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Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?


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Star Hero discusses these as a way to provide the essentials for a starship's crew and passengers such as food, clothing and other consumables. They are essentially the same idea as Star Trek's replicators. Anyone have any input as to how to build one in HERO? I was thinking maybe Summon, but that seems terribly awkward.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

I must concur. It would seem a machine that turns raw material into finished goods is the way to go. The only stipulation would be that there would need to be the necessary raw materials for machine to provide whatever is needed.

 

It might be a good idea to put some restrictions on this as it can get out of hand in a hurry. The book covers this type of transform quite well in the Creating Objects section of the Transform power description.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

I must concur. It would seem a machine that turns raw material into finished goods is the way to go. The only stipulation would be that there would need to be the necessary raw materials for machine to provide whatever is needed.

 

It might be a good idea to put some restrictions on this as it can get out of hand in a hurry. The book covers this type of transform quite well in the Creating Objects section of the Transform power description.

Yeah, I'll have to build in some restrictions.

 

I'll start by not allowing powerful weapons (as a civilian model it cannot produce military-grade weaponry; i.e., anything as powerful as the heroes themselves.). Plus I'll utilize "time sharing" as the device also produces air, water, food and necessary parts to maintain the ship. Plus it must be programmed to construct anything not in it's database or that has no example to duplicate. And it can't make anything too big, and the more complicated it is the longer it will take.

 

I'm not too worried with my current Champions group; they're all good players and since most of us now GM in rotation we have incentive not to abuse this. If it gets out of hand I'll just "break" it.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

Plus I'll utilize "time sharing" as the device also produces air' date=' water, food and necessary parts to maintain the ship. Plus it must be programmed to construct anything not in it's database or that has no example to duplicate. [/quote']

 

I think that idea will work brilliantly. Tie the device to the basic workings of the ship such as environmental and that could serve as an incentive to avoid abusing the device since everything that is made comes from the same pool of raw materials. For instance the same hydrogen used to create oil is the same hydrogen that now will not be available for your water. Of course safeguards could be built in such that the machine would shut down when it detected that raw materials were becoming scarce. Of course it would continue to provide food wouldn't it? Unless it became damaged or something. This is kinda cool now that I think about it. I may have to steal your idea. :)

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

I think that idea will work brilliantly. Tie the device to the basic workings of the ship such as environmental and that could serve as an incentive to avoid abusing the device since everything that is made comes from the same pool of raw materials. For instance the same hydrogen used to create oil is the same hydrogen that now will not be available for your water. Of course safeguards could be built in such that the machine would shut down when it detected that raw materials were becoming scarce. Of course it would continue to provide food wouldn't it? Unless it became damaged or something. This is kinda cool now that I think about it. I may have to steal your idea. :)
I think it will be reasonable to assume that the ship will stock conventional reserves of air, food (23rd Century MRE's most likely!) and water as well as utilizing the MMU to restock constantly.

 

Here's what I came up with:

 

Micro-Manufacturing Unit: Major Transform 10d6 (standard effect: 30 points) (Energy and/or raw materials into anything) (150 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Turn (Post-Segment 12), -1 1/4), OIF Bulky Fragile (-1 1/4), Only to create items in ship's database or to duplicate existing objects (-1), No weapons over 12 DCs or military-grade equipment (-1/2), Danger if overused (-1/2) (uses END Reserve)

 

Plus it's very END-demanding.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

FWIW, from the TNGHero pdf,

 

Cost Industrial Replicator System

80 Industrial Replicator System: Multipower, 240-point reserve,

all OIF Immobile (-1 1/2), Extra Time (Full phase; -1/2)

6u 1) Small Object Replication: Transform 4d6 (Major), Air to

Any Object programmed into system (+1), Continuous (+1)

(180 Active Points); OIF Immobile (-1 1/2), Extra Time (Full

phase; -1/2)

8u 2) Large Object Replication: Transform 4d6 (Major), Air to Any

Object programmed into system (+1), Continuous (+1),

Area Effect 8 hexes (+1) (240 Active Points); OIF Immobile

(-1 1/2), Extra Time (Full phase; -1/2)

Total Cost: 94 points.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

FWIW, from the TNGHero pdf,

 

Cost Industrial Replicator System

80 Industrial Replicator System: Multipower, 240-point reserve,

all OIF Immobile (-1 1/2), Extra Time (Full phase; -1/2)

6u 1) Small Object Replication: Transform 4d6 (Major), Air to

Any Object programmed into system (+1), Continuous (+1)

(180 Active Points); OIF Immobile (-1 1/2), Extra Time (Full

phase; -1/2)

8u 2) Large Object Replication: Transform 4d6 (Major), Air to Any

Object programmed into system (+1), Continuous (+1),

Area Effect 8 hexes (+1) (240 Active Points); OIF Immobile

(-1 1/2), Extra Time (Full phase; -1/2)

Total Cost: 94 points.

Cool. Thanks, Eodin. Looks like I'm on the right track. I don't need the large object portion because the one I'm working on is only about 2 cubic meters in size (Half a hex). And I'm going to add "Only inanimate objects" to keep it from mass producing tribbles or lemmings. ;)

 

I'll have to go DL that TNG pdf (I've already got the excellent ST:TOS version.). Even though this adventure is not in a Trek-universe, I envision the technology on the ship as being roughly comparable. (No transporters on ships this small.) :)

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

And it certainly wouldn't be out of line to add x2 or more to the END cost. I know you're not running Trek, but as a comparison... in one of the TNG shows, Geordi had to shut down the Warp Drive so he'd have enough power available to spend a couple of hours replicating engine parts. Depending on what you ship's END and REC are, a x5END cost wouldn't be out of the question.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

And it certainly wouldn't be out of line to add x2 or more to the END cost. I know you're not running Trek' date=' but as a comparison... in one of the TNG shows, Geordi had to shut down the Warp Drive so he'd have enough power available to spend a couple of hours replicating engine parts. Depending on what you ship's END and REC are, a x5END cost wouldn't be out of the question.[/quote']Good idea. As of this moment the ship has a 250 point Endurance Reserve with a 250 REC. Without using the manufacting unit the ship uses 232 END per Turn just to operate the engines at full speed and operate the artificial gravity and sensors.

 

I'm also considering a Limitation of "Extra Time: 1 Minute per Active Point of device created".

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

Some possible limits to replicator technology to consider:

 

1. Huge energy costs. The theory of Relativity works in "reverse" here, as energy is concentrated into matter. As a shortcut, the MMU could draw from raw material pools. So, maybe, the ship stocks up on elements that it cannot commonly create, or that are extremely costly in terms of energy to create. I'd probably limit the creation of any element above a certain position on the periodic table, say, Zinc (30). This would put some really useful elements off limits (like Gallium, Arsenide, Gold, Lead, Uranium, Plutonium, etc), or at least be a commodity that they would have to get from other sources. If the MMU uses something akin to fusion to form the elements, then I'd probably stop at Iron (26), just to mirror what happens in solar fusion.

 

2. Item template required. This becomes a computer storage issue. If the item is simple (say, water), then the template could be amazingly small. But imagine the template needed to duplicate something like a steak. You'd have to duplicate a whole slew of chemicals, then combine them in a scaffold resembling cellular structure. And be sure to get all of the proteins right: just one error in your template, and you have a bad prion causing CJD (Mad Cow disease in humans). Template size should approach that of the original object.

 

3. Existing objects are usually destroyed during the scanning process. In order to know (to the limits of quantum mechanics) all of the necessary data to create a template, it is necessary to fully disassemble any object that is put into the MMU's scanner. Now, you can get this back, of course, by spending the time to create another unit. But what happens if you needed an element that isn't in the ship's stores? And if you were copying a weapon on its last charge, shouldn't the copies all be at the same energy state?

 

Of course, YMMV,

JoeG

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

Some possible limits to replicator technology to consider:

 

1. Huge energy costs. The theory of Relativity works in "reverse" here, as energy is concentrated into matter. As a shortcut, the MMU could draw from raw material pools. So, maybe, the ship stocks up on elements that it cannot commonly create, or that are extremely costly in terms of energy to create. I'd probably limit the creation of any element above a certain position on the periodic table, say, Zinc (30). This would put some really useful elements off limits (like Gallium, Arsenide, Gold, Lead, Uranium, Plutonium, etc), or at least be a commodity that they would have to get from other sources. If the MMU uses something akin to fusion to form the elements, then I'd probably stop at Iron (26), just to mirror what happens in solar fusion.

 

2. Item template required. This becomes a computer storage issue. If the item is simple (say, water), then the template could be amazingly small. But imagine the template needed to duplicate something like a steak. You'd have to duplicate a whole slew of chemicals, then combine them in a scaffold resembling cellular structure. And be sure to get all of the proteins right: just one error in your template, and you have a bad prion causing CJD (Mad Cow disease in humans). Template size should approach that of the original object.

 

3. Existing objects are usually destroyed during the scanning process. In order to know (to the limits of quantum mechanics) all of the necessary data to create a template, it is necessary to fully disassemble any object that is put into the MMU's scanner. Now, you can get this back, of course, by spending the time to create another unit. But what happens if you needed an element that isn't in the ship's stores? And if you were copying a weapon on its last charge, shouldn't the copies all be at the same energy state?

 

Of course, YMMV,

Excellent observations, Joe. I do want this thing to have reasonable limitations so it doesn't get abused. Destroying the original is one way to prevent it. But I don't want to get too restrictive; that's part of the fun of having such a gee-whiz gadget available. As an example, I don't care if Eagle Eye makes hundreds of his low-tech arrows; he can only carry 16 at a time anyway. But I don't want CyberKnight creating 45 copies of his powered armor. But I think CyberKnight making spare components for his armor is reasonable since I allow that normally (He's normally working on his next version of the armor anyway.). And if we can manufacture virtually any element in a lab now (at outrageous cost in power and expense) then it should be child's play in the distant future for a machine designed to do so. (Using a purely arbitrary scale of 1 END/REC equals 10 megawatts, the two reactors on the 73½ foot long starship produce over 3.4 gigawatts of power between them; enough juice to run New Mexico. The entire US uses about 700 gigawatts.)

 

EDIT: New calculations have led me to conclude that 1 END/REC is fairly close to being a megawatt of power. (I have altered my numbers for my starship's writeup to reflect that. ) This is based on the main gun (8d8 RKA in HERO) for an M1A2 delivering approximately 12 megajoules of energy on target, and coincidentally costing 120 AP and using 12 END.

 

That's an easy enough method to use for game play, and is simple to remember. Thus Lightning Boy's 12d6 Lightning Blast is 6 megawatts.

 

I suspect in the end I'll still be handwaving it a bit. I want food to be easy (although in reality as you pointed out it would be actually outrageously difficult) and super-tech weapons and gadgets to be difficult or impossible. I'd already figured on energy-intensive devices not being charged after creation. They'll have to be charged the normal way.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

I've always used Life Support for food replicators, because it's so much cheaper. Also, I didn't want players using the replicators to build weapons. In Neal Stephanson's The Diamond Age a couple of kids play around with a matter compiler, and there's a discussion that might be illustrative.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

I've always used Life Support for food replicators' date=' because it's so much cheaper. Also, I didn't want players using the replicators to build weapons. In Neal Stephanson's [i']The Diamond Age[/i] a couple of kids play around with a matter compiler, and there's a discussion that might be illustrative.
Since the characters will be in space for nearly a year of game-time in the adventure I have planned, I need a way for them to make water, clothing, soap, deodorant, shoe laces, shampoo, spare parts, and all the little things one needs when one is away from civilization for an extended period. While I could just pack the ship to the gills (The ship is nearly 30% cargo space) with these things in crates, it will seem cooler to allow them to manufacture their own (and allow some in-game humor as their desperate attempts to make pepperoni pizza go awry.). And nobody will pack a puny 8d6 blaster when they can do better with their bare hands. They are, after all, superheroes. :D

 

I'll try to check out that Stephenson book. If the players abuse this device despite my Limitations on it and any needed warnings, then it will malfunction permanently: The GM Giveth; The GM Taketh Away.

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

I'll second the reccomendation for The Diamond Age. In addition to being a good look at the possibilites of wide-spread nanotechnology, it is an excellent story with well-written, compelling characters and plot.

 

Zeropoint

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I'll second the reccomendation for The Diamond Age. In addition to being a good look at the possibilites of wide-spread nanotechnology' date=' it is an excellent story with well-written, compelling characters and plot.[/quote']Is that the same Stephenson who wrote Cryptonomicon? I really enjoyed that book.
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It is the same author. He's also written Snow Crash, a cybyerpunk(ish) novel with an interesting take on cyberspace. It also deals with couriers, the mafia, the development of language in ancient Sumeria, and pizza delivery. The Diamond Age is set in the future of the Snow Crash world, although either can be read and enjoyed with no knowledge of the other.

 

You might also look the Baroque Cycle, three massive books (900+ pages apiece) which are set in the late 1600's/early 1700's. I've only started the first book, which is at this point dealing with the rise of modern science thanks to the efforts of people like Newton, Hooke, Boyle, Huygens, and company. The Cycle also serves as a prequel to Cryptonomicon, containing the story of various Waterhouses and Shaftoes, as well as occasional references to the Cryptonomicon itself.

 

I'd also reccomend In the Beginning Was the Command Line, a non-fiction book examining computer OS interface, the philosophies behind them, and how they reflect our society's interaction with technology.

 

Zeropoint

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

It is the same author. He's also written Snow Crash' date=' a cybyerpunk(ish) novel with an interesting take on cyberspace. It also deals with couriers, the mafia, the development of language in ancient Sumeria, and pizza delivery. [u']The Diamond Age[/u] is set in the future of the Snow Crash world, although either can be read and enjoyed with no knowledge of the other.

 

 

I bought Quicksilver, but I'm having a hard time with it. I've read Snow Crash until I "loved it real" and had to buy another copy. Stephenson is awesome.

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Yeah, I'm about a fifth of the way through Quicksilver and I'm still looking for a plot. The characterization is interesting, and I suppose that when you've got three thousand pages to tell your story, you can afford to spend some time setting up...but I'd like to see some evidence that the story is going somewhere.

 

I'm getting suspicious of Enoch Root, though. Is it possible that he's the same Root that shows up in Cryptonomicon?

 

Zeropoint

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

Since the characters will be in space for nearly a year of game-time in the adventure I have planned, I need a way for them to make water, clothing, soap, deodorant, shoe laces, shampoo, spare parts, and all the little things one needs when one is away from civilization for an extended period. While I could just pack the ship to the gills (The ship is nearly 30% cargo space) with these things in crates, it will seem cooler to allow them to manufacture their own (and allow some in-game humor as their desperate attempts to make pepperoni pizza go awry.). And nobody will pack a puny 8d6 blaster when they can do better with their bare hands. They are, after all, superheroes. :D

 

I'll try to check out that Stephenson book. If the players abuse this device despite my Limitations on it and any needed warnings, then it will malfunction permanently: The GM Giveth; The GM Taketh Away.

Maybe just to be safe you could add the Life Support on as another power linked to the same OAF?

 

It would cut to the chase for the players and allow them to get a midnight snack without disrupting the ships power supply to stellar-cartography when they are in the middle of that important calculation ;)

 

TB

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

Maybe just to be safe you could add the Life Support on as another power linked to the same OAF?

 

It would cut to the chase for the players and allow them to get a midnight snack without disrupting the ships power supply to stellar-cartography when they are in the middle of that important calculation ;)

That's essentially what I've done. The ship's life support includes all the environments plus immunity to diseases, but lacks food and water (Need not Eat). While there will be some stored water and rations, most of their food and drink will come from the MMU over the long haul.
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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

I've read the first 2 Baroque cycle books by Neal Stephenson and I think they are wonderful. I'm eagerly awaiting the 3rd one, which is due out on the 21st of September. And yes, Enoch Root is the same Enoch Root from the Cryptonomicon, but i have yet to find out how he survives down through the ages - perhaps its a combination of alchemy and magical realism?

The Baroque cycle might not be everyone’s cup of tea, after all, it is historical fiction, and although i love historical fiction, I'm hoping that his next work will be Sci-fi, perhaps something set after Diamond Age.

 

Which leads me on to Nanotech...

 

At the moment I'm reading Engines of Creation by Eric Drexler, the nanotech prophet. If you want to know about the capabilities of Nano, then I urge you to beg, borrow or steal a copy of this book. What he proposes will simply boggle your mind!

 

Some possibilities:

 

Construction - super-strong and super-light materials. If you can imagine it (and physical laws allow it), you can build it. Size does not matter. All that is needed is energy, materials, and a plan to follow. And if you don’t have a plan, you can always get your AI computer to design you one.

 

Computers – a single nano-computer will be more powerful than current PCs, yet will be magnitudes smaller than a biological cell. A host of these nano-computers all linked together will have an incredible level of computational power. And these computers don't even have to be electrical, they can be mechanical - think of them as miniature Babbage machines.

 

Biology – nano-machines can exist in every cell in the body. If they detect a mistake they can fix it - cancers are destroyed, invading viruses are consumed, blood clots are cleared up, faulty DNA is rewritten. The only thing they cant do is restore knowledge that is lost from damage.

 

 

Of course, translating this into a campaign setting is difficult. I’m still coming to grips with it myself. Where are the limits? What can and cant be done? What is and isn’t done? What affects will countless nanobots have on society?

 

The mind boggles.

 

Adam K.

:think:

 

ps. For more info go to http://www.foresight.org/

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Re: Miniaturized Manufacturing Units?

 

At the moment I'm reading Engines of Creation by Eric Drexler' date=' the nanotech prophet. If you want to know about the capabilities of Nano, then I urge you to beg, borrow or steal a copy of this book. What he proposes will simply boggle your mind![/quote']

 

You don't have to do any of the above.

 

http://www.foresight.org/EOC/EOC_Chapter_1.html

 

It's all online, now. Read on!

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