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Re: [GZG][FH] Planet types (was Re: Locations of Stars)

From: Tony Wilkinson <twilko@o...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 00:32:24 +0000
Subject: Re: [GZG][FH] Planet types (was Re: Locations of Stars)

	I hope that by "planet types" you mean habitable planets. For a
campaign I
was writing a planet, indeed all planets, were described by 4 varibles;
size of population and/or military bases it could support (very abstract
measure of surface area), a habitability rating from 0 to 10 (zero
rock, 10 Eden, Earth currently about 6) which determined maintaince
an industry rating to indicate how industrially developed the planet was
and a resource rating which multiplied industry rating to give
	If you want to be more specific then there are several factors
consider. This is not just for habitable planets

	1) Size - small and you have no atmosphere, really big and you
have an
atmosphere with pressure that crushes you. Small and you usually have no
molten core to give you a protective magnetic field, really big and the
pull of gravity gives nearby moons molten cores and magnetic fields.
and its real easy to get into orbit, even for PA, really big and you'll
never get off. What size forces can be deployed here and how many people
could possibly live there?
	2) Atmosphere - the amount you have is important as is its
composition. No
CO2 and plants (as we know them anyway) won't grow, too much and you
Venus. No 02 and your troops can't breave, too much and every time you
a weapon you get an explosion and a fire. The amount of atmosphere will
affect the preformance of conventional aircraft and GEVs. The amount of
oxygen will affect to preformance of nonPA troops (except perhaps Gurkas
who are used to low air pressures abd less oxygen).
	3) Tempreature - partly a function of how far from a star and
partly the
nature of the planets atmosphere. Absolute Zero doesn't do working
including people, much good. Then again you wouldn't do much better on a
place like Venus.
	4) Stability - if the surface of the planet is constantly
changing, and by
this I also mean by meteor impact as well as planetquakes, flooding
(like on Europa), ice packs, glaciers, volcanos etc, it might make
on it impossible and thus render the planet totally useless. Troops
refuse to use fortifcations and entrenchments. Keeping stores becomes
more difficult and casualties amongst men and equipment are bound to be
higher under such conditions.
	5) Resources - what does the planet have that you can use?
	6) Population - how many people/creatures live there? What sort
people/creatures live there.
	Obviously this last might take some time depending on how
involved you
want to be. At first all you need to tell the player is the size of the
planet. As the player approaches and spends time studying a planet then
more they will learn needing perhaps only one roll each turn. Of course
could be really keen and pregenrate all the star systems you are likely
need (and then see all 80 go to waste as the campaign gets taken over by
one than seems simpler and has had 3 changes to the tech system and 2 to
the economic in just 3 turns. Oh well thats my whinge).
	I might be pessamistic but I really don't see combat being
limited to
"habitable" worlds, for a number of reasons, and for that reason I think
you have to be able to handle all types of planets, not just habitable


At 12:41 28/11/98 -0500, you wrote:
>  Several people have mentioned "planet types" while discussing the
>level for the Official History of the Future(tm).  I thought I'd pitch
>out and then expend all thrust on evasive maneuvering 8) :
>  John Barnes, in the March 1990 Analog, has an article on "How to
Build a
>Future".  Among other things, he postulates that there are just a few
>of planets:
>1.	Wet Mars (smaller and cooler than Earth, a scattering of
>2.	Utah (big, dry, huge mountains, livable seacoasts);
>3.	Cold Indonesia (cooler than Earth, with small continents and
>islands, habitable in the tropics and lower temperate zones);
>4.	Odd ones that don't fit a category.
>Now, he got these from random number generation across a spreadsheet
>the "six randomizing factors that went into each planet" (and if anyone
>knows what he's talking about, especially parameters and how to
>how many resource areas there are, e-mail me) so there's no reason that
>have to stick with those types he came up with.  We might, however,
>on a few basic planet types that are habitable without terraforming. 
>that I am not suggesting "a jungle planet"--any real habitable planet
>going to have a range of climates.  Nor am I trying to limit
>you want a weird planet, design it.  I just don't feel that every
>planet has to be totally different from every other one; and I don't
>to have to design from scratch every time just to have a feel for what
>   (Compare: "You're entering a star system.  In the habitable zone
>is a (roll one die) Large Indonesia type planet" versus "In the
>zone there, how about design a Kra'Vak flotilla for me while I
>design the planet you're landing on?")
>   There are only a few basic climates and a few basic terrain types so
>shouldn't be hard to design five or so classes of world ("geotypes"?)
>will guarantee every combination is readily available.

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