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FAQ

WHAT IS SPECTECH?

Spectech is short for SPECulative TECHnology, the machines and devices either being researched or envisioned for the future.

WHAT IS THE SPECTECH DATABASE?

This website, whoses main goal is to become an on-line, encyclopedia-like resource for all major spectech ideas and projects.

WHO IS SPECTECH FOR?

First and foremost, the SpecTech Database is meant for techno-wonks like me, who find future technology neat, fascinating and fun. If you read through the stuff on this site and you donít say "gosh!" or "cool!" at least once, than Iím not doing my job.

Science fiction writers, established or wannabe, as well as RPG gamers and game designers, will also find the SpecTech Database very useful for ideas in designing their future worlds. In fact, when it is fully established, it can be used as an ultimate "catalog" for sci-fi technology.

SO HOW DID SPECTECH COME ABOUT?

When I set out to become a science fiction writer, I began to gather different ideas for future technologies I could use in my stories. These turned out to be legion, but what made it worse is that there was no one place or system I could find that could be used to research or categorize them all. The closest was the tabletop RPG Traveller, but even that was limited in scope to the technologies used in the game.

So I decided to create a speculative technology database for my own use. This started out as notes and diagrams jotted down on index cards. After over a dozen notebooks of these I decided to move them onto disc. After some deliberation, I decided that there must be other people who would be interested in this stuff. So I decided to expand my hastily-jotted down notes into full-blown articles and thus, the SpecTech Database website was born.

HOW DO I USE THE DATABASE?

The various technologies are gathered into appropriate categories, such as Orbital Travel, Deep Space Propulsion, Genetic Engineering, and so on. Some technologies will straddle two or more categories, depending on their nature. "Space Elevators," for example, will belong to both the Orbital Travel and Megastructures categories.

In each category the articles are listed roughly from least to most advanced. Ie, devices that are perhaps being researched today will appear near the top of the list and technologies that may not appear for many centuries yet will be near the bottom.

Each article is divided into distinct sections for easy use. At the top of each article is a quick listing of all the innovations the article covers and their appropriate tech levels. For instance, "Scramjets" covers scramjet missiles, scramjet fighters, scramjet orbiters, and scramjet airliners.

After this follows a quick intro of how and where the idea came about and if it is being actively researched. A "basics" section follows, describing the scientific foundations of the idea. Then comes the main body of the article, explaining the idea fully and any other pertinent information. Finally, links and source for more information related to the information is listed at the bottom.

HOW "HARD SCIENCE" IS THE DATABASE?

It depends on the idea being discussed. Much greater lengths will be taken to ensure the scientific accuracy of innovations being actively researched in the real world, like Scramjets or Lightcraft. As we move more from the "hard science" real world to "softer" realms of science fiction, however, a more equal emphasis will be put on an ideaís impact and implications than on the scientific minutae of how it would work.

WHAT ARE TECH LEVELS?

Tech Levels are a convenient means of comparing the relative sophistication and complexity of different technological innovations. For a more complete explanation and chart, see the seperate article on Tech Levels.

WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS FOR SPECTECH?

The Database is starting out very humbly, with only eight or so articles focusing on Orbital Travel. From there, plans are to add at least one article every other week or so, focusing on subjects as diverse as Deep Space Propulsion, FTL, Genetic Engineering, Weaponry, Megastructures, and more.

FOR A SITE DEDICATED TO FUTURE TECHNOLOGY, WHY IS THIS PLACE KIND OF A PLAIN-LOOKING?

I readily acknowledge that my web design skills are still nestled securely on the "novice" level. So instead of focusing on intricate site design, the emphasis here will be on ease of use and quality of the content. Down the road I may throw in some fancy stuff when I learn more of what Iím doing, but for right now there will be no frames, no animated gifs, no flash, etc.

I SPOTTED A TECHNICAL MISTAKE IN A SPECTECH ARTICLE. SHOULD I CONTACT YOU SO YOU CAN CORRECT IT?

By all means. Just e-mail me here and I'll correct it as soon as I can.

CAN I CONTRIBUTE TO SPECTECH?

Sure! Contact me through the email. For articles, query first to make sure we arenít working on the same subject, and then please follow the general outline of the articles already on the Database. And please remember that the SpecTech Database is geared for an educated but non-scientist audience. Ie, explain the idea youíre writing about in as plain a terms as you can.

I cannot pay anything except web exposure, but you will receive full credit for your contribution.



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