Jump to content
Madmac

Firestorm Armada science questions

Recommended Posts

But it would still need to be nearby objects of sufficient size. If space dust counts, you're screwed.

 

I'd say local relativity would be calculated off of the dominant gravitational force.  So for instance anything in our solar system would be considered at a full stop if it is locked into a relative position with our sun.  That would also explain why FSDs struggle to operate properly in more "cluttered" gravitational planes as indicated in the invasion scenarios.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think of it like being on Earth. We measure speed relative to the Earth, but Earth itself is both spinning on its axis, orbiting our star at a fair rate of knots, which in turn is moving both around the galactic centre and oscillating through the galactic plane in the Milky Way, which is moving in the universe relative to other galaxies. Movement in our universe is always relative, but wider than local frames of reference have no (or little) relevance on that local scale. Eliminating local variation is necessary to make the "next step up" calculations slightly less complex when a small variation in the end result is the difference between safe arrival and becoming part of a star.

 

Exactly, nothing in the universe is standing still, hence my question.

 

You can only “stand still” relative to a single other object, or a group of objects sharing the exact same course and speed.

And with the multitude of gravitational forces affecting objects inside a solar system you would constantly have to use acceleration to keep matching that course and speed.

 

Coming to a full stop sounds simple, but it really isn’t.

I think it would have made more sense for a ship to be unable to maneuver (fixed course and speed) before making a jump instead of having to come to this full stop…

 

In discussions like these ending up in a star (or any other solid object) is always brought up as a huge risk.

Considering how devoid of solid matter the universe really is I think this risk is actually pretty small.

You could probably make a million jumps with your eyes closed and not even end up inside a solar system a single time, let alone inside something solid.

 

If you want to have a risk like this you will have to make the gravity caused by the solid matter the problem.

That way you can turn enough of the volume of the universe into a death zone for it to become a serious risk.

But that isn’t compatible with battlefield shunting of course.

 

In any case, second guessing future state tech with present day knowledge is like a caveman trying to say why a mobile phone can't possibly work! Just accept the slightly fuzzier edges of the science because you'll never be able to be definitive about made-up future technology!

 

You design a certain game mechanic, and you then have to come up with a scientific explanation for it, not that difficult with SciFi in most cases.

Most games have lots of mechanics though, all needing their own scientific explanation, and you then have to come up with a believable science background that covers them all, not so easy anymore…

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

In any case, second guessing future state tech with present day knowledge is like a caveman trying to say why a mobile phone can't possibly work! Just accept the slightly fuzzier edges of the science because you'll never be able to be definitive about made-up future technology!

 

Completely agree.   Also as an amateur writer I find that completely explaining things can hurt more times than help.   Often times its better to keep it fuzzy and let the reader add the details themselves.   Though I am all for more fluff for the Firestorm universe, but I would like a wide range of items covered.  Specifics should be left up to the players imaginations.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frans, your still thinking too small. You see to be thinking of the universe as operating like the world around us just bigger. But it's more complicated than that.

You're not asking FSA science questions your're asking about real world concepts of physics some you seem to have a grasp on and others you seem to have some misconceptions about.

In order to keep this thread on topic and constructive I suggest we focus on questions of "what happens if __________?" And try to spend less time on "why" and "how" of scientific principles.

I'd prefer Alex focus on developing a consistent and fun world to play in and not feel like he needs to get a degree in astrophysics and relativity.

We have to expect a certain amount of rubber science in the setting to keep it playable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another couple questions came to mind.   

 

How long does it take for a FSA fleet to traverse a typical solar system?    I have been thinking about writing a campaign, and I would like to make it more fine grain where each world in a system would have to be taken.  But if a fleet can traverse a system fast it really cuts down the number and kinds of battles in a system.  

 

Also how good are sensor/radar/lidar or whatever races use as remote viewing systems?   Specifically when a fleet jumps can they scan a large part of the system (within lightspeed limits of course)?      I don't have my battle for Valhalla book but I remember something about RSN cruisers hiding in a gas giant.   I know that ships can power down or be hard to detect (hidden killer or stealth systems) but I am just looking at general detection systems.   Say you had a 12 planet system several hundred Astronomical units in diameter and a fleet jumps into the outer edge of the system.   As light travels to them would their systems be good enough to pick out defense platforms and battlestations around each planet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a question thats not as complex as everyones... many times we are told ship names are merely just the translations humans give to them (although in planetfall those resoltha names!) id like to know something more about translation software... does it detect nuances? does everyone use one translator? could the RSN/Directorate have 'messed' with dindrenzi ones leading to further xeno hostilities and incidents? Are there still regional dialects? do the tritoni have proper vocal chords and speak terran? I realize that went away from science questions so maybe ignore the spares!

 

The scanners question is curious in the BfPP booklet page 9 it refers to the aquan frigates setting up probes to detect directorate ships and those same directorate ships failing to not only detect the aquans but their probes.. they are however they are able to duplicate aquan encryptions and jam their comms... so i suppose its all related :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

id like to know something more about translation software.

Assuming there even is one. I think the idea of an entire combat arm of naval interpreters is far more amusing :P (and clearly the setting is divergent from real world enough since human civilization lasted past 2100- only possible if robots didn't steal everyone's jobs :P )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Completely agree.   Also as an amateur writer I find that completely explaining things can hurt more times than help.   Often times its better to keep it fuzzy and let the reader add the details themselves.   Though I am all for more fluff for the Firestorm universe, but I would like a wide range of items covered.  Specifics should be left up to the players imaginations.   

 

Imho it does have to make sense to the reader/player/viewer to a certain point though, otherwise he'll have a hard time relating to what's happening in the universe, which pretty much kills the immersion. If you want to take the example with the cell phone and the cave man. He might never be able to grasp even the basic concept of how a cell phone operates, therefore, if creating a Sci-Fi story that's going to be enjoyable for a cave man audience, you might want to use a homing pigeon instead of a cell phone. It's both future tech to him, but while the phone is completely outside his realm of understanding, the concept of a bird carrying something from A to B will make sense to him, even if he doesn't know why or how the bird is doing that.

 

Also in Sci-Fi, there is the additional problem that there are quite a few "universes" out there (e.g. Trek, Wars or Wing Commander) that have established their tech and history to a point where it has become believable for people with today's knowledge. Any new Sci-Fi "universe" will automatically be compared to the established ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frans, your still thinking too small. You see to be thinking of the universe as operating like the world around us just bigger. But it's more complicated than that.

You're not asking FSA science questions your're asking about real world concepts of physics some you seem to have a grasp on and others you seem to have some misconceptions about.

In order to keep this thread on topic and constructive I suggest we focus on questions of "what happens if __________?" And try to spend less time on "why" and "how" of scientific principles.

I'd prefer Alex focus on developing a consistent and fun world to play in and not feel like he needs to get a degree in astrophysics and relativity.

We have to expect a certain amount of rubber science in the setting to keep it playable.

 

What are you exactly questioning here; that every solid object in the universe has a course and speed, or that only a very tiny part of its volume is filled with solid objects?

 

This topic is named “Firestorm Armada science questions”, and as BRB put it above, “it does have to make sense to the reader/player/viewer to a certain point though, otherwise he'll have a hard time relating to what's happening in the universe, which pretty much kills the immersion.”

 

To me that means that everything has to fit into a consistent scientific background that at least isn’t to obviously in conflict with our current scientific knowledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are you exactly questioning here; that every solid object in the universe has a course and speed, or that only a very tiny part of its volume is filled with solid objects?

 

This topic is named “Firestorm Armada science questions”, and as BRB put it above, “it does have to make sense to the reader/player/viewer to a certain point though, otherwise he'll have a hard time relating to what's happening in the universe, which pretty much kills the immersion.”

 

To me that means that everything has to fit into a consistent scientific background that at least isn’t to obviously in conflict with our current scientific knowledge.

The problem is most people can't grasp our current scientific knowledge on the universal scale. Things like time dilation, the curve of space and the fact that our universe is filled with stuff we can't meaningfully observe( let alone interact with) will be core to how things like FTL travel and communication work but how they work is pure speculation. In Sci fi settings you need technology to operate consistently but trying to explain why it works that way beyond a broad metaphor of technobabble is rabbit hole. And I suspect if you keep chasing Alex down that rabbit hole at a certain point he will decide it isn't worth his time and I wouldn't blame him. At a certain point he will effectively gave to say "it's magic".

So again, I would suggest to keep this topic meaningful questions should focus more on "what happens" in a broad sense rather than getting overly caught up on the details of "how it works" if Alex could answer some if these questions he would be lecturing as a physicist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in agreement with Captain Frederic here. Explaining the technology in the Firestorm universe is all well and good, but only to a point. Beyond that point, it effectively becomes Treknobabble. How Fold Space Drives work is one thing (and might actually be of relevance considering shunt entry and battle shunts are a thing), how artificial gravity and universal translators work is another, and the latter fall into the realm of 'it works, we can be spared the details'. There's a reason why Battlestar (the re-imagined series at least) avoided technobabble like the plague most of the time, it just wasn't important to the story. I gave up watching Star Trek Voyager and Stargate Universe because of the technobabble (especially Voyager's Deflector Dish Mod of the Week, it could be a drinking game). Same applies here, I don't mind not knowing how the artificial gravity systems work, I'm just happy that it does so we can all tell the stories of our fleets fighting in the Storm Zone without having degrees, masters and doctorates in advanced physics, astrophysics and xenolinguistics. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to agree with Captain Frederic et al here as well.

If anyone actually read/remembers Forever War by Joe Haldeman.  They had "tachyon drives" that moved them from point a to point b via specific warp points.  When repeatedly asked to flesh out the idea in subsequent short stories or other works, the esteemed author simply replied that the device worked, did what it was supposed to do, and was otherwise largly irrelevant to the story.

I really do understand where some ppl are comming from with the questions, but really everything reasonable that we need to know about FSD (for example) has been hased out by Spartan Alex here.  His job is not to make you believe in the purported technology, it is to give you enough information to suspend your disbelief (there is a wide gulf of detail required to achieve this, and in fact allowing our imaginations to take certain leaps is far more helpful to suspension of disbelief than an overly detailed explanation)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to agree with Captain Frederic et al here as well.

If anyone actually read/remembers Forever War by Joe Haldeman.  They had "tachyon drives" that moved them from point a to point b via specific warp points.  When repeatedly asked to flesh out the idea in subsequent short stories or other works, the esteemed author simply replied that the device worked, did what it was supposed to do, and was otherwise largly irrelevant to the story.

I really do understand where some ppl are comming from with the questions, but really everything reasonable that we need to know about FSD (for example) has been hased out by Spartan Alex here.  His job is not to make you believe in the purported technology, it is to give you enough information to suspend your disbelief (there is a wide gulf of detail required to achieve this, and in fact allowing our imaginations to take certain leaps is far more helpful to suspension of disbelief than an overly detailed explanation)

Agreed to a point. However, when dealing with military sci-fi, it is important to cover "known ground rules" with the science, such as the FSD not working/becoming unreliable near significant gravity wells, while wormhole gates have to be well clear of them. The reason behind this as it affects how the story works.

Take for example, the differences between Star Wars and Honorverse Hyperspace Drives. The first keeps one in an alternate space to speed between interstellar space, but must be maintained to keep going. This allows for dramatic events like the Interdictor Cruisers being able to pull ships out of hyperspace sooner than they'd planned.

Conversely, in the Honorverse, they only handle the transitions between the different levels of hyperspace. This disallows for things like Interdictor Cruisers pulling ships out of interstellar travel, but allows for ships being disabled and "stuck". Compound that with the Honorverse's hyperspace being filled with intense gravity waves which can be disastrous to ships unprepared to "surf" them, and you have all sorts of ways to influence both strategy and story.

In a third comparison, the jump engines in Wing Commander and Asimovian Jump Engines (and a whole host of other story-lines) which take one from point to point instantaneously, are incapable of being intercepted mid-transition, so known transition points tend to be blockaded for defense.

As for the translators, I could see some relying on an AI to handle it, while others use trained communications officers, while others use a cybernetic mix. It all depends on the capacities of the individual race.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Alex covered those ground rules. The easiest way to travel is waygates which are set points allowing them to be blockaded. You can try a less direct route by using FSD but still risk detection since you have to approach from a relatively distant point and the jumps to get you there consume resources. The specifics beyond that are dependent on race and can be a mix of different things that still generate the above effects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly.  What I was getting at was that Alex had very well covered the ground rules of FSD (as an example)
1. requires signifiant ammount of fuel/energy
2. is disrupted by proximity to gravity wells
3. Is limited in range by energy expenditure

As to translators, I would speculate that different races probably use different methods....but given that most of them have been interacting with each other for decades at least, I am sure that a programme could be compiled to help with that information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why do the Cserani feel the need to inbue their servant species with personality at all? :P

 

It might be impossible not to - brains might not work that way. Perhaps in order to be complex enough to operate independently the species needs a sufficiently complex brain for personality to be inevitable, so the Cserani decided that it was better to shape that personality than let it emerge naturally and end up being something contrary to their designs. Maybe the Illosians were supposed to be personality-less and that's what happened...

 

Alternately, the Cserani are just so arrogant that they believe that they can manipulate culture and personality enough that they aren't in danger. Servants with initiative are more useful than servants that just sit around all day requiring instructions, after all.

 

The final option would be that they just don't want to. It would be boring. Nothing about the Cserani says that they only invent new races because it's important. They might also do it for fun, and finding a way to weave the new races into their growing empire might be sort of a species-wide hobby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
just take it as read!

 

I get your point, but unfortunately this isn’t the way it works for me.

 

Looks like the Firestorm setting isn’t going to be the kind of Science Fiction I’m interested in.

 

Tastes differ, and you can’t please everyone of course  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well just to counteract any impression that Frans opinion is common. I will say I'm perfectly comfortable and interested in the granularity of the Firestorm setting's Science Fiction.

If the fluff gives consistent "world" rules I'll happily try to figure out the how and why of the details with friends. (Or I'll ignore them, like the Sorylian Planetfall Leviathan)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, internal logic is more important than trying to fit nigh-impossible concepts like FTL into actual IRL physics. If you make it too detailed, people will just continue to point the inconsitencies out. Make it vague but applicable through the entire setting, and most people will buy it.

No one had problems with the Force in SW until that hack decided to make it into a tangible thing with the midichlorians, which instantly made the concept laughtable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, internal logic is more important than trying to fit nigh-impossible concepts like FTL into actual IRL physics. If you make it too detailed, people will just continue to point the inconsitencies out. Make it vague but applicable through the entire setting, and most people will buy it.

No one had problems with the Force in SW until that hack decided to make it into a tangible thing with the midichlorians, which instantly made the concept laughtable.

 

Bingo. FSA is space opera sci-fi, and everything in it is internally consistent with that goal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I come down well on the side of FSA and its fluff being “detailed enough” I don’t know as I would go so far as to call it “Space Opera.” There is a solid foundation of the tech, and more importantly it nods in the direction of our current understanding of the universe. To me these are two elements that keep it out of the SO sub-genre. In Star Wars for instance, clearly SO in every way, the tech is glossed over far more heavily than FSA. Looking at lightsabers, the quintessential tech of that world, our introduction to it was “laser sword” and we were happy with it. Now obviously there have been enough “Geek Hours” (a measure of the devotion poured into a mythos by its fans, similar to “man hours”) that we have built up a more robust ide of the lightsaber tech. Last I heard we are going with a magnetically confined plasma blade. That level of commitment from a fan base is necessary in an SO to create the tech from whole cloth. In FSA there is a clear basis for the tech and while we clearly don’t know every detail our understanding is based on a level of reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.