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Ship Design - Computer, Avionics, Sensors & Comms


SOC-14 10K
OK, I've now seen two ship designs posted here that may be bending the rules, or perhaps its simply a case of misleading examples from the book. The difference of interpretation is whether one can have a Ship Sensors model and/or Communications model greater than the Ship's Computer model.

I've reread the pertinent text (pp 262-4) and can see the reason for the questionable design interpretation. The text only notes the Flight Avionics model cannot exceed the Ship's Computer model. However, the way I have been designing is based on the implied rule from all the ships included and the section under BIS Computers. These parts suggest that the Ship Sensors model and Communications model may not exceed the Ship's Computers model.

Naturally if its for YTU there's no problem. If however you are proposing to share your design, or, as I'm hoping for my designs, to have it accepted for publication, the 'correct' way is important.

Hunter, can we have an official clarification please? Thanks.
I have to concur with your assessment. I just reread the entries and that is indeed what it says. I will have to adjust my designs appropriately. Thanks for the catch.
The Communications and Sensor requirements that they cannot have a larger model than the computer model is one of my gripes in the design rules.

Come to think of it, I'm going to go change "my" design spreadsheet to allow it, but create a warning message that indicates it is against the rules. (I've modified falkayn's excellent spreadsheet to my tastes, besides adding a few features such as including a turrets per battery option to figure out larger USPs of turret weapons. One of these days I'll tackle the mixed turret section.)

Evening far-trader, Father Fletch, and Gaming Glen,

I've started to make a comment 4 times on this topic, but none of them sounded right. THis time I think I got what I want to say. As we know there are little problems that are being worked out with all 3, at least for me, or 2 if you have given up on the Computer Design Sequence. From my reading on the Spacecraft and Starship Design sequence the main/ship's computer consists of 4 computers. The most powerful is the main computer which has the largest computing capacity and acts as a clearing hous/monitor on the other 3. The other 3 are smaller and designed to handle the more specific tasks of flight avionics/control systems, sensor integration and analysis, and finally comms to handle encryption/decryption of message traffic. I've also recently got my hands on a copy of MegaTraveller's Starship Operator's Manual (SOM) Vol.1 by DGP. Putting SOM together with my time spent as a submarine sonar tech I can see computers being of higher capability than the main/ship's computer.

While working on using the Computer Design Sequence (CDS) I noted that most of the computers in Chapter 13 are incomplete systems. Only the Ship's Computers has a very poor, in my view, hand wave on making the computer a complete system. This system of multiplying cost by 10 and dividing EP by 10 actually costs more than designing a complete starship computer using the CDS. 3 of the computers, auto-pilot, targeting, and the robot brain come the closest to being complete systems. The auto-pilot and targeting computers omit terminals or control panels. The robot brain (RB) has some minor problems; First miniaturization does not alter the number of core modules needed, although it does alter Size/volume and power. There appear to be 2 gaffs associated with the RB cost, the first is the price has been multiplied by 10 and the second is that the price has been reduced by 10%.

With that said I agree with both far-trader and Gaming Glen. As written the sensors and comms sub-systems can't exceed the main/ship's Model #. However, sub-systems can be very easily upgraded to a higher Model #. Of course this sort of upgrade can have some unforseen problems. During my time on subs some of the main and auxiliary sonar systems were upgraded. Most of the auxiliary system upgrades worked as advertised. Actually, I can think of only one that didn't work right when first installed. However on the main systems most of the upgrades caused some problems, most of which were easily fixed.

I am posting this before I have time to delete the comments.