Tag Archive for space

Taurs and Spaceflight

Chakat Swiftwind testing a new small craft design

A while back, I decided I wanted to get a picture of Swiftwind actually doing hir job, rather than just the scattered pin-ups most of hir image history has amounted to thus far. Now, I could have simply gotten a picture of hir in front of a Star Trek style helm, but shi likes flying things that go way too fast, so it had to be something that shi could fly manually.  Which then led to the thought of just what would be a fitting cockpit design for a taur!

My first thought was a simple taur couch, with a backpad that swung into position for upper back support.  While it seemed like it could work, I realized it also didn’t solve the problem why we use chairs as bipeds on our fighter craft and zoomy things – the back provides cushioning against the thrust.  Supply enough thrust on a craft with a taur in that position, and they’ll quite possibly strain their midjoint, or possibly slide completely out of position.

My next thought was of the Starfury from Babylon 5.Rather than the typical seat, they looked at what would make a good craft for -space- and came up with using a standing cockpit.  Thrust form behind would be evenly distributed, and thrust on any other direction would go evenly across the body rather than unevenly like a seat might from certain directions.  Only problem is that a taur sitting on their butt to “stand” in this fashion would be rather awkward.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility but that led to my next idea, pictured int he image above.

Much like in Zoids Genesis, the cockpit seat works like that of a motorcycle. This keeps the spine fairly level and provides most of the advantages of the Starfury-style cockpit, but in a much less awkward position for a taur to get into and out of easily.  The rearward thrust might still be a slight issue in that it will send their blood towards their butt, but taurs have a lot more body for the blood to move through and given we’re dealing with Star Trek level technology, I don’t think that would be enough of a problem to write it off. In this case also the spine would only compress a bit, rather than stress the midjoint with the spine experiencing thrust differently in two different directions.

Of course, I don’t think that position would be super comfortable for long trips, so ideally the couch would slide into the floor to allow the taur pilot to operate the controls sitting or laying normally when in what I termed “cruise” mode.  The full couch would only be necessary in “high maneuver” mode, where you might run into instances of inertial overbleed from the dampers. You know, those moments when the bridge crew gets thrown around because people in the future forgot seatbelts!

As a side benefit, since chakats can use their forepaws as hands, you could have extra controls for handpaw use when the couch is deployed, though it’d have to be something that doesn’t require fine control like a throttle, or a few big, important toggles that could still be reached by hand in an emergency.

Ultimately, it depends on the physics in question. In a Star Trek situation, which is what I was using as my design constraints, I feel it would come down to either a basic taurcouch for larger craft like your cruisers, or something like the above for smaller craft more likely to go into extreme maneuvers that could cause overbleed.

Something more like Babylon 5’s setup where they fully play fair with Newton, I don’t think there’d be any real options other than to go completely vertical, despite it being much more awkward and time-consuming to get in place and strap in. The cockpits would probably have to have entryways on the floor rather than the wall, and the taur would have to lower themselves into it and climb out after.  Not ideal for larger craft, but those would presumably not be dealing with heavy acceleration in the same fashion.

The other main case that doesn’t completely ignore intertia would be something like the drive systems in the Honor Harrington books. The ships there use a gravity wedge to propel the ships at 600-700Gs, and as the wedges involve gravity control they also act as a sump pump for intertia, so the occupants don’t deal with that level of acceleration.  (Of course, if that system breaks, everyone in it shortly becomes pink mist.) Apart from that cheat, they still have to play fair with Newton, so course changes, while sudden, still have to deal with the inertia of the ship itself. In that sort of piloting environment I would imagine the taurs would just strap into something like my initial thought, and the straps would help absorb the shock of any impacts from weapons fire, as the compensators are not designed to catch the momentary burst of energy from that hitting. (Not to mention explosions inside the ship if any laser warheads penetrate the armor and set something off.)

And space fantasy like Star Wars?  Well, whatever looks coolest and seems to make sense visually! (aka don’t think too hard about it – MST3K mantra applies here!)

More Trekkin’, More Writin’

So I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I wrote something, but I haven’t had too much to write about… at least on here.  My role at work did change a bit, making me busier than before, but not really anything worth sharing.

I did finally max all my Star Trek Online alts, giving me 8 characters at 60, and 1 empty character slot.  I actually have a character in mind for it, but since there’s no appropriate ship yet for her I’m holding off and working on filling out my alt builds completely.

I do like the fact that each one has a different build and ship type, with different armaments.  On paper this means they all play differently, but in practice there is a some overlap between my Romulans, as they both use forward-facing setups with narrow arcs. The same applies to my Federation ships, as despite one being a DPS focus, one a tank, and one a drain boat, all three are broadsiders and thus are piloted somewhat similarly, despite the difference in what and how they handle things.  My KDF toons are probably the most disparate, as one is a carrier with a focus on fighters, one is a siege-style ship based on sitting in one place and broadsiding, and the last one is a torpedo/Wave Motion Gun type build with very little pure energy weapon damage.

In the case of all my STO toons, the ship is as much a part of their character as the toon itself, extending to their bridge officers as well. At the moment, I’m finishing the bridge crew and away teams of a couple captains, then it’s on to ground gear and upgrading everything.  In some cases, I’m not quite as happy with the actual bridge crews, but I’ve been able to justify them so far, with a bit of creative thinking:

  • My Caitian Federation captain has a melting pot of the “best” space and ground boffs.  Federation inclusiveness is a go, even if it is a bit of a stretch.
  • My Draenei Fed captain runs an all-Draenei ground crew.  The bridge crew is 2 Draenei, a Dwarf(using the Alien race), 2 semi-Night Elves(using Romulans) and the Heirarchy officer from the Delta stories. 1 non-Warcraft race is probably fine, I feel, as I could see them allowing a token representative to observe the Alliance in action.
  • My Borg Fed captain has a ground crew of 2 borg, a borg-looking Android, and a hologram, and most of them are on the space crew, plus a couple Romulans as it is originally a Romulan ship.  One of the easiest to justify and have good boffs.
  • My Gorn KDF with the carrier has an all-Gorn away team and an all-Naussicaan bridge crew.  In my mind they’re not truly KDF, so the Nausicaans are probably rebels as well. They do look similar in some ways, as well.
  • My Talaxian KDF is a pirate, with a Orion(looking) ground crew and Nausicaans above, though I’ll be adding a couple Romulans and a Hierarchy.  Pirates explains it all!
  • My Ferasan KDF is actually loyal to the Kzinti/Lyran state(noticing a pattern?) and will have an all Ferasan ground crew when I’m done.  Space crew is again the ubiquitous Nausicaans-for-hire.
  • My Fed-aligned Romulan is a Romulan supremecist and has a pure Romulan crew, apart from a Romulan-looking android and hologram, both fo which I consider Romulan-programmed.
  • My KDF-aligned Romulan was originally based off of Clan Jade Falcon from a different franchise, but I couldn’t really make a theme work on that so he’s another “Rebel” of sorts, his ship being crewed by Romulan and Gorn. (Which amuses me since they were enemies in Star Fleet Battles and it’s derivitaves.)

Setting aside STO somewhat, I’m also finally getting my first piece of art in several months – a picture of the chakatverse version of my STO Caitian, M’Rel, as she is the star of the chakatverse story I’m writing.  Originally she was created in STO as a stand-in for Swiftwind, as I just couldn’t see the chakat as a starship captain, but she’s grown into her own and the story that originally was going to focus on Swiftwind pivoted around to a slightly different concept and crew.

Now, the original story idea I had may still ahppen after this one, but I’ve been writing on and off on it since April or May probably.  I’ll write a bunch, then let it sit a while, then come back to it again.  It’s back to slow writing at the moment I’m afraid with my focus on STO and not being in a writing mood, but hopefully I’ll finish it within the next few months – I’m hoping the picture may help my inspiration.

I’ve also been sorely tempted to post it part by part on this blog, which may help in getting me to finally finish the thing.  My one fear in doing that is that with how long I’m taking writing it, that I may not pace it appropriately, or for that matter if I don’t actually finish it.  I am close enough to the end though that that should not be a concern.

Either way, we’ll see what lies ahead, especially with a new STO “season” starting in two to three weeks, which is also when my picture will likely be finished by…

Worlds of Whimsy #1 – Free Traders Universe

Well, what do ya know!  I didn’t notice until I was going to write this that this was going to be the 50th post, but that’s a rather auspicious start.

Anyways, I’ve noticed lately I haven’t had much to write about, as life is continuing on without major changes, I haven’t had any grand ideas to ponder, and art’s pretty much on hold pending the new reference sheet.  It just so happens I was pondering a world design mixing up dragons with Star Trek and maybe Spelljammer and Shadowrun, and it hit me that I tend to do this on and off sometimes.  I’ll come up with this grand new idea of r a world or timeline or something, maybe start to write a story(or even finish it!) and then end up dropping it.  I don’t really want to be a GM so the only way I can really bring them to life usually would be via story or art.  Art usually isn’t that great for something like this without a bunch of it(which would get rather expensive) and with writing I’ve found I tend to work best with short stories, and I would need a strong story idea to get myself to finish it.

Then it hit me that I could put them out here!  Write out these fancy ideas and flesh them out, and while I may not be able to give them life, maybe someone else later will come along and build off that in their home games, and make it live!

I’m actually torn on what to show off for the first posting though.  I think I’ll start off with one of my more recent world-building attempts, although techncially I suppose it’s actually a couple worlds.

The Free Traders Universe

This was actually the setting(s) for an aborted story series based in the Spelljammer ruleset and setting.  It was supposed to follow the adventure of a small 4-man crew of a spelljamming vessel. They were rather unique though, especially a couple of them that I basically had to (or wanted to) create their own worlds because of them.  First, the ship!

Lazy Sue

Swordfish-class
4xStandard room = 2 tons
Helm room = 1 tons
Galley = .5
basic Engineering = 1.5 tons
5 tons + cargo
10% rigging
10% frame

12 tons
9.6 tons internal
4.6 tons cargo

Heavy Frame – Dark Wood
Dark Woof Hull
Pyre Iron plating
Pyre Iron piercing ram

Maneuver C
AC 25
hardness 12
345 HP

 

I never got as far as making deck plans apart from a general idea of what was where.  She was crewed thoguh as I said by four folk:

The Captain was a standard womanizing rogueish half-elf.  Nothing special at first, though more may have been revealed later.

The navigator was a dragonwrought kobold, giving them a mini-dragon on the crew.  She likewise wasn’t supposed to harbor much in the way of dark secrets, but had been doing this a while at the start. Her homeworld would have been based in the Council of Wyrms setting.

The weapons master on the other hand was one of those two special cases.  He was basically a warforged in game terms, but he was ultimately a proxy Transformer.  So, one of the few worlds I somewhat fleshed out is:

Forged Homeworld
(Cybertron of Universal Stream Draconix 313.16 Iota)

The history of this world mirrors the Primax 984.17 Alpha(G1 cartoon) history, after a fashion, given the presence of magic.  Forged were created to be warriors, like Eberron, and laborers.  The countries that gave birth to them however went to war with one another, and practically destroyed the planet.  The Forged finished the job, and left, their creators and their entire homeworld having been seemingly lost.  They started blaming one another and the war-restarted among the stars, with the Forged taking sides in part based upon their old loyalties, while others left to find their own way.  The other spelljamming races don’t look at the “out-of-control machines” with kindness, needless to say, though their reception could be anywhere from a cool neutral stance, to outright jailing, which would have been a plot point at one of the worlds they would have visited.

 

The artificer and ship’s engineer was the newbie, and the initial audiance perspective member.  She was also rather out of the ordinary, in that she was a felitaur.  In other words, like a centaur except her lower half was fully feline and her upper half was a humanized feline, in typical furry fasion.  Similar to chakats, but without being a herm or any of the baggage that term brings.

I didn’t flesh out her world much, other than it was a Realms-like world, but with more taurs and fewer bipeds.

I did put some thought into the first part of their story, which I originally planned to be from the Transforged’s PoV.

Giasin

This world was intended to borrow from a mix of La Gias(SRW), Panzer World Galient, and Turn A Gundam.  The world itself was meant to parallel the Forged homeworld just before its final war, except instead of self-aware mechanoids they’d uncovered ancient giant piloted mecha and tried to copy it with their magitek technology.  The Lazy Sue would have been seized to be used in their war, but the Transforged character would have broken the “PCs” out and helped them escape onto their next stop.

 

The next stop would have been the Council of Wyrms setting, and there would have been little change if any.  The story would have been told form the kobold’s PoV as she had run away form this world, and was now returning to it, though not entirely of her own accord.

There would have been one more intermediate stop, likely at a space station equivalent, before returning around to the taur’s PoV and their final destination.  I didn’t get far enough along to flesh out this world either, other than the story here would play with a plot along the lines of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” from Star Trek, mixed with a quarantined planet and a dying or dead Spacejammer.

I lost interest as I was trying to start the second chapter, and as no one else seemed really interested either, I let it die at that point and moved on.  I’d still like to plat a Draconix stream Cybertronian at some point, if a GM will let me though.

 

The next entry will probably also be a revival of an old story setting, but unlike this, it’ll be a single world as such.  Like this setting, I only got one story and the start of another written before I lost the thread of the story, though it was more I knew what I wanted in the ending but couldn’t see a good way to get there.

Also, as a reassurance this isn’t replacing any other ideas I might write about.  This will simply be something else I write about or for now and then in addition to posts about art, life, philosophy, and so on.

It’s Spaaaaaaaace Tiiiiiiiiime!

No, I’m not rewatching Kamen Rider Fourze.  I just noticed it’s been a while since I wrote anything and at the moment I’m in a space-y mood.  And no, I don’t mean lightheaded.

I was just looking through an image thread about Star Trek ships, and it’s making me want to do something with them again.  Specifically, someone had dome up a modification of the “Miranda-class” and I’m really liking the design.  It does look a lot like a Romulan War Eagle or King Eagle cruiser though, which may be part of why.

Artemis and Peregrine

Peregrine-class , on the right.

Going back and thinking over the various designs I’ve liked though, I’ve realized I tend to be drawn to the small to mid size ships, similar to how I tend towards those type cars in real life too.   Light Cruisers, Medium Cruisers, Destroyers, those are all classes I’ve tended towards if I had a choice.

Looking back towards Star Fleet Battles/Command, I really liked the Kzinti ships. I didn’t start reading the Honorverse books until later, but I did like their Drone-heavy ships, especially in SFC2 when they introduced teh X-tech from SFB(with a twist) to SFC and I got MIRV-drones.  Running a drone-variant ship really feels like the Star Trek equivalent of a Honorverse ship.  Only downside is the closest thing to Missle pods is the Scatter Pack, which you can’t produce in bulk ahead of time.  Also, control channels becomes an issue then, as Kzinti ships don’t have near the drone control capability of an Honorverse ship.

The MDC Foxfire - my ship during SFC online play

The MDC Foxfire – my ship during SFC online play

Romulans are another race I’ve always liked, mostly for the cloaking device.  It lends a sort of “submarine” feel.  I’ve never cared for their Klingon refits, but the King Eagle is one design I’m sort of fond of.  In part, I’ve always envisioned the first-generation ships as showing the Romulan’s actual design sensibilities, in addition to being specifically designed to work with cloaking.  Did I mention they also have equal strength shields all around?

I feel that the 3rd gen on the other hand borrow too much from Klingon aesthetics on principle, though a few of them look just fine as-is.  I do have to admit, I did see a image recently of a render of a 3rd generation ship that, with the right colors, reminded me a lot of the Next Gen Romulan ships.  It looks a lot nicer than the regular Sparrowhawk light cruiser in the plain grey colors.

Fasthawk (Firehawk variant)

Fasthawk (Firehawk variant)

Then again, those colors and the Romulan Logo are very reminiscent of the Clan Jade Falcon, from Battletech, which happens to be one of my favorite Battletech factions!  And there was one image of a Sparrowhawk redesign I did like in the original scheme.

Sparrowhawk (redesign) beauty shot

Sparrowhawk (redesign) beauty shot

I’ve toyed with most of the other factions at one time or another, but the only other race I really felt a draw to the ship design of was the Lyrans.  yes, another feline race, but something about the catamaran and Trimaran hull just grabs my attention, especially on the Destroyer/War Cruiser hull.  I’m not drawn to Disruptors, and the ESG can be tricky to use well, but they are some rather sharp ships.

SFC style Lyran CW

SFC style Lyran CW

Another thing this space kick I’m on gave me an idea for is the best ever costume for a dragon for Halloween: the Enterprise!  If I can get it done before Halloween, I’m going to try and get a sketch commission of myself wearing that as a costume.

But now I really want to play something with these ships!