Thursday, May 21, 2020

Ultra-Tech Quickie: Dynamic Sports Cycle

Another off-hand comment led to another discussion and I thought I'd post it here, as I'm sure someone will want a link back to it at some point, as it seems rather popular.  So, first, the bike and then the discussion.

TL 10 Dynamic Sportscycle

HP 22
Hand/SR +4/3
HT 11
Move: 20/100
LWt 0.3
Load 0.2
SM 0
Occ 1+1
DR 6
Range 300
Cost: $20k
Locations E2W

This TL 10 Sportscycle uses rechargeable power-cells to get a 3 hour endurance and top speed.  It uses dynamic wheel technology for superior grip and it adjusts its aerodynamics to improve handling at high speeds.  It can fold into an SM -1 box, 200 lbs in weight.  Additionally, it has programmable camouflage (allowing it to change color and pattern on command), an inertial compass, a rugged small computer, a small ladar, a small radio, and a small biometric lock.

The Design

Someone lamented the lack of a "Smart cycle" and pointed out the only Ultra-Tech motorcyle we got was the grav-bike, which was useless for a "hard science" campaign.  However, I've been having an increasing suspicion that most of the vehicles in Ultra-Tech weren't designed by a "secret sauce" design system that the SJGames freelancers have been hiding from us.  Instead, I think Pulver had a underlying ideas and principles and applied them.  For example, the Dynamic Car looks like a normal TL 7 Sedan but with energy cells in place of fuel tanks, superior handling, superior materials for the body and a bigger price tag.  So, in essence, all I did was take the sportscycle from GURPS Basic and applied the same proportional changes that Pulver had made to the sedan, and then fudged some things to make it look nice and even.  I suspect that was the intent of why Pulver made the changes he did to obvious vehicles that we already had, so it was easy to reverse engineer what he did.

If you find yourself stuck and you don't want to mess with a complex vehicle design system, I think it's important to grasp that most of the vehicles in GURPS weren't made with a complex vehicle design system anyway.  Just take an existing vehicle and apply some appropriate changes to get the thing you want.  The only real benefit of using a complex design system is if you want to design something for which there is no real-world parallel you can easily find.  For example, if you want to know what it takes to get an orion pulse drive to near C speeds for interstellar travel, you'll need something like GURPS Spaceships to work that out, unless you're happy noodling around with real, honest-to-god rocket equations.

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