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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#151
Ah, damn, I am so slow today. Ok, now I got it. Damn.

It effectively converts jump drive into jump gate, then. I actually don't see why we can't have both - my version of jump drive punches you through hyperspace via frequency you've latched to (it can be pre-existing wormhole - you'll just exit there; I thought about it before); jump gate (your jump drive) creates temporary jumphole for several ships to use.

Terminology is the hardest thing to agree on.
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Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#152
outlander4 wrote:Ah, damn, I am so slow today. Ok, now I got it. Damn.

It effectively converts jump drive into jump gate, then. I actually don't see why we can't have both - my version of jump drive punches you through hyperspace via frequency you've latched to (it can be pre-existing wormhole - you'll just exit there; I thought about it before); jump gate (your jump drive) creates temporary jumphole for several ships to use.

Terminology is the hardest thing to agree on.
Well what you're describing is basically a jump-drive that can jump to arbitrary points in a system, which I think everyone except I guess Cornflakes has been strongly against from about a 100 posts ago.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#153
It's not arbitrary; it's defined by the neat polar coordinates function-thingie!

I'm so good at explaining things....let's try again:

If we define frequencies geographically as well as in the means of interconnectivity, then it would make my version of jump drive not overpowered as you'll be able to jump only to the system's periphery and you'll be noticed and dealt with as you go into the central part of the system. And since only the biggest capitals will have that kind of technology...well, without smaller escorts and only with fighters they are able to carry with them they'll be vulnerable to bombers/torpedo ships.

It would require some balancing, but I don't see why it can't be done.
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Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#154
outlander4 wrote:It's not arbitrary; it's defined by the neat polar coordinates function-thingie!

I'm so good at explaining things....let's try again:

If we define frequencies geographically as well as in the means of interconnectivity, then it would make my version of jump drive not overpowered as you'll be able to jump only to the system's periphery and you'll be noticed and dealt with as you go into the central part of the system. And since only the biggest capitals will have that kind of technology...well, without smaller escorts and only with fighters they are able to carry with them they'll be vulnerable to bombers/torpedo ships.

It would require some balancing, but I don't see why it can't be done.
That still means there's a huge potential area out of which you could arrive. A defender whose base is located near to the centre of the system would have to be prepared for an attack coming from any direction in three-dimensional space, which I believe would vastly shift the balance in the attacker's favour. I pretty firmly want to stick with jump-drives being used to latch onto endpoints and nothing else.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#155
You defend against the invading fleet by attacking it with the defending fleet. How does direction come into it? You see the enemy, you come at it. And I don't think any fixed defences would do any good against mobile targets spitting fire on you unless you're talking about fortresses the size of a minor planet. Then direction is irrelevant again.

The only way it may be abused is by jumping close to the nearby jumphole and escaping into another, less defended system. But that way you'll cut yourself away from supplies and repair and you'll have to face enemy fleet on the way back. Not saying that they can just jump after you knowing where the jump hole you've used is, where it leads and latching to its frequency to exit in exactly the same location.
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Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#156
In fact, this is how we could do it. We can say, sure, naturally-forming wormhole endpoints like S1's and U's always form at part of the system corresponding with their frequency.

But for J-type endpoints, maybe we could say that J-type endpoints have to abide by these frequency rules as well, so that if the "south" end of the system allows for wormholes that oscillate at 50 THz and the "north" end at 70 Thz, then a JD-equipped vessel will only be able to produce a 50 THz endpoint at the south end and a 70 THz endpoint at the north end.

This becomes interesting if we imagine that jumpdrives could be limited in the frequencies of the wormholes they generate. Perhaps a faction has researched a jumpdrive that can only generate wormholes in the 40-60 THz range. In that case, a JD-equipped vessel would be limited to only establishing wormholes at the south end of the system, and if the defender happens to have gained access to its enemy's blueprints or scanned the JD-equipped ship in advance, it might know this. It could then reinforce its defences in the south end of the system.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#157
outlander4 wrote:You defend against the invading fleet by attacking it with the defending fleet. How does direction come into it? You see the enemy, you come at it. And I don't think any fixed defences would do any good against mobile targets spitting fire on you unless you're talking about fortresses the size of a minor planet. Then direction is irrelevant again.
The way you propose it, an enemy fleet can immediately jump into the system from any point along the periphery, giving no time for the defender to respond. The way my system works, the attacker would need to maneuver an expensive and vulnerable JD-equipped vessel to the right place and go through the whole process of establishing a relatively easy-to-notice wormhole before the attacking fleet could arrive and attack from one direction.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#158
Well, I like where you go with frequencies; by constructing an algorithm that is good enough we can make things really interesting.

I thought about that; in my understanding, frequencies and directions available depend on the star, so all directions of coming into the system are known. The picture shows it - it's based an amplitude rather than an actual frequency, but to hell with that, it shows the idea - the arrows are established connections, the loops are unused frequencies you can latch to; everywhere else the frequency is effectively zero and can't be used for jump drives or jump holes. Star is in the centre.

My jump drive proposal uses those natural frequencies to jump into certain areas in the system, so directions of attack are known. If it's a border system, there's likely a fleet ready to respond; if it's further from the border and you'll shove in only the biggest capitals (since only they have jump drives of my type) you'll be betting a lot on this; your fleet won't be big enough; enemy will use asymmetric warfare (bombers, small units, stationary defences) etc. If you'd want a full-scale invasion you'll have to build a jump gate (your jump drive) or use unstable/stabilised jump holes etc but it's likely that enemy patrols will be out there checking if everything is ok in zones where ships can arrive.
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Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#160
ThymineC wrote:
Flatfingers wrote:Wormholes are invisible. That is, they have no visual radiation that can be seen with the Mark I Mod 0 eyeball.
I think that a nice compromise would be to make wormholes produce a distortion-effect around themselves - something that you wouldn't notice from any distance, but would be noticeable and look quite attractive from close up.
I could live with this, though my preference would be that you need to be close enough to actually go into the thing within a few seconds before you can see it.

Also, now I'm wondering how this would be modeled for NPCs who don't have the human player's actual eyeballs....
ThymineC wrote:
Flatfingers wrote:This is functionally very different gameplay than somebody weaseling a ship into a random location in one of my systems and using it to make a hole for an enemy fleet to come through. Allowing this physics significantly reduces my available observation and planning time, turning a strategic game into a tactical RTS.
It's meant to become tactical at this level. The strategic part of LT is keeping your systems secure and your enemies at bay. If your enemies come crashing into your city, it's a matter of tactics, not strategy to drive them out and retain control over the city. You'd have I guess 15, perhaps 30 minutes between having a JD-equipped ship enter your system and having it establish a wormhole capable of transporting an entire fleet. But during this time you should have intel stations monitoring the system, patrols, etc. - all handled by subordinates so that you can concentrate on other matters. They should help to prevent that happening. It should not happen very often anyway, as ships capable of generating these kind of wormholes will be considerably expensive and costly to replace.
I think you're conflating two things here. There's "how do you get there" and then there's "what do you do when you're there."

I fully endorse -- I want -- that latter moment to be about fun tactical decision-making and action.

But what we've been talking about in this thread is the former design element. "How do you get there" doesn't need to be tactical; in fact, it breaks strategic play if you design the movement of massed fleets to function at tactical speeds and ranges.
ThymineC wrote:
Flatfingers wrote:Does this physics favor defenders, who can simply surround all entry points into their systems? Yes. Why is that a problem?
That's a problem because it means that powerful factions can stay powerful by making it next to impossible for anyone to conquer any of their territory. Static borders make for boring gameplay, and Josh has said that he wants increasingly powerful factions to face increasing resistance from other factions - making it increasingly more easy for them to defend their territory the larger they get does not support this.
Why are you assuming borders would be static?

If I want to expand and you're in a system, why can't I just go around you? (Circumvention is a strategy.)

If it's the mid-to-late-game in a multi-system region and all the systems along a line are taken, what prevents me from trying other, possibly very enjoyable, methods of increasing my influence enough to take over a system without military force? (Long-term psychological campaigns are most emphatically a strategy -- just ask General Giáp.)

If it's the late game, and you're blocking me in part of a region, why can't I just go around you into other regions and starve you out from behind? (Economic/logistical warfare -- also strategic.)

What I'm trying to suggest is an opinion that perceiving that defenders have too much military power to protect system entry points may be a correct perception, but also an unnecessarily limited one. A solution to the wrong problem is not a good solution. So trying to design system connection physics to solve the problem of defending fixed jump points doesn't actually help the larger game -- in fact, I think it very likely hurts the big-picture gameplay.

In fact (again), I would say that it's actually extremely unstable borders -- the kind you get when lots of ships can show up anywhere with little warning --that are what are really boring. There's no point in trying to obtain possessions of any kind when someone can easily take them away from you.

If Josh is going to err, I'd hope he would err on the side of allowing military defense of system connection points, and leave the solution to the problem of strategic expansion to the strategic level of play that includes more than just fleet operations.
ThymineC wrote:
Flatfingers wrote:How much more fun, really, is added by asking Josh to also code free-floating special entry point features for whack-a-mole play? Isn't managing a far-flung star empire already going to be complicated enough?
If you're talking about U-type wormholes, they're not free-floating and I believe they open up a lot of gameplay possibilities:
  • Spies, who aim find a way to enter an enemy system unnoticed and gather intel. After gathering this intel, they can try to leave by the same wormhole if it still exists, or if it doesn't they can wait for a new U-type wormhole to form. Alternatively, they may try to escape through the S-type wormholes of the system if they aren't heavily guarded, although this might tip off the defender that they've been spied upon.
  • Saboteurs, which operate similarly to spies except they aim to infiltrate systems in order to disrupt operations within it rather than gather intel.
  • Smugglers, which seek to find means to bypass security forces that are attempting to prevent the distribution of illegal goods.
  • Tunnelers, or ships equipped with jump-drive modules, which attempt to find surreptitious means of entering enemy systems in order to generate a much more stable J-type wormhole to allow the passage of large fleets into the enemy system at a desired location.
I've seen all four of these previously in your comments; I understand what you're after here and I actually like all of these possibilities. Your answer is completely fair.

...for everybody except the player trying to control his borders.

All of us, myself included, would, I think, benefit from stopping for a second and putting ourselves in our (in-game) opponent's shoes. I'm tending to define "fun" from the empire defender's perspective, and that's maybe blinding me to some reasonable gameplay possibilities for more aggressive players.

At the same time, I'd like folks in this conversation who haven't already done so to think in terms of the player who wants to expand but doesn't want to do so through really aggressive, destructive play. What's that game experience going to be like for them when anybody can show up with a massive fleet and quickly crush everything they've spent many hours carefully building?

Ultimately Limit Theory will define "fun" from Josh's perspective. I don't see my comments or anyone else's in this thread as being argumentative, but rather as trying to help shed some extra light on how different kinds of players are likely to perceive some of Josh's design choices.

I'm curious to see what he actually winds up doing. :)

Oh, and side note: I also really, really like the idea that stellar class has an effect on the number of wormhole connections (though given my druthers there's only one type of connection, thank you ;)), with the hotter classes tending to have more connections. This actually works nicely with observable star frequencies; the hottest stars are relatively rare.

If stellar classes in LT are reasonably close to the kind we have in our universe -- they don't have to be, but it might be aesthetically pleasing -- that would lead to regions of star systems tending to have one or maybe two "hub" systems, while most systems would have just two or (for M class stars) even just one connection in and out.

I happily endorse this part of outlander4's proposal. Not too sure about the "where they go" part; random might be better... but definitely liking the "how many" part!
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#161
Flatfingers wrote:
ThymineC wrote:
Flatfingers wrote:Wormholes are invisible. That is, they have no visual radiation that can be seen with the Mark I Mod 0 eyeball.
I think that a nice compromise would be to make wormholes produce a distortion-effect around themselves - something that you wouldn't notice from any distance, but would be noticeable and look quite attractive from close up.
I could live with this, though my preference would be that you need to be close enough to actually go into the thing within a few seconds before you can see it.

Also, now I'm wondering how this would be modeled for NPCs who don't have the human player's actual eyeballs....
I'm not sure what you mean. The visual representation of wormholes is pretty much an aesthetic thing for the benefit of the player.
Flatfingers wrote: I think you're conflating two things here. There's "how do you get there" and then there's "what do you do when you're there."

I fully endorse -- I want -- that latter moment to be about fun tactical decision-making and action.

But what we've been talking about in this thread is the former design element. "How do you get there" doesn't need to be tactical; in fact, it breaks strategic play if you design the movement of massed fleets to function at tactical speeds and ranges.
If by "How do you get there" you mean getting the fleet from your territory to the enemy's territory, jump-drives don't allow for tactical speeds and ranges - if anything, utilising jump-drives would be slower than travelling by conventional means at this level of gameplay, since you'd have to spend time establishing the J-time wormhole and it could only bridge between two very nearby systems if you plan to send a whole fleet through it.

In short, your fleet would need to travel conventionally up to a system very close to the one you intend to invade, and only then would you start thinking about using jump-drives.
Flatfingers wrote: If I want to expand and you're in a system, why can't I just go around you? (Circumvention is a strategy.)
This is possible, but this does not help in dethroning powerful factions.
Flatfingers wrote:If it's the mid-to-late-game in a multi-system region and all the systems along a line are taken, what prevents me from trying other, possibly very enjoyable, methods of increasing my influence enough to take over a system without military force? (Long-term psychological campaigns are most emphatically a strategy -- just ask General Giáp.)
That could work as well, but it sounds like you're proposing something that I haven't heard Josh talk about before. Do you mean taking over systems through cultural influence à la games such as Galactic Civilisations or Sins of a Solar Empire? If so, it would be interesting to read a suggestion thread you post on this.
Flatfingers wrote:If it's the late game, and you're blocking me in part of a region, why can't I just go around you into other regions and starve you out from behind? (Economic/logistical warfare -- also strategic.)
Assuming that the faction hasn't captured enough territory to be self-sufficient.
Flatfingers wrote:So trying to design system connection physics to solve the problem of defending fixed jump points doesn't actually help the larger game -- in fact, I think it very likely hurts the big-picture gameplay.

In fact, I would say that it's actually extremely unstable borders -- the kind you get when lots of ships can show up anywhere with little warning --that are what are really boring. There's no point in trying to obtain possessions of any kind when someone can easily take them away from you.
The system can be balanced Goldilocks-style to make borders vicissitudinous but not overly so - in particular, you can make borders more stable by making U-type wormholes less numerous, more short-lived, or harder to detect, and less stable by doing the opposite.
Flatfingers wrote:At the same time, I'd like folks in this conversation who haven't already done so to think in terms of the player who wants to expand but doesn't want to do so through really aggressive, destructive play. What's that game experience going to be like for them when anybody can show up with a massive fleet and quickly crush everything they've spent many hours carefully building?
Well that's why you necessarily have to upgrade your security as you grow more powerful - otherwise you're just asking to be steamrolled. It's no good letting the player grow without risking these things happening. I want to be able to show up at other faction's doorsteps with massive fleets and steamroll over them. I want the game to treat me the same as it treats NPCs. Therefore, I want NPCs to be able to show up at my faction's doorstep and return the favour.

I've also tried my best to design the system so it can be balanced evenly between attackers and defenders. If this is the case, I should have just as much ability to defend my own territory as I have to attack and conquer others.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#162
I was thinking more on the implementation of Hyperion's daisy-chain idea in the form of chained unidirectional links in my proposal.

You could imagine building a series of stations in different systems, each with two jump-drive modules installed. These would be paired together as shown below:
Image Imagine the above setup as showing two four-terminal "transit lines". An agent can hop onto a transit line at one terminal and be transported down to one end of it. The way I imagine it working is that an agent enters one endpoint and immediately gets transported to the "pointed-to" endpoint. After this, the second endpoint becomes inactive for a few seconds. If the agent remains on-top of the endpoint when it reactivates, they get shunted down to its own "pointed-to" endpoint, and so on until it reaches the end of the line, at which point it will be continuously jumped between the two terminating end-points if it happens to stay on*. The agent can choose where to exit from the transit line by moving away from the endpoint after it reactivates.

The idea I want to capture here is something analogous to a train line; a train station will typically have two lines, one that allows trains to go on in one direction and another that allows trains to go in another direction. You choose the line corresponding to the direction you need to go in to get from your current location to your intended destination, board the train, and as it travels towards your destination it will pause at each intermediate stop, at which time you can actively choose to get off of the train or remain on-board it to continue.

I really, really like trains, so the prospect of something like this in LT excites me a lot.

Here's an idea though: what if not all ships could use wormholes?

For instance, what if planets spawned vessels (such as haulers) that lacked the capabilities to safely traverse wormholes by themselves, but these transit line infrastructures were developed between planetary economies that traded with each other. What these economies would do is send large carriers along these transit lines at regular intervals, and the planetary craft would be loaded into these carriers and safely transported along the transit lines. In this case, you'd get something that functioned very much like trains, and it would contribute to making the universe seem even more alive and the economic system that much more sophisticated. It also opens up the possibility of the player and other agents pulling off "train heist"-like stunts, or disrupting the lines to prevent trade between economies.

*A possible modification is to prevent agents from automatically jumping back to an endpoint they just arrived from in the case that the two endpoints are paired with each other. This will prevent infinite jumps between two endpoints, and in the case of the transit lines, agents will simply end up on-top of the final endpoint of the line if they choose to do nothing. Agents will need to explicitly interact with the endpoint to be jumped along the wormhole again.
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Re: Jumpdrives, Jumpgates and Wormholes

#163
:clap: :thumbup: Not quite what I had in mind, but quite satisfactory. I would imagine though that you would have two types of networks arising. You would have the bi-directional stations arising with factions that have developed along research lines which facilitate low construction costs of wormholes, and unidirectional rings, perhaps even rose curves in factions whose research emphasizes highly efficient wormhole use... I also imagine that you might have low weaponry carriers... ferries, arising to facilitate this.
Image And I have to say, building, owning, and riding a Procedurally generated spacetrain running along rosecurve wormhole networks... :wtf: :shifty:

Holy shit! its Railroad Tycoon in space!
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