zircher wrote: ↑
Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:29 am
Or, you place rail hubs at the solar poles, that way the planets can move and the distance is fairly constant for circular orbits.
This sounds like exactly what I proposed in a comment from 2014
(!): warp lanes start at the poles of a planet and curve in arcs above and/or below the plane of the star system's ecliptic. That way planets can orbit their star, and warp lanes will slowly adjust as the planets move through space. At any given moment of time, you'll still be able to see ships flowing back and forth through the lane -- there'll still be a clearly discernable "lane" -- it just won't be fixed in space.
But I emphasize that this is not my primary argument against including warp rails in the list of must-have core features. My comment about planets being able to orbit their star was parenthetical; it's not the most important point. The main argument I'm making is that "core feature" means either:
- an infrastructure or basic gameplay capability that must be built for any space sim (the majority of features)
- a feature that is specifically required to deliver the "Limit Theory feel" (a very short list of features)
I don't think there's any way that warp rails can be considered part of that first category. And I would say it's not part of the second category, either; there are other gameplay features -- in particular, the "living world" of NPCs against and with which the player can act -- that are much more distinctive and important for delivering the dynamic "feel" of LT. An additional
way for ships to travel from one point of interest to another, beyond the basic speed and a fast speed that I assume ships will have as in LT, just doesn't seem to me to have enough value to prioritize it over the other core features I suggested in my previous post. As long as non-combat ship AI includes a "take shortest path between two points of interest" goal, trade lanes will emerge automatically -- they just won't be high-speed, but how could that possibly be considered such a vital thing that it merits development time over other things such as basic 3D spaceflight and ship combat and space stations?
Does the warp rails feature have some flavor value? Sure. I've never said it's worthless or that it doesn't deliver any LT flavor. My argument is that it's just not nearly as important as other things that must
be implemented for a game like this to work at all, and particularly so when it's a loose group of people who aren't Josh taking on this project.
By all means, keep warp rails in mind as a late enhancement feature. But I honestly see no way it should get any project time when there are still such fundamental things as "script processing engine" and "NPC AI" yet to be designed and implemented.
Y'all feel free to apply this same argument to any feature that I've suggested is "core."
In fact, let me be blunt: this project has no chance to succeed unless its participants agree to focus exclusively on the no-kidding basic systems that a space sim game absolutely must have. We can knock around nice-to-have ideas elsewhere, but this project won't happen without a focused environment where only the stuff that really has to be done can get done.
It is hard to build all the core features this needs. It's even harder to finish all those core pieces; and harder still to integrate all those pieces into a working product; and yet harder to polish this combination so that it is satisfying; and supremely hard to make this whole thing fun
. And that's with a for-profit organization of experienced game developers working on it full-time.
No playable game, much less one that feels like LT, will ever be produced by a group that wants to debate the merits and forms of a very ancillary support feature like warp rails instead of defining and then doing the things that are unquestionably more necessary to building a space sim game that even works at all.
So are y'all serious about making an actual thing or not?