Category Archives: Model-1

Anything computer related. Games and generators etc.

Benford’s law, or why you shouldn’t use a D10 for generating some random numbers

This applies to all games where you want to generate a random number to describe something. In many cases you cannot just use a D10 since Benford’s law says that the lower numbers will have a higher probability.

Benford's law
Benford’s law – Public domain

This law is usually true when applied to things that grow exponentially. Like the population modifier digit (the P in the PBG-number) in the extended UWP for Traveller. Why is it so? Here is an explanation! A shorter explanation is that to change the first digit from 1 to 2, the population needs to increase 100%. To change the first digit from 8 to 9 the population needs to increase 12%. This means that the population digit will stay longer at lower values and therefore the lower values will be more likely.

Something else that is interesting for Traveller, Benford’s law can also be applied on asteroid sizes, since these has been built up of smaller objects over time.

It can most likely be used for anything that is big and varied enough like the size of buildings, the size of villages or towns, the size of space ships etc…

If you use a D10 to get a first digit for something that should behave according to Benford’s law, you will create a statistical anomaly. Doing it for one, or a few planets doesn’t matter, but if you do it for the P in the PBG-number of a subsector or something larger the result you get will be very unlikely.

So stop using that D10 now! Write a simple program on your calculator or computer that calculates the first digit according to Benford’s law!

For those who still (for some reason) needs to use dice, here is a table with a distribution that is close enough to the Benford distribution using 2D6, like you should do in Traveller.

2D6 First Digit
2 1
3 7
4 5
5 3
6 1
7 2
8 1
9 4
10 6
11 8
12 9

Just for fun, test Benford’s law for a number of datasets. It works!

Create Sci-Fi pulp covers with the Pulp-o-Mizer

The Pulp-o-Mizer is too good not to write something about. It is a front cover generator for sci-fi pulp books. I think it is a lot cooler than my LBB cover generator. Look what I can do with it:

Pulp-O-Mizer Zhodani Base

I bet you can do something better! Douglas Berry did this cool cover for Twilight’s PeakBruce Johnson did this scary cover for Signal GK. What can you do with the Pulp-o-Mizer? Please place a link to your image in the comments.

Free Gimp Plugins

With the help of some free Gimp plugins (Planet Render and Star Scape) I have made the image below. While it might not be as good as the plugins from Flaming Pear, it is still cool that You can make some nice images using free software. 😎

If I would have tried a bit harder, I might have been able to do something that would have looked a bit better. The image below is just to show You what is possible. (The image has also been compressed to a jpeg image so that it will load faster. This compression have added some distortion as well…)

Purple Planet

Counters Rendering Machines

I was wondering after making some replacement counters for my copy of Panzer Blitz, have you considered making the rendering machines able to also output 1/2″ counters?

Then one could make new/additional counters for games like Snapshot, Mayday, Astroid, Azhanti High Lightning, and Belter.

I tried making them using the 1″ and 2″ option then reducing them accordingly but the graphics come out too small to be usefully recognizable.

Jerry