Thursday, May 14, 2020

How Big is My Medieval City?

Have you ever wondered how big your medieval community should be? As in, how long does it take to circle the walls? How long to run across? How thinly spread are these archers on the walls? I was wanted this for a game the other day, and found a scholarly article on the subject.

We now have an equation, and tables:

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Robots as Spaceships: Common Chassis


In spaceships, the certain basic builds come up again and again. This is especially true of robots as spaceships. A lot of robots will want to use the minimal wheeled system, and basic humanoid robots will show up again and again. In this article, we will name these combinations, and list their statistics, so we don't have to specify "1 wheeled drivetrain, 1 power cell, 3 miniaturized armor systems, and a control system" every time we want to talk about the minimum wheeled robot. We'll just say "The wheel bot", and possibly link to this article.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Robots as Spaceships: Flyers

Not all robots are bound to the ground or to the water. Some of them can fly! Here we look at the various options Gurps: Spaceships provides for atmospheric locomotion.  Some options we might want are missing: propeller systems are the most notable. Others we want to adjust the stats on a little, and still others we just want to understand properly. Most of the time we will be adjusting speeds down in the name of modeling real or fictional vehicles: the new lower speed we call "Downshifted".

While this article is part of robots as spaceships, its probably just as useful when building vehicles, and I suspect I'll come back to it more in that context than for robots.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Robots as Spaceships: Quadcopters

In the last decade or so, consumer robotics has aquired an all star: the Quadcoptor. When we talk about a drone now adays, we're almost always talking about a quadcopter. Perhaps no robot has ever been produced in such numbers and made so available to the public.

In our Robots as spaceships system, this just means we need to use the helicoptor rotors from Spaceships 7, right? Well, we could. But quadcopters don't have the same performance as real helicoptor rotors, and they have very different costs and mechanics. They don't cost the same amount, and they don't move in the same way. Quadcopters use a very different steering mechanism from traditional helicopters. Helicoptors steer mechanically using "swashplates", while quadcopters vary their power to different propellers. The Quadcoptor method is more difficult to pilot and less power efficient than a true helicopter. Its also much simpler and cheaper to produce, and with modern electronics, piloting it is no longer a major issue.

So lets build a system for quadcopters in spaceships.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Robots As Spaceships: Swimmers

As a sequel to terrestrial motive systems, we will be looking at aquatic motive systems. This time, we will be looking less at cost, and more at speeds when using small size modifiers. We will be inspecting Ballast Tanks, Underwater Screws, Surface Screws, and Flexibody Drive-Trains. All of these systems are from Pyramid #3/34

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Robots as Spaceships: Terrestial Motive Systems

There are many jokes about physicists and frictionless vacuums. Space is the rare environment that is a frictionless vacuum, and that makes calculating spaceship movement strangely simple, if foreign to those accustomed to terrestrial movement. When on the ground, a host of forces acting on a vehicle create a complex environment to move through.

A complex environment many of us have an intuitive grasp of, and we notice when things are a bit off. We plan to use Spaceship's Motive systems in a lot of our robots, and its worth tweaking a few of the numbers.

In this article, we'll be looking at tracks, wheels, and legs, the simplest and most common motive systems for robots in fiction (along with hovering, which suspends disbelief about its performance along with everything else). Legs come from spaceships 4, while wheels and tracks come from Pyramid  3/34.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Robots as Spaceships: Responsive Movement


In our analysis of the Gunbot, we noticed two ways that robots could move. About half of them moved similar to humans, with a base move of 5 and a very similar top speed. They could move as far as they wanted in any direction, but they had a very low top speed. They moved like a person. The other Robots have very small base moves but much larger total moves. They took a few seconds to get up to speed. This sort of movement we will call "train-like".

Spaceships uses train-like movement, with the minor exception of leg systems, which start off person-like but get more train-like as leg systems are added. Its likely that both types of movement can be engineered and each will be engineered for different purposes.