FTL Communications

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FTL Communications

Postby TLR on Fri 14 Aug 2020 06:40

Certain Racial/Government types have "built-in" telepathy.
Y20.03.3.4 Group Mind Government — Group: M/F The group mind is the result of telepathy arising among a non-communal species.
and
Y20.04.4.3 Hive Mind Race — Group: R/I ...
Hive minds are usually a telepathic insectoid or arachnoid race that normally views all other races as nothing more than a somewhat challenging food source.


Group Minds have a potential range of up to sH:60, and Hive Minds are specified with:
The telepathic links extends throughout an entire star system including binary and trinary worlds. Its theoretical limit is about 1/2 light-year and communication via the link is instantaneous.


Does this mean (with proper pre-positioning of ships or bases, for Group Minds) that these races automatically have even better than light-speed communications, without the need for P2 Tightbeam Communications infrastructure? Note that even (CC) to (CC) tightbeam communications does not exceed the Large-Population telepathic range (both sH:60) for Group Minds.

What are the strategic and tactical impacts of these considerations? Obviously, effective communication speeds are affected at any ranges over 1 light-minute, but cross-system (empire-wide) communications should be modified, too.

Hive-Minds become even more scary with these considerations. A Hive-Mind fleet of long-duration scout vessels (at least a shuttle-hold of maintenance, each) parked in completely out-of-the-way corners of various sectors/systems, and a few warp-transitioning couriers, could give extremely quick galaxy-wide communications.
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Re: FTL Communications

Postby TLR on Fri 14 Aug 2020 07:06

Also, what about telepathic bandwidth? One of the limiting factors on performing System Surveys is getting all the data "back" to a suitable analysis/distribution center (typically the imperial Capital). Can telepathic races perform this transfer more quickly?

For example, If a Warp-Capable vessel is parked near the incoming Warp-Point, can it collect survey-data from all in-range scouts, without noticeable physical transit-time between units, then periodically Warp across to share the collected data with units on "the other side" of the Warp-Point? How long would it take to transmit/receive a "Unit" of Survey-Data by this means?

This might require specialized crew-members ("bards") who were particularly good at storing large amounts of essentially-unrelated data - but that functionality seems almost implicit in the description of the Group Mind:
Memories of special events or individuals may exist either when a large enough group concentrates on them or preserved by bard equivalents.


For balance, I would suggest that telepathic bards require special training and handling, similar to Pilots, and might need a specialized training facility: "(BTF)" or Bard Training Facility, otherwise identical to a (QTF).
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Re: FTL Communications

Postby PracticalM on Mon 17 Aug 2020 13:06

I've always played it that the FTL Communications is only within a single system and that thought isn't going to move through the WP.

So P2 is needed to move data from system to system.

I even allowed it when I built a universe where all the Starless Voids were within a 10x10 grid of StMP hexes. (I need to do that again because it was an interesting idea allowing for more piracy and raiding.
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Re: FTL Communications

Postby TLR on Wed 19 Aug 2020 17:52

With the possible exception of Long-Distance Companion systems, I also am assuming you need "warp-shuttles" to carry the message through Warp-Points. However, after that, FTL communication to the next in-system Warp-Point should significantly cut down on total multi-system message transit-time.

Of course, this is really only significant if the bandwidth is more than a single "Yes/No" bit. But, if Telepathy can carry (for example) Survey-Data, I can easily see knocking off days or even a week in transit/processing time.
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Re: FTL Communications

Postby krenshala on Wed 19 Aug 2020 18:34

My only issue with using the telepathy directly for transferring data is the originator would have to, effectively, read the data to the receiver. That might actually be slower than lightspeed comms for data itself.

Passing word of an incoming fleet and a rough scouting report, however, should definitely be possible using telepathy as the primary means of comms (other than crossing a WP ... I agree that it should not cross through on its own).
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Re: FTL Communications

Postby TLR on Wed 19 Aug 2020 19:33

Post by krenshala on Wed 19 Aug 2020 18:34

My only issue with using the telepathy directly for transferring data is the originator would have to, effectively, read the data to the receiver. That might actually be slower than lightspeed comms for data itself.


Well, this is definitely one of the issues I wanted to address. Are we assuming Telepathy is an old-style teletype equivalent, or is it a gestalt-based information-transfer mechanism? Given that it apparently allows a single Governor to simultaneously communicate with millions of citizens, I don't think we can treat it as a teletype...

Also, the mass-death/genocide effects imply massively-parallel information-transception (transmit & receive) simultaneouly. With the unspecified abilities of specialized "bards", I think high-bandwidth transception should be possible - but needs to be spelled out better. Clearly, house/galaxy rules can be used productively, here - but I wanted to get a sample of the feelings and/or consensus of other payers.

My feeling is that Telepathy can be an incredible communications boost, but to fully realize the benefits requires some sort of investment in the development of "telepathic bards", like my proposed "bardic college" or (BTF).
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