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Creation Date: July 10th, 2007 08:26 PM
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The Man Behind the Curtain
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In Moot Member Blogs Design Sequence: An exercise in options Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #5 New July 16th, 2007 01:27 AM
So, recently I have been building things that would seem to be more common that people might buy in the future. Things that would be convenient for people to own and use. But I kept coming across a barrier in the design rules that was holding me up, or in other words was making things that should be small and convenient. Large and well, large. So i started looking at the rules in the T20 Traveller's Handbook and for most of it, it all works fine. But I think I need some smaller components. The grav unit is always 4 vl's and outputs 100 thrust.

But why would something small need all that thrust? Couldn't we come up with a smaller grav unit that could produce less thrust and take less energy and be put into smaller packages? I mean if you can make something to use anti-gravity, wouldn't you? It would allow it to be easily moved, easily used and could be put into places where some of the other engine types could not. This would also be useful on most worlds with the gravity to use anti-gravity modules.
So i was digging through the rules and looked at the miniaturization rules for computers. Could we take those base concepts and apply them to a grav module?
So, the basic grav module is 4 volumes in size, uses 1 energy point per round and i available at tech level 8. So, if we use the rules as a basic guideline from the Traveller's handbook, we can miniaturize for up to 4 tech levels. So, for ever 1 tech level over the tech level where the device becomes available we can reduce the size and energy consumption by 10%.
So, our grav module could look like this at these tech levels.
Tech level Size Power Cost
8 4.00 vl 1.00 EP 46,000 Cr
9 3.60 vl .90 EP 50,600 Cr
10 3.20 vl .80 EP 55,200 Cr
11 2.80 vl .70 EP 61,800 Cr
12 2.60 vl .60 EP 66,400 Cr

So we might assume a smaller more compact, higher tech level unit might cost more. But they might cost less, if made in large enough quantities. But, let us assume, for the moment that they are special order items and each decrease in size, increases the cost. Say the increase in cost is 10% per level of miniaturization.
According to the rules in the book, if you take the standardization option on computer hardware, you reduce the cost based on tech level that the item is produced at and it is meant to how a wide adoption of the item to industry and it is being produced by a large base of businesses.
So, if the standard price for a grav module at tech level 11, which would be 3+ levels higher than when it first becomes available, we can see what a grav module would cost, without standardization at lower tech levels. At three tech levels above the base tech level you get a 90% reduction in price. So a basic grav module at tech level 8 would cost 460,000 Cr. At tech level 9, it would cost 345,000 Cr, at tech level 10 it would cost 230,000 Cr and finally at tech level 11 or higher, the base price 46,000 Cr.
Tech level Size Power Cost
11+ 4.00 vl 1.00 EP 46,000 Cr
10 4.00 vl 1.00 EP 230,000 Cr
9 4.00 vl 1.00 EP 345,000 Cr
8 4.00 vl 1.00 EP 460,000 Cr

So if we chose to use either of these options we would most assuredly open up a Pandora's box of possibilities to change the basic dynamics of the design process and it might even radically change how things are made and viewed in the Traveller universe.
So what can we do within the intent of the design rules and not change the actual system. We could make sub-divisions within the basic units that are presented in the book. Let use take the basic grav unit again.
4 vl's in size, 1 EP per round and it produces 100 thrust. What if we made 1 vl size grav units that would not produce as much thrust and be similarly smaller across the board. This would be the least intrusive to the basic design sequence.
Size EP/rnd Thrust Cost
4 vl -1.00 EP 100 TH 46,000 Cr
3 vl -0.75 EP 75 TH 34,500 Cr
2 vl -0.50 EP 50 TH 23,000 Cr
1 vl -0.25 EP 25 TH 12,500 Cr

So, if you just need 1 vl of grav unit for a very small device that you need to be able to move efficiently, you are not going to need a huge amount of space and have all that thrust that you don't need. So, would it cost more? Or would the EP use be LESS efficient? These are two possibilities and we could assume that a smaller unit might need more energy to run because it is not the size to run efficiently, if we assume that the base-line grav unit is the most cost/weight/fuel use ratio. So let us assume that the cost is proportional to splitting the base units price.
So, then it would be a trade off on how much vl do you want to save for the amount of fuel you need if the units are less efficient.
Size EP/rnd Thrust Cost
4 vl -1.00 EP 100 TH 46,000 Cr
3 vl -1.25 EP 75 TH 34,500 Cr
2 vl -1.50 EP 50 TH 23,000 Cr
1 vl -2.00 EP 25 TH 12,500 Cr

Another option is that you could set the efficiency of the splitting to whatever percentage you'd like. You could also change the efficiency of the thrust produced by the unit after it is subdivided.
So here is an example of a device that might be used by law enforcement units to help do remote surveillance in areas where there are not static cameras or where remote observation might be more difficult.

I will not do a full write up, just enough to give you the idea. We star with a 7 vl chassis.
.70 vl for control
1.00 vl for the grav unit
1.50 for advance fuel cells
1.2 for fuel
1.0 for IR
0.2 for LI
0.4 for video
0.5 for 2 way radio
so we have a total used vl of 6.5 with .5 left over for either batteries or even armor or extending it's range of control from a base 5 km's to something greater.
We are using .36 EP's per round and we have .64 left over. We end up with a base agility of 0 and an AC of at least an 18 because a vl 7 device is considered between tiny and small. So what we have is a small grav enabled surveillance remote controlled drone with a 5 km range that would be hard to see because of it's small size. As an experiment, try and make the same drone with a full size grav unit the basic design would not change much, what would change is the over all size and the amount of control needed and the amount of space need for the fuel. So it would look something like this.

1.3vl for control
4.00 vl for the grav unit
3.00 for advance fuel cells
2.4 for fuel
1.0 for IR
0.2 for LI
0.4 for video
0.5 for 2 way radio
So you would need at least 13 vl's to do the same thing. And have no room to spare.

Of course this would all be up to your GM if he or she would allow you to make sub-divisions within the existing grav module parameters. This is, in no way cannon. I was just looking to see if it could be done with the least effect on the basic design sequence from the Traveller's handbook.

I think the idea of subdividing the modules works and allows for a myriad of devices where the thrust is not what is needed, just the lift. So, now you can build that compact holo-video unit that floats in your living room and you can move it around easily. Law-enforcement organizations can build small drones that allow for a myriad of missions. The military could also very easily build systems that would allow for rapid delivery of messages if telecommunications are compromised.

Note: please feel free to lay into this musing, but be gentle. This is my first foray into messing with the basic buildings blocks of the design system. All errors are my own.
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RSS Feed 1 Responses to "Design Sequence: An exercise in options"
#1 October 14th, 2008 06:26 AM
shadowdragon Says:
While i agree with your idea, and in fact use it in my own 'verse, the grav belt design does also bring into play the ability to use a smaller than 1 dtu size drive train...the grav drive train for the belt is .96 vl in size with commensurate reduction in fuel and ep requirements. have a day..

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