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Old 07-22-2018, 01:41 AM   #1
Alonsua's Avatar
Join Date: May 2017
Default Exhaustive list of engineering

I would like to make an exhaustive list of engineer specialties for the game.

Acoustical Engineering
Aerospace Engineering
Agricultural Engineering
Automotive Engineering
Biological Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Computer Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Energy Engineering
Engineering Management
Environmental Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Manufacturing Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
Structural Engineering
Vehicle Engineering

This is what I got from a google search, but I guess it is not exhaustive since GURPS then takes the Biological Engineering and makes things such as "Cloning", "Genetic", etc. and there are more things such as Software Engineering.
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Old 07-22-2018, 04:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Exhaustive list of engineering

I'm afraid that real-world engineering is not organised into a neat structure of specialisations. Some fields are subsets of others, some cross boundaries between GURPS specialisations, and so on. The list also changes with TL, as new fields appear and other disappear.

The best you can do is make a list of the GURPS specialisations for a particular setting, and that's quite hard.
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Old 07-22-2018, 05:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Exhaustive list of engineering

Originally Posted by Alonsua View Post
an exhaustive list of engineer specialties for the game.
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
for a particular setting
This is a key point. You might attempt an exhaustive list for a setting, just one game you might play with your house rules, and which might well get changed for the next. The weakest claim in the GURPS acronym is "Universal", simply because covering anything anyone might want to do in an RPG is so impossibly broad. For instance, I notice the proposed list omits Paratemporal Engineering, for designing Infinity Worlds conveyors and other paratime tech, and also completely forgets Megastructure Engineering for Dyson spheres or Kardashev III galaxy shells. Then there's Spacetime Engineering for constructing truly big or tiny projects like wormholes, Tipler machines, or some of the works in Baxter's Ring series.

You don't want those in your intended game for your setting? Fine; leave them out. That's exactly how GURPS rules approach universality -- by having that toolkit of rules and options from which you chose when you're doing worldbuilding. But if you intend to do a drop-the-mic definitive end-of-story list to rule them all, then there's quite a lot of work ahead. Probably wiser to leave that task for individual GMs doing their worldbuilding.

While we're on the topic, I recall from the descriptions in another thread that "Mechatronics" was the engineering skill for "anything that goes into a mecha". That makes it the opposite of an engineering specialization; it's a generalization or fusion of several relevant specialties into one for convenience. A similar example would be for starships. The "fix anything" sort of ship engineer that's so popular winds up with a number of Engineering skills -- unless the GM simply doesn't care about that level of detail as being not particularly relevant to his game, and just says "Engineering" (with or without !) covers it all, rather than expecting separate skills to cover the systems for power, electronics, mechanical, armory, and so on. The granularity and detail of a skill list is determined as much by the intended focus of a game as anything else. Is "Petroleum Engineering" really a fundamental cornerstone of "Engineering", or it is just something we happen to do a lot of in the real world at TL 6-7-8, that in TL3 England or TL 10 Panfederation Space will be just a curious sub-field of Chemical Engineering? And if the game is set in the real world in TL 6-7-8, are the characters going to need to make Petroleum Engineering rolls in the course of the game, or is their closest contact with the subject going to be remembering to fill up the getaway car before the big chase scene?

Not all games can sweep everything away with the Broom of Rule of Cool and still reach their intended feel. Not all games can spend their limited player time on niggling differences between three dozen slight variants of the same item, whether that's an engineering specialization or a 9mm auto pistol.

All that said, if you're looking for sources, then look at the online catalog for some engineering schools (MIT, Cal Tech, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Carnegie-Mellon, Purdue... and apologies to those outside of the US for not including your schools) and see what degrees they offer, and what specialties they offer within those degrees at the master's and PhD level. (You'll find they change every so often, not just because "tech level" changes, so you might want to pick a particular year for comparing catalogs.)

Last edited by Anaraxes; 07-22-2018 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:19 PM   #4
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Location: Colorado Springs
Default Re: Exhaustive list of engineering

Robotic engineering? Sounds better than "mechatronics", and is certainly more consistent.

Petroleum engineering is usually a subset of chemical, but a buddy of mine is a petroleum engineer and, oddly, specialized in cementing boreholes.

Sanitation engineering? Sort of a subset of environmental, though.

I think that vehicle engineering is usually called "automotive engineering". I think.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Exhaustive list of engineering

Some years ago, C and I went to a wizard wrock concert, and the people in line ahead of us told us that Ravenclaws were electrical engineers, Griffindors were mechanical engineers, Hufflepuffs were civil engineers, and Slytherins were chemical engineers. . . .
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Old 07-22-2018, 02:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Exhaustive list of engineering

Originally Posted by acrosome View Post
Robotic engineering? Sounds better than "mechatronics", and is certainly more consistent.
Mechatronics isn't robotics, it's a mix of mechanical, electronics, communications and design. The engineer that designs the infrastructure in a large building, elevators, air handling etc. is mechatronics.
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Old 07-22-2018, 03:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Exhaustive list of engineering

It's a bit of fool's errand, because most engineering disciplines can be subdivided almost indefinitely. In computer design, for instance, the guys who design CPUs and the guys who design motherboards both usually have electrical engineering degrees, but when you're staffing a microcomputer company, you care about the differences between silicon engineers and the board engineers - and there are sub-specialties within silicon engineering that matter for the silicon guys and are a bit opaque to outsiders.[1]

Regardless of that, your list is missing marine engineering/naval architecture. And apparently the aerospace guys distinguish between the structural guys and the avionics guys, similar to the general split between mechanical and electrical engineers.

[1] Just like a computer company might have a bunch of programmers, that are divided up into firmware developers, OS/kernel developers, OS/driver developers, diagnostics developers, compiler developers, library developers, and application developers, most of whom could transfer to another sub-specialty but are most comfortable at their primary role. But if you're not a programmer, all those different specialties are just programming.
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