Unstable wormhole mechanics

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Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby bkdevil » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:10 am

Josh has finally posted something about the status of LT! I'll leave the conversation regarding whether or not people were satisfied about the update to the threads of varying levels of happiness and instead attempt to start a conversation about the tidbits of content that were in that wall of text.

I know it was a throw away line about a feature that Josh would *like* to be working on (and so probably hasn't touched) but I found the line about "unstable wormhole mechanics" to be titillating. Yeah, I used that word.

Assuming that the connections between systems in LT will be jump gates, or whatever they will be called, and those are artificial constructs, I assume wormholes would act much like they do in a game like EV Nova, and be naturally occurring connections between systems.

So, gameplay wise, what would "unstable" wormholes add or detract? Would wormhole stability refer to them being open for a time and closed for a time, perhaps cyclically or perhaps a one off? Or would that mean that they would open to different systems in an unpredictable manner? Would it be an interesting mechanic to have the potential of a backdoor suddenly open in your system, or have a long time stable wormhole suddenly shift and throw you a thousand systems away from where it would normally?

I kind of like the idea of a "lost explorer" type scenario that an unstable wormhole could create. It would be cool to see it be somehow very lucrative to exploit wormholes, but also dangerous because of the possibility of never being able to get home, or at least have it take a veeeery long time.

Any thoughts on the matter?

:D
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Damocles » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:27 am

A wormhole in this scenario would mean its a passage.
Unstable means its dynamically occurring.
Maybe its an event when a passage opens, and enemies suddenly flood the area.
Or its a temporary connection to a system, that can be "unlocked" once finding (scanning) for the wormhole, and then passing it.
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby 0111narwhalz » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:42 pm

I think normal wormholes would be static within a system. Unstable ones, however, would flail about like garden hoses, spewing radiation and ships across millions of cubic kilometers of space and being generally hard to intercept.
If this isn't the plan, it will be a mod as soon as I get my mitts on the mod dev tools. :squirrel:
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby mcsven » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:29 pm

Here's the relevant thread (shout out to you-know-who!) in which the discussion of this topic is full on.
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Flatfingers » Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:46 pm

In addition to the typically thought-provoking thread started by He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, we also went round and round on this subject in Cornflakes's excellent Jumpdrives, Jumpgates, and Wormholes thread.

My objection to unstable wormholes is the same as it ever was: wormholes that randomly appear and disappear in inhabited star systems will interfere with strategic play, and will dramatically increase the risk (and thus the cost) of exploring and expanding and defending.

The latter result will cause rational AI cultures to spend all their time and money turtling up to defend against unpredictable incursions from bigger neighbors, when a more stable universe would have let them engage in (much more interesting for the human player) interstellar commerce.

And as for strategic play by the player, I can't put it more succinctly than fatmop did:

fatmop wrote:To make this game reward strategic thinking, you want to be careful about overly randomizing events.

So put me down as still preferring no randomly-appearing wormhole endpoints, or at least having a slider for controlling the frequency of such "masshole" behavior.
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby IronDuke » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:21 pm

Alright. Someone wanna explain why there's so much name-dodging going on around here? :?

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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Dinosawer » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:23 pm

Because he was banned for being mentally not all there all the time.
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Damocles » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:29 pm

His Avatar looks so scary :?
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby IronDuke » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:39 pm

Corn explained in PM. Poor feller... :|

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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby bkdevil » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:46 pm

Flatfingers wrote:My objection to unstable wormholes is the same as it ever was: wormholes that randomly appear and disappear in inhabited star systems will interfere with strategic play, and will dramatically increase the risk (and thus the cost) of exploring and expanding and defending.


I don't know. I feel like as long as the wormhole appearance is rare, and its location at both ends is random then there would be no reason to change all strategic thinking to account for them. Sure, a smart player would allocate some roving defenses that could rush to secure a wormhole, but there would be an extremely good chance that the other end would open up to a system that is far away and which contains no enemy, or nobody at all.

It would be like planning for a business' building burning down. Sure it would be smart to get some insurance and know the number to the fire department, but you aren't going to shape all your business around the premise that the building is going to catch fire.
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Damocles » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:51 pm

An opening wormhole (lets say to a scary alien infested region) could also serve as a plot device.
For example: the local scientists give out a general warning, that a wormhole is opening in a few days.
(or any other timeframe that is long enough to prepare)

Now this could initiate the AI players to form an alliance and send a larger defense force to the wormhole.
Kind of a "rally" event, to indicate a larger space-battle is going to happen.

This wormhole could serve as a neat and plausible trick to let an event happen, that otherwise is hard to inject into a dynamic system.
.. better than spawning enemy NPCs out of nowhere for no reason.
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Flatfingers » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:13 pm

I see it as a question of exploitation.

When an unstable wormhole randomly opens up, here are the possible alternatives for endpoint systems:

  • uninhabited
  • inhabited, small faction (< 3 systems controlled)
  • inhabited, moderate to large faction (3+ systems controlled)
The question is what happens when one of the endpoints opens up in a system controlled by a small faction.

If the other endpoint is to an uninhabited system, a small faction may not have the resources to scramble ships to go through the wormhole to exploit the system at the other end.

Worse, a large faction at the other end is probably keeping a fleet in reserve specifically to exploit new random wormholes. They will immediately fly through and conquer the smaller faction at the other end.

Result: instead of a stable but occasionally-changing universe of many small-to-medium size factions, random wormholes tend to cause a static universe of a few large factions. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like a lot of smaller factions would be more fun for most LT players.

But on the chance that some folks (maybe even myself) might like to see for a fact what having lots of unstable wormholes would do to factional growth... slider, please. ;)
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Black--Snow » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:27 pm

I think you're looking at it from the wrong angle. Consider this: Josh is a big fan of EVE Online, so the mechanics are likely to be similar.
Now, in EVE a wormhole has a few possible destinations:
- High sec (NPC controlled space, safe)
- Low Sec (Same as above but unsafe)
- Null Sec (player owned space, unsafe)
- WH space (systems disconnected from the gates, an intermediary of wormholes)

Now, wormholes opening between null sec and null sec give the opportunity for players to launch surprise incursions on other null sec space, but there are multiple mechanics and actions stopping any significant assault. The first is player action, the null sec players scan down and look through wormholes so that they can gauge potential incursion vectors. The second is that wormholes last only for a day or so and they have a mass limit, that meaning that once ships have exceeded this mass flying through (all ships total), the wormhole collapses. Essentially this means an incursion can only be small, because you need enough mass to go through and come back potentially.

I for one would like to have random wormholes, especially to wormhole space. It's a dangerous, uncharted and unknown place and I find the idea really cool. Hell, I live in a wormhole in EVE at the moment and I'd love to do that in LT.
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Damocles » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:29 pm

Well depending on the simulation, a too static system can get boring.
Introducing external shocks (such as a sudden wormhole connection) can destabilize the homeostatis in the system.

This can be adjusted to not wreck the system, but will create interesting events affecting the local balance of power and economic system.
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Re: Unstable wormhole mechanics

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:42 pm

Flatfingers wrote:Worse, a large faction at the other end is probably keeping a fleet in reserve specifically to exploit new random wormholes. They will immediately fly through and conquer the smaller faction at the other end.


that assumes that wormholes have infinite carry capacity, though.

which doesnt have to be the case (and wont be, thinking of joshs response to my ancient thread you linked earlier)

with unstable wormholes only being able to transport small to medium sized expeditions theres opportunities for adventure and scouting and maaaybe a strike force against a specific target if you are fast and lucky
but not for "boom! you are dead now!" events like you outline.


Black--Snow wrote:Now, in EVE a wormhole has a few possible destinations:


eeexcept that wormholes are the default/backup form of travel between systems in LT.

not every system is connected to others via gates, especially the uncharted/unsettled ones.


so wormholes very likely wont lead to special areas, just to the normal areas.
(go play some freelancer!)



though that gave me an idea:

what if unstable wormholes would mainly emerge from unusual systems?
"unstable wormhole nexus" or similar technobabble?
systems with no stable wormhole connections (or maybe to small 3-5 system "enclaves" which are also unstable nexi) which generate unstable connections in a short-to-medium range to other systems.
maybe with some additional "hostile" terrain (pulsars, plasma storms, blah)
lending themself well as "lawless"/pirate systems.




Damocles wrote:Well depending on the simulation, a too static system can get boring.
Introducing external shocks (such as a sudden wormhole connection) can destabilize the homeostatis in the system.

This can be adjusted to not wreck the system, but will create interesting events affecting the local balance of power and economic system.


you, i like you.
it's been a while since i saw interesting fresh blood around here :ghost:
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