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Old August 19th, 2019, 02:24 AM
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Default Electronics and Traveller

I debated posting this here or in Random Static, and decided here as it has its affect on how I run My Traveller Universe and view the game.

A couple of months ago, the radio in the car my wife primarily uses decided to go out. Now, it turned out that the radio controlled a bit more than just the radio. It also controlled most of the climate controls, the interior lighting, the back-up warning, and the USB inputs. About the only thing that it did not control was the starter, speedometer, and odometer. After several trips to the dealer, they finally decided that there was a short in the radio, and replaced it with what they claimed was a new unit. We were looking at going out of town, so we took the car that I usually drive, and left my wife's car to be repaired when we got back.

Well, this afternoon, my wife arrived back home from a craft fair, and had me come out and take a look at the radio. Quite simply, the touch screen was no longer working. No climate controls, no radio controls, no compass, nothing dependent upon the touch screen to change. Again, we are looking at going out of town, so I am not exactly a happy camper at this point. The radio is a sealed unit, so all the service department does is replace it. I am not sure if they even have the ability or knowledge to fix it. I can see the same thing happening on a star ship.

Thus, this problem with overly complex electronic controls is one of the main reason why I do not go with the standard crewing for Traveller ships. I do not go with one engineer, I go with 4 as a minimum. One chief engineer, who does not stand watch, and 3 assistants that do stand watches, 4 hours on and 8 off. Not one bridge crewman, but at least 4. A captain/owner aboard who monitors everything, and at least 3 bridge officers to stand watch. For the cargo/passenger section, again at least 3, all of whom have Steward skill and can prepare fresh meals. Plus a medic on all ships of 100 tons and larger, with more medics as needed. The cargo/passenger section gets a least 3 so that someone is on duty 24 hours a day for meals and passenger needs. A high passenger wakes up in the middle of the ship's night, and decides that he wants something more than a snack to eat. Then there is the crew standing watch that need to eat, possibly at their stations, so the food needs to be brought to them.

A crewman cannot be expected to be 100% efficient for an 8 hour stretch, and clearly, the standard Traveller ship is highly dependent on electronics for all types of monitoring. Now what happens when those electronics develop problems with the solitary crewman is sleeping is never addressed. Will problems develop, see Murphy on that, with the corollary that "problems show up at the worst possible time."
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