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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#18
Differences between universes, as you pointed out in that earlier thread, support replaying full games of LT.

The idea that each star system in LT -- since it's physically (not counting wormholes as physical things) unconnected to any other star system -- can have its own unique physics, is a little different. That's not only something you could experience in a single playthrough, it's potentially a useful mechanic in that it gives additional value to exploring other star systems.

I'm not suggesting the differences should vary wildly (unless "make it a slider!"). Minor variations, small but eventually noticeable and functionally meaningful, would be enough to be useful/fun. I think.
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#19
Would be interesting if as the universe generates, systems have a chance to add or change modifiers to the modifiers from the parent system. Kind of like the tech tree where more specialized nodes appear as you explore it. Although this would need to be balanced so that the third system doesn't have 6x gravity and makes all armor worthless.
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. - Oscar Wilde

We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#20
Kekasi wrote:Although this would need to be balanced so that the third system doesn't have 6x gravity and makes all armor worthless.
Actually, that sounds pretty good to me. It would encourage players to develop adaptive strategies rather than finding and spamming a "win button" approach to every challenge.

That said, your suggestion to treat star systems as nodes that, like research nodes, can have "modifier" nodes, is a thing of great design beauty.

+1!
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#21
Flatfingers wrote:That said, your suggestion to treat star systems as nodes that, like research nodes, can have "modifier" nodes, is a thing of great design beauty.

+1!
:eh:
ThymineC wrote:If systems do have different properties, I would really like to see those properties visualised in the same way as we see properties for blueprints. Like a blueprint might be for a fighter variant that has +10% dps at the cost of +20% mass. System properties could be shown in a very similar way where a system could be represented as a node in some graph and have global effects represented like +10% to thermal damage in this system, -25% velocity to all ships in the system. Unification!
On a side note, is there any value in having pocket universes being "unstable", in the sense that they can be dynamically created and destroyed?
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#23
ThymineC wrote:On a side note, is there any value in having pocket universes being "unstable", in the sense that they can be dynamically created and destroyed?
It would be the same as losing the location of a star system, possible but not really probable. Maybe having some systems/universes where it is destroyed by something, and any systems/universes connected will get the option to reconnect to a new system/universe. The issue is dealing with edge cases where universe/system might lose all connections.

Regarding the actual value of it, might be pointless if you can connect to an infinite amount of universes. With systems, I would rather avoid it, since creation of systems would have to be carefully regulated or you'd have ridiculously dense areas. Would be cool if you always have the option to check out a new universe, but it's not necessary.

Sorry about "system/universe" repetition, wanted this to cover both variations on the idea.
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. - Oscar Wilde

We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#24
Flatfingers wrote:
ThymineC wrote: :eh:
:?:
Oh, hah, I guess I didn't make it explicit. My bad. When I suggested that the properties of pocket universes get represented analogously to how modifiers are shown in the blueprint/research mechanic, I was implicitly also proposing that star systems derive their modifiers based on "parent" systems, just as blueprints/research nodes do and in the same way as Kekasi said.
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#25
ThymineC wrote:
Flatfingers wrote:
ThymineC wrote: :eh:
:?:
Oh, hah, I guess I didn't make it explicit. My bad. When I suggested that the properties of pocket universes get represented analogously to how modifiers are shown in the blueprint/research mechanic, I was implicitly also proposing that star systems derive their modifiers based on "parent" systems, just as blueprints/research nodes do and in the same way as Kekasi said.
Yup, I just added in the option to remove modifiers and rewrote it to be more explicit.

Although having the option to remove them could help make the universe a more varied place then just difficulty is equal to distance from start.
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. - Oscar Wilde

We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#26
Kekasi wrote:Yup, I just added in the option to remove modifiers and rewrote it to be more explicit.

Although having the option to remove them could help make the universe a more varied place then just difficulty is equal to distance from start.
Certainly. The way I personally see it is that you'd have property "nexuses" every dozen or hundred or thousand universes in every direction, and the modifiers of systems would linearly interpolate between these. You'd have what can be imagined as a smooth "landscape" of physics modifiers over the multiverse.

A Perlin noise-like algorithm could work nicely for this.
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#27
Kekasi wrote:
ThymineC wrote:On a side note, is there any value in having pocket universes being "unstable", in the sense that they can be dynamically created and destroyed?
Regarding the actual value of it, might be pointless if you can connect to an infinite amount of universes. With systems, I would rather avoid it, since creation of systems would have to be carefully regulated or you'd have ridiculously dense areas. Would be cool if you always have the option to check out a new universe, but it's not necessary.
There might be an infinite number of universes throughout the whole graph, but that wouldn't render the creation of new universes pointless; within any given "region" of the multiverse, there will be a finite number of universes, and the creation of new universes that then link with other universes may create new, shorter trade routes and thus alter the economy considered in this local region. It may even shift the balance of power between factions. The destruction of universes can also have major repercussions, potentially eliminating trade routes or shifting the balance of power between factions in different ways. I discuss the destruction of universes in more detail later in this post.

You can easily balance the system to avoid it forming ridiculously dense areas - Josh is currently coding connectivity to work by generating the minumum spanning trees between all systems in a region (using Prim's or Kruskals or something like that) and then merging these spanning trees to produce the final interconnectivity between systems. You can easily pre-generate a set of nodes that are initially all disconnected from one another, and then determine the connectivity between them by increasing or decreasing the number of spanning trees that are generated and merged. Within this set might be nodes that are not connected to any part of the main graph at all - but if we assume that this connectivity algorithm is ongoing, then at some later time the node might become connected with the main graph. Similarly, some currently connected node may be disconnected from one or all of its neighbouring nodes if we assume non-monotonicity in the connectedness of the graph - this can be done by keeping a rolling buffer of spanning trees that are, at each moment, determining the overall graph connectedness as the merged result of all of them. This is how you would think of the system abstractly; lore-wise, a node that was previously disconnected but at some point got connected could be thought of as a universe popping into existence - likewise, a node getting disconnected represents a universe popping out of existence.

Special thought needs to be given to the destruction of pocket universes. I raised the idea of unstable universes a while ago in Wormholes (in-depth), to which Hardenberg replied:
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.
My reply was:
ThymineC wrote: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.
A player will have the means to analyse how close a system is to collapse at any time and prepare for that.

Questions: If any of your assets are in a pocket system when it collapses, you will lose them. This will include fixed assets like factory installations, stations and other facilities. Would this be a desirable or annoying gameplay feature? How often should pocket systems be collapsing? Is there any way an agent can act to "anchor" a pocket universe, to lower the probability of a universe collapsing? Should it be possible to lower this probability to zero?

What happens if the player is in a universe as it collapses? I reckon the most obvious outcome is that they die - but then how is death handled? I have my own thoughts for this, and so do many others in Death in LT.
Kekasi wrote:The issue is dealing with edge cases where universe/system might lose all connections.
This is very easily solved - just make it so that any universes that lose connectivity with the rest of the multiverse get destroyed. That is, FOR ALL X, IF it becomes impossible to navigate the current topology of the multiverse to get from Universe X to every other universe, THEN Universe X gets destroyed.* This means that if a universe gets destroyed, any universes in a "cul-de-sac" who are only linked to the rest of the multiverse via that universe will also get destroyed. The multiverse remains a fully-connected graph at all times.

Question: If an agent can anchor a pocket universe in such a way that it has zero probability of natural collapse, should it still respect the topology of the multiverse graph? If it's part of a cul-de-sac and an unanchored universe between it and the rest of the graph collapses, what happens to the anchored one?

*∀x∀x: Universe. ¬RouteExists(x, y) → ShouldBeDestroyed(x)
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#28
All of the forthcoming speculation is based on these two ideas:
1. Warp drives can take you to a random nearby system, or pocket universe, which may not have any jump gates connected to it.
2. Jump Gates can be created and linked to a random nearby system that isn't already connected to the current system, or to a designated system in the creator's navicomputer.

These both allow the starting universe before history is simulated to be a single system with a populated planet and some npc players, who then go about expanding the universe and colonizing habitable worlds. Plus these allow the universe to grow dynamically and give exploring a very apparent profession.
ThymineC wrote:You can easily balance the system to avoid it forming ridiculously dense areas
. . .
After thinking about the side effect of having one system linked up to hundreds of other systems, I don't think it is altogether a bad idea. As long as there are options to avoid that system so that a conquering force can't bring the economy to its knees, I'm all for that. I doubt the NPCs will allow that to happen because each planet will probably want to be the most popular for trade income, but if it does, it would be interesting to see how the npcs respond to it.

ThymineC wrote:Special thought needs to be given to the destruction of pocket universes.
. . .
A player will have the means to analyse how close a system is to collapse at any time and prepare for that.
I think there should always be the option to detect how soon a system is to being destroyed, as long as it is a natural event, like a supernova, collision with another star, etc. Also, a player should have the option to speed that process along, or slow it down, as long as any players with assets there will be notified of the sudden change in the system.

Regarding the unstable wormhole idea, I don't think an unstable wormhole should destroy the universe. Maybe make it harder to access, or require a jump drive or a new Jump Gate to regain access, but nothing that devastating. In my opinion, a universe shouldn't be possible to destroy, or at least extremely difficult.
ThymineC wrote:Questions: If any of your assets are in a pocket system when it collapses, you will lose them. This will include fixed assets like factory installations, stations and other facilities. Would this be a desirable or annoying gameplay feature? How often should pocket systems be collapsing? Is there any way an agent can act to "anchor" a pocket universe, to lower the probability of a universe collapsing? Should it be possible to lower this probability to zero?
In my opinion, as long as there is sufficient time to save most of my assets, and I can control all of my assets from a distance, then I'm fine with any major system destruction event. As I said above, I really don't like destroying systems unless the player knows far in advance. This way any stations or immobile facilities created there are built under the assumption that they will be destroyed in the future, or will need to be salvaged before its destruction.
ThymineC wrote: . . .
This means that if a universe gets destroyed, any universes in a "cul-de-sac" who are only linked to the rest of the multiverse via that universe will also get destroyed. The multiverse remains a fully-connected graph at all times.

Question: If an agent can anchor a pocket universe in such a way that it has zero probability of natural collapse, should it still respect the topology of the multiverse graph? If it's part of a cul-de-sac and an unanchored universe between it and the rest of the graph collapses, what happens to the anchored one?
I'm of the opinion that no systems should be destroyed because they're outcasts. If they lose all connections to any universe, then they'll have to find some way to reconnect or live with being on their own.

I also love the idea of a hidden base that you need a jump drive and its location to access, but I also want there to be some way to follow a ship with a jump drive, or detect where it is going. This should allow people to have hidden bases, and if they're not careful, allow enemies to figure out where they are.
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. - Oscar Wilde

We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#29
https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/bb5ae64fa4fa

In a few years we should have the technology to know whether Sagittarius A* is a black hole or a wormhole.
But there is another explanation—that this massive dense object is a wormhole that connects our region of space to another point in the universe or even to another part of the multiverse. (Astrophysicists have long known that wormholes are allowed by the laws of general relativity and may well have formed soon after the Big Bang.)
The pocket universe idea has grown on me, and I'm somewhat disappointed that Josh is not onboard with it. It's not only a super interesting idea but I like the gameplay too.

Josh has said he'd make a "realism mod". Is it greedy to ask that he also makes a "Many Worlds" mod that does the following:
  • Makes wormholes connect between pocket universes rather than star systems in the same universe
  • Enables player immortality as described in the Reconstruction on Death thread
  • Any other gameplay that can be associated with the Many Worlds concept?
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Re: Star Systems as Pocket Universes

#30
ThymineC wrote:Makes wormholes connect between pocket universes rather than star systems in the same universe
I'm still stuck on "star systems already are pocket universes!" I'm afraid. :)

I don't think I've heard anything that would make star systems in LT functionally different from the common conception of a pocket universe with its own values for the fundamental physical constants. Even if every one of those constants (or which ever constants are implemented in LT) is identical for every star system, that's simply a special case of all systems being independent instances of "normal space" reality.

The only real question to my mind is what to do, game design-wise, with perceiving star systems that way.

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