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  #1  
Old August 14th, 2018, 08:01 PM
BwapTED BwapTED is offline
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Default embracing retro 'puters

I was looking through The Imperial Fringe.

Library searches on world info are measured in hours.

I've often argued that the computer tonnages aren't really that huge when one considers what a ship's computer has to do and all the shielding, cooling, redundant features, etc.

But let's back up.

Traveler computers are retro. Traveller info tech is retro. That's the baseline.

Why not just embrace that?

Libraries contain micro-books of the sort so common in sci fi of the early and mid 20th Century. Search engine? You mean the micronized card catalog?


Jump cassettes? Loads of cassettes!

TL 5-7 computers resemble computers from Babbage Engines through 1960s machines, but after that it gets funky.


This aint our future.

edit-

Looks as if I misread something in my skimming of that adventure. It's surveys, really, not library data searches.
Ooops!

Last edited by BwapTED; August 15th, 2018 at 10:52 PM..
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  #2  
Old August 14th, 2018, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BwapTED View Post
I was looking through The Imperial Fringe.

Library searches on world info are measured in hours.

I've often argued that the computer tonnages aren't really that huge when one considers what a ship's computer has to do and all the shielding, cooling, redundant features, etc.

But let's back up.

Traveler computers are retro. Traveller info tech is retro. That's the baseline.

Why not just embrace that?

Libraries contain micro-books of the sort so common in sci fi of the early and mid 20th Century. Search engine? You mean the micronized card catalog?


Jump cassettes? Loads of cassettes!

TL 5-7 computers resemble computers from Babbage Engines through 1960s machines, but after that it gets funky.


This aint our future.
I've always treated the Traveller Universe as an alternate future. I get more players starting games quickly that way, instead of playing Retcon the Universe at the table.
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Old August 14th, 2018, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BwapTED View Post
...
Library searches on world info are measured in hours.

...Traveler computers are retro. Traveller info tech is retro. That's the baseline.

Why not just embrace that?

Libraries contain micro-books of the sort so common in sci fi of the early and mid 20th Century. Search engine? You mean the micronized card catalog?


Jump cassettes? Loads of cassettes!

TL 5-7 computers resemble computers from Babbage Engines through 1960s machines, but after that it gets funky.

This aint our future.
Well, it was CT so what was included was internally consistent with other CT products. There's no reason it all couldn't be played using T5, which would provide a bit more scalability WRT technology.

If the PCs were in a TL6 or 7 system then perhaps the searches would take hours.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 03:18 AM
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I didn't have a problem with the size of CT computers back in the day and I still don't

A Traveller ship computer, even in CT, days if anything is too small not too big.

It is equivalent to today's supercomputers, not an I-pad.

What a model 1 can do:

run a nuclear fusion reactor (ever seen the size of the server rooms at CERN?)

run the environmental systems - this includes gravity and acceleration compensation

run the avionics, sensors, comms

control a maneuver drive

run or plot an n-body hyperdimensional transit

Now harden the thing so exposure to radiation in space isn't going to cause it to go belly up...

I see this argument a lot - mostly from people who think a desktop can do all this stuff. They can't. Our desktops also have one other advantage, the interwebs which is actually several millions tons of computer equipment (a local network can be smaller ).

As to a library data search taking hours - there is a difference between Wikipedia and actual research. I would allow players to get a brief overview in a couple of minutes, but proper info takes longer.
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Last edited by mike wightman; August 15th, 2018 at 11:33 AM..
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Old August 15th, 2018, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
A Traveller ship computer, even in CT days if anything is too small not too big. It is equivalent to today's supercomputers, not an I-pad.

What a model 1 can do:
  • run a nuclear fusion reactor (ever seen the size of the server rooms at CERN?)
  • run the environmental systems - this includes gravity and acceleration compensation
  • run the avionics, sensors, comms
  • control a maneuver drive
  • run or plot an n-body hyperdimensional transit
Now harden the thing so exposure to radiation in space isn't going to cause it to go belly up.... . .
And, just to be clear, can do almost all of these things simultaneously. The CT Hand Computer was supposedly the equivalent of a Model/1, and it is TL11, not TL7-8, and is thus definitely much more powerful than an I-pad.

Plus, I like the interpretation (I believe Supplement Four on CotI has previously said it) that the size of the CT Ship's computer necessarily also includes the volume of the physical hardware of all of the ships electronics (Comms, Sensors, possibly back-up/redundant computer processors, etc - since CT has no design sequence for these obviously necessary but otherwise taken for granted pieces of shipboard equipment) which when things like antennae and detectors are considered, are not small devices.

The size of the ship's computer only starts to become an issue when you add in additional design elements to the standard design rules that detail the electronics systems separately.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whulorigan View Post
And, just to be clear, can do almost all of these things simultaneously. The CT Hand Computer was supposedly the equivalent of a Model/1, and it is TL11, not TL7-8, and is thus definitely much more powerful than an I-pad.

Plus, I like the interpretation (I believe Supplement Four on CotI has previously said it) that the size of the CT Ship's computer necessarily also includes the volume of the physical hardware of all of the ships electronics (Comms, Sensors, possibly back-up/redundant computer processors, etc - since CT has no design sequence for these obviously necessary but otherwise taken for granted pieces of shipboard equipment) which when things like antennae and detectors are considered, are not small devices.

The size of the ship's computer only starts to become an issue when you add in additional design elements to the standard design rules that detail the electronics systems separately.
As with any of the games from that era, when you try to go beyond the level of abstraction presented and zoom in on greater detail, it stops "making sense". 'The fault lies not in the games, but in ourselves.'
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Old August 15th, 2018, 05:48 PM
BwapTED BwapTED is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
I see this argument a lot - mostly from people who think a desktop can do all this stuff.
But you have never seen it from me.

On the contrary, I have made all the same points you've made about why star-ship computers should be big. I noted that in the first post.

It's the combination of sizes, the way programs work in CT, and the apparent slowness of searches in the library that suggests an alternative take on computers and information technology, to me.

2-3 hours to look up one element of a planet's UWP seems pretty slow.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 10:12 PM
BwapTED BwapTED is offline
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I just got a tip about the searches. Looks like I missed something important.

The slow searches aren't what I had thought.

I still might embrace early/mid 20th Century sci fi computers and information tech for the fun factor, but it was a misread bit that launched me on this tangent.

-----------------


But, on the subject of 'retro' computers, I do note that Book 3, 1977, lists the Model 1 as TL 5 and the Model 1 bis as TL 6.

Last edited by BwapTED; August 15th, 2018 at 10:59 PM..
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Old August 17th, 2018, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
[ . . . ]
run a nuclear fusion reactor (ever seen the size of the server rooms at CERN?)
The big server farms at CERN are for crunching sensor data and running simulations and other applications. Anything involved in controlling the accelerators are large running RTOS platforms.

The rest is computationally trivial up to
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
[ . . . ]
run or plot an n-body hyperdimensional transit
Getting warm - this is more fun. Perhaps you need a cryogenically cooled quantum device to do this, although canonically you can buy tapes with a particular route on them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
[ . . . ]
Now harden the thing so exposure to radiation in space isn't going to cause it to go belly up...

I see this argument a lot - mostly from people who think a desktop can do all this stuff. They can't. Our desktops also have one other advantage, the interwebs which is actually several millions tons of computer equipment (a local network can be smaller ).
I think folks underestimate just how powerful today's commodity hardware really is. A Really powerful™ computers don't have to be very large at all. A modern GPU has throughput measured in trillions of calculations per second.

However, for a CT level ship, a computer is a complete avionics package. It has to be quad redundant, hardened, radiation shielded, fitted with auxiliary power supplies, shielded conduits for cabling. It's not just a computer as well, it's sensor systems, antennae, comms and many other things. You don't have to say how powerful it needs to be. It's got all sorts of other hardware other than just the CPU.
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Old August 17th, 2018, 07:40 PM
BwapTED BwapTED is offline
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Are SBDs at an advantage in real-space combat, then, as they can pack in more versatile and powerful computers in the same tonnage as a star-ship of the same size?
Not only no jump drive, but a computer that doesn't need all that hyperspace functionality.
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