Knight Hawks Void Jump Times

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
December 10, 2016 - 9:54pm
Spent a little time this evening calculating how long it takes for a Knight Hawks ship to accelerate to Void jump speed and back.

Using Wolfram Alpha, I put in: "speed under constant acceleration to 0.01c at 9.8m/s^2" which gave me roughly 3.5 days to accelerate from 0km/h to 0.01c.

The works quite nicely with the deceleration boxes for Sathar in the Knight Hawks campaign map for Second Sathar War.

Using the form, I then put initial speed to 17000mph and recomputed, just to get a feel. It seems if you start from freefall in orbit, at typical Earth orbit speeds, it saves about 13 minutes of acceleration.

I also noticed that 12,000,000 km/h is over 0.01c.

0.01c is 10,790,000 km/h... so I am going to read Knight Hawks as saying to jump into the Void, you have to exceed 0.01c and crossover to the void happens around 12,000,000km/h rather than 0.01c.
Comments:

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 11, 2016 - 8:27am
Don't forget you need the same amount of time decelerating on the other end along with the requisite 10hrs per light year calculation times. In other words the shortest 4LY hop between Cassidine & Dramune requires more calculating time than acceleration time, assuming the 'gator keeps a regular sleep schedule with the rest of the crew...so the astrogator always needs a head start on any jump.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Gullwind's picture
Gullwind
December 11, 2016 - 2:05pm
This has always bothered me. Since nearly all the distance is covered in the Void, all interstellar trips should take the same amount of time.
"Rome didn't build an empire by having meetings. They did it by killing those who stood in their way."

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
December 11, 2016 - 2:19pm
I expect there are variations where different ships thrust up to Void speed at different rates, rather than everyone using exactly 1 Human gee of constant acceleration.
Different ship engines may have their own "sweet spot" of fuel consumption, reliability, etc.
I wonder if large corporations and military could also afford to pre-compute jump courses for missions using planetary computer systems. The navigator then just refines the ship course TO the precomputed flight path if needed?

I did find it amusing that when you run the numbers, getting from hither to yon in Star Frontiers and Traveller still takes about a week... using different methods?
(Simplifying things here)
In Traveller ships accelerate out and reach minimum jump distance in a few hours, but then charge the drives, force the ship into J-space and run the jump clock for ~168 hours before exiting...
Star Frontiers... you accelerate for 3.5 days, blip to another system, and decelerate for another 3.5 days.
Result - shipping times in the Imperium and Frontier still cost you a week.
Everyone moves their "freshness date" back the same amount.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 11, 2016 - 6:07pm
Keep in mind that a week in SF is ten 20-hour days, A.K.A. a "tenday". As such a seven day trip in SF is 140 hours, or just over a day less than an Earth week (again, travel time only...not taking plotting time into consideration).
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
December 12, 2016 - 8:32am
I've always felt that the best way to explain the discrepency between the 10-hours-per-light-year figure and the 0.01c figure was to say the latter is a simplified ballpark number of the lowest speed you need to go to enter the Void. If you just handwave that number, everything suddenly snaps into place in the way that I think was intended by the authors.

A ship does not automatically enter the Void just because it reaches 0.01c. Plenty of objects go faster than that in real space. Instead, what an astrogator is doing during acceleration is plotting gravitational potentials between planets, stars, and other celestial phenomena. The gravity wells surrounding various objects cause complex dips and hills in the potential energy of gravity. Imagine a rubber sheet with heavy balls placed on it. The balls are massive stellar objects. Now imagine a small, light ball as your starship. Roll the starship-ball among the star-balls: the starship-ball will roll up and down the hills in the rubber sheet. Now roll the starship-ball really fast along the same path. When it hits the gravity wells, it'll bounce up off the sheet. It enters the Void. The faster you roll the starship-ball, the farther it will fly before it lands on the sheet again.

A Frontier day is 20 hours. It takes 10 hours per light year of the route to accelerate at 1 g and to perform the astrogation calculations. The astrogator's job is to set the ship on exactly the right course such that when it hits the gravity well at exactly the right speed the ship will bounce off the imaginary rubber sheet exactly the right distance to land again in the gravity well of a distant star. Go too fast on the wrong course or at the wrong point on the right course in the local gravity well and you could be unexpectedly flung the wrong distance or in the wrong direction.

The upshot of all this is that it takes a number of days equal to the number of light years between systems to get from one system to another. The astrogator only has to plot the jump while the ship is accelerating and not after the jump. It's possible to accelerate some, then drift, then accelerate some more, where the astrogator only works during the acceleration, because he can update the course from the new position. This way, ships with only one astrogator can let the astrogator sleep every day.

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
December 12, 2016 - 8:46am
Keep in mind that a week in SF is ten 20-hour days, A.K.A. a "tenday".

No, a Frontier week is eight days: "The typical work week is five days of work with three days off." (Alpha Dawn Expanded Rules, p. 55)

The tenday is used to track the Second Sathar War, and the Royal Marines of Clarion are paid every tenday.

Notice that both the Knight Hawks rules and Warriors of White Light also refer to weeks. Miners, for instance, have to check for hazards once per week.

Given a 400-day year and an 8-day week, that likely gives you 10 months of 40 days, each broken into five 8-day weeks. But each planet is likely to keep its own, calendar to match with astronomical realities.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 16, 2016 - 8:26am
Stormcrow wrote:
Keep in mind that a week in SF is ten 20-hour days, A.K.A. a "tenday".

No, a Frontier week is eight days: "The typical work week is five days of work with three days off." (Alpha Dawn Expanded Rules, p. 55)

The tenday is used to track the Second Sathar War, and the Royal Marines of Clarion are paid every tenday.

Notice that both the Knight Hawks rules and Warriors of White Light also refer to weeks. Miners, for instance, have to check for hazards once per week.

Given a 400-day year and an 8-day week, that likely gives you 10 months of 40 days, each broken into five 8-day weeks. But each planet is likely to keep its own, calendar to match with astronomical realities.


So you'd prefer 5 eight day weeks in a month over 4 ten day weeks?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
December 16, 2016 - 10:21am
If by "prefer" you mean "think the original Star Frontiers authors had an eight-day-week in mind," then yes. Besides, when Knight Hawks uses the word "tenday," I take them at their word: a tenday is different than a week.

But remember, Galactic Standard Time is more theoretical than actual. Each planet will have a completely different system based on its own rotation and revolution. Days on Gran Quivera are only 15 hours long, not 20, and days on Zik-kit are 65 hours. What's a week? Do people work some days in daylight and some days in darkness? Does the day/night work-cycle change over the course of a "month"? Do people have to adapt their bodies to very short or very long sleep cycles?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 16, 2016 - 9:24pm
The points I was trying to make prior to the tangent "how long is a GST week" discussion would be: 

1> it takes 140 hours of accel/deceleration for a void jump in SF (compared to 168 hours mentioned for Traveller), and

2> unless the captain orders the astrogator to smoke the jump, it will always take longer for the astrogator to plot the course --- even on the shortest routes --- than it will to accelerate into the void. In other words, you can't plot as you go...you have to start plotting before you go and that adds extra time to the voyage.

No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 17, 2016 - 4:13am
I really wish the cannon had gone a little bit star warsy on this issue. Perhaps not as fast as a Navi-computer but more like 1 hour/ LY of jump to calculate would work well for me. scrap the 1% of light speed and just make it a jump drive field that activates.

Sigh.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
December 17, 2016 - 4:57am
Jump drive kills all the running and chasing battles in space because you can get away too easy.   The long lead to jump, ala calculations, provides for the chase to get away.
-iggy

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 17, 2016 - 11:52am
I agree, warp/jump/hyperspace/Q-drive/etc would only serve to make SF as generic as everything else that's out there. It's a sci-fi meets wild west frontier setting, taking a while to get there is part of the story.

It also doesn't hurt that your characters get a free week+ worth of wages for doing...not much at all (unless you're the astrogator) during the course of a jump.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 18, 2016 - 8:00am
1 hour/ LY calculation time doesn't nullify the chase feature. It simply means the astrogator is tied up for a day maybe two.

But I hear your points on long calculation times distinguishing SF from the pack.

Personally I think I'd rather have a ship equipped with a robotic brain (AI) that has astrogation programs and as soon as possible the PCs can order that he begin calculations for a jump to destination X. So the day or two they spend at the space station doing business the AI is doing the busy work of jump calculations. In the larger scheme of things a lvl 6 robotic brain only costs 17,000. That really isn't a lot compared to the average cost of a HS 2 ship being 1 million.The repeated savings in time would make it worth it.

Anyone nervous about a potential rogue AI could specify that it only has access to the astrogation equipment and no connection to the computer.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
December 18, 2016 - 9:30am
Interesting you mention a robotic brain for astrogation.  For the exact same reason I put a zethra as astrogator on the ship my kids are crew on in their game.  This frees them up from the mundaness of astrogation and solves the issue of the astrogator always living on the ship.  The zethra likes it on the ship because he can hack planetary networks right from his getaway vehicle.  The zethra is paid in information, room, and board.  The players are paid a percentage of the mission profits, room, and board. 

I am in support of the highest level computer brain being used for astrogation with the caveat that a sapient being must comtrol it and order it.  The zethra above is both rolled into one.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 18, 2016 - 10:18am
Well after the Rogue AI encounters in the Referee's Screen and in WoWL I think most corporations and ship owners would only employ it in this manner- no direct control of ship. Controlling maintenance and service robots? maybe.

players must operate ship with exception of astrogation or an astrogator must make a skill check to cnfirm the AI's work is good this should in theory reduce the chance of a mis jump.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
December 19, 2016 - 7:18am
Given the strength of artificial intelligence in Star Frontiers, I find it impossible to believe that computers or robots can't manage astrogation calculations. The whole you-need-human-intuition-to-do-it angle that some settings use is ridiculous nonsense.

I don't buy the "rogue AI" story either. If AIs are that unreliable, why do they run entire city infrastructures?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 19, 2016 - 8:45am
Stormcrow wrote:
Given the strength of artificial intelligence in Star Frontiers, I find it impossible to believe that computers or robots can't manage astrogation calculations. The whole you-need-human-intuition-to-do-it angle that some settings use is ridiculous nonsense.

I don't buy the "rogue AI" story either. If AIs are that unreliable, why do they run entire city infrastructures?


The AI issue is that its a staple of sci fi and they needed a scenario so.... You are correct they are running whole city infrastructure and as Rattraveller pointed out a while back there are hints that since the mega corp N.E.T. is a computers industry and their CEO is listed as unknown that its highly likely that a computer AI is running the company. although one has to ask, if that is the case then how did it happen. Surely the company was started by a member of the core four not that a computer IA one day woke up and said I should start a mega corp. And if a biological sapient being started this mega corp then what happened to him? Has he simply gone off to enjoy his life of Grav skiing and orbital parajumping or did he meet with an "accidental death" and if so that is a bit troubling if the implication is that an AI is behind it.

AI's of the level that SF allows have not yet come to fruition in the real world so we can only speculate what they will do or be like. Will they be a threat or governed by Asimov's Laws of Robotics? Certainly movies have made a lot of hay of the AI's will seek to harm or replace us either intentionally or unintentionally with WarGames and The Terminator being classic examples of two ends of that spectrum.

So while I'm pesonally in agreement with Stormcrow, its hard to ignore the body of "literature" involving "rogue" AI's.I suppose they have their place although at this point its probably clishe to have them going rogue and taking off with a ship.

Perhaps a better scenario would be the PCs are simply catching a ride on a star liner and pirates or hijackers take the ship. the AI then combs the passenger manifest and recruits and aids the PCs in retaking the ship, saving hostages and thwarting the plot. You'll need a big ship with lots of decks, multiple elevators and air ducts for the PCs to move around while they arm themselves and deal with an enemy that initially out numbers them.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
December 19, 2016 - 1:39pm
Stormcrow wrote:
I
 don't buy the "rogue AI" story either. If AIs are that unreliable, why do they run entire city infrastructures?

Good point to ponder.  I feel just fine giving that power to a city, but am reserved about giving players that power.  Maybe it is about the size of the AI's hardware.  A city can afford to dedicate a building and power to the AI but a ship may need to be larger than what the PCs can manage on their own to house the AI hardware.  Let's ponder on this more.
-iggy

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
December 19, 2016 - 3:03pm
A level 6 computer running level 6 programs in Bureaucracy, Commerce, Communication, Industry, Law Enforcement, Maintenance, and Transportation has 640 function points and so weighs something on the order of 900 kg.

If we go by the usual rule of thumb that a (metric) ton (register ton) equals 100 cubic feet, or 2.832 cubic meters, then we have less than a register ton of computer. That'll still fit in a single two-meter square (not counting the type 2 power generator, whose mass we don't know).

So even a city-controlling mega-computer is nowhere near room-sized. No reason you can't install one on your spaceship.

Gullwind's picture
Gullwind
December 23, 2016 - 10:39pm
The description for the Analysis program in Alpha Dawn says that at level six, the program can handle all tyoes of calculations, including theoretical math. One would think that would include astrogation calculations.
"Rome didn't build an empire by having meetings. They did it by killing those who stood in their way."

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 24, 2016 - 2:52pm
The analysis program is mandatory equipment for ship computers in my game. 
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
December 28, 2016 - 12:38am
Shadow Shack wrote:
I agree, warp/jump/hyperspace/Q-drive/etc would only serve to make SF as generic as everything else that's out there. It's a sci-fi meets wild west frontier setting, taking a while to get there is part of the story.

It also doesn't hurt that your characters get a free week+ worth of wages for doing...not much at all (unless you're the astrogator) during the course of a jump.


Any half-way decent Frontier negotiator would never give out such a freebie, esp if they were already picking up the transportation bill.

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
December 28, 2016 - 12:50am
Gullwind wrote:
The description for the Analysis program in Alpha Dawn says that at level six, the program can handle all tyoes of calculations, including theoretical math. One would think that would include astrogation calculations.


Sure, but input by the non-computer astrogations officer.  The time needed was based on the computational times common at the time the game was created. Plus the complexity of the program would have required a mainframe to run it on.  Boy computers have come a long ways! :)

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
December 28, 2016 - 7:56am
But what does an astrogator do that a computer can't do? That's the million-credit question nobody seems to have an answer to.

A level 6 Analysis program is beyond our computer technology today, let alone that of the Eighties. It wouldn't take a mainframe in the Frontier; it would take a level 3 computer, which is 20 kg and probaby the size of a modern workstation.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 28, 2016 - 12:30pm
Stormcrow wrote:
But what does an astrogator do that a computer can't do? That's the million-credit question nobody seems to have an answer to.




I think they pick their nose, if they have one, and wipe it under the console while pretending to look busy.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 28, 2016 - 12:32pm
Stormcrow wrote:
But what does an astrogator do that a computer can't do? That's the million-credit question nobody seems to have an answer to.

A level 6 Analysis program is beyond our computer technology today, let alone that of the Eighties. It wouldn't take a mainframe in the Frontier; it would take a level 3 computer, which is 20 kg and probaby the size of a modern workstation.


what if the long time requirements are because of union rules? All spacers join the Brotherhood of Spacers it could just be union rules that ensure the job security of the astrogator.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
December 28, 2016 - 12:35pm
@Stormcrow you asked "But what does an astrogator do that a computer can't do? That's the million-credit question nobody seems to have an answer to."

Let me venture an idea of an answer based on what I do at work for a living.

In really life, I support servers around the world for an energy exploration company who have geoscientists who perform seismic interpretation and analysis work.

Practically, what this means: Petabytes of data are loaded, processed, stored, sifted, analyzed, modeled, and run through simulations for the geoscientists to interprete to find oil under the oceans.

A seismic scientist grabs 3D chunks of data, processes it, analyzes it, and then interprets based on their experience to say "this is where you drill the oil well to maximize the production."

It is very easy for me to see for a Frontier Astrogator would work the same way.
The computers do the heavy lift of data storage, algorythmic processing, modeling the interstellar conditions through various simulations, and presenting the results of the models and simulations.

What computers can't do is the interpretation of which set of astrographic data, through which set of models, gives the best engine outputs to control the drives to hit the distant target."

Computers do analysis of data.
Astrogators do interpretation of that analyzed and modeled data to decide what is fed to the drive.

It is not hard for me to see how Astrogators interpretation could take hundreds of hours, that is very comparable to what it takes a seismic scientist to analyze a chunk of data through various models and simulations before deciding what is "gold" data to use as the master sequence of steps to drive a drilling team and rig.

Hope that helps.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 28, 2016 - 6:33pm
@ Exile: I'd go with that. it's as good as anything.

More importantly it does not require an astrogator to be tediously imputing data for 10 hours a day while the rest of his shipmates are playing holvid chess and waiting for him.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
December 28, 2016 - 8:45pm
@Jedion357 no, the astrogators / seismic folks aren't just inputting data 10 hours a day. They babysit processing, do test runs, sift through various data to pick and choose what gets applied.

For an astrogator, I could see the constantly refining the course, based on best projections while the next batch of "processing" is happening. It goes ding, they refine some more. Also they would be taking more measurements, running tricky data 2+ times for comparison, etc.

Meanwhile the ship hurtles on, gaining speed, as the Astrogator constantly adjusts the course, feeds more data back into the next simulation, etc... so its 10 hours work per light year end to end getting the course refined, and the measured astronomical data to match the projected/simulated runs down to the last decimal point.

Then the astrogator makes the call, cuts thrust until everyone is jump ready, and drops the hammer.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 28, 2016 - 9:01pm
ChrisDonovan wrote:

Any half-way decent Frontier negotiator would never give out such a freebie, esp if they were already picking up the transportation bill.

Next to the constant workload of an astrogator, by comparison the rest of the crew really isn't doing much to earn their wage. While the astrogator is constantly working (when he/she is not sleeping), the rest of the crew is merely reacting to what little is actually happening along the way. Pilots are standing by to take over the auto-pilot function, engineers are merely monitoring gauges and making occasional adjustments to keep the motors running, medics are reading their journals waiting for someone to complain of a tummy ache, and gunners are, well...doing absolutely nothing as long as the radar screen is clean (unless of course they happen to be dual-role crew, meaning they double as technicians/engineers/co-pilots/or even astrogators).

The big difference is once at the destination, it's the astrogator that gets to relax while the rest of the crew is busy tending to the ship offloading supplies/passsengers/cargo/overhauling drives/etc.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website