Cargo Question

Rollo's picture
Rollo
March 27, 2012 - 7:13am
I feel kind of stupid asking this because A) it's likely already been answered somewhere and I just can't find it and B) it seems like a pretty mundane bit of inconsequential minutia but at the moment it's a detail that I need answered in order to fill in some background for a scenario.

I'm trying to figure out how long it would take a mining ship to fill each unit of cargo space. In my case, I'm using a HS 20 mining vessel that is using a digger shuttle and an orbital processing lab. Do we have any hard-and-fast rules governing this sort of thing listed anywhere perchance?

And am I correct in thinking that a ship's cargo units are the same as its hull size or is that different for freighters and mining ships?
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink
Comments:

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
March 27, 2012 - 9:07am
You can check out the guidlines given in the KH book, pg 47 remastered.

Cargo Units. One unit of cargo is the amount of cargo that can be carried in one hull size point. For example, a freighter of hull size 8 can carry 8 units of cargo.

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 27, 2012 - 10:10am
The rules on mining in the KH book (original p 47) tell you how many tons of ore have to be mined to yield one cargo unit of concentrate.  It also tells you how long it takes to process that mined ore into concentrate.  The information on the digging equipment (robots and digging shuttles, p20 original KH book) give the time to do the mining (basically 4 tons per hour).
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Rollo's picture
Rollo
March 27, 2012 - 11:15am
Thanks for the clarifications.

Though I'm still not sure how long it actually takes to process the ore. I see where it takes a robot or a digger shuttle 1hr to collect 4 tons of raw ore. But no mention of how long it takes the processing unit to process the raw ore into the valuable ore. Unless I've managed to miss that tidbit (which is entirely possible since I have a couple toddlers screaming at me wile I'm trying to do all this Foot in mouth).

I guess if I were re-writing this section I'd just take the same length of time it took to actually do the mining and apply it to the processing.

I'm having trouble digesting this too: A mining ship using an orbital mining lab can carry 5 x the number of hull points of the ship. A digger shuttle can carry 50 tons. So a hull size 20 mining ship can carry a total of 100 tons, or ... two trips from that digger shuttle. That seems off to me. But that's what the rules say so I guess that's what I'll figure in. 
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
March 27, 2012 - 11:35am
@Rollo,
There is some planet-side mining info in SF4 Mission to Alcazzar, BETA 3 Mining Operations.





Rollo's picture
Rollo
March 27, 2012 - 11:42am
Thanx wOOt :)  It's been years since I actually read that module so I'll crack it open and see what I can dig up.  Thanx for pointing it out for me!
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 27, 2012 - 1:57pm
Yeah, the amount of cargo the ship can carry is a little hoaky and the rules don't make sense.  I had worked out a reasonable system but don't remember it off the top of my head.  I'd probably have to reread the section in detail to figure it out but off the top of my head a simple rule is that a mining ship can haul back it's hull size in cargo units if it used a MR and left it behind and half its hull size in cargo units if carrying an OPL instead.  So a HS 10 mining ship with an OPL could bring back 5 cargo units of material while that same ship with a MR could bring back 10 if it leaves the MR behind.

The amount of time to process the raw ore in to the refined stuff is the last column in that table.  It's a die roll (#d10) days per cargo unit processed.  For example the entry for gold is 1000 ore/unit and 2d10.  So it takes 1000 tons of ore to process enough material to generate one cargo unit of gold.  The Mineral Refinery (MR) takes 2d10 days to process all that ore into the cargo unit (An OPL would take twice as long per the rules).  It takes a mining robot 1000/4 = 250 hours = 12.5 days to mine the ore working nonstop.  If you were mining 5 cargo units worth of gold, it would take 5x as long.`
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Rollo's picture
Rollo
April 6, 2012 - 6:08am
First off, thanks for the clarifications and help with this guys. :) The more I dig into this material though the worse it seems to get ... at least, to me anyway.

Let me show you what I'm getting:
My target raw ore takes 4d10 days to process. On average this means, 20 days. For an orbital processing unit this number must be doubled (according to the rules). So for my situation, processing my raw ore into one cargo unit of refined ore takes on average, 40 days.

The ship I'm using is a hull size 20 mining ship. So in order for me to fill my hull size 20 mining ship with refined ore using a orbital processing unit will take me 40 x 20 = 800 days.

800 days?!

This just seems ... excessive and completely unrealistic to me. Maybe I've done something wrong with the math (quite likely since I really S-U-C-K at math :). Could be that I'm just a complete idiot for thinking that that 800 day figure should be a whole lot less.

I donno.

This coupled with the weird digger shuttle cargo capacity vs the mining ship cargo capacity rules really have my mind boggling though.

I used to work at a huge gold mine in Alaska (Fort Knox gold mine). We were processing about 40,000 tons of raw ore per day. Looking over this processing chart for rubies in the old Knight Hawks book it shows that you need 25,000 tons of raw material and 12d10 days of processing in order to get one cargo unit. It just boggles my mind that by current mining standards of today, we can process 40,000 tons of raw ore per day for gold mining and in Star Frontiers it would take 30 days (60 if done in orbit!) to process 25,000 tons of raw ore per day for rubies.

Granted, I know there is a difference between gold mining operations and gem mining. But this doesn't seem right to me at all.

Looking at the pricing involved here I'm wondering if that is a bit askew as well.

I'll use Platinum as an example since it takes 4d10 days to process one cargo unit.

Platinum is worth 120,000.00 cr per cargo unit at the destination. So if I have my hull size 20 mining ship fill up on refined platinum ore and haul it to market I can expect to collect 120,000 x 20 = 2,400,000.00 cr after having worked for 800 days.

This sounds fine when you're trying to keep players from mining for a few months and suddenly becoming filthy rich (game balance). But it makes no sense whatsoever for a large corporation to do something like that. That's pretty small potatoes for a corporation isn't it? And let's face it, a hull size 20 mining ship is something a big corporation would be using and still the numbers seem pretty off.

In contrast; the aforementioned gold mine made a bit more that $500,000,000.00 for the 2010 production year.

Incidentally, the reason I keep bringing up this mining operation is because the room where all the processing took place was roughly 100 feet from the floor to the ceiling, and maybe about 300 feet from front to back and 300 feet from side to side. The hull size 20 mining ship is supposed to be 100 meters in diameter and 600 meters long. That ship should easily be able to hold all the equipment that the gold mine I've been using as a comparison does, and then some. 
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

iggy's picture
iggy
April 5, 2012 - 9:21pm
My guess is the writers never worked at any kind of mine.  The rules may need adjustment.  I wonder what the great google machine has to say about processing of ore for rubies.
-iggy

Gilbert's picture
Gilbert
April 6, 2012 - 2:27am
  oh it gets better if you do the math with carrying one shuttle that can only carry 50 tons of material that can only mine 4 tons an hour. With one shuttle that digs 4 tons an hour with a capacity of only 50 tons will be full in just under 13 hours. Now, if that was the worthless iron ore that gets processed in 1,000 tons in 1d10 days that 100 tons of ore a day but one shuttle can delivery 50 tons in 13 and if you have it able to get the 28 more tons for the rest of the day, you still come up short by 22 tons to reach the full capacity of the processors. The solution for me was to be able to bring more shuttles into the play without too much compromise of the game. In my games the digger shuttles take up only 2 cargo spaces to carry in the mining ship instead of 4. (have to read the part on carrying a processor and shuttle) I ended up changing a few other things also. One, I did not agree with the ore taking d10s in days to get processed, so, I came up with this idea that solved the problem.

Ore processors.
   obital  min size for cargo 5 can process 100 tons per day with an increase of 100 tons per 1 unit in size.
   surface min size for cargo 5 can process 200 tons per day, for more get another one

  This was a process of reducing the amount of dice I had to roll, also. But still there was the slow process of getting the ore from the mining site to the processor to keep it from being idle for any length of time. Solution, have more shuttles/heavy duty robots doing the mining but how can all this equipment be carried. The robots take only 1 cargo unit and mining shuttles only take 2 with non-mining shuttles to do the ferrying for the mining bots/shuttle. However, there still was not enough getting to the processors voracious appetite for the ore. The solution is that the players will need to have more than one ship to get this all to work. The group I was in had three ships. One, HS 19 carried the processor fixed to the ship, orbital type, with a 1,000 ton per hour processing speed, two HS 5 the shuttle carrier that had two mining shuttles, two cargo shuttles, and two mining bots and the ship was used as a shuttle when not carrying this cargo. Three, HS 14 that carried one more mining shuttle, two cargo shuttles, and 6 mining robots. The third ship did the orbital mining with the mining shuttles and transported the ore to the processor ship. At any given time they had at least two mining operations going at a time to feed the processor and that took some effort and the book rules just could not keep up either. There was a fourth ship that was armed to deter any activity that was unwanted and the other ships were lightly armed also.

  I also did not like where miners had to sell all their newly mined minerals at source prices if they were only delivering their cargo about once a year to any station. There was not much chance of them flooding the market with mega amounts of anything. So, I allowed them to sell what they had, if they went specifically to industrial center to sell their minerals and could only get destination prices only if an office was maintained at the center all year round to keep in contact with the operation.

 Even after all this was put into place, they still had a rough time meeting their expenses many times but I would also give them a boom-time here and there that made things very interesting. I think they had 50 or 60 crew they had to pay and all the ship had atomic engines except the shuttles and each trip back the HS 5 had to have an overhaul and the HS 14 was an old freighter that was on its last run and broke down frequently that made thing fun.

  As for the gold mining operation that you worked for, it was dedicated to processing gold which I can understand the processing rate of 40,000 tons of ore a day. However, the processors in SF are jacks-of-all-trades and are capable of processing anything you put into it this is why I do not have too many problems with the processing speeds for them. I see them as having many sub processing sections for each kind of ore being possible. I can also see why they take up so much room that is because of the shielding needed to protect the equipment from damage from debris in space for the orbital one and entering the atmosphere for the surface one. Plus, in one hour you could be processing iron ore then the next diamonds, big change in the process. I made the players take an hour before the next ore could start just to clean out the previous ore.

Rollo's picture
Rollo
April 6, 2012 - 6:05am
Thanks for all the responses. This has really helped point out some of the flaws and inconsistencies in the cannon rules concerning mining. It would certainly be nice to have these mining rules re-worked - maybe in a article for SFMan or something.

So my take-away from all this is:

Since I'm writing a scenario for submission to SFMan and these cannon rules we have for mining seem to be hopelessly flawed to the point that everyone dealing with them no doubt has set in place numerous house rules to patch it all together; I'm going to have to be purposely vague about them in my scenario.

Bummer. I was hoping to use this as background for the scenario to add color to the storyline but also to reinforce/clarify whatever the rules had been saying. Unfortunately the rules seem to be saying a awful lot of gibberish.

Ugh.


I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 6, 2012 - 9:43am
I'd say don't get bogged in the minutia of mining, not a lot of fun in that keep the adventure light and fast and move to the action.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
April 6, 2012 - 11:31am
Or, you could come up with a submission regarding mining equipment, how to find ore, processing time, etc. 

:-)

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 6, 2012 - 12:20pm
w00t wrote:
Or, you could come up with a submission regarding mining equipment, how to find ore, processing time, etc. 

:-)
that would need to be a straight up rule rewrite of the mining section in KHs. Perhaps a new thread in Knight Hawks 2.0
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
April 6, 2012 - 8:16pm
That is precisely what I'll do Jedion. Just touch on some basic mining stuff for the storyline/color and just guesstimate the time between mining ops and hauling ops, etc. There is no point in me trying to provide detail like I had planned previously as doing so would necessitate a complete rule re-write. I had figured that there was something like that in the works at some level already (likely with KH 2.0) and if I dinked around with it all I'd end up doing is contradicting anything you all have already worked on.

So yeah. I'll keep my nose out of it, touch on some vague stuff that doesn't deal with any of the mining rules and call it good. :)
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 7, 2012 - 6:45am
As far as I know you're the only person considering dinking around with the mining section in KHs and KH 2.0 is on back burner right now.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
April 7, 2012 - 4:59pm
I live near the Kennecott Copper Mine here in Utah and have toured it a few times.  They do have processing for multiple metals from the ore.  I specifically remember that they get gold along with the copper.  And I believe they also got some silver and platinum and some other not so memorable metals.  They spent so much effort moving the earth that they try to get everything of value out of it as they can.  I'd bet that is true of the mine in Alaska that Rollo worked at.  We should probably find out about some mines here on Earth then upgrade their abilities by no more than 2x for future tech.
-iggy

Rollo's picture
Rollo
April 7, 2012 - 8:22pm
You're quite right about that Iggy.

At Fort Knox gold mine you could view the 'shaker tables' where the raw metal would be sifted out of the silt and eventually get channeled downstairs to be turned into 80 pound ingots. The heavier metal was gold and there was a continuous band of gold on the far right of the table. A few inches away was a continuous band of silver and off to the extreme left of the table was all the silt and waste.

Regardless, the point is that I have seen first-hand that large-scale mining operations of today can process multiple lines of precious metals from the same ore simultaneously.

@wOOt:
I can try my hand at re-working the mining rules if you'd like. I would think that there are far more qualified people in this community to do it however. But if people are too busy with other projects I can try to cobble something together; if nothing else maybe get a foundation started so others can add to it or something. Let me know if you want me to do that.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
April 9, 2012 - 10:35pm
You could simply build a ship or small fleet and say it travels this fast, requires this many robots and crew, has this equipment, takes this long to setup, processes ore this fast and so on. I would use a ship like this in my adventures. :-) No need to build rules.

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
May 28, 2012 - 3:58am
Cargo
How big is a cargo unit anyway?
Hull size and mass
Cargo Hold
Volume based ship construction
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