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Wormhole Implementation

1A. Intrastellar
Total votes: 14 (9%)
1Bi. Interstellar - Local - Discovered
Total votes: 11 (7%)
1Bii. Interstellar - Local - Undiscovered
Total votes: 22 (14%)
1Biii. Interstellar - Unrestricted
Total votes: 31 (19%)
1C. Inter-temporal
Total votes: 10 (6%)
1Di. Inter-universe - Expansive
Total votes: 4 (3%)
1Dii. Inter-universe - Pocket - Stable
Total votes: 14 (9%)
1Diii. Inter-universe - Pocket - Unstable
Total votes: 10 (6%)
1E. No wormholes
Total votes: 1 (1%)
1F. Other (provide details below)
Total votes: 1 (1%)
2A. Stable
Total votes: 25 (16%)
2B. Unstable
Total votes: 16 (10%)
Total votes: 159
Post

Wormholes (in-depth)

#1
OUTLINE
My brain was doing that thing again last night where it runs around like a hyperactive puppy about Limit Theory. I didn't get to sleep as early as I might have liked, but I have a number of ideas about wormholes that I'd like to do a poll on. Also, yeah, I discovered you can create polls here so I'm going to heavily abuse this feature from now on. ;)

I spent some time checking and couldn't find any other threads that deal with the subject of wormholes in great deal.

THEORY
Within another suggestion thread I made, Heisenberg Extractor, I discuss the idea that accessibility to the vacuum energy of space at any given point is heterogeneously distributed, with the energy being easier to harvest at some locations than others. System gates (the ones Josh has been designing) operate by producing a region of artificially elevated vacuum energy accessibility around themselves, which allow them to sustain huge rates of power generation that permit them to bridge the gulf between the stars.

Every so often, however, a natural phenomenon occurs whereby a region of space starts to experience increasing accessibility to the vacuum energy. This causes an increase in the energy density of that region of space, and since relativity tells us that mass and energy are equivalent, and that matter bends space-time, this increasing energy density causes the region of space-time to contort and produce a quasi-singularity. It is extremely dangerous for a vessel to approach one of these, as a Heisenberg drive operates less efficiently the more curved the space-time around it is, and a vessel may find itself unable to escape from one of these if it ventures too close.

Elsewhere (what "elsewhere" means is left to you), a similar phenomena could be occurring, producing other quasi-singularities. These will attend to attract to one another, and when they meet, they often connect together. When this happens, what you have is effectively a wormhole.

IMPLEMENTATION
You have six choices in total. Pick up to 5 options from Wormhole traversal and 1 from Wormhole stability.

1. WORMHOLE TRAVERSAL
Pick 5 choices from the following section on what aspects of space, time and the multiverse the player should be able to traverse via wormhole. Try not to select mutually exclusive options. :P

A. Intrastellar
Wormholes connect two regions of space within the same system. Traversing through wormholes will never take you between systems.


Bi. Interstellar - Local - Discovered
Wormholes connect between two systems in the galaxy that are relatively close to each other, but you can only travel between them if both systems have been discovered/explored by you. This can be justified by saying that there is certain astrometrics data that your ship gathers the first time it enters into a new system, and this data is necessary for safe traversal to the system via wormhole.


Bii. Interstellar - Local - Undiscovered
Wormholes connect between two systems in the galaxy that are relatively close to each other, and you will be able to travel between these systems whether or not the system on the other end is one you've previously discovered or not.


Biii. Interstellar - Unrestricted
Wormholes connect between two systems in the galaxy that can be any distance from each other. You can potentially end up on the other side of the galaxy by travelling through a wormhole. If wormholes are unstable, be prepared to spend a long time travelling back, or to start afresh from where you end up.


C. Inter-temporal
Wormholes connect not only between two points in space but two points in time as well. In Another Kind of New Game +, I offer suggestions on how time travel can be implemented into Limit Theory.
CSE wrote:I like the idea of observing history and changing it soooo much, that please, pretty please, don't force me to reach almost end game to do it. That is a game in itself almost as cool as driving a spaceship!

:thumbup: :clap: :monkey:
This would offer the opportunity to travel backwards in time and change the generated history of the universe without having to reach end game. You'll just need to hunt down the right wormhole.


Di. Inter-universe - Expansive
Wormholes connect between two different kinds of universes, one just as big as the other. To address the immediate objection: "what's the point of having travel between different universes? Surely traveling between systems will suffice": different universes that you travel to would be similar to our own but with slightly different physics. When you visit a new universe, you may find that the slightly different workings of physics mean that all ships can fly faster, or shields recharge faster, or lasers do more damage while projectile-based weapons do less, etc. This is similar to how Wormhole space operates in EVE Online.

You may discover materials and items in one universe that could be considered very valuable and exotic in the other.


Dii. Inter-universe - Pocket - Stable
Wormholes connect between two different kinds of universes, but one is only a "pocket universe" a few systems big. You'll have your own private world to harvest resources or discover new kinds of artifacts. It is stable and you can remain in it for as long as you want. The physics of pocket universes may be slightly different to that of the main one.

You may discover materials and items in one universe that could be considered very valuable and exotic in the other.


Diii. Inter-universe - Pocket - Unstable
A.K.A. Donnie-Darkoverse
Wormholes connect between two different kinds of universes, but one is only a "pocket universe" a few systems big. It is unstable, and will collapse after a certain amount of time has elapsed, killing you if you remain in it for too long. You'll have your own private world to harvest resources or discover new kinds of artifacts. The physics of pocket universes may be slightly different to that of the main one.

You may discover materials and items in one universe that could be considered very valuable and exotic in the other.


E. No wormholes
Wormholes should not be implemented in Limit Theory.


F. Other
Please detail below.


2. WORMHOLE STABILITY
Make one choice from the following section on how the stability of wormholes should be determined, if you believe they should be implemented in Limit Theory.

A. Stable
Wormholes are completely stable and never collapse after they have formed. Only a limited number of wormholes may exist within Limit Theory, and these may already have existed before the player even appears.


B. Unstable
Wormholes gradually lose stability. This can be with the passage of time, with the passage of matter through themselves, both, or something else entirely.
Last edited by ThymineC on Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:40 am, edited 5 times in total.
Post

Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#4
1D and 1B is my vote. I don't know how many of you have ever played Stars!, but both 2A and 2B are present in the game. It made for some interesting game play options. http://wiki.starsautohost.org/wiki/Main_Page
Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I have seen, it seem to me most strange, that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.
Post

Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#8
A. Intrastellar
Wormholes connect two regions of space within the same system. Traversing through wormholes will never take you between systems.
Given the estimated size of systems, this is about as useful as a kick in the crotch. 0/10. I'll take the Cruise Drive, thank you.
Bi. Interstellar - Local - Discovered
Wormholes connect between two systems in the galaxy that are relatively close to each other, but you can only travel between them if both systems have been discovered/explored by you. This can be justified by saying that there is certain astrometrics data that your ship gathers the first time it enters into a new system, and this data is necessary for safe traversal to the system via wormhole.
Sounds rather ass-backwards. I can find a hole, but not traverse it, and the system technically tells me "Neener neener neener, you can't go there because you haven't been there yet!"? Pass.
Bii. Interstellar - Local - Undiscovered
Wormholes connect between two systems in the galaxy that are relatively close to each other, and you will be able to travel between these systems whether or not the system on the other end is one you've previously discovered or not.
From a subjective point of view, any system connected via a stable wormhole is "close by", since you have to traverse *drumroll* one "gate". Then again, I believe this is more or less what Josh already plans - a "wild" alternative to the "civilized" jumpgate, and the primary way of traveling between unsettled/frontier systems.
Biii. Interstellar - Unrestricted
Wormholes connect between two systems in the galaxy that can be any distance from each other. You can potentially end up on the other side of the galaxy by travelling through a wormhole. If wormholes are unstable, be prepared to spend a long time travelling back, or to start afresh from where you end up.
See above. Subjective distance is subjective, though mapping the universe becomes rather bothersome that way.
C. Inter-temporal
Wormholes connect not only between two points in space but two points in time as well. In Another Kind of New Game +, I offer suggestions on how time travel can be implemented into Limit Theory.

CSE wrote:I like the idea of observing history and changing it soooo much, that please, pretty please, don't force me to reach almost end game to do it. That is a game in itself almost as cool as driving a spaceship!

:thumbup: :clap: :monkey:


This would offer the opportunity to travel backwards in time and change the generated history of the universe without having to reach end game. You'll just need to hunt down the right wormhole.
If I was a programmer, this would result in me reaching for the nearest conveniently sized pipe wrench and beaning you over the head until your common sense returns. Besides the usual paradox issues common to time travel, this is a massive technical challenge for what is at best a gimmick effect.

Di. Inter-universe - Expansive
Wormholes connect between two different kinds of universes, one just as big as the other. To address the immediate objection: "what's the point of having travel between different universes? Surely traveling between systems will suffice": different universes that you travel to would be similar to our own but with slightly different physics. When you visit a new universe, you may find that the slightly different workings of physics mean that all ships can fly faster, or shields recharge faster, or lasers do more damage while projectile-based weapons do less, etc. This is similar to how Wormhole space operates in EVE Online.

You may discover materials and items in one universe that could be considered very valuable and exotic in the other.
Image Let's get one universe working properly first, shall we?
Dii. Inter-universe - Pocket - Stable
Wormholes connect between two different kinds of universes, but one is only a "pocket universe" a few systems big. You'll have your own private world to harvest resources or discover new kinds of artifacts. It is stable and you can remain in it for as long as you want. The physics of pocket universes may be slightly different to that of the main one.

You may discover materials and items in one universe that could be considered very valuable and exotic in the other.
Been there, done that, built a POS in it. That's an EVE wormhole; the only fun thing about them (besides the shitloads of money you can make from them) is the logistical challenges. Which brings us to...

Diii. Inter-universe - Pocket - Unstable
A.K.A. Donnie-Darkoverse
Wormholes connect between two different kinds of universes, but one is only a "pocket universe" a few systems big. It is unstable, and will collapse after a certain amount of time has elapsed, killing you if you remain in it for too long. You'll have your own private world to harvest resources or discover new kinds of artifacts. The physics of pocket universes may be slightly different to that of the main one.

You may discover materials and items in one universe that could be considered very valuable and exotic in the other.
MEEEEEP. Lousy gameplay alert. Since you as the player have no immediate way of telling when the "pocket universe" will collapse, this one equals an arbitrary game over coming from nowhere. A more viable solution would be to make the wormhole unstable, but generate a new "exit" when the first one collapses. (Yeah, I know: EVE again). That way, you can get "lost", but it's not an instakill. It might take a bit of traveling to get back to familiar shores, though.
E. No wormholes
Wormholes should not be implemented in Limit Theory.
Too late, they're in already. The main man said so.

2. WORMHOLE STABILITY
Make one choice from the following section on how the stability of wormholes should be determined, if you believe they should be implemented in Limit Theory.

A. Stable
Wormholes are completely stable and never collapse after they have formed. Only a limited number of wormholes may exist within Limit Theory, and these may already have existed before the player even appears.
Finite number of wormholes in what boils down to an infinite universe...hmmm. Nope, won't work.
B. Unstable
Wormholes gradually lose stability. This can be with the passage of time, with the passage of matter through themselves, both, or something else entirely.
Given that wormholes are the only way to traverse "uncivilized" systems, that's a no-go as well. Then again, I don't see why we can't have both: Stable wormholes that act as jumpgates in frontier systems, and unstable anomalies that lead to wherever for a short while.
Hardenberg was my name
And Terra was my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
Post

Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#9
Hardenberg wrote:Given the estimated size of systems, this is about as useful as a kick in the crotch. 0/10. I'll take the Cruise Drive, thank you.
Fair enough. I have no idea how big systems are or how long travel within them will take.
Hardenberg wrote:Sounds rather ass-backwards. I can find a hole, but not traverse it, and the system technically tells me "Neener neener neener, you can't go there because you haven't been there yet!"? Pass.
Fair point again. This is just in case there would be some gameplay issue with jumping to random undiscovered systems that haven't been visited in more conventional means first.
Hardenberg wrote:From a subjective point of view, any system connected via a stable wormhole is "close by", since you have to traverse *drumroll* one "gate". Then again, I believe this is more or less what Josh already plans - a "wild" alternative to the "civilized" jumpgate, and the primary way of traveling between unsettled/frontier systems.

[...]

Then again, I don't see why we can't have both: Stable wormholes that act as jumpgates in frontier systems, and unstable anomalies that lead to wherever for a short while.
This. If uncivilised space could be explored by stable wormholes that bridged nearby systems and unstable wormholes that bridged more distant ones, then a "close by" unstable wormhole is one that bridges systems that are connected by a small number of stable wormholes. A "distant" wormhole is one that bridges systems connected by a large number of stable wormholes.
Hardenberg wrote:See above. Subjective distance is subjective, though mapping the universe becomes rather bothersome that way.
See above. Your link isn't working by the way.
Hardenberg wrote:If I was a programmer, this would result in me reaching for the nearest conveniently sized pipe wrench and beaning you over the head until your common sense returns. Besides the usual paradox issues common to time travel, this is a massive technical challenge for what is at best a gimmick effect.
To implement time travel, you just take snapshots of the game world as its history is being generated, and provide mechanisms for allowing the player to go back to these states. The player makes adjustments, then when he returns to the future, the universe is allowed to procedurally generate a new history. I doubt this is beyond Josh's abilities.
The paradox issues can be swept aside as easily as this: when you travel back in time and make changes, you're effectively creating a new universe. The game doesn't _actually_ need to generate a new universe, but that's how you explain time travel without creating paradoxes.
Hardenberg wrote:Let's get one universe working properly first, shall we?
This would be even easier to implement. Create a system as normal but apply a +20% bonus to ship velocity in the region (or whatever).
Hardenberg wrote:Been there, done that, built a POS in it. That's an EVE wormhole; the only fun thing about them (besides the shitloads of money you can make from them) is the logistical challenges.
I'm pretty sure there are quite a number of people in EVE who enjoy W-space.
Hardenberg wrote: MEEEEEP. Lousy gameplay alert. Since you as the player have no immediate way of telling when the "pocket universe" will collapse, this one equals an arbitrary game over coming from nowhere. A more viable solution would be to make the wormhole unstable, but generate a new "exit" when the first one collapses. (Yeah, I know: EVE again). That way, you can get "lost", but it's not an instakill. It might take a bit of traveling to get back to familiar shores, though.
Who said the player wouldn't be able to tell when the pocket universe would collapse? Donnie Darko knew when his would. The player can perform a kind of analysis to determine the stability of the universe before or immediately after they enter. The suggestion you offer could work as well, sure.
Hardenberg wrote:Finite number of wormholes in what boils down to an infinite universe...hmmm. Nope, won't work.
I guess not. Though, they could just be features of the system that are generated along with the rest of the system. So they can be stable and there can still be an infinite number of them.
Post

Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#10
Lordy, when Hardenberg pulls out the cannons, he doesn't screw around :roll:

At this point I'm pretty sure I should be paying you ThymineC :lol: Another excellent set of proposals.

My current plans are for intra-system holes and inter-system holes without requiring discovery of the other hole (IMO this is just too hard; furthermore, I really like the idea and thrill of not knowing where you're going to end up when you're trying it out for the first time. Dark, abandoned space? Backdoor to the center of a bustling empire? Too close for comfort to a burning sun?). For distance, one can imagine that the holes would be generated probabilistically in such a way that a wormhole spanning 2L is (1/2)^p as likely as a wormhole spanning L, for whatever p you like. Although, at the same time, Hardenberg makes a valid point that most of our concern is with topological distance in space, not actual distance.

As for temporal holes, well now that's a very interesting concept! I fear the implementation may be a bit too intense, as Hardenberg pointed out. One could imagine some kind of snapshot mechanism that uses hierarchical binary diffs to efficiently keep track of the changing universe, but, at best, that would need to be a post-release feature I believe :geek:

Now the thing that really caught my eye, and to be honest, I haven't thought about before - is the idea of what you call "pocket universes." I guess I never got that far in EVE :lol: The idea of...recursive space, if you will, is...really quite seductive to someone like me who wants to find the absolute most isolated place possible to set up an operation. Hey, maybe I can even find a pocket universe within my pocket universe :D :crazy: I would like to explore this option some more, time permitting. I just love the thought of stumbling upon a whole new world within my world :)

Finally, a quick idea on stability - I would like to propose that we unify the concept of stable and unstable wormholes. Let's say that each wormhole has a "strength" associated with it. Whenever matter passes through the hole (thanks for throwing that idea out there!), the hole will collapse with probability 1 - e^(-m/k), where m is the mass passing through, and k is the hole's strength. A "stable" wormhole will have a very high k value, hence can withstand a lot of mass and still retain a small probability of collapse. Unstable wormholes, on the other hand, might be able to consistently support your scout ship zipping back and forth, but will flatline the moment you try to bring your battleship about. Interestingly, this makes some wormholes more "valuable" than others, in the same way that some asteroids are more rich. The strength of a wormhole can, of course, be ascertained with the right scanning equipment, and a scanner log detailing the location of a very strong wormhole that is unknown to others could fetch a high price :)

Only the strongest of wormholes would be able to support the passage of a full armada, but could win you a real tactical advantage. I love the idea that you could even "take a risk" by trying to bring your fleet through a hole that you know is just on the edge of being able to support it, knowing full-well that you may end up only getting half of your fleet through and then suffering a collapse that would cause the effective distance between your fragmented fleets to become massive!

EDIT : Man, the more I think about it, the more I am loving the idea of unstable wormholes. It could really be like a "regional event" if a well-known, highly-travelled hole suddenly collapses. Might totally alter the economy in the region :geek:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
Post

Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#11
JoshParnell wrote:Lordy, when Hardenberg pulls out the cannons, he doesn't screw around :roll:
Haha, yeah. I know wormholes is a touchy subject; I remember someone here scaring off another user after two posts for mentioning some ideas on the subject, but for whatever reason I can't find that post anymore.
JoshParnell wrote:My current plans are for intra-system holes and inter-system holes without requiring discovery of the other hole (IMO this is just too hard; furthermore, I really like the idea and thrill of not knowing where you're going to end up when you're trying it out for the first time. Dark, abandoned space? Backdoor to the center of a bustling empire? Too close for comfort to a burning sun?). For distance, one can imagine that the holes would be generated probabilistically in such a way that a wormhole spanning 2L is (1/2)^p as likely as a wormhole spanning L, for whatever p you like. Although, at the same time, Hardenberg makes a valid point that most of our concern is with topological distance in space, not actual distance.
Geometrically decreasing probability for occurances of wormholes that span a given distance? Seems neat. And yeah, Hardenberg's point was valid but that's how I'm thinking of it too - topologically. When I'm talking about "short range" (local) vs "long range" (unrestricted) wormholes, I'm talking of wormholes that span nodes with short and long paths between them, where the edges in this graph are jump gates / stable wormholes. By a "long range" wormhole, I mean one that would force you to have to go through a lot of jumps to get back to the original system, if it collapsed.

I also much, much prefer wormholes to lead to undiscovered/unknown territory. I want travelling through them to be scary and epic. The unstable ones, I mean. Not the regular, stable ones between adjacent systems.
JoshParnell wrote:As for temporal holes, well now that's a very interesting concept! I fear the implementation may be a bit too intense, as Hardenberg pointed out. One could imagine some kind of snapshot mechanism that uses hierarchical binary diffs to efficiently keep track of the changing universe, but, at best, that would need to be a post-release feature I believe :geek:
Snapshots is what I'm thinking too. Wouldn't it be similar to just having the game make a regular save file, except during history generation rather than when the player is actually playing? Then when a player needs to time travel, you just load the state of the game from one of those files. They make the changes they need to, and then when they jump back to the present you just let history generation take over again from where they left off until you reach the present again. And yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing this is a post-release feature at all, if ever.
JoshParnell wrote:Now the thing that really caught my eye, and to be honest, I haven't thought about before - is the idea of what you call "pocket universes." I guess I never got that far in EVE :lol: The idea of...recursive space, if you will, is...really quite seductive to someone like me who wants to find the absolute most isolated place possible to set up an operation. Hey, maybe I can even find a pocket universe within my pocket universe :D :crazy: I would like to explore this option some more, time permitting. I just love the thought of stumbling upon a whole new world within my world :)
I never got that far in EVE either, to be honest. :P I don't fully understand how W-space works in EVE. It's actually more of an idea copied over from my mental universe that I came up with before I played EVE, but no doubt they're probably pretty similar. The multiverse is filled with universes much like ours but far smaller, and with slightly different properties. These drift about in hyperspace close to the main universe ("hyperspace" just meaning the higher-dimensional space construct in which the universe presumably resides, nothing fancy), occasionally connecting and detaching from our own universe via wormholes that span across these hyperspatial voids. And it's very possible that these "bubble" or "pocket" universes could in turn end up periodically connecting with even smaller and stranger worlds out there.
JoshParnell wrote:Finally, a quick idea on stability - I would like to propose that we unify the concept of stable and unstable wormholes. Let's say that each wormhole has a "strength" associated with it. Whenever matter passes through the hole (thanks for throwing that idea out there!), the hole will collapse with probability 1 - e^(-m/k), where m is the mass passing through, and k is the hole's strength. A "stable" wormhole will have a very high k value, hence can withstand a lot of mass and still retain a small probability of collapse. Unstable wormholes, on the other hand, might be able to consistently support your scout ship zipping back and forth, but will flatline the moment you try to bring your battleship about. Interestingly, this makes some wormholes more "valuable" than others, in the same way that some asteroids are more rich. The strength of a wormhole can, of course, be ascertained with the right scanning equipment, and a scanner log detailing the location of a very strong wormhole that is unknown to others could fetch a high price :)
That's pretty interesting. Does that mean that you're not planning any fixed topology between the undeveloped systems of the galaxy? What happens in the (extremely) rare case that you're in a system and one of these "stable" wormholes collapses, with no other wormholes around to get elsewhere?

Also, if you're interested at any point in making wormholes degrade with the passage of time, I'd like to suggest looking into the Weibull distribution for modelling that. It's often used for modelling the time-to-failure of components and things, and you can alter the parameter k to simulate wormholes as tending to die from "infant mortality", "random external events" or "aging".
JoshParnell wrote:Only the strongest of wormholes would be able to support the passage of a full armada, but could win you a real tactical advantage. I love the idea that you could even "take a risk" by trying to bring your fleet through a hole that you know is just on the edge of being able to support it, knowing full-well that you may end up only getting half of your fleet through and then suffering a collapse that would cause the effective distance between your fragmented fleets to become massive!
That does sound like fun. :)
JoshParnell wrote:EDIT : Man, the more I think about it, the more I am loving the idea of unstable wormholes. It could really be like a "regional event" if a well-known, highly-travelled hole suddenly collapses. Might totally alter the economy in the region :geek:
Like the collapse of the EVE gate, it could change a lot. :)
Post

Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#12
EDIT : Man, the more I think about it, the more I am loving the idea of unstable wormholes. It could really be like a "regional event" if a well-known, highly-travelled hole suddenly collapses. Might totally alter the economy in the region :geek:
I see a little problem here - assume for a moment that the system in question is only reachable via wormhole (say, a cul-de-sac somewhere in the badlands), and the only access point collapses, with half of your assets on the other side. Maybe including you, since you wanted some other ships out first. Unless a new wormhole is generated in the event of the old one failing (not necessarily to the same destination, or with the same mass capacity), you're pretty much stuck in what amounts to a broken game state.
Now the thing that really caught my eye, and to be honest, I haven't thought about before - is the idea of what you call "pocket universes." I guess I never got that far in EVE :lol: The idea of...recursive space, if you will, is...really quite seductive to someone like me who wants to find the absolute most isolated place possible to set up an operation. Hey, maybe I can even find a pocket universe within my pocket universe :D :crazy: I would like to explore this option some more, time permitting. I just love the thought of stumbling upon a whole new world within my world :)
You had me at "most isolated place possible". Let's work on the implementation, then.

That other game™ has about 2500 systems that more or less randomly interconnect with each other and the known space. Connections are inherently unstable, and will collapse/rebuild within 16-48 hours. Most have a "static" exit, which means that there is always a wormhole that connects to a specific type of system - can be known space, but can also be just another "class" of wormhole. Wormholes are rated in 6 classes, according to danger/reward factor, and feature environmental modifiers that affect certain ship subsystems (making shields or armor more effective, increasing or lowering damage - keep in mind that this is a global modifier, and also affects the NPC ship found in there. That's W-Space in EVE in a nutshell.

As far as LT is concerned, I would suggest that you basically have one or more systems (a small cluster at best, nothing too massive) interconnected with rather stable wormholes. Access to this cluster can only be gained via rather volatile wormholes, favoring low mass ships which can fulfill a multitude of roles over specialized capital ships (yeah, I do like EVE's modular strategic cruisers). Upon collapse of a volatile access wormhole, a new one is formed - similarly volatile, but with a different exit point. I'd also suggest that these "access connections" don't show up on a regular star map, due to their unreliablility. You could limit the exit point destinations to a specific cluster of regular space, though, to make the topology less of a pain.

Not sure about habitation of those systems - the "most isolated place possible" isn't that isolated when you have 30 flavors of civilization inside. (One of the great letdowns of EVE recently - most W-Space systems are already "settled", and the settlers are of the usual "gank first, forget about questions later" variety.) On the other hand, the idea of coming across the equivalent of Shangri-La in Space is pretty enticing. Generation patterns should probably match those of the space hinterlands - it's not impossible to find settlements in there, just very unlikely.
Hardenberg was my name
And Terra was my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
Post

Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#13
I'm pretty on-board with Hardenberg's suggestions here. I also like that aspect of EVE where you have different scales of W-space, 1-6, with increasing risk, reward and magnitude of altered effects.

Tying this in with Josh's concept of "recursive space", where pocket universes can be reached from other pocket universes (if we want that), I'd say that all pocket universes directly connected to the main universe are "scale 1", with only slight alterations in physics, and then every "deeper" cluster of pocket universe you access gets progressively more and more strange, in terms of its physics, more and more dangerous (because the physics is weirder), and also more and more rewarding (since there's a greater chance of finding "exotic" artifacts, since again, physics is weirder). Reminds me of a really weird nightmare I had as a kid.
Post

Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#14
JoshParnell wrote: Now the thing that really caught my eye, and to be honest, I haven't thought about before - is the idea of what you call "pocket universes." I guess I never got that far in EVE :lol: The idea of...recursive space, if you will, is...really quite seductive to someone like me who wants to find the absolute most isolated place possible to set up an operation. Hey, maybe I can even find a pocket universe within my pocket universe :D :crazy: I would like to explore this option some more, time permitting. I just love the thought of stumbling upon a whole new world within my world :)
If this pocket universe is limited in size, I can see the value of it. It gives you a private area to play in without having NPC bothering you. With a single entry point the tactical advantage is considerable. I would assume jumpdrives couldn't be used to jump ships between the two universes?
But, if the pocket universe isn't really limited, or otherwise has all the other properties the normal universe has... Then what's it added benefit?
Wouldn't you be just as likely to find a remote system somewhere where you can set up shop?
Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.
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Re: Wormholes (in-depth)

#15
JoshParnell wrote:Finally, a quick idea on stability - I would like to propose that we unify the concept of stable and unstable wormholes. Let's say that each wormhole has a "strength" associated with it. Whenever matter passes through the hole (thanks for throwing that idea out there!), the hole will collapse with probability
1 - e^(-m/k), where m is the mass passing through, and k is the hole's strength.
Weber's Wormholes in the Harrington series use a neat mechanic. (I slightly expanded it for game use =)
  • Wormholes are a natural phenomenon. There is no way for the player / AI to create them.
  • A jumpdrive is required for the ship to survive the passage through any wormhole.
    (makes carriers or the likes more important instead of just using huge swarms of easily replaced fighters)
  • Some wormholes are stable / permanent, some more... elusive. (see "Detection" below)
    What they have in common is that they don't automatically go poof when a ship transits and that they come in pairs that only allow traveling between these exact two points.
  • Wormholes (or rather a pair thereof) have an "energy pool".
    The current size of that pool determines which maximum mass can do a simultaneous transit.
    This mass can be multiple ships traveling together.

    Wormholes come in all sizes/strengths.
  • A wormhole "works" only if that energy pool is mostly full. Let's say 80%.
  • If a single freighter makes a transit, the energy pool drops to maybe 98% and the wormhole stays usable continuously.
    Normal operation.
  • If a small (military) fleet makes a simultaneous transit, the energy is drained completely.
    It can take hours, maybe days, until this wormhole will allow another transit at all.

    Arriving en masse is a tactical advantage but you are effectively cut off.
  • Alternative to the simultaneous transit (which is an implementation problem):
    When a wormhole's charge drops below the critical level, it starts to collapse.
    This can take several minutes so the rest of your fleet can make transit as well.
    The wormhole's charge can be depleted heavily through this - just like it had been a simultaneous transit.
    • A Wormhole Transmogrifier (insert technobabble) can delay such a collapse, making the logistics of transferring a large fleet easier but not altering the overall wormhole mechanics in any way.
This adds an interesting weakness to an otherwise crazy powerful mechanic. =)



Detection and hidden / temporary wormholes:
  • Some wormholes (both ends of it) eventually collapse and reform elsewhere in their sector.
    An end point could also hop to another sector.
    If the wormhole gets severely depleted (like by a fleet transit) it always collapses and moves elsewhere.
    When it does, it also changes it's "frequency".
  • There is no one-size-fits-all wormhole scanner.
    Finding such a wormhole is a "science mission". The eggheads in your ship's science module get to earn their pay for once.
    (there is very little use for these in normal gameplay =)
    A "wormhole scanner" may aid in the finding of one but it cannot be as simple as waving the ship around and *peak* it's this way.
  • There may be more than one such "hidden" wormhole in a sector but you won't know how many. If a "search project" fails, it may just not have found the one wormhole that is there. Or the three that are there.
    It is definitely not a sure-fire project like producing 2 Meson Blasters.
  • The number of "currently found" hidden wormholes in a sector influences the chance of finding the next.
    Yes, that's gamey but it would be too easy to brute-force the detection with a huge fleet of science ships and end up with the other extreme... a "safe" sector with no way of ever finding a backdoor to it. Perfect systems and absolute safety are boring.
  • However... if and when you find a hidden WH, you have a temporary side road to... somewhere.
    If you use this hidden wormhole - using your jumpdrive - you find out where it leads.
  • Only you know (own) the "frequency" of this connection. Only you can find and use it.
    (until someone else finds it the same way you did)
    No sector in the universe would be completely safe... but you don't get to pick exactly where you find a route to.
    The way to keep a sector (mostly) safe is to chase out everyone who "does science" there.
    It could still happen that someone stumbles over a hidden wormhole elsewhere that leads to your fortified sector. Maybe he is nice enough to tell (sell =) you the location and frequency so you can force a collapse and close it... but maybe he doesn't like you that much.

    There is definitely potential for sneak attacks and surprises but the overall system is reliable enough for a (any) defensive strategy to be viable.
  • Such a temporary connection might remain up for a day or a week but eventually it vanishes again.

Wormholes vs Jumpgates
  • Jumpgates are gate-like structures that form the permanent connections between sectors.
    Ships don't need a jumpdrive to use them because the gate structure permanently performs this function.
  • A jumpgate is a wormhole... one that was stable enough to allow the construction of a jumpgate around it.
    Usually these are short range (in interstellar terms) wormholes and get you to the next system / sector.
  • The WH has always been there but the "construction" that humans add around it stabilises it and keeps it in an "always on" state.
    Boring and reliable.
  • A jumpgate doesn't just appear. Someone had to build it.
  • Someone can destroy it, leaving only the wormhole.
    It still remains a "permanent" wormhole but now it requires a jumpdrive for passage and is subject to the charge mechanic.

    What you can not do is permanently cut access to a sector.
    A destroyed jumpgate is still usable as a wormhole.
  • This allows for the development of backwater sectors... and the use of force in trade wars.
    One doesn't have to destroy all the enemy's freighters. You could destroy a key jumpgate and offer a route of similar length through your sector, profiting from a lot of carrying trade, ship maintenance... and spacer R&R.

    If your competitor has been cutting costs and using freighters without jumpdrives...
    It probably won't make you a lot of friends but this is business!

    An unexplored system has 2 wormholes that are stable enough to turn them into proper jumpgates so you can start construction and make it so.
    This can turn a backwater with unreliable access into a useful trade route.
JoshParnell wrote:Man, the more I think about it, the more I am loving the idea of unstable wormholes. It could really be like a "regional event" if a well-known, highly-travelled hole suddenly collapses. Might totally alter the economy in the region :geek:
I favour a less drastic approach. =)
The basic gridwork of the universe is made up from "stable" wormholes. They don't collapse, ever.
However, the jumpgates people build on them can be destroyed and this can seriously alter the economy without creating permanent pockets with no outside connection. (that the player might get stuck in)
Being stuck in such a pocket of the universe sounds like the premise for another game. =)

It also prevents humbug like The Ancient Race That Created All Jumpgates... and lets the player mess up (or boost?) the universe in a tangible way.

It also creates less traveled routes. Because where else would explorers go? Only along established highways? Booooring.

However, the player (or the AI) could find a bunch of planets that have no permanent connection to the rest of the universe. Not a single stable wormhole leading outside.
They are connected only as long as a hidden wormhole lasts... if someone happens to find out into and out of that region.
Score one for the diversity of space.
Also sounds like a good Sekrit Hideout. And a prime target for explorers. If they aren't afraid of getting stranded for a while. =)

JoshParnell wrote:Yes! Temporary / hidden wormhole appearance is and will remain a feature ;) So I guess we're agreeing on that point? :)
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