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Old 09-15-2018, 06:54 PM   #1
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Preference for generating Star systems: First In or Space?

Hello Folks,
I was looking at both GURPS TRAVELLER FIRST IN and GURPS SPACE (for GURPS 4e) and wondered...

"Which system do you prefer to use for generating Traveller star systems?" Rather than answer which one, maybe include WHY you prefer one over the other. If you like using elements from both combined into your own ad hoc rule set, that would be good to know (and of course, why!!!).

Just curious.

Hal
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:30 PM   #2
tanksoldier
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Default Re: Preference for generating Star systems: First In or Space?

To be honest there are so many canon worlds in Traveller that I donít think Iíve ever had to generate one from scratch.

That said I donít think Iíve ever used Space... and all the Traveller variants, including GURPS, have their well known shortcomings when it comes to world generation.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:27 PM   #3
hal
 
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Default Re: Preference for generating Star systems: First In or Space?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
To be honest there are so many canon worlds in Traveller that I donít think Iíve ever had to generate one from scratch.

That said I donít think Iíve ever used Space... and all the Traveller variants, including GURPS, have their well known shortcomings when it comes to world generation.
Ok - now that you've opened that particular can of worms, what shortcomings do you see in the various game system variants of TRAVELLER?

What I would like to see is, for example, all of the stars within a subsector with their systems generated down to world placement etc. Having the details available for say, Adibicci, Derchon, Ianic, Lunion etc - would allow for me to look at the details and see just what is involved in normal space transits. I'd also want to try and see if I could devise a smuggling system in which a ship jumps into deep space away from the main world, refuels at a lesser gas giant, sends a few tons of smuggled freight into orbit with an IFF package, and then transmit the information through x-boat mail, where to find the package that is in orbit. A "boat" going out to get the smuggled cargo (high value such as drugs perhaps) would then be able to engage in normal space transit, and engage in behavior that is unlikely to arouse suspicion.

One thing that I've always thought was an interesting tactic was the ability to know where a planet will be at any point in its orbit. Jumping into Deep Space such that the Jump Flash has to go THROUGH a star before the world sensors can spot it would be one way to hide one's jump flash - unless of course there are sensors all throughout the star system.

Eventually, I'd like to run a campaign in which the player characters are officers aboard a destroyer that is part of the subsector navy (as seen in SECTOR FLEET by Mongoose Traveller). Would be interesting to pose tactical situations using generated star systems - don't you think?

That's why I asked what star generation system do people use and why. It is also why I asked questions about GURPS SPACE in the GURPS area asking why black body temperature has anything to do with planetary diameters. I was able to code it for VB.NET, but when I work with something, I want to understand why it works etc. If I have to reverse engineer data because some worlds are already pre-generated for the Spinward Marches region, it helps to know why and how.

Frankly? I like the GURPS SPACE method of orbital ratios (it reminds me of Traveller 2300 AD) instead of using Bode Constants. On the other hand, I like being able to generate worlds by means of FIRST IN for all of the other non-main worlds present within the star system.

So - what things do you find to be short comings? If you see a problem do you by chance see possible solutions? Inquiring minds (or mind singular) wanna know!

;)
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:37 AM   #4
Mike Wightman
 
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Default Re: Preference for generating Star systems: First In or Space?

If I want to design an entire system or really detail a world then GURPS Space 4e is my go to resource. I find it does what I want very elegantly and in an easy to follow way. I then convert to CT stats.

For a quick planet of the week or if the players jump quickly from world to world then I just use the good old CT method.
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:43 PM   #5
tanksoldier
 
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Default Re: Preference for generating Star systems: First In or Space?

Quote:
Ok - now that you've opened that particular can of worms, what shortcomings do you see in the various game system variants of TRAVELLER?
There are pages and pages written about inconsistencies and contradictions.

If you're interested I'm sure you can find them.

Regardless, I can't think of a time when I ran or participated in a Traveller campaign that wasn't in an area already generated by somebody.
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:39 AM   #6
hal
 
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Default Re: Preference for generating Star systems: First In or Space?

Ok, as I work on trying to code the GURPS SPACE material for use with TRAVELLER, I'm sort of running into a minor issue if you will...

GURPS SPACE is intended to generate star systems randomly - not conform to material that has already been generated. Short of totally creating from scratch my own Spinward Marches material, I'd have to go the route of doing the following:

Create a database that contains the UWP (Universal World Profiles) in the standard string format of ABCDEFG-H where

A = Starbase
B = World Diameter
C = Atmosphere
D = Hydrographic Data
E = Population exponent
F = Government
G = Law Level
H = Tech level

The idea being, that I will accept as input the UWP, and then try to generate the star system such that the main world will conform as best as possible, to the original UWP stats. When there is a conflict, such as the world diameter being too small - I simply change the diameter to meet the category required and randomly generate THAT world's diameter. If a world can't have a hydrographic value of 0 AND support other aspects, then the hydrographic value gets upgraded, etc.

The idea is to keep everything as close as possible to the original, yet still be usable for GURPS SPACE. This means I have to reverse engineer things in addition to writing the code. My goal is simple enough - write the vb.net code so that it can generate GURPS SPACE compliant results, and then save that as its own application. Then, reverse engineer what needs to be done, and create a secondary app that retains the original app, but adds in the reverse engineer code and the ability to take any text file as input with the Hex ID, World Name, and UWP string.

Now for the minor problem...

I'm also incorporating the newer material from Jon Zeigler's web page, where he more or less keeps to the spirit of the GURPS SPACE rules for generating number of stars, ages of stars, and largely does away with his table for time on main sequence etc. (he created a formula for that instead). The problem is - the rules are for Extreme Population I, Young Population I, Intermediate Population I, Disk Population, Intermediate Population II, and Extreme Population II stars. Worlds that are earth like would require Intermediate population I stars. Population II stars would be low metal stars.

The SPINWARD MARCHES campaign has a few non-mainsequence stars (giants and subgiants) - implying that these stars are at the end of their lifespan or largely dead. It also means that as their diameters expand and their luminosity values increase, any life bearing worlds in the inner systems would have to be largely uninhabitable.

Should I automatically assume that the main worlds in question need to take precedence over the star type so that if the type of star is supposed to be a G2 III star, that I should drop it down to G2 V? It also seems to imply that if the world has a breathable atmosphere, that I should automatically be selecting as the star type, an intermediate population I star.

Extreme population I stars are the youngest, and whose age will be a base 0 plus a step of .5 billion years times the roll of a percentile die/100. In theory, the star could be .5 x .01 or .005 billion years old (ie, still cooling down!). Young Population I stars start at .5 billion years plus an additional percentile die roll/100 x 2.5. This gives a range between .525 billion years and 3 billion years.

And finally, one other *cough* minor niggling issue.

In Traveller, a roll of a 6 on 2d6 results in a Normal Standard Atmosphere. A roll of a 7 on 2d6 results in a tainted standard atmosphere.

The odds of rolling a standard atmosphere then, is the odds of rolling a 6 or 7 on 2d6 or 11/36. Thus, for any given "standard world" - statistically speaking, 5/11 (45%) is untainted, and 6/11 (55%) is tainted.

GURPS SPACE sets the ratio a bit differently. If you generate a standard atmosphere, on a 12+ will that atmosphere be "marginal" or what Traveller calls "Tainted". That means that 62% of the standard garden world atmospheres are normal.

My gut instinct is to simply ignore the original UWP values for standard and standard - tainted atmospheres and simply let GURPS SPACE handle it. This in turn would change world profiles in a major way.

So, do I go with a modified approach and reroll ONLY those worlds that are listed as Tainted, or simply accept that each world listed as either an atmosphere type 6 or 7 are standard, and use the GURPS rules to determine taint or not? The alternative is to keep it as listed despite the higher incidence of tainted worlds over non-tainted.

Ah well, just musing aloud. I seriously doubt anyone would want to reverse engineer UWP's for GURPS SPACE. On the other hand, if someone does, I could always post my process in a thread for posterity in case someone later on wants it.
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:42 AM   #7
hal
 
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Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Preference for generating Star systems: First In or Space?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wightman View Post
If I want to design an entire system or really detail a world then GURPS Space 4e is my go to resource. I find it does what I want very elegantly and in an easy to follow way. I then convert to CT stats.

For a quick planet of the week or if the players jump quickly from world to world then I just use the good old CT method.
Agreed, a quick planet of the week kind of thing, without the system particulars such as orbits etc is fine. It is only if you want the details for any reason, that it would matter.

THE STARSHIP OWNER'S MANUAL had a section in there on determining flight time to a planet based upon where it was relative to the main world and the sun - THAT was a nice bit of detail back in the day. It was extra detail without too much extra work - pithy and nice

:)

Ah well...
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