Wednesday, February 25, 2015

StarCluster 4E

One of my settings has a known flaw which I have been steadily ignoring for 13 years. Most ships in StarCluster, whatever edition, use Matter/Antimatter drives rather than fusion drives. Unlike fusion, which is safe by default - if you shut off power to containment, the fusion reaction cannot be sustained and collapses safely - M/AM is hideously dangerous. Every instantiation is a possible bomb. If you shut off power to containment, matter and antimatter will contact and disastrously explode. Boom. City and much of the country around will be vaporized.

We just ignore that. Why? We didn't feel comfortable with fusion drives! Albert Bailey, my co-author and plasma physicist - a man who knows tokamaks like google knows search routines - didn't feel comfortable designing fusion drives which would be as flexible and as useful as M/AM drives. We mentioned them - they are there in StarCluster 2 - but they are limited, slow, and inefficient.

I will fix this in StarCluster 4, which I am beginning work on. Only military craft which do not land on planet will have M/AM drives, with civilians and planetary military craft getting enhanced fusion drives. Albert and I have worked out how they will work, and we'll finally be rid of this Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. :D

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