- EXTERNAL LINK: How do robot brains and starship computers differ?
How do robot brains and starship computers differ? Can robot programs be loaded into a starship computer?
- - D.T.
Modern day analogies often help to explain why things in MegaTraveller are the way they are, so let's look at an analogy. Consider the most advanced automobiles on the road today. They incorporate several microprocessors. Are the programs in automobile microprocessors interchangeable with the ones on my personal computer? in other words, can I load Space invaders into my car's engine computer, and play Space invaders in my car while the engine is not running? Of course not.
So it is with robot brains and starship computers. Each is designed for certain specific functions.
- The robot brain is designed to be a very small, efficient processor of abstract concepts (very good at pattern recognition, essentially), while a starship computer is more of a traditional, "dumb but reliable", distributed processor.
Program interchange between the two is not impossible, but does involve many technical tasks requiring a good array of skills. I'd say a series of formidable tasks involving mechanical, electronics, robotics, and computer skill, as well as education would be called for. Since each such interchange is usually a custom job, several of the tasks will be uncertain. This means that while you may make the mods, you'd dam well better test them several times first Uncertain tasks are great for this kind of in-game research and development by characters. The players must retry the die rolls until they feel the results they are getting are reliable. We've used this technique a few times in our own playtests, with good results. You should see the players squirm when the process they are developing is critical, results are inconsistent, and time is running out! It's great fun.
Okay, you've managed (with much effort) to transfer your starship's navigation program to your robot's brain. Good. Are you sure you'll trust your life and ship to the first jump vector generated by your robot?
- - Joe D. Fugate Sr.