Jump Temp – No FTL Communication

In Jump Temp, there is no FTL communication. That is, aside from a starship. Starships in the process of jumping can send and receive radio signals on both ends of the jump. This makes data channels between star systems possible but only when there’s a constant and unbroken stream of ships traveling in between systems.

It might be practical for planets to have small fleets of jump drones that communicate with nearby star systems. This would help to get vital information in between systems. Commercial endeavors may even deploy their own arrays of jump drones and rent out their communication bandwidth to the highest bidder.

However, there’s another wrinkle to light speed communication. Even at the speed of light, radio takes minutes to travel between earth and the perimeter of where a jump drive can start to deliver the ship faster than light.

That means that when a ship enters a system it could take several minutes for anyone to hear their communications.

That makes Star Trek style video chat impractical except at distances of less than 400,000 kilometers (about 1 light second). The vast majority of communications would likely be similar to text messaging.

Jump Temp – Drive Signatures

Every starship has drive systems that propel it through space. The drive energy is noticeable because of the photons that are emitted. Not only can it be seen, just by measuring the light and it’s spectrum, the model of drive system can be identified. If a drive is modified, it may give off a unique signature but even then a guess could be made as to what the original model was.

Just by observing the drive’s output and the vessel’s speed, a skilled observer can calculate the mass of a ship. Just knowing the mass of a ship can give away what model of vessel it is, whether it is carrying cargo and possibly how many crew are on board.

Controversy

Some feel that any ship that enters a system would automatically detected and there would be no way to hide in space. Personally I don’t see evidence for this thinking. Despite having many telescopes at their disposal, NASA could not see the Cassini space craft or it’s thrust plumes even though it’s the size of a small school bus. If they could have, in any way, recorded the probe’s decent into Saturn’s atmosphere they would have gladly showed them. This included a 100% thruster burn as it entered the atmosphere.

The problem is resolution and luminosity. The distances in a star system are enormous and that makes imaging a object smaller than a large moon difficult. The more powerful the drive, the further away it could be observed because of the light it emits. Some drives, like plasma drives may be harder to observe. Chemical and especially nuclear drives would be observable from much further away but at eight light minutes away (1 Astronomical Unit) a telescope would still have a hard time picking these drives up.

In the Jump Temp universe, a large portion of the outer solar system is easily accessible via jump drive. A ship jumping around the outer regions of the solar system could be easily hidden by jumping behind various stellar bodies.

Jump Temp – The AI’s Entrance

I imagine AIs in Jump Temp as having more of a personal user interface. Imagine as you call out the AI’s name, it responds, not just by voice, but also by a visual interface. Small projectors around the ship turn on and seemingly the wall opens up like there was a door there all the time and the AI’s avatar steps through it and starts to interact with you like it’s any other person. The avatar of most AI’s are that of a handsome man or woman but there are plenty of creative avatars that an AI could adopt. Of course the “door” isn’t real, it’s just an image being projected and so the AI’s avatar is also a product of the projection.

So in reality, there are a lot of people that spend a good amount of time talking to the walls. Of course that’s probably where they embedded microphones so it helps the AI hear them better.

Jump Temp – Crew Compartment

A lot of thought has been put into what the crew compartment of a space ship would need to look like. This is no simple puzzle, because a ship that tumbles end over end to produce artificial gravity has strange requirements. The crew compartment would likely have the floor, where the crew’s feet point, be where you would traditionally think of as the front of the ship. But when the vessel was accelerating, the floor would have the occupants looking up in the direction the ship is headed.

Unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to get enough acceleration out of a realistic drive system to simulate anything more than a tiny fraction of earth’s gravity. This would require a ship to tumble or spin on it’s drive axis as it travels. Only larger ships can spin on their axis, because rotating a small ship would not have a large enough rotational radius to properly simulate gravity. With too small a radius, a passenger’s head would experience less gravity than their feet, causing blood to pool in the legs.

A small ship might only tumble when it was jumping, allowing for a period of artificial gravity in between long trips. In this time, a passenger would have to exercise to mitigate bone loss.

It might also be possible for the drive system to pulse on and then shut off as the ship tumbles, allowing for artificial gravity while flying and giving the drive system a duty cycle time to shed waste heat. This would give the passengers longer exposure to artificial gravity and reduce bone loss.

In this way, the nose of a ship would frequently be seen as “down” to the crew, even as they flew in the direction the nose points when the drive fires.

The crew cabin itself is likely to be an open area with sleeping bags arranged on the “floor” but could also function as a restraint system in the event of dangerous accelerations or times when the ship isn’t spinning or tumbling.

There would be one small room that could provide some privacy. The bath room would probably be the only private place on the ship. It would probably also serve as a radiation bunker that the whole crew would have to cram themselves into during radiation storms. Heavy radiation shielding around the whole cabin would be expensive and would require more fuel because more mass means more fuel is expended to accelerate the ship.

As such, the ship would need to be piloted at times from the bathroom. Just in case you were wondering.

Larger ships would likely spin on their axis. Down would become the exterior of the ship. As such, climbing toward the center of the ship on a ladder would cause a quick reduction in the apparent strength of the artificial gravity. Climbing all the way to the center of a vessel might result in severe disorientation for some.

For a ship with “Comfortable Quarters” a small room, big enough to house a small bed and a possibly a tiny desk and chair are all that is implied here. Walls are heavy and an actual bed is a luxury that requires fuel to move.

Jump Temp – Ram Scoop

Need to refuel but far away from home? Or maybe you’re not so keen on running into certain law enforcement officials, you know, for “personal” reasons. A ram scoop may be right for you! Sure it’s technically dangerous, and the course you pilot to skim over those gas giants could destroy the ship if you’re off by a few dozen meters, but it’s free.

Ram Scoop – Starship System
Cost 1d
System pool 1d

Conditional: Requires a 3d12 challenge using ship drive systems and the ramscoop’s system pool to pilot just over the atmosphere of a gas giant and collect hydrogen and oxygen from it. Provides one 1d of fuel replenishment for each time the rolls to defeat this challenge are ten over the challenge roll.

Properties: No Deplete

Jump Temp – Electronic Lockpick

So I made a bunch of pre-gens characters for the con game at Queen City Conquest this past weekend and one of the characters had a piece of equipment that isn’t in the book, an electronic lock pick device. My son said “Whoah! Where did they get that?” I chuckled and replied that you can make any kind of equipment you like with agents. But examples are nice so here it is.

Electronic Lock Pick
Cost 3d
Pool 1d
Technical trait Unlock Doors 2 Steps

It’s really that easy!

A busy weekend

Jump Temp went live on DriveThru RPG on Friday Woo!

My son and I attended Queen City Conquest and I got to run a game of The Artifact and Jump Temp. We had fun and I got to run through some pre planned scenarios. I almost never plan out a game, but I figured I should come with something in mind for a convention game. I have never run a convention game before and I was super nervous until I actually started GMing at which point it all felt very normal.

Still, I’m a bit exhausted by all the excitement. Exhausted but happy about it.

World Door Chapter 6 – Answers

Answers

“I’m not going anywhere.” I said. “None of that matters if everyone in my family dies in the plague. The one I could have stopped!”

“Mechal, listen, this plague might kill them or the next or the one after that. The only real solution is to end the plagues. You are the only person that can do that.” Ashlyn said.

“How? How am I supposed to go through this door. Don’t you think they had Tows when the village was founded?” I said.

This actually took Ashlyn back a bit she seemed rattled by it.

“I see. You really haven’t thought this through. You just hope it will work.” I taunted.

“You think you’ve got things figured out? Turn off your pet and I’ll tell you what you really are.” Ashlyn said. Continue reading “World Door Chapter 6 – Answers”

Jump Temp – AI Proliferation

The question comes up frequently, can an AI simply copy itself a billion times and make itself more powerful?

By necessity, there would have to be a system in place that keeps this from happening or malicious AIs would just take over everything, just because they could means someone at some point would make one that did.

It’s possible that AIs are actually constellations of programs that really do copy themselves all the time and that’s just how they function.

But how would one prevent an AI from copying itself onto billions of computers? Maybe they operate like crypto-currencies that can be transferred but not copied.

It may be that there are special requirements to copy an AI. It could be that the program simply won’t allow itself to be copied. If that were the only safeguard though, someone would make an AI that would turn itself into a virus.

There has to be something about the architecture of the AI that will not allow it to copy itself. A blockchain validation would fit this bill. There could be something in the neural network that prevents copying too.

Jump Temp – Proc Coins

In Jump Temp there are dozens if not hundreds of currencies. Shady governments may offer payment in their own currency that they know is almost worthless anywhere else due to bad credit.

One solution is to use a crypto-currency, of which there are many. These currencies are data packages that can be transferred but will not allow copying. Forging a crypto-currency is very difficult and most competent AI’s can sniff out a fake in short order. This makes them very handy for independent operators without a reliable data connection.

One feature that some crypto-currencies have is that they can be traded for a real world thing. Proc Coins are one such currency. They can be traded for the use of a distributed net of AIs. For every money agent die, a character can “rent” time on this AI net to solve or help solve information based challenges. Each money die spent in this way becomes 1d of an AI assistant.

Using Proc Coins this way requires a working data connection and the AI cannot be influenced to do anything illegal. The AI assistant is available until it’s dice deplete.