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Future Tech Advice and Assistance Thread [O.O.C.]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]

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Nevertopia
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Postby Nevertopia » Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:51 am

The Disorder wrote:I was reading through the corresponding post-modern tech thread (viewtopic.php?f=5&t=376203) and the first page contains some neat stuff about armored trains. That got me thinking about trains & planet-side logistical infrastructure - and if futuretech trains would be practical.

If I apply the same technology that my nation's hovertanks use to civilian/industrial vehicles, very high-velocity hovertrains might exist. Multiple independently-powered vehicles could be coupled together into a long chain, with a few cars carrying giant reactors to improve the performance of the entire train.

These trains might not even require tracks - just appropriately flat surfaces to serve as makeshift roads. Slight changes in slope wouldn't seriously affect a vehicle that has a hovering height of several centimeters, so the amount of surface-smoothing that needs to be done could be minimal. With some good industrial-scale plasma torches to carve out reasonably flat & glassed-over roads, it could become trivially cheap & easy to make paths for high-velocity hovertrains.

The Disorder's vehicular hovering technology will also work over water. Driving across an ocean might be practical, although the technology doesn't get great tractive force when operating on liquid surfaces, and it's probably a good idea to avoid storms & really intense wave activity.


based on current real world trends Drones will become the next big mainstay of modern warfare. I doubt trains would be better than drones in some sort of mobile theatre supply line.
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Qhevak
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Postby Qhevak » Sat Feb 13, 2021 1:30 am

The Disorder wrote:I was reading through the corresponding post-modern tech thread (viewtopic.php?f=5&t=376203) and the first page contains some neat stuff about armored trains. That got me thinking about trains & planet-side logistical infrastructure - and if futuretech trains would be practical.

In terms of planetside civilian logistical infrastructure I don't see any reason why trains wouldn't be practical in most FT civilizations. Unless you have cheap teleportation portals or something a train is pretty much the most energy efficient means of getting large loads from one place to another at a reasonably fast pace. Most large habs in Qhevak have large internal train/tram systems for mass transit - mostly maglev type systems though Hyperloop-esque configurations are used in some larger ones.
Last edited by Qhevak on Sat Feb 13, 2021 1:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Semi-Hard SF Anarchotranshumanist association of Oort cloud space habitats - basically all of these ideologies living together. A 6.7 civilization according to this index. Does not use NS stats. Wiki here.
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Kyrusia
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Capitalizt

Postby Kyrusia » Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:19 pm

I reckon the solution is autonomous trains.

And if it's not a solution, I would like the ride to stop, please.
Last edited by Kyrusia on Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Vocenae
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Postby Vocenae » Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:44 pm

Kyrusia wrote:I reckon the solution is autonomous trains.

And if it's not a solution, I would like the ride to stop, please.


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The Disorder
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Postby The Disorder » Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:40 am

Kyrusia wrote:I reckon the solution is autonomous trains.

And if it's not a solution, I would like the ride to stop, please.


The trains are autonomous, no worries there. Options exist to pilot them by remote control, but this need rarely arises. Mostly, Disorder people just dial in the quantities of whatever they need, and the trains' cargo management & navigational software handles the rest.

In theory, the Disorder could even send trains through stargate-style wormhole generators, for interstellar shipping - but for security & defense reasons, they don't do that.

Nevertopia wrote:based on current real world trends Drones will become the next big mainstay of modern warfare. I doubt trains would be better than drones in some sort of mobile theatre supply line.


I can't think of a good reason to put weapons or armor on the trains - even for a nation of hyper-militaristic anarchists like the Disorder. They're mostly space nomads, so they like to avoid hugely expensive planet-side infrastructure. Trackless hovertrains are perfect for that.

War material gets loaded on giant space carriers, for insertion into a theater of operations. There are a lot of places that trains cannot go easily (most of the galaxy, really.) Space carriers don't have that limitation.
Last edited by The Disorder on Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Menschlicher Sternenstaat
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Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:55 pm

Nevertopia wrote:
The Disorder wrote:I was reading through the corresponding post-modern tech thread (viewtopic.php?f=5&t=376203) and the first page contains some neat stuff about armored trains. That got me thinking about trains & planet-side logistical infrastructure - and if futuretech trains would be practical.

If I apply the same technology that my nation's hovertanks use to civilian/industrial vehicles, very high-velocity hovertrains might exist. Multiple independently-powered vehicles could be coupled together into a long chain, with a few cars carrying giant reactors to improve the performance of the entire train.

These trains might not even require tracks - just appropriately flat surfaces to serve as makeshift roads. Slight changes in slope wouldn't seriously affect a vehicle that has a hovering height of several centimeters, so the amount of surface-smoothing that needs to be done could be minimal. With some good industrial-scale plasma torches to carve out reasonably flat & glassed-over roads, it could become trivially cheap & easy to make paths for high-velocity hovertrains.

The Disorder's vehicular hovering technology will also work over water. Driving across an ocean might be practical, although the technology doesn't get great tractive force when operating on liquid surfaces, and it's probably a good idea to avoid storms & really intense wave activity.


based on current real world trends Drones will become the next big mainstay of modern warfare. I doubt trains would be better than drones in some sort of mobile theatre supply line.


I approach the question of terrestrial logistics as per the duration of time that the theater of combat is expected to and/or has been waged for, and if it is either for defense or offense. Using abstract terms, a "short-term" conflict would not necessitate laying train transport networks down, as it should be assumed that initial combat forces landed/grounded themselves with their supplies and have already planned logistical lines somewhere up in orbit or elsewhere on the planet.

Those defending against short-term, or really any-term attacks, benefit from using (preferably subterranean) trains to run supplies, but those attacking would only benefit from train logistics if the theater keeps stretching forward, is long-term, and the attacking force has established significant logistical depots for protracted planetary warfare.

Addendum for the drone question: you can easily conflate that term to even include automated trainlines. A land or even subterranean vehicle able to quickly travel predetermined and maintained routes at fast speeds is better equipped to deliver supplies than something like a UAV.
Last edited by Menschlicher Sternenstaat on Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Cossack Peoples
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Postby Cossack Peoples » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:46 pm

1. With near-light or even FTL spacecraft and the vast distances between manmade objects, it is important in many respects to maintain some form of coordination-- but as the distances and speeds at which craft may travel, potentially outrunning or significantly expanding the time it takes for a signal to reach them, how does one ensure that a craft receives the information they need while it is still relevant? Is faster-than-light communication possible?

2. This one is an economics question, so feel free to glaze over at this point, but over interstellar distances without faster-than-light communication, how do interstellar economies work? Producers in one solar system will not know the demand of another solar system while the demand lasts, so how would an economy cope with that? Would the production at this point be taken over/coerced by a government into producing all predicted products the system could need in order to confront any market failures? (Assuming this is still a scarcity-based economy) Or would an interstellar economy be effectively impossible, reduced to either two individual local economies or a one-sided affair (the mother system exploiting the resources of the less developed one)?
Last edited by Cossack Peoples on Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Qhevak
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Postby Qhevak » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:12 pm

Cossack Peoples wrote:1. With near-light or even FTL spacecraft and the vast distances between manmade objects, it is important in many respects to maintain some form of coordination-- but as the distances and speeds at which craft may travel, potentially outrunning or significantly expanding the time it takes for a signal to reach them, how does one ensure that a craft receives the information they need while it is still relevant? Is faster-than-light communication possible?

If FTL spacecraft travel is possible there's little reason why tachyons couldn't also be. If it's possible to direct and modulate a tachyon beam then FTL communication should be fairly easy. Alternately you could use small wormholes for communication via more conventional means.
2. This one is an economics question, so feel free to glaze over at this point, but over interstellar distances without faster-than-light communication, how do interstellar economies work? Producers in one solar system will not know the demand of another solar system while the demand lasts, so how would an economy cope with that? Would the production at this point be taken over/coerced by a government into producing all predicted products the system could need in order to confront any market failures? (Assuming this is still a scarcity-based economy) Or would an interstellar economy be effectively impossible, reduced to either two individual local economies or a one-sided affair (the mother system exploiting the resources of the less developed one)?

If you still have FTL travel this is easy to solve - strap an FTL drive to a big computer cluster and comm array and send it back and forth between systems transporting data. Most FT nations assume relatively speedy FTL transit speeds so economics shouldn't be any tougher than it was in pre-telegraph days.

If there's no FTL, or very slow FTL, interstellar trade will probably not be very profitable for most goods and individual star systems will be mostly self-sufficient. Interstellar trade will mostly be in goods with very high per kilo costs, and trades will be arranged years or decades beforehand.
Last edited by Qhevak on Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Semi-Hard SF Anarchotranshumanist association of Oort cloud space habitats - basically all of these ideologies living together. A 6.7 civilization according to this index. Does not use NS stats. Wiki here.
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Cossack Peoples
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Postby Cossack Peoples » Thu Jun 10, 2021 3:13 pm

Qhevak wrote:If FTL spacecraft travel is possible there's little reason why tachyons couldn't also be. If it's possible to direct and modulate a tachyon beam then FTL communication should be fairly easy. Alternately you could use small wormholes for communication via more conventional means.

If you still have FTL travel this is easy to solve - strap an FTL drive to a big computer cluster and comm array and send it back and forth between systems transporting data. Most FT nations assume relatively speedy FTL transit speeds so economics shouldn't be any tougher than it was in pre-telegraph days.

I'm a bit squeamish with using tachyons because, you know, causality. As well as tachyons being unable to interact with any form of receiver. That, and I'm thinking of using a perverted form of Alcubierre bubbles as a mode of transportation which is a (not) faster-than-light mode of travel.
If there's no FTL, or very slow FTL, interstellar trade will probably not be very profitable for most goods and individual star systems will be mostly self-sufficient. Interstellar trade will mostly be in goods with very high per kilo costs, and trades will be arranged years or decades beforehand.

I stated no FTL communications, not FTL travel-- although technically there's no real FTL here because Alcubierre cheating.
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Qhevak
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Postby Qhevak » Thu Jun 10, 2021 3:59 pm

Cossack Peoples wrote:I'm a bit squeamish with using tachyons because, you know, causality. As well as tachyons being unable to interact with any form of receiver. That, and I'm thinking of using a perverted form of Alcubierre bubbles as a mode of transportation which is a (not) faster-than-light mode of travel.

Alcubierre drives can violate causality just as easy as tachyons can. FTL causality violation isn't a result of simply physically moving faster than light, it's a result of being able to send information out of your light cone.

Personally Qhevak's canon gets passed this by having FTL be impossible in casuality violating frames - if you engage a warp drive in one frame, a nearby spacecraft traveling at 0.9c relative to your frame will find itself unable to use warp + completely transparent to tachyons.
The Oortian Federation of Qhevak
Semi-Hard SF Anarchotranshumanist association of Oort cloud space habitats - basically all of these ideologies living together. A 6.7 civilization according to this index. Does not use NS stats. Wiki here.
Aerospace Engineering grad student. Libertarian market socialist short term, anarchotranshumanist long term.
Previously Gogol Transcendancy, Ibis Galaxy Alliance.
N&I RP in a shellnut

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Kyrusia
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Capitalizt

Postby Kyrusia » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:50 pm

Cossack Peoples wrote:1. With near-light or even FTL spacecraft and the vast distances between manmade objects, it is important in many respects to maintain some form of coordination-- but as the distances and speeds at which craft may travel, potentially outrunning or significantly expanding the time it takes for a signal to reach them, how does one ensure that a craft receives the information they need while it is still relevant? Is faster-than-light communication possible?

To answer your last question: no. It's handwaved, like FTL itself (either actual or "apparent," as in the Alcubierre instance). You'll need to decide for your own setting how to resolve that issue, or handwave it like many of us do. This is largely dependent upon what kind of stories you want to tell, how, their scale (two distant planets, two distant systems, or dozens, etc.), and what degree of importance you want to place on communication playing a role (ie. to what degree you would like to in-build communication as a problem your civilization has to work around to make their maneuvers and strategies efficacious).

I will say it should be pretty obvious that if you don't desire to have FTL-comms, then the scale at which you can reasonably tell a story will be more diminished than if you had them. If you have FTL-capable ("apparent" or otherwise) vessels, however, then there's no meaningful distinction between "having FTL-comms actually and practically": if you have FTL-capable vessels, you have pseudo-FTL-comms by benefit of Corporal Jesse Bobbington carrying a shopping list on-board and stopping by the local S-Mart™.

Cossack Peoples wrote:2. This one is an economics question, so feel free to glaze over at this point, but over interstellar distances without faster-than-light communication, how do interstellar economies work? Producers in one solar system will not know the demand of another solar system while the demand lasts, so how would an economy cope with that?

I imagine they wouldn't. Most polities would be functionally autarkic on that scale, if but by necessity, as Qhevak said.

Cossack Peoples wrote:Would the production at this point be taken over/coerced by a government into producing all predicted products the system could need in order to confront any market failures? (Assuming this is still a scarcity-based economy) Or would an interstellar economy be effectively impossible, reduced to either two individual local economies or a one-sided affair (the mother system exploiting the resources of the less developed one)?

Excluding the necessitated autarky without outright handwaving to Space Is an Ocean with Space Radio™: there are a few commodities and goods it can reasonably be assumed are always in demand. Agricultural products (both for food and other things), water, I'd reckon housing in some form (and if modular construction is not in your creative regime, materials for such assuming the local soil is not useful for producing or farming building materials), consumer/luxury goods (even though I often feel this is a bit too broad a description, but the shoe fits), etc. But even with these, I don't see any half-reasonable colonial expedition being established, especially with the limits to the tech-base you've applied, without being able to meet the basic necessities of food, water, and shelter.

Beyond this, I just feel the need to reaffirm Qhevak when they say that "[most] FT nations assume relatively speedy FTL transit speeds." This comes with the territory of most fudging the specifics, spare when hobby research and the desire to specifically exploit a flaw/feature of a given piece of technology (or physics problem, as the case may be) in a story is the point.
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Dtn
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Postby Dtn » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:17 pm

Cossack Peoples wrote:how do interstellar economies work?


Debt.

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Cossack Peoples
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Postby Cossack Peoples » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:23 pm

Dtn wrote:
Cossack Peoples wrote:how do interstellar economies work?


Debt.

Damn Keynesians from Alpha Centauri.
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Dtn
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Postby Dtn » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:28 pm


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Cossack Peoples
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Postby Cossack Peoples » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:38 pm

Damn globalists from Tau Ceti?
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Kyrusia
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Capitalizt

Postby Kyrusia » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:42 pm

Colonize the stars via blockchain, quite obviously.
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Dtn
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Postby Dtn » Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:38 pm

Cossack Peoples wrote:Damn globalists from Tau Ceti?


It's more like a Ponzi scheme that's a remarkably stable ritual currency because it works on vast timescales.

But really trade using a magic NQFAL drive isn't much different than a magic FTL drive, it just means you need bigger investors who can tolerate longer return horizons.

If you have that kind of technology and energy to throw around you're going to run into diseconomies of scale that will eventually make even interstellar shipment of raw materials profitable.

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