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Build-Your-Own-Stardrive Chart
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:47 am    Post subject: Build-Your-Own-Stardrive Chart Reply with quote

So, I recently picked up a copy of GG6: Tramp Freighters, 1st. Edition. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it, as it cleared up several discrepancies I'd found in GG6 2E. The biggest was a misconception I have run into with some gamers regarding the disposition of the original engine once you install an after-market one from the GG6 list. More than one person has argued that you don't lose the weight of the original engine, even though you are removing it and installing a completely new engine in its place. I only recently found the paragraph that disproves it.
    GG6 2E, pg. 38, left column, bottom paragraph reads:

    "During the campaign, when replacing one device with a new one, adjust the ship's cargo capacity accordingly (subtract the weight of the first device and then add the weight of the second),"


The problem, then, is that the 2E book does not give the weight of the stock engine, just the weight of a specific after-market drive from the list. The original 1E gave a listing of Speed Codes (1D through 7D) with weight and cost included, but there was no mention of illegality or availability, so a starship captain (if he could come up with 1 million credits) could install a Space 14 drive in his ship. Personally, I don't have a problem with this (one of my favorite internet guidebooks, SWSRC's Blockade Runner's Guide, featured a highly illegal Space 14 drive, and included sufficient backstory to support the idea), so long as the drive is sufficiently expensive and illegal, but WEG did away with the stock Space 14 drive when they upgraded to 2E. Interestingly enough, under the 2E rules, you can get a drive as high as Space 16, if you are willing to accept the potential mishaps.

But I digress...

Having read the Starship Modification chapters of GG6 in both 1E and 2E, I find that there are things I like and dislike about both, so I started thinking about ways I could combine the two. I have a lot of ideas, but the one that stands out most is the idea of what amounts to a Build-Your-Own-Stardrive Chart. In essence, what I would like to do is start with a basic chart that lists drives by speed class, weight, cost, availability, etc. To modify a drive above and beyond that, there would be application templates (similar to the starship templates in the Starship of the Galaxy Saga Edition book). Each template would alter the drive's performance and provide a little more background and detail as to the engine itself. A partial list of possible templates includes:

    Archaic - An older design, higher availability, less expensive, but also less capable
    Commercial - A civilian drive designed to sacrifice speed and performance for increased cargo capacity and range
    Junker - A unique engine design pieced together from multiple sources
    Military - An expensive and illegal design with better performance than the available civilian drives
    Performance - A civilian drive designed for high speed at the expense of consumables (and reliability, to a degree)
    Precision - A high-end drive constructed to higher standards of reliability than stock
    Prototype - An advanced unique design with greater capabilities, but also unknown faults
    Specialized - A drive designed specifically for use with a specific brand of vessel, such as CEC or SoroSuub. Increased difficulty for installation and modification when installed in a ship that is not made by the listed manufacturer.


These are just the ones I have been able to come up with on my own; I'm sure there are other possibilities. Anyway, the idea is that a ship owner who wishes to upgrade his drive will select the speed that he wants and then select the appropriate templates that modify the drive. For example, if a starship captain wants a Space 8 drive, but doesn't quite have the credits to pay for it stock, he can select the Archaic and Junker templates to bring the price down, at the expense of reduced operational reliability once the drive is installed. Alternately, a captain with credits to spare could buy a Space 8 drive, with the Specialized and Precision templates to get increased reliability and higher consumables.

At this point, this is mostly just a random concept, as my current job doesn't give me a lot of time to think deeply on gaming. I'm interested to hear what you all think...
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Bren
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd substitute a different word for Archaic as I tend to think of an archaic drive as something - like a roman ballista in today's world - as something no longer in general use or production and hence very expensive despite being less effective than a more modern device.

Maybe "out-of-date" or "prior version" instead of Archaic.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point. I drew the basis of the template idea from the Saga Edition book, and Archaic was the word they used, so I just stuck with it. Maybe simply "Older" would be sufficient.

As a side note, applying templates could also help the GM flesh out the story a bit more, as in "Well, we have a Space 8 drive available, but I'm not sure you want it..."
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a related note, I'm considering adding more steps to the hyperdrive chart. Officially, once you get above x2, every technology step introduces a 100% increase in drive speed, while real technology seems to make smaller, more incremental steps to speed increases. So, rather than hyperdrive modifiers of x2, x 1, x1/2, etc, the upper end of the chart would look something like x2, x1.5, x1, x.75, x.67, x.5, (maybe even a x.33 or x.25) where the speed steps are closer together, as is the competition for fastest ship in the galaxy
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Bren
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stick to multiples of .25 (so now 2/3 or 1/3 speeds for me) but the idea makes sense and I think I have seen stats for a WEG ship customized freighter that had a .75 hyperdrive.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Outrider had a .75
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Archaic - An older design, higher availability, less expensive, but also less capable
Commercial - A civilian drive designed to sacrifice speed and performance for increased cargo capacity and range
Junker - A unique engine design pieced together from multiple sources
Military - An expensive and illegal design with better performance than the available civilian drives
Performance - A civilian drive designed for high speed at the expense of consumables (and reliability, to a degree)
Precision - A high-end drive constructed to higher standards of reliability than stock
Prototype - An advanced unique design with greater capabilities, but also unknown faults
Specialized - A drive designed specifically for use with a specific brand of vessel, such as CEC or SoroSuub. Increased difficulty for installation and modification when installed in a ship that is not made by the listed manufacturer.


my 2 cents worth on your list

Economy - old technology, highest availability, lowest prices, less capable, less reliable

Commercial - commercial drive, not fast, common availability, very reliable, capable of hauling larger loads

Customized - a stock drive taken and modified to do something it was not designed to do

Military - a drive designed for military applications, typically with better performance than civilian counterparts, illegal for a civilian to own

Performance - a drive designed from the ground up to be a high end performance drive, very fast, very low load capacity, low fuel economy

Precision - luxury, sports, and exotic vessels typically have these drives, rare availability, very reliable if use within their parameters

Prototype - unique, non-production drive, typically in experimental stages, with unknown performance issues.

Specialized - ship model specific drive, very incompatible if used with with a different than specified vessel.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I [b]have been[/b] building my own stardrive chart.

I was wondering though just what sort or mass ranges do people thing the Star Wars ships are at? What is the general consensus on what they think a starfighter should mass, what a freighter should and so forth.

I got something that seems to work with most of what exists already, but would love to see what othe rpeople think the masses should be for things like X-Wings and TIE fighters before I lock anything down.

Any chance of finding some common ground?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure what you mean by mass, but IMO, you may be overcomplicating it. The simplest way to calculate the mass of a starship would likely be just using its hull dice, but there are some obvious flaws there. However, if you are just looking for simplicity, then that would be the way to go.
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thedemonapostle
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

example of real world vehicles

Economy - geo metro
Commercial - ford f-150/ram 1500/chevy 1500/box truck
Customized - modified vehicles, like from the fast and the furious 1
Military - HMMWV, LMTV, MRAP, etc
Performance - Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, etc
Precision - Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, etc
Prototype - any kind of brand new, experimental vehicle
Specialized - Mazda RX-7, RX-8, Chrysler Turbine Car, MTT Turbine Superbike, steam cars, alternate fuel cell cars, etc





and just a thought, but couldnt mass be roughly calculated by multiplying the length times the width times the hull in pips?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a related note, the 1E book mentions upgraded maneuvering thrusters. To me, thrusters in an advanced sci-fi environment are too low tech. After all, maneuvering thrusters are what modern space craft of today use. If SWU starships mount energy weapons and shields, interstellar drives, sublight drives that generate thousands of g's of acceleration, plus anti-gravity technology sufficient to nullify that force of acceleration, it's a pretty good bet that maneuvering technology has advanced beyond the 20th-century concept of compressed gas. On top of that, maneuvering thrusters do not account for how starships move in the SWU, like atmospheric fighters instead of ships floating in a vacuum.

I think I've mentioned this once before, but since another topic is currently yammering away on railguns and g-forces, I thought of it again. Here's the basic version; since starship technology has mastered gravity sufficiently to use it for flight and to absorb the massive stresses generated by high-speed acceleration, I believe it is also used to maneuver starships, by creating a very powerful, localized "gravity slope" that bends the straight-line course of a starfighter, much like the gravity slingshot technique that gets used off and on in space opera.

The X-Wing novels mention something called an etheric rudder, which is as good a name as any. The way I figure, the ship's drives work like normal, generating forward thrust. When the pilot manipulates his joystick to make the ship turn, he alters the gravity slope affecting his ship, causing the ship's course to bend away from a straight-ahead course, with direction and degree of sharpness dictated by the position of the joystick. The result is that the ship can now turn, bank, climb and dive as though it were operating in atmospheric conditions without shutting off its drives (which is what we see in the films).

When upgrading a ship's maneuvering thrusters, the character is, in essence, buying a more powerful gravity slope generator, which allows the ship to generate steeper gravity slopes (and turn more sharply) and to alter the direction of the gravity slope with greater precision (greater maneuverability when piloting a complicated course).

Thoughts? IMO, using gravity fields to turn a ship seems much more in keeping with the SWU tech level than the basic concept of maneuvering thrusters.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="crmcneill"]I'm not sure what you mean by mass,

Mass is a measurment of the amount of "stuff" that something is comprised of. For ships it would typically be expressed in terms of tons. It isn7t the same as weight. Weight is mass times gravity.

Quote:

but IMO, you may be overcomplicating it. The simplest way to calculate the mass of a starship would likely be just using its hull dice, but there are some obvious flaws there. However, if you are just looking for simplicity, then that would be the way to go.


Hull Dice is a okay place to start, but we'd need to break it down into categories, such a fighter, ligth freigher, heavy freighter and so on. Otherwise an X-Wing would end up the same as a YT-1300! And even going buy Hull code by class would give the Ghrtoc 720 a big advantage over the YT-1300.

Also we need some sort of mass/tonnage figure so we can handle swapping out systems.



My approach, which is fairly simple is to base the SPACE speed on the Thrust/Mass ratio. That way we could give each engine a rating, and get a ship'S SPACE score with that engine.

It is a bit more flexible than the way they do it in Tramp Freighters, becuase it would work for any ship, and not be restricted to just light freighters the way the rules in GG6 are.

it would also let us do things like swap out engines on fighters, add addtional weapons and pretty much do whatever mods we wanted to and still get reasonable and consistent results.

What I got so far seems to work, and matches up pretty well with the existing ships, but I don't have a scale for the tonnage figures. And we need the tonnage figures to work out things like the avlaible cargo tonnage after adding weapons and other systems.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
Hull Dice is a okay place to start, but we'd need to break it down into categories, such a fighter, ligth freigher, heavy freighter and so on. Otherwise an X-Wing would end up the same as a YT-1300! And even going buy Hull code by class would give the Ghrtoc 720 a big advantage over the YT-1300.


But if you are going strictly by mass, then space transports like the YT-1300 and the Ghtroc will have a great deal of open internal space (for hauling cargo), while a small starfighter will have limited internal space for the pilot and not much else. That means that, while the two craft have marked differences in volume (space taken up), they are much closer together in mass than would be suggested by appearances alone.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
[But if you are going strictly by mass, then space transports like the YT-1300 and the Ghtroc will have a great deal of open internal space (for hauling cargo), while a small starfighter will have limited internal space for the pilot and not much else. That means that, while the two craft have marked differences in volume (space taken up), they are much closer together in mass than would be suggested by appearances alone.


Probably not that close. THe two types of craft are designed to do different things.

A fighter should be fast and maneuverable, and to do that it needs a good acceleration (thrust to mass ratio).

A freighter, on the other hand, is designed to haul cargo. It needs a certain amount of structure and equipment to support and move that cargo. so it can't be as Light as the fighter, not as fast or maneuverable. Not without either sacrificing cargo capacity or flying apart at the seams.

In the real world about 1/th to 1/3rd of a vessel is payload (crew, pasengers, cargo, munitions, etc.), with the rest being taken up by things like engines, fuel, sensors, and the vehicle's structure. So if a YT-1300 can tote around 100 tons, it needs at least another hundred tons of stuff to do so.


For example if you look at some real world aircraft, the F100 Superspaber is a fighter, whikle the 707-020 is a passenger/freighter. The F100 is 15m long and about the size of a starfighter. The 707 is 41m long and about the size of one a light freighter.Both use the same engine, although the F100 has an afterburner, and the 707 uses four engines instead of one. The 707 has over three times the the thrust of the fighter, but it also has over 6 times the mass/weight, so it is slower and less maneuverable.


So a YT-1300 is probably several times the mass of an X-Wing, and has bigger and more powerful engines, but it's thrust/mass ratio isn't as good as the X-Wing's, so it it slow and sluggish.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So why not just do separate charts for starfighters, space transports and capital ships? The Saga Edition Starships of the Galaxy Book (and the attendant Rancor Pit Conversion book) included the following rules for converting equipment:

Converting to Snubfighters
Cost: x1.5 (for miniaturization costs)
Space: (# of metric tons) +12 = # of kilograms

Converting to Capital Ships
Cost: x20
Space: (# of metric tons) x20 = # of metric tons
These conversion rules are not necessarily designed to be convert previously existing West End Games supplements, or with equipment described outside of this conversion guide. However, it can serve as a general guideline for installing equipment in this guide in other starship types.
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