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Old September 18th, 2003, 08:43 AM
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TheDS TheDS is offline
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Me!

My FFS1 book is the most destroyed book I have, due to overuse and its poor workmanship. I like the way the info is presented (even if some of it turns out to be whacked-wrong) and it's easy to read and keep your place. All the important charts are in the same place where you're reading along, and subjects are started at the tops of pages. Lots of metagame information here too.

FFS2 contains a lot of updates, but overall is an ugly book to try to read. There's very little discussion of why things were done, or how they work, and it looks like they tried to pack as much into a page as possible. I suppose maybe their printer limited them to 112 pages, but I think they could have taken the extra space and made it a 150 or 200 page book, so that it would be readable. There was no need to put all those formulas and tables at the back of the book; it doesn't help, because you have to be reading the rules while you're looking at the charts, and that just adds page-flipping. Now if they had confined this to USEFUL formulas, like how to computer this or that, and they labeled the thigns appropriately, it might have been a good reference.

For FFS3, I would like to see the style/structure of FFS1 with the game updates from FFS2. There's a few things available on TML that could probably be added to it too, but some of those ideas would make the system a lot harder to understand. I don't REALLY need 400 different space drive technologies to choose from at each TL.

On the other hand, fusion rockets (if they can get over the reality hurdle) could stand to be improved and brought into accepted canon. Why wouldn't an engine, described as being a fusion reactor with a hole in it, not have equivalent thrust capabilities? At 20 tons per Megawatt (HEPlaR efficiency) a TL 9-12 engine should put out 40 tons per kl, TL 13-14 would be 60, and TL15 is 120. Much more fuel efficient and less game breaking than either an engine with a MAXIMUM POSSIBLE 112 G-hours of thrust (HEPlaR) or one that's got no practical limit in endurance or grip on reality (Thruster Plates). (Well hidden irony intended.)

FFS1 had a lot of good diagrams, but it could have used even more. Pictures have a great way of explaining things faster than 1000 words can, and this was amply demonstrated in FFS1.

FFS3 probably will have enough material to fill 200+ pages. I have no problem with this at all, especially if the book is constructed better than most of the MT/TNE stuff I've got.

There are a couple areas that Traveller has managed to ignore, one of which is surface ships. Sure, you could use that pair of Challenge articles about Wet Navy, but even when MT was my game, I didn't like it that much. MT stuff feels way too arbitrary for trying to convert into "real" world, something which I think TNE does a much better job at.

FFS1 also presented a number of interesting alternate technologies, allowing you to build your own universe, like you did in CT, whereas FFS2 seemed to pull out from this approach. I liked seeing what else was possible.

The final thing is, who shold make something like this? Should one be made for T5? Should it be made for T20? Can one be done for TNE (Mk1 Mod2)? Is it possible to consolidate into an edition-free version? We are talking about a book that's based on the harder science TNE tried to introduce, and "realistic" stuff is usually more easily translatable to other worlds.

So what do you all think about this?
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