Sunday, January 31, 2016

Asteroid Farming/Mining

I came across this great article via Marrekie's astounding gallery on DeviantArt.

It is jam packed with awesome designs/concepts from rollers and crawlers to techs and mechs.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Ship Shape

This amazing link was just sent to me by my friend and host of

It randomly constructs a polygon spaceship. You can keep clicking "Build It" or refresh the page to generate one after another. You can even name your own vessel.

Flip, twist, spin, and zoom for hours and hours!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Traveller Character Generator

Admittedly, I have never played Traveller before. I bought the rule book, couldn't really get into it, and decided to trade it in for something else.

But this little beauty has been devouring my time lately!  
MegaTraveller Basic Character Generator

I just can't stop rolling out characters:
An evil genius doctor that got away with murder and unlocked the key to (near) agelessness.
A nine-fingered rogue/smuggler that saves a diplomat's daughter from slave traders.
A blade-wielding mercenary with serious impulse control problems that likes to collect trophies.
A shy and awkward brainiac that serves as the private surgeon to navy officers. By age 34 he's already been decorated with the Naval Regal Cross and the Imperial Shield of Valor.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ion the Horizon

I have had spaceship design on the brain lately, which led me to think about ion engines as sub-lightspeed travel. 
If you think of space travel as a marathon, not a sprint, then you also need to think about what people would do to fill the countless hours, days, weeks, etc. Think of it as the longest road trip ever.
If you had a hyperspace jump drive that allowed FTL travel, think of the adventures you'd miss along the way.
So how fast (or slow) are we talking here? Well when you figure that the speed of light is 300,000 km/sec, then the paltry 20-50 km/sec of an ion engine seems abysmally slow. 

Currently built with a lifetime of approximately 20,000 hours, ion thrusters could burn for about 833.33 days or 2.28 years.
And if the exhaust velocity reaches its maximum range of 50 km/sec or 180,000 km/hour (111,846.5 mph) that means you could travel 3,600,000,000 km (2,236,936,292 miles) in the lifetime of that particular ion engine. Even if you could only achieve a "slow burn" of 20 km/sec (44,739 mph) that would still carry you 1 billion 440 million miles. Maybe you could squeeze a few more million miles out of it since you're not burning as hot.

If the speed and distance are too much to wrap your head around, think of it in terms of scale.
The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles. Rounding that up to 25,000 miles, you could still circle the planet 57,600 times. But who wants to only drive around the block when you can get on the open road and really let the ponies run?
The moon is 238,900 miles away. You could get there in just a little over 2 hours.
It took Neil Armstrong over 4 days.
Let's say you wanted to swing by the future colony on Mars, which is about 35 million miles away.
It would take you 13 days. Ok, that road trip is starting to get wearisome. That's like driving from LA to NYC and back.
But let's say you have a spacious RV with lots of room to stretch out and all the high-tech, time-suck gadgets of a deep-space faring civilization. And like the best road trip mix of tunes ever!
You are going to push to the very edge of our solar system - 7 billion 440 million miles.
You'd get there in 7.59 years and you'd have to change out your engine 5 times. Let's hope you have James T. Kirk's Triple A card.

By the way, instead of a little hula girl on your dashboard you have a Buzz Lightyear bobble head.

Curvaceous Cargo

Because I was bored and looking for something fun to do, and because I'm a nerd that thinks "fun" is using dice roll generators to plot the probability curve of sci-fi cargo, I have modified my original 2d10 cargo curve.

The NEW version:

2. livestock
3. raw materials: ore, lumber, plastics, chemicals
4. manufactured goods and textiles
5. simple electrical/mechanical parts
6. advanced/assembled electronics and machines
7. robotics and cybernetics
8. polymers and synthetics
9. medical supplies: diagnostics, vitamins, vaccines
10. foodstuffs: seeds, spices, alcohol, preservatives
11. petrochemicals, fuel cells, propellant
12. weapons, ammunition, explosives
13. precious metals and silicates
14. radioactive materials/waste
15. luxury items
16. exotic items
17. stolen items
18. illegal weapons and modifications
19. illegal drugs, chemicals, exotics
20. human cargo: slaves, wetware, corpses

I changed the layout specifically based on what I thought would be the most likely cargo - fuel.
Then to either side of that I arranged medicine, food, weapons, and precious metals. I think that about covers it for the five most common things you'd find in a ships hold.
I figured the least likely things would be livestock and human cargo (not the paying passenger type).
If you can't tell, I had Firefly in mind quite a bit when I crafted this.

And in saving the best for last, I recently came across this Star Citizen: MISC Freelancer video.

Friday, June 27, 2014

C.A.P. versus Superium

Back in April 2013 I posted about the great Superium that runs vast sectors of the galaxy.

And if sci-fi shows like Firefly, Star Wars, and Star Trek (or just plain old good storytelling) have taught us anything, it's that the great and powerful government needs some upstarts to maintain a standing conflict.

Thus I have settled on the Superium's adversaries - the C.A.P. (Confederation of Allied Planets).

Obviously I couldn't use "the Federation" without immediately conjuring Star Trek connections. Besides, I don't particularly like the notion of a federation. When I think of the Fed I think of: over-reaching, arrogant, taxation, and otherwise meddling for meddling's sake.

But I also couldn't call it "the Confederacy" without blundering into associations with the South in the U.S. Civil War.

Perhaps, like myself, you need an easy comparison between a Confederation and Federation.
Think of the United States when they were in fact just that. United states. Before the formation of the federal government, the original colonies chose to operate together for a greater good/benefit.

A confederation is voluntary. A federation isn't necessarily.
A confederation lacks a powerful core, instead being governed by a council of sovereign entities.
A federation typically has a centralized "seat of power" like a Presidency or Chancellor.
In a confederation the system only lasts so long as the various parts decide to participate. This hopefully leads to more cooperation because the entire thing crumbles if agreeable terms aren't met and maintained for everyone.
In a federation, the votes are tallied and the law becomes the binding "agreement" which must then be enforced and upheld, even if you were one of them that got out-voted.
A confederation grants a certain amount of autonomy to its member states to govern themselves in matters of customs, trade, law, etc. They operate together in terms of protecting the whole by protecting the parts.
A federation typically controls several aspects of its participants from economic concerns to housing, travel, and education. A norm/average is expected to be upheld for everyone, like it or not. And certain cities or regions are given priority status, while others are ignored.

I was thinking of calling it the Coalition of Allied Planets, but that is much too informal to operate in large numbers. A coalition is generally on a much smaller scale, say a dozen individuals. They work together for a short time to meet a short term coal. Think of it like a small community of farmers all pitching in to plant, tend, and harvest a variety of crops to be held in a central storehouse. That might help them last through a few hard winters, but it's not necessary forever.

So the background could be that the C.A.P. started as a loose coalition to repel a common threat - pirates, slavers, smugglers, what have you. Over the years they realized the benefit of continuing to work together in defense of their homes and trade routes. Gradually they formalized into the Confederacy of Allied Planets. It maintains peace among them as neighbors because a war between them would harm both and benefit none.

There you have it, the Confederation versus the Superium.