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Old August 6th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Default Mongoose-class Starships

What ship components need to be added to accommodate Starship Troopers and Babylon 5?


Babylon 5

Size and Power. B5 ships appear to be huge, and their weapons appear to use a lot of power. As a rough conversion I'd be tempted to multiply volumes by 10 to get B5 ships out of a Traveller system... except they have small ships as well, don't they? So, perhaps the range of ship volumes grows.

Weapons mix. B5 ships have a richer weapons mix, often based on the species who built it. Whether it's just color, or there are actual playability elements affected, the differences have to be captured.

Drives. B5 uses something like the subspace drives from FFS, with a limited number of "jumps" available before requiring a recharge. Any size ship may have these drives.

Does B5 use reaction drives for normal space? I suspect not, but I'm not sure.


Starship Toopers

NB: Ships aren't the focus of SST.

Size and Power. SST ships seem to be in the same general size range as Traveller ships.

Weapons Mix. They appear to not rely on weapons batteries so much. I could be wrong here.

Drives. Starship Troopers use some sort of lightspeed drive. The strategic and tactical focus is not on starships, so the drive's nature doesn't appear to be important, and drives don't really use much fuel at all; there are no restrictions on the use of their lightspeed drives.

Does SST use reaction drives for normal space? I doubt it, but I'm not sure.


My Preference

My preference would be to "re-purpose" the Jump drive for B5 and SST, labelling it a fuelless subspace/hyperspace/whatever drive, with its rating providing a speed factor. B5 would have operational costs for using the drive. For both, I'd be tempted to increase the power plant size significantly. I'd consider eliminating fuel usage.
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Last edited by robject; August 6th, 2007 at 03:39 PM..
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Old August 6th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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Bab5 (Shows) gives us a VERY different HS Model.

In B5, the drive opens a portal to an alternate universe, which one flies into. Once in HS, one uses normal reaction drives, then uses the JD to reopen the portal on the other end.

There appears to be a maximum diameter; length is likewise limited due to limited portal durations.

The Gates are simply a power source and a jump drive, with Hyperspace and N-Space Transceivers to allow remote operation.

We have seen that most ships in the Bab5 universe rely upon gates EVEN WHEN they carry a J-Drive; we can thus assume MAJOR power draws. Many ships have no jump drives, relying upon the hyperspace beacons to follow routes through the semi-opaque hyperspace.

So, just recasting the Traveller jump drive as a "work-alike" is disingenuous; they have very different assumptions and operations.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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I have never seen nor touched the games. I have, however, seen just about every one of the B5 shows.

I don't think there is a "maximum diameter". There appears to be such with the EA ships, but that is simply a limitation of their designs, which require rotating sections. The Mimbari ships, for example, have no such limitations and the jump gates and jump points work just dandy with them.

So really, the jump point openings have no size limits.

I do want to stress the power (or whatever) requirements, however. It is so preferable to use a jump gate that ships will sometimes use them to enter combat!

Also, with hyperspace, it appears to be some kind of "accelerator" in comparison to real space. As Aramis points out, they use normal thrusters in hyperspace, but the time it takes to go from point to point is still proportional to their real space distances. Also, don't forget that real space equipment works perfectly well in hyperspace. Using beacons and relay equipment the B5 universe effectively gains FTL communication. And using that equipment keeps anyone in hyperspace in the loop, too. (Well, until you lose the beacon.)

On the thrusters, I can't believe they are reaction thrusters. Everything I saw on screen says they are "glow-n-go" reactionless thrusters.

So, if you want to use jump drive percentages, size, and mass to represent B5 hyperspace drives, I suppose that could work. But the actual operation is completely, totally different.

As a related comment, trying to merge technologies from different settings always makes me cringe. Traveller, B5, Firefly, SW, ST, etc all use vastly different assumptions and technologies that, much of the time, is just flat out not compatible. Trying to make them compatible usually only serves to introduce massive frustration and the ruination of one (if not both) of the settings' technologies.

I am not saying don't do it. I am saying to be prepared to massively compromise one or both settings to do so.

Last edited by daryen; August 6th, 2007 at 03:52 PM..
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Old August 6th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
Bab5 (Shows) gives us a VERY different HS Model.

In B5, the drive opens a portal to an alternate universe, which one flies into. Once in HS, one uses normal reaction drives, then uses the JD to reopen the portal on the other end.

There appears to be a maximum diameter; length is likewise limited due to limited portal durations.

The Gates are simply a power source and a jump drive, with Hyperspace and N-Space Transceivers to allow remote operation.

We have seen that most ships in the Bab5 universe rely upon gates EVEN WHEN they carry a J-Drive; we can thus assume MAJOR power draws. Many ships have no jump drives, relying upon the hyperspace beacons to follow routes through the semi-opaque hyperspace.

So, just recasting the Traveller jump drive as a "work-alike" is disingenuous; they have very different assumptions and operations.
I totally agree with the power requirements. But, as you noted with their aversion of using them, I think it's more than a power surge. There is a disadvantage to using them, even when there's no military situation. So, either the power surge is dangerous, or there's a limited number of jumps into hyperspace a ship can initiate.

I think you misunderstood my preference. As I said, the drives are like FFS' subspace drives, not jump drives. However, unless there's a reason not to, it's simple to re-use the drive volume formula when designing craft, and say "since this is B5, c'est ne pas une jump drive".

For reference, here's the essence of FFS' subspace drive:

Quote:
Subspace is a 'duplicate' [quotes mine -- r] of our physical universe in smaller scale. Ships which enter subspace can move from point to point at sublight speed, but arrive at their destination sooner than in normal space because the distance travelled is less. In this respect, subspace bears some similarities to J-space (see the discussion of jump drives above), but with some very important differences.

Subspace does not resemble a vacuum, but instead resembles a fluid medium. Continuous energy is required to sustain forward motion through the resisting medium. In addition, each point in subspace has an analogous point in normal space (N-space) and a ship whose subspace drives fail will immediately reappear in N-space at the point corresponding to its previous subspace location. This also means that, although power is usually consumed in relation to speed, a certain amount of energy is consumed simply remaining in subspace, even if absolutely stationary, and this is called the "station-keeping'' power level.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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B5 hyperspace is different from FFS subspace.

It requires no effort to remain in hyperspace. It only takes effort to enter or leave hyperspace. Also, there appears to be some very significant dangers to leaving hyperspace when you don't know exactly where you are. If you venture off the "beaten path" too far, you are likely screwed and pretty much lost.

Also, hyperspace is, for all intents and purposes, a vacuum. Physics appears to work pretty much the same in hyperspace as in real space. So a ship can coast or drift just dandy in hyperspace.

This means that losing power in hyperspace can be a really, really bad thing.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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B5 Hyperspace does have some differences in radio propagation.

The main limitation on use isn't so much fuel (we see a Whitestar jump many times without anything resembling a fuel limit); instead it is the committment that you ARE stuck there for at least 20 minutes while the drive recovers and recharges. (And yes, it does take time to recharge, even on the minbari vessels, the most advanced we get any ops details on)

Also important: most of the military craft we see travel with the projector powered up and fully charged.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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Human based ships use Reaction Thrust and do NOT have artificial Gravity (except by rotation or thrust). MOST of the other races have reactionless drives and artificial gravity (only Humans and Narns don't I believe).

In B5, Humanity was on the low side of the Technology. The White Star fleet that we saw most of the time was VERY high tech, a mixture of Minbari and Vorlon.

The Jump Gates place a limit on the size of the ship that can pass within them, but a ship creating a it's own Jump Hole doesn't have such limitations.

B5 Jumps take a LOT of power. Often ships have to take their main weapons off-line to use the Jump Drive. That is one of the big reasons (fuel being the other) why ships use Jump Gates whenever possible.

Joe Straczynski also stated somewhere that Jump Gates are "smoother" in their transition between Jump Space and Normal Space than are Jump Drives which was another reason why ships used the Gates. I don't think that was ever brought out in the show though.

As for Travellerizing B5, make the PP NOT have to power the Jump Drive AND everything else. Then the PP is sized for Jump Drive OR fighting and you get the feel B5.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plankowner View Post
Human based ships use Reaction Thrust and do NOT have artificial Gravity (except by rotation or thrust). MOST of the other races have reactionless drives and artificial gravity (only Humans and Narns don't I believe).
I never said anything about artificial gravity. I agree that the Humans and Narns didn't have that.

For the thrusters, I imagine it was intended that the humans (and maybe Narn) used reaction thrusters, but, really, they didn't. They used "glow-n-go" engines like everyone else. There is just no other real explanation that will explain how the starfuries and some of the other ships work without reducing yourself to reaction thrusters that are more fantastical than reactionless thrusters. Easier to just stick with "glow-n-go" for everyone and be done with it.

That is not to say that EA and Narn technology isn't far inferior to Mimbari and Centauri. Just that it is all reactionless.

Again, I don't have all of the extra stuff and fan based background books and various B5 related games and sourcebooks. I just have the video. My observations are based off that video, and how ship building rules in various versions of Traveller work.

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Old August 6th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far. I appreciate all of the clarifications.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far. I appreciate all of the clarifications.
I wouldn't go so far as to say "clarifications". More "observations" and "opinions".
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