL11 $100,000
  • TL12 $150,000
You can have a TL9 at $25,000 GDP/C because they are struggling. Or you can have a TL9 that is $100,000 GDP/C because they have a lot of infra and training. 

Gini Coefficiency
Actually Gini Coefficiency determined the kind of Gov't, not the other way around. I'm using the other way around because I don't want to roll GC only to change the the Gov't type.

We all know and love our Political Science here, so it is easy to know where I'm leading to... A low GC means more equally distributed wealth and thus more equality and meritocracy. Since we reversed this, we use Gov't to determined GC. So oligarchies, dictatorships, theocracies, feudalism, etc. are on the high GC, while democracy, representation/parliamentary, technocracy, etc.. are on the low side.

When rolling GC: wealth, GDP/C, base culture, and gov't type modifies the result of the roll.

Of course there are Puppet Gov't, oligarchy's pretending to be Democracies or representative gov'ts. You can have a democracy pretending to be a technocracy, or a technocracy pretending to be a dictatorship etc... Just roll again

So the Vilani Imperium is a Caste System and an Imperial one, so you can expect the same GC as that of 70s. Note that despite the inequality, there are a lot of pacifying infrastructure.

A state may be a "democracy" but when powerful minorities can dictate policy because of money, manipulation, and game democratic process, one should reconsider what really does determines policy and the direction of the state.

Population Quotas.
Vilani have Population Quotas, you cant have more managers and executives running around and too few commoners. You cannot also have too few commoners, commoners cannot decide on the size of their family, their "betters" do. Its one of the few problems you have when you have a caste system and you are trying to be politically stable.

One of the other big reasons for population quotas is technological stagnation, and provincial nature of the vilani settlements. uncontrolled population factors are something to control.

I'm sure you can figure out a lot of drama's and stories regarding quota's for familys for Vilani characters. Check out the problem China is having with the policy, and the flooding of HK hospitals from mainland immigrants.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Projects Update and IMTU Underground Doctrine

Currently working on the following -

  • IMTU background generation to be added to the Character creation. It will require me to have a little library of backgrounds and professions. I'm expanding on the basic Traveller Professions and slowly incorporating professions that appeared on the background: Specialist Engineers (life support, power plants, bio and farming, etc...)
  • Getting the Economics Down and automating the methods of detailing the Economics of a planet and its political atmosphere. Economics is KING in describing a lot of things in both real world and the game... your drawing on a TON of science to help you game, that's like using mining laser doing some home improvement. - a geeks wet dream. When I say automate I mean make a spread sheet I can just plug the variables or generate them randomly. I have to read more about the trade system and incorporate Comparative Economic advantage which has not been factored in. 
  • Working on a project i call HexGimp Games and Inkscape Boardgames, based on the extensions I've installed. Get this tools and make a simple process to make a game, flesh out the work time so that people can tell it is a good investment in time. Again putting my mass combat and economics to work to allow GMs to play CIV in their games, but at a level of simplicity that it can be a game played in a casual afternoon with friends. The idea is to allow GMs to create landscapes and their Economic Code (like Travellers' UPP) very quickly (via spreadsheet) and Start playing ASAP. calculating time and motion and making sure people can play quickly.
  • My Traveller Game Economic Data and Setting Details. I will detail the Sol and Dingir subsector as well Gemini Subsector using system and planet surface generators i've found. I build my bombardment proof settlements underground and use Dungeon generators to build the cities. All the stuff I create to detail this, I'll try to automate and systemize so that i can do it again and again quickly or HAVE SOMEONE ELSE DO IT. 
  • Regarding having someone else do it, I'll post my BPO research regarding the virtual gaming assistant Key Performance Indicators. The VGA is going to be easier to measure and instruct if I make a play book and create work activities and their KPIs. I've renewed my research and I am close to getting a break through, currently finishing up some work that allows me to be set for the year-ish. Once that is done, i can focus on my studies and gaming, and I'll be able to get some IT OJTs to test my thesis - World Building and Detailing Processes Playbook for GMs Assistant, and see how much time and training it takes to develop a VGA for the mostly automated tasks and basic activities a GM or world builder will need... and all do it at about $5/day. Tools that help GMs verify credibility of VGA applicant and set up a relationship, I'd probably set up a referral site and system. Since this is Niche work and doesn't really help a lot in furthering any of the careers of these VGA's (its a summer part-time job basically) expect a high attrition - that is why a playbook will speed up training and setting expectation.      

BTW IMTU is short for In My Traveller Universe, its typical to assume every Traveller GM is talking about how they have tailored the setting in their own work. Should be applicable to Fantasy IMFS (in my fantasy setting), historical IMHS (in my historical setting) or low tech setting etc. etc..

Underground Doctrine.
I've created a doctrine for colonization in the face of a possibility of war. Underground is the Terran staple and the better coverage a planet is against orbital bombardment the better candidate.

Meshan is an example in the DINGIR subsector of something that has the best cover and SHOULD HAVE BEEN underground. Making a freaking colony, squatting on Imperial territory and failing to make allocations to protect one's own people with protected shelter... is insanely stupid in my book. I've altered a lot of that and made all human settlements are underground. 

What is underground if you have the technology to create a lot of space and you have already matured self-sustaining life support needed for ships?

Bio Engineering Greenhouse and Pre-Garden Worlds.
We have biotech and we have done this since eons: developed crops specific to our needs. With genetic engineering why not tailor crops planet to planet to serve as:

  • Harvest nutrients from the Gasses and Atmosphere of the planet.
  • Help mine planets, the plants use their capiliary action to move nutrients. either concentrating them to be efficiently harvested. 
  • Slowly terraform a planet.
  • Allow Humans to create disposable surface infrastructure incase of bombardment.  
Bio-engineering is a BIG industry, and they create highly controlled crops that help humans mine, create food, and develop resources in the particular DNA of a Planet or Rock. 

IMTU Meshan 2170CE ISW110
Colony Founded in ~2156CE
Meshan has been "destroyed" at least all the surface infrastructure, but those were old and archaic. Most infra is actually underground. What is in the surface of the planet are Meshan-creeper crop. That is a creeper or a runner plant that is tailored for Meshan to collect a variety of surface nutrients and processes them through photosynthesis. Vilani having "destroyed" the surface and assumed nothing relevant has been left see the plant has crawled and made its way throughout the planet's surface, coloring it a strange purple hue (the photosynthetic coloring particular to Meshan). There are many varieties of the plant for the different terrain and nutrient availability. These plants have the ability to store water if introduced to the atmosphere. 

Burrowing Micro bots harvest these plants. They have been helpful in creating reactor material, food, and raw materials for the remaining colonist and the underground cities. 

Slowly growing is a new crop meshan plant, one that has very deep roots, a mining plant designed to slowly tunnel and concentrate valuable minerals for the colonists. The processes would go smoother if there was a way to bring in more water into Meshan...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

IMTU: Spacers and Captured Routes

A Ships adventure is to explore new routes. Basically the first adventure after acquiring financing is getting a trade route.

First - It is only natural for us to consider the strengths and backgrounds of our crew, but it is also important to consider what opportunities validate these strengths. Contacts are Opportunities, they provide either specialized and exclusive knowledge or they are gate keepers to lucrative deals.

Its common to have public and transparent bidding... but c'mon this is traveller and we are dealing with a lot of gray areas. Everyone is trying to gain an edge, and we cannot exclusively rest on pure merit or competence.
I'm going to add a Background and Contact generator in my character creation. This should allow characters to have a random set of contacts with reliabilities that are unknown.
Second - Next is the Plan, it can take years for a plan to be finalized. In Traveller and the kind of businesses we are considering, getting regular trade routes for clients who cannot be satisfied by the Mega-Corp Freighters has a very small window. These business want it now-now-now, but the Merchant Ship Biz and having backers approve the plan would take 3-4 months.

3-4 months to clear is amazing in TL10 standards. Especially a deal as big as $14-100M. This is thank to TL10 Financial AI and mega-computers helping evalute and create all sorts of projections and isolate all the variables.  
The GM should help flesh out the biz plan, playing the role of the Backers. Backers want to venture to succeed and will provide the number crunching of their bank's mega comp to help optimize the biz plan and highlight all the risks. 
Not all Applicants get approved and Players must consider the Character history if they will use Banks as their backers. If a Bank will not finance the deal, various patrons also do similar due diligence but they may have a special deal with regards how the business should behave. There is that  rule of thumb that banks go for the sure thing, they have stake holders to please, and if the plan is sound enough bank will finance you. If you can take the plan to a highly respected bank, you can take it to anyone.
BTW don't show your plan to just anyone, Non-disclosure agreements and lawyering up is an assumption and considered by the GM. Consider it as part of the cost of doing business and a precaution taken... unless the players are unusually sloppy.

Here the team has to go to the Biz their going to court and offer them a deal. In the traveller economy and the high technology there is a HUGE GDP per Capita compared to us. A percent of that is Traded Goods, and you can average traded volume equal to 1dton = 5stons = $500,000 worth of goods. You can use that formula to deduce how many Freighters are plowing the lines (their contracts are for 50 years) getting the TOTAL GDP of all the systems on a route, modified by the tradable GDP in Dtons, and how many freighters are needed to service that Volume.

in a branch line you have a total GDP of $150T (Dingir to Nushku) and 1% that is trade via the Branch line. That is $1.5T or $1,500B goods divided by 40 jumps a year (starports in every system makes sure that only 2 days at the most to drop of freight and passengers) $37.5B in trade. $37,500M and get the Dtons by assuming each .5M is 1dton of goods.  75000dtons of goods need to be moved. Divide that by the no. of branch freighters and you have about 56 branch freighters (2000dtons). You can round that down to 50 branch freighters plowing the branch, conservatively because if there is any shrinkage its really expensive to keep those afloat.

The GDP can be used to determine what patrols each connection again, looking at operational costs.

I'll basically make these initial studies for Dingir and Sol system. As I've said I'll do the heavily lifting and the Players or the Team Leader gets to play executive.

Now the PCs need to see how much of that remaining market can they eat up or to create new markets. 

Third - Plan in action. This is the adventure, you really have to follow up the leads  and put the plan in motion. There is some hand-holding from the Bank, aka the GM, but thats fine. 

The Players will be meeting people and business and dealing. They will be going through the challenges of being in places unfamiliar, strange and possibly dangerous. They will try to survive, make friends and business partners and ideally prosper.

In the course of a budget of time, ideally in 3 mo. they have contracts which are good for a number of months. The contracts are the reward and the game goes autopilot to reap the contracts while they last, then on to the next venture.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Poll: What would rather do most in a game?

Its a poll related to my previous post.

Consolidating Role-Playing Game expectations

We are now familiar with the Tanks, Flankers, Healers, Range Attacker and  Spellcaster set up. Of course this is not the only way to play a game, The doctrine/the manner of play really depends on the GM and the players. There is no limitation to the kind of formula one may choose to use for their game, the only important thing to consider is expectations.

Consider what you want to be doing most of all in a Game? Would you want to move pieces around in combat or do you want Role-Play, Puzzles (strategic or mental), or do you want to solve problems? The mixture is never completely homogeneous. There is no single kind of play because there are diminishing returns to enjoyment in each, and the diversity sometimes compliments the utility of other kinds of play.

What gives the group the best utility, or what utility can the GM best offer. Communication and understanding, a dialogue, would be best to know what players want to be doing most of the game and trying to diagram to narrow down what would bring most utility or the GM diagrams what he can best offer in terms of Activity.
Ex. As a GM I admit that my tastes for games have changed a lot as I got older. The Traveller Game I've prepared for shows my current likes: 50% high level problem solving - problems similar to what we face in the real world but equipped with the abilities of highly competent individuals (the game of bosses), 30% strategic/tactical/logistic activities - this is a quick narrative of actions and activities where I, as the GM, use direct adversarial activities (combat, social maneuvering, and opposed rolls), and 20% drama and role-playing. 
Back in the day I used to be 80% combat, and the rest role-play.
In a combat heavy system, having roles organized and a doctrine or a dominant strategy set up helps set expectations. In a problem solving game you have a different set of character options: you have Force, Diplomacy, Deception/Obfuscation, Intelligence Gatherer (information superiority), Technical Superiority (logistics or technology), and Alternative methodologies (put here criminal, magical, and anything other method that is not the mainstream means of solving problems). A "balanced party" in a problem solving game has a lot of options available and the ability to mix strategies. 

Games are not only Problem Solving and Combat; there are games of Intrigue where there are a variety of roles to play and a particular mix to draw from: The Honorable diplomat, the manipulator/tempter/seducer (applying manipulations on the weaknesses of others), the Truth Seeker (detectives, investigators, empaths etc.), the Dealer (exchanging favors), and those who use Force or Money. 
Ex. in 5 hour game expect the following:
  • 2.5 hours problem solving - I would be facilitating the PCs plans and throwing murphies based on the die rolls. Players ideally adapt and quickly change their plans on the fly. (think of it as a fun team work exercise but your characters have a lot to gain)
  • 1.5 Some little combat (hand-to-hand or vehicular), and some social maneuvering. 
  • 1 hour of drama intertwined between - character's baggage comes up and gets in the way of things. If plans are not made to tailor-in or avoid character weaknesses baggage gets much worse. High stress situations always trigger mental disadvantages, even those little quirks. I keep track of stress levels and the players juggling the problem solving must understand that to solve any problem their character are in a high stress position (long hours, distractions, internal conflicts) and these manifest. The way this gets resolved is when players act out their character issues and personality. 
To address players expectations, I guide them in character creation to optimize their options and variety of strengths. but my expectations cannot be completely inflexible, i have to consider player input. I guess I have to average it out; at the same time "sell" my strengths to the players. You can't just give the players what you can do, you have to give them a chance to get to know your style prior to play. At least buffering expectations.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

People asking to to be sold an RPG

I'm against this kind of approach, I find it puts people responding to it in a vulnerable and odd position. One is that It appears doomed to fail, I have yet to hear of a successful conversion when someone is using this method. One of the problems with such a method is how people learn to like and love things: we find intrinsic value because of what we put into an experience. Now, asking to be "sold an experience" places the party asking in no position to find an intrinsic value. 

It basically falls under the category of finding things out with one's own effort. There is greater objectivity and clearing up of biases when we put the effort in learning all we can about something. There is a neutrality with the question being posed, but that neutrality is the best starting point to start asking more serious questions about one's self and what they are looking for in a game.    

I still remember buying my Basic Set in 1996. My brothers and I had enough for one book between us, and we were in the US for only a week. We kept going back to the same game store over and over again looking at everything and trying to get the best investment for our small amount of cash... and we chose GURPS 3e. I admit it was hard to learn, and I was a C student in high school with really bad reading skills. So it was a real struggle, but I am a much better person because of it. I can't imagine an experience like willfully going through GURPS 3e in 2nd year HS putting all those college books into perspective.

Sell me/don't sell me on GURPS - Page 18

Finally got I Boardgames Extensions to work

Finally got I Boardgames Extensions for Inkscape to work. I really have to go with vector graphics to allow more flexibility in the usage of the maps, since it allows me to zoom in and zoom out with good detail.

I had to brush up on some bash commands to override the permissions in my ubuntu laptop.

Playing around with it now, hope to learn how to optimize my desktop to make gaming material.