Monday, March 30, 2015

Motor Monday: Japanese Custom

Turns out, Japan has a thriving custom car/bike culture. Hints of it show through in various media, such as the famous Akira, and several other animes (Initial D comes to mind as well, although those aren't so much flash as they are just street racers).

Sunday, March 29, 2015

GURPS gun mods: Spreader Choke

GURPS: Gun Fu gives special rules for allowing shotguns to use their effective RoF for things like Suppressing Fire and Spraying Fire as a cinematic rule. I'm inclined to permit the use of such weapon mods, known as a duckbill or gator choke, to allow the same in a realistic campaign.

I'm torn, however, between treating the attack as a narrow cone or just permitting spraying fire/etc. As a cone, based on performance in videos, I'd treat it as 2 yards wide at 1/2D range, and within 1/2 of 1/2D it's just shotgun rules as normal. As a cone, I'd also probably say you could aim it at a single target in the center and get maybe 2/3 of the shot in the center hex and 1/6 through the hexes on either side, or spin the shotgun/choke vertically to use mostly-normal shotgun rules.

Treating it as a cone, at 1/2d range you'd get 4 pellets per 12g 00 buck shell in each of the hexes if you aimed right between them, or if you aimed at a single hex you'd have 6 pellets and 1 on either side per shell.

Treating it as spraying fire would just use regular rules for lost projectiles across empty space/etc.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New job (again)

Through the combined powers of consulting agencies, job experience, and being really good at what I do by virtue of it being both easy and something I've done for a year straight full time, on Monday I resume full time work.

Feels good. Job is closer, easier/safer to get to (no rush hour), pays better, and has actual potential for career advancement. They're unfortunately a GFZ, but I'll live. Contract to hire, time to see if I can work myself out of ANOTHER job, or if this one will stick!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sci-Fi Friday: Sundays; What if?

What if the world isn't what it seems?
What if what we know is just a series of convenient lies?
What if?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Interstellar Warfare Wednesday: The Suit

Where would the space marine be without his trusty suit? Not space, that's for damn sure.

 But how exactly does one design space armor? Thus far, it's been about all we can do to make space suits to allow something resembling space survival. With some help from Atomic Rockets and a degree in engineering, I've been working on that.

There are several major considerations with any space suit. Most habitats maintained by humanity will be pressurized with air, rather than pure oxygen, due to the sheer danger of a large, pure oxygen environment. Current protocol is to pressurize to a full 1 Atmosphere, 101kPa. Most of our space suits, due to being internally pressurized, however, are only pressurized to 32 kPa. This leads to a problem: The Bends. Going rapidly between pressures will lead to terrible problems, which is itself a problem for anyone in space, and even moreso for the space combatant, who may need to suit up and launch with very little warning, and no time to prebreathe to vent the inert gasses in their system that leads to the bends.

So how do you get around this? There's a few ways. Space combat ships are likely to be kept at 50-60 kPa, which permits the use of air rather than pure oxygen, but is substantially closer to the low pressure that works for the human system. That will substantially lessen the severity and chance of the bends, even without other systems to resist the bends, while not converting the ship into a missile with an oxygen warhead.

The next step is the suit itself. There are 4 major types of spacesuit: Hard, Soft, and Compression. Compression suits are popular in fiction, and modern tech is trying it's hand at them. Basically a fancy spandex jumpsuit, it pushes on the body with the same pressure as atmosphere would, applying that same 32 kPa through mechanical tension instead of air pressure. A hole in the suit just leads to a bruise, and the suit adds very little difficulty to tasks due to its form-fitting nature. Still, it can only apply low pressure or the wearer will be unable to breathe. Some fiction has these compression suits being used as space underwear, allowing spacers to don a helmet in case of emergency and survive even exposure to vacuum. Soft suits are mostly what has been used for human space exploration: semi rigid, with constant volume joints. Unfortunately, they can ONLY be used with low pressure, or the suit would inflate so hard the astronaut could not move. They also make just about all tasks FAR harder as they fight your every move. Hard suits are a fully rigid suit permitting high pressure, but they're exceptionally bulky, complex, and resist all motion even harder than a soft suit. A fourth style, the hybrid suit, incorporates elements of both hard and soft suits.

Unfortunately, the already complex task of surviving in space is complicated by the fact that an interstellar warrior may need to fight in other environments, including those that swing to the other end of the spectrum and place far greater pressure upon their environment suit than Earth atmosphere.

For the purposes of a space combat force, and indeed any space travelers, a compression skinsuit makes sense, worn as an undergarment. The suits can be customized as desired and worn as a base layer, or even an outer layer for the daring and immodest in accepting company. For a space combatant, this will be worn even inside of a full spacesuit as an emergency layer; in case of the suit taking damage sufficient to decompress, the wearer remains vacuum resistant. Unfortunately, this suit for all its advantages, offers no further resistance to high pressure than that of a normal human, which is good to just shy of 8 Atmospheres, or 804 kPa. Still, combined with another suit, it serves as a vital base layer for combat sustainability, and may be used for suits intended exclusively for use no higher than slightly above 1 Atmosphere.

To form the main suit of the space marine, a hybrid suit makes the most sense. A heavy duty, armored torso minimizes the bulk of the hardsuit, allowing the same higher pressure to be used as the space station or ship, eliminating the need for prebreathing. Limbs are enclosed in a semi-rigid suit, kept at minimal pressure as an assistance to the compression suit, to prevent undue difficulty due to fighting the pressure. The entire armor system is rigid enough to withstand pressures far above those of an unequipped human, permitting the combatant to engage in battle under any circumstances where human interests are likely to be found and fought for.

This suit will be armored for combat, using materials such as steel armor plate, titanium, or other materials that provide multiple hit survivability; the weight of the armor, if high tech low-weight armors are unavailable, is offset by obviating the need to carry spare plates and increased combatant survivability.

Gloves. For a great deal of time, it was uncertain if space-capable gloves would be possible. We managed, but they are immensely difficult to operate, often leading to a great deal of pain and suffering for those using them. Rather than the multi-purpose hooks and pincers originally theorized, space combat forces will wear a simple glove inside of the arms of their suit, within the pressure unit. Via mechanical or electronic control, this glove will operate a separate hand built into the suit, possibly providing as much or greater dexterity and feedback to the suit's wearer than pressure gloves might.

Biological Considerations: On assignment, a space combatant may be required to eat, sleep, and perform vital human necessities for days or weeks at a time in their suit. Current systems manage this by high tech underwear for the short durations in suit. For combat spacers, a double catheter system will both permit the suit's wearer to deal with physiological needs as required and prevent issues caused by human waste disposal systems not working properly in freefall (the bladder doesn't register as full until it's absolutely at capacity without the effects of gravity).

Food: Extended duration operations that require multiple meals to be had in suit will make use of a failsafe micro-airlock, that can be loaded with meal bars or similar to be loaded into place. Combat drugs, water canteens, and other such systems may also be similarly reloadable while in vacuum.

Heat: A combat suit will need a more robust than standard heat ventilation system, and a combination of available and proposed mechanisms will be used.

Injury prevention/maintenance: All portions of the suit will be separated, and decompression issues are resisted by the compression undersuit, but exposure to hostile environments is to be avoided. Suits may include materials that will foam when the suit is punctured, sealing the hole and applying pressure to a wound inside. An application of liquid wound sealant may be included in one of these layers. Alternatively, such a Foam Bandage may be stored as a syringe, and may even be usable on internal injuries to the wearer's torso with or without a suit.

0G afflictions: It has been found recently that a suit with resistance bands built in to apply an imitation of gravity between the heels and shoulders of an astronaut largely mitigates bone and muscle loss due to freefall. Such a suit will be standard when not in armor, and may be an adjustable part of the compression space underwear. A similar system may resist arm motion as well to retain muscle.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GURPS: Perks and skill musings

Some more musings on GURPS and perks and such that are missing, and pondering on the workings of melee combat damage.

PERK: Walk the Trigger. Normally semi automatic weapons cannot be used for Spraying Fire, even if they meet the 5+ RoF through things like Fast Firing. Walk the Trigger means the shooter has practiced maintaining a fast, steady cadence of fire separately from the point of aim, allowing the gun to be used in a manner identical to that of a full auto.

PERK: Running Ready. You've practiced controlling your body. So long as you do not exceed your Long Distance move speed and the objects to be interacted with are not linked to bodyparts used for motion, you may perform a ready maneuver while moving. EXAMPLE, drawing a weapon or magazine from a quality belt holster while running is fine, doing the same from holsters lashed to your thighs is not.

PERK: Recoil compensation. Through sheer mass or special stances, you've learned to keep control of your weapon. When using the higher fire rates of Fast Firing with a semiauto gun, reduce the added recoil by 1. Cannot reduce the recoil below base value, only serves to allow more accurate high RoF shooting.

High Strength Melee Weapons
GURPS 4e is pretty clearly balanced for people within a few points of "average" ST of 10. This works well enough, unless you have a big bruiser of a character. Where a difference between a knife and a broadsword's average damage is quite significant at ST 10, it becomes almost negligible at something like ST 17. The rules for melee damage scale based on ST fairly well, and include a measure of the difference in power into the progression, but a Swing+1 sword remains Swing+1, whether it's being driven by a 1d-1 swing or a 3d swing. I can't think of anything better to replace it with that doesn't adding probably needless levels of complexity, but it still seems to need a bit of pondering.

High Skill Melee Weapon Damage
Unarmed combat in GURPS gains bonuses as your skill increases, which is good because much of combat is all in the technique. The problem I see is that to do this with weapon skills requires the Weapon Master advantage. Weapon Master damage bonuses follow the progression of Boxing and Karate, with DX+1 skill giving +1 damage/die, and DX+2 skill giving +2 damage/die. I'm inclined to house rule that high skill with a melee weapon follows the bonus progression of Brawling, with +1 dmg/die at DX+2 skill. Not a lot, but enough to represent the boost gained due to proficiency.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Motor Monday: Repair and Restore edition

Everyone's always claiming to find a collection of fancy abandoned cars in a barn, and here's another one.

Otherwise I don't have anything interesting that I've found for this Monday.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Motor Monday: Motorcycle Wants

Between my own engineering capabilities and safety innovations by others that are not yet mainstream, I've decided that I will be purchasing a motorcycle at some point in the future. I've managed to work myself out of a job (again) so it'll be a bit, but I've got a while ahead of me yet.

Still, lists of wants and needs are always handy when selecting from a broad, pre-existing market.

Airbag (add on or integral)
skid bars/freeway bars (possibly custom for added protection).
Anti-lock brakes (skidding is bad. skidding with only two wheels is worse)
Engine no larger than 700cc, 400-600cc preferable (I'm not small and I'm not light, but I'm not insane either. Well, that last one is arguable, but it doesn't apply to crazy horsepower at least)
Minimum top speed of 90 (when horsepower is all you have to get out of a bind, you'd better have enough. I'm good at keeping power from getting me into trouble, preferring to use it to keep me out)

Extensive armor, preferably including an airbag jacket/vest, and a full face helmet (already owned, but maybe a nicer one eventually...)

Dual headlights
Driveshaft preferable to chain/belt drive
Integral Storage
Automatic transmission/dual clutch transmission
Heated seat
headed handlebars
Fairing questionable? Can't decide if I like them or not
External storage compatible

A lot of these are fairly standard, some are near impossible to find and I'll need to add. A large combination of them point towards something at least fairly new, although given my habit of driving vehicles older than I am "new" is a rather relative term.

And one of the prettiest bikes to probably blame for my fondness for motorcycles, even if it looked nowhere near as good in game

The Hardy-Daytona, a clearly Harley Davidson imitation from Final Fantasy 7, which I played/watched when I was but a wee lad. That's a mean looking cruiser, and I dig it.