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Old 11-25-2016, 12:07 AM   #101
Daigoro
 
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Time for a question pool recap.

So we have a nice number of standing questions, but only 1 knock-over fact-finding question. TGLS and tshiggens, did you want to append questions to your posts?

I'll add one new question to the pool as well, I neglected one after my tourism post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Open Question Pool

Question 34- Standing question on Tourist Destinations
What are popular tourist destinations?
- 3 of 5 entries

Question 38- Standing question on Hot Spots
What are the top 5-10 Global Trouble Spots, and which side are the British or other powers supporting?
- 2 entries of 5-10

Question 41- Standing question on Asia-Pacific Resistance Groups
What are some of the Chinese or Western Pacific indigenous resistance groups who fight the brutally oppressive occupations by the Japanese Empire?
- 1 entry of 5

Question 42- Standing question on Weaponry
What types of weaponry are commonly available for various countries' troops? And what advanced options are there? Who has the superior armaments?
- 12 weapon systems so far, with more promised (and I have one or two in the pipeline)

Question 44- Standing question on Everyday Tech
What everyday contraptions, devices or technology do denizens of the setting enjoy that we were deprived of in OTL, or deprived of today even? How is life different for the average middle-to-upper-class member of modern industrialised society?
- 3 items out of 10 (10 isn't too many, I hope)

Question 46- Standing question on Adventurer Groups
What organisations, groups, agencies, departments, corporations or security forces have teams, units or detachments of 3-6 operatives, agents, investigators or representatives ready to solve problems, dive into adventure or trounce rump, or otherwise to execute diabolical plans of immoral purpose?
- 4 of 8 entries

Question 47- Standing question on Heroes
Who are the five most famous living heroes, be them soldiers, explorers, scientists or police?
- 0 out of 5

Question 48- Standing question on Inventors
Which tinkerers and inventors would we see on the short-list for the Sir Alfred Nobel Prize for Excellence in Machinery Arts and Engineering? Who are five famous gadgeteers and what are they known for?
- 0 out of 5

Question 50- Wealthy Lifestyles
How do the wealthiest of the wealthy flaunt their fortunes?

Question 52- Computing
The Kingfisher has saved up a few million pounds and is looking to invest in some kind of calculating or logic machinery- and she hasn't decided yet whether it should go in the academy for the benefit of her students, or her secret base to aid in her own mission. As Lydia Florence Watford, she has canvassed some companies and universities for quotations. What has her research found?
IOW:What is the state of computing technology? Is there anything more advanced than TL5+1? What is top-of-the-line and what is available to install in secret bases, research centres or industrial complexes?
And the answer repository wiki was up-to-date yesterday, but there's been a little bit of action since then.
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Old 11-25-2016, 02:03 AM   #102
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Answer 38
Hot Spots
The North-eastern border territories
The Japanese settlements in Australia are primarily in the northern regions while the British towns and cities are in the south. The more tightly controlled north has access to the much of the wealth coming out of what is in OTL New Guinea. This surplus of wealth combined with the restrictions imposed by the Japanese empire provide a near perfect environment for smuggling to arise and develop. With fortunes to be made a war of escalating hide and evade tactics and technologies has bred faster airships, better camouflage and a host of specialized adaptations unseen in the rest of the world.

One thing has been discovered that might change the face of the world in the years to come. In the no mans land between the Empires of Japan and Britain a lost Welsh air captain stumbled across the Whaleback a twenty kilometer long lump of very pure iron ore that the British and the Japanese both want to have and both want to deny the other of.
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Old 11-25-2016, 02:10 AM   #103
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

To review for Qn 52, I think this is all that's been said about computers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TGLS View Post
Otherwise, superscience isn't really a thing in this setting. It mostly takes the form of limited superscience, i.e. steam-driven mechanical computers that could compete with electromechanical designs...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
While usually difficult to properly aim such a weapon, the Black Manta is equipped with miniaturised mechanical integrator-driven bombsights, giving the attack a deadly accuracy at the Kingfisher's skilled hands.
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Old 11-25-2016, 02:30 AM   #104
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numbering Q 52 for computers
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Old 11-25-2016, 02:49 AM   #105
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Oops, thought I'd checked that.
Fixed.
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Old 11-25-2016, 08:34 AM   #106
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Re Question 46: have London's paranormal investigating nobles been included in the count? If not, that would mean we have 5 out of 8 adventuring groups.
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Old 11-25-2016, 09:03 AM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald Cat View Post
Re Question 46: have London's paranormal investigating nobles been included in the count? If not, that would mean we have 5 out of 8 adventuring groups.
Yep, I paraphrased what was already stated for Team 46a, so it's still only 4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
Answer 46a)
London Metropolitan Police Force's Informal Working Unit on Witchcraft

A group of noble dilettantes appointed to investigate cases of witchcraft as a public relations and political exercise, but who have actually discovered the real existence of witchcraft. Have now tasked themselves with dealing with it without seeming to deal with it.

Answer 46b)- Lydia Florence Watford's Academy of Mechanical Studies for Young Ladies
Answer 46c)- Sir Adrian's Discretionary Parties
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Beckenstein View Post
Answer 46d-Sonderueberpruefungsgruppe 4 (SUG 4)
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:10 PM   #108
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I offer you a tourist destination and hotspot, combined!

Tourist Destination
Answer 34d)- Monsieur Max Rien's Meditative Retreat at Wat Mekh, Province of Vientiane

Formerly an officer of the French Légion Étrangère, Mssr Rien is the co-owner and operator of this monastic retreat in the north-western foothills of the Annamese Cordillera, about 150 miles from Vientiane city. The monastery, perched dramatically atop a volcanic spire [much like this one, but wider], caters to the well-off adult children of the British and Continental privileged classes who prefer to engage in more spiritual or artistic pursuits as part of their Eurasion Grand Tour. It is surrounded by dense jungle and rough highland terrain.

The entrepreneurial spiritualist noticed the abandoned monastery while on patrol serving in the then French protectorate of Vientiane Province. When the French withdrew, Rien, who if truth be known, was not exactly the stoutest of soldier material, retired from the Légion and made a partnership with his older cousin Lorraine, who herself had just returned from New Orleans with a small fortune from breeding cattle, and established the resort, converting the existing structures to more comfortable guest lodgings and adding modern amenities, such as a power plant and docking tower. They rely little on the local infrastructure for supplies, instead getting regular long-distance cargo deliveries from Hong Kong.

The Monsieur teaches his own brand of pseudo-Buddhist spiritualism featuring large amounts of meditation and self-exploration. Guests at the retreat are from a blend of nationalities, and are generally able to put aside any national rivalries, which helps maintain a peaceful and studious atmosphere.

Located as it is though, Wat Mekh is near the epicentre of a brewing mess of conflicts in the region. The local provincial forces are nominally pro-Japanese, not wishing to upset the regional masters, and are engaged with local resistance forces in a protracted guerrilla war. A Japanese zaibatsu is looking to establish a foothold to exploit the large tracts of highly-coveted East Indian rosewood growing in the ranges and will eventually decide that quelling citizen uprisings would be more profitable for their ledgerbooks. Meanwhile, to the north, a Zhuang warlord is sending troops toward the area in his own claim for territory.

Madame Lorraine, the more business-minded of the two, saw this conflict as an opportunity to appeal to a more voyeuristic breed of clientele, and started offering aerial tours over nearby battle sites. These war-tourists don't mind paying an extra penny and they come a long way for the pleasure of floating above an active combat zone, while sipping on vermouth, supping on canapés and observing the bloodshed below through powerful field glasses.

However, this tourist destination centred in a strife-torn hotspot has itself become a….

Hotspot
Answer 38d)- Wat Mekh Hostage Situation

Standing atop a 2000 foot high volcanic pillar, and only reachable from the ground by a long, precarious 800-step rock-hewn stairway, the owners of this monastic tourist retreat, the Cousins Rien, were confident that they could stay isolated from the strife and trouble in the surrounding area. However, the leader of the Emerald Cobra rebel guerrilla brigade, P-Lek, saw the resort as a plum prize ready for the taking, expecting the rich foreigners to at least fetch grand ransoms, but better still to be used for negotiating a list of demands from the provincial governor.

The guerrillas were able to scale the peak and dispatch the light security force without too much effort in one night. They now have some 80 guests and 30 staff held hostage, many of them offspring of some rather wealthy and influential personages, from a dozen European countries. The guerrilla commander has the peak surrounded with nine anti-airship cannon emplacements, forming a cone of fire above the peak that would be impossible to land in. In fact, the next supply drop is four days away, so the outside world has yet to be notified of the situation. When it does come to everyone's attention though, what will happen next?
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:50 PM   #109
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Question 52:
What is the state of computing in this setting?

Answer to Question 52:
Portable mechanical computers are common but are fairly primitive. Mechanical calculators can carry out integer addition, subtraction, and multiplication. State of the art calculators are capable of dealing with decimals and division. Sliderules are common among engineers and inventors because of their versatility.

Encryption is almost always carried out mechanically. Enigma machine like devices have been achieved using clockworks. Spies prefer more portable methods.

Currently computing technology utilizes steam-driven mechanical computers that are TL 5+1. Fast Mainframe computers are the smallest possible mechanical computers available. However, for practical purposes, Fast Macroframe and Fast Megacomputers are necessary.

Fast Macroframe computers are most common. These car sized machines cost $20,000,000, can run Complexity 2 programs, and have 100 KB of memory. Programs are highly specialized to reduce their requisite Complexity by 1. This enables macroframes to run basic programs for Average, Hard, and Very Hard skills. Primitive databases have been developed but are rare. Typical customers include the government, major corporations, and universities.

Fast Megacomputers are possible but exorbitantly expensive. These occupy entire buildings and cost $200,000,000 to build! However, they can achieve Complexity 3 and 1 MB of memory. Base time for breaking typical encryptions is about 34 days with this much processing power. So far, computer companies have been unwilling to submit megacomputer proposals due to their expense.

Input, output, and data storage is handled using punch cards. Computer centers are hot due to convection. Early facilities also had problems with humidity due to escaped steam. Paper punch cards would dissolve in such an environment. Metal foils became the standard for punch cards in this setting. Foil punch cards remain the standard even though computer piping is sealed well enough that humidity isn't a problem. 1000 KB of storage costs $30 and weighs 2 lbs.

Lydia Watford's results
I had to do several conversions to figure out how much money Lydia has in GURPS dollars. Using the Historical Currency Converter online calculator, I determined that 1 British Pound (1911) is worth 114.43 USD(2016). Converting this figure to 2004 dollars, I get that 1 British Pound (1911) is worth about 89.42 USD(2004). To keep things simple, I'll use an exchange rate of 1 British Pound (1911) per 90 GURPS dollars. I'm going to assume that Lydia has 4 million British Pounds to spend on this project.

Lydia decides to contact British Mechanical Computing Products (BMCP) about commissioning a computer. Fortunately, Lydia was a burning edge adopter of the pneumophone. That will save her a drive out to the company's offices. Lydia looks up BMCP's phone number in her phone book and enters it on the pneumphones rotary dial.

After the phone whistles for about a minute, Lydia hears a click and a bored male voice addresses her:

"British Mechanical Computing Products. What do you want?"

Lydia is taken aback by his rudeness, but decides to press forward. "...Hello. My name is Lydia Watford-"

"THE Lydia Watford?!"

"Yes-"

"I'm a big fan of your work! What can I do you for today?!"

"I've been wanting to introduce a programming course at my school. I've written programs before. But I don't know how to build a programmable computer myself. I was looking to commission a mechanical computer so that I could offer a programming course."

"Excellent! I was getting bored with repair jobs. Not as tedious as filling in for Margaret, mind you. Can't wait until she gets over that cold. Anyhow, we could build you a programmable computer. Assuming you already have space for it, it would cost about 230,000 pounds."

"I do have a room set aside for it. Does the computer come programmed?"

"We do offer a wide variety of programs separately. Most of them are for mathematical analyses. Writing your own programs would save you a lot of money, though."

"Thank you, that's good to know. What would this computer be capable of?"

"Your computer will be capable of accurately and quickly carrying out tedious calculations. This is very helpful for engineering, mathematics, and physics. Computers are also useful tools for cryptography. In fact, our computers could brute force most ciphers in a year!"

"That's a long time. Can't you build a faster computer?"

"I've designed a much faster computer. It could brute force an encrypted message in a month! But nobody is interested. My boss complained that there is no market for building sized computers."

"Having a faster computer would be nice. How much would it cost?"

"2.3 million pounds. That includes constructing a new building for the computer."

"OK. I'd like to buy your 'mega' computer. I'd also like to buy two of your regular computers. When would be a good time to finalize the contract?"

"Let my check her calendar...Would next Monday at 15 o'clock work for you?"

"That would be great."

"Great! See you then!"

"Looking forward to it! Good bye."

"Bye!"

Lydia spends 2.3 million pounds on the megacomputer, and 230,000 pounds on each macroframe computer. In total, she will spend ~2.8 million pounds. This leaves her with 1.2 million pounds to absorb cost overruns and buy programs.

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Lydia commissioned a "mega" computer to speed up her engineering work. In reality, that super computer will mainly be used to collect blackmail material and crack coded communications. She plans to use her personal macroframe computer to generate engineering analyses and keep up appearances. At her school, she will use the other macroframe to find programming talents among her students.

Ominously, the most powerful computer in the world will rest in the hands of a criminal...
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Old 11-25-2016, 01:17 PM   #110
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald Cat View Post

(SNIP)

Lydia Watford's results
I had to do several conversions to figure out how much money Lydia has in GURPS dollars. Using the Historical Currency Converter online calculator, I determined that 1 British Pound (1911) is worth 114.43 USD(2016). Converting this figure to 2004 dollars, I get that 1 British Pound (1911) is worth about 89.42 USD(2004). To keep things simple, I'll use an exchange rate of 1 British Pound (1911) per 90 GURPS dollars. I'm going to assume that Lydia has 4 million British Pounds to spend on this project.

(SNIP)
Whoops, my ticket prices for passage on the Himalaya Clipper are off by an order of magnitude. I was assuming inflation had devalued modern currency to a tenth of its value about a century ago (and a universe apart), and not a hundredth.

I've changed the prices by dropping a zero off the end, and then I doubled that. That still makes them very expensive, but not stupidly so. That means a single First Class tickets costs 2-3 months pay for a middle-class clerk or tradesman, and that's what I was eyeballing.

Thanks for figuring this out. It really helps, a lot!
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