Robotic Exploration Probes

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2017 - 6:35am
these came up in this thread:
http://www.starfrontiers.us/node/9896

I seem to remember something about Volturnus first being explored by an unmanned probe

I think that a HS 1 hull with an astrogation package, an intended as single use atomic drive- I say single use but that is for this mission- basically its a type A atomic drive with multiple fuel pellets that the robotic AI will use to void jump to the system then land on a planet, despite not getting an overhaul the engine might be used to lift off and land on another planet in the same system.

to continue using existing game tech the probe is controled by a level 5 robotic brain the 1980's envisioned ansewr for AI.

it will have atmo probes and a landing probe (maybe)

it has energy sensors (scanners)

the equiv of the environmentalist tool kit built into it so that little sample collecting robots will bring back samples for testing

finally it will have a subspace radio that it uses to send back data.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 19, 2017 - 6:52am
Initial probes would not carry other probes. I would say they are used to verify that a new system has the things the senders are looking for and then robotic landing probe carriers could be sent.

While the focus has been on planets with a livable atmosphere other planets are almost as valuable, like a planet or moon with no atmosphere but very high valuable mineral content or a gas giant with a wonderful mix of gases dude.

This would allow tailored probes to be sent. Also useful since the first probe will probably be surveying the new system for a few months if not a year or more.

It's not like we have the budget of an empire to send probes to every planet in the galaxy on the off chance we could find a tiny clue to what we want to find.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2017 - 7:29am
Alright initial probe surveys system and follow on probes, if called for, are landing probes.

Initial probe might only be a level 3 robot designed to initiate a search pattern and assemble information for transmission

Single use disposable KHs HS 1 body with

able to be stripped for astrogation equipment and engine parts, sub space radio, solar panels for when its fuel runs out, a parabattery and robotic processor core

phase 1 of its mission is to sweep and survey
phase 2 is to take up an orbit in the inner system and observe and report; capable of acting as a beacon but may not do that depending on concerns of sathar activity
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 19, 2017 - 8:42am
Personally I see no fault in the canon KH atmoprobes and landing drones, unless the goal here is to remove the environmentalist and/or the rest of the exploration ship from the analytical portion of the equation.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 19, 2017 - 8:57am
The probe could carry those, but the data is either stored or beamed back to whoever sent the probe out.

I wonder whether a probe with an ion drive might be more cost effective.

I'm trying to remember the set up I had as an idea for an adventure I ran back in the 80s that featured a probe. It made planetfall (although this wasn't intended) but I don't have any other material from that particular adventure, aside from the aliens I created for it.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 20, 2017 - 5:46am
I'm for a atomic drive on this so it can land. It makes one jump: 1 fuel pellet
auto loads  a new one executes a sweep/search pattern of system as it gathers data then lands

it can lift off then reload a new pellet, at which point its on its last pellet. it can take up an orbit somewhere acting as a satellite or beacon for follow on explorers.

It becomes a source of resources for the follow on explorers who can take unused atomic fuel for their own use.

Also one of the problems in SF, highlighted in the Crash on Volturnus module was the lack of things to do for the tech characters when visiting a new planet other than being "one more hand with a weapon".

Explorers visiting an unexplored system will find this to sort of be the case so having 1-2 previous probes here automatically gives the tech characters something to do:
1. find out why the probe stopped broadcasting and download all of its files
2. lets take any atomic fuel on the probe because the nearest gas station is light years away
3. that micro-meter that holed out ship damaged out sub space radio, lets see if the one on the probe can be raided for parts or if it can be retrofitted to our ship.
4. our landing ship sunk in quick sand maybe we can get back to orbit in that probe if it has fuel still
5....
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 20, 2017 - 1:48pm
Why does it need to land? It could send out one-shot, one-way drones to the target planet that could beam information back to it. Landing is a risk and a whole mission could be destroyed if there's any mistakes or accidents. Also, what if the world is potentially useable but entirely covered by water, or has islands that are not suitable for landing (i.e. are mountainous)? At least with ion drives it could also go on a tour of potentially useful systems, as long as it has enough drones. Seems to be more bang for the credit Wink

iggy's picture
iggy
November 20, 2017 - 10:44pm
For a first visit to a system I imagine the probe would first arrive in the outer system and then planet hop its way to the inner system.  Along the way it is starting to build the orbital data for each planet.  Building the full orbital data will take years so it starts with the first planet it is near on its approach to the system and then observes it for a bit then goes to the next.  With each successive planet it begins adding to its orbit watch list to build a full system planetary orbit model.  Any planet it stops to orbit will cause it to loose valuable speed that it has to recover by expending limited fuel so it would likely just swing by them taking measurements as it goes.  This first probe wants to quickly catalog all the planets and then sling shot around the star to go back to the most interesting planet for its parking orbit.

On the way in it could drop probes at each planet to gather data and aid in charting the orbits.  Likely these would just orbit the planet rather than drop to the surface.  In orbit they can do more mapping and atmosphere studies than on the ground.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 21, 2017 - 5:58am
why did NASA put probes on the ground on Mars?

Ultimately its to sample the environment directly because the orbital observations say this is the interesting target, it has a biosphere.

As to ion drives and a robotic probe going on tour: the rules enshrine a sapient being crunching the numbers to do a void jump. A while back I wrote an article called The Magic of the Frontier, I believe that was the title, and the premise was "magic items"/treasure for the SF setting. things that you just didn't go and by at the local Pan Gal showroom. One of them was a "Smoked" Astrogation Program which was illegal but would let you number crunch a void jump without an astrogator but with a higher chance of misjump, not too much higher so that it would be still a temptation to use the program. The program is illegal and prosecutable for possession. The reason being that it puts lives at risk so its was ruled illegal but they exist. Anyone with suffient Computers skill and some astrogation skill can write one, they simply declare that the new computer program they are able to write for the new skill level or if they are 6th already and paying 4 exp for a new program, will be the smoked astrogator program.

Building off of that idea, my take is that this is the reason that robotic probes are not featured heavily in the game. legal issues prevent them from being able to number crunch a void jump. so an astrogator need to compute the void jump and its a one way one shot trip for the probe. true exploration needs to be with a live being.

And if the probe detects the presence of something interesting and its checklist is ticked off or signal from the sending team says to do so then it lands to sample an environment directly.

Landing is simply an option for gathering more data if the situation demands it. not always going to happen.

Meta gaming the probe idea. I think this is a great idea from the standpoint of players visit an uncharted system and say whats here? the answer is either alien ruins or nothing or a crashed ship and eventually these get cliche. instead you can say you detect a signal and when they investigate its: "Oh its just one of those robotic probes, no big deal." they are sent out all the time, its almost expected to find one and they are supposed to be cliche. they afford some opportunity for skill checks and investigation and or salvage. So I want to craft a probe that can be parked in an orbit or landed on a planet as per the needs of the referee for his particulare adventure.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 21, 2017 - 11:08am
I think it would be possible for a sentient being to plot any jump. After the first one, which would be a pre-prepared plot, on arrival the probe could beam back info about it's location and other relevant data. This could be used back at mission control to figure out a new plot, and then beamed to the probe for it's next jump.

Quite frankly, I don't see any reason why a computer in a robot brain cannot plot jumps. Jump plots have always been a bugbear to me anyway, as they seem to take a silly amount of time. I don't see why a computer could not at least assist in the job and cut the plotting time by quite a bit. If the game states that legally sentient beings are only allowed to plot jumps, someone will have to remind what particular page of KH states as much...

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 21, 2017 - 9:20pm
no the game doesn't state that but with robotic hijackers being famously part of the game and such I think its not unreasonable that the UPF or COW or whatever because its cannon that the UPF is not a government despite quacking and waddling like a government has decreed that its not legal.

Thats simply my take on it in light of both fan and official cannon material. call it an interpretation.
I freely admit its not cannon.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 22, 2017 - 11:22am
Well, probes could always be a special exemption from such legalities. I prefer the Star Wars approach - feed the info into the ship's computer, let it do the calculations (and that doesn't take hours or maybe even minutes) and blammo you're into the Void.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 22, 2017 - 3:00pm
Legalities on the Frontier are a little hard to enforce. The only Interplanetary Police Force is Star Law. For probes they will probably be built on the planet with the least restrive laws so they can build what they want.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 22, 2017 - 9:48pm
KRingway wrote:
feed the info into the ship's computer, let it do the calculations (and that doesn't take hours or maybe even minutes) and blammo you're into the Void.

Not quite "blammo: you're in the void"...you still have to accelerate to jump velocity and that still takes hours even at ADF:5. Considering that 1G equates to roughly 1 ADF every three 10 minute turns, you have plenty of time to manually calculate most jumps while the ship is underway.

Lest anyone forget, while SW hyperdrive gets you "into the void quicker", you spend considerably more time in hyperspace than you do in the void...whereas you're in hyperspace for hours you're only in the void for seconds. Void travel is significantly "faster", it just takes more time to get there.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 23, 2017 - 10:07am
Granted, but all those hours of calculations in SF tend to cancel that out to a certain extent Wink

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 23, 2017 - 10:09am
rattraveller wrote:
Legalities on the Frontier are a little hard to enforce. The only Interplanetary Police Force is Star Law. For probes they will probably be built on the planet with the least restrive laws so they can build what they want.


Yeah, but as the illegality of robots of robots doing jump calculations is open to debate, I'd say it doesn't make much sense that they're somehow not permitted to do such things. Like I've said, the whole idea that the process takes so much time has always seemed a bit ridiculous to me.

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 23, 2017 - 2:33pm
To me, robot probe ships would be "canon" simply because they are mentioned in the first Volturnus module and the fact they would make practical sense.

The Bro'hood of Spacers might not like them if it cuts into explorers getting their "cut" for charting a path to a new star system.

An ion drive would make sense for scooting around at "low" speeds while being more fuel efficient than a vessel with the atomic drive.

The ship might have a detachable and resusable landing module(s) with chemical drives that can separate from the main craft.

And, it would have a few explorer robots such as in the Mutiny on the Eleanor Moraes module.
Joe Cabadas

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 23, 2017 - 7:55pm
KRingway wrote:
Granted, but all those hours of calculations in SF tend to cancel that out to a certain extent Wink

The trick to efficient jump calculations is having an extra astrogator in the crew roster. While one is working their ten hour shift the other is resting, hence with two you have round-the-clock plotting. Otherwise the jump takes twice as long to prepare for.

Taking the aforementioned travel time into consideration (ADF:1 per three 10 minute turns) and jump velocity occuring at around 200 hex/turn movement, that's enough time (approx. 100 hours) for two 'gators to plot up to a ten LY jump before the ship reaches jump velocity. It's enough time for every jump in the pre-Zeb's Frontier map save for the two routes from Prenglar into the Yaz systems, and for those two it's a simple matter of alternate accelerating & decelerating to maintain 1G for the extra 10-40 hours required for those hops.

As written, it actually works and quite well at that. Cool
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
November 24, 2017 - 4:20am
JCab747 wrote:
To me, robot probe ships would be "canon" simply because they are mentioned in the first Volturnus module and the fact they would make practical sense.

The Bro'hood of Spacers might not like them if it cuts into explorers getting their "cut" for charting a path to a new star system.



Agreed

RE: legallity - enforcement would be difficult beyond the Frontier. However, organizations based in the Frontier still have to live and operate here so here is the 4 things that impact on the legal issue as I see it.

1. JCab is right about the Brotherhood of Spacers not liking it. and they will be a powerful lobby against wide spread and unrestricted use of robotic probes. emphasis being on unrestricted not neccessarily outright banning of their use.

2. High profile cases of the cybernetic and robotic hi-jackers from the Referee Screen mini module and WoWL will bring the issue of robotic and AI void jump navigation into the public awareness in a negative light creating some concern particularly in the consciousness of the travelling public.

3. The "Smoked Astrogator's Program" [fan cannon] from SFman 18 written by computer specialist with astrogation skill is designed to let a star ship computer compute a void jump without an astrogator but with higher risk of mis-jump. This program will be illegal due to "the danger to public safety" it represents and use of it by a star ship captain on a vessel with passenger berths carries higher fines.

Since this is basically the same program a robotic probe will use robotic probes will be heavily regulated at the very least or requre that a navigator compute the void jump for the probe before its turned loose thus making robotic probes a one system use item.

4. In addition to the above there is the concern of a robotic probe accidently running into sathar or other hostile threats and inadvertantly giving them a map back to the Frontier. Star Law and Space Fleet will have deep concerns over robotic probe opperations. Sure the sathar are well aware of where the Frontier is but the public will fear that probes could stir them up or even discover something worse than the sathar.

At certain date public notice of the issues surrounding robotic navigation come to a head: 50's FY if using the Zebs timeline (rough guess as to where the encounters of the cybernetic hi-jackers take place), robotic probes were very popular and many different styles sent out.

After this date and reinforced by the outbreak of SW2 shortly there after Robotic probes are heavily regulated
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 25, 2017 - 12:29am
IMHO, none of the points above really make robot navigators less viable.

For example, if the Sathar capture one this is not really any more of a problem than it would be if the astrogator was a robot or a sentent being. Both could used to glean information from, as would also be the case with the astrogation data in the ship's computer.

Robot hijackers are only as much of an issue as a human, yazirian, etc being hijackers.

Spacers only have any ground to stand on if any of them like the idea of long-range, risky, long-duration missions as something they would really want to do. Sure, some might, but their pay rates might be so high that the robot is the cheaper option. Also, a robot pilot is always awake, doesn't need life-support, exercise, and numerous other things a living pilot would.

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 25, 2017 - 12:35am
Shadow Shack wrote:
KRingway wrote:
Granted, but all those hours of calculations in SF tend to cancel that out to a certain extent Wink

The trick to efficient jump calculations is having an extra astrogator in the crew roster. While one is working their ten hour shift the other is resting, hence with two you have round-the-clock plotting. Otherwise the jump takes twice as long to prepare for.

Taking the aforementioned travel time into consideration (ADF:1 per three 10 minute turns) and jump velocity occuring at around 200 hex/turn movement, that's enough time (approx. 100 hours) for two 'gators to plot up to a ten LY jump before the ship reaches jump velocity. It's enough time for every jump in the pre-Zeb's Frontier map save for the two routes from Prenglar into the Yaz systems, and for those two it's a simple matter of alternate accelerating & decelerating to maintain 1G for the extra 10-40 hours required for those hops.

As written, it actually works and quite well at that. Cool


But it still seems like an inordinately long time to do calculations, especially when computers are involved and the route is along a known path. This also raises another issue I have with the whole notion of astrogation in SF, namely the idea that there are known routes between systems but it still takes many hours to do all of the astrogation stuff for any voyage along them. But maybe that's a whole different discussion Wink

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 25, 2017 - 12:42pm
Let me put it this way: even if it takes one second per light year to safely calculate a jump, you still have to spend 100 hours at 1G acceleration to make jump velocity. 

Unless you want to rewrite that rule too and introduce warping or hyperspacing or Buck Rogers stargates or whatever other phenomenon that replaces the void phenomenon, we can't escape the fact that it still takes a long time to make a jump. Personally, I like the aspect that void travel takes a chunk of time (it's the one consistency between AD, KH, and Zeb's), changing that makes it just like every other SciFi genre out there.*

The simple fact is that cutting down astrogating time only helps those two aforementioned jumps from Prenglar to the Yaz systems. If you really want to speed those two up then you simply plot 9 hrs per light year (instead of ten) and risk jump with a 95% success rate to either system, and that's with lv-1 astrogators...the only reason there's a chance for failure is the rules mandate that any roll of 96-00 is failure regardless of the level and coinciding bonuses that are applicable. Seriously, with the two astrogator team there's just no reason to risk jump...they can crunch the numbers for all but two jumps in the time required to hit jump velocity.





* the exception being Traveller, which takes a full week (7x24hr days) for a jump. Star Frontiers is only marginally faster than that. ;)
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 25, 2017 - 12:49pm
I'm fine with the time it takes to make jumps - I've just always thought that the plotting time was overly long. IIRC I homebrewed some rules when first using KH. When I wrote the rules for my Void Drive system, I rewrote that homebrew too.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 25, 2017 - 4:43pm
If you go strictly by the rules then yes, it does take an excessively long time to plot. However, the rules on p.25 of the KH Campaign Book merely state that "the time must be actually spent making calculations, the referee should remember that astrogtors need to sleep sometime."

Note how the word "astrogator" is pluralized...reading into that there's nothing stating that a second astrogator can't pick up where the first one left off and vice versa, the fact that it is pluralized in the skill section describing standard interstellar jumps suggests this is certainly possible under the rules. As such all but those two Yaz system jumps are calculations that are easily attainable before reaching jump velocity. 

It's a simple solution to the obstacle presented that is clearly within the scope of the written rules. If you can have a pilot & copilot, a chief engineer & auxilliary engineer(s), more than one gunner...why NOT more than one astrogator?
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 25, 2017 - 6:31pm
Star Trek teaches us many things. One thing is that everyone should have its job. Even if that job is useless. Sitting on the bridge of the starships is a Navigator (Astrogator in SF) and a Helmsman. It takes the Navigator about 5 seconds to plot a new course to anywhere, even if they are in the middle of one jump and want to change to another.

Now if it takes an astrogator a little longer to plot a course, they may not be plotting just the jump. They need to plot the course to the jump point, the jump point, jump, the entry point, the course from the entry point to the destination point and the final destination. They don't even have a Helmsman to help them. Probably why they can't do a midjump plot correction in 5 seconds.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 26, 2017 - 1:01am
Shadow Shack wrote:
If you go strictly by the rules then yes, it does take an excessively long time to plot. However, the rules on p.25 of the KH Campaign Book merely state that "the time must be actually spent making calculations, the referee should remember that astrogtors need to sleep sometime."

Note how the word "astrogator" is pluralized...reading into that there's nothing stating that a second astrogator can't pick up where the first one left off and vice versa, the fact that it is pluralized in the skill section describing standard interstellar jumps suggests this is certainly possible under the rules. As such all but those two Yaz system jumps are calculations that are easily attainable before reaching jump velocity. 

It's a simple solution to the obstacle presented that is clearly within the scope of the written rules. If you can have a pilot & copilot, a chief engineer & auxilliary engineer(s), more than one gunner...why NOT more than one astrogator?


I've never read that as being a task that can be done by more that one astrogator. It seems instead to be talking about astrogators in general when it uses the plural.

Also, I always read it that the calculations must be done before the ship can accelerate to jump speed (as that's what's written in KH). I don't think a ship can be heading toward that speed whilst a navigator plots the route. Instead, he/she plots the route, and only then the ship can start accelerating toward jump speed.

As to whether quick calculations would mean an idle astrogator - you could say this about pretty much any job on a ship. There would quite a lot of hanging around, occasionally checking on your set of assigned tasks.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 26, 2017 - 4:03am
KRingway wrote:
Shadow Shack wrote:

As to whether quick calculations would mean an idle astrogator - you could say this about pretty much any job on a ship. There would quite a lot of hanging around, occasionally checking on your set of assigned tasks.

Gunners have the same problem. Unless you are doing endless drills, firing exercises, maintenance and sitting on watch a gunner is pretty much just sucking down life support. Smaller ships with limited crews should be better at multitasking the crews. KH rules makes this kinda hard considering all the prerequisites just to get a level 1 spacer skill.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 26, 2017 - 6:43am
KRingway wrote:
Shadow Shack wrote:
If you go strictly by the rules then yes, it does take an excessively long time to plot. However, the rules on p.25 of the KH Campaign Book merely state that "the time must be actually spent making calculations, the referee should remember that astrogtors need to sleep sometime."

Note how the word "astrogator" is pluralized...reading into that there's nothing stating that a second astrogator can't pick up where the first one left off and vice versa, the fact that it is pluralized in the skill section describing standard interstellar jumps suggests this is certainly possible under the rules. As such all but those two Yaz system jumps are calculations that are easily attainable before reaching jump velocity. 

It's a simple solution to the obstacle presented that is clearly within the scope of the written rules. If you can have a pilot & copilot, a chief engineer & auxilliary engineer(s), more than one gunner...why NOT more than one astrogator?


I've never read that as being a task that can be done by more that one astrogator. It seems instead to be talking about astrogators in general when it uses the plural.

Also, I always read it that the calculations must be done before the ship can accelerate to jump speed (as that's what's written in KH). I don't think a ship can be heading toward that speed whilst a navigator plots the route. Instead, he/she plots the route, and only then the ship can start accelerating toward jump speed.

As to whether quick calculations would mean an idle astrogator - you could say this about pretty much any job on a ship. There would quite a lot of hanging around, occasionally checking on your set of assigned tasks.


The problem with this is that if the calculations have to be done before starting to accellerate then the course of acceleration has to be absolutely sensitive to any deviations such that if the ship had to manuever at all because of a pirate they will lose their calculations and have to start over.

Shadow's interpretation of astrogators plural is a stretch but only so far as I have to stretch a little to reach the salt its not the same as asking someone to pass the salt from down the table, if I may make an analogy. its well reasoned and and sound and in reality two astrogators would be better than one as one of the pair would have a chance to catch a mistake by the other which should enhance safety.

I've never interpreted the rules to mean that all void jump calculations have to be done before beginning to accel. I'd be interested to see which statement in KHs mandates this.

Barring a clear statement mandating no accel before calculations are finished I'm with Shadow shack on having two astrogators and accelerating while calculations are being done. Because as the astrogator is refining calculation he is also supplying minor course corrections to the pilot who is implimenting them.
Otherwise we're just complicating a situation that should be fun. As much fun as doing math can be, Sorry Tom S.

EDIT: in making an interpretation of the rules lets concider first that the writers were trying to satisfy their desire for a harder science sci-fi genre/game but they were also mandated to target the 11-14 year old audience by TSR, and they were also trying to make a sci-fi game that was a "western in space".  I think the choice to make void travel time consuming had as much to do with with the setting mandate: void jump routes are train routes to take you place to place and train travel took time hence it does take time but lets not make it take so much time that is unweildly and unfun.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 26, 2017 - 8:49am
I too find nothing written declaring that the calculations must be made prior to initiating movement. If there is please enlighten us, as that would certainly complicate things if a ship has to depart a station, move out into deep space, and then sit motionless for 40-140hrs (or 80-280 if you want to restrict it to a single astrogator). If this is truly the case then some house ruling is defintiely called for to speed up jump time because that would translate to practically doubling many jump times and vaulting them past the typical week of travel time --- 100 hours of accelerating followed by another 100 decelerating on the other end PLUS prep time prior to moving (remember a week in SF is ten 20 hour days).

Meanwhile from p.33 of the KH Campaign Book:

On a normal interstellar voyage, the starship pulls away from the station and begins accelerating at 1g toward its destination star.

... ... ...

A few minutes before the jump, the ship will stop accelerating and everything onboard will float weightlessly. When the final preparations for the jump are made, the navigator will accelerate slightly and the ship will enter the void.

The astrogator not only works right up to the last second of pre-void travel (re: sub-C velocity or in game terms C minus 1 hex worth of acceleration), but he/she also actually enables getting the ship into the void.

__________________________________


As for Rat's observation on gunners...they can easily assist an engineer during repairs: "That's not it, maybe it's the alluvial dampers. Get me the hydrospanner!" They can be entrusted to ensure all powerpacks & parabatteries are fully charged, monitor a computer or operation panel for a specific activity, and other "remedial" tasks to assist the other crew members.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 26, 2017 - 10:38am
Page 25 of KH states that (when describing the Plot Interstellar Jumps skill):

For example, an astrogator plotting an 8 light-year jump must spend 80s hours performing calculations before the ship could accelerate to jump speed.

The plot must be calculated before the the acceleration begins. This makes sense to me. You plot the route, then accelerate, then jump. Yes, you could hang around in space for X hours waiting to do all of the plotting. Alternatively you could dock somewhere and the rest of the crew could go and grab some R&R, do repairs, etc. I say this because I don't see why you would start accelerating toward a destination without having all of the plot done first. If the astrogator is still doing plot calculations right up to the last second before the Void is entered, that seems fraught with many problems and seems a bit last minute... well, last second Wink

As I've said, I still think this isn't really a good system, either way one looks at it. I think I just plumped for 1 ly = 1 hour of calculations as a homebrew rule. Even then the whole rule set seemed a bit clunky, especially as ships are travelling along established routes. The astrogator's job would be to keep an eye on the plot en-route, and then redo some plotting if anything happened on the way.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 26, 2017 - 10:52am
KRingway wrote:
Page 25 of KH states that (when describing the Plot Interstellar Jumps skill):

For example, an astrogator plotting an 8 light-year jump must spend 80s hours performing calculations before the ship could accelerate to jump speed.



I dont think this contradicts shadow's interpretation

It can be said that if we accelerated to 20 hex/turn he have not accelerated to jump speed which is 1% of C. as long as the calculation are finished before the ship reaches jump speed. Although I now see how you arrived at your interpretation of the rule.

Also I'm not even sure what he's calculating. route and alignment of the ship, strength and modulation of the jump field? It seems to me that its just not route and alignment of the ship for 80 hours. I think there has to be more to whats being calculated then just a star's position and Im fine with it being some super science/hand wavium thing like route and position AND jump field modulation and strength and thats why it takes 80 hours to do this. And clearly all this calculation isnt really neccessary ("Jump calculations? We dont need no stinkin jump calculations!") as an astrogator can cut them short any time and smoke the jump so they are not really required for the jump just for accuracy and if its about lining the ship up right then that wont take 80 hrs for an 8 LY jump IMO.

I'm pretty sure that lining up a ship accurately with a star 4, 6, 8, or 10 LY away in the real world would take time but would not be measurably different for those distances.


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