Sciency Space

How many earth-like planets?


How Many Stars?


According to Wiki, near Sol it’s one per 0.004 cubic light years or 0.14 cubic parsecs (and this may not include lots of brown dwarfs). So that’s four stars in a 3D ten light year cube. In Traveller terms that would be a 3x3x3 parsec cube.

Assuming you want a 2D star map for convenience then you can hand wave the 2D map as a navigation projection, the space equivalent of a Mercator projection. I think this is a plausible sciency hand wave if your setting includes any kind of FTL subspace, jumpspace, hyperspace etc as it’s easy to imagine things like that involving strange geometry.

Either way this gives you four stars in a

  • 10x10x10 light year cube
  • 10×10 light year square
  • 3x3x3 parsec cube
  • 3×3 parsec square

or the equivalent in other sizes.

(The main point of the 2D hand wave is that four stars in a 3×3 parsec square is roughly 50% which fits the Traveller ratio making conversion easier.)


Types of Star

The current best guess is planets have to be in a star’s goldilocks zone – not too hot, not too cold – to start on the path to an earth-like planet. The goldilocks zone being where liquid water can exist.

(There are lots of possible exception to this like gas giant moons at just the right distance from the gas giant but goldilocks planets is maybe the default case.)

The goldilocks zone of a star varies depending on its type and at what stage it is in its cycle.

Two Categories

There are two base categories – stars that start out too big and those that don’t. The ones that start out giant apparently blow up too soon for planets to develop so they’re a bust (except as exotics).

The ones that don’t start off too big become main sequence stars. These burn a long time (billions of years) but change over time. As they gradually burn out to become red giants their goldilocks zone moves further out so a planet that might have been in the right zone for a few billion years can eventually find itself too hot or too cold.

Eventually main sequence stars flare up into red giants which would swallow up any previously habitable planets and then collapse into red dwarfs. Red Giants might have a habitable zone very far out from the star but although Red Dwarfs have a (very close) habitable zone I’d imagine any planets close enough would have been wrecked by the Red Giant phase (maybe exotic exceptions as always).

So for main sequence stars and maybe red giants, at any particular time there is likely to be a zone that has been in the habitable range for billions of years – long enough for the process of becoming earth-like to start if other conditions are correct.

(nb something that confused me for a while, if the time it takes to start the process is c. 3 billion years then older stars don’t necessarily have a greater chance because of the way the habitable zone moves over time. A star might have a lot of suitable planets in a neat row of orbits but depending on how fast the star it might not have enough time at each location to finish the process.)


Binaries, Trinaries

Also a lot of systems have multiple stars. Roughly

  • 50% single star
  • 39% binary
  • 8% triple
  • 3% four

Binaries can be in close or far orbit with those in close orbit thought to make it harder for planets to form. If we assume

  • binaries have a 50/50 chance of being close or far
  • triples are a close pair and one far
  • four are two close pairs
  • close pairs complicate the goldilocks zone
  • far single pairs with their own planets creates a double chance
  • assume close pairs have 0.5 chance and distant singles have 1.0

then that gives

  • 50 x 1 = 50
  • 20 x 2 = 40
  • 20 x 0.5 = 10
  • 8 x 0.5 + 8 x 1 = 12
  • 3 x 0.5 + 3 x 0.5 = 3

or 115% i.e. systems with distant binaries (c. 20%) and systems with triples (c. 8%) have a chance of two goldilocks zones thus increasing the chance of one of the zones having a suitable planet.


How Many Stars of Each Type?

  • 3% F, blue to white
  • 8% G, white to yellow
  • 12% K, yellow to red
  • 75% M, red
  • rest, various giants

Assuming red dwarfs (too cold) and the bright giants (not enough time) and red giants (exotic exceptions) don’t have habitable planets and some of the F, G, K stars are too young (especially F) that gives us about 20% of those systems which have stars with a goldilocks zone that may have lasted 3+ billion years.

So in an 8×10 parsec section of space you’d have 40 star systems and c. 8 with stars with viable goldilocks zones – multiplied by the bonus from binary systems say 8-10.


How Many Planets?

Since 2011 (iirc) the Kepler telescope has been off looking for planets and apparently there are a lot more than originally thought to the extent that assuming 2-12 per system is plausible so if a star has a goldilocks zone then there’s likely to be at planet in it.

What other conditions are necessary?


The sciece of planetary formation is still largely guess work so I’m just going to go with what I find plausible from my reading.

I’m going to say that gravity is one of the core conditions which is a function of mass and density. Simply put say you need gravity in an earth-like range to hold the right size of atmosphere. Too low and the atmosphere is too thin and it’s too cold. Too high and the atmosphere is too dense and it’s too hot. So, say you can have

  • small, medium and large planets


  • low, medium and high density

and say the chances are all linear then the combinations of

  • small size, high density
  • large size, low density
  • medium size, medium density

might all give gravity in a 0.75 to 1.25 g range.

(Effectively this would replace the “size” roll in the Traveller world gen with a “gravity” roll.).

On a 2d6 roll the gravity table might be something like:

  • 2-5 = low gravity, atmosphere blown away or frozen
  • 6 = low earth gravity
  • 7 = standard gravity
  • 8 = high earth gravity
  • 9-12 = high gravity, dense oven atmosphere

so the 6, 7, 8 rolls have the right gravity to retain the original CO2, Methane, Nitrogen etc atmosphere and for that atmosphere not to be too hot or cold for life to start and for that life to gradually oxygenate the original atmosphere over time.

So of the 8-10 planets in goldilocks zones that’s roughly 50% have gravity within the right range or 4-5.


If so you’d specify the 2-5 rolls as trace atmosphere, 9-12 as exotic and only roll for the 6-8. This atmosphere roll would really be about how long the original exotic atmosphere has been transforming.

The general idea is life starts at the bottom of the sea where microbes develop to feed off stuff coming out of volcanic vents and these microbial organisms excrete oxygen. So the four stages of “earth-like” planet are

  • stage one: exotic atmosphere, high radiation (no ozone), life at bottom of sea
  • stage two: thin breathable atmosphere at low altitude, exotic elsewhere, medium radiation, teeming sea life
  • stage three: standard atmosphere at low altitude, thin elsewhere, low radiation, life starting on land
  • stage four: standard atmosphere, background radiation, life everywhere

Say the table is (2d6)

  • 2-5 stage one
  • 6-7 stage two
  • 8-10 stage three
  • 11-12 stage four

Stage one (c. 30%) is not much better than a lifeless rock but with stage 3 and 4 we have our target colony sites.



If life needs water to start transforming the atmosphere then Tattooine makes no sense – unless desert planets with breathable atmosphere represent planets that have been through the transformation process but their star’s goldilocks zone in now moving past them – so they had oceans but are now becoming too hot.

If we ignore hydrography as a condition then a simple 2d6-2 roll giving 0-10 might be enough for this with 0-2 representing planets that are either becoming too hot or having an ice age.

(Alternatively roll hydrography first)(wip)


This is close to what I had before except then I was thinking there were probably too many “earth-like” planets however with the Kepler data I think the number is quite plausible but with reduced numbers of final stage “earth-like” i.e. lots that are part way through the process, few that have completed it.


Great Filter

The argument against lots of planets with life is the Fermi Paradox. Given the huge number of stars and (now known) the even huger number of planets, to explain it you (mostly) either need a great filter or a long chain of filters that make life a one in a trillion outside chance.

This would make space 99% airless rocks – not fun.

However I think a plausible great filter is the shifting goldilocks zones – say a system where the second planet out is in the goldilocks zone for 3 billion years and just as it nears life on land the goldilocks zone moves on and the planet gets too hot. Then the 3rd planet out starts to develop life but  after 3 billion years the zone has moved on again and then the 4th planet and then the 5th. So after 12 billion years the star system has *almost* completed the process of developing an earth-like planet 4 times. And then the star blows up.

What this would mean is the first species to get into space could find lots of planets that are *partway* earth-like and they could speed up the process (and maybe eventually slow down the sun so the goldilocks zone didn’t move again).

So not all airless rocks – although most might still be mostly lifeless except under water. Colonists would need to bring their own wild life.


Gas Giant Moons

as well as standard planets a second option is moons around gas giants wip



general sciency space

traveller tables


Continuing with the theme that a good scifi game is one that supports the kind of scifi a person likes. In my case that’s sciency space western where the sciency stuff isn’t the point but it’s necessary to create the right scifi *feel*.

Sciency Space

I’ve written about this before but as this blog is mostly a notepad for my projects then as things change I’ll make new posts and delete or compress older ones.

Colonization Premises


Premise: Colonist Type

When people think of space colonization they often think of earlier episodes like the US frontier however space colonists are more likely to be technical specialists: engineers, scientists, technicians, a space colony’s farmers are more likely to be running half a dozen biodomes than two mules and a plow and space miners might be sitting in a pressurized cabin watching half a dozen mining drones.

So i think space colonization will be different because of the type of people involved.

Apart from Homo Astralis who want to go into space because it’s there the other main group of potential colonists will be people who want a better life but if space requires technical skills and technical skills generally lead to a decent life on Earth there’s a Catch 22. Only if life on Earth become much worse for the sort of people suitable to leave will there be a large candidate pool. This might happen of course but otherwise i think permanent space colonization will mostly be undertaken by relatively small numbers of a particular type of person.

There are possible exceptions – space Amish, political dissidents, criminals etc but otherwise I think this will generally be true.


Premise: Trade and Resources

There’s an argument which seems plausible to me that even with FTL, interstellar trade in common resources doesn’t make sense because each solar system has a more or less limitless abundance of those resources so lots of scifi troops space miners and ore freighters maybe but only in-system and not interstellar.

I can see some exceptions to that – low cost extraction in one system outweighing the transport costs – but otherwise i think i agree.

This idea particularly effects a lot of older SF where mining colonies are almost the default.


Premise Colony Type

I think colonization of the solar system will follow traditional logic so initially exploration and knowledge for it’s own sake but eventually also resource extraction. Most people wouldn’t want to raise children on an oil rig but if the money is good enough people will work on them for a time and then come home to their family. People would go to work on space rocks on the same basis.So if scientists and explorers lead the way to figuring out how to live on space rocks then commercial colonization will follow to extract resources (even if only for n years at a time in the same way oil rigs are only months at a time).

However what about beyond the solar system?

Personally, with or without FTL, I can’t see many people wanting to permanently colonize and bring up children on a space rock where they couldn’t survive without external tech support – some but not many. If there was enough money in it maybe but then they’d want to earn it there and then leave to spend it somewhere nice.

The other option is people being forced to do it but scifi is high tech so even if they were forced how many people would you actually need on a space rock?

So personally I don’t think you’d get large space colonies anywhere that didn’t have the potential to turn into a “Home” world i.e. a breathable atmosphere and the possibility of survival in the event of external tech support being lost. The keyword here is “large” – a colony that could eventually turn into another Earth. There’s still plenty of reasons for small ones.

There are plenty of conceivable exceptions to the rule but I think it would be the rule.


Premise: Conclusion

So my space colonization premise is permanent settlers would rank target planets in terms of their pleasantness and survivability without tech:

  • type one: breathable atmosphere, native food resources available using lotech methods if necessary – fully tech independent
  • type two: as above but some kind of taint e.g. too much UV, insects, pollen etc which makes life outside domes unpleasant but not lethal and can be adapted for in clothing etc
  • type three: non-breathable atmosphere but with plentiful components for making fresh air and water and with native food resources e.g. planet where the oceans have life and oxygen but not elsewhere
  • type four: non-breathable atmosphere with plentiful components to make fresh air and water and grow hitech food
  • type five: fully dependent on recycling or outside supply – fully tech dependent

and only type one could get significant numbers of voluntary settlers and that number would be reduced by the need for relevant hitech skills.


  • population growth could be fairly slow and steady in a hitech colony assuming the female colonists don’t have 16 kids
  • space Amish or forced relocation of settlers only equipped with seeds and basic farming tools could grow faster
  • maximum reachable population would depend on rank – even second rank colonies would have a low (voluntary) size imo.
  • after a tech collapse a type 2 or 3 colony could go native and expand naturally to its lotech limit.
  • a colony that developed it’s own resource extraction and manufacturing base to the point where it was tech independent could negate the survivability issues but I don’t think a colony is likely to become large enough to do this unless it was attractive to start with.


In the past my mental picture of “sciency space” (assuming FTL) was mining colonies everywhere with some growing to become independent polities but that doesn’t work for me any more and now “Sciency Space” has to revolve around the systems with Earth-like or nearly earth-like planets. There can be hundreds of exceptions but they will be exceptions to the general rule so for example in an Imperium sized bit of space there might be one system with billions of people living on a hell world (or something similarly unlikely) but not dozens.

The biggest exception to this rule would be if the setting has FTL travel with some kind of range limit in which case there would be stepping stones along the route to the earth-like planets.

So how many systems have earth-like planets?

More rambling on this as it’s interesting and I realise this is what I’ve been trying to do with Traveller for a while – inject a more sciency feel.


Recapping – if we accept as a premise that a good game is a series of interesting decisions and that good sci fi is either speculative-science fiction or space fantasy with enough science to *feel* sci fi then what’s a good sci fi RPG?

I’d say

  • any RPG, not necessarily sci fi, with mechanics that can make non-combat encounters into a series of interesting decisions applied by the GM to a speculative science plot
  • any space fantasy RPG where the GM sprinkles enough bits of science into the mix to give it that sci fi feel


Just a List

A list of what and where to sprinkle from the top down. Some games will already have some of these and others won’t – for each category scavenge what is best from each..

Sciency Space

Instead of just space or star system also have nebulae, proto-stars, brown dwarfs etc

Sciency Star Systems

Binaries, anomalies, odd hazards, colonies of colonies, intra-system conflict

Sciency Planets

Gravity, atmosphere, orbit, climate, evolved species

Sciency Colonies

some mundane, some exploring sci fi social tropes

Sciency Space Travel


  • realistic and STL
  • handwavium and ignored – taxi service
  • handwavium but with rules and complications – fuel, maintenance etc – which buries the handwavium in practicalities which in themselves are sciency

Sciency Combat

sciency weapons, equipment, environments

Sciency Plots, Maguffins and Chrome

Have chrome that reinforce the feel e.g. instead of just mundane trade goods add sciency things that reinforce the setting to the list like: life support cartridges, greenhouse parts, fuel refining plant, ice processing plant, water purifiers etc and/or planetary exotic trade goods like Regina Wine, Karelian Bluewood etc.



Sciency Space / Systems / Planets

Size of setting and speed of travel is important here. If you want a giant empire then the number of systems will be too large to detail however if back story specifies only the best systems get fully colonized then you only need to do those systems and any stepping stones in between. The rest can be done as and when needed.


If you make nebulae block FTL then you can use them to create interesting geography – a system might be tucked away inside a nebula only reachable by a complicated route – perfect for some secretive group.

2D vs 3D

If you hand wave that jump technology uses 5D geometry then you can treat a flat 2D star map as a projection – like Mercator’s – so the star positions are correct for jump navigation and a STL star map including the z co-ordinate would look different. I think that’s a reasonably neat way to ignore the z coordinate if you don’t want the hassle.


Sciency Combat
  • core is a series of interesting decisions
  • don’t need lots of weapons doing the same thing
  • make each have a tactical cost/benefit e.g. long vs short range, zero g, powerful but slow firing etc
  • exotic weapons can be situational or non-lethal: shock rods, web tanglers, tranquilizer darts (or poison)
  • tactical gadgets, sci fi armors, combats in sciency environments
  • low health, high damage, high armor



In the first part I focused on what I think is the traditional core of sci fi which is the kind that revolves around science / speculative science. A lot of people would say this was the only real or good kind of sci fi and the rest is space fantasy. Maybe they’re right but that just shifts the question to “what’s a good space fantasy rpg?”

Space Fantasy

I’d say any that provides the kind of combat / game play you like. If you want space combat for example and either fighter combat or big ship combat or both then your RPG would need to have that. If you want to play a Firefly type game then you want one that’s put some thought into their trading rules.

Star Wars is a good example of space fantasy as the underlying science is mostly irrelevant to the plot and it’s generally not even sprinkled on as a veneer.

However I think there’s a hybrid category in between core sci fi and space fantasy which is “sciency” space fantasy and that’s what I like.


The Expanse

A good example of what I mean by “sciency” space fantasy is The Expanse. I’m sure there are plenty of unrealistic things in it but they sprinkle enough realistic feeling tropes to nail the sci fi *feel* imo. For example in the first episode:

  • zero g
  • magnetic boots
  • ice mining for air and water
  • physical effects of low g on body
  • cramped space – people going stir crazy
  • advanced medicine, prosthetics
  • effect of high g planet on someone adapted to low g
  • high g manouvers

and probably more.

The underlying plot is basically a space western; it could be ranchers, herders and miners (Mars, Earth and Belters) fighting over a water supply but by thickly layering sci fi elements either as sub-plot points or simply window dressing it delivers that sci fi feel – not a deep exploration of a single trope like core sci fi but an adventure plot that hat tips lots of them.


What’s a Good “Sciency” Space Fantasy RPG?

I’m not sure there is a single one and if there is it’s probably single system and STL but i imagine most have something that can be scavenged for this purpose – which you can add yourself.

I think that’s generally going to be the case – take any space fantasy rpg you like and sprinkle sciency bits in yourself. Take each aspect of your game universe that feels too hand wavy and through scavenging movies, books, documentaries, other games etc replace the hand wavy bits with some speculative or not so speculative sci fi and/or make your standard game plots revolve around something sciency – for example:

– make the speculative science behind your FTL have inconvenient practical consequences in game e.g. related to fuel, which make it feel more grounded in reality

– if the game has artificial gravity for ships think of other ways of getting the players into zero g situations e.g. make the expensive part of artificial gravity be a component that is built in to jump drives so it’s very expensive for non starships so in system ships use rotation or make the artificial gravity malfunction at dramatic intervals

– if life support is hand waved as some kind of plug in modular system like large printer cartrifges then use that somehow – like extracting the h2o from spare life support modules to put out a fire or some kind of rodent getting into a food cartridge. separate short term ship life support from long-term colony life support requiring oxygen gardens with cartridge modules just for emergencies

– make journeys with repair and maintenance into a part of game play e.g. a free trader or exploring type game includes a process where where hazard type encounters cause players and transport to lose a form of HP in the shape of stress and strain which requires decisions over resource management and R&R

  • have sciency star systems, planets, atmospheres, climates

– if the players are recruited to hunt a weird species then make the planetary conditions a plausible source of the creature’s evolution

– make energy weapon combat have heat related consequences



Part 3 – just a list


Although I like listening to people talk about “What is Sci Fi?” I’ve never really cared what the answer was – I just like what I like.

However I watched a couple of youtube vids which touched on / extended the question to “What is a good sci fi RPG?” (which i’ll extend to games generally as i’m currently mostly messing with board games) and this made me think about the subject more as “what is a good sci fi game?” is built on top of “what is (good) sci fi?”

The two vids were:






What is (Good) Science Fiction?

The original core of it is hinted at in the name “Science Fiction” and more so if you include the other name it often went by in the past “Speculative Fiction.” If you join the two with emphasis added to stress the point you get “Speculative-Science Fiction” i.e. fiction based on speculative science.

I think most classic science fiction from Frankenstein onwards has that – you take some aspect of science or technology, extend it into the future and then speculate about some of the possible logical conclusions. This doesn’t have to involve space at all e.g. genetic engineering, extreme longevity, AI, robots etc.

If it does involve space then it either means STL ships and speculating on the logical consequences of that e.g. generation ships, sleepers etc or some as yet impossible FTL travel – and the logical consequences of that.

It doesn’t have to be focused on physical science either – it can also revolve around the social consequences of science / technology


Speculative-Science Fiction and Games

Given this definition a good Speculative Science game might be a game that provided a solid platform for a kind of “Trope of the Week” type of gameplay. The rules would be fairly generic as each episode would revolve around some issue caused by a different trope and the solution of that issue would depend on the particular trope.


Trope of the Week Design

This could be designed

  • around creating a series of one offs with different, probably pre-generated, characters facing a different trope each session like a separate movie
  • around the platform of an episodic series where the same characters travel around bumping into examples of particular tropes.

Some examples of the latter design might be

  • Fallout: surviving vaults that went down different paths coming out and creating wasteland towns based on some social concept or other, the players are part of a caravan traveling from vault to vault
  • Traveller: a human imperium collapses leaving the isolated colonies to evolve in different directions, similar to the above except the players are in a space ship and the physical planetary conditions could drive the social concepts or add physical adaptations
  • Star Trek: as above except unexplored space so using aliens as proxy humans
  • Others: Stargates, Timeslips etc

So once you have the platform that allows players to bump into a series of “trope of the week” encounters then you need your list of tropes to encounter.

The GM would mine existing sci fi movies and books for a concept and then build a game session or mini campaign around one of them at a time.

However there’s a problem.


Sunshine is one of my fave sci fi movies and i think it sits squarely in the realm of speculative science fiction i.e. the speculation is the sun is dying and the team set off to fix it. Now whether this is *plausibly* scientific or not, I don’t think matters, it’s a sci fi premise and makes people think sci fi thoughts about stars, God, survival etc.

It also tries to have a realistic feel – at least in the sense of what people today imagine to be realistic when it comes to space flight – which i think helps to reinforce the speculative part.

Some of those elements are:

– fragile spacecraft: unless building them in space, everything has to be lifted from the planet hence minimum weight is an issue

– sling shotting to reduce fuel

– shielding: radiation, mini asteroids etc

– resources: DIY oxygen with plants

(apparently they had a clever explanation for the artificial gravity but it didn’t pan out hence the lack of spinning)

So if Sunshine is good sci fi (imo) how would it do in a standard sci fi RPG game?

Not that great in my experience.

A Series of Interesting Decisions

One well-known definition of a good game is “a series of interesting decisions.” That may not be a 100% perfect definition but it works for me.

(This is why imo combat encounters are such a big deal in RPGs as combat naturally provides lots of decisions in a dramatic life or death context. As well as the tactical decisions there’s also the resource management decisions with the players managing wounds/health/hit points and maybe limited special attack types or equipment.)

However in most speculative-science fiction there is little or no combat. It’s often very talky, often almost a science detective game and the non-combat obstacles generally involve journeys, mishaps and either repairing technology or manufacturing special technology.

If you picture the events of Sunshine as RPG encounters most of them are either social interactions or repairing stuff and most sci fi RPGs will have character skills for social interaction and repairs so most of the dramatic events of the movie would boil down to a few engineering skill checks.

Some game types can get around this easily – like a first person sci fi RPG where if you need to go outside in your space suit to fix something the game can make navigating around your ship via little puffs of air into a risky mini-game.

So I think turning speculative-science non-adventure sci fi into a game requires turning whatever their equivalent of combat encounters is into an alternative form of drama involving a series of interesting decisions.

(For example a lot of sci fi involves a journey to the boss encounter and one way to make it more dramatic might be to copy the “The One Ring”‘s idea of a journey as a kind of resource management process. Various mishaps on the journey and the player’s characters success or otherwise at dealing with them, as well as possibly losing NPCs, equipment etc along the way, add to a cumulative “strain” score which affects how prepared the players will be for the boss encounter at the end.)


I don’t know if there is a sci fi rpg like this but there are probably social / narrative / detective type RPGs which have interesting mechanics for the social interaction / NPC malfunction part and maybe mechanics for non-combat encounters which can be reworked to make things like repairing stuff more dramatic so probably the best bet for a game like this is find one of those and add the sci fi.

I’d guess an actual game book based on this idea would be light on rules and heavy on examples of book/movie plots reworked into game sessions.



Part 2 – Space Fantasy


I’ve been researching this a bit for myself and thought i’d write my conclusions – partly so i don’t forget and partly in case it’s useful for anyone else.

A lot of people would say many ailments are a natural part of getting older and that’s true but one reason is fixable i.e. they say as you get older your intestine absorbs less of the nutrients in foods so you could be eating the same as you always did but now because of the lesser absorption you’re getting less of something that you need.

So, if you’re feeling right then don’t worry about it but if you’re feeling off in some way it might be to do with this absorption issue and if it is then you can potentially fix it by specifically supplementing whatever you’re deficient in

In my case it was metabolism / fatigue / foggy head.


The metabolism works in two stages: the first stage is the body creates something called T4 which it keeps as a kind of store and the second stage is the T4 is converted to something called T3 for actual use in the cells.

  • the first stage needs iodine
  • the second stage needs selenium and zinc

(plus the stuff that’s used in everything like vitamin D)

so if you have an issue with metabolism / tiredness / foggy headed that you didn’t used to have then the sequence that seems to be working for me is…


1) if you’re feeling okay don’t worry about it – whatever you’re eating is working.

2) remove negatives – this means eating less of the foods that are pumped full of sugar syrup (which is almost everything that has been processed) plus anything you might be allergic to

3) use the internet to figure out what specifically you might be deficient in and eat more of whatever foods has that thing

4) in my case it was iodine and selenium/zinc and maybe vitamin D

5) iodine is from the sea so seafood is the best answer there – alternatively something like cod liver oil. for my experimenting i used tincture of iodine (just dab a bit on the skin in the morning)

6) there are lots of excellent exotic sources of zinc/selenium but i wanted something simple and both eggs and oats are a decent source of both. i’m not an athlete so i’m not worried about getting it perfect – just enough to make sure i’m not deficient

7) if your body feels there’s no need for a high metabolism then it won’t produce one but your body is an idiot so you can fool it into doing so with burst exercise (aka HIIT exercise). the idea here is to try and make yourself breathless as fast as possible c. 20 mins every two days

you’re basically fooling your body into thinking you’re being chased by a lion. you can feel the metabolic effect for hours afterwards.


for me and metabolism this all boils down to

1) iodine – if you live somewhere where you have easy access to fresh seaweed or fish then eat that every three days (unused iodine is only stored for 2-3 days) – if you don’t have easy access to fresh seafood then tincture of iodine or cod liver oil

2) alternate breakfast: two eggs on toast one day, cup of regular oats on the other day (not the instant stuff that’s full of sugar) – they have around 30-50% of the recommended daily dose

3) burst exercise on oat days (it could be either day, simply a reminder)

everyone is different but this seems to work for me

Lastly, as a more general thing vitamin D from sunlight – if you live in northern latitudes or in winter when you make a cup of tea/coffee, drink it outside. You won’t get much UV but you’ll get some.

nb if this works for you, you should feel it quite quickly

No game reason for this really – I just like the idea of messing around in a quasi 3D star system using the Traveller vector movement.

The aim is to have a 3D box with all the stars, planets centered on a plane so you move in 2D but the visuals are 3D with all the orbiters having their own size, radius and orbit time so they move around on their orbits over time.

The code part is pretty easy if you simplify the orbits to circles. All you need is a class that has planet size, distance (from star) and orbit length. The orbit length gives you the number of degrees the planet moves per day so all you need is a method that takes a time, adds on the degrees moved and moves the planet’s center point.

class orbiter:
def __init__(self, tup): = tup[0]
self.radius = tup[1]
self.distance = tup[2]
self.days = tup[3]
self.dpd = 360/self.days
self.angle = random.randint(1,360)
self.x = 0
self.y = 0

def dodays(self,numdays):
numdegrees = self.dpd * numdays
self.angle = (self.angle+numdegrees) % 360

def dodraw(self):
radangle = math.radians(self.angle)
self.x = self.distance * math.sin(radangle)
self.y = self.distance * math.cos(radangle)

which currently ends up as this


(unrealistic orbit distances to test)(the button adds ten days)

This seems like it should actually be pretty easy but will wait until I’ve found out about Python’s Pygame module.


Got side tracked from this by the urge to do some Travellerized Dark Heresy chargen so that’s next.