Colonists on a new world may be content with dirt streets and candles for a
while, but eventually they will want paved roads and electric light, at the
very least. As soon as the colony can afford it, the colonists need to begin
developing an industrial infrastructure that enables them to produce the
industrial products needed to improve their tech level and standard of living.
They also need to develop transportation systems to transport their products,
raw materials, and agricultural goods to where they can be processed and/or
Elsewhere in the New Era, societies will also be developing an industrial and transportation infrastructure that will help lift their worlds toward the higher levels of technology and make life better for all. Here is a set of design sequences that enables a referee to develop a world’s infrastructure so he and his players can get a detailed picture of how a given society operates.
The first thing any society needs if they want to move beyond the hearth and candle stage is a source of electrical power. There are a number of stationary power sources available, depending on the supporting tech level. However, for a power system to be developed, a world must have a supply of copper or aluminum—preferably copper—so that a power transmission grid can be built.
Before you build a power station for a colony or city, you need to determine your power load requirement. This depends on the local tech level and the number of homes, businesses, and industries in the power station’s service area. To determine the required load, see the power load table. It contains the average power requirements for a typical Tech Level 8 city.
User Power Load Homes 1 Kilowatt per 500 square meters Retail Stores 1.5 Kilowatts per 500 square meters. Offices 2 Kilowatts per 500 square meters Industries Varies, see specific industry Public Lighting 500 watts per 1000 square meters
Decrease power requirements by 10% for each tech level below TL8 down to TL4. Electrical power is not available at TL 3 or lower. Increase power requirements by 20% for each tech level above TL8.
Any of the nuclear power production plants listed in the Nuclear Power Plants table may be built if the local tech level can support it. Fission power plants must have a supply of radioactives, either from local sources or from off-planet. Typical stationary nuclear plants are in the 500 to 1000 MW range.
Wet worlds can support hydroelectric power installations. These are built where there is flowing water to turn a turbine. This may be along streams or rivers where sluices run water over small turbines, or at dams where stored water is run through large turbine installations.
Hydro Turbines MW Mass (Tonnes) Price (MCr) Minimum Vol. Small (TL4) .010 .05 0.0005 .05 Large (TL5) 50 20 0.02 20
Dam construction requires years of time, thousands of workers, and the
movement of millions of cubic meters of earth. Because of this, worlds would
have to be fairly well developed and have reached at least TL 5 before major
hydroelectric projects are attempted. However, from an energy standpoint they
are worthwhile, as the largest hydro projects have generated up to 20,000
MEGAwatts of power. Installations generating about 6,000 megawatts are more
At the colonial level, small wooden dams may be built to channel water through sluices to power small generators. This water may also be used for crop irrigation or as a colonial water supply.
If there is a location such as a gap between mountains or seacliffs where winds blow constantly, you can erect wind turbines to generate electricity. The amount of electricity generated varies with the diameter of the turbine blades and the wind speed. Commercially available wind turbines with 10-meter turbine blades generate 100 kilowatts from winds blowing at 6.25 meters per second. An individual wind turbine masses 0.005 tonnes and costs Cr500. It must be mounted on a 15 meter pylon costing Cr200. 100 or more wind turbines are usually built grouped together as 'wind farms' to extract as much energy as possible from a windy location. As winds are not totally reliable, wind energy is most often used to supplement other power sources.
Solar power arrays described in FF&S may be assembled in ground installations to provide supplementary power during daylight hours. However, unless sufficient storage batteries are available, a solar array is useless at night. Orbiting solar arrays capable of capturing stellar energy from synchronous orbit and beaming it to surface rectifier/antenna installations can overcome most of the daylight limitation. The solar arrays would transmit their power through what are effectively large masers with a megawatt rating equal to the megawattage produced by the solar array. See the Maser Communicators table for baseline values to be used to design these masers.
Rectifier/antenna (rectenna) installations are needed to receive the microwave power and to step down the frequency to a standard electrical range (50-60 hertz). The rectenna installation area should be 100 square meters per maser megawatt. Rectenna installations cost MCr0.1 for every 100 square meters.
Any power plant is useless without a way of getting power to the people. A power transmission grid must be built for this purpose. It consists of two components, long-distance high voltage carriers and local distribution grids. These both require three elements: a conductor, an insulator, and a support structure. The conductor is most often wire. Copper wire is most common although aluminum wire can be used in its place at less efficiency. The planet where the grid is built must have a convenient source of one of these elements. Insulators are made from glass or other non-conductors. They are needed to keep the current from the supporting structure and draining away into the ground. The supporting structure consists of steel or wooden towers for the long distance cables, and steel or wooden poles for the local grid. Construction costs for a long-distance power line runs Cr1000 per kilometer. Costs for a local grid total Cr100 per building supplied with power.
Determine the volume of your building. As a guide, the average height of an enclosed room in a building is 3 meters. The average area of a house is 500 square meters. Therefore, the volume of an average one-story house is 1500 cubic meters. The nearest equivalent on the FF&S Hull Size table is a 100 tonne structure enclosing 1400 cubic meters. We will use that to design a sample building, in this case a house.
Select the house's shape from the Hull Form and Configuration table. Cylinders, Boxes, Spheres, and Domes are commonly used for buildings, with Boxes being the most common. We select Box for the house.
3. Construction Material
Select a construction material from the Construction Material Table. We select wood because it is readily available. Because we are concerned about possible native attacks, we want our house to have some armor value. Our walls will be 5 centimeters thick with an armor value of 1. Our construction material volume equals the material volume of our house (6 cubic meters) times the material volume multiplier for a box structure (1.2) times the thickness (5). We need 36 cubic meters of wood to build our house. The construction material costs Cr500 per cubic meter or (500 x 36) Cr 18000.
Construction Materials Table TL Type Toughness Mass Price (Cr) 1 Loose Dirt 0.04 1.5 — 1 Stone, Packed Dirt 0.2 2.5 — 1 Wood 0.2 0.7 500 2 Masonry 0.3 3 1000 4 Reinforced Concrete 0.4 4 1500 6 Hard Steel 2 8 1600 6 Glass 0.01 2.5 1000 7 Aluminum 1 3 1500
4. Interior Structure
Simple homes have their load bearing structure within their exterior walls. Wooden buildings may not be built more than three stories high without an interior structure. More complex buildings taller than three stories require interior structures. These are commonly built of iron or steel beams. Other buildings may use their interior structures for support, with their exterior not bearing any load. It's possible for buildings to have a steel interior structure and glass exterior walls. If non-load bearing interior walls are desired in a building, add them at 5% multiplied by the number of rooms in the building times the cost of the exterior walls. We want 5 rooms in our home so we add interior walls for Cr4500.
The wiring for electrical power (if it is available) costs Cr500 per 1000 cubic meters of structure. Since our structure has a 1400 cubic meter volume, electrical wiring will cost (Cr500 x 1.4) or Cr700. If the building is in a remote location, it may have its own power plant selected from those listed in FF&S. This home would require a power plant capable of supplying 1 kilowatt.
Piping to supply water and remove waste costs Cr300 per 1000 cubic meters of structure or (Cr300 x 1.4) or Cr420.
Add up the cost of each component. This is the cost of the basic building, it does not include carpeting, furniture or other ammenities. This house costs Cr23620.
If a planet has iron ore deposits and coal, it has the ingredients to produce iron. If it has copper ore, it can produce copper and all its electrically conductive products. If it has tin, it can produce tin and combine it with copper to produce bronze. At low tech levels this takes place in crude smelters. Here, the ore is ground up and heated in coal-fired furnaces. The native metal liquifies and separates from the pulverized rock which turns into slag. Iron ore typically has 2 to 5 percent pure iron. In other words, you need 1000 tons of ore to refine 2 to 5 tons of pure iron. A typical 300 cubic meter blast furnace produces one ton of iron per 500 ton charge. The furnace costs Cr500 per cubic meter. Copper ore has a similar content and is smelted much the same. Aluminum is even less beneficial and can’t be economically extracted until TL5 when electrochemical refining processes are developed that require 12 kilowatts of electricity for each half kilogram of aluminum. By TL8 this drops to 4.5 kilowatts per half kilogram.
Iron can be cast into useful implements such as beams, rails, wire, and nails. This takes place in a foundry. Copper wire is at a premium on a developing world; its vitally needed for electrical wire.
The ability to produce steel brings you up to Tech Level 4. Now you can produce steel hulls, steel armor, and more importantly for a civilization, steel beams, rails, and sheets.
Steel production begins with iron production. Iron is melted down and carbon and limestone are added. Compressed air and oxygen is then blown through the molten metal. After the liquid metal is drawn off from the steel conversion vessel, varying amounts of manganese and nickel are added to make the steel both tougher and easier to work. It is then rolled into sheets or forged into rails, beams, or ingots. TL4 converter vessels are 6 meters high by 3 meters in diameter and can produce one ton of steel. Open hearth furnaces work similarly but are larger. By TL6, these produce batches of up to 1500 tons; by TL8, up to 10,000 tons. Steel converters cost Cr1000 per ton of steel produced.
Hydrocarbons, both coal and crude oil, are the major fuel sources on newly developed or low tech worlds. Coal may be initially discovered through outcroppings of veins into surface soil. Crude petroleum is discovered often seeping to the surface near springs or in swamps. Once discovered, both need to be extracted. Surface coal can be simply dug out in small mines. Or it can be strip mined with blasting charges. As the veins go deeper, vertical mineshafts and horizontal “drifts” must be built. (See “Tunneling Costs” later in this chapter.) Crude oil must have wells dug, possible only at TL 4 and above when metallurgy provides hard materials for drill bits. After coal is cleaned, crushed into uniform sized lumps, and transported, it is ready to be used.
Crude oil must be refined. This requires a continuous fractioning column. The crude oil is heated to 295 degrees Celsius and evaporates. As the oil is heated, various fractions evaporate and rise through the column. The lighter fractions rise to the top where they are collected, heavier fractions are collected toward the bottom, and asphalt solids remain at the bottom. Light fuels suitable for internal combustion and gas turbine power plants is half the resulting fraction, heavier fuels suitable for steam power plants and wet ships constitute most of the remaining half. About 5 % of the heavy fuel is recycled to heat the fractioning column. The rest settles as asphalt, suitable for paving roads. A fractioning column can process 1 kiloliter of crude oil per cubic meter of its internal volume per hour. A column costs Cr2000 per cubic meter internal volume.
Roads are basic to any society. The first roads are dirt tracks through the wilderness, and the first streets are the spaces between the buildings in a village.
As a society advances and finds sources of petrochemicals, limestone, sand, and gravel, roads are paved so that wheeled traffice can move more efficiently, mud can no longer bog down vehicles, and dust and dirt generated by passing traffic is kept to a minimum. Note that the construction and maintenance costs do not include land acquisition costs, if any, for the right of way. Also, they do not include the cost of bridges or tunnels.
Trails & Tracks(TL0)
These are the first overland roads. They cost nothing to build as they are essentially formed by the passage of humans and their wagons and sometimes by the passage of local animal life. Vehicles using trails and tracks move at their cross-country speed rate + 5 kph as they do not have to break through brush. They are reduced to their basic cross-country speed in rainy weather because of mud. Maintenance cost: Cr10 per kilometer per year.
Improved Trails & Tracks(TL1)
These are basically trails and tracks that have been widened and graded with animal-powered scrapers. Traffic may pass each other in opposite directions without one party leaving the road. Otherwise, they are treated as normal tracks and trails. Construction cost: Cr100 per kilometer; maintanance cost: Cr20 per kilometer per standard year.
Gravel Roads (TL3)
These are roads surfaced with crushed gravel from nearby quarries. Vehicles moving on gravel roads move at their cross-country speed + 20 kph and do not have a mud penalty in rainy weather. Sustained use of tracked vehicles will destroy the gravel surface, however, and reinstitute any mud penalty after 6 hours of constant use. Construction cost: Cr 500 per kilometer; maintenance cost Cr50 per kilometer per year.
Asphalt Roads (TL4)
There must be a hydrocarbon refinery nearby to provide asphalt for this type of surface. This is the basic road type found on mid-technology worlds. They are built with two or more lanes to allow opposing traffic and passing. Each lane is 3 meters wide. Vehicles moving on asphalt roads move at their road speed and do not have a mud penalty. However, sustained use by tracked vehicles destroys the road surface in 12 hours, reducing speeds to cross-country speed and reinstituting any mud penalty. Construction cost: Cr5000 per kilometer per lane; maintenance cost Cr500 per kilometer per lane per year.
Concrete Roads (TL5)
An alternative to asphalt roads, concrete roads require a supply of sand, gravel, and limestone which has been thermally converted into cement. Concrete roads affect vehicle speed the same as asphalt roads and are somewhat more durable; tracked vehicles can use them for 18 hours before speeds are reduced to cross country. Also, their annual maintenance cost is less because their frequency of repair is lower. Construction cost: Cr5000 per kilometer per lane; maintenance cost Cr300 per kilometer per lane per year.
The ultimate in road surfacing and construction, fused roads are built with mobile fusion reactors that use plasma jets to melt and fuse the ground into a thick, glass-like surface. Construction costs are relatively cheap because most of the construction material is at hand. Maintenance is cheap because of the surface's durability. Construction cost: Cr2000 per kilometer per lane; maintenance cost Cr100 per kilometer per lane per year.
Wagons may be designed for use on low-tech worlds using the Ground Vehicle Design sequence in FF&S with the following additions and exceptions: Add this line to the Suspension table:
Type TL Vol. Mass SA Price Wagon Wheel 2 0 0.5 0 .0002 Note that the volume taken up by wheels and the surface area used by the wheels are zero because the wheels are external to the chassis.
Wagons are pulled by draft animals which become the wagon's power plant. To determine speed, multiply the number of draft animals pulling the wagon by 0.0005 to determine their power in megawatts. (An animal pulls with one half its mass in watts. A 1,000 kilogram draft animal pulls with the equivalent of 500 watts.)
One wagon driver on a bench seat.
If desired, additional bench seats may be installed for passengers. Treat these as Restricted Seats.
The speed of the wagon is restricted to the speed of the draft animals as listed in the Travel Movement table on page 196 of Traveller The New Era.
Sample Wagon TL3 Pioneer Wagon General Data Displacement: 1 ton Hull Armor: 0 Volume: 14 Cost: MCr0.00186 Target Size: MC Configuration: Standard Chassis Tech Level: 3 Mass (Loaded/Empty): (14.64/0.64) Engineering Data Power Plant: 1,2, or 4 draft animals generating 0.0005 MW of power each Power Transmission: Harness and yoke. Maximum Speed: Speed of draft animal, average walking speed 5 kph. Maintenance: 1 Accommodations Crew: 1, Driver. Bench Seat (as Restricted Seat but with room for driver and passenger. Other passengers may ride in wagon body.) Cargo: 14 tonnes The wagon may be open or covered by a semicircular canvas top 3 meters high.
The flanged steel wheel rolling along a steel rail is the most efficient transportation system available for the overland movement of goods and people until the advent of cheap contra-grav transportation. This is because the rolling resistance of a steel wheel on a steel rail is up to 90 percent lower than a wheel rolling along a road. Railroads consist of two basic parts: track and rolling stock.
Building track and its associated right of way is similar to building a gravel road with the addition of steel rails and their wooden or concrete crossties. Rails are made of iron beginning at TL-3 and soft steel beginning at TL-4. A standard straight rail is 10 meters long by 0.03 meters high by 0.01 meters wide. It has a volume of 0.003 cubic meters, weighs 24 kilograms, and costs Cr5. Curved rails are similar but cost Cr7. Iron rails cost Cr20 credit per kilometer per year to maintain while more durable steel rails cost Cr10 per kilometer per year. Standard gauge (width between rails) is 1.44 meters.
To calculate the cost of laying track, first determine the cost of the road bed by multiplying Cr250 per kilometer per track (equal to a half-width gravel road per track). Then calculate the cost of the rail by multiplying straight sections by Cr500 per kilometer per track, and curved sections by Cr700 per kilometer per track. Add the costs of switches at junctions and marshalling yards. These costs Cr300 per switch.
The road construction techniques available at various tech levels impose a speed limit on trains as shown in the speed limit table below.
Speed Limits TL Speed Limit /KPH 3 60 4 80 5 100 6 160 7 250 8 300 9 500
Rolling stock consists of locomotives and cars. The first trains were drawn by horses, but these were soon replaced by steam and internal combustion locomotives.
Locomotives as their name suggests pull trains of cars. Early steam locomotives are available beginning at TL3 while diesel internal combustion locomotives are available at TL4.
Locomotives may be designed like any other ground vehicle using the FF&S Ground Vehicle design sequence with several changes:
Add the following to the Suspension Table Type TL Vol Mass SA Price Flanged Wheel 3 1 0.20 90 .0001 Add the following to the Wheel and Tracked Transmissions table: TL Vol/T Vol/W Price 3 - 5 .00075
This represents the volume of the large piston rods and driver wheels. Other, less voluminous transmissions may be used at higher tech levels.
The width of the locomotive is restricted to the width of the track. Standard gauge is 1.44 meters, however wider or narrower guages may be used.
Rail vehicles only have road speed. Calculate the road speed with the formula 5 + ([MW÷LW]x2500)x5. This modified road speed formula reflects the increased efficiency of a flanged steel wheel on a steel rail. Note that the loaded weight is the weight of the entire TRAIN including all cars and the locomotive, not just the locomotive. Note that top speed is restricted by the tech level of the roadbed.
At TL5, electric locomotives which draw power from a central power station through overhead wires, may be designed. The locomotive’s electric motors and associated electrical equipment have the following statistics:
TL Description MW Mass MCr Min Vol Kl/Hour Fuel Type 5 Electric 0.5 1 0.05 0.01 none none
The megawattage rating is the maximum throughput per cubic meter of motors. More than one locomotive may be attached to a train.
Electrifying a railroad line costs Cr2500 per kilometer.
Steam locomotives require one engineer and a stoker/assistant. Internal combustion and electric locomotives only require an engineer.
Steam locomotives require equal amounts of water and hydrocarbon fuel carried in a separate tender immediately behind the locomotive or in a storage bin near the stoker's station. The fuel may be solid or liquid.
Locomotives that are to be used in military applications, such as pulling armored trains, may be armored.
Rail cars are also designed using the FF&S Ground Vehicle Design sequence. However, they do not have power plants or transmissions. They use the Flanged Wheel Suspension Table entry included in the locomotive design sequence above and must conform to the track width restrictions. Cars may be simple wheeled boxes or platforms designed to haul cargo, wheeled tanks for liquid cargo, or elaborately outfitted passenger cars with seats, bunks, dining facilities, stewards, and basic life support. Cars may also be armored and armed. Armored trains and railroad artillery are common at TL4 and 5.
Sample Locomotive - TL 3 Steam Locomotive General Data Displacement: 1 ton Hull Armor: 1 Volume: 14 Cost: MCr0.036 Target Size: MC Configuration: Standard Chassis Tech Level: 3 Mass (Loaded/Empty): 40/40) Engineering Data Power Plant: 1.4 megawatt early steam reciprocating, 15 hour duration with 5 tons coal, 5 tons water carried in tender. Power Transmission: Piston rods and driving wheels Maximum Speed: 130kph with 10-car, 10-ton train subject to 60 kph roadbed speed limit for TL3. Maintenance: 40 Accommodations Crew: 2, Driver and Stoker (1 x Engineering,1 x Command) Crew Accommodations: 2x cramped workstations on platform behind locomotive.
Mining and Tunneling
Deep mines require vertical shafts and horizontal tunnels. Vertical mine shafts have a volume equal to the depth of the mine times a cross section of 36 square meters, large enough for an ore elevator and a personnel elevator. Horizontal tunnels, called 'drifts,' have a volume equal to their length in meters times their cross section of 9 square meters. Rooms may be dug at the ore face to allow rooms for digging machines and other heavy equipment. Vertical shafts cost Cr1000 per vertical meter of shaft. Horizontal drifts cost Cr500 per horizontal meter.
Roads and railroads may need tunnels to pass through hills and mountains. Tunnels may also be built as underground dwellings. In the case of road and rail tunnels, determine the height and width of the vehicles passing through the tunnel and add 10% to these figures to provide sufficient clearance. Then multiply this square meter result by the horizontal length in meters to determine the tunnel volume. Calculate the price in MCr by multiplying the volume by the price per cubic meter on the Tunneling Cost table.
Tunneling Costs TL MCr/cubic meter 4 0.0010 5 0.0008 6 0.0008 7 0.0005 8 0.0003 9 0.0002 10 0.00015 11 0.00015 12 0.00007
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