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Old 01-08-2019, 08:19 AM   #11
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
Clamp a laser pointer on a locally built bolt-action rifle and you have a much more accurate weapon. Clamp it on a flintlock rifle and you can shoot the hat off an enemy officer from ridiculous range.
There are inherent accuracy limitations to less advanced weapons even if the sighting mechanism were drastically improved (but see below). Hand loaded weapons are subject to variations in the quantity of powder, the quality of the powder, humidity etc. When the priming catches your view of the target is wholly obscured and if you flinch a small dot isn't going to get you back on target. If muzzle loading then forcing the projectile down the barrel can distort it such that it doesn't follow a predictable trajectory (and thus your training for drop and wind-age becomes worthless).

There is also the small issue that you have to be able to see the dot to be able to use it to aim and the distance you can see a laser point with the naked eye in daylight conditions (or the thick smoke from flintlocks) won't be that far what you could use basic iron sights for anyway.

We have to be careful when considering upgrades to low tech weapons as often they have been made to be as accurate as practical and adding on a single upgrade may may little practical difference, you usually need several upgrades to different elements of the gun to make a difference.

Consider that we had telescopes long before we had firearms, but the telescopic sight wasn't really practical until we had breech loading rifles. There was no point putting a telescopic sight onto a muzzle loader as you would be able to see better than you could shoot.
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Old 01-08-2019, 10:17 AM   #12
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

I think this thread misses the point that just because it costs 1000c per dTon per Parsec to ship a specific product, it does not mean that product is in equal demand at all locations. You can't ship coals to Newcastle as the adage goes. There are exceptions e.g. the desert state of United Arab Emirates imported $456m worth of sand, stone and gravel in 2014 (as the local sand was too fine for construction).

You also need to be careful in assigning specific attributes to general goods. The cost of shipping assumes that you are acting as a postman. A box of a certain size (or weight in some countries) costs a fixed amount to move regardless of contents.

While some goods may appear to be worth less than their delivery cost, they may be used as filler in more expensive shipments. If you can only sell 0.5 dTon of semiconductors per year at a particular market, you might add 0.5 dTon of something cheap to your shipment (after all you pay 1000c for 1 dTon, you might as well use all of it).

Have a look in GURPS Far Trader if you want a decent analysis of mercantile dynamics. Even this is fairly broad brush and falls apart under too close scrutiny. The side bars are quite enlightening e.g. In the law of one price it explains why a specific "instant profit" run will quickly diminish due to competition.

The basic trade system in Classic is pretty open to abuse as after a few jumps you can pay off your ship if you choose the correct route. This seems mutually incompatible with the mustering out benefits for the merchant class in the same book. If the former were true then every merchant would muster out after a single term with more wealth than they knew what to do with.

The issue is largely that the Classic trade rules take no account of competition. You ship grain from Ag world to Ind world and make a stash of cash, you buy machinery and ship it back to Ag world, rinse and repeat. But after a while you would expect the markets in those worlds to become saturated (if not by you alone then surely all the other traders who should be equally able to see a quick profit). Likely the markets should already be in equilibrium long before you turn up.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:28 PM   #13
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Regards to "filler" materials being sold, etc - and the fact that goods aren't always going to be uniform, I'd have to agree with that assessment Swordtart.

MERCHANT PRINCE attempted to get away from the Classic Traveller Trade system with respect to having generic cargo worth a given amount, without specifying what that generic cargo may have been. But where MERCHANT PRINCE gained over the original black book #2 with respect to trade, it lost ground in having speculative goods that were not realistically valued for the goods they carried.

As originally demonstrated with the M1 Garand example, this would be a simple "Firearm(Rifle) at Traveller Tech 5 most likely - results in something that retail value is around 220 credits. Multiply this value by 600 per dton, and the value at retail value is 132,000 credits. Contrast this with 30,000 per dton in Book 2. If we use MERCHANT PRINCE for the system for trade, the goods would start at 4000 credits per dton, lose 1,000 credits if an industrial world, gain 1,000 credits for a class C starport, and gain an additional +600 credits if it were a TL 6 world. Final cost/value of the goods? 4,600 credits.

As for FAR TRADER - I wrote a rough draft program to generate freight lots at any given world, and also generated all of the available freight between trade partner worlds and based upon BTN values. The problem wasn't that it was impossible to code or anything. It meant that at high WTN worlds, not being able to fill your cargo hold with freight to nearly 100% capacity was exceedingly difficult. Finding freight based on its "difficulty to handle" (ie fragile, life creatures, dangerous chemicals etc) became almost insignificant if one had sufficiently large amounts of freight lots to choose from.

And get this...

If I had to go from World A to B to C to D to E - my profit margins were better if I chose to go to a port that was further away than closer up. Why?

Suppose my freight contracts from A to E were not sufficient to fill my hold to more than say, 60%. But since I had to go to world B as well as C and D in order to reach E - I could pick up freight for world B, C, and D. If I were lucky, when I got to B, there might be freight available for worlds C and D. When I got to C, there would hopefully be freight to world E.

But that wasn't the really odd part as far as how much FAR TRADER changed my perception of trade in the GURPS TRAVELLER universe...

A merchant makes more money and profit by travelling between worlds that are further apart than are closer together in that he's always better off travelling at least five jumps worth of travel distance away. Why? Freight is paid on a per parsec basis. So you get paid the same whether you make 5 single jumps for 5 separate freight cargo lots, or travel 5 jumps worth with a single cargo lot.

Simply jump to the gas giant at your hopping points, refuel via wilderness refueling - and spend ZERO time in port or anything else. No port fees, no refueling fees, and because you're not spending any down time in port - no delays in getting freight off your ship or aboard your ship . No problems with having to spend time in the main world's normal space getting to and from the 100 diameter limit (although the same issue remains in that you spend a bit more time dealing with 100 diameters for gas giants instead). The point is - you spend 7 days in jump space, 1 day in normal space, and jump 4 times to reach your destination that is five jump units away (ie 5 Jump-1 distances for a Jump 1 ship, 5 jump-2 distances for a jump-2 ship etc.)

32 days in space for an income equal to what you'd normally make in your normal jumps - but without the wasted time looking for new freight to load up, new freight contracts to negotiate, etc.

That approach also takes away many chances of adventure - doesn't it. :(
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:16 PM   #14
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

I only used a 200 ton jump-1 ship and like you put together an easy-peasy spreadsheet for each traveller trade system for the same simple sector.

I only hopped to each adjacent system and sometimes had to run at a loss in order to buy on a poor planet. In some cases I shipped cargo when I couldn't find any goods worth buying to trade with the next rich planet, I am not sure what those cargoes were supposed to be (maybe locals got better deals than off-worlders).

I also ensured I had 10 high/middle berth and 20 low berth available. I rarely had trouble filling the high/middle berths, but somehow rarely got a full complement of low passengers on the poor planet where you expect them to be desperate to escape. Given you only got 1000 for 1 dTon of cargo and 1000 (less consumables) each for 2 low berth for the same space I was toying with putting low passengers in cryo-coffins and stacking them as cargo at a reduced rate. People desperate enough to go low wouldn't mind.

I also considered putting into a passenger lounge and just slipping them fast drug with their first drink. They could pass the majority of the journey wandering round at the "welcome meal" and we could just slip them a simple general anaesthetic "in preparation for hypersleep" with an antidote to fast at the same time and then let them revive a few minutes later having "arrived". I am sure that you could easily fit people in very little space (e.g passenger couches) if it was only for a "few hours". This might also be a legal way to move criminals in some jurisdictions. The automatic damage is offset by the elimination of the re-sus shock.

And always, always hire the best broker you can. Only if you max the dice roll will it not be a benefit (and in that case you are quids in anyway).

Last edited by swordtart; 01-08-2019 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:43 PM   #15
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

If one were to do a cost analysis for return on investment for staterooms, or retaining the space for cargo carrying capacity, largely depending on your route, the cargo space wins - and it also depends too upon which game system you're using as far as Traveller goes.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:35 AM   #16
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Agreed that cargo is generally more profitable (not withstanding the variations between versions).

I was keen to represent a more cinematic tramp freighter where passengers can be the spring board for adventures and where market saturation might not always allow 100% cargo loading for each jump.

Of course the ideal compromise would be something that would allow passengers as freight (or freight to go in passenger allocation) for flexibility. This was why I was looking at having emergency berths and the likes.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:57 AM   #17
cptbutton
 
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Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
Things get even more interesting if you consider the trade rules/concepts developed for the Gravity Trade model. An agricultural world exporting grains, would have to export 24 dTons of grain to equal 1 dTon of imports for pharmaceuticals or ammunition for firearms. It would have to export 600 dtons of grains to equal 1.5 dTons of Industrial crystals (assuming standard 100% value of goods being sold to each other).
Probably covered somewhere, but what happens to the other 598.5 dTons of cargo space on trips back to Agraria from Industria? Is the shipping cost zero for practical purposes? So anything that can be sold on Agraria for more than the price on Industria gets shipped? But can Agraia afford anything other than the crystals it needs to keep the super-combines operating?
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:33 AM   #18
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Part of what factored into the analysis was the cost of a stateroom itself. If using CT rules, the cost of life support also adds to the overall cost.

By not buying a stateroom, the added cost to the monthly mortgage is discernible. If using CT, the lost revenue for the space taken without passengers becomes noticeable. Each stateroom adds a total of 2,083.33 credits per month to the cost of a starship (excluding cost of life support). It was capable of generating 4,000 credits per jump, or about 8,000 credits per month assuming it was full (not always the case!). Which would you rather do, go without income for volume of hull that essentially adds zero credits to your monthly payment, or pay for the volume, pay for the added life support, and pray you get passengers to make it worth the while to have to pay the added 2,083.33 credits per month for dead space?

In GURPS, the cost of an added stateroom is a mere 50 credits per month in added mortgage costs. This is not really a discernible or felt cost per se. The only time it becomes an issue is lost revenue from a lack of passengers.

In CT - the more efficient manner of building/designing ships is to utilize cargo carrying space in units that are cleanly divisible by 5. In other words, you want to have a volume that is 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc as a consequence of the random freight generation rules being in lots of 1d6 x 10 or 1d6 x 5. Any "odd number" of excess cargo capacity works out to an inefficient use of the ship's volume.

Where I to design a purpose built ship for use with GURPS TRAVELLER, I'd make it so that the number of low berths was always lower than the max to offset the times any extra berths would not have carried passengers. The problem is - with a revenue generation of 175 credits per parsec, the income from the space involved for four low berths is 175 x 4 or 700 credits per parsec.

The hard part in all of this where ship designs run, is the fact that the cost of a 100 dton ship is not all too much cheaper than a 200 dTon hull.

For instance, a TL 10 100 dton Hull with Jump 2, Manuever 1.1 with 2 staterooms, 36 dtons of cargo carrying capacity, 2 fuel refinery units (small) for redundancy sake, a compact bridge etc - costs 21.5518 MCr to purchase. Contrast this against an Empress Marava at 36.8 MCr. with 49 dtons of cargo carrying capacity.

Call it .6 MCr per freight carrying capacity for the 100 dton hull vs .75 MCr per carrying dton capacity.

Monthly cost for mortgage is 89,799.17 Cr or 44,899.59 Cr bi-monthly.
Monthly cost for Empress is 153,333.33 Cr or 76,666.67 Cr bi-monthly.

Revenue generation for the extra staterooms on the Empress Marava can be as high as 4 x mid passage (rarely will one generate High Passage for the tramp freighters) - but that is not a sure thing as far as generating the extra passengers. Even if you assume the extra income for three occupied staterooms, you offset this by the wages required for the added crew member "Steward" to handle the workload. It needs 1564.63 Cr per dton. When halved because it too is a jump 2 freighter, we find that it needs a total of 782.32 credits per parsec travelled to make its payments. Cost for the crew's wages, fees etc, are a bit lower per dton than with the 100 dton hull. But it still adds up.

dividing the bi-weekly needs for income by the cargo capacity, we find that...

The 100 dton hull listed above needs to make 1247.22 credits per jump per dton carried. As this is a Jump-2 vessel, that averages to 623.6 credits per jump just to pay the bank. Wages and other fees might add an additional 50 to 100 credits per dton. Consequently, the listed 650 credits per parsec income listed in FAR TRADER page 22 misses the mark for a purpose designed 100 dton freighter, and definitely misses the mark for an Empress Marava class ship



For those who might be interested, Stats for the 100 dton Jump 2 ship is as follows. Note that the stats on the Improved TL 10 Manuever Drive was tweaked to take up MORE of the internal volume to bring it in line with the other drives listed. The original design had way too much waste volume. Stats on the Improved drive are:

TL 10, Volume: 1 dTon, Mass 4.165 tons, Cost .196 MCr, Crew .0167, stons Thrust 49, stons lift: 49, power 4.9 Mw

In most instances, the only reason to use the improved maneuver drive is to regain 1 or 2 dTon's internal capacity when compared against using the inefficient drives that produce only 40 tons thrust. It takes only 8 modules to produce 392 tons of thrust versus needing 10 of the original GURPS TRAVELLER modules to produce 400 tons of thrust. That alone saves 2 dtons internal volume for cargo carrying capacity.

Stats on the ship itself:

Crew:
2 Command and Control, 1 Turret Gunners.

Hull:
100-ton VGSL, Medium Frame, Standard Materials, Crystaliron (Expensive) Armored Hull (DR 100), Standard Compartmentalization.

Control Areas: Basic Bridge/10 (Complexity 7), Compact Bridge option (Used on Basic or command bridges only).


Communicator Range (mi)

Radio: 50,000,000

Maser: 0

Laser: 100,000,000

Meson: 0




Sensors Range/Rating (mi)

TL 10 Basic Bridge
Passive: 20,000/37
Active: 100,000/41
Radscanner: 2,000/31

Engineering:
Sm Engineering/10, 3 Jump Drive/10, 8 Maneuver Drive/10 Improved (1.10 / 2.53 Gs, 392 stons thrust), 20 Jump Fuel Tank/7, 2 Sm Fuel Processor (2.5 hours to refine Jump Fuel Tank/7), Small Utility/10.

Accommodations:
2 Stateroom/10.

Misc:
36 Unspecified Cargo, 20 Hydrogen Fuel (Fire 13).

Armaments:
1 Turret/10 Battery of 1 (Empty; DR 100).

Stores:
36 Hold (0 dtons free for cargo).

Statistics:
DMass 134.88 stons, EMass 154.88 stons, LMass 354.88 stons, Base Cost MCr21.54, Load Cost MCr0.01, Total Cost MCr21.55, HP 15,000, Damage Threshold 1,500, Size Mod +8, HT 12, 22.3 Man-Hours/day Maintenance.

Space Performance:
Jump-2 (2), sAcc 1.10/1.10/2.53/2.91 Gs.

Air Performance:
aSpeed 1,450 mph, Skimming aSpeed 4,850 mph, aLift 392 stons.

Sample Times :
Orbit 0.21 Hrs, Escape Velocity 0.29 Hrs, 100D 6.07 Hrs, Earth-Mars 104.31 Hrs.

Options:
All times are Earth Std, Full Load. 100D and Earth-Mars assume mid-point turnover.

Note: This ship was created using GURPS MODULAR VEHICLES program.
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:37 AM   #19
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by cptbutton View Post
Probably covered somewhere, but what happens to the other 598.5 dTons of cargo space on trips back to Agraria from Industria? Is the shipping cost zero for practical purposes? So anything that can be sold on Agraria for more than the price on Industria gets shipped? But can Agraia afford anything other than the crystals it needs to keep the super-combines operating?
It took me a moment to realize what you meant by the 598.5 dTons of cargo space on trips back to Agraria...

You simply subtracted the outbound from Industria from the 600 dtons required to ship TO Industria (sorry - I was being dense).

The answer to your question is "There will be no 598.5 dtons of empty carrying capacity". A single Scout ship with 20 dtons of carrying capacity might be contracted to drop off 1.5 dtons of value to Agraria, but it couldn't survive on carrying only that much freight by itself - not without charging full price for the empty volume not used! Why would it be empty? If the Trade rules invoking the Gravity trade model is true, Industria will not send another shipment of crystals to Agraria until Agraria has paid for its previous shipment with 600 dTons of grain. So, the freight movers literally have to charge DOUBLE against the farmers of Agraria to ship their grains and still maintain a Industria <=> Agraria trade route. The shippers would also have to charge Industria for the revenue lost by not carrying anything else.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:05 PM   #20
SteveS
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: near Seattle WA USA
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by swordtart View Post
There are inherent accuracy limitations to less advanced weapons even if the sighting mechanism were drastically improved (but see below). Hand loaded weapons are subject to variations in the quantity of powder, the quality of the powder, humidity etc. When the priming catches your view of the target is wholly obscured and if you flinch a small dot isn't going to get you back on target. If muzzle loading then forcing the projectile down the barrel can distort it such that it doesn't follow a predictable trajectory (and thus your training for drop and wind-age becomes worthless).
Muzzle loaded rifles could be remarkably accurate, with a skilled marksman:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Murphy_(sniper)
Quote:
There is also the small issue that you have to be able to see the dot to be able to use it to aim and the distance you can see a laser point with the naked eye in daylight conditions (or the thick smoke from flintlocks) won't be that far what you could use basic iron sights for anyway.
That's a stronger argument against them. But I think they would be a very advantageous tool in middle ranges, far enough that aim is useful, but not so far that weapon accuracy exceeds ability to aim.
Quote:
. . . Consider that we had telescopes long before we had firearms, but the telescopic sight wasn't really practical until we had breech loading rifles. There was no point putting a telescopic sight onto a muzzle loader as you would be able to see better than you could shoot.
The problem there may have been expense rather than absence of value in aim. Short of a field test with a telescope and rifle made with 18th century optical manufacturing techniques, I'd say either argument is speculation.
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