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Old 12-07-2016, 07:15 PM   #4
thrash's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: traveller
Default Re: Traveller and modern electronics

(I'm taking "Traveller" to mean "Classic Traveller," prior to 1986. Later editions tried to update the tech to some degree.)

There are a number of personal electronic devices scattered throughout the books: communicators, inertial locators, hand computers, map boxes, digital cameras, low-light and thermal goggles, etc.

What Traveller pretty much missed is the potential synergy among all these gadgets. Instead of a pile of electronics that mostly doesn't talk to each other (though you could hook up your map box to your inertial locator to get a scrolling display of your current position -- oooh!), your cell phone now does most of this by itself.

Traveller computers also don't obey Moore's Law. They get bigger and more expensive as they get more capable, even at higher tech levels. Part of this is that Traveller TLs are pretty flat and finely divided compared to GURPS: TL15 in Traveller is only about twice as productive as TL9-10, which would be good for only a one tech level difference in GURPS.

One thought I've had about replicating Traveller tech is to say that all the electronics are analogue, rather than digital. They work just fine for their intended purposes, but you can't implement a new function just by downloading a program.

Note that the "huge computers" thing is somewhat misleading: the "computer" volume includes workstations for programmers and system administrators -- more like an IT center than a room filled with vacuum tubes. Still too big and heavy, just not ridiculously so.
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