Questions about Food, Fitness, Gravity, and deep-space Exploration

These are basics of the entire universe FDev created, but I'm not sure whether they've been canonically addressed?

Ships don't have artificial gravity, so pilots operating on ships for many months at a time, or longer, would have to deal with muscle wastage and bone density loss. On long journeys I try to find worlds with reasonable gravity to land on or enter what amounts to orbit on high-G worlds when I quit the game. Cabins would presumably have means for sleeping in zero-G and 'conventionally'.

Do the flightsuits have mag-boots built in (I've always presumed so)? I've never felt the interior designs for the ships really look like good zero-G workspaces, but that's a side issue (nor am I quite sure how the characters remain seated in their chairs without restraints, but, again, side issues... ).

In our era astronauts use combinations of physical tethering and treadmills to exercise. But is that really likely in 3305? Perhaps it would (and I assume my character would take advantage of having gravity to make the most of exercise periods), but surely there'd be complimentary means to cope, be it courses of drugs, or/and suits or bands which keep muscles from atrophying. What longterm effects might that have? What about side-effects?

Re food. There are no in-game features to tell us the characters eat... but one assumes they still need to. ; -) But if we use the systems and stats the game does provide, then it could suggest there are never really preparations to make for food and water, as in; mass is a key concern with ship builds. And food and water would obviously add mass. I don't really want to use the term Replicator... but I can't think of any other means food could be provided for an indefinite period of time with no concerns for mass addition (at the start of a trip) or loss (reserves running out).

So are there any canonical clues to how people actually sustain themselves on long journeys?
 
I write my own canon. My ships generate artificial gravity via the frame shift drive, which means I only have gravity when in supercruise or in proximity of a planet, but since this is most of the time, I have no issues microgravity sickness.

As for food, I pack a ton of food cartridges, water, and coffee when I go out exploring for a long time. No joke! Now if there were only a way to convert that ton of food into a ton of biowaste when I head home...

Oh, and I rarely visit planets over 2G because of the strain on my body.
 
For food: check out the description of the Rare Good from Tiolce, the Tiolce Waste2Paste Unit:

The original and best, turning all your waste into a nutritious and wholesome paste.
Then there's the description of "food cartridges", a regular commodity:

Cartridges for 'chefs' (cheap 3D food printers). These dehydrated components are reconstituted into a variety of shapes using a 3D printing technique. Components are mixed with water and flavourings as they are printed, according to the desired food item template for colour, texture and taste. "Burgers" and "Hotdogs" are common standard template choices in most chefs.
From which I would assume that all our ships come with both a Tiolce Waste2Paste unit and an autochef with a plentiful supply of different flavour cartridges installed, giving near-100% recovery on food, water and oxygen - the Tiolce Waste2Paste unit should be able to operate for decades before entropy kicks in and the waste becomes non-reusable. There is probably also a supply of actual-food foodstuffs which the explorer can choose to bring along with them, to break up the monotony of the Waste2Paste system, or to celebrate milestones, but obviously such a supply will eventually run out if the explorer is away from port for long enough.

Being forced to eat and drink your own waste for months or years on end is just one reason why long-range exploration isn't for everybody. You've got to have a head - and a stomach - that can cope.

Theoretically, of course, an explorer's diet can be supplemented by locally-obtained food, gathered from the surface of Earth-like worlds. A long-range explorer would presumably have all the safety gear and test kits needed to ascertain that the local lifeforms on any given planet were both safe to eat and nutritious. There is even lore (dating from FE2) that [Universal Cartographics] would pay an extra bonus to explorers who dare to personally sample the air, water and food of the planets they discover - the "ultimate test" of suitability for colonization.
 
For food: check out the description of the Rare Good from Tiolce, the Tiolce Waste2Paste Unit:

Then there's the description of "food cartridges", a regular commodity:

From which I would assume that all our ships come with both a Tiolce Waste2Paste unit and an autochef with a plentiful supply of different flavour cartridges installed, giving near-100% recovery on food, water and oxygen - the Tiolce Waste2Paste unit should be able to operate for decades before entropy kicks in and the waste becomes non-reusable.
Doesn't the R-word - rare - nix that last paragraph? By definition I think that means not all pilots would have access to it.

But yes, items and their descriptions are one of the few fractions of real canonical world building in-game, and I forgot about food cartridges. A finite amount of mass as resource would still be required to operate food printers, though. Am I saying I'd like some proper resource management in the game? Yes (I'd love to see a strategy/business module added, too, allowing players to lease out their ships for haulage, passenger services, mining, etc, with some risks and rewards)... but I know most people would not, so I suppose any RP trying to cohere a detailed vision of their character's experience needs to just ignore the game's stats - re ship mass and player balance - and have neither value represented in game.

I suppose most or all long range ships would have some form of hydroponics, too, for a mix of processed and grown intake. It's not too much of a push to assume its mass is included in the baseline value for the ship at purchase.

Being forced to eat and drink your own waste for months or years on end is just one reason why long-range exploration isn't for everybody. You've got to have a head - and a stomach - that can cope.
I think, reconstructed, it'd be indistinguishable from some other processed foods or more basic, 'nutrition-first, taste-last' forms of cartridges, so a strong stomach wouldn't be required. ; -)

Theoretically, of course, an explorer's diet can be supplemented by locally-obtained food, gathered from the surface of Earth-like worlds. A long-range explorer would presumably have all the safety gear and test kits needed to ascertain that the local lifeforms on any given planet were both safe to eat and nutritious.
See, I don't think that'd be the case, and I wonder if there's current canon for this.

In-game, any ol' numptie can jump in a ship and 'explore'... But in a speculative reality? I can't see how - perhaps as part of the PF license - commanders wouldn't be legally restricted to what they can and can't do with their finds. From ELW's, water worlds, ammonias, gas giants with forms of life, and so on, explorers would have a responsibility to not contaminate that environment. Each ELW would quite literally represent another refuge for our species amongst the stars, and so even with terraforming existing in that universe, 'ready made' worlds would be an exceptionally important find.

I'm not sure if the game actually abides by any restrictions of atmospheric pressure and gravity (re which ELW's in settled space have humans living on them), but perhaps ELW's and other finds would be tiered; by viability but also, perhaps, by proximity to the Sol bubble or even Colonia. Worlds with habitats that are technically viable but not realistically so could be in tiers which more or less say 'land at your own risk', as the financial and physical risks would be prohibitive for any faction or company. And the best, most pristine and feasible worlds would be completely offbounds, other than scans and surface mapping.

Or brief visits would have to be meticulously logged, almost to the point of hard-locking a ship's atmospheric entry capabilities if it's not been registered as a ship capable of dealing with contamination/clean-up, and so on.

...maybe the game's lore is just a full on wild west approach, but I hope not, as it doesn't seem believable at all. I do remember issues of mankind's disastrous effect on new worlds being included in the lore (maybe even with Alpha Centauri's world?)

Anyway, to return to ELW's and food; maybe for ships cleared to enter the atmosphere, or at least enter orbit, they could use some automated means to extract the required resources. And there would be plenty of resources for extracting and refining water even without ELW's (or water worlds).

I write my own canon. My ships generate artificial gravity via the frame shift drive, which means I only have gravity when in supercruise or in proximity of a planet, but since this is most of the time, I have no issues microgravity sickness.
That's far too big a concession to fanfic/head-canon for my liking, especially as I think FDev - or even Braben? - stipulated all the ships you can buy'n'fly in the game do not generate their own AG. I think it's a more interesting and detailed universe if the ships are zero-G and pilots and travelers have to combat that.

Oh, and I rarely visit planets over 2G because of the strain on my body.
I think there'd also be what amounted to health advisory tiers for various worlds. Brackets of conditions that any general healthy human could deal with easily, to those which would be advised against for all but the fittest individuals. Age of the people involved would be important, too.

I tend to view the pilots in Elite who ostensibly live behind their flightsticks as being fit and healthy by virtue of what they're routinely exposed to, and the measures they have to go to combat the physical stresses (be it high-G ship movement on or near a world, or months of low-G).
 
Doesn't the R-word - rare - nix that last paragraph? By definition I think that means not all pilots would have access to it.
Not necesarily. Some Rare Goods are rare because the items are themselves genuinely scarce. Others are rare because production and sales is strictly controlled . Earth-based examples: iridium is rare because it simply doesn't occur very often; diamonds are rare because the diamond monopolies make sure they stay rare. So I would assume Tiolce Waste2Paste units are "rare" because almost all the units get shipped directly to the manufacturers of spaceships and space stations, with only a few being released tot he general public.

I suppose most or all long range ships would have some form of hydroponics, too, for a mix of processed and grown intake. It's not too much of a push to assume its mass is included in the baseline value for the ship at purchase.
I would assume the Tiolce Waste2Paste unit is not purely chemical-based, and has some kind of bioreactor / algal growth chamber with genetically engineered organisms feeding off the waste supplied to it. "Hydroponics", in the sense of growing real-food plants like tomatoes and alfalfa, would be relatively time-consuming and wasteful, especially on a ship with only one or two crew. A pilot might keep a few hydroponic plants as a "hobby", and/or to add some variety to their food, but it wouldn't be a primary foodsource.

I think, reconstructed, it'd be indistinguishable from some other processed foods or more basic, 'nutrition-first, taste-last' forms of cartridges, so a strong stomach wouldn't be required. ; -)
True. It's more the psychological "yuck factor". We might have a theoretical head-knowledge about the carbon cycle and such, so we "know" that all the food and drink we consume was likely to have been excreted by some other lifeform not too long ago... but because it's "natural" and we usually can't see it happening, we can ignore it. The Tiolce Waste2Paste unit would be much more "in your face".

See, I don't think that'd be the case, and I wonder if there's current canon for this.

In-game, any ol' numptie can jump in a ship and 'explore'... But in a speculative reality? I can't see how - perhaps as part of the PF license - commanders wouldn't be legally restricted to what they can and can't do with their finds. From ELW's, water worlds, ammonias, gas giants with forms of life, and so on, explorers would have a responsibility to not contaminate that environment. Each ELW would quite literally represent another refuge for our species amongst the stars, and so even with terraforming existing in that universe, 'ready made' worlds would be an exceptionally important find.

I'm not sure if the game actually abides by any restrictions of atmospheric pressure and gravity (re which ELW's in settled space have humans living on them), but perhaps ELW's and other finds would be tiered; by viability but also, perhaps, by proximity to the Sol bubble or even Colonia. Worlds with habitats that are technically viable but not realistically so could be in tiers which more or less say 'land at your own risk', as the financial and physical risks would be prohibitive for any faction or company. And the best, most pristine and feasible worlds would be completely offbounds, other than scans and surface mapping.

Or brief visits would have to be meticulously logged, almost to the point of hard-locking a ship's atmospheric entry capabilities if it's not been registered as a ship capable of dealing with contamination/clean-up, and so on.

...maybe the game's lore is just a full on wild west approach, but I hope not, as it doesn't seem believable at all. I do remember issues of mankind's disastrous effect on new worlds being included in the lore (maybe even with Alpha Centauri's world?)
The old lore - which has not been retconned, to my knowledge - is that the Federation started out as a result of the Earth government wishing to stop the indiscrimate extermination of the local lifeforms on Taylor Colony, Tau Ceti. Protection of native lifeforms and species, especially sentient and semi-sentient species, is important to the Federation. Protection of entire planets and ecosystems, however, is not deemed to be so critical; in the ED universe, "protection" does not imply "immunity from exploitation". Even within Federation space, every single inhabited naturally-occurring ELW within the Bubble is now an Agricultural planet, with the local biosphere tamed - local lifeforms which could be exploited were exploited and the "agriculture" on these planets is a mixture of native life and introduced Earth-life (or even lifeforms introduced from other planets). The number of ELWs within the Bubble that have been spared this fate is very, very low.

Unfortunately, there's really very little the Federation can do to control the behaviour of non-Federation citizens operating outside of it's sphere of influence - the Empire and the Indie Corporations, in particular, are noted for their lack of environmental credentials. Without a single "Human galactic government", there is no means of monitoring or controlling what explorers do, or what happens on newly discovered Earth-like worlds.

And in any event, if you're an explorer stranded in deep space with a glitchy FSD and a broken Tiolce Waste2Paste unit, thousands of LYs away from help, and there's a handy ELW you can land on - you're not going to give a fig about some bureaucratic prohibition on interfering with the local wildlife. You're going to do whatever it takes to survive. That's the human way.
 
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Considering it seems we can't even grow long hair at all, I'm no longer concerned with eating or exercising while out in my ship. I still look just as good as the day I left on a long deep space exploration trip it seems.

Now maybe we eat our hair and that's why no one can have it beyond shoulder length?
 
With regard to the question of fitness over long periods of zero-G. The old lore has to be taken with a pinch of salt, because in the earlier games, there wasn't much time spent floating around in zero-G.. Quite the opposite: most of a player's time was spent undergoing extreme acceleration.

According to the old lore, pilots were not actually sitting in chairs on our spaceships - pilots were attached to feeding tubes and floating suspended in gel-filled acceleration pods. They needed this explanation back when our ships travelled within solar systems using real-space newtonian physics, with thrusters that applied a constant acceleration for weeks of up to 30G. This is obviously not the case now, as we can see ourselves sitting there in these comfy chairs. Some other hyperscience musty be explaining our ability to stay seated in our chairs during high-G maneuvers and to survive the brief periods of super-high G which we still have to endure. Our thrusters during boost can match anything the old-game ships could do in terms of acceleration (I believe someone once calculated that the ED version of the Cobra III still pulls 23G at max boost), even if it's only briefly, and that kind of acceleration will still kill an unprepared human.

According to old lore, there are two ways to "prepare" for extreme acceleration: the Federation is a technocracy so prefers a technological solution, with cybernetic implants, drugs and such. The Empire prefers genetic engineering solutions to problems, so Imperial pilots are simply genetically engineered to withstand higher gravities. Independent pilots could pick and choose which form of personal modification they preferred; a combination of both might prove most effective.

I would assume both of those solutions could also be applied to the "long periods of zero-G" problem.
 
I would assume the water reclamation system is part of ship life support. Don’t know if you could consider a food supply as part of that though. Sometimes I carry 1 ton of food cartridges which should last a long time.
 
According to the old lore, pilots were not actually sitting in chairs on our spaceships - pilots were attached to feeding tubes and floating suspended in gel-filled acceleration pods. They needed this explanation back when our ships travelled within solar systems using real-space newtonian physics, with thrusters that applied a constant acceleration for weeks of up to 30G.
Presumably The Expanse-style flips/deceleration was included too? I should imagine Elite's current timeline would have a few eccentrics enjoying system travel the 'old [horrible] way'...

Some other hyperscience musty be explaining our ability to stay seated in our chairs during high-G maneuvers and to survive the brief periods of super-high G which we still have to endure.
This is one detail I'm fairly okay with overlooking. Harnesses would obscure the lazily designed palette-swap flightsuits pilots spend exorbitant pounds--- um, I mean, 'credits' purchasing, and clipping issues would trigger with the bulkier modular apparel.

I never tend to write anything involving actual flight and ship operation, but if/when I need to I'll at least be referencing flight harnesses.

According to old lore, there are two ways to "prepare" for extreme acceleration: the Federation is a technocracy so prefers a technological solution, with cybernetic implants, drugs and such. The Empire prefers genetic engineering solutions to problems, so Imperial pilots are simply genetically engineered to withstand higher gravities.
I don't see any sense in that distinction. Gene editing and wotnot is certainly a technological solution - given successful cybernetics and transhuman adaption/evolution would surely require such measures anyway, to nullify any risk of augment/optics/limb/etc rejections.

Then there are the Deus Ex-y questions. How much would a society divide along lines of the variously transhuman and those too poor to afford them? People would become born to lineages of natural (or what passes for that in 3305) and edited/augmented. You could even go so far as to say the pilots of starships - often commanders of a private fleet - would be evolutionary elites as well as economic ones; they look perfectly human, but could come from gene edited bloodlines and boast augments throughout their bodies. The game only visually hints at transhumanism via the cybernetic eye options and those fairly naff looking 'tattoos'. Those could be the very worst examples of their kind, given they look so obviously artificial/inhuman (or they could be an intentional statement, and still be cutting edge).

I kinda digress... This is something I find frustrating about Elite's lore. Often people refer to its universe as essentially encompassing a near limitless spectrum of sci-fi ideas and technologies. But 'anything goes' just leads to more questions than answers, because each idea has consequences (social, economic, cultural, etc).

So I would assume Tiolce Waste2Paste units are "rare" because almost all the units get shipped directly to the manufacturers of spaceships and space stations, with only a few being released tot he general public.
Hm, perhaps. I would ponder what the unit's credit price could mean, given it is supposed to be rare but is, by surely the vast majority of pilots' standards, dirt cheap, but Elite's economy is a mystery.

A pilot might keep a few hydroponic plants as a "hobby", and/or to add some variety to their food, but it wouldn't be a primary foodsource.
Sure, but there's another reason people might want to maintain some form of hydroponics bay/s; their therapeutic value. It's not quite a garden in the back of the ship, but it's a step up from maintaining food printers...

Protection of native lifeforms and species, especially sentient and semi-sentient species, is important to the Federation.
That distinction's never quite made sense to me.

The number of ELWs within the Bubble that have been spared this fate is very, very low.
Given the population density and ease of expansion, that makes perfect sense. But there would be good ways to colonise worlds, and disastrous ones, so if ED's lore doesn't try to deal with the regulations and practicalities of randos out in deep space encountering ELW's or water worlds, then I think that's poor spec-fic/sci-fi writing. It would clearly be in all factions interests to regulate 'first contact' with new Earths. A lack of co-operation on that front seems horribly contrived.

Without a single "Human galactic government", there is no means of monitoring or controlling what explorers do, or what happens on newly discovered Earth-like worlds.
See above for why I think that's kindof absurd. Bi or even trilateral agreements would easily see to that. There would always be complications and issues to resolve, and events which trigger or arise from political spats. But I think a lack of such agreements makes all the major factions seem pitifully stupid, and the sci-fi weak (I don't buy the 'Elite as dystopia [and nothing else]' reading that some try to box it into).

Ships would be registered, their movements logged. Atmospheric entry could be hard-locked if the ship doesn't match a certain grade of anti-contamination protocol. What impact might dropping from SC into orbit or glide approach cause? Or possible interactions between thrusters and atmosphere? Maybe it's easy to assume they are clean drives when in the atmosphere, and any impact is negligible. But it's worth considering (I don't know if anyone's stipulated what kind of conventional thrust Elite's ships use).

Unauthorised entries and landings might lead to different punishments between the superpowers - which could cause believable friction, as some groups are seen to be willfully lenient. Others would therefore want to push for standardised punishments, and so on.

There could be obvious exemptions; science teams/missions, explorers with the right experience, equipment, and/or credentials (independent or contracted).

And in any event, if you're an explorer stranded in deep space with a glitchy FSD and a broken Tiolce Waste2Paste unit, thousands of LYs away from help, and there's a handy ELW you can land on - you're not going to give a fig about some bureaucratic prohibition on interfering with the local wildlife. You're going to do whatever it takes to survive. That's the human way.
Proving an emergency landing would obviously be another exemption, or at least incur a relatively minimal fine. A commander could be seen to have not taken enough measures against certain systems failing, however, and so whilst 'I had to land to survive' gets a pass (when confirmed as best as possible), 'I had to land - because I didn't maintain my ship [or fly in an appropriately responsible manner as befitting a situation]' gets no severe punishment, but significant finds or censure (e.g. temporarily having entry/landing rights on ELW's, water worlds, etc suspended) due to negligence.
 
Food/water: the Life Support core internal has plenty of room for both in it. Assuming water is well recycled and food is largely in the "food cartridge" dehydrated form, even 1t of supplies should last a single pilot several months. That's presumably long enough it's not worth modelling it in-game for the majority of trips.

High-G moves: my assumption here is that our ships move through normal space in a similar space-bending way to supercruise, just much lower intensity, and partly assisted by conventional reaction thrusters. Orbital cruise / glide shows the transition between "fast supercruise" and "slow cruise" more clearly. This allows:
- faster acceleration (mostly not experienced by the pilot) compared to a stationary reference frame
- reduced collision damage (the space-bending field collapses if it touches any significant mass, and then the actual real collision speed is very low)
- significantly reduced fuel use (again, as the ships aren't actually going very fast)
... but has costs as well:
- maximum top speed is limited
- turning agility depends on the strength of the field, so is best in the blue zone

ELWs: none of the bubble-based superpowers have a good record on these. It's interesting to see Colonia taking a different route: its agricultural production is entirely based on hydroponic facilities - often in completely uninhabitable systems (e.g. Deriso, Pekoe, Einheriar) - or developing an orbital hydroponics facility above an ELW rather than farming it directly (e.g. Kinesi, Metztli).
 
Food/water: the Life Support core internal has plenty of room for both in it. Assuming water is well recycled and food is largely in the "food cartridge" dehydrated form, even 1t of supplies should last a single pilot several months. That's presumably long enough it's not worth modelling it in-game for the majority of trips.
So Life Support's mass load (16t for the Orca's D class) covers food supplies and processing/recycling? I hadn't thought of that, and yeah, that pretty much works. The mass load never changes, but Elite doesn't try to model any finite resource with mass beyond fuel, so this has to be a fudge of the issue regardless.

I enjoy how you can indefinitely roam around the galaxy, or simply leave yourself out there during periods of not playing the game, but I would like some layer of resource management, so that some planning would be required for long trips.

High-G moves: my assumption here is that our ships move through normal space in a similar space-bending way to supercruise, just much lower intensity, and partly assisted by conventional reaction thrusters. Orbital cruise / glide shows the transition between "fast supercruise" and "slow cruise" more clearly.
I was going to ponder the implausibility and incompatibility of the warp envelope being engaged at the same time as conventional thrust (how on earth do you add the conventional force to the 'speed' generated by warping spacetime? the two states are surely entirely divorced from each other given how they function), but velocity, acceleration/deceleration and maneuvering when out of SC is unchanged when you disable the FSD, so there can be no use of that technology.

Not that Elite's depiction of SC makes any sense, however, given it depicts momentum within the cockpit, which surely violates the whole principle of the Alcubierre drive? There is no force acting on the ship or its pilot when accelerating or decelerating.

The glide entry/approach is just for creating the instance, right? Hence why it can 'hang' sometimes. No idea how those speeds and those forces can be explained away.

It's interesting to see Colonia taking a different route: its agricultural production is entirely based on hydroponic facilities - often in completely uninhabitable systems (e.g. Deriso, Pekoe, Einheriar) - or developing an orbital hydroponics facility above an ELW rather than farming it directly (e.g. Kinesi, Metztli).
How much of that is necessity, though? I feel Colonia's speed of expansion has been rather silly, but I suppose that's just a gamey conceit. But it's easier to shove a space station in orbit than settle a terrestrial world, so I'm not surprised.

No idea how many ELW's are within Colonia's current bubble, either.
 
but velocity, acceleration/deceleration and maneuvering when out of SC is unchanged when you disable the FSD, so there can be no use of that technology.
It can't use the FSD module, but that doesn't mean the Thrusters module doesn't contain its own smaller version for local movement. Really it's all in the "best not to think too closely about it" bucket, though.

How much of that is necessity, though? I feel Colonia's speed of expansion has been rather silly, but I suppose that's just a gamey conceit. But it's easier to shove a space station in orbit than settle a terrestrial world, so I'm not surprised.

No idea how many ELW's are within Colonia's current bubble, either.
There are a lot - eight in colonised or earmarked systems, plus several more in other systems within 50LY of Colonia. And the total regional population is less than 10 million, so it's not as if we'd need more than a small piece of one of them either, if we'd gone down the Tau Ceti / Achenar route.

On the accelerated timescale of the game I don't think Colonia's expansion has been particularly fast - an entire war for a multi-billion population system can be wrapped up in four days, so 2.5 years to settle a few tens of systems with ~100k people each seems extremely slow by comparision. A larger population was moved into the Pleiades nebula bases by AEGIS virtually overnight - admittedly with multi-superpower backing.

If running major hydroponics facilities was easier than settling an ELW, I'd expect to see more variety in Agricultural settlements within the bubble.
 
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