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Old 09-12-2014, 05:00 PM   #31
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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Originally Posted by korbeau View Post
We can assume that the inventor who build the motor, it's his job (the mechanics skill... not "invention"). You think the +4 don't apply in this case?
If not, only a skill at 18 would be able to build a Complexe device, which is nearly impossible to obtain in a realistic campaign :(
I wanted to quote this again, because I think my reply wasn't clear enough. If you are just building something, don't use the invention rules.

Unfortunately there really aren't any rules (that I'm aware of) for manufacturing at TL5+, but you can start with the rules in Low Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics beginning on p. 22. The big difference at TL5+ is that you probably aren't starting with raw materials most of the time, but are able to use some or all prefabricated components. You'll need to figure out what "engine parts" cost per lb.

Maybe $5/lb for steam engines and $10/lb for internal combustion engines. That way you can save a little money on materials by machining your own from metal stock, but you'll have higher labor costs, which seems about right.

Last edited by sir_pudding; 09-12-2014 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:16 PM   #32
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I wanted to quote this again, because I think my reply wasn't clear enough. If you are just building something, don't use the invention rules.
No I know... i took a generic exemple for calculate the Invention rule for realistic purpose but in my actual campaign, my players are heros, not mundane people. The PC engineer is from Britannica-6 and he's trap in Yrth and want to build a motor for a boat and in my other campaign, we are in a WWII universe trying to build a better motor. We play realistic but it include some fantastic elements.. anyway, for now I'm more preoccupy about the +4 easy skill vs mundane skill you raised earlier.
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Old 09-13-2014, 01:28 AM   #33
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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Originally Posted by korbeau View Post
The PC engineer is from Britannica-6 and he's trap in Yrth and want to build a motor for a boat
This, I wouldn't use Invention for, if he's building an engine of a type he's seen before.
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and in my other campaign, we are in a WWII universe trying to build a better motor.
This, though, is invention.
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We play realistic but it include some fantastic elements.. anyway, for now I'm more preoccupy about the +4 easy skill vs mundane skill you raised earlier.
The relevant rules are on p. B345, and you'll note both the section you've quoted from How to Be a GURPS GM and B171 reference that section for the full rule.

For a specific example of this sort of thing as it applies to firearms see the Non-Combat bonuses box on GURPS Tactical Shooting p. 9.

Note that none of these give bonuses for not being chased by zombies, or anything of the sort, but rather give bonuses for being in a low stakes situation with few variables and a controlled environment.

Some people seem to think this means that you should be able to say "My character is a robot with Unfazeable and he doesn't care if zombies are chasing him, therefore he always gets +4 to +10 to everything he does for free!" This doesn't make a lot of sense, because most of the reason you get that bonus isn't because you are afraid of zombies, it's because you are working in an environment that doesn't have chaotic completely unpredictable dangerous stuff happening that you need to be able to react to, and where if you accidentally drop something on the ground you can just pick it up without having to make a bunch of Change Posture maneuvers while a orc brains you with his axe. A robot repairing the same problems with cars everyday in a well organized, well lit, and well appointed garage in a quiet business park is going to benefit from the predictable task and environment the same as a person. The robot shouldn't get to treat fixing a car in a mud pit, at dusk, while being mortared, as "easy" just because it's "not scared of mortars" because that doesn't have anything to do with most of the ways mud, shrapnel, and dusk aren't like that quiet garage.

Easy tasks are easy, because generally all of: the consequences of mistakes are correctable, the environment is totally controlled and perfectly adequate, there are no variables that make the task impossible to predict, and there are no massive distractions that make it impossible to fully concentrate on it, are true.

Inventing something wholly new, has mistakes with large uncorrectable consequences (loss of staggeringly huge sums of money; lab explosions) and the entire project is a series of totally unknown variables.

Last edited by sir_pudding; 09-13-2014 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 09-13-2014, 03:39 PM   #34
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Their engines weren't Complex either. Still probably involved skills higher than 14 and a good bit of Luck too.
I'd imagine they had poor efficiency, low HT, and possibly a dispreferable "maintenance interval" or something like that on top of the low HT.

Design a device that does X is one thing.

Design a device that does X well and reliably is quie another thing.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:54 PM   #35
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

For a real case see The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy: A Design and Construction History, John Alden, 1979. It took the USN about 25 years to produce a good, powerful, reliable diesel engine for submarines -- even when they had examples of German diesels quite good for their time.

They managed it by getting the railroads to fund much of the development -- hence the rapid disappearance of steam engines and their replacement by diesel electrics postwar in the USA.

A brilliant administrative/social maneuver compensating for poor government funding.

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Old 09-15-2014, 11:07 PM   #36
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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Originally Posted by Kraydak View Post
"Reverse engineer an experimental thingy" is an ordinary everyday job task for a large
number of engineers and scientists.
"Keep my boss off my back for another month" is the ordinary everyday job. "Invent something cool" is the exceptional task the boss wants in addition to the ordinary everyday job.

It's kind of like the difference between knowing how to get elected and knowing how to be a useful politician.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:50 AM   #37
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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"Keep my boss off my back for another month" is the ordinary everyday job. "Invent something cool" is the exceptional task the boss wants in addition to the ordinary everyday job.

It's kind of like the difference between knowing how to get elected and knowing how to be a useful politician.
Are you denying the existence of actual R&D & programming teams in at least some companies, as opposed to appear-busy teams?
E.g. making software seems to be an Invention job (B473). So is creation of new custom bioroid/AI/engine/etc. designs.
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Old 09-16-2014, 01:07 AM   #38
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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Are you denying the existence of actual R&D & programming teams in at least some companies, as opposed to appear-busy teams?
E.g. making software seems to be an Invention job (B473). So is creation of new custom bioroid/AI/engine/etc. designs.
No, I'm saying that being seen to be doing something productive (regardless of whether that work is actually productive or not) is not the same as actually being productive. In a modern work environment, it's not enough to do the work; you need to be seen to be doing the work.

I'm good at my admin job. really good. I hate performance appraisals, because I'm not so good at "showing my work." Similar situations apply to most jobs that have to answer to some kind of boss or performance appraisal process.

In the case of a R&D tech, being seen to be working is presumably difficult to fake, so the job-keeping roll rightly belongs with the relevant invention skill. Political work seems to be an area that GURPS has explicitly called out as requiring different skills depending on whether getting re-elected (their "performance appraisal") or doing an actual job-related task. But logically, it can't be the only one, unless SJG for some reason is holding a grudge against politicians.
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Old 09-16-2014, 05:13 AM   #39
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
No, I'm saying that being seen to be doing something productive (regardless of whether that work is actually productive or not) is not the same as actually being productive. In a modern work environment, it's not enough to do the work; you need to be seen to be doing the work.

I'm good at my admin job. really good. I hate performance appraisals, because I'm not so good at "showing my work." Similar situations apply to most jobs that have to answer to some kind of boss or performance appraisal process.

In the case of a R&D tech, being seen to be working is presumably difficult to fake, so the job-keeping roll rightly belongs with the relevant invention skill.
Oh. Well I just see inventor/R&D as one of the many various possible jobs, and where the invention rolls (concept, prototype and bughunt) are actually what the job is about.

I'm currently working as a (junior) programmer and the criteria of doing the job OK is whether (a) the new requested feature works as requested and (b) does so without bugs/gross resource-hogging/exploit holes/etc. Other programmers would occasionally read and comment on the code, but that's a matter of increasing my skills, not affecting efficiency assessment or anything like that.

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Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
Political work seems to be an area that GURPS has explicitly called out as requiring different skills depending on whether getting re-elected (their "performance appraisal") or doing an actual job-related task. But logically, it can't be the only one, unless SJG for some reason is holding a grudge against politicians.
Why wouldn't anyone hold a grudge against politicians?
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:23 PM   #40
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Default Re: Realistic Invention Rule

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Why wouldn't anyone hold a grudge against politicians?
Only when the grudge gets in the way of holding something more dangerous against them...
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