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Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#1
smallish brainfart of me:

what if warp rails could transport "dropped" cargo containers along them?

containers like the ore boxes that remained of a destroyed ship in some older update video.

so you could transport wares along the rail network without having to use a ship to transfer them.

for one transfer the rail could allocate a "wedge" and not distribute the packets through the whole rail


big ship docking could also be done by "rails", big ships have small rail generators at their docking port,
and attach through them to another "docking rail" connector when docking to another object.


on a related, lore, note:

could transfer beams and warp rails be actually the same technology, but on different power levels?
:think:

a transfer beam doesnt need a counter-point to be established as its only short range, and the projector can supply both ends.
for warp rails the distance is too long, so you need a generator at the other end too.

maybe we could also say that a rail/transfer beam can only pull and as such you need 2 stations for a bidirectional rail connection...

:think:



any thoughts on that?

its at least a nice lore-unification, even if we dont allow cargo transfers using rails
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#3
Woah. Very interesting idea Cornflakes. I like the unification of warp rails and transfer beams. It certainly makes sense that they use a similar underlying technology to transport matter. And I really like the idea of a 'cargo rail.'

Interestingly, the rails are implemented solely in terms of the generic game 'Object' (not in terms of Ships specifically), so theoretically they can already transport anything. It hadn't occur to me to try that but...I may just go throw a few non-ship movable objects on the rail and see what happens :roll:

As for cargo, this sounds excellent. External cargo is already implemented as objects (I call them 'pods'). Pods could already use rails just like any other object! I will be sure to play with this idea after the update is out.

It makes a lot of sense to be able to establish 'cargo rails' between, for example, a refinery and a production station. Automated import/export without traders becomes an awesome tool (but will obviously be costly!) Now I'm even thinking about the possibility of establishing a 'drop-off-point' (DoP) where a temporary rail is set up between a mining zone and a nearby station, to allow miners to easily extract, package up, and eject pods of ore onto the rail to be automatically stored at the station (perhaps the station charges a nominal fee for DoP usage?)

A question for 'cargo rails': with ships, entry and exit is fairly obvious -- ships fly up to the node, hop on the rail, and are ejected at the exit node, regaining control of their ship and flying off to wherever they want. But what about a cargo rail? What happens at the destination? Is the rail simply 'connected' to a station in such a way that pods automatically 'disappear' into the interior?

Also, I guess I don't need to explain why cargo rails are a fantastic gameplay opportunity for pirates... :ghost:

Final thought to leave you all with: 'space elevator' cargo rails between highly-developed planetary colonies and orbital stations :cool:

(EDIT) : Oh, and docking via rails? Mind blown. :shock: "Cmdr. Parnell to USS Cornflakes -- request immediate docking node extension! We gotta get out of here fast! Pop out those nodes and spool up the jump drives!"
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#5
JoshParnell wrote:Final thought to leave you all with: 'space elevator' cargo rails between highly-developed planetary colonies and orbital stations :cool:

(EDIT) : Oh, and docking via rails? Mind blown. :shock: "Cmdr. Parnell to USS Cornflakes -- request immediate docking node extension! We gotta get out of here fast! Pop out those nodes and spool up the jump drives!"
+1 for 'Space Elevator' rails
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#6
JoshParnell wrote: It makes a lot of sense to be able to establish 'cargo rails' between, for example, a refinery and a production station. Automated import/export without traders becomes an awesome tool (but will obviously be costly!) Now I'm even thinking about the possibility of establishing a 'drop-off-point' (DoP) where a temporary rail is set up between a mining zone and a nearby station, to allow miners to easily extract, package up, and eject pods of ore onto the rail to be automatically stored at the station (perhaps the station charges a nominal fee for DoP usage?)
well... if we are allowed to mount rail generators on bigger ships, the DoP could be the "mothership" for the mining group.

it follows the miners and keeps the rail home intact

JoshParnell wrote: A question for 'cargo rails': with ships, entry and exit is fairly obvious -- ships fly up to the node, hop on the rail, and are ejected at the exit node, regaining control of their ship and flying off to wherever they want. But what about a cargo rail? What happens at the destination? Is the rail simply 'connected' to a station in such a way that pods automatically 'disappear' into the interior?
hmmm... :think:

for dropping off it could be a request like docking, and then the rail station establishes a transfer beam and drags the pods to their allocated rail where they get transferred.

other way around for arriving cargo, the station "snatches" the pods out of space and transfer-beams them where they shall go to

:think:

JoshParnell wrote: Final thought to leave you all with: 'space elevator' cargo rails between highly-developed planetary colonies and orbital stations :cool:
:cool: :dealwithit:

JoshParnell wrote: (EDIT) : Oh, and docking via rails? Mind blown. :shock: "Cmdr. Parnell to USS Cornflakes -- request immediate docking node extension! We gotta get out of here fast! Pop out those nodes and spool up the jump drives!"
that was not exactly what i was thinking about :lol:

i thought more of that the actual external docking connectors/hooks/airlocks get replaced by rails.
makes it a bit easier on the graphics side, instead of having to generate matching docking tunnels and grappling hooks, just a beam gets generated between the dock ports.


but yours sounds definitely fun too :lol: :thumbup:





edit: and i feel i made another small dent in the game :mrgreen:
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#7
Kvallning wrote:Wouldn't this defeat the purpose of the entire career of shipping corvettes, goods runners and the like? I mean, it makes sense for the rails to do this, and it's cool and all, but think of the children players!
Yes definitely. That's why I emphasized the 'costly' part. You're right, it shouldn't replace shipping services, but I can see it being a high-end tool for large factions that want to reduce transit cost between a large-scale operation. It should be costly enough that it's not viable for smaller projects or smaller factions.

Interestingly, it's also the only other piece of gameplay so far that would fall under the 'logistics' AI metaproject.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#8
now to get those physical data pods using the rails too and the Internet of LT really will be a series of tubes!
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#11
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Hyperion wrote:now to get those physical data pods using the rails too and the Internet of LT really will be a series of tubes pipelines!
fix'd it ;)
Don't you make me turn them into sewers too!

I like the idea of just adding on modules to warp nodes which give them extra capabilities. why not have one for data, one for cargo, one for ships, one for Lane allocation and locking, one for merging/splitting, one for every imaginable function they can have... It would enable the rapid construction of many lines, but they would tend to specialize according to their local needs. And a rail that could handle everything would require every module on every node... Which is why such Omni rails would be extremely expensive... get more gameplay out of artificial limitations on the system.
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#12
lol, almost.

im not perfectly sure about all of the modules, but the cargo transfer module is one i could agree on ^^

data: why should it be different than either cargo (one module) or basic function (no module) of the rail?
the rail stations already have to communicate to synchronise the gigawatts of power pumped into the rails, why should they need another module to communicate?
or if data is physical, why should it require something different than just generic cargo?

lane allocation:
i guess the current implementation doesnt really agree with you that there is no allocation or all allocation possible
maybe the rail has a basic organisational capacity (X ships or whatever) and you can increase its total organisational capacity (increasing the amount of lanes available)


"one for ships": Image what should the basic functionality be if its not carrying ships around?

using "addons" to increase functionality of something is fine.
but an expensive, big, energy hungry module that simply does nothing without extras? err...

analoge situation:
"yaay! i bought a new laser!"
"you need the laser collimator module installed to get it working"

that would certainly be a non-fun experience
Last edited by Cornflakes_91 on Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#13
I imagine that "cargo rails" are the same rails as for ships, but while ships are flying around the rail on some distance, cargo containers are transported almost in the middle of the rail, kind of "pneumatic tube"
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Re: Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method

#14
Cornflakes_91 wrote:lol, almost.

im not perfectly sure about all of the modules, but the cargo transfer module is one i could agree on ^^

data: why should it be different than either cargo (one module) or basic function (no module) of the rail?
the rail stations already have to communicate to synchronise the gigawatts of energy pumped into the rails, why should they need another module to communicate?
or if data is physical, why should it require something different than just generic cargo?


lane allocation:
i guess the current implementation doesnt really agree with you that there is no allocation or all allocation possible
maybe the rail has a basic organisational capacity (X ships or whatever) and you can increase its total organisational capacity (increasing the amount of lanes available)


"one for ships":

what should the basic functionality be if its not carrying ships around?

using "addons" to increase functionality of something is fine.
but an expensive, big, energy hungry module that simply does nothing without extras? err...

analoge situation:
"yaay! i bought a new laser!"
"you need the laser collimator module installed to get it working"

that would certainly be a non-fun experience
We will have to see what josh's tests in just throwing objects on the rail does, but lets assume that any non-static physical object in the game and move on warp rails as they are currently defined. That is perfectly fine if we just gave dumb travelers (cargo/data pods, or anything that lacks pathfinding or autonomous movement) a lane of their own on any generic rail. However my idea here is that if we impose object classes to how the nodes handle travelers, we can create specialized rails that handle only a single object class, which is then balanced by a lower energy requirement. One thing about this is that a warp node isn't a single energy-collector & energy-utilizer, that the power-source is separate from the rail node.

So for example, you want to create a cargo rail from a zone of asteroids to a station. You don't have to build a large rail which can handle ships, but a small one, each warp node then consists of only a small power source and a cargo-only node. It can move cargo quickly from end to end, but ships are too large and too complicated for it to handle, so they will have to fly slowly. The warp rail essentially becomes a conveyor belt. All objects going one way stay on one side, all objects going the other stay on the bottom, and all contents are auto ejected at the end.

But lets say you just need a telegraph wire from one station out to a semi-intelligent immobile platform that is scanning for invaders. You lay out a line which does the same thing as a cargo conveyor belt, but exclusively with data pods.

But lets say you want to actually carry ships, that's fine you can lay out a stronger but still simple line of ship capacity nodes with higher capacity power sources. These simple ones aren't the safest rails, as you could very well have a collision, but in sparsely populated regions where this would be used, the chances are pretty low (driving is dangerous man), maybe just have some oncoming traffic alert in the HUD that shows you their range and the section of the cylinder they are taking up in a warning color so you can move out of the way. If you want to move cargo and date on this, you can't just dump it on the rail, you have to carry it in ships.

But, now you want an expanded, safer rail, with no collisions. You add in a lane allocation module to every node (or maybe at intervals), poof, lanes are locked in, no more accidents. Such a module would require more energy, so you will either need an additional power source or a bigger power source. In the code behind the scenes, the lane allocation script is just being called for this particular stretch of rail, I would imagine the simpler code could be called independently.

But now you want a heavy duty rail which can handle everything, well first you either need a power source for every module on every node, or you need a scalable power solution where you can just upgrade the power as needed. And now, with all the bells and whistles, data and cargo have their own single-direction lanes, ships each have their own lanes, and so on.
Splits and merges with dumb cargo would be tricky though, they have no pathfinding so which way do they go down?
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