July 27th, 2008

marcus 2013

Today's progress report

Well, yesterday's really...

Organized everything so far for the distribution CD.

Working on the assumption that any changes I get from Jo will be on the order of a few lines at a time rather than causing document-wide changes, I've done all the page links and bookmarks etc. in the PDF - at least a couple of hundred of them. If I do need to make changes I'll print out the relevant pages to PDF and edit them in, rather than starting from scratch, unless it's too major for that.

Thought about making a start on the other content of the full FF CD-ROM, but decided I need a bit of a break from HTML, so instead I've had a first preliminary play with some deck plans for Planets of Peril, the Weinbaum game. I'm thinking rockets. 1930s atomic rockets, of course, with pointy noses, vaguely Freudian bulges, wings, etc. Here's my first stab at the blunt end, just the engines themselves for now, eventually there will be pipes, fuel tanks, etc. It's all a bit tentative but I think they'll look OK - the height of this image is the width of a letter-format page, so each engine is about 10ft wide in the standard sort of figure scale. The whole ship will probably be the length of five pieces of letter paper, with a couple of big wings on separate pages, mostly one deck but two around the middle third.

Blurriness on the full-sized view is again down to jpeg comopression, they don't exist in the PDF.

I'll have to reread Weinbaum before I get into too much detail, of course, I need to put together everything he says about ship design and work out how it's all supposed to work. I know that the engines are atomic, fairly safe to handle, and fairly small, for example - the hero of one story salvages one from a crashed rocket and gives it to a Martian - I'm probably erring on the side of way too big, but it's a start.
marcus 2013

Quick reality check...

Anyone who uses a Windows PC and Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, DOESN'T use internet explorer as your default browser, and has a document around with some internet links in it [1]. I'd be very grateful if you could open the document, click on a link, and tell me whether it opens in your default browser or Internet Exploder.

Many thanks!

[1] http://www.forgottenfutures.com/game/rules/ffutures.pdf is such a document if you need one.

later - four responses, all showing that Acrobat is using the default browser, NOT IE. Sounds like something wrong here

Later still - cracked by sbisson; my default browser in "set program access and defaults" was "use current browser" not "Use Opera." And a while ago I was having trouble with a site and set Opera to identify itself as Internet Explorer. So Acrobat tries to open the pages in the "current browser" but reads it as IE, not Opera, and opens the wrong browser.
marcus 2013

Abstract spaceship construction

Something I've been thinking about for Planets of Peril. I've written spaceship design rules and could do so again. But realistically, there is no way an individual would buy a spaceship - they'd mostly be owned by big corporations, or banks with the "owner" in hock up to his eyeballs.

Therefore someone running a ship will be an employee, or paying off a debt, or in some other situation where the important thing isn't "How much did it all cost?" and "how much does it all weigh to the nearest kilogram" but "how much am I spending / making right now?"

Therefore there is really no need for me to include complicated spaceship design rules for the Weinbaum thing.

What I'm thinking of, instead, is a range of modular components (e.g. "Engine compartment with three engines", "Six-tank fuel module", "Cargo bay 25 tons", "Crew compartment for 2/5/10 crew", "passenger compartment (luxurt)", "Wings" etc., each acting as some sort of performance and costs multiplier. E.g. Wings give your ship the ability to glide to a landing in atmosphere - you can't land on a world with an atmosphere without them - but they add to running costs and reduce acceleration. Fuel tanks add to range but you have to have a full load of tanks or the whole ship is unbalanced, and they cost money and reduce acceleration. More engines add to acceleration but put up the costs big-time. And so forth.

So you start off with a basic running cost of say $100 a month (why not?), look at all your components, and multiply the modifiers together to give a final running cost and performance. If you actually want to know the original cost of everything, multiply the final running cost by 1000.

The idea I have here is to have all of these components in printable deck plan form, with the cutouts fitting together mostly end to end but also on the sides. E.g. there will be basic engine pods similar to the picture I posted yesterday with one, two, or three engines, a fuel tank pod with separate tanks (and possibly an option to add external drop tanks or something, wings, etc. etc.

I'd also have small playing-card sized versions with the values for referees (or players) to use to design ships.

Now, this is such an obvious idea that I have to wonder if there's already an RPG or card game that uses it. Anyone know?