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Re: [FT] Hardened Systems

From: Thomas Anderson <thomas.anderson@u...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 22:45:27 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: [FT] Hardened Systems

On Thu, 14 Jan 1999, By the time you can make ends meet, they move the
ends wrote:
> > that hardening 
> >may not only be armour, but could be localised intense shielding.

or even just heavier construction - rather than use 5 mm plasteel plate
for the frame of your fire director, use 10 mm. or add another few
bulkheads inside the neutrino detector bank. or install a set of backup
computers, so that if the first lot goes down, you have spares. or
a medical team in the control room so that if a controller gets injured,
he can be fixed up enough to go on, etc. it's not about armour, it's
build quality. think BMW vs Skoda: same top speed, same fuel
but the BMW costs twice as much and the Skoda needs fixing twice as

also, the exposed part of many systems is quite minor; an FCS has a
bank on the surface, but it also includes computers and crew, which can
buried. plus, you can, say, just mount one lens on the hull, and have
actual telescope deeper in. tricky to do, hence the extra mass and cost.

> It has been stated (not in this thread, but elsewhere, earlier, by
> Jon T and others) that threshold checks do not necessarily represent
> damage done directly by weapons fire, but also represent overloading
> and short-circuiting of the systems that took threshold 'hits'.

plus damage to support systems - that beam hit just happened to knock
a particular data switch, so you've lost the ability to control your
battery. or it hit a power coupling, or a plasma conduit or something.
maybe a blast wave bashed the side of the ammo chute in. all these
are fixable in battle.

> I
> always found it amusing that people would describe the fact that their
> C Battery (or now Class-1 batt) would be "blown off" or "explode" from
> a threshold hit, and then later have damage control repair it!  :) 

oh, well most engineers i know do have one or two c-batts lying about -
you never know when you might need one :-).

> Also, extra armour or localized intense
> shielding will not help short-circuiting inside the ship.  ;-)

no, but an armoured box around the data switches, a local reserve power
cell, an alternate plasma route or a reinforced ammo chute will.
'hardened' does not necessarily mean 'armoured' - it could just mean it
was overengineered so as to have a better chance of surviving in battle.

> Anyway, my point really is that I feel the hardening/non-hardening
> aspects have already been abstracted *into* the game; no need to
> add another layer to it all, really.

certainly, all military systems will have hardening (there will be
data lines and power plants all over the ship), but what if you want
it is always possible to add to a design to make it more reliable, more
fault-tolerant, etc. just look at mainframe computers as compared to
they cost more per unit of capability, but mainframes are up 99.99% or
99.999% of the time, something pcs are totally incapable of. mainframes
are overbuilt, because they are used for mission-critical tasks.

i wouldn't demand backup drives, universal power supplies and
error-correcting memory on a desktop machine for a sales worker, and in
wouldn't build double-field polarisation couplers into the PDAF on a
frigate. it's a question of being able to get the right balance of
reliability versus cost for the given task.

just my 0.02 euros.


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