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  #31  
Old February 16th, 2007, 02:53 AM
far-trader far-trader is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheEngineer:
...A bit more serious, I would say there was a good reason to drop the whole software program issue, starting with High Guard. IMHO it was a proper adaption to real world circumstances....

HG didn't really drop the whole software program issue though. HG combat is for fleet engagements of primarily military ships of the line. It doesn't concern itself muchly with the detail of the RPG side of the game played by small ship crews of small ships. For that B2 combat is still the way to go, with it's use of the software programming rules for the sake of player involvement.

In my not so humble opinion on this issue presuming that HG combat should be applied to a role playing game is a mistake that was never intended, but I see so many Travellers saying "well HG didn't have software rules so we aren't supposed to use them"... depresses and annoys me to no end.

What's more there's nothing in the rules of either B2 or HG to actually invalidate the continued use of the software programming rules, FFS HG itself still lists the program slots available in the computer table. What do you think that is supposed to mean? That's a rhetorical question of course but feel free to speculate.

Yeah, I'm a bit pissed but this is just the lightning rod, that's all, it's not directed at anyone personally (least of all you TheEngineer [img]smile.gif[/img] ) and the storm is actually somewhere else altogether. As much as I'd like to hurl a few perhaps more deserved bolts there instead I don't want to fry so many bridges so I throw some sparks here instead, m'kay?
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  #32  
Old February 16th, 2007, 03:39 AM
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FFS HG lists program slots ?
Didn't know that.
I'm a MT guy. As such I don't do any rules covered starship software programming, but I fully share the feeling, that especially the space combat rules are pretty "cold" and personal skills become a bit worthless as computers become bigger
At least in my house rules, I still tend to modify pure computer model DMs with operator personal skill levels ....maybe this also represents program modifications by an onboard computer geek.

FT, I hope the atmo conditions become better in Canada [img]smile.gif[/img]

TE
*just missed by a lightning rod*
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  #33  
Old February 16th, 2007, 06:18 AM
mbrinkhues mbrinkhues is offline
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Question:

+ How big IS the market for the ship software

+ Are the computers compatibel? Can I copy the software from my Mk1 to my Mk9

+ Is there only one type of it or does each manufacturer use it's own?

+ Does the price include maintenance, service and patches?

Does not enter much in the Books who have littel "brandnames" after all but IRL that can be a major problem. The "cheap" software of today gets it's price through a large number of copies sold. Once you go past Word 1104 into the area of SAP NetWeaver 912.4 the prices jump in the 5-6 digit range per installation plus maintenance.

Add in the necessary safety checks that must be performed since no one wants a Blue Screen of Death on the ships flight computer or a "Kernel Panik, Set Runmode 1" on the JDrive Controller and the most likely real-time nature of the stuff and the costs get even higher.

Btw atpollard you are wrong with binary code. Everybody knows that:

+ Interactive stuff is programmed in Sumatra, Borneo or Helgoland

+ Time critical stuff used N

+ Mathematical stuff uses Fortran 1077
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  #34  
Old February 16th, 2007, 10:41 AM
veltyen veltyen is offline
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Quote:
Originally by Michael Brinkhues:
+ How big IS the market for the ship software
What becomes more important is the level of IP protection, and the sales models that are used.

On the other hand what is the competitive advantage of working software. That comes down to the quality change between the cost of downtime, vs the cost of the software. For major systems on a ship the cost of downtime can be infinite. For less important systems it may mean delays at the next port, unintended damage (and risk) to the vessel and other things that cost extensively.

Or in other words, if it saves half a MCr a year in time, difficulties and repairs then paying multiple MCr for the software makes sense. Paying less only makes sense if the software is as good, and when you start talking lives (either as lives, or more likely as legal costs of killing people) even a tiny change in reliability quickly becomes excessively expensive.

Cost of downtime:
Resulting in complete loss of vessel
- Sensor control and analysis (failing to spot uncharted orbital debris)
- Power systems (failure during Jump)
- Jump Drive systems (failure during Jump)

Resulting in significant potential loss
- Weapon systems (Unable to defend against piracy)
- M Drive systems (Crashlanding, becalmed in space)
- Communications (Misidentification as hostile)

The problem with IP protection becomes a simple one. If IP is aggressively protected then general purpose software running on general purpose machines is possible to do. Otherwise each group of software people get to sell each copy of their software once to a single customer. To get around this in the real world there are several techniques that are used. Close ties to hardware is a common one, using proprietary hard to replicate hardware. Another is the endless upgrade/patch/service model *cough SAP* which relies on constantly changing configuration so that a close relationship with the parent company is required for the software to work for any length of time.

There is a forth model, that of Open Source, which uses the odd concept that people like working and don't need to be forced to do so.

So the military work in house. Imperial Navy code does not leave Naval ships, and is just as likely (or more likely) to have IP protections in place. Lots of hardware based software, and extremely customised for the vessels that they are on.

Large mercantile concerns will have contracts out to other large companies for regular maintenance and upgrading of their ships software. This might be paired with dockside maintenance contracts. This includes less critical software.

Small mercantile concerns will buy off the shelf where possible, where not possible they have to accept the options available.

The occasional belter community will have a suite of OS type programs that are constantly tinkered with. Mostly effective, but require a significant ability to fix it "in flight". This software may increase certain types of insurance.
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  #35  
Old February 16th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheEngineer:
FFS HG lists program slots?
Didn't know that. I'm a MT guy...
Just to clarify the "FFS" in my post above was not meant as an abbreviation for Fire, Fusion, & Steel which I get the feeling is how you took it. I could be wrong though. It is a different abbreviation expressing my (unfounded in your case at least TE) exasperation over the "no computer programming in HG" idea.


Quote:
Originally posted by TheEngineer:
...I don't do any rules covered starship software programming, but I fully share the feeling, that especially the space combat rules are pretty "cold" and personal skills become a bit worthless as computers become bigger
At least in my house rules, I still tend to modify pure computer model DMs with operator personal skill levels ....maybe this also represents program modifications by an onboard computer geek.
Hmm, I guess it was MT that dropped computer programming, it's been a while since I looked at it. I wonder if I had house rules for it at the time then? I like your own idea of more general programming modifiers. So that'd be based on the character's Computer skill I guess. Makes that a very important skill then, nice.

Quote:
Originally posted by TheEngineer:
FT, I hope the atmo conditions become better in Canada [img]smile.gif[/img]
Thanks TE, all foul weather (and moods) pass in time [img]smile.gif[/img]
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  #36  
Old February 16th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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If we project some Microsoft trends forward, the bulk of the cost could be for the state of the art copy protection.
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  #37  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by doctor:
Does anyone know if there's been any articles or forum threads about Traveller computer technology? I'm thinking of how computer networks are thought to work in the T universe. I can imagine planetary networks like the internet, and maybe these can be expanded to in-system networks using maser or some other tightbeam technology, maybe using relay stations to extend the range.
I'd have to say each system/case would be different, although I'm sure some could fall into different models after a bit.

Take Regina. I don't know the stats, but our own gas giants have a considerable radiation belt and would require laser or meson com to beam info to and from an x-boat as it arrives or is leaving (same with it's tender, which might get the "ground" traffic and simply forward it to the outgoing x-boat internally). Probably not a big deal, but different than the Terra model.

Hopefully, they're not like Trek where you get within X meters and you can download a database before the next commericial. Their ships (actually all ships) seem to be candy-stores for information thieves, but it might be that simple when you possess technology that can beam people via electron entanglement. Of course they're making it easy for the plot so...

I don't know enough about mesons to say exactly, but in GURPS Traveller they're treated like neutrinos, only the comm technology is 10x bigger and costlier. So you've got the potential for a comm system that can't be blocked by traditional means (like planets or radiation belts/flares) however I'd defer to someone like Anthony on the specifics. In GURPS Traveller, IIRC all bridges (civilian and military) have meson comms, so it could be the standard for ship and planetary comm in the TU.

It could be that cell/radio is used by individuals and the planetary net utilizes meson comm to relay them from planetside to opposite planetside directly, without having to worry about the horizon or even satellites. Obviously backup systems would exist. So you place a local call via traditional EM then it gets routed by a different means when you call someone on the other side of the world, or on a different planet inside the solar system. It may also relate to the "type of call" such that distance precludes actual face to face comm, and it's more like e-mail.

So star types could be significant.
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  #38  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by veltyen:
There is a certain quality difference between code that must be tested, and must never fail, and what passes for current day commercial software.
Because when you control the power of a miniature sun, and use it to rip holes in the fabric of space-time, a sudden blue screen is more than just an inconvenience.
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  #39  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by epicenter00:
There's plenty of mentions of them, Doctor. Computer technology is one of those running jokes amongst Traveller players that never really gets old.

As Malenfant obliquely pointed out to you, computers are a joke in Traveller. If you look at their size, weight, cost, and power consumption as compared to what they can do, one can only conclude they're still using COLOSSUS, ENIAC, and UNIVAC in the 57th century. Case in point, according to the TNE rulebook (that I happen to have in front of me) a Suleiman-class Scout ship (the infamous flying wedge ship) has three TL15 (oooh ahhh) computers to handle flying. Each of these require 0.55 Megawatts of power each.

0.55 Megawatts. Holy cow.

Obviously, Grandfather pinched off a pocket universe to develop the Commodore PET, a vast computing milestone that humans in the 57th century couldn't even imagine. Grandfather's children never had a chance, still using those Altairs...

In other words, if you're making or fleshing out the Traveller Universe, feel free to plug in whatever computer technology you wish.
[img]graemlins/file_21.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/file_21.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/file_21.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/file_21.gif[/img] !!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #40  
Old February 24th, 2007, 01:33 AM
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Yeah, no offense to you guys.. there's a lot of technical know how here, certainly.

In my games, I just say "The comms channel crackles to life, "Gypsy Queen, this is Starport control, how do you read?"

I figure the computers are large, because you need something like a multi-processor AI running linux crimson hat v20 to calculate jump.

And I don't worry about the how / why or watts. I don't design traveller ships either, other than with the book 2 rules.


Just my pulp / Space Opera style. It is an interesting discussion, though.
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