Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby SCC on Thu 14 Feb 2019 02:12

Cralis wrote:Your first point doesn't make any sense, it lacks a huge amount of context and gives examples of self-contained systems.

I was including F and T in a greater list, that also includes (AM), (CAP), (DFS), (It), and (St), all of which work by changing the ships DF. Presumably a ships engines and other DF equipment needed to be adjusted every time one of these is added or removed.

Cralis wrote:I gave you three other examples of systems that represent a damageable portion of much larger super-sets of internal sub-systems in a ship. And by internal sub-systems I directly stated that they were distributed through-out a portion or the whole of the ship. You are simply re-stating what I've already stated and giving some additional examples that are nothing of the sort.

I'm not exactly sure what your point is, nor why you are making it.

If engines attract special costs on refitting because of this distributed nature why don't these systems, which are also distributed in nature, attract those special costs?

Cralis wrote:Today we can't even swap a gasoline engine for a diesel engine or an electric engine in a car without refitting the components and body of the vehicle. Why would we be able to replace something like a starship's drive system -- especially one that contains so many sub-systems so widely distributed around the entire ship -- and expect it to be less of a refit?

That's more a matter of not being designed for that, you can't put a Ford engine in a GM car. In my example the distributed systems of an engine are more like the wiring and especially the transmission, and within the abstraction that is HS you can replace something with something that is the same size despite the fact that there is no reason to believe they have the same dimension or even shape in spite of them having the same volume.
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby Cralis on Thu 14 Feb 2019 11:55

You are getting further astray of my original point. Modularity can’t even begin to touch drive systems. There are too many integrated sub-systems that we abstract for simplicity in the game. I’m not going to continue to unroll that abstraction.

The point is that in every other case of refitting drives on a ship, changing the drive type will always be a Major Refit. There are no changes or exceptions needed; that’s just how it currently is in the rules. The fact that Ic is a twig makes it a corner case exception and that will be fixed in the next version.
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby SCC on Thu 14 Feb 2019 13:26

Cralis wrote:You are getting further astray of my original point. Modularity can’t even begin to touch drive systems. There are too many integrated sub-systems that we abstract for simplicity in the game. I’m not going to continue to unroll that abstraction.

The problem here is that this isn't reflected in generational upgrades, at least not hard enough. You'd think that adding an extra engine would require juggling these sub-systems for all engines, but you can arrange things so that this isn't the case.

I also feel that the way that maximum hull size isn't linked to engine improvements suggests that improvements in the sub-systems are not linked to engine development.

EDIT: Let me expand upon this a bit.

My take on the situation is that some, if not most, of these 'integrated sub-systems'* are actually a single network of DF relays and projectors evenly spread over the ship (More for the sake of argument then anything else) shared by all engines on a ship (remember you can mount both Ic and J on a single design) and that these systems are built as part of the fabric of the hull**. I'm basing this last on how there are no major additional costs (possibly add a yet based upon you comments) even for over-engined designs when you upgrade their engines so their no longer over-engined. I'm also assuming that the engines don't need to be laid out in special pattern.


* Using quotes because the term is a bit of a misnomer when something might be 100 or more meters away
** Why else does what amounts to a metal box (a single HS) cost several million dollars (I'm assuming that crew quarters, power generations and the like are covered by the system installed in the box and/or Q systems)

EDIT 2: I'm assuming that the EL limits on hull size are based upon DF engineering limits, how big a network DF relays and projectors you can build, rather then structural engineering or metallurgical ones.

As an aside I seem to be really scatter brained at the moment, pardon if things don't make proper sense.
Last edited by SCC on Thu 14 Feb 2019 16:28, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby Cralis on Thu 14 Feb 2019 15:44

SCC wrote:The problem here is that this isn't reflected in generational upgrades, at least not hard enough. You'd think that adding an extra engine would require juggling these sub-systems for all engines, but you can arrange things so that this isn't the case.


Now you are moving into a peripheral, but different, topic.

Doing a “simple” generational swap (like changing Ia to Ib) is vastly simplified. In reality, such an upgrade is likely to be an incremental upgrade of a few of the sub-systems, not a complete swap of the entire drive system.

But “adding an extra engine”? As per the rules right now, that will be a Major Refit because you are going to be changing a non-drive system into a drive system. So in that case the rules already account for the massive changes.

I also feel that the way that maximum hull size isn't linked to engine improvements suggests that improvements in the sub-systems are not linked to engine development.


You cannot make that assumption ...like so many other things, we’ve abstracted away the complexity for ease of play. If you want to break-out more sub-systems and make the player deal with them, make a house rule. I’m not seeing any upside in Solar Starfire to doing that.

And food for thought: look at how we handle generational hulls and drives. You should see that Starfire does consider hulls and drives to be associated.
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby SCC on Thu 14 Feb 2019 16:19

Cralis can you take a look at my edit and address stuff I've raised there?
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby Cralis on Fri 15 Feb 2019 15:52

SCC wrote:EDIT: Let me expand upon this a bit.


You really should have made a new post. It helps keep other people from getting lost partway through the conversation.

My take on the situation is that some, if not most, of these 'integrated sub-systems'* are actually a single network of DF relays and projectors evenly spread over the ship (More for the sake of argument then anything else) shared by all engines on a ship (remember you can mount both Ic and J on a single design) and that these systems are built as part of the fabric of the hull**. I'm basing this last on how there are no major additional costs (possibly add a yet based upon you comments) even for over-engined designs when you upgrade their engines so their no longer over-engined. I'm also assuming that the engines don't need to be laid out in special pattern.


Your assumptions are incomplete. Why does the hull cost the same whether you mount DF-based drives like I or J, LEL drives like Cp, or more advanced drives like Gt? Because you can’t dumb-down the sub-systems into a single issue like you have done. There are a lot of other considerations; I outlined a number of them in an earlier post.

I know you’re in a tight spot: you are taking simplified mechanics as gospel because you aren’t priivy to the years of more detailed conversations that the SDS has had about subjects like this. But you can’t run with the simplification as the result of a single issue because it’s almost never true.

Ultimately it boils down to this: if you want it to work a different way then just house rule it.

* Using quotes because the term is a bit of a misnomer when something might be 100 or more meters away
** Why else does what amounts to a metal box (a single HS) cost several million dollars (I'm assuming that crew quarters, power generations and the like are covered by the system installed in the box and/or Q systems)


This is an example of what I’m talking about. A unit hull is soooooooo much more than just a metal box. To me that is tantamount to saying our skin is a just a bag around our body.

Heck, a hull may not even be made of metal. A unit is like an onion: it has an outer shell with layers and layers of wiring, tubing, pathways, and hundreds to thousands of sub-systems. A hull is actually a very complex entity, which is why you can’t build any size from EL 0.

EDIT 2: I'm assuming that the EL limits on hull size are based upon DF engineering limits, how big a network DF relays and projectors you can build, rather then structural engineering or metallurgical ones.


That is only partially true, as you LEL drives are also limited by EL and they don’t have a DF. There are many engineering considerations that does include metallurgy.
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby SCC on Fri 15 Feb 2019 17:32

Cralis wrote:
SCC wrote:EDIT: Let me expand upon this a bit.


You really should have made a new post. It helps keep other people from getting lost partway through the conversation.

I started my first edit before you posted, bit hard to fix that after wards.

Cralis wrote:
My take on the situation is that some, if not most, of these 'integrated sub-systems'* are actually a single network of DF relays and projectors evenly spread over the ship (More for the sake of argument then anything else) shared by all engines on a ship (remember you can mount both Ic and J on a single design) and that these systems are built as part of the fabric of the hull**. I'm basing this last on how there are no major additional costs (possibly add a yet based upon you comments) even for over-engined designs when you upgrade their engines so their no longer over-engined. I'm also assuming that the engines don't need to be laid out in special pattern.


Your assumptions are incomplete. Why does the hull cost the same whether you mount DF-based drives like I or J, LEL drives like Cp, or more advanced drives like Gt? Because you can’t dumb-down the sub-systems into a single issue like you have done. There are a lot of other considerations; I outlined a number of them in an earlier post.

I'm assuming that these systems are simple, like ceramic 'wires' that transmit the DF energies, they don't care what makes the DF, just that something's making it.

Cralis wrote:
* Using quotes because the term is a bit of a misnomer when something might be 100 or more meters away
** Why else does what amounts to a metal box (a single HS) cost several million dollars (I'm assuming that crew quarters, power generations and the like are covered by the system installed in the box and/or Q systems)


This is an example of what I’m talking about. A unit hull is soooooooo much more than just a metal box. To me that is tantamount to saying our skin is a just a bag around our body.

Heck, a hull may not even be made of metal. A unit is like an onion: it has an outer shell with layers and layers of wiring, tubing, pathways, and hundreds to thousands of sub-systems. A hull is actually a very complex entity, which is why you can’t build any size from EL 0.

I'm assuming that a HS comes with no active components because A and H. Even assuming that a given HS comes with free wiring is problematic because some systems will use no energy (A and H), some will use some (Y, X, R, S) and some will be hogs (S, L, I). I'm also assuming that access corridors are accounted for in the systems and not the HS. That's not to say that the hull itself doesn't come with stuff like ssSL but I'm not including things like that in each HS.

This of course bring to mind a question: Why is Q still a seperate system?

Cralis wrote:
EDIT 2: I'm assuming that the EL limits on hull size are based upon DF engineering limits, how big a network DF relays and projectors you can build, rather then structural engineering or metallurgical ones.


That is only partially true, as you LEL drives are also limited by EL and they don’t have a DF. There are many engineering considerations that does include metallurgy.

Don't Cp have a kind of proto-DF? And given that PDC, AF, SS, and BS can be bigger then any given ship I'm having trouble coming up with non-DF reasons for size limits.
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby Cralis on Fri 15 Feb 2019 18:50

SCC wrote:I started my first edit before you posted, bit hard to fix that after wards.


Fair enough :)

SCC wrote:
Cralis wrote:Why does the hull cost the same whether you mount DF-based drives like I or J, LEL drives like Cp, or more advanced drives like Gt? Because you can’t dumb-down the sub-systems into a single issue like you have done. There are a lot of other considerations; I outlined a number of them in an earlier post.


I'm assuming that these systems are simple, like ceramic 'wires' that transmit the DF energies, they don't care what makes the DF, just that something's making it.


Even if that was true, it doesn’t explain why we don’t reduce the cost of hulls with LEL drives, which have no need of any DF-based sub-systems. The truth is that we make the assumption that the drive pays this cost, not the hull. There are plenty of other sub-systems that the hull pays for.

I'm assuming that a HS comes with no active components because A and H. Even assuming that a given HS comes with free wiring is problematic because some systems will use no energy (A and H), some will use some (Y, X, R, S) and some will be hogs (S, L, I). I'm also assuming that access corridors are accounted for in the systems and not the HS. That's not to say that the hull itself doesn't come with stuff like ssSL but I'm not including things like that in each HS.


We have an opposite assumption. A is not ablative metal plating... it is assumed to be forcefields, structural integrity fields, energy absorbers, and energy radiators. Ablative metal plating will not protect a ship from most Starfire weapons. We assume that H is going to resemble something like an Amazon warehouse. Machine-driven systems to push, pull, package, and unpackage large quantities of cargo.

This of course bring to mind a question: Why is Q still a seperate system?


Because Q, as a code on the Ship Control Sheet, represents the destructible portions of life support and command-and-control sub-systems in a unit. That’s why it takes so little space.

Don't Cp have a kind of proto-DF? And given that PDC, AF, SS, and BS can be bigger then any given ship I'm having trouble coming up with non-DF reasons for size limits.


Cp at EL 0 has no DF-like system. At EL 1 CpF is developed as protection, but is an incremental EL 1 tech improvement that sacrifices some of its capabilities for that “proto-DF” you mention. If I recall correctly, its an additional system that requires HS.

The rest are all about assumptions.

PDCs are not a single structure but groups of structures built into the surface of a planet. AF are basically PDCs built into a metallic asteroid.

SS are also not a single structure but rather groups of structures tied together in orbit. It’s why T damages them... it pulls the structures apart.

BS are a single structure, but completely embedded with low-power station keeping drives. This is why they have different hull sizes, extended range for LRW, and more. For LEL BS we assume the space that the DF station keeping droves would have occupied is instead fuel storage.

Fun fact: mobile BS were added in Ultra Starfire due to popular demand; previously when a player suggested mobile bases we’d tell them that they were called “ships.”
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby SCC on Fri 15 Feb 2019 21:01

Forgot to address this before so I'll do it first:
Cralis wrote:
SCC wrote:The problem here is that this isn't reflected in generational upgrades, at least not hard enough. You'd think that adding an extra engine would require juggling these sub-systems for all engines, but you can arrange things so that this isn't the case.


Now you are moving into a peripheral, but different, topic.

Doing a “simple” generational swap (like changing Ia to Ib) is vastly simplified. In reality, such an upgrade is likely to be an incremental upgrade of a few of the sub-systems, not a complete swap of the entire drive system.

But “adding an extra engine”? As per the rules right now, that will be a Major Refit because you are going to be changing a non-drive system into a drive system. So in that case the rules already account for the massive changes.

1. You can play games with this by doing two refits.
2. If your ship already had extra engines for some reason, like to allow it to run above cruising and not lose speed (OK) or in a Tug Engine Room (problematic) you never have to pay for a major re-fit.

Cralis wrote:
SCC wrote:I'm assuming that a HS comes with no active components because A and H. Even assuming that a given HS comes with free wiring is problematic because some systems will use no energy (A and H), some will use some (Y, X, R, S) and some will be hogs (S, L, I). I'm also assuming that access corridors are accounted for in the systems and not the HS. That's not to say that the hull itself doesn't come with stuff like ssSL but I'm not including things like that in each HS.


We have an opposite assumption. A is not ablative metal plating... it is assumed to be forcefields, structural integrity fields, energy absorbers, and energy radiators. Ablative metal plating will not protect a ship from most Starfire weapons. We assume that H is going to resemble something like an Amazon warehouse. Machine-driven systems to push, pull, package, and unpackage large quantities of cargo.

This is interesting, but seems to contradict the description we get of Ap and the functioning of E beams.

Cralis wrote:
This of course bring to mind a question: Why is Q still a seperate system?


Because Q, as a code on the Ship Control Sheet, represents the destructible portions of life support and command-and-control sub-systems in a unit. That’s why it takes so little space.

I was thinking about how crew quarters seem to be accounted for in the systems that that the crew work on, so why aren't the air and water reclaimers?

Cralis wrote:
Don't Cp have a kind of proto-DF? And given that PDC, AF, SS, and BS can be bigger then any given ship I'm having trouble coming up with non-DF reasons for size limits.


Cp at EL 0 has no DF-like system. At EL 1 df comes along as a directional protection, but eventually an incremental EL 1 tech improvement is discovered that sacrifices some of its capabilities for that “proto-DF” you mention. If I recall correctly, it takes more HS to use it.

Just checked the rules and Deflector Field (df) is intrinsic to all Cp. The second half of Cp.06.6 "and generational hulls cannot be developed for (Cp) engines." is also rather interesting.
Cralis wrote:The rest are all about assumptions.

PDCs are not a single structure but groups of structures built into the surface of a planet. AF are basically PDCs built into a metallic asteroid.

SS are also not a single structure but rather groups of structures tied together in orbit. It’s why T damages them... it pulls the structures apart.

BS are a single structure, but completely embedded with low-power station keeping drives. This is why they have different hull sizes, extended range for LRW, and more. For LEL BS we assume the space that the DF station keeping droves would have occupied is instead fuel storage.

Fun fact: mobile BS were added in Ultra Starfire due to popular demand; previously when a player suggested mobile bases we’d tell them that they were called “ships.”

I think part of my problem here is that my understanding is that we've already built building bigger then the ships a starting race can build.
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Re: Engines, Refitting, And Class Fees

Postby Cralis on Sun 17 Feb 2019 10:34

SCC wrote:
Cralis wrote:Doing a “simple” generational swap (like changing Ia to Ib) is vastly simplified. In reality, such an upgrade is likely to be an incremental upgrade of a few of the sub-systems, not a complete swap of the entire drive system.

But “adding an extra engine”? As per the rules right now, that will be a Major Refit because you are going to be changing a non-drive system into a drive system. So in that case the rules already account for the massive changes.

1. You can play games with this by doing two refits.


I don't see how doing two Major Refits is advantageous over just doing one Major Refit... you will do a major refit to change non-drive HS to drive HS in the original drive type, and then do another when you change the drives to another drive type. It would be cheaper and easier to just do both at the same time.

2. If your ship already had extra engines for some reason, like to allow it to run above cruising and not lose speed (OK) or in a Tug Engine Room (problematic) you never have to pay for a major re-fit.


Changing the drive type is still going to be a Major Refit, no matter what you do. And before you say "but Ic is a twig!" -- that's not going to matter in version 6.03. We are fixing that corner case. Even so, in the existing rules you will pay a Major Refit to change drive types for every other drive type except Ic.

Cralis wrote:We have an opposite assumption. A is not ablative metal plating... it is assumed to be forcefields, structural integrity fields, energy absorbers, and energy radiators. Ablative metal plating will not protect a ship from most Starfire weapons. We assume that H is going to resemble something like an Amazon warehouse. Machine-driven systems to push, pull, package, and unpackage large quantities of cargo.


This is interesting, but seems to contradict the description we get of Ap and the functioning of E beams.


I can only say that we don't make all of the psuedo-science public. We don't really describe our entire assumptions on how Ap works for simplicity. We keep our descriptions (of pretty much everything) simple so that you, the player or the SM, can make changes to customize your campaigns and not run afoul of some super descriptive physics reasoning.

Cralis wrote:
This of course bring to mind a question: Why is Q still a seperate system?


Because Q, as a code on the Ship Control Sheet, represents the destructible portions of life support and command-and-control sub-systems in a unit. That’s why it takes so little space.


I was thinking about how crew quarters seem to be accounted for in the systems that that the crew work on, so why aren't the air and water reclaimers?


Those sub-systems are part of the hull. It takes a lot more than 1 HS to provide command systems, quarters, and ALL of the life support. The "Q" code is assumed to be only a portion of the entire system, which is distributed in the hull. It's there so it can be "destroyed" by destroying the "Q" code, as you don't have to destroy the entire thing to make it's functions relatively inoperable.

Just checked the rules and Deflector Field (df) is intrinsic to all Cp. The second half of Cp.06.6 "and generational hulls cannot be developed for (Cp) engines." is also rather interesting.

My apologies, when I stated that, I was at work where I can't access the rules. What I was trying to refer to is (CpF) at EL 1. That is what you described as a "proto-DF" field for Cp.

Cralis wrote:I think part of my problem here is that my understanding is that we've already built building bigger then the ships a starting race can build.


Our presumptions are that an assault shuttle is about the size of a modern naval Destroyer. Remember, an entire Qt (at least one company of troops) and all of their gear, vehicles, munitions, and other supplies can fit into the hold of an ast. While we use that 1 HS roughly translates to something like 20m^3 or 30m^3 (I need to look at the notes to remember for sure, but the point is that it's not a small volume), the truth is that there is more ship than the listed HS because of the assumptions we've been using. The listed HS is the "available size" based on ship systems that you can purchase and install. The rest is assumed for simplicity.

I understand you want to be able to get precise about the details. Starfire has never been precise mostly because it was designed by a science fiction author who was more interested in telling the story than he was in determining the exact power output of the reactors or calculating the megatonnage of the nuclear missiles being fired and how many meters the detonation penetrates into the precisely determined physical structure of the shields and armor of the ship. Starfire is designed to allow you to run an empire and blow up tons of ships for far less effort* than if you tried doing the same thing with a more complicated gaming system.

If I was you -- and I've been you in the past -- I would simply layout my assumptions on what I want to have happen based upon the pseudo-science assumptions that you want your game to adhere to and run with it. EVERYONE enjoys reading about campaigns and games that have interesting differences!

And between you and me, if you describe technology different in your story then it says in the rules... it won't bother me (and probably not anyone else either). If you read through the fiction and house rules sections you should see that players make changes all of the time to their games. In fact, I enjoy reading what other people come up with because it gives me new ideas too.
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