Vehicles: Is it time for an overhaul?

ChrisDonovan's picture
February 3, 2016 - 8:45am
All the discussions between me and Sings-with-Spirits about vehicle specifications really brought home the idea that I wanted to take a look at a couple of things.  Sings emphasized the idea that SF is supposed to be "hard science" SF to the greatest extent possible, and I can agree with that.  I think the problem that brings up as a side effect though is that the hard science used as a basis is that of the late 70s and early 80s.  Lots of the vehicle stats would be considered incredibly advanced by 1980 science, but what about 2016 science?

I decided to pick a couple of vehicles as test cases where we already have such vehicles in inventory with the same type of power source.  I chose Ground cars and Ground Cycles and did some research.  Where applicable, I used standard physics calculators and converted to SF notation.  If I leave a blank, I could not find the relevent information to convert.

Ground Car
Tesla S85D                              Ground Car
Top Speed     417m/t                  175m/t
Turn Speed    -                          80m/t
Acc              40 m/t                   60m/t
Dec              -                          40m/t
Range          460km                   1000km
Pass            1+4                       1+4   
Cargo          433kg, .9 cubic m    150kg, 1 cubic m

Ground Cycle
Zero DSR                                 Ground Cycle
Top Speed    263m/t                   200m/t
Turn Speed   -                           100m/t
Acc             37m/t                     100m/t
Dec             -                           40m/t
Range          290km                   1,000km
Pass            1                          1
Cargo          -                           20kg, .5 cubic m

As you can see, outside of range and some aspects of performance, the centuries advanced Frontier technology is at best close equivalent to, or inferior to 2016 tech.  The Zeerust is setting in.

Is it time to update?  (I know it'll never get published outside our own circles, unfortunately.)  Or should we shrug and just let it lie? 


Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
February 3, 2016 - 4:35pm
FWIW 290km (180 miles) is a wet dream for the Zero. I personally know someone that has the predecessor DS model and for city commutes --- the best range category for those EVs, mind you --- he is lucky to get 80 miles before the low battery light comes on (he says it typically comes on between 65-75 miles), and if he doesn't charge it within the next ten miles he's pushing it down the sidewalk.

I will say this much about it: it was a hoot to ride, having peak torque arrive as soon as you apply any throttle. Cool

Also noteworthy, SF vehicle top speeds were somewhat dismal compared to 70s EV technology as well.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

iggy's picture
February 3, 2016 - 6:44pm
I'd say upgrade the top speed and cargo capacity and write an article for the Frontier Explorer.   What would be cool is to make several models of each from competing mega-corps and puts some story behind each.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
February 3, 2016 - 9:14pm
Vehicle Variations

Somewhere in this site is an actual list I made of various models (based on that first link). For the life of me I can't find it, but here's a sample I found elsewhere:

Streel Kyawaskai XB600R Crossbow 
mid-sized supersport hovercycle
Color: Daytona Green w/White 
Accel: 120m/turn, Decel: 40m/turn, Turn Speed: 110m/turn, 
Top/Cruise Speed: 200/70kph  
10kg/0.25 cubic meter 
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

iggy's picture
February 3, 2016 - 10:17pm
@Shadow Shack,  This is sweet stuff.  Do you have artwork to put with it.  I want to use this in my games.

Malcadon's picture
February 4, 2016 - 6:32am
One thing I would like to see an overhaul on, are generators. That is, they treat generators all the same (per given size), regardless of power-source (wind/hydro turbine, solar cells, thermal-nuclear reaction, etc.). Each system should have their own level of output, requirements needed to stay running, required maintenance and overhauls (cost, frequency, needed skills/level, etc.), and (more over) weight and bulk.

Hell, I want an overhaul on ship engines (KH is in such a need of an all-around overhaul, it would be better to just scrap the system in favor of something else)!

ChrisDonovan's picture
February 4, 2016 - 7:10am
Well, I certainly seem to have gotten people talking... Smile

So if we were to do an upgrade, whose specifications would we use?  Manufacturers?  Or should be go trolling through fora looking at a ton of user reports, keeping in mind this is just for fun?  And what would we do about the vehicle types we don't have current counterparts to?

Wow, I'm just realizing how big of a potential can of worms I've opened up.

I may start spitballing some ideas along the lines of upgrading part and keeping part.

ChrisDonovan's picture
February 4, 2016 - 8:10am
Ok, did some "smushing" and some quick figuring.

Here's what ground vehicles would look like with an upgrade.  I note the real-world counterpart in parenthesis that I chose.  In the case of the Transport, I couldn't readily find an EV counterpart that was fully developed, so I chose a comparable, conventionably-fueled one.

(Note, acc/dcc data for some types of vehicles (transports/trucks) is almost impossible to find.  I couldn't find it in what time I had this morning, so I just cribbed the existing SF data, since figured we wouldn't want vehicles worse performing than what we had currently.  Also note that I correct a few numbers to standard SF notation, which rounds apparently to the nearest 5.)

Ground Cycle     (Zero DSR)
Top Speed          265m/t (160kph)
Turn Speed         100m/t (60kph)
Acc                   100m/t
Dec                   40m/t
Range                1,000km
Pass                  1 (2 w/sidecar)
Cargo                20kg, .5 cubic m

Ground Car         (Tesla S85D)
Top Speed          420m/t (250kph)
Turn Speed         80m/t  (48kph)
Acc                   60m/t
Dec                   40m/t
Range                1,000km
Pass                  1+4  
Cargo                433kg, 1 cubic m

Ground Transport (M977A4)
Top Speed          150m/t (90kph)
Turn Speed         50m/t  (30kph)
Acc                   40m/t
Dec                   30m/t
Range                1,000km
Pass                  2 or 2+10
Cargo                10,000kg, 30 cubic m

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
February 4, 2016 - 1:33pm
iggy wrote:
@Shadow Shack,  This is sweet stuff.  Do you have artwork to put with it.  

Thanks. I have some stuff uploaded in the Artwork project here: HoverCycles

And something for Chris as he's doing an Explorer revamp: Explorers, Flit Board, & HoverTank
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website