Sunday, July 31, 2011

Assemble one Economy

Now that we have our solar system more or less laid out, let's continue looking into the economy. Broadly speaking, the economy exists to transform time into spaceships with which to blast the enemy. Consequently, in broad strokes let's try and figure out what goes into spaceships.

There are only a few really vital characteristics to a warship. From my previous post, the interesting ones are:

How hard it hits
How many hits it can take
How accurately it fires
How fast it can move
How much it can carry

The question here is, how do you achieve those characteristics, and what materials do you need so to do?

How hard it hits:
Nuclear weapons. Your standard atom bomb has a hollow sphere of plutonium in the middle, surrounded by a soccer ball array of high explosives, which have some complicated electronic triggering mechanism. Then you stick it in a steel shell so it doesn't fall apart, and a rocket engine on the back to get it where you want it to go. (the bomb detonates by blowing the high explosives to crush the plutonium into a very small nugget, which then hits critical mass. It's bombarded by neutrons, and all hell breaks loose.)
So, in a materials checklist we have: Plutonium, High Explosives, Advanced Electronics, Steel, and a Rocket Engine.

What's in a rocket engine? Let's skip down to

How fast it can move

I'm thinking of these ships moving due to advanced fusion motors. What makes them advanced? My say so. Also, if you install a Langston Field into a heat engine you can get some interesting properties. If you stop over once again at the incontestably useful Project Rho, you learn that one of the main factors that affects the feasibility of engines is not letting your engine melt due to waste heat. If we run our fusion reactions inside an inverted Langston field, the energy from the reaction is absorbed and emitted only inwards; we can sustain all kinds of scary high energy reactions without damaging our ship or crew. Just leave a hole open in the back so that you can go rocketing along. (I haven't run the numbers proper just yet, but I expect I'll work off of this type of engine)

Anyways, an engine includes Fuel, Reaction Mass and a Langston Field generator. Since I mentioned the ability for spaceships to generate their own hydrogen supplies (again with that field. You see why I try to keep my miracle devices to a minimum?), I think we'll qualify both fuel and reaction mass as Hydrogen, allowing us to move on to

How many hits it can take

Which is entirely dependent on the properties of a Langston Field generator. So I guess I've got to 'fess up to what's actually in these things. You ready?

Exotic Materials.

No, I don't have any idea how one of those things ought to work either. Moving along;

How accurately it fires

Since we're pretty much entirely talking about missiles, we're asking what a missile needs to connect with it's target. It needs to find a potential target, identify as friend or foe, measure relative positions, velocities and accelerations and modify it's own vectors to collide with said target. It also needs something to tell it precisely when to detonate.

All that I'm going to sum up in my previous category of Advanced Electronics. Convenient. One last warship category:

How much it can carry

Seeing as cargo space is mostly empty volume, we can ignore this category. Or, in a move that saves me some rewriting on this post, we can talk about what the ship needs to carry some of it's more vital components; people.

People require some basic things to live. Food, water, air, access to the internet. At least those first three. In the context of our discussion, our spaceships have to be able to carry a basic livable habitat for the people. In resource terms, I'm going to shoehorn all of that into Organics; I'm looking to build game pieces not actual starships. Note though, that a troop transport ship will require a whole lot more life support than an ore freighter.

There are also considerations involving the ship itself; you need a steel framework to hold the various pieces together (you could go with titanium or some such, but with the Langston field providing the defense, you really only need enough structure to hold the thing together. Steel is still cheapest.) You need some vast, complicated bridge with a huge glass window and oddly shaped chairs and large computer banks with blinking lights on them. There are other features that are useful for maintenance, Medbays, Machine shops, the sergeant's illicit still, that sort of stuff. But broadly speaking, they fall under the same resource categories. To sum up:
Organics, Steel, Advanced Electronics

Let's list out those resource types for all the categories:
High Explosives
Advanced Electronics
Exotic Materials

Seven types of resource. Can we pare that list down at all? Sure. For starters, let's just pretend the High Explosives don't exist. (Side note: this is not a winning legal defense.) Furthermore, Plutonium is only a component on the bomb side of things. If we upgrade to H-bombs, we still need a plutonium detonation to trigger the hydrogen explosion. I suppose I could just say "Future!" and hand wave that away. I think I'd rather shoehorn it into the Exotics category. One more; Hydrogen, while it's useful to remember it's there, can be safely ignored. That brings us down to four categories:


I'm going to add in one more category:


Or possibly Money. I'm less certain about this one than the others. While I don't want to get into all the details of financing (buy war bonds!) I want to provide a resource that can be expended to ease tension between other resource amounts. So, if you don't have enough Electronics one week you can expend a certain amount of Metals and Labor to turn it into Electronics. Or if you need more steel, you can expend labor to boost it up wholesale from Earth's gravity well. (Remember, the cheapest way to get steel in space is to start with steel that's already up there; thus the asteroid mining and so forth. You can stick some on a Saturn V rocket and send it up to the orbital factories, but that'll cost you.)

It also allows us to gather resources from locations that wouldn't have them normally, or produce the wrong type. There's a small settlement on Mars; not large enough to pull things out of the gravity well. So what good is it? It produces Labor.

As with most things at this stage of the game, these resources aren't set in stone. Except for the metals, which are probably an ore in some obscure asteroid right now. Next time I get back to this topic We'll go over a map of the solar system and discuss what gets produced where, and how much.

No comments:

Post a Comment