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  #91  
Old July 18th, 2009, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rust View Post
The maneuver drive emits delta-gravitons at very high speed. This type of
graviton is unstable, and therefore travels only a short distance before it de-
cays into three salton particles each, which spontaneously enter jump spa-
ce.

When you are closer than a few millimeters to a working maneuver drive, it
is obviously a reaction drive, but once you are farther away than that it is
indistinguishable from a "reactionless" drive because the particles involved in
the reaction are no longer a part of the Einsteinian universe.

By the way, the salton particles' spontaneous transfer to jump space is what
causes the blueish glow around the maneuver drive one does so often see
on pictures of starships.
Sounds plauseable enough to me.
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  #92  
Old July 18th, 2009, 04:38 AM
fiat_knox fiat_knox is offline
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Here's another thought to ponder.

Biology is also a hard science. An animal encounter should not be random, as such. On an arctic tundra, characters could encounter a massive herd of mobile grazers, bulky with long, shaggy hair to insulate against heat loss. Such herds are likely to attract pack hunters like wolves chasing down caribou, moving alongside the herd, harassing the herbivores, picking off the slow, the weak and the lame.

A rainforest environment generates a huge biodiversity: insect swarms, packs of arboreal primate-analogs hurling large fruits and less pleasant substances down on the heads of incautious adventurers, strange plants that stink of rotting meat, bugs, parasites and large, solitary pouncer and trapper predators.

A planet with a low gravity and a dense atmosphere is likely to produce a lot of flying species; a world with high gravity is unlikely to produce flying species, and will have ground-dwelling creatures and plants which evolved to be short with broad canopies, strongly structurally reinforced.

All these animal encounters are the product of their worlds; their presence is the result of evolution producing adaptations in the genomes to produce animals and plants which are perfectly suited to their environment.

They're not just there because some random dice roll says they're there, like finding a dragon in a room with no large exits in some dungeon crawl.

And where there is evolution, of course there are the failed species, for which there will be a fossil record of some sort.
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  #93  
Old July 18th, 2009, 05:02 AM
Icosahedron Icosahedron is offline
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Strange as it sounds, this (tongue-in-cheek?) idea:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rust View Post
The maneuver drive emits delta-gravitons at very high speed. This type of
graviton is unstable, and therefore travels only a short distance before it de-
cays into three salton particles each, which spontaneously enter jump spa-
ce.

When you are closer than a few millimeters to a working maneuver drive, it
is obviously a reaction drive, but once you are farther away than that it is
indistinguishable from a "reactionless" drive because the particles involved in
the reaction are no longer a part of the Einsteinian universe.

By the way, the salton particles' spontaneous transfer to jump space is what
causes the blueish glow around the maneuver drive one does so often see
on pictures of starships.
has advantages over this (presumably serious) suggestion (sorry Aramis):

Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
It uses the surrounding massive bodies as reaction mass.
If you're in the gravity well of a planet, your M-Drive pushes against said planet. Ibid for a star.
Although I don't like the idea of 'inventing' particles (a bit 'zapotronic' for my taste) the idea that a reaction may take place in the immediate vicinity of a drive and be undetectable at a distance due to some form of decomposition has some merits. It's effectively just an extremely localised wash and doesn't break any laws. I'll think about that one, thanks.

OTOH, the huge differences in gravitational field strength between 'orbit' and 'deep space' render a 'conventional' gravitational thrust improbable: a device that worked comfortably near a planet would have effectively zero thrust in deep space, and conversely a drive that could harness the minute gravity of deep space would have unfeasibly huge thrust near a planet. I've already thought about this one and the numbers don't work - unless you throw something else into the mix.

This is what I mean about a satisfactory explanation having to obey the laws of physics, and it's part of my definition of 'hard science'.
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  #94  
Old July 18th, 2009, 05:05 AM
Icosahedron Icosahedron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiat_knox View Post
Here's another thought to ponder.

Biology is also a hard science. An animal encounter should not be random, as such. On an arctic tundra, characters could encounter a massive herd of mobile grazers, bulky with long, shaggy hair to insulate against heat loss. Such herds are likely to attract pack hunters like wolves chasing down caribou, moving alongside the herd, harassing the herbivores, picking off the slow, the weak and the lame.

A rainforest environment generates a huge biodiversity: insect swarms, packs of arboreal primate-analogs hurling large fruits and less pleasant substances down on the heads of incautious adventurers, strange plants that stink of rotting meat, bugs, parasites and large, solitary pouncer and trapper predators.

A planet with a low gravity and a dense atmosphere is likely to produce a lot of flying species; a world with high gravity is unlikely to produce flying species, and will have ground-dwelling creatures and plants which evolved to be short with broad canopies, strongly structurally reinforced.

All these animal encounters are the product of their worlds; their presence is the result of evolution producing adaptations in the genomes to produce animals and plants which are perfectly suited to their environment.

They're not just there because some random dice roll says they're there, like finding a dragon in a room with no large exits in some dungeon crawl.

And where there is evolution, of course there are the failed species, for which there will be a fossil record of some sort.
Good point. This is why LBB3 encourages GMs to create their own encounter tables tailored to specific worlds.
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  #95  
Old July 18th, 2009, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rust View Post
The maneuver drive emits delta-gravitons at very high speed. This type of
graviton is unstable, and therefore travels only a short distance before it de-
cays into three salton particles each, which spontaneously enter jump spa-
ce.

When you are closer than a few millimeters to a working maneuver drive, it
is obviously a reaction drive, but once you are farther away than that it is
indistinguishable from a "reactionless" drive because the particles involved in
the reaction are no longer a part of the Einsteinian universe.

By the way, the salton particles' spontaneous transfer to jump space is what
causes the blueish glow around the maneuver drive one does so often see
on pictures of starships.
That's a nice explanation, although it reinforces my belief that if you try to describe any highly speculative SF concept, you eventually reach a point where you're explanation has to part company with reality. Hell, it wouldn't be science Fiction otherwise.
I'd rather have your plausible sounding explanation, than turn every discussion of Traveller technology into a science lecture. Whenever I hear leading theoretical physicists speak, or I read their works (Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Impossible" is a great example), they never reject ideas, like the nanotech goo, just because they're extraordinarily difficult to engineer, or clearly impractical. Unless it flies in the face of established 'bedrock' science, they'll not tell you such a thing is impossible. They're probably mindful of Clarke's first law:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Arthur C. Clarke
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  #96  
Old July 18th, 2009, 11:41 AM
Lycanorukke Lycanorukke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icosahedron View Post
I've already thought about this one and the numbers don't work - unless you throw something else into the mix.
I may as well through my M-drive 'techno babble' into the ring then.

The drive using damper technology and gravitcs sets up a standing wave in the local Higgs field inside the M-drive using top/anti top quark pairs to generate Higgs Bosons. This is very similar to the meson technology of Traveller which is why they both appear at Tech 12.

As interactions of particles with the Higgs field is what gives them mass (according to the Standard model). This of course uses a lot of energy - CERN predicts forming a Higgs boson at 114.4 GeV hence the massive power requirements. The compression of the Higgs field greates the equivelant of a mass without anything actually being there. A small amount of hydrogen may be needed to set up the mass as I vaguely remember someone mentioning that Trav gravitic tech only works when there is something there to work with in the first place. This small but free standing 'mass field' is then pushed down a tube by focused grav modules. As it is just a wave and not an acutal particle, the standing wave collapses fairly quickly and dissapates. But repeat this quickly enough and you have 'reactionless' thrust.

It also covers a few other points nicely - you can't accellerate to "ludricious speed" because once you get past a certain speed (GM discretion) the standing wave will punch its way out the back of the ship before it can dissapate and wreck the drive - not a desirable thing.

It covers the SOM manual of reaction drop off past a narrow range - the wave needs to be pushed against and pushing sideways or backwards again punches through the drive if you thrust against it too hard - and sideways or backwards from the generator/thrust tube severly limits the distance you can push on it. Also it wont work in gravity gravity fields due to the 'genuine' Higgs field mass skewing the standing wave through the engine again or even cancelling the standing wave, so the whole internal engine array is kept in zero G.

As for the engine glow - the collapsing field emits energy. The faster you cycle the engine (more thrust) the greater the energy release.

And the bonus is that unless the PC's have access to an extremely sophisticated particle accelerator and a full understanding of the Higgs boson (which noone does) they can't say I'm wrong with authority.

Last edited by Lycanorukke; July 18th, 2009 at 11:57 AM..
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  #97  
Old July 18th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lycanorukke View Post
I may as well through my M-drive 'techno babble' into the ring then.
Yep, a very nice explanation.
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  #98  
Old July 18th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icosahedron View Post
Strange as it sounds, this (tongue-in-cheek?) idea:



has advantages over this (presumably serious) suggestion (sorry Aramis):
It was a serious suggestion, and is INTENTIONAL in strongly limiting gravitics to gravity wells. (If you can get full value out to 100 diameters, mars is a week away with 1G at closest approach.)

Further, the canonical Mdrives ARE limited to in-system use, courtesy of T4. (which thus tosses Imperium's use.)
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Old July 19th, 2009, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
It was a serious suggestion, and is INTENTIONAL in strongly limiting gravitics to gravity wells. (If you can get full value out to 100 diameters, mars is a week away with 1G at closest approach.)

Further, the canonical Mdrives ARE limited to in-system use, courtesy of T4. (which thus tosses Imperium's use.)
Even in-system, in the outer zone and away from planets you're looking at micro-Gs or less of field and hence presumably micro-Gs or less of thrust. (I have some recollection of pico-Gs, but that could be just bad memory - I did the calcs some time ago). I dunno what T4 says, but CT has ships moving with 1-6G everywhere. Clearly, a grav-drive used in the outer system and beyond cannot be the same beast that is used in orbit.
Therefore (excluding 'canon' as being simply a game designer's previous bad guess) if your M-drive moves your ship in the same way both in orbit and in deep space, its thrust mechanism logically cannot be gravitational.

Lycanorukke, I don't mean this dismissively, but I try to avoid technobabble whenever possible, cos it usually ends up more babble than techno - particularly with cutting-edge tech as time passes - thirty years from now (or even three years) we might know exactly how the Higgs field works...

To this end, I always avoid analysing what happens inside the black box as far as possible, and concentrate on how the black box interacts with the outside world. The important thing for my game isn't the shape of the drive casing or what marvellous particles are flying around the engine room, but what the drive pushes against to move through space.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icosahedron View Post
but I try to avoid technobabble whenever possible, cos it usually ends up more babble than techno - particularly with cutting-edge tech as time passes - thirty years from now (or even three years) we might know exactly how the Higgs field works...
No problem at all. Dismiss all you want as it's your universe

And it's not all entirely technobabble - creating a standing higgs wave is the method they have proposed to actually detect the Higgs boson, be generating a virtual 'mass particle'.

Whilst in 30 years (or three) we may know how Higgs bosons work, for now and for the immediate future we dont have a clue other than some very basic properties. I used it during my MT days and it is still standing 'firm' after a decade and a bit. But we are not writing novels or a physics text - scifi novels are very prone to aging badly. Another is rulesets - such as Travellers computers. But despite these problems traveller is still moving along nicely despite the warts of age. But when it comes to a PC gaming group things are very different. Most of the time they dont care how the engines work, how their guns work, or how bad the economics is. Most of the time they limit it to 'Press the Go button' thus I seriously doubt they'll remember what a Higgs can/can't do in 1 month let alone a few years. People have been quite happy with meson weapons for example. But if one of the PC's decides to be clever and look up the H-boson on the internet, they can see that the rough idea is based on reality and what we do know about it currently, and not 'protoculture' or some pure fantasy junk.

And by the same token it prevent the GM turning M-drives (or whatever) into Star Trek transporters (they wont cause you to devolve, create an evil you, make you younger/older, whatever). From the GM's point of view having a basic layout of how something 'goes' can be used to add flavour (such as when the engine breaks down), and keep the GM honest. If 'god' knows how the drives work - when the PC's pull a weird idea out of their butt, he has a good reason for saying 'Nope, cant do it'. And if 'god' has an idea for an adventure he can check that it remains consitant with his own universe - no more grumpy players when something they did last time doesn't work this time.

Quote:
The important thing for my game isn't the shape of the drive casing or what marvellous particles are flying around the engine room, but what the drive pushes against to move through space.
In my example case - a virtual mass field created by energy all occuring internaly to the engine. This engine housing pushes against this free standing internal virtual mass field, pushing the engine housing (and hence the ship) forward and the mass field backwards. The mass field dissapates after a few milli/micro seconds and so a new one is generated, repeating the cycle.

If I'm out of line, please say so - but IMHO you have to 'know' to a degree what is flying around the engine room if you want to know how it 'works'. Unless you are using expelled reaction mass drives, the engine has to interact with something to move around and how/means it interacts becomes important. If one has a drive which moves around by pushing against planets the very first question which comes to mind his 'how?'.

And tying it back into the topic 'hard science', depending on how consistant the 'how' is (with the current knowedge of science and with the games own 'made up physics') that defines if one has a Traveller or Space Ghost.

Last edited by Lycanorukke; July 19th, 2009 at 10:22 AM..
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