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MegaTraveller Discuss of the MegaTraveller ruleset and the Rebellion Milieu

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  #51  
Old October 17th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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Yes, good one Ewan - I like your solution better. For the amounts of Control Points that have typically arisen in designs I have analysed so far, 0.8 per kg / litre of slave unit would work with only very minor adjustments to designs.

My thinking was keep-it-simple: as a measure of the amount of additional electronics that need to be installed, keep it to the existing unit but provide an equation for additional electronics that might be needed for a larger craft that was slaved.

But this solution works just as simply without, as you say, overpowering the Slave Unit.
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  #52  
Old October 18th, 2010, 07:50 AM
E.D.Quibell E.D.Quibell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OjnoTheRed View Post
Yes, good one Ewan - I like your solution better. For the amounts of Control Points that have typically arisen in designs I have analysed so far, 0.8 per kg / litre of slave unit would work with only very minor adjustments to designs.
The table I put in works out at 0.4 CP per kg/l as the volume was 0.002 and weight 0.002, going higher over powers the slave unit CP against Computer Linked ones.

Regards,

Ewan
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  #53  
Old October 19th, 2010, 03:45 AM
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I'm really not having a good time reading other people's posts!

Yes, of course it's 0.4/kg or litre I read the power column. Yes, I still concur with you - 0.4/kg or litre it is. I don't think it will lead to major revisions of robot-sized robot designs but will be a good balance for anyone wanting a ship with a robot brain and a "beckon call".
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  #54  
Old January 26th, 2011, 08:48 AM
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It has been a while since I have updated this thread. My lofty ambition: to thoroughly test the design concepts we have been discussing. I got out my old 101 Robots, 101 Vehicles (which includes a vehicle with a robot brain and has informed the discussion above re: control points) and started designing, using the URP's to reconstruct them.

My results are here:

In Excel

In Open Office

These two spreadsheets do not include the design evaluations, but I am hoping that when you read the yellow shaded labels across the top of each of the 108 designs, you will have enough information.

I would very much appreciate anyone casting a critical eye over these spreadsheets.

I have used the following principles.

1. Anything that has a robot brain gets the Robot Config multipliers for hull (x2 mass, x5 price). As discussed, I had been considering this being the "price" for a better braced hull that could take more damage. I am now tending to think this is a needless complication.

2. Robot brains and software are precisely as Book 8.

3. If total Control Points required divided by 250 divided by the INT rating is less than 0.05, no further controls are required, assume the brain has all required electronics to control the rest of the robot. Only two designs required any more consideration of control.

4. Master / Slaves work exactly as indicated by E.D. Quibell. I am sure mistakes have crept in here, I would very much appreciate someone going over them.

5. Where the item was already in the Mega Traveller rules, MT volumes / mass / prices / power requirements were used over Book 8. This is true in particular of fusion power plants.

6. Where for many "electronic" items there was no volume listed, it was assumed volume in litres = mass in kg x 2 (which is true for most electronics in MT). Because I started doing them with a one-for-one instead of a two-for-one, I am not sure that I have done this consistently and I would like some sharp eyes.

7. Weapons are included at the volumes and weights listed in the Imperial Encyclopedia. To save on any research about power requirements, I have put in volume and weight for power packs for energy weapons. I am open to suggestion on this, but I figured for now including the "magazines" would work the simplest.

8. For contact based suspensions (wheels, legs, tracks), I have used the left over power only to construct the transmission. I have further calculated base speeds based on both left over and total power, but the total power is only for comparison. Even with only left over power, most robots on legs can routine walk at 80kph - 120kph - off road!

9. I have endeavoured to correct mistakes I have found in the 101 Robots designs. I found many closed-hydrogen open-oxygen fuel cell designs had not considered that the robot would routinely be operating in environments without oxygen. I appreciate the original book was done by people who had day jobs and had tight deadlines to meet and probably did not have the benefit of spreadsheets.

10. Configuration UCP value is three digits. The first digit is the MT Craft Config - with the extension being A for "robot contoured" and B for "pseudo biological". Then a two-letter code - US for Unstreamlined, SL for Streamlined, and AF for Airframe.

11. For pseudo-bio robots (configuration "B") I have gone with legs that are usually 30% (in line with normal human proportions), but half of the volume is "given back" as Volume Provided because components can be installed there.

12. Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Intelligence (INT) and Education (EDU) are calculated precisely as Book 8.

Just the exercise of including all components within hull volume has lead to some interesting results. In general, robots increased in size, and fuel (and hence endurance) dropped dramatically.

This is really only a problem with the pseudo-biologicals because in general they will be too tall on a suitable BMI to be realistically able to pass as human.

I would very much enjoy constructive feedback.

Last edited by OjnoTheRed; January 26th, 2011 at 04:50 PM.. Reason: Minor edits to clarify meaning and spelling errors
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  #55  
Old January 26th, 2011, 04:43 PM
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First, I've enjoyed reading this thread. Thank you for starting it. I'm still catching up on all the material but do have one comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OjnoTheRed View Post
1. Anything that has a robot brain gets the Robot Config multipliers for hull (x2 mass, x5 price). As discussed, I had been considering this being the "price" for a better braced hull that could take more damage. I am now tending to think this is a needless complication.
I was thinking about this, particularly in the case of large automated structures (automated factories, asteroid mining ships, etc.) and I think in those cases it could be handled one of two ways.

A) Apply the modifier, this creates a building or hull that is fully automated. There is no need for crew space, passenger space (if any) is handled normally. All functions, including maintenance and self repair are fully automated with built in equipment. The increased mass (and possibly a decreased volume ? ) would represent the additional equipment necessary for this.

B) Install a robot brain on a standard hull, no modifier. Robotic crew is required to replace crew functions, crew spaces must be included for maintenance and repair as per a normal hull. In this case the robot brain fills the functions of captain/pilot/chief engineer/navigator. Robotic crew can either be autonomous robots or slave robots directly controlled by the robot brain.

Option B would be useful particularly if someone was automating an existing building, base or ship.
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  #56  
Old January 27th, 2011, 03:34 AM
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Thanks BardicHeart!

Yes, I had thought that the Robot Config modifier could represent the additional articulation and detailing needed for an autonomous vehicle. As discussed earlier in this thread (and yes, I appreciate it's got quite long!) any vehicle that applies the Robot Config modifier gets a better inoperative damage / destroyed damage score.

Both spreadsheets contain an experimental damage by hull volume laid out in full. Bearing in mind a human is roughly 100 litres on that scale (well, actually more like 45 - 80 typically) and on a UPP of 777 gets hits of 2/5, it seems odd that robots at that size have hits of 1/1. This was the problem raised.

But what I've realised in writing out all these spreadsheets is that if I removed the x2 mass and x5 price modifier and instead doubled the armour multiplier, this adds substantially more armour. A typical robot design has an armour level of 2 - if we used a multiplier of x1 mass / x1 price instead of the 0.5 / 0.5 we get a typical armour of 4 for a low-armoured robot. This is enough to keep out a lot of small arms fire completely. And that's on non-combat models.

When we double the armour multiplier on the combat models, it doesn't go from 10 to 20, but it does add a fair bit more.

Because the spirit of Mega Traveller rules (in my opinion) is to add sufficient detail to be fun and no more than is necessary for that, we can satisfy robots being tougher just by upping the armour a bit and removing all the worry about a new way of calculating damage points. The net effect is the same (i.e. most robots can stand up to punishment from small arms fire, will be blown away by heavy weapons).

So I've concluded - let's ditch it.

There's plenty of accounting for articulation etc. in contact based transmissions, arms and tentacles, and the various tool packages.

By the way, for a laugh, got to Telku and AB-101 near the end and scroll down a bit. I've done some analysis based on BMI and their notional weight (which is based on volume rather than actual mass). The "small and delicate" Telku would be morbidly obese at the height quoted of 1.53m in 101 Robots.
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  #57  
Old January 27th, 2011, 03:44 AM
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Ojno, I'm happy to see you reviving the thread.

I'll be poring through the designs soon, so thanks!
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  #58  
Old January 27th, 2011, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OjnoTheRed View Post
Both spreadsheets contain an experimental damage by hull volume laid out in full. Bearing in mind a human is roughly 100 litres on that scale (well, actually more like 45 - 80 typically) and on a UPP of 777 gets hits of 2/5, it seems odd that robots at that size have hits of 1/1. This was the problem raised.
That would make building combat robots a tad hard wouldn't it.

Quote:
But what I've realised in writing out all these spreadsheets is that if I removed the x2 mass and x5 price modifier and instead doubled the armour multiplier, this adds substantially more armour. A typical robot design has an armour level of 2 - if we used a multiplier of x1 mass / x1 price instead of the 0.5 / 0.5 we get a typical armour of 4 for a low-armoured robot. This is enough to keep out a lot of small arms fire completely. And that's on non-combat models.

When we double the armour multiplier on the combat models, it doesn't go from 10 to 20, but it does add a fair bit more.
Hmm... but that means at its core the bot is still pretty fragile, just has better armor, correct? Is this necessarily the way to go or does it make robots too easy to kill with a lucky shot?

Quote:
Because the spirit of Mega Traveller rules (in my opinion) is to add sufficient detail to be fun and no more than is necessary for that, we can satisfy robots being tougher just by upping the armour a bit and removing all the worry about a new way of calculating damage points. The net effect is the same (i.e. most robots can stand up to punishment from small arms fire, will be blown away by heavy weapons).

So I've concluded - let's ditch it.
I'm all for applying Ocam's Razor to rules whenever possible. But its good to be careful about over simplifing too. I'll give this some thought, I'm tempted to suggest a separate robot hull table as a solution but I'm not sure that's the way to go either. Need to mull it over.


Quote:
By the way, for a laugh, got to Telku and AB-101 near the end and scroll down a bit. I've done some analysis based on BMI and their notional weight (which is based on volume rather than actual mass). The "small and delicate" Telku would be morbidly obese at the height quoted of 1.53m in 101 Robots.


BTW, know where I can buy a PDF of 101 robots, couldn't find one on DriveThruRPG? I swear, every time I turn around I hear of yet another book for Traveller I don't have. Its amazing how much stuff has been published for this game over the last 30 years.

Oh, forgot to add. Was looking at the Robot rules for TNE in the Vampire Fleets book, think any of that might be helpful?
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Last edited by BardicHeart; January 27th, 2011 at 07:47 AM..
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  #59  
Old January 27th, 2011, 08:02 AM
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101 Robots and 101 Vehicles are DGP publications, and aren't published anywhere, not even on the 'net anymore. Along with Travellers Digest (I only have a couple of issues!) World Builders Handbook (I loved it so much I didn't throw out Grand Census or Grand Survey either!) and other goodies.

Why? Well, I don't know, but there's one view on the Traveller Wiki. This entry gives a hint as to the legal complications. Such a shame.

I totally agree with you about the multiplication of Traveller publications! I came back to the game only a year ago or so after leaving it ... in 1988! I had vaguely heard of TNE, but T4, T20 and the recent Mongoose were complete revelations. I had even missed out on a lot of Mega Traveller material (still my favourite version of the game, although I would probably be hard pressed to justify it - probably sentiment).
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Old January 28th, 2011, 11:06 AM
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Still pondering the damage points for the chasis. It just doesn't seem right to me that a human sized robot can't soak a similar amount of damage as a person of similar size. Problem is if we adjust the formulas we end up "breaking" the continuity of the craft design system. So far I can't think of any workable solution unless maybe we include a "reinforcing option"... increase the mass, reduce available volume and this gives you a x% increase to damage points for inop/destroyed for the main chasis (representing a heavier / stronger chasis).

Possibly the rules from T4 for internal structure volume could work well as a basis for this.

Also, found this in the TNE section on robots (Vampire Fleets, p72) and thought it might be a useful thought.
Quote:
Robot Vehicles and Aircraft: The following design sequence
covers fairly small conventional robots. It is possible to
design robot vehicles and aircraft as an alternative to these
smaller robots. To do so, follow the normal design sequence
for the vehicle or aircraft, but leave out all life-support and
workstations and substitute a robot brain (Step 3 below).

Non-robotic vehicles and aircraft may be converted to robots
by adding a robot brain and a manual control interface. The
manual control interface on aircraft adds 10% to the mass,
volume and price of the controls, while on a vehicle it adds 1 %
to the mass, volume and price of the suspension.
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Last edited by BardicHeart; January 28th, 2011 at 11:16 AM..
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