Friday, August 23, 2019

Krim 0904 D'Arlee, first look

I've been on the computer way too long today, especially considering I was off today.

Looking at Krim, our next stop in my solo adventure.  B318AA8-E, meaning:

Diameter: 3 or just under 5000 kilometers. Less than .5G.
Atmosphere: 1 trace atmosphere. 0.06 atm so you will need a vacc suit!
Hydrographics: 8, 78% water. Going with the Europa approach here. And in T5 this is not even possible - if I am reading that chart right hydrographics is flux + atmosphere, so the max would be 7. And in T5 this does translate as an ice-capped world as well.
Population: A, tens of billions of people! On this ice ball!
Government: A, charismatic dictatorship. Must be awfully persuasive to get people here.
Law Level: 8 High Law, no open display of weapons

Class B starport and a tech level of E, so a very advanced system yet oddly just a class B port. Is that due to this port being in the League and not part of Imperial space and politics are involved?

Looking over the Heaven & Earth (aka Grand Census) info, 6 have what seems to be too common so I'll ignore the xenophobia aspects. But I do like unusual sleep times, fixed time for visiting (there are game possibilities there!), segregated during meals, live in special conditions, unusual significance of smells (maybe from the earlier days and the methane slush smell was a bad sign of your hab leaking!), and unusual cosmetics in certain occupations.

I'll expand on that later and make more ISS style maps. In the meantime, I also played around a little with the color mapping for the planet program to see if I could make something interesting. I think this little ice ball floating in space came out okay...

Traveller Ship Tracker - v5

I actually broke down and restarted this project. I've managed to get the SQL backend back in place using Entity Framework Core and SQLite. So far it does nothing but I have created the two classes, ShipClasses and Ships, and created the main screen.

I'll probably need to get some consistent images. The Beowulf image is from the Traveller Wiki, the Navy symbol for the ship classes is from the T5 font set from the original T5 Kickstarter. 

I may try to make my own images to not have to worry about copyright issues or stuff like that, and to get a consistent look.

The next step is to make those buttons actually go someplace. I was just happy to get Visual Studio 19 up to date and to be able to create a new Windows WPF program, and wire up the SQLite stuff again. The schema maps to the preview I did, so that does not need any updating (schema).  And I am also designing with the default 800x450 size but the layout is reactive. That size should fit on all tablets - my last experience was using the full screen but as my main screen is a quad HD I ended up putting way too much in there. 

I'll also be establishing the resource library for shared templates and things such as the back arrow button to go to the previous screen.  This is NOT a single page type of application - I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around that (basically there is a controller page and you just load up the layout. I sort of did that with the last one, having a main page and swapping out the internal content based on the buttons clicked. I was not entirely happy with the results).

So the next steps are to get the ship classes list in place, and an editor for the classes that fits in the size allotted. Then the same for the ships. Then play with that a bit, then once I am happy, figure out how to get it to anyone who wants to install it. The previous UWP process just did not work well for non-developers. I am hoping for a simple installer or something.

Source code is on GitHub if anyone wants to look and cringe.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Solo Session 6 - 238-1106 / Preacep

With the textiles impounded by the local authorities, we have a few choices. See if there is a fine to pay, and if so, how reasonable is it? If no fine, do we pursue getting our credits back as those textiles were sold to us in good faith? Do we break bad and do raid the warehouse, grab our cargo containers, somehow load them up and take off? That would not let us return to Preacep anytime soon, and as this is the gateway to the League on the core-ward side, that is not a good option. Additionally, there is that Space Patrol vessel a few pads over....

So, first lets see if there is some sort of fine or something we can pursue in a legal way. I'll let the die decide as I don't want the deux ex machina via me to solve the issue. And we lucked out - rolled a we're good result. So there is a small fine to pay to ease the conscience of those wishing to maintain planetary heritages. Make it 10% of the purchase price, or Cr6,600. Our coffers are a bit on the bare side at the moment, but assuming we can sell off the cargo on Krim we should more than make up for it.

So a small court date with Stoddy and the local council for World Heritage, we pay our small fine, the engineer has fixed up the No Refunds from the rude cargo removal process, and we are about ready to leave.

Recalling that the Ptolemy Traveler was headed this way as well, and should already be here. Deciding to let the die control her fate, and wanting to average out a few rolls, I got 1 bad stuff happens and 2 we're okay rolls. So: the Ptolemy was behind us a few hours and much further out: the astrogator did not dot all his i's and cross all his t's apparently when plotting the course. But they got into an orbit and have been ferrying down the goods via shuttles the week we've been here.

And now I am also realizing the truth of the SOLO book's advice about getting a notebook to track things. What I am going to try is OneNote yet again, and keep a notebook for this game, and a page per planet to track contacts and other notes. I tried that on the first Traveller game I refereed in decades a couple of years ago, but it did not go so well. I do better with a real notebook I think (well, they don't call it pen and paper RPGs for nothing!) .

So moving on with the game (and I may embellish later with a in-person viewpoint. Or not...) We're up to step 4, paying any warehouse fees. As we've not overstayed our welcome, we have no fees. Checking for contacts, and having none on-planet other than our merchant friend Stoddy, we meet no one else. Had I made the roll, then I think the Patrol ship would have been the Wyvern, and Malik would have met up with some of his old Patrol buddies from that term spent cruising the system and writing about the Quadrant. Clearing the port, we launch back into space with our 4 mid-passage passengers and a not-quite full cargo load. Rolling on the ship encounter table, there is a 400 ton Scout surveyor. In a bid to make new friends, we hail them. Sadly, the reaction roll was bad, so these taciturn Scouts want nothing to do with us. Could it be because our flight plan is for the League, a political entity not part of the Imperium? Are they in the middle of a long and tedious survey of the system? Was it the two escort craft following us to the upper atmosphere? Who knows...

So we enter jump to Krim after the good doctor has plotted the current jump route, and we'll leave here. Malik will be tending to the 4 passengers and checking lockers, as well as working on his book.

I never did make a map of the island. While not really needed, I do like maps and think they are fun. But Krim is coming up, so I'll spend some time detailing that planet.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Traveller Tracker - Designing the interface

I want to keep the interface simple, and the database backing simple. I've got a trial to Adobe XD which allows me to create prototypes and designs, so I am playing with that. Below are the screens, and here is a link to the actual prototype: Tracker Prototype  This link may die in 3 months as I've only a trial of the software.

The blue buttons should go back to the previous screen. From the main screen, Ship yard brings you to the list of ships you've created; clicking the first name will get you the ship details.  Ship classes gives you the list of classes. and I've added the Beowulf as a link.

Need to get back to the solo play but thought I'd restart this software project again. It will end up being a Win10 program only. The other option is to see if I could write a phone-based one via Flutter or some other language, but I don't want to forget about c#.

I did get Visual Studio 19 updated, so I need to get back into that, and see about starting the project all over. This time with a way for any interested readers to download and install. That UWP process sadly was not good for that.

While I will re-use a lot of that code, I do plan on trying to keep things as siloed as possible. I always start with good intentions at least!

Main Screen
Ship Classes
Beowulf Info

Ship List and Details

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Traveller Tracker

I am slowly making the decision to start over. Again. The UWP program got too messy too fast. And when testing on a smaller screen, it did not work particularly well. Plus messy code.

So, starting anew means a bit better planning. I am also going to see if I can make it work on Mac & Windows via Xamarin forms, which in theory should work across platforms. And it has to be easy to install: the various test beds for UWP programs were designed more for developers than for general users.

So, various phases:

  1. Test getting the forms to work for both Windows & Mac. I can test on my tablet, and at work I use a Mac. 
  2. Start small
  3. I'll start with just the ship class and ships, so that a user can easily view, edit and create a new class or ship
  4. try to design for multiple screen resolutions
Down the road, I'll put back the whole TravellerMap API as I really like that, but I won't futz around with locally storing the data, nor allowing for the milieus. Maybe down the road as I did have a way of doing that but it got ugly. 

So starting with a pretty simple schema - this all of phase 1 will have in it. Then I need to explore Xamarin forms to see how to make that work and if it will work on Macs as well as PCs. If not, I'll fallback to just Win10.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Solo Session 5: Preacep 234-238 1106

Preacep, 234 through 238 1106 at the Port

The next four days Malik & Ewo check for cargos. Two are found, a 55 ton lot of textiles that, despite getting a good purchase DM due to the non-industrial nature of Preacep, we still only get at 90% and costing us Cr148,500. The other option was 2 tons of crystals at 100% of the base cost, C40,000. We could dip into the ship reserves for the textiles, but none of the systems available to us to jump to next have any beneficial selling modifiers. Now, as a player / ref of the game, I could indicate that ASB&TS has a broker in the system. So I am going to allow a re-roll for each with a -1 applied due to our broker: miraculously I really rolled snake eyes, so we can get the textiles at 40% or Cr66,000. The crystals are at 80%, or  Cr32,000. So Cr98,000 for both lots and only having to dip a bit into the reserves to cover those costs. We still have about 50 tons of storage space left if we include the ship's shuttle or vehicle bay. Rolling on for general cargo, we have 3 tons of major cargo and 2 tons of minor cargos. There were no incidental cargos. So that will be a payment of Cr5000 for the 1 jump into League space.

Checking for passengers, we can get 2 high passage passengers or 4 mid-passage. Going with the 4 mid-passage may be stretching the rules a bit, but I can go with that. There is an excessively large common area after all, and we also have the entire vehicle bay empty. We could spend some more time trying to find cargo but we are really out of credits.

As we are also trying to save money, and paying for the life support, the ship's crew will sleep on-board, but roam the port to stretch their legs and get out and about. Unfortunately, despite being an island, the tainted atmosphere prevents any real site seeing on the island. Few people to see the mighty fluketails leap in the tainted oceans, or see the majestic isheer frolic in the oddly shaped and colored trees.

Looking at the map, we've got 6 possible systems to jump to:
  • Back to Yllom  A689997-A
  • To Finnigan's World, bypassing Yllom C694566-9
  • Finnigan's Beta A568201-B, non-industrial
  • Finnigan's Gamma E672AAA-3
  • Krim, red-zoned by the Imperium but part of the League AND having a Naval base B318AA8-E
  • 010-705 E576698-7
As I am really wanting to head into the League to explore that a bit, I do have to come up with some justification on getting there. And Krim is a TL E world so should be a lot of fun to visit: with that atmosphere and that population, there must be huge arcologies that are entirely self-contained, floating grav cities, huge stations. 

Looking closer at the map, turns out that Preacep is actually a non-aligned system: although in the Imperium, it is not of the Imperium. Now, whether that was a mistake or intentional, as I originally made up this system 30+ years ago I could not say. But it does work its way wonderfully as a port between systems. I'll have to expand out the description, making this a more neutral territory somehow, the gateway to the League. Maybe they sell t-shirts with that on them in the few shops available in the class C port...

But back to our destination, now decided, Krim. A very high tech-level planet, meaning (if I interpreted the book 2 rules correctly) I add 4 to the roll for passengers, so likely we'll get the max of 2 passengers we can carry, maybe 4 if double-bunking the staterooms. Technically, no cargo due its being a red zone when we do get there. 
So after 4 days, we have 4 passengers, some speculative cargo, and some freight we are shipping across the border. The ship has been refueled and two week maintenance performed, the larder restocked with whatever foods Preacep can offer. Deciding to go ahead & roll on the world encounter table, I get seller is involved in legal trouble and we risk getting involved. Not knowing how bad this could be, I'll go ahead and roll on some more interesting tables in the SOLO book. The seller turns out to be a decent enough person, and he was up front with us on the textiles purchase (perhaps why we got this at 40% of cost?). The textiles were produced by a small group of people in the Free Egalitarian Party's country. Apparently not all people are equal, and this small group wishes to maintain its cultural heritage a bit more than the general Egalitarian wants. Some are just more equal than others....regardless, these textiles are considered a cultural heritage by some, and with the system's prohibition on contact with off-worlders, some see this as breaking the law. However, the textiles were purchased legally, and sold legally to the No Refunds, and another roll on a table indicates that we're ok for now. So no mad dash off-planet, or enemies created. Just some of the population not happy with  Regardless, we'll add another contact:
Contact: Stoddy Johnson of Preacep, textile seller
 As we've only the 2 planets so far, rolling for contacts is not a thing that needs to get done.

Rolling on the port encounters, we get something that actually fits in with the above legal issues: the ships crew is in some sort of trouble, perhaps legal.  We will need to come up with a plan. Being a legal issue, seeing as Eaaia has several skills that apply (Advocate-1, Diplomat-1, perhaps even the Admin-1 and Persuade-1 can all work in here) we will get a bonus for that. However, this world is not a part of the Imperium, so her legal acumen may not entirely be as advantaguous. However, I'll say she comes up with a solid plan with the +1 bonus. And...I roll a 5, meaning the plan failed! The textiles are currently in legal limbo. And rolling for consequences, we get damage to a useful or valuable piece of kit. As this was a legal tussle, the only thing I can think of is that perhaps the ship was damaged when the local enforcers decided to forcefully take back the textiles. So we're into deeper trouble than I thought!

I've a number of choices to make: do we just pay a fine and look for another cargo? Retry the legal process? And it looks like we'll be on Preacep another few days while I decide what to do next.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Solo Session 4: Preacep 234-1106

234-1106 Preacep 0803 C22467B-A

After checking in on the two passengers, Mail resumes his post at the sensors station as they start entering Preacep air space. Seeing two incoming craft, her alerts the captain.

"Yes," Lynwood says over his shoulder, "an escort craft from each country. They want to make sure we stay where we are supposed to stay. They'll be following us all the way down. Should have then in visual range in a few moments."

And as the No Refunds dropped in through the thin atmosphere, Malik got some good imagery of the two craft. While significantly smaller than the 300 ton merchant vessel, they had a lot more fire power.
Jeff Zugale: 210/365: Tashkent I-44
"Don't worry about it, " Ewo said from the opposite station. "While the do prohibit the population from meets and greets, they still need stuff the outside universe can supply. I've been here a few times, and no world exploration here. Hopefully there will be something in the port to keep us from dead-heading out."

The class C port was not impressive as the merchant settled down on a ferrocrete pad, the two air fighters zooming off. A small, spidery island maybe 100 kilometers wide with fingers stretching into to tainted ocean, the port was adjacent to the western side. Huge fuel silos to the north next to the ocean, and the small port tower to the south. Maybe half a dozen pads were there, more than half empty. A few standard trading vessels were there, as was what appeared to be a Space Patrol ship.

"Same class as the Wyvern," Malik thought to himself, "but can't read the numbers from here."

The No Refunds settled on the assigned pad, the landing lights switching off as soon as she touched down. The Captain flicked several switches, and with a quick acknowledgment to the tower, got up and walked back towards the lift to the mid-deck. Passing Ewo and Malik, he said, "Good luck in finding cargo here, or passengers. Now off to fill out some reports at the admin building." With that, he turned to the lift and went down.

Checking his sensors, Malik only saw the IDs of the various ships pinging the system. "Is there any formal sign in or anything we need to do?" he asked the Aslan.

"That's where Lynwood is headed now. While we are transmitting the last port's info blocks, Preacep is a bit more old fashioned about some things. Ok, there's the transport. You need to hustle and get our guests aboard that as well. They've already paid passage, so let's get them out there and out of here."

Heading down, Malik and Ewo escorted their guests to the transport which was locked to their starboard air lock. Malik, Ewo, Lynwood and the two passengers boarded, and Malik almost hit his head on the ceiling as the gravity shifted from the standard 1G on-board to barely .3G of Preacep. With some hissing and banging, the wheeled transport disengaged from the ship, rolled back and did a 180, and headed for an opening a few dozen meters away. The bus had room for more people than the five passengers.

Heading down a grade once past the big lock doors, the gravity slowly shifted back to a standard G and the dim light from the sun faded as the doors closed behind the transport. Coming up on a platform, the vehicle parallel parked and matched air locks. Much quieter than the outside locks, the doors slid open to reveal what looked to be an admin center. A central desk with a couple SPA officers overlooked the external transport corridor, and was in front of what appeared to be a rapid transport system. The ship's passengers went to the woman on the left, and the ship's crew headed to the man on the right.

"Welcome to Preacep, Captain, Ewo. Someone new this time 'round?" the large man said, shaking hands with them as Lynwood introduced Malik to Joesph. The captain, after a brief conversation, left to get on the tube transport to get to the admin building, leading Ewo and Malik. Malik was carrying the ship's cargo load out and they were going to post at the admin building to see what they could get for it


Okay, enough story time for the moment. Let's roll on the actual purchase price table, remembering that +4 by selling on a non-industrial world. Rolling a 10, then adding 4 gives us 300% resale value. So - we hit the motherlode! Realistically, if we could find something here to sell at a profit back on Yllom, we could just go back and forth and make a killing assuming we could get aluminum often enough. Regardless, I need to explore the League of Independent planets a bit.

Currently, the ship is at Cr47,500, Getting the Cr16,000 from the 2 mid-passengers, and selling the cargo at Cr225,000, gives us Cr288,500. Refueling, we used only 1 jump so half a tank at Cr15,750. Berthing fees, Cr100 (I cannot for some reason find the berthing costs so making a guess), life support for 2 weeks (as we'll be here another week looking for cargo and getting, well, maybe not fresh air but at least fresh views) is Cr3000, and half the monthly maintenance is Cr3600. So we currently have Cr266, 050. And so far the crew payments have not been made. So from the 225,000 we need to subtract ship expenses (22,500 for the last two weeks), and figure the profit which was: purchase price $52,500 from sale price 225,000 = Cr150,000. Take out a bit for the next two weeks (22,500) and some towards the ship funds and maintenance, so Cr50,000 is going towards future use, Such as a shuttle. And we need a kitty for the next purchase as well, so we're left with Cr25,000 to make the math easier (Cr75,000 towards a new cargo)  Total shares are 25, so each share is Cr1000. Considering Malik, as a Steward 0, should be getting Cr3000 per month, he is behind that schedule. Hopefully another good cargo.  But we are left with Cr75000 towards cargo, and Cr50,000 saved up for future ship costs: he needs to pay Cr179000 per month! He only has not even 1/3 of that at the moment saved up. So we may have to get into patron territory or something to make up the money.

So yes, it does seem as if I've swerved into accountants in space...

And next session, we start looking for cargo and anything else to help pay the bills.

The fighter is from Jeff Zugale. I followed his Kickstarter last year for the Starshipwright Book 1. Eagerly awaiting to see if he'll publish a Book 2. I do follow him on Patreon as he comes up with cool ships that I just love looking at.