Sunday, May 28, 2023

Legal Fiction - Business Fiction - how people calculate Costs

There is a term of legal fiction, like that Corporations are “People” when they are not. in Business, there is a fiction as well. The fiction has to do with Costs and Operations. Typically when we make a Break Even Calculation we assume (based on experience and market research) of what we need and try to make a profit. In this case its the fiction that we need to charge extra for the service we already had intended for the customer in case we can get away from it. 

1-2DT of Freight and Ship Operations. - a Passage room should assume the 90% of passengers who will travel and their conditions (depending on your SCI-FI settings demographics). 

If the setting says that people move 10-20 tons of personal and business equipment is moved by someone traveling 3-12 light years to another star system including their families, then the Break Even calculation of a Ship is by the Passenger Rooms and the Freight needed per room given 90% of the passengers. 

If the Passengers are “ASSUMED” to be their Families, a unit that is measured in 3-5 “Adults” and children being a fraction of adults, then the Sci-fi Setting has laws and practices around familys as passengers. With an Anagathics skewing Median Age calculations of a growing Population, Age distribution would probably design factoring the physical and mental capabilities. With people appearing mostly in 30-50s and the relationships they bring with them - then people moving 3+ Lightyears for a Job in another star system. Wow imagine population demographics measured in your Economic output instead of age. A better off person with anagathics keeping them in their 30s or 40s as compared to many who are in conditions equal to their 50s and 60s (with Universal Basic Incomes of the wealthiest states able to keep its population at theirs 50s and 60s). 

So in Mneme Variant Rules for Cepheus Engine we did the calculation of the break even of the ships. I have a long history of doing this going as far back as 2012 when YouTube and the internet was still young, with me demonstrating a spreadsheet of my GURPS calculations. Discovering that the ticket costs dont make money and my personal journey of learning business has changed my numbers a lot, and will continue to change my numbers 

One of the things about my experience is that the Ship will have factored the 2DT per Room, but will default this as an Added expense and will periodically use it as a Promotion. We are living in the age of AI, and personal AI’s snatching this up for its passengers should be no great logical leap. What takes a leap is what does it mean in a system where this is the practice - “Online Reputation” will create a history and of course AI’s will fill in the details - and then there is the META-analysis if the AIs were being used as a Review Bomb. 
Knowing full well that Market Conditions, a SHIP that came from an economically problematic system needs to break even and will charge more. Then if you find out the Ship purposely goes to help out a Port X, E, or D System, - which makes you wonder if its for charitable reasons, where they can’t carve out a niche, or nefarious reasons. 

Mneme will go into some details - like Frequency of Drone Jumps so that people who are in trouble can get help and the logistics of “Help” as well as the predators that ply the trade winds for vulnerable ships to exploit. The wealthy Port A and B worlds and their High Fees and Conveniences and the families, businesses, expanding in underdeveloped areas and systems - hoping to industrialize and succeed where there is less competition and more opportunities. The bias of being a Developing world person writing about Trade - with the perspective that Development is a journey and status, that people who dont like the policies of their world can try in a less developed world. That people with a strong risk appetitive will continually move to worlds with more opportunity for the good and evil. Underdeveloped worlds will be a source of young labor - people who be aided by AI and their youth to do jobs that will use them up. And those who manage to survive to have anagathics keep them in their 50s will be moving to places with lower costs. 

I dont know how many gamers like a story about people pursuing their dreams at the cost of their body and mind, to be left with a broken and buggy one after serving their time and being able to make their own way. If they like the story of generational upliftment, and migration. If their characters look around in the star port and the passenger roster and wonder. In the few times I travel, Love wondering and finding out about the people I travel with. It’s funny that a game Called Traveller is more than just about the travelers. 

Of course people dont have to use or care about these details. It’s just a handy set of setting details the GM can use to explain away things and give structure to what happens here. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

1DT for Reference and Stable Diffusion: AI as a force multiplier

Fixing Chapter 6: Offworld Travel in CE for Mneme some Visuals are important. Like having to model Lifepods, Cabins and Staterooms. There are many necessary details in the chapter that needs clarifying. Like detailing whats in a Stateroom and Cabin and how much "Common Areas" are - and funnily enough I work in Fit-Out Contruction and Furniture manufacturing to want to fill it up with details I hope to immerse players into and its far reaching implications. 

  • Passenger ships keeping stores of Vacc Suits and Passengers are expected to wear the vacc suit during travel, unless they have their own (Unlikely if they don't work as a spacer). Child sized Vacc suits. 
  • What do passengers do in a 1-month long voyage? (4 weeks, 4 jump-1 Jumps).
  • "Seating" where do people sit or rest and how many to accommodate. 
  • As I fixed the Drones and Robot rules, the Drone Helper helps a typical family or accompanies a person (and how some Systems this is a BASIC that is provided at different ratios). 
  • The Costs - when the GM starts using operating costs as the basis of all the costs. Its more expensive and its per Room per Jump per Week. Who pays for it? 
    • Entities pay for it: Gov'ts and Corporations who want the manpower. And Alliances and Diplomatic Relations exist to ensure that the people are not going into slavery in their destination. 
    • Of course the human trafficking is part of the risks, and why would people traffic humans if Drones and Robots and AI and CLoning exist. 
  • Costs and logistics of a Star port and their grades. The kinds of encounters in a starport. 

A Cabin and a Stateroom. The key difference is the Lifepod. A solid metal hard-shell survival low berth, fresher (at it contains the human waste processing and recycling) and the "Bed" where families and passengers spend their days while travelling in deep space. 

Our bedroom at home, is about 2.5DT including the "Fresher" and a family in the developing world where living space is about ~13 sqm per human (we are 6 humans living in 79sqm) (1 sqm is about 10sqft)

Stable diffusion for your Games, not for publishing. Stable diffusion is just another LEVEL when you think of the stuff you can make for your games. Here is Mike's Character in Bob's Traveller game named James T Kirk. Who is the second officer, It took about 50+ tries and iterating. About 2 hours on this one, but the previous tried were about an additional 3-4 hours. 

AI is such a powerful force multiplier that I've come to reorder all my assumptions around it on Scifi. And it gives a higher level of detail in my games. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Fiction Ideas: Parts of World building

I wish i can write a short fiction:

the premise is 2040 and it follows the life of a working student and his commute and work. the audience is with him as he navigates the really competitive world with AI being in everyone's tool. They watch him learn on the job multiple engineering and IT disciplines simultaneously as he prepares a new version of an android for industrial use. His team is a quirky mix of backgrounds, from all over the world as some are working remotely.

The news fill him with dread as more and more people go into basic, but as compared to us - basic is a godsend. The scarcity that he feels that we dont is access to advanced materials and AI.

Throughout his project, for a couple of months, you see him interact with his family. His mother hinted that he should tell his dad. he, on the other hand, doesn't want to. The raw emotion of being an independent young adult, against fragile parents who look old and worn, and troubled. Overhearing his discussions with his dad, you see him talk with him only over games - Giant robots fighting, Fantasy, and combat shooters. You can see a kid trained in these games like second nature and his ranking. A hint that he has some privilege can be seen in his scoreboard and the dad saying, "youv'e always shown a knack for this."

He goes back to work and school, and submits his data and android test scores to overworked professor, the proceed towards a Pre-mortem analysis of his numbers. where the student finds out he failed to set up several safety redundancies. Its still an LLM and its "Concepts" and logical flow has several AI's managing Tokens in sub-compartments - he forgot the default safety compartments for the AI to avoid doing harm.

He can't make the deadline and is requesting an extension on the day of the product demonstration. The other team is running the latest model. Their scores are remarkable, but you hear him complain that that's LLM model doing the heavily lifting. They're not using the other LLMs, he complains about using the same LLM model as 99% of all androids and AI tools out there. His teammates comment that its what people want and the QMS mantra of Customer Focus.

On the stage, their Android stumbles and barely makes a passing score. A slight performance dip in response and cogency. With only one remarkable attribute, its following the audience and observing the other cues of the physically present human on the test. It seems to observe the human and make inferences but having no action to demonstrate its considered a failure.

The audience finds out that he passes; everyone gets basic, but doesn't qualify for the Space Program which puts him on the Lunar Spin hab for the Space Elevator projects.

The Audience hears his AI, usually silent, speak up, asking for his next command. The audience notices the speech pattern is like his dad. He shrugs it and the AI is quiet, and there is a silence regarding the implication.

One of the team members is chatting with him, talking shop, when the touchy subject of the demonstration comes up. The teammates are all nice to him, and it seems to be more obvious as to why. He has a tense voice " I get it, but it just can't be always him. Its like the whole world doesn't know anyone else. and they've surrendered to just that image."

The story ends with him choosing to either go back home, or go on basic and find a job. He feels like whatever he chooses he will regret it. 

2-Parsec Update: Problems we have clearly Identified

We are fixing warship combat because when Firecontrol systems increase (every fighter and every turret/bay) the system breaks down when you have >4 such systems. The amount of rolls slow down the game.

the amount of rolls and is CESRD doesnt make the game enjoyable. if  GM ran it with  a large force against the PCs, the GM will be taking a turn with the Players doing nothing for >2 minutes and possibly 5+ mins.

The most grievous is RAW  gives the ship with the highest initiative 2 turns per turn. Once an enemy ship ambushes another ship they will have automatic 2 turns for the duration of the combat. 

How an Ambusher can act twice per turn for the duration of the combat

How ships ambush other ships

MNEME Changes

  1. Clarification how Ranges work and Encounter Ranges. 
  2. What factors allow for Ambush and Prevent the Ambush
  3. Protocols around Transponders and when to Fire Upon threats, - admittedly this cannot be so simple -
    1. Its not simple because I have to make Protocols and reasoning behind the protocols. Example - Warships cannot Broadcast their Transponders - the way the US and China doesn't broadcast where their warships are. But how do you distinguish a Legitimate Warship vs a Raider? This is not simple and players who just jump in without understanding the setting will be disappointed or disagree with the gm.  
    2. But creating the framework helps for the GM and Players to prepare to develop when they Shoot at something because they know the risks of doing so. Consensus regarding this needs to be written and people on the same page. I know people who respect lethal force have a firm understanding on it. 

In CESRD you roll Point Defense against every missile a cumulative -1. 

  • A  gunner can keep rolling turret gunner until he misses BUT each additional attack is a DM-1.  gunner ca keep rolling turret gunner 
  • So a 12 Missile - missile bank causes a ship to PD up to -11 to Hit. Guaranteed success to hit.
  • A Tripple missile Turret will give a -2 cumulative penalty, regardless of hitting the first missile.  
MNEME changes
  • Simpler 
  • Will not breakdown in a 48 Missile swarm of a 4-missile bank Missile Frigate. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

2-Parsec Update: Rock Paper Scissors of TL9

 So I have a Spreadsheet to speed up building Ships, and I now have a partially working set of rules. So now I'm testing the scenarios by simply writing up their stats and mentally walking through the scenarios. Things I realized. 

  1.  as DTons are HP, fighters are very easily killed since damage is typically in the scale of 1d6 + Success Effect and Burst Damage Rules. Fighters are really fragile, while Ships with 100dtons have about a hundred HP. 
    1. 200-300DT merchants with 2-3 Tripple Turrets can have Missiles or Beam weapons able to burst fire (3-4 shots for a DM+1 for +1 damage to +1d6 damage). If the PCs win their Opposed Rolls to hit, Fighters having no armor will take 2d6+Effect damage, and Effects now have a minimum of 1 (because 0 effect breaks a number of mechanics that rely on the Success Effect). 
  2. Fighters are worth 17-20M, because if you count their hangar that is the total cost of ownership. Fighters are the best way to add Force to a Ship. You can measure Firepower by Turrets or Hard Points. Note that Bay weapons requires a Hard point. Image that 17-20M for an additional 3 Weapons of Firepower! And of course the 2 additional Crew:. 
    1. You wouldn’t want 1-crew. That means Adjust Speed + Gunnery Check. Multi Tasking penalty. The penalties are going to stack up. 2-Crew fighters are the minimum. 
  3. Making a ship just with Sandcasters a VIABLE strategy is good game design (in my opinion) - it allows PCs who want to purely be commercial a chance to thrive. Also it allows for the Specialized Roles. It can make a game really simple - and simple helps with the complexity of this game. 
    1. These ships are still effective as they can deal 1dmg and burst fire allows 6-9 Sand Casters to deal 1dd6+1 to 2d6+1 damage plus effect. 
    2. Significant Action + Reaction + Initiative to Gain Reactions means a defender can go through a lot of Sand Canisters per turn.
  4.  Experimented with Missile Frigates - ships with just Ship Bay weapons and Burst Fire Rules. 300-400dton War ships whose sole job is to pump as many Smart Missiles at the target while staying as far away as possible. 
    1. Pirates have to deal with these kinds of Warships - and Still threaten. Sand Casters can be used in Point Defense but can't be effective as an Offensive Tool. Not enough teeth if they spend on San Casters. Beam Weapons can start shooting down Missiles from a Medium range, but that's what the Gunners are doing - having to swat away Missiles while the Missile Frigates will just saturate their defense. Burst fire rules means Missiles dealing more than their 1d6 damage against armor of 8. I noticed it becomes a very high attrition game. 
    2. Beam + Sand Casters are Defense in Depth. 
    3. If Missiles End their Turn (Note their 10 thrust) at Close or Short Range Point Defense action can work. 
  5.  The Missile Frigates have Escort Frigates, which have 8 sand Casters and 4 beam weapons and 4 escort fighters. At a 800dton engagement 1 missile frigate and 1 Escort Frigate can easily deal with the a 600-800 dtons fo Raiders. Specialization gives a higher effectivity per Dtons, which is important for mechanics to reflect. 
    1. More Intense Combat will take Hours to resolve. It can occupy multiple 2-3 sessions. A 400dton Q-ship vs a 600dton Raider, with the Q ship with Veteran Crew (All skills are DM+2) and the Raider are Skilled at DM+1  will take 2-3 hours to resolve depending on the rolls, especially since these ship carry Fighters and Ship’s Boat. 
    2. Trained DM+0, Skilled DM+1, Veteran DM+2, Elite DM+3. 
  6. Some NOTES: Comms-Sensor station limits. The number of stations that can fit in a bridge equals the Dtons. 
  7. Folded Comms-Sensor with Navigator. Note the Captain can be Comms-Sensor or Navigator if they are better at that. If you want maximum DM bonuses then Captain should be a dedicated Roll with Coordinate Crew. Captain with Leadership and Tactics pretty much increase the DM effectiveness of the Crew by a lot. 
  8. Problems: FEATURES - these complicate the encounter should be pretty realistic. 
    1. Asteroid - a large enough asteroid between two sides gives a DM bonus to someone Evading but 
    2. Debris Fields  - a cloud of spaces where ships here take damage and have DM penalties 
    3. (Magnetic or Solar or Ion) Storms - for 1d6 turns DM-1d6 penalties to all rolls, the GM hides all the other groups’ tokens simulating both groups will be blind. IF there is an asteroid, they could seek shelter from the storm using the asteroid, halving the penalties. 
Criteria of a Good Space Combat Mechanics
  1. Easily set up Scenarios. 
  2. The same Scenario can have different Outcomes based on the the die roll. In other words I’m conscious about the odds multiplied by the frequency of rolls and how these aggregate in probability to make for interesting combat. 
  3. It’s unlikely the GM and Players to miss an opportunity or a Step which will change the outcome. A sign of a mechanic that needs a lot of improvement is that it overwhelms the the Players and GM. Over simple is GOOD, of course simple needs at least some choices. 
People who Buy 2-Parsec with its Ship Combat Fixes and Ships will have the following
  1. Spreadsheet of Ships and Docs of the Ships for easy cut and pasting for the GM’s preparation. (There will be a PDF if that helps but if the Players are going to Tweak their Ship and all the like, it just saves them so much time to have the Docs and Spreadsheet). 
  2. I’ll be throwing in the Models and Blender Files I used to Kitbash these ships so the GM can change the colors and make their own tokens. 
    1. Missiles
    2. Fighters
    3. Raiders
    4. Merchants 
    5. Freighters
    6. Q-Ship Merchants
  3. Token and Token Marker Packs for Roll20 (I’m not sure about how token markers work the other VTTs since I’ve never tried them). 
  4. YouTube Videos of how these all work
    1. Ship Combat Tutorial the Basics
    2. Blender Basics on how to Customize the Models and How I convert them into Tokens. 
    3. How to use the Spreadsheet for creating CE RAW ships. 

I hope the products will make people play more since it’s Easier, there are tools to speed up prep and ready to use scenarios, they can keep most of the stuff they already made. 

Targeting start of June. 

2-Parsec Update: Drafts of Tutorials

Making a Tutorial of the Rules is hard, Since I'm walking through the Tutorial, I'm aware of the time. I hope I can explain the rules in 15-20 minutes. There are a lot of notes I will try to avoid mansplaining.  

This Roll20 Set up will help GMs quickly set up encounters. 

You cannot copy from Spreadsheet to Roll20 Sheet. You have to copy it first to Gdoc, and from Gdoc copy to Roll20. 

Friday, May 5, 2023

2-Parsec Update: Stable Diffusion was so mentaly exhausting I need a break

What they dont tell you: 

  1. Its a moderate Computer Skill task requiring a 1d6 hours roll, assuming you have 100mbps, 4GB Vram GPU, etc... Failure Fail effect of additional Hours. In my case it was around 6 or so hours. 
  2. YOu have to run webui to activate it, I dont know how to shut it down without logging out. 
  3. PROMPTS are LONG, and Every GOOD render is UNIQUE that's why you have to save the SEED and the various META data values in order to TWEAK it. 
    1. there is a Detailed Workflow in r/Stable Diffusion of various promotes. 
    2. Every time you turn on the computer you have to Run the Web UI and then check localhost:7860 
  4. Holy crap how much VRAM you need - the picture you see is 1 batch of 512x512!!! that's TINY. also I only had 2 good renders and the rest of the evening was CRAP. 
    1. Takes 5-7 minutes per attempt on the PC. 
    2. Researched Running it in Google Cloud platform, there are Images for Stabel Diffusion there. 
  5. The WEB UI has a LOT Of functions and it will take nicco a while to develop our workflow for this. (while I finish writing the Mechanics and Testing them). 

Prompt was: scarred old muscular veteran medieval soldier, diffuse lighting, lifelike, photorealistic, digital painting, artstation, illustration, concept art, smooth, sharp focus, art by john collier and albert aublet and krenze cushart and artem demura, and alphonse mucha

My hand-drawn style - which i dont know how to Finish honestly. The goal was to have the AI propose ways to finish the drawing. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

2-Parsec Update: Combat is Taking Too Long


We weren't even doing damage yet, were just managing Missiles, Evasion, Point Defense, and Dodge. 

The math is
  1. 7 ROLES! Roles are Captain, Pilot, Navigator, Comms-Sensor, Gunner, Engineer, and Boarding. so that's up to 14 rolls per TURN!
    1. I have to reduce the Enemy Rolls by making them Opposed Rolls if possible. Instead of rolling Evasion and Dodge - Evasive Manuver will just grant a DM+1 for Dodge Actions.
    2. If a roll altered the map and tokens, it would have been better. I think I will make DM penalty Token markers (up to DM-4)
    3. Ideally the GM has to only bother with the 3-5 player roles and I will use the Superiority Mechanic in Mneme Variant Combat Rules to keep it Simple for the Other Party. A combination of Opposed Rolls (less rolls) and Superiority where superior numbers just gave a Bonus or Penalty. In the Enhanced Mneme Variant the GM doesn't roll - the Players do all the rolls making it much easier for the GM.  
    4. Reduce the Number of ACtions as much as possible. 

  2. Reactions should have been cleared - do ships have reactions or the crew? So you have a ton of crew doing nothing during combat? Not All can react - Gunners and Pilots can react and ACT, not bad for the lowest PAID crewman. 
    1. Crewman PAy needs to be fixed - it should have been RATINGS instead of roles. 1-6k/mo. 
  3. DEFINITELY removed the EXTRA TURN rule when a party has Initative. We simplified it with a DM+2 to a Single Action Or Saved for a Reaction. This broke down immediately when we moved TWICE, attacked twice, EW and ECM twice etc... 
  4. Thrust Points are working as intended with the 2,000km per hex. This is the best aligned with Ranges and Thrust. 
  5. Encounters should have features - like Asteroids, debris, Solar storms, 
  6. IFF or Ships Beacons are Very Important. 
    1. No Beacon/IFF + Intercept = Hostile. This means you can start firing missiles and weapons as soon as you encounter them. 
    2. No Beacon/IFF but not on Intercept - discretion By Not Intercept this means if the Ship wants to Intercept, there is a number of (2d6x10) Turns/Thrust example 70 turns/ thrust for that ship to Try to Intercept. 
  7. Navigation and Sensor-Comms - Cat and Mouse.   Getting as close as possible without being detected is a Navigation Roll vs Sensor Comms. Simplifying Opposed Rolls. 
Combat Should Take 30-60 mins to resolve. If its a 60 min combat, every turn should be really exciting - that there are Stakes to every turn. 

Monday, May 1, 2023

2-Parsec Update: What's Taking So long? Space Encounters and Ship Generation

CE SRD RAW Has some problems. Primarily the Movement in Space and the Thrust Points rules. The main problem when you try to fix this rule is that the Distance per Hex line  has to line up with the Range Bands.

  1. hex distance is TOO big, thrust points make ships get really close very fast. 
  2. hex distance is too small then the MAP is too BIG and the GM will have a hard time telling the story. I am a Roll20 user and I'm working on how I can make this as elegant in Roll20 as possible that when I run the sample encounter it can be a fun distraction. (Proof that the mechanics are robust and wont easily break down).  

Also I want to appease and make people who Play RAW with their Own movement rules - I want their rules will work with my material. I will release the Spreadsheet I used to make the ships as well. As well as videos how to use it. 

And then I have to 2 variant rules. 1 Variant Rules: Quick Fix and Mneme Enhanced.