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Interplanetary Highways, Trade Lanes, Acceleration Gates

#1
I'm not sure if this has been addressed yet (man, this forum is blowing up!), but I wanted to put it out there for input: How do people feel about interplanetary highways, like the "trade lanes" in Freelancer? These are used to accelerate players and NPCs along the lane (usually a series of rings) at much higher speed than could be achieved by a ship's own engines. They could be a series of electromagnetic rings that accelerate ships along them, faster with each successive ring, or they could be powered by pure handwavium.

So what do people think?
  • Should some systems have such highways or trade lanes?
  • Should the player be able to build them himself and charge tolls to use them?
  • Should factions be able to build them and charge tolls from the player and NPCs?
  • Should the highways be destructible/disruptable by pirates/enemy factions?


{ Also see: Time acceleration vs. super cruise / in-system jumps, which deals with non-trade-lane in-system travel. - Gazz }
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Re: Interplanetary Highways

#4
The rings in the demo are trade lanes, that has been strongly hinted at by Josh in another thread.
I personally don't mind them, especially if we're going to be capped out at pretty low speeds during normal flight. They definitely have to be disruptable but I'm not sold on the idea of having them destructible, unless you can build them yourself. Would kinda suck to have them destroyed and then having no way of fixing them.
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Re: Interplanetary Highways

#6
pulsar9 wrote:Are these 'trade lanes' between systems or are they highways inside the system or are they both?
The way there are several sets of double rings aligned linearly and pretty close together, they look more like my understanding of intra-system travel than inter-system. But I could be totally wrong about that.
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Re: Interplanetary Highways

#8
Bele wrote:They are indeed highways inside the system. We'll have jump gates, jump drives and wormholes for traveling between systems.
Fantastic. Although, one thing I didn't like so much about Freelancer is that they lanes were pretty much the only practical way to travel between planets and other destinations. It kind of channelized travel in the game, making it quite linear, except for the relatively rare occasion when you would go "off-roading" into an asteroid or junk field to find something hidden.

One way to avoid this might be to allow players to upgrade their engines to the point they can travel as fast as the trade lane allows. It'd be sort of expensive, but it would eventually free the player and some NPCs from the linear trade lane system. That way, the trade lanes would be helpful for players who are starting off - sort of like training wheels - but you can eventually ditch them and fly freely. :)

EDIT: Allowing such speedy flight would also be a good way to allow players to explore systems that aren't civilized enough for trade lanes, without having to crawl across them.
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Re: Interplanetary Highways

#9
insolent wrote:Fantastic. Although, one thing I didn't like so much about Freelancer is that they lanes were pretty much the only practical way to travel between planets and other destinations. It kind of channelized travel in the game, making it quite linear, except for the relatively rare occasion when you would go "off-roading" into an asteroid or junk field to find something hidden.

One way to avoid this might be to allow players to upgrade their engines to the point they can travel as fast as the trade lane allows. It'd be sort of expensive, but it would eventually free the player and some NPCs from the linear trade lane system. That way, the trade lanes would be helpful for players who are starting off - sort of like training wheels. :)
I wouldn't expect unsettled systems to have trade lanes, but it makes lore sense to have them in settled systems, Josh hasn't gone into any detail on how he's going to do interplanetary travel though.
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Re: Interplanetary Highways

#11
Commander McLane wrote:
N810 wrote:Psttt,

there is this funny looking round gate thing half way trough the last tech demo viedo. ;)
Psssst,

they were already in plain sight in the initial Kickstarter video. ;) (starting at 2:16, and again at 3:31)

Also, Josh has called them "trade lane gates" in his development blog as far back as August.
Alright, fair point, we know they're in the game. That's well and good, but I'd like to know more about them, such as whether we can upgrade our engines to the point where the lanes aren't the only feasible way to travel between planets (I'd hope so, because not every system is inhabited and could logically have them).
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Re: Interplanetary Highways

#13
N810 wrote:Perhaps there will be some naurual wormholes to uncharted systems ?
Exactly - or even jumpgates that lead to systems that haven't been fully civilized yet. And Josh has said we can equip an (albeit expensive) jump drive, which (I believe) won't rely on existing jump gates. Not all systems should be linked by jump gates, or have trade lanes in them - that'd imply humanity or some other species is literally everywhere, and that would just be depressing. I want to explore uncharted systems!
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Re: Interplanetary Highways

#15
The Hedge Knight wrote:I would prefer just being able to randomly jump as you wish instead of bothering with the rings, but oh well.
As would I. I would enjoy the ability to, for instance, make tactical hyperspace jumps/handwavispace jumps to close with or run from the enemy, and being able to use my ship's jump-drive to get to planets in-system without a trade lane. Now, for intersystem travel, say that the jump drive aboard your ship (until you get to a certain point) is just too weak to get to another star system in a reasonable timeframe, and we can still use the jumpgates/wormholes for that. Intrasystem stuff can be handled by your ship's drive.
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