(CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

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Re: (CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

Postby Cralis on Mon 10 Apr 2017 00:19

Whitecold wrote:The idea that encryption is the limiting factor makes it rather less plausible to me. For one I don't know of information theory hints that bloated files should offer more security, and all current trouble with encryption are usually related to incorrect implementation and user error than fundamental problems with theory.
Second someone might try to load data unecrypted if that is the only way to get it out, taking the risk of interception, especially as drones have a self-destruct in case of capture.


Bloated files is an odd way to look at it. Especially when we start using quantum encryption, which so far has suggested that even so much as a bit out of order can render the entire message unreadable. So for gameplay reasons we've used this as one of our scientific assumptions.

My point is that for me I get a 'frontier feeling' if I don't have light speed communication for basic messages to someplace. So my point was that for a frontier feeling, you would have to somehow prevent building a relay system at all, not simply restrict certain the more complex communications.


There are several ways we can look at it, from a complete lack of communications (what you suggest), to a limited amount of communications (restricted access), to a limited bandwidth of communications (restricted size).

At EL1 you effectively have nothing but the CFN and/or any ships you design as courier ships. At SL2 you get cm. At SL3 you get (CC). Finally, at SL 4 you can get -c and make comm buoys. After that nothing changes because (CC) covers everything.

So we start with what you suggest: no relay system. At SL2 the courier drone makes it a little easier for messages to get around, not requiring an entire ship to carry them. At SL3 the game is basically over because CC relays at each WP can carry any message you want. And that's the point.

By limiting CD size we create an extended version of what you are talking about. We interrupt that relay system for certain types of messages so that they have to be carried by slower methods of communications. And that's what gives the frontier feel -- the fact that certain types of large messages contain information needed to expand your empire means that the longer it takes for them to reach your nearest ICC, the longer it takes for you to act upon it. That's is the de facto definition of being on the frontier.

While some people might like it complex, I'd still suggest that the basic rules should have CD being able to carry any type of message, exactly to make it simple. This also resolves some conflict with CC, and also resolves and conflicts with Recon drones, which are able to acquire and store way more than basic data on their run.


As part of the communications and sensor overhaul, RD are going to be tiered as well, restricting what they can detect by generation. We have delved even further into examining RD, to balance them against what small craft and drones with other sensors (Y, X, etc.) can detect. The issues with drones, detection, and communications have more complex interactions with other elements of the game than you make it sound.

But the point being that arguments about the current state of RD are going to be stale and irrelevant.
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Re: (CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

Postby Whitecold on Mon 10 Apr 2017 10:57

Cralis wrote:Bloated files is an odd way to look at it. Especially when we start using quantum encryption, which so far has suggested that even so much as a bit out of order can render the entire message unreadable. So for gameplay reasons we've used this as one of our scientific assumptions.

Quantum encryption doesn't work that way. What a it allows you to do is generate a one-time keypad at distant locations as you can check afterwards if anyone in the middle has been listening, overcoming the problem of distributing one-time keypads.
The actual encrypted message is exactly the same size as the original message. The key must have been generated beforehand, as you need to exchange part of the key to check that they show proper Bell correlations, confirming that no one has been listening. This must happen before you transmit any actual message, because otherwise it is too late.
Sure, key generation may take a few orders of magnitude more data than the actual transmission, but it all happens beforehand, and for a ship leaving a base it is unnecessary anyway, as it just can take a one-time pad with it.

At EL1 you effectively have nothing but the CFN and/or any ships you design as courier ships. At SL2 you get cm. At SL3 you get (CC). Finally, at SL 4 you can get -c and make comm buoys. After that nothing changes because (CC) covers everything.

I'm referring to Low-EL Lightspeed ICN for Fun and Profit (?), detailing how you can get a relay network starting at EL1.
In any case, the thing that makes it very unappealing as GM to have different transmission speeds is that as a player, the first thing I'd do is write into the SOP to transmit a basic message containing a summary of any more complex message, so you have to track not only which messages came in, but also then which messages are usable for what right now where.
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Re: (CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

Postby Cralis on Mon 10 Apr 2017 11:19

Players can calculate strategic movement to the minute and use SOPs to do all sorts of crazy things like dedicated check-in times, persistent-on comm signals, and even automated messaging systems.

It just depends upon what you can come up with and whether your SM is willing to deal with it. Although I suppose it helps if you're doing a solo campaign!

I'm not inclined to write rules to lock out players who are willing to do complex, crazy things. Especially since they can always house rule the the changes away. And especially because many of these schemes (such as Lomn's scheme that you linked) is expensive to implement.
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Re: (CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

Postby Whitecold on Mon 10 Apr 2017 15:32

Cralis wrote:I'm not inclined to write rules to lock out players who are willing to do complex, crazy things. Especially since they can always house rule the the changes away. And especially because many of these schemes (such as Lomn's scheme that you linked) is expensive to implement.

I am just saying that where (CC) is right now in terms of EL, I seriously considered setting up this system. I decided against it, as 'proper' (CC) was close enough. If it had been probably even one EL higher, or less capable, I'd have gone with the relay FT's and saved myself the research.
As CD go, I'm not even sure if I completely developed them, but certainly much later than (CC) given how many research projects it takes.
So my opinion is that CD are a very unattractive way of communication so far, and rather need to get more capable/more convenient earlier on, rather than later.
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Re: (CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

Postby Cralis on Tue 11 Apr 2017 00:43

Whitecold wrote:I am just saying that where (CC) is right now in terms of EL, I seriously considered setting up this system. I decided against it, as 'proper' (CC) was close enough. If it had been probably even one EL higher, or less capable, I'd have gone with the relay FT's and saved myself the research.


That's part of the reason that we have them clustered so close together, the other being that it was hard to explain why the technology would be so far out.

As CD go, I'm not even sure if I completely developed them, but certainly much later than (CC) given how many research projects it takes.


If we make CD a prerequisite for (CC) to be capable of WP relaying, then it changes the dynamic of how those two technologies interact. (CC) without CD could still be used to relay comms across a star system, but you'd have to at least mount (CC) on a mobile unit, or have mobile units available to relay the message through the WP.

So my opinion is that CD are a very unattractive way of communication so far, and rather need to get more capable/more convenient earlier on, rather than later.


I completely agree that they need to get more capable. That was the entire point of what my original response to Lomn is about. The two major sticking points:
1. (CC) can do what CD cannot do but using mini-CD drones (albeit without the range) and not even requiring CD as a prerequisite, and
2. CD never increases in capacity to transfer information.

This addresses both of those concerns. CD increases in capacity AND (CC) both requires CD as a prerequisite and cannot relay more than a CD can carry through the same WP.

Even after (CC) and -c are available, CD still have a specialized purpose in carrying messages where no other communications capacity exists. Examples of this are exploration, invasion of enemy territory, etc. Sure you can build units to provide this capability but it gets expensive, quickly, and sometimes you may have to exploit a situation where those units are not available (or you didn't bring enough of them).

In fact, there is a strong argument for making (CC) much more expensive than it is now. x5-10 times more expensive has been suggested. That way the empire pays a premium to extend the ICN using (CC)-equipped units with capabilities that CD or AP-c alone cannot provide.
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Re: (CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

Postby Whitecold on Fri 14 Apr 2017 10:59

If we make CD a prerequisite for (CC) to be capable of WP relaying, then it changes the dynamic of how those two technologies interact. (CC) without CD could still be used to relay comms across a star system, but you'd have to at least mount (CC) on a mobile unit, or have mobile units available to relay the message through the WP.

A (CC0) without drones makes a lot of sense. The long range comm gear is a much easier challenge than the drones. Personally I'd put this around Elec SL 2, as once you start exploring new systems, the need for a relay system becomes obvious.

I completely agree that they need to get more capable. That was the entire point of what my original response to Lomn is about. The two major sticking points:
1. (CC) can do what CD cannot do but using mini-CD drones (albeit without the range) and not even requiring CD as a prerequisite, and
2. CD never increases in capacity to transfer information.
This addresses both of those concerns. CD increases in capacity AND (CC) both requires CD as a prerequisite and cannot relay more than a CD can carry through the same WP.

My personal list would be for one to tie up nav buoys and CD into two projects to make it easier to develop:
-a CD project developing both Drone1 and cm
-a Nav Buoy project developing DEEP1, Buoy1 and n
Furthermore, there is a huge gap between DEEP1 and 2. There are 8 SL in between with no progress. Placing one or two intermediary levels of DEEP may give some more progression.

Even after (CC) and -c are available, CD still have a specialized purpose in carrying messages where no other communications capacity exists.

Unrelated question: What is the use of AP-c? AP have a comm range of only 1LM between them, and not much more to large units. It is expensive, and you would need a lot of it to bridge any significant distance.
I haven't found any description of it beside the note in the AP tech tree itself, so I feel like either something got scrapped, or I am overlooking something.
In fact, there is a strong argument for making (CC) much more expensive than it is now. x5-10 times more expensive has been suggested. That way the empire pays a premium to extend the ICN using (CC)-equipped units with capabilities that CD or AP-c alone cannot provide.

I am worried about how to justify this. A most basic courier ship costs 50MCr. A relay base comes even cheaper. So if you charge 200MCr per (CC), you can build a courier ship, 2 WP bases and 5 relay bases. This bridges you a gap of 18 sH, which is enough for most systems, and justifying why a large comm should be worth 100-200MCr when you get it for free for a 20MCr investment on some moon is rather tricky. So I don't think a CC0 should cost much more than the current price, and CC should definitely not be more than 25MCr more expensive than the basic version, or no one should build it.
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Re: (CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

Postby Cralis on Fri 14 Apr 2017 13:23

Whitecold wrote:
If we make CD a prerequisite for (CC) to be capable of WP relaying, then it changes the dynamic of how those two technologies interact. (CC) without CD could still be used to relay comms across a star system, but you'd have to at least mount (CC) on a mobile unit, or have mobile units available to relay the message through the WP.

A (CC0) without drones makes a lot of sense. The long range comm gear is a much easier challenge than the drones. Personally I'd put this around Elec SL 2, as once you start exploring new systems, the need for a relay system becomes obvious.


The SDS group has discussed a number of possible minor tweaks... including earlier versions of (CC) without relay minidrones. But two things became apparent: if we provide (CC) at an earlier date we are eliminating a period where CD and couriers should dominate interstellar comms, and two, early empires are likely to have populations in all of their early systems (especially when following the section K player startup rules for initialize systems)

We are already discussing some changes in how comms works based on real-life radio communications methods and physics.

My personal list would be for one to tie up nav buoys and CD into two projects to make it easier to develop:
-a CD project developing both Drone1 and cm


That is the most obvious early use of drones...

-a Nav Buoy project developing DEEP1, Buoy1 and n


Keep in mind that -n has more than just a buoy component. But tying an improved propulsion system to a navigation system? ... I don't think I can agree with that. HOWEVER, we are considering making -n freely available since every race should have LEL versions all over and orbiting around their planet. The question is whether the technology required to anchor and orient it to a WP should have a cost.

Furthermore, there is a huge gap between DEEP1 and 2. There are 8 SL in between with no progress. Placing one or two intermediary levels of DEEP may give some more progression.


True... there are some techs we haven't made more incremental because some players feel that the incremental development is already too...incremental. But I'll take a look at it.

Unrelated question: What is the use of AP-c? AP have a comm range of only 1LM between them, and not much more to large units. It is expensive, and you would need a lot of it to bridge any significant distance.
I haven't found any description of it beside the note in the AP tech tree itself, so I feel like either something got scrapped, or I am overlooking something.


AP-c is currently caught in a transition phase. AP-c is kind of orphaned since you no longer need them to stretch comms across a star system. However, with the new comms rules we are discussing, AP-c would remain as a way to stretch secure comms across a system... but that's not in the rules yet. Working on it.

In fact, there is a strong argument for making (CC) much more expensive than it is now. x5-10 times more expensive has been suggested. That way the empire pays a premium to extend the ICN using (CC)-equipped units with capabilities that CD or AP-c alone cannot provide.


I am worried about how to justify this. A most basic courier ship costs 50MCr. A relay base comes even cheaper. So if you charge 200MCr per (CC), you can build a courier ship, 2 WP bases and 5 relay bases. This bridges you a gap of 18 sH, which is enough for most systems, and justifying why a large comm should be worth 100-200MCr when you get it for free for a 20MCr investment on some moon is rather tricky. So I don't think a CC0 should cost much more than the current price, and CC should definitely not be more than 25MCr more expensive than the basic version, or no one should build it.


First, long-range communications for populations is not _free_. The population pays for it. That is a cost we've hidden, but it's still there.

While I don't think you'd be able to build an effective method as you are discussing for only 200 MCr, you are also introducing a lot of things to manage. That aside, you do make a good point about alternative cost solutions. We'll have to consider where we want that tradeoff to lie on the cost curve.
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Re: (CC) magic and what CDs have to do with it...

Postby SCC on Sat 15 Apr 2017 23:04

I'd just like to point out that I didn't suggest the data be encrypted,I said (Or meant to say) that it would be in error correcting formats, given the time delays involved if data gets corrupted it takes hours to get the, hopefully, un-corrupted version.
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